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Samuel Adams Utopias - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams UtopiasSamuel Adams Utopias

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

1,908 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,908
Reviews: 465
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 12.33%
Wants: 965
Gots: 323 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  29.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 09-09-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Adams Utopias Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,908 | Reviews: 465 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of davistabuff
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

davistabuff, Mar 29, 2013
Photo of nbanyard87
5/5  rDev +12.1%

nbanyard87, Mar 29, 2013
Photo of Rohkey
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Rohkey, Mar 27, 2013
Photo of aranton
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

aranton, Mar 26, 2013
Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.96/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle 27,0% Abv.
Multiple servings (obviously on different days) ranging from 100ml – 300ml.
Servings ranged in temperature between room temperature and chilled.
Glassware: Over sized snifter and over sized wine glass.

Review from combined notes of each session.

2011 Vintage.

A massive thanks to JAXSON for sending this gem all the way to South Africa. This is really a beer I never thought I would get the chance to try.

Appearance: Sam Adams Utopias pours out incredibly thick and viscous and settles a very dark brown in the glass. A back light reveals beautiful deep red highlights and golden-amber edges. Obviously even the roughest of pours doesn’t generate an ounce of head. A swirl coats the glass in some of the heaviest alcohol legs I have ever seen.

Smell: My god, I knew this would smell good, but this is just ridiculous – you can literally smell it from across the room. The complexity of the nose far exceeds any other beer I have had to date, with every sniff seeming to yield something new, even during my third and fourth servings there were new characters that I had not yet noted. I am nowhere near eloquent enough to express how well the all flavours combine and interact, so I will simply list some of the notes that I detected over the course of multiple servings. These include: Bourbon, vanilla, big fortified wine notes (sherry and port), raisins, currents, chocolate, maple syrup, brown sugar, deep caramel, dark treacle, toffee, stewed plums, cherries, a little oak, brandy, molasses, dates, some leather and obviously at this Abv, some nose tingling alcohol.

Taste: Holy hell, as the nose promised, the flavor here is absolutely massive! The first few sips completely overwhelm your palate and not with alcohol as one might expect, but simply with the sheer size and complexity of the flavor. The flavor is incredibly sweet upfront, however the combination of barrel character and alcohol somehow manages to keep it from becoming cloying.
Flavour notes include: Rich caramel, maple syrup, fresh honey, fortified wine (sherry and port), butterscotch, bourbon, vanilla, oak, cognac, brandy soaked raisins, a toasted nutty note, dark toffee, a little molasses, a touch of leather, treacle syrup, caramelized brown sugar, a general dark fruity note and of course some alcohol (mind you, not as much as one might expect from 27%).

Mouthfeel: Well this is a first, a beer that even I cannot call over carbonated!
All jokes aside, at first glance Utopias seems to be devoid of any sort of carbonation, however after a long while and careful consideration, I have a feeling that there might just be a few uber small bubbles floating around in there.
The body is, in my mind, nothing short of perfect. It is incredibly full, sticky as hell and completely mouth coating. I actually kind of wish that some of my favorite whiskeys had a body like this!

Overall: As a lover of massive sweet beers, it was a bit of a no-brainer that I would love Utopias, but even in my wildest dreams I did not foresee it being quite this good! It is easily one of the best beverages I have ever had.
I purposely avoided using the word beer in the previous sentence as I think Utopias holds equally much in common with spirits such as bourbon and cognac as it does with other beers.

Thehuntmaster, Mar 26, 2013
Photo of Sparky44
4/5  rDev -10.3%

Sparky44, Mar 23, 2013
Photo of Kuemmelbrau
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Kuemmelbrau, Mar 23, 2013
Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I was very fortunate to have my brewing lecturer share a bottle of this and the Sam Adams Triple Bock recently on our residential week. This bottle was the 2009 edition, which weighs in at 27% ABV.

Pours a rather light reddish brown colour, thick, spiritous and volatile in the glass. The head is, unsurprisingly, nowhere to be seen, leaving the beer looking rather dormant or dead. Huge legs from the thickness in the body, however, leaving sticky syrup trails when the beer is swirled. Colour changes to a slightly translucent yellow at the edges when tilted. It looks very exciting.

The aroma is all based around the booze, which, again, is not surprising. Big heady aromas of port and spirits surround everything. The aroma is rather sharp, however, and actually doesn't subside into a strong sweetness. There are some chocolate and coconut notes, possibly more from the oaking than any intrinsic sweetness. But otherwise, it's boozy, redolent, heady and just full of ethanol. It's an intense experience.

The sharp booze continues on the palate. Spicy heat on the front, mellowing to let stacks of oak character come through towards the back. The spicy alcohol releases other sharp characters: orange peel, a little lemon and ground allspice, along with a feeling like burning sinuses. The wood holds it together and stops it from being too violent. It's big and unapologetic, but maintains a sense of civility despite this.

Feel, unsurprisingly, is also hot and spicy, with a burn and stab approach to negotiation.

This is hot and difficult, but very powerful as a result. It's certainly an exciting and unique beer: one which is worthy of all the respect you can manage to muster for it.

lacqueredmouse, Mar 23, 2013
Photo of ObiWanKushnobi
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%

ObiWanKushnobi, Mar 22, 2013
Photo of KevinMc
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%

KevinMc, Mar 22, 2013
Photo of jlenik
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%

jlenik, Mar 21, 2013
Photo of aslamm75
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

aslamm75, Mar 21, 2013
Photo of AutumnBeerLove
3.75/5  rDev -15.9%

AutumnBeerLove, Mar 20, 2013
Photo of tom10101
4/5  rDev -10.3%

tom10101, Mar 20, 2013
Photo of bigedct
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%

bigedct, Mar 19, 2013
Photo of tectactoe
4.34/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

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.

tectactoe, Mar 19, 2013
Photo of IcemanCometh
4/5  rDev -10.3%

IcemanCometh, Mar 18, 2013
Photo of andrew8626
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%

andrew8626, Mar 18, 2013
Photo of korguy123
4.85/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

10th Anniversary Utopias with a Nicaraguan rum barrel added into the aging process.
Black ceramic bottle into a taster snifter.

Served at room temp.

Viscous dark maple syrup pour. Zero carbonation, zero lacing, Loads of alcohol stuck to the edges of the glass.

A massive alcohol presence in the nose. Behind that is smooth, sweet rum, maple syrup, port, caramel, toffee, a nice vanilla punch and some bourbon in the back. Oak presence from the casks is there but subdued in the overwhelming nature of everything else.

Rum, maple syrup, bourbon, caramel, maple again, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, a nice oakiness with a huge warming sensation as it goes down. There is some port in there but the overly sweet notes shine through. The alcohol in the taste is much more subdued than the nose leads it to believe. This is something to savor and enjoy and you just can't help but to do so with every sip.

Medium to full body with zero carbonation obviously. Sticky on the lips.

This is my second 1oz serving in two days and it is truly remarkable. Something I would have never imagined I'd ever have. I'm glad to be one of the many/few in Ontario to get a bottle and I will savor every drop.

korguy123, Mar 17, 2013
Photo of Devi0us
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Devi0us, Mar 17, 2013
Photo of dctriman
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

dctriman, Mar 16, 2013
Photo of BrittEBurke
5/5  rDev +12.1%

BrittEBurke, Mar 16, 2013
Photo of Colosdog
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Colosdog, Mar 16, 2013
Photo of sgoro
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

sgoro, Mar 16, 2013
Photo of SarahGullon2010
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

SarahGullon2010, Mar 15, 2013
Samuel Adams Utopias from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
99 out of 100 based on 1,908 ratings.