UPDATED: SEP 30, 2012
Perhaps the only thing more satisfying than a great beer is when said
beer succeeds where others have not. In my quest to find the best winter
seasonal beer I’ve only been satisfied. But with Samuel Adams Old
Fezziwig Ale I’ve finally found a beer that truly impressed me on all
accounts: a great, rich, complex but balanced palate that finishes
smooth and doesn’t overwhelm.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
Old Fezziwig is named after a “festive” character in the classic novel
“A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Surprisingly, this beer does not
have a festive physical appearance. It pours very smoothly without the
slightest kickback and forms a small, off-white, soapy head which mostly
dissipates and does leave some lacing on the glass.
The beer has a dark ruby red color and is clear with a little bit of
carbonation apparent. The aroma is strong and spicy, but also conveys a
To truly appreciate the flavor of Old Fezziwig I recommend allowing the
beer to warm a little to unlock its complex palate of flavors. This is
one of the few beers to have such a variety of flavors and a true
balance of sweetness and spice.
The label describes cinnamon, ginger and orange as the dominant
ingredients, but I found the chocolate and caramel malts to have the
most noticeable taste. This is the flavor most “chocolate beers” should
have – rich, sweet, and almost creamy without coming across as
out-and-out sugary. Every ingredient mentioned on the bottle is
distinguishable and yet they all add up to a very delicious taste.
Clearly, the beer’s sweetness wins out over its spiciness, and while
this could seem to flatten out the taste, I found the balance to be a
work of art. This is a beer to appease the lightweight and the
A smooth finish is always an attribute to any beer as far as I’m
concerned. The only problem with an easy finish is you might drink the
beer too quickly and not really savor it. However, in the case of Old
Fezziwig, this is a “problem” I can live with.
As tasty and easy as Old Fezziwig is to drink, I have a feeling some
might find it a bit too heavy at 5.9% ABV and 210 calories per serving. I
could definitely feel my first serving before I was finished with it,
but after two within an hour I did not feel overwhelmed. In fact, I
wanted more because the taste was so good. A full body is a price the
average drinker will likely be willing to pay to drink this beer.
I’m a huge fan of the Samuel Adams line of beers, but until now I’ve
never found a beer in their lineup I could truly consider outstanding.
It’s a little ironic that an obscure, seasonal with a funny name like
“Old Fezziwig Ale” would earn my highest acclaim. But that just goes to
show how good this beer really is.