Samuel Adams Utopias - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
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Ratings: 1,836 | Reviews: 461 | Display Reviews Only:
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4.09/5 rDev -8.3%
2013 version, in a 24oz, um, bottle? I suppose a case could be made for this as a can, given all the metal encasing this copper kettle replica. One hard to come by offering for this brewery around here, as they are indeed repped locally, but finally I got my hands (for a mere ~150 dollars) on one. My infant son spent his first birthday today out and about with his mom, and even visited dear 'ol dad at work today. Now that he's well and down, here we freaking go.
This beer pours a (what, a simple cap? no cork, really?) mostly clear, dark red-brick amber hue, with zero head, zero lace, and zero sound, save the mild glugging of the er, liquid, as it hits the glass - weird, man. Not a particularly appealing looking offering, IMHO.
It smells of ridiculously pungent maple sap, port fruitiness, sherry Flor, vanilla and caramel that have spent serious time in a Kentucky whiskey barrel, tanned leather, more rather tannic warmed red wine, rum-filled holiday chocolates, and a slight musty funk, one that seems more capable of cutting through the mire than any hops in the mix. The taste is more decadent and super-heavy caramel malt and its bourbon barrel equivalents, thick natural vanilla, maple doughnuts, rich port and fruity sherry, a reduced brown sugar rum booziness, concentrated sour stone fruit, hints of bittersweet cocoa, and a somewhat surprising leafy, musty hoppiness.
The carbonation is obviously not the main point of this affair, as it is pretty much unheralded and non-existent, the body a sickly viscous, thick and chewy, full as full can be weight, and smooth like your favourite single malt (and ethereally creamy, by the same metric). It finishes sweet, hell to the yes, but with a noticeable attempt at moderation, the fruit, latent, but still weak-ass funk, and yes, hops doing enough to keep me from scraping both my tongue and teeth at the same time.
A whole lot of acclimatization is required to actually get into this one at first - but once you're past that initial palate gang-bang, the teetering balance of malt, bourbon, port, rum, funk, maple, sugar, and hops starts to make more and more sense, and that's only due in small part to the 54-proof alcohol. One of the few end-points of beer fandom, this is almost worthy of its sticker price (I'd say shelf tag, but, heh, it never actually made it there, around here). My only real beef here, is that I can only make an educated guess as to how much I have left in the 'bottle' - I'm thinking at least 12oz, as this kind of thing surely engenders more writing than imbibing, eh?
03-30-2014 05:08:41 | More by biboergosum
British Columbia (Canada)
4/5 rDev -10.3%
Happy dad's day to all the rest of the lucky dads out there. 2012 10th anniversary bottle that I bought for just under $200 with taxes on release from Total Wine in Seattle and in the cellar until today.
Poured into the Riedel glass that came with the bottle (by mail). It's a pretty stupid little glass, tbh, but it's kind of a ...maybe not stupid, but let's say an eccentric beer that I haven't been particularly anxious to try more than as a curiosity. What the hell though, a great dad like me deserves a $200 beer on dad's day, right?
Appearance. Pours a deep ruby amber, almost burgundy colour. Fairly clear but hard to see through being so rich. Looks almost luxuriously thick as it's poured, no head whatsoever. Not sure how to rate this beer with hing to compare it with, but it looks pretty good so we'll just go with that.
Smell. Booze of course, and lots of it. Lots if port like smells and but not bad like a heavily oxidized beer, definite fruity esters. Some brown and burnt sugar, a touch of real maple, some bitter wood (is bitter a smell?). Very interesting and despite the heavy booze I keep going back for more. Getting more sweet caramel and maple as I get past the booze.
Taste. Sweet with those port like flavours hitting first, a light acidity that I wasn't expecting helps with the high sugar content. Fruity esters again, some nice bitter wood, caramel and just a touch of maple. The woody notes really last in the mouth with a nice, almost spiciness going on from the booze I'm guessing ...maybe more of a sensation than a flavour there but I'm okay with it. Very boozy but not what I would expect at 29%
Mouthfeel. Quite thick and slick, a bit sticky on the lips once the booze evaporates. Not hot in the mouth but very warming in the throat and tummy. I can see how people could come to enjoy the harder stuff while drinking this one.
Overall. An experience. Yep. Probably not as good an experience as a $200 meal, but I will enjoy this many times over the coming months so that's how I'll look at this one. Not sure if I'd buy this one again but by the time this bottle is gone I'm sure I'll know. 4's across the board for a rating because it's very interesting, quite enjoyable, but in a league of it's own in every way.
06-16-2014 03:42:04 | More by Rutager
4.35/5 rDev -2.5%
Thanks Shaun, for saving me a couple oz pours of the 2012 (black) and 2013 (copper) Utopias. Poured into unlabled snifters today, 2/22/2014 to cap off our BCBS Variant night. This review is based on the 2012 version which I highly preferred to the 2013.
App- Light copper body, no head, no retention, no lacing. Surprisingly light for a beer that is so strong.
Smell- Decadent port, molasses, maple syrup, toffee, caramel. Very, very sweet and intense. As you'd expect, there is also a ton of boozy solvent alcohol that I personally think detracts from the overall nose.
Flavour- Port, maple syrup, tons of toffee, a bit of butterscotch, caramel, a little bit of oak. This is a very sweet and very boozy brew that is quite complex in the sense that every sip brings something different to the forefront.
Mouthfeel- Thin bodied, flat with zero carbonation (as expected, though) and quite boozy. Not my cup of tea, but it is what it is advertised to be so I'm not going to dock it too much.
Overall- 2012 >> 2013 which smelled/tasted a lot like the Chinese sorghum whiskey that my dad likes to drink that is incredibly disgusting and makes me nauseous. The 2012 version is so decadent, sweet and boozy; it is definitely the superior vintage of the 2. So if you find a 2012 and want to buy it, go for it. Can't give that same affirmation for the 2013.
02-23-2014 07:29:54 | More by Stevedore
4.34/5 rDev -2.7%
Review #400, better try and make it something special. How about a little '03 Utopias? Super huge thanks to Jeff for giving me a taste of this ten year-old beauty one night. I've been wondering if I'd ever get to try this, let alone the whale-ish vintage of it. Solid, copper-brown pour; silky, oily, and thick as it falls into the glass quietly - no carbonation at all. It just sits in the glass, motionless and menacing.
I don't even have to bring this to my face to smell it. I could have sat on the other side of the room and reviewed the aroma. It was SO goddamn strong, words can't even express its brute force. And not only was it strong, it was complex - the number of things present were insane, and it seemed like the aroma stretched on for miles. Licorice, cognac/brandy, brown sugar and molasses, candied dark fruits, grapes, plums, rubbing alcohol, maple, toffee, vanilla, wood... I could probably go on for days and you guys would say "bullshit!" but there's no bull here. The aroma is one of the most complex and intriguing on the market. Granted, a bit "hot" and stingy on the nostrils, but at 20%+ ABV, isn't that to be expected just a bit?
I was almost afraid to take a taste, just because I had no idea what to expect. I mean, a beer with over 20% ABV? How good can that really taste? It hits my palate, heavy and thick, smooth and far from cumbersome thanks to a lack of any real carbonation. Super, super sweet at first, and yes, the alcohol is VERY present and VERY apparent. But the intense sweetness does a remarkable job of retaining drinkability, when you consider how strong this stuff really is. Brown sugar, molasses, black cherries, plums, booze-soaked raisins, toffee cake, light rubbing alcohol, port, caramel.... Very nearly as complex as the nose and every bit as hot.
It's amazing that even after ten years, this beer has seemingly retained so much of its potency. I wonder how hot this was when it first came out? Maybe the effects of aging aren't quite as severe when you're dealing with alcohol content in this range. Despite being so hot (and understand that when I say "hot", I'm talking relative to beer - this still has nothing on real whisky or bourbon), it remained pretty drinkable, most likely due to the heavy sweetness that worked hard to balance out the burn. The finish left a hefty taste on the palate, full of dark fruity booziness and a thick, caramel and molasses coating. This is one of those things you could still be tasting in the morning if you don't brush your teeth good enough.
So how do I rate this? It's so far from the realm of "beer" as we know it, that it's quite difficult to rate it using the same scale and criteria as I would rate other beers, even considering differences between styles. I mean, you wouldn't score a glass of Macallan 18 with the same set of standards you use for beer, right? The thing is, Utopias is far from the realm of most hard alcohols, too. It's much sweeter than your typical bourbon, scotch, whisky, cognac, etc, and in my opinion, contains a bigger array of overall flavors and nuances. It's almost in a world of its own - a strange limbo somewhere between beer and spirits, where no other breweries have dared to go.
Make no mistake about it, though, Utopias is damn good. I think it comes as no surprise that it's definitely a "sipper", and it's a highly enjoyable and tasty one at that. Is it worth the price tag? Hard to say. Is anything worth that much money? Depends on how much you want it, I guess. I'll tell you this - it makes for a great experience and a great time when shared among friends. A nice conversation piece in itself, and enjoyable for beer geeks of all types. Big thanks again to Jeff for letting me take a taste.
03-19-2013 11:59:46 | More by tectactoe
4.22/5 rDev -5.4%
Vintage 2007. The bottle was opened for the first time about a year before I sampled it.
A: Shiny amber color, clear liquid. Obviously no head.
S: Lots of sweet fruit aromas (apples, plums, cherries), raisins, brandy. Notes of wood and a hint of dusty cellar. Big alcohol fumes, but they are well integrated and the smell is actually quite balanced. Very rich.
T: Intensely sweet with notes of fudge and toffee, chocolate, nuts and rich aromas of ripe fruit. Boozy raisins, brandy and barrel notes. The taste is richer than the smell and more complex. A faint cellar character is detectable, but not as clearly as in the smell. The finish is really hot with lots of spicy and sweet alcohol and lingering liqueur-like sweetness.
M: A great mouthfeel. Big body with a very sticky and chewy texture. Completely flat.
D: I actually like this one. Of course, it's more reminiscent of a fortified wine or liqueur than a regular beer, but that's how it's supposed to be. A great sipper with a sophisticated yet cocky character.
07-20-2009 14:48:09 | More by ricke
4.43/5 rDev -0.7%
Pours deep tawny in color with no head. Get a nice sized sample because when you swirl it about half of it sticks to the sides of the glass.
This is one of the best smelling beers i've encountered. It reminds me of a nice stack of pancakes with melted butter and hot maple syrup on top. Raisin, alcohol, and vanilla come out as well. I'm sure there is a lot more going on in here that I can't pick out.
The flavor is a little more bourbony to me, not quite as strong, showing the maple, brown sugar, and vanilla notes. No carbonation, it doesn't need it, and a just slightly syrupy mouthfeel. Very rich and complex, one bottle of this could be shared with about thirty people.
This is a great beer that everyone should try if given the opportunity. If you find one, try to have a few friends go in on it with you and it'll be more fulfilling and won't bruise the old wallet quite as much.
01-07-2010 00:21:44 | More by brownbeer
4.28/5 rDev -4%
Big thanks to Gonzoillini for bringing this over to our tasting.
It was about a 2oz. pour into a nicely shaped mini glass that seemed perfect for a beverage of the sort. It was a deep ruby burnt brown color with legs that stayed on the edges of the glass for longer than I had ever seen. Just by looking at I could tell this is unlike any beverage I have ever had.
It has a similar aroma profile to cognac or a nice scotch but much sweeter and with a more robust fullness to it. Not nearly as much alcohol in the nose as I would have expected, I've smelled other 10-15% ABV beers with more burn. It was quite nice and just so rich I couldn't wait to taste it.
It drank like a brown sugar, bourbon, cognac mixture but with such a full body behind it. It was suggested to me to look for a little soy sauce character. I searched and got just a little bit of it but not enough to have pulled it out on my own and what I did taste was more complimentary to the taste than detrimental. It is easily the most complex thing I've ever tasted and every place in your mouth picked up a different character. When it was left in my mouth long enough I got a little alcohol burning sensation on the top of my mouth but not as much as I would have expected. It was truly a wonderful drink.
It was so smooth I couldn't believe it. I'm really glad it is served flat as carbonation would have been distracting. The 2 oz. I had were the perfect size and any more would have been filling. I'm giving it such a high drinkability score as it is well over twice as drinkable as the cognacs and whiskeys I have had. I figured halfish the ABV should be about twice as drinkable. The full bodiedness of it masks the alcohol and makes for an enjoyable drink.
I really am glad I got to try this without shelling out $25-40 in a bar setting. I really loved it and was a great experience and may even look for my own bottles as funds allow just to be able to pull out on those special occasions.
01-13-2010 21:48:04 | More by weatherdog
4.08/5 rDev -8.5%
I'm excited to finally get a chance to sample this one, being that it's the strongest beer in the world and carries a hefty price tag. The Utopias pours into my brandy snifter a wonderful golden, copper with hints of red. No carbonation to be found here. Sticky clear, syrupy lacing cascades down the side of the snifter. It's hard to find a resemblance to beer here, but I do love the color. Aromas are quite intense with caramel, vanilla bean, cherry, pure maple syrup and a heady woodiness that's a touch smoky. The alcohol is readily apparent in the nose. Lots of bourbon and scotch undertones are present as well. Quite amazing that this is in fact a beer and not a liquor. Lovely aroma.
First sip brings a sweet caramel/vanilla infusion across the palate with a cherry fruitiness as well. Maple syrupy goodness collides with woody flavors, butter rum and a touch of honey. As is flows down the throat the alcohol warmth goes all the way down as well. Quality bourbon and oak come to mind with each sip of this intiguing brew. A wonderful melding of flavors.
Mouthfeel is smooth, slick and sweet. It's 25% abv but there's no harsh alcohol burn to be found here, making it easy to swirl it around your mouth and really enjoy the flavors of each sip. This is really quite tasty and an enlightening experience to show just how far the limits of beer can be pushed. The high price tag will keep me away for now, but maybe someday I'll be able to snag a whole bottle of this for myself. Kudos to Jim Koch and Sam Adams for pushing the limits and thanks to blitheringidiot as well for giving me the opportunity to enjoy this rare treat.
02-19-2006 23:05:22 | More by orbitalr0x
3.85/5 rDev -13.7%
I had the 2009 version of this on two separate occasions, both times I had the same reaction. Twice it was served to me in a one ounce shot glass for a high price. Me and my friends who also ordered it slowly sipped on this masterpiece after enjoying a few easier to drink beers.
This beer is something else. The alcohol content really defines this for me. It is actually pretty rough to get down. At 27%, it's more like a liquor than a beer. The flavor was almost wine like. It was think, but not heavy. It also had a twang of sweetness to it.
This is something to be savored. Definitely not to be drank regularly. I did find it hard to drink, despite that, it was excellent.
08-05-2010 08:48:03 | More by Nature777
Samuel Adams Utopias from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
99 out of 100 based on 1,836 ratings.