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Samuel Adams Utopias - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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Samuel Adams UtopiasSamuel Adams Utopias

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2,074 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,074
Reviews: 484
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 12.33%
Wants: 1,150
Gots: 375 | FT: 16
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:
Beer added by: GClarkage on 07-09-2005

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,074 | Reviews: 484
Photo of silentjay
4.62/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

so, when drinking or reviewing this beer, one has to treat it more as a liquor than a beer. There is no shotgunning this, its an entirely different animal. If this is not kept in mind, the experience will be diminished.

pours a glowing mahogany that has no carbonation and therefore no head, but it has "fingers" that climb up the glass as it swirls, reminiscent of a fine scotch.

maple syrup, raisins, dates, bourbon-based vanilla extract, molasses, cognac, port wine, brown sugar, caramel, and plenty of booze. I could sit hear and sniff this all night.

maple syrup, again, is most dominant, but raisins are a close second with a strong booze heat coming next with a lot of oak, bourbon, dark fruits, port wine, black molasses, black licorice, anisette. wow.

burning hot and very syrupy, with the aforementioned zero carbonation (by design) and a pleasant sweet heat after the swallow that keeps this one as a contemplative sipper.

I'm glad I picked up the bottle when I had the chance. I'll continue to sip it an ounce at a time and hope to spread it out over the course of 6 months to a year to see how it changes. I've already noticed a decrease in maple and an increase in licorice flavors over the month I've been sipping on it.

10 months later, and I was curious as to how this has held up, so I poured an ounce. tons of brown sugar and maple with less dark fruits. booze still present, as expected.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.64/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2011 Version,

A: Pours brown with no head whatsoever.

S: Huge caramel and brown sugar characteristics. Super malty, like a barleywine on steriods.

T: More of the same as with the nose. Caramel and toffee candy, quite sweet, but never cloying. Booze becomes a factor, but it is integrated well and doesn't dominate ala liquor.

M: Full-bodied, no carbonation, very smooth even though the heat is apparent, I wouldn't classify it as hot.

O: Thoroughly unique, this is my second time having this and it's just as good. Expensive as all get out, but this is something every beer geek needs to try at least once.

Photo of tbrown4
4.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

My buddy Greg shared some of this gem with me this afternoon. I was very excited to see the bottle on his counter. We sat and stared at it for a good ten minutes before opening.

A - Crystal clear, ruby red, it almost sparkles in the light, it coats the glass like a good bourbon, no head as expected

S - Raisins, dark cherry, figs, prunes, sweet malt syrup, burnt brown sugar, light wood notes and some alcohol.

T - Tart cherries, figs, raisins. At times it's so complexly sweet that it's almost savory. Some vanilla and woody notes pop up from time to time. There are several levels of flavor that develop as it opens up. I picked up some syrupy malt sweetness followed by waves of dark fruit and then back again. It tastes chewy at times, making my mouth water.

M - Medium in body with huge alcohol warmth

O - This is a very complex and enjoyable drink. It's tough to describe it as a beer. The experience is similar to sherry or port tasting. It's a very unique and palate challenging sipper. I get a lot of faded elements from the Tripel Bock of the mid 90's in this brew. From what I understand, this brew is the progressed and far more refined younger sibling.

At $170-$200 a bottle in my area this certainly is not a common brew. It'd be a stretch to even consider this a once-a-year treat. Certainly its a special occasion sipper.

Photo of AdamBear
3.99/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A-dark ruby brown with no head, no bubbles. looks pretty but not like a beer.

S-a really powerful aroma of salted caramel, maple, and oak with possibly vanilla

T-comes in with a really sweet taste of dark caramel. its a really warm taste. there is also some sweet but dark berries and some oak as well. its a strong taste. it slowly transitions in to a long lasting taste of thick maple syrup. its a long lasting and complex experience.

M-well there's a lack of carbonation, as expected. its syrupy with a sting to it, as expected.

O-its definitely tasty. each sip leaves you begging for more. i couldn't drink a whole glass of this though, not because of the alcohol but because of the sweetness. the ABV actually doesn't come in to play too much at all here. this just isn't something you'd drink if you want a good beer. this is more for a night recap when your favorite relatives are in town. this is definitely a must try for anyone though, whether you're a beer lover or not.

Photo of feylure
4.87/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Saw my local liquor store post on Facebook they got the 2011 Utopias in and promptly went over to purchase my first bottle ever.

And wow... This is some beer.

Appearance is a clear, dark amber. Also, there is no carbonation. It also appears thick, like a stretched syrup.

Smell blows me away. Very heated with notes of port-wine, honey and bourbon.

Taste is intense. It wraps around your tongue like caramel and fills it with complex overtones of honey, berry, port, malted-sweetness and bourbon. There is a bit of vanilla and toffee to it as well. At the end, some amount of spice hits the tongue. The lingering tail is full of fruit and port.

Mouthfeel is full throughout, but at the end, it leaves on a light note without being too dry.

Overall, I'm blown away. I'm putting this baby on the shelf and saving it for special occasions. I feel like I'll buy another one next time around because they apparently keep getting better from what I've heard. That being said, I feel spoiled having started with this edition. Cheers

Photo of RickS95
3.7/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just bought a 2011 vintage. Waited for the glass and tonight is the night.

The beer barely looks like a beer. It's got the color of a beer, but there isn't a bubble to be found. Zero head and as many have mentioned, it looks like a cognac or a brandy. Having said that, there is an oiliness to it that looks nice in the glass.

It doesn't smell like a beer either. There is a buttery, malty, nutty scent, but again, this is hardly a beer. Believe it or not, you can 'smell' the heat from the alcohol.

Surprisingly, the taste is actually pretty good. The taste buds pick up the same butteriness as the olfactories. It's got a malty, bready, cough syrupy taste to it. The alcohol doesn't really present itself until the finish.

Like a good beer, the mouthfeel is complex. While bracing yourself for the ridicupotent alcohol, it hits the palate with a gentle sweetness. The sweetness stays with you a while and then the heat from the alcohol shows up. In the back of the mouth, you can pick up notes of both sweetness and heat before the heat takes over in the swallow.

Overall, this is barely a beer. It's got some beer traits, but it really pushes the boundaries of a beer. It's more of a beer/spirit hybrid. For as strong as it is, it's reasonably mellow. There is only a slight burn deep in the finish, but I've had worse from other beers. Overall, this is surprisingly smooth and I'm glad I picked up a bottle.

Photo of Kbogac
4.97/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2011 Edition poured into a port glass. Nice copper color with no visible head. Heavy appearance in the glass. The smell at first is a lot of alcohol but that passes any you get a wonderful raisin molasses combination. Very reminiscent of a LBV port. Heavy smooth liqueur type mouth feel. Taste is difficult to describe. First thing I notice is an unusual prickly carbonation feel on the tongue. Then raisins, nuts, maybe some sherry. Finished with molasses, wine and wood. Some nice bitterness too. Nothing else like it so it's not really comparable. Overall outstanding.

Photo of Pundarquartis
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Fantastic! I don’t know if I could call this a beer, it is more of a dessert wine than anything else. The aroma is the best I have ever felt from a beer, or from any beverage for that matter. On the tongue, raisins, dried fruits and all kinds of other sweet flavours mix together to give ou a sugar overdose only to be perfectly balanced by an easy alcoholic touch from the 28% ABV. Glourious amber colour in the glass with a pleasant body for the palate. Did I mention the perfect aroma?

Photo of MarcatGSB
4.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Fitzgeralds in Eagle River, MI. 2011 Vintage, poured into Glencairn Whiskey Nosing Glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep ruby/copper with no head, no lacing. Nice legs slow to move. Syrup like consistency.

Nose: Huge amount of sweet stuff. Brown sugar, molasses, dried fruits, charred oak. Notes of sherry, bourbon, and coffee.
Alcohol is not intrusive on the nose.

Taste: Bright sweetness. Like nothing ever to grace my palate. Maple sugar sweetness with apricot and fig. Minimal bourbon notes...as it lacks the spice, not a bad thing. Some vanilla and citrus come through on the back of the palate.

Mouth: Very impressive. Honestly. It's syrupy, but not cloying. The high ABV doesn't push through too hard, and is actually very pleasant and easy drinking.

Drink and overall: Glad I got to try it. Awesome product. Very unique idea, and I think they really have some thing great. I was very impressed with how non-spirit like it is. I'm a big bourbon guy, but the mouth is nothing of a distilled spirit. Fantastic.

Photo of JAXSON
3.8/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 bottle...Kevin, you still owe me $65 for this. Pours a somewhat hazy dark chestnut brown with ruby edges, no head or lacing. Nose is very pungent, heavy whiskey barrel, tends toward a spirit for sure. Lots of roasted marshmellow, heavily sugared, and hot. Stinging and really hot in the mouth. Caramel, sugar, earthy, Spicy, "rooty" per Kevin. Peppermint and root beer! Lots of roasted marshmallow, some maple syrup. Sort of difficult despite all the complexities.

Photo of rowingbrewer
4.09/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nice brown color with basically no head. The smell is sweet and boozy with hints of bourbon maple and vanilla. The flavor is very close the the aroma withe the sweet booziness up front followed by the bourbon and maple notes with a hint of vanilla. The mouthfeel is thick with low carbonation. Overall this beer was surpassingly drinkable for the abv but that is likely due to how sweet it is, which almost becomes cloying at times. Was nice to try but would likely never buy

Photo of Knapp85
4.12/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a bottle on this in November of 2009. Opened it in January of 2010. I've been having a few sips out of it over the last year or so just to see if there is any changes taking place of over time. The major change I've noticed is that the smell of maple is much stronger now than it was when it was new. The flavor is also along the same lines. The maple is really coming through now, it's almost like I should put it on pancakes or something. For a beer that's over 20% abv it's very smooth. There isn't much of an alcohol burn. This beer is just all around very impressive. I don't know if I'll ever buy it again but I'm proud that I got some when I did.

Photo of mdfb79
4.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From 03/11/11 notes. Had on tap at Nigh of the Barrels up in Boston, MA. Got to try three 2 oz. samples of this one which I was very excited about.

a - Pours a mahogany brown color with light carbonation evident and almost no head at all.

s - Smells of oak, red wine, bourbon, fruit, and light sweet molasses. Smells really nice, like a nice wine.

t - Tastes of maple syrup, bourbon, oak, dark fruits, wine, and light alcohol. Maple syrup comes through a lot, mixing with some sweet fruit for a very enjoyable taste.

m - The body of Utopias is very thick and syrupy; felt just like maple syrup. Considering how high the ABV is there is very little alcohol showing and it was nice and smooth going down.

d - Overall Utopias is a very nice beer from Sam Adams. Given the high ABV and the mouthfeel it is certainly a sipper and certainly something best consumed in 2 oz. samples. I thought it had a great, complex smell and would definitely like to have it again. Don't think I would pay $180-200 for a bottle, but if given the chance would love another 2 oz. sample of this.

Photo of hophopandaway
1.53/5  rDev -65.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

A friend of mine had 5 bottles of this, including a 2002 (does it age or is my friend wealthier than he is smart?), one of which we opened for my 30th. He told me it's very expensive but did not say how much. I felt a certian pressure to enjoy this and I pretended I did, but I did not.
Poured with no head and no lacing. It smelt like a forified wine and, in fact, that is what it is. This has no place being called a beer. The ABV should instantly say that it is not a beer and the taste confirms it. I'm not really a spirits man. I appreciate a gin and tonic and an occasional single malt but that's it.
The flavours that I got were a scotch-like peatiness with malt, caramel and what tasted like lager hops. This didn't really know what it was. It tasted to me like a cross between scotch, sweet dark rum, lager and pure alcohol.
Maybe if this was called something else I would have been more receptive to the taste but to call it beer is sacrilege to me. Can you imagine calling something that was 20% wine? Wine makers and experts would label you an idiot. This should not be on this list imo, hence the very low marks.

Photo of Eirerate
4.37/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Some friends of mine and I went together and bought a bottle of this last summer and saved it for a weekend when we could all get together and enjoy it. We even bought the recommended glassware from Sam Adams.
The pour was a rich, dark color with no head and no lacing.
When you smell this beer, you know this is a big one. Lots of power and lots of liquor, much like rum with some fruity notes to me.
I found it to be a rather hard drink, there was so much going on. It felt like port or a fortified wine in my mouth and the taste was rather like a really, really nice rum.
Would I buy another bottle if I had the chance, probably not, but not because it wasn't good. This is such a complex drink that to describe it as beer really doesn't do it any justice. I'm glad to have tried it and glad to be able to mark it off my bucket list and would encourage anyone who has the chance to do the same.

Photo of kwjd
4.52/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a 1.5 ounce pour at Beer Bistro in Toronto. I think it was the 2009 version that came into Ontario. Comes out a clear amber-brown colour. There is no head or lacing, but it is supposed to be still so I can't fault the beer for that. I don't know how to judge appearance on this, it would be like judging appearing on congac... they all look basically the same to me. On the smell, alcohol first seems to be there, but then I get vanilla and strong caramel and maple. This reminds me a bit of the Remy Martin XO congac. Smooth mouthfeel, as you'd expect with no carbonation. A little bit boozy, but this was really delicious. Glad I got to try it.

Photo of ekardz
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Utopias - Been aging this since the day it was released - decided to crack this bad boy open to surpirse a trade partner.

Pours just like a cognac, no head, dark reddish brown, lacing all over glass, thin yet syrupy, no crabonation. Smells of congac, stron alcohol, caramel, oak, vanilla notes, sweet and malty. Taste of Dark fruits, caramel, vanilla, and lots of maple syrup notes, cognac back into play. Dry finish with a heavy alcohol burn, very smooth and silky as it goes down which makes it more of a beer than a spirit to me. This is a very slow sipper. 4 ounces took me over an hour, but it was well worth it. Glad I saved this bottle, and still have another to save for many more years. Really is worth all of the hype (and the $150 a bottle!).

Photo of TheKingofWichita
3.77/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

Sampled at Sexual Chocolate 2011.
Pours a clear mahogany color with no head and no lacing. Smells of caramel, figs, and rum. Tastes of rum, figs, and tons and tons of caramel. Mouthfeel is thick and it has no carbonation. Drinkability is tough. It really is pretty good.

Photo of Avagadro
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My second encounter with the infamous Utopias. This time I came prepared with pen and paper for a review. These notes correspond to the 2009 version of the brew, which I enjoyed at the Fermentation Lounge (Tallahassee, Fl) which they opened in celebration of their second birthday.

A: Pours flat and crystal clear, boasting a deep mahogany color.

S: Bouquet is powerful, displaying notes of dark rum, figs, and maple syrup.

T: Flavor follows the nose's lead, loaded with figs and Caribbean rum. Being a fan of quality rums, I have to say that this competes with the best of them.

M: Velvety and smooth, with a slight sticky finish. Very enjoyable.

D: A truly original and breathtaking offering by Sam Adams. this competes with many of the top-shelf single-malts, bourbons, and rums I have encountered when it comes to complexity and flavor balance. Definitely worth a try if you are lucky enough to come across a bottle.

Photo of Sean9689
4.32/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 version poured into Utopias glass, thanks Chris, for cracking open your bottle for no real reason then to hook me up! Review from notes.

A - Pours like a brady/cognac, light brown, no head.

S - A wonderful boozy sweetness that has mellowed these past 8 years. Burnt sugars, rich maple syrup, caramels. Very sweet, boozy, and decadent.

T - Much like the nose, smooth/complex booze, oak, burnt sugars, dark fruits, caramel, and some vinous hints in there as well. The age has really worked wonders for this, as the 27% is really no where to be found, if sipping.

M - Medium to full, rich and smooth, excellent sipper.

D - I made my small pour last an hour, so as to enjoy it as much as possible and let it warm in order to really appreciate it. Looking forward to trying out other years here and there in the future. Really, really, good. Recommend.

Photo of paxkey
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

appearance is like maple syrup with a few drops of blood added.

I have a bottle of 100% pure canadian maple syrup. poured some into a glass to compare. the sam adams is quite literally identical in the glass to the maple syrup but with a little extra. The Utopias really looks as though a few drops of blood were added to a glass of maple syrup, the red/rust sits almost suspended against the backdrop of golden maple syrup. like iodine rust color.

aroma is sweet boozy and seductive. Its all booze huge booze aroma followed by the most enticing smoky maple bacon aroma. I am visualizing making a pear flambe with this stuff. Definitely smelling bacon.

Getting some amazing taste experience. first thing i get is a hit of raspberry jam. It actually feels like sticky jam on the back of my tongue and it tates like raspberry. fantastical.

The hit of alcohol is pronounced making it a slow and methodical sipper. It leaves no boozy aftertaste and it is difficult not to rush for more. I am drinking this while reviewing as i do with most of my reviews and i am going to stop here and enjoy.

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.92/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this in Las Vegas from the Freakin' Frog brew pub thanks to my beer aficionado buddy who treated me with this brew on the night of my bachelor party. I thought this interesting brew was strong alcoholy-syrupy, almost brandy-like. Amber in color, like maple syrup. The flavor is like a brandy with maple and walnut. Very warming with an alcohol finish, also a bit of vanilla. It is uniquely complex; smooth and sticky mouth feel...

Photo of THECPJ
4.03/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes 1/10/2011

A: BOOZEY! once you get past the alcohol, you do get a hint of vanilla and hints of wood.

Ap: brown with a reddish-hue, no head, lacing is similar to a fine jin--teardrops down the glass, looks like a cognac/bourbon

B/T: zero carbonation, smooth in texture, silky on the tongue

Af: BOOZEY! wicked alcohol flavor and burn, hints of vanilla and maple syrup, some sort of dark fruit taste as well (raisin/plum/figs/dates)

O: definitely a sippin' beer, no chugging this one!


Photo of domtronzero
4.15/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage, bottle #12941. Thanks to Dankbeers619 for generously sharing this with me. Perfect beer for the night before the Bruery Initiation party tomorrow!

A - Clear mahagony brown with ruby highlites at the edges. No head, no bubbles, long legs. A little viscous looking.

S - Rich dark fruits, figs, caramel, huge maple syrup aroma. Obviously there is some booze but it is well balanced with the other sherry-like aromas. Vanilla and dark cherries are also detectable.

F/M - Full flavored sweet caramel and maple syrup comes across first. Then the dark fruits and slight solventy alcohol come around and lead to slightly hot finish, but that can be expected for such a high octane brew.

D - This is a sure sipper and is still a little hot. Rich, full, sweet and delicious, it is still quite enjoyable. I will definitely be on the lookout for the 2011 vintage this year.

Photo of Urbancaver
4.02/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours brown and thick with reddish tints. No carbonation as expected. Very strong biosphere on the nose. Smells very much like cognac. Lots of fruity smells plum perhaps with caramel too. Complex and smells great. Tastes boozy but has a lot of oak and caramel and fruits. Overall, very drinkable for 27%. Great to try. Would never pay the price for it

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Samuel Adams Utopias from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
99 out of 100 based on 2,074 ratings.