Beer of the Week: Sam Adams Utopias

Posted on May 24th, 2011

Overview: Sam Adams Utopias might be one of the most hyped products in the craft beer industry. Released on odd years since 2001 as a follow up to Sam Adams Millennium, this beer holds the title of one of the strongest naturally brewed beer in the world, coming in at about 27% ABV. This beer uses yeasts typical for champagne and wine, maple syrup, and for this year’s batch, the brew was aged in a variety of sherry and port casks. The bottle is handcrafted out of ceramic and individually numbered. You also get a redeem code for a free (plus shipping and handling) handmade glassware especially made for this beer. Only 53 barrels were used for this year’s batch, and many stores are already out of their supply, even though there was no major announcement when it became available. Did I mention that it’ll cost you $150, or often more?

In a nutshell: Sam Adams 2011 Utopias: strong, extreme, and definitely a special treat that you won’t easily forget.

Review: This is meant to be served in small amounts and served warm, much like a brandy or cognac. Do not drink this like a beer. You won’t see any head or carbonation. The aroma contains a caramel and vanilla fragrance, but be careful not to take too big of a whiff so you don’t burn your nostrils off from the alcohol. It’s also a very thick beer that will give a good coat to the sides of the glass. I don’t think there’s anything that can really prepare you for the first sip; it will hit you a bit hard if you don’t know what you’re expecting (so take small sips!). After a few sips (that feel more like shots), you will be able to finds some nice tastes in there, including the sherry/port flavors from the barrels. There’s also a slight chocolatey, maple syrup-y goodness behind the barrel flavors. You will definitely feel warm in the throat and face if you sip this too quickly. Knowing that this is what you can come up with as a beer makes this all the more wild. This is not a beer that you’ll finish in a night. You will keep this for a long time (since it doesn’t age and will stay delicious for months) and savor it on very special occasions. It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you can handle a beer like this, then you will definitely be in love with Utopias.

Rating: 5 out of 5: Drinker’s Choice (if you can afford it)