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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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BA SCORE
97
world-class

492 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 492
Hads: 2,158
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 4.78%
Wants: 1,258
Gots: 383 | FT: 11
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.
View: Beers (119) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 492 | Hads: 2,158
Photo of stouts4me
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%

Had it for the first time at 2013 FOBAB, unbelievable, never had anything like it , ever. Extremely complex, a ton going on in there, and unbelievably delicious. Like an aged 120 minute IPA, with a HoTD Matt, and a Bruery BBA Melange #3, and some cognac tossed in for good measure; something everyone should experience at least once, if not buy it for future delights. (368 characters)

Photo of mrn1ceguy
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an other-worldly, completely unique beer. Drinks more like a sherry or a port, but man it will blow you away. If you like BA big beers with an absolutely smooth, warming finish, this is your beer. From nose, to taste, to finish, this beer is amazing. Enjoyable best in 2 ounce increments, because the beer is not carbonated, you can just re seal it to enjoy the rest another day. And after only getting thought about half a bottle in 2 years, it easily holds up, only losing a slight smoothness over the years. (523 characters)

Photo of mr_monch
4.62/5  rDev +5.2%

I was lucky enough to taste the most recent two releases (2012 & 2103) side by side, and I have to say that the addition of KMF made a huge difference. It definitely added a lot of extra fruit and sour notes that seemed a bit more muted in the 2012. It's one of those brews that's worth the investment for any beer geek out there, if for no other reason than to say that you've had it. A co-worker of mine still had one from 2008 and we tried some of that recently. The more vibrant notes in fresher batches mellowed out, giving way to more robust bourbon and port notes. Overall a fantastic brew. (597 characters)

Photo of Roguer
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Beer carries no head; it's an extremely clear, caramel-colored glass of spirits.

The aroma lets you know this is not here to mess around; there is no hiding 29% ABV. An incredible depth and complexity of flavors are found in the nose: caramel, brown sugar, port wine, vanilla, coconut, fruit bread, wood, whiskey, butterscotch - in no particular order or strength.

Flavor is just as nuanced and deep. The alcohol can't help but contribute a dry heat to the taste, but that does nothing to mask the incredible wealth of flavors. Port wine and whiskey seem to be the dominant overall character, but everything in the nose - and much more - is present.

Mouthfeel: syrupy, medium, hot. Is it too obvious to proclaim this a sipping beer?

This isn't a regular beer. I wouldn't want this if I were in the mood for a beer. But if I wanted spirits, and decided to crack this open instead for a special occasion? This is deeper and more complex than any whiskey or bourbon I've had straight, and could easily meet your needs for that kind of a drink. Despite the price tag, I can now easily see myself buying one of these to crack open on special occasions, or even for a special nip before bed. (1,191 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.8/5  rDev -13.4%

Appearance: a reddish mahogany color. no foam or head as expected. legs of alcohol along the glass as you swirl it around. fairly strong clarity. 4/5

Smell: very reminiscent of various spirits. its got a port like sweetness, strong wood qualities like a bourbon or scotch, and a strong alcohol presence. other notes such as molasses and maple syrup are there but are overlain by the boozy and barrel qualities. 3.75/5

Taste: opens up with some sweetness, caramelized sugars and maple syrup and toffee. the middle is full of wood. end is full of booze. 3.75/5

Mouthfeel: drinks like a spirit. kinda a lighter body but a bit of a burn and plenty of warmth. 3.75/5

Overall: I had huge expectations for this but felt a but let down. I think its a bit too far over the line to a spirit and lacks what I truly like about beer. Overall still a cool thing to share with a friend and a good experience, especially with an old triple bock next to it. (945 characters)

Photo of barhoc11
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%

Glad I finally got to try it but not sure I would buy an entire bottle for myself. Smells like liquor and ends with a decent malt finish. Very good for what it is (162 characters)

Photo of IvoryFoxhole
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Third tasting - purchased and opened first around Thanksgiving 2013 (2013 release)

About 3 oz poured into Utopias glass. About halfway done with the bottle at this point.

A) Dark, dark brown, like rich leather. No carbonation. No head.

S) Port wine, cherries, leather, some carmelized malts.

T) It's kind of like port wine, but it isn't. It's kind of like cognac, but it isn't. It definitely retains a malted character which keeps it in the beer category. Roasted malts, port wine grapes, cherries, and yeah, some alcohol.

M) Incredibly well-balanced but obviously as full-bodied as you'll find a beer. Impossible to avoid the alcohol burn, but it works the way a cognac works.

There's nothing like it. Is it worth it? Who can say? It's a unique masterpiece. I'll probably never buy another one but I'm glad I did it once. (829 characters)

Photo of kayalla
3.91/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Massive Utopias vertical with the gang last weekend. Followed by Millennium - MMM! I cant read my notes only remember what vintages stood out. 2013 with the little window in the bottle was actually my favorite, I expected to like the older ones more. 2005 and 2009 are marked as the next best. Of course none of them held a candle to Millennium, the whole group agreed with that. Flavors were all big sweet malt, toffee, lots of warm vanilla, old tawny port.The 2013 or whatever the most recent bottle was had more developed rich flavors and not as cloying on the tongue. A good experience. (590 characters)

Photo of Rutager
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (2,258 characters)

Photo of psumjl269
3.46/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I was really looking forward to this and had it summer of 2013 at Churchkey in Washington DC. Very disappointed.

This beer may be better with aging, but when I had it, the booziness was just too much. It was almost cloyingly sweet. The mouth feel and look were awesome; however, the smell was overpoweringly boozy. The price point is also something I wasn't thrilled about - it was over $30 for a small tulip pour (~4 oz).

I'd try this again if I knew it had been aged for a few years. I think the sweetness would really be tempered, which would allow some of the flavors to come to the forefront of the beer. You know there has to be something pretty wicked about this beer because of its price and rarity - I just didn't get it when I tried it. (749 characters)

Photo of mynie
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 Vintage.

I've taken small hits from Utopias on a couple previous occasions, but never enough to do a proper review. Well, thankfully, a tasting yesterday took a couple of extreme turns, and "midwest-sized" pours of this bad boy were offered up.

It was quite good. I remember an earlier vintage (like 06, maybe?) having a pronounced whiskey burn. It might be that this vintage is mellower, or it also might be that barrel-aged beers have gotten so extreme lately that what seemed painful and intense in 2007 was, by 2014, as smooth as grape laffy taffy.

Anyhow, if you're expecting some kind of Tactical Nuclear Penguin-style gimmick, you're going to be pleasantly disappointed. This is it's own thing, yeah (as has been said a million times already), but it't not some unpolished mess that's being sold simply for the audacity of selling something so gigantic.

It tastes... kinda like if you could make cognac out of beer. Fruit cognac amplifies and embitters the fruit, producing a hyperevolved and lightly burny version of, say, orange juice, where the sweetness hasn't gone away so much as it's lapped itself. So take the sweeter pale malt nodes favored by Sam Adams and then amplify them so much they retain only their barest essence. And the somehow, remarkably, make it pleasurable to drink. (1,307 characters)

Photo of AmyfaceNYC
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is a very delicious and fascinating drink, but it doesn't taste like a beer at all to me. There are no hops, no malts, no carbonation. Not sure if the beer should be penalized for this, but it definitely deserves to be mentioned.

The liquid is rather sticky and thin, so appearance and mouthfeel are nothing to write home about. But the smell will really blow you away--rum, warm port, and can I discern the maple syrup too? Aroma is powerful and warm. The taste follows the nose--warm, somewhat sweet but at the same time somehow powerfully savory, incredibly easy to sip yet this beer will creep up on you, with its 29 abv.

On the whole I've really enjoyed trying this beer. It is totally pushing the envelope of what beer can be. I don't think that beer culture is there yet, but maybe this is where it is going. (822 characters)

Photo of Delco
4.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very complex layers of flavor and aromas and I love the craftsmanship that went into developing this beer and also the story, there is no better. The only minor negative for me is that it is syrupy and thick not like traditional beer at all. I do get that this is stretching the definition of what beer is and I like that spirit but I kinda like beer where it is. This is the port wine version of beer and deserves it's own category and that is what Sam Adams has created here, a new category of beer. (501 characters)

Photo of ljthiesse
4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I've had this one a few times, from a few different vintages - I suppose I'm lucky. Aroma is quite bready, with malty notes and some nice spiciness. Also notes of brandy and yeast on the nose, maybe even champagne. Flavor is similar but less boozy than the nose - surprisingly easy to drink, especially considering the ABV, but definitely a strange brew. Very interesting. (372 characters)

Photo of AugustusRex
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting spirit, I can see how it would be an eye opener to a lot of people who are really into beer but haven't yet tried many fortified wines.

Tastes like a dryish tawny port. This is nice since port is great but can be a little too sweet. In Ontario this goes for about $150, and for that price I would rather grab a Lagavulin or Highland Park. (351 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
4.07/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

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 this afternoon. 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, some 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. Utopias is one of the few end-points of beer fandom, and 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 16oz, as this kind of thing surely engenders more writing than imbibing, eh? (2,593 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.91/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A-I think this was on tap because the Sam Adam's chalkboard at their booth at EBF stated it was still in the process of aging. Anyways, it pours like Fernet, or some other liqueur. It's thick and oily.

S-I am shocked to find that the alcohol is very well masked in the aroma. Oh, it's boozy but I was expecting it to smell like moonshine or something. It's really smells like a thick liqueur or cognac. Super concentrated dark fruits and rich dark sugars.

T-The alcohol doesn't hide as easily here. It's just like taking a shot of liqueur. Plums and raisins coated in brown sugar, burnt toffee and molasses. Woodiness and maple syrup. Cocktail bitters. Finishes like a shot of cognac.

M-Full, flat and hot. Head rush! Probably should have tried this earlier on in the night. Syrupy and cloying it it clean out quickly.

O/D-Finally tried it. It's like no other beer I've tried. Clearly worth a sample but I would never even think to toss out so much coin for a whole bottle of this. (985 characters)

Photo of Beejay
4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks goes to Lee for sharing this bottle.

A: Medium brown, like maple syrup. No head, no sign of carbonation.

S: Sweet and malty, with aromas of Molasses, Raisin and brown bread.

T: Malty, smooth at first with tart cherry and molasses. Caramel and bread flavor follow. Alcohol finish.

M: Syrupy and thick in body. No carbonation. Lots of heat from the abv.

O: Overall good, although less than amazing. Pretty smooth considering the abv. Tasty but not necessarily outstanding, however an awesome experience to share with beer buddies. (549 characters)

Photo of cooch69
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had a big Winter Party with this beer for Snobs United. I poured the 10th Anniversary bottle, but I also sampled a wee bit of the 2013 bottle.

Poured 3 ounces into a Tulip glass.

Clear Amber liquid with beautiful alcohol legs when swirled in the glass.
Not too thin and not too thick in the glass. Looks really good.

Nose is robust. Big sweetness, dark mulled fruits, oak and barrel character, leather, tannins, pepper and dark malts and of coarse alcohol.

Taste follows the nose really well with a very nice mouthfeel however it could have been fuller given the alcohol. Still quite an experience.

Has to be one of the best Sam Adams Beers that I'm aware of.

This one is a real treat if you like big boozers and you can find it! (738 characters)

Photo of timc100
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2011

Murky dark brown, big alcohol legs of a spirit. Burnt brown sugar, toffee, caramel, booze, melange of spirits - brandy, bourbon, port - and toastedbut one note, each does not jump out. Very boozy but drinkable - nice fuller mouthfeel, kind of sticky.

Been wanting to try this but at that price point you could land a world class bourbon alone, so very hesitant. Shared a pour from someone - very good but not worth it. (425 characters)

Photo of hillvt4me
4.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

serveed in a Utopia tulip glass. Big thanks to my buddy Raines for making this happen.

A: Dark brown with undertones of yellow; similar to cognac. Thick greasy lacing.

S: Dark fruit, chocolate and port/sherry notes.

T: Turkish apricots, dates and some bitter chocolate. Resembles a combination of Sherry, Cognac and a stout.

M: Thin like a sherry liquor, not like any other beer to date. Fully and extremely balanced.

O: Well worth the experience and splitting a bottle or slow sipping one is worth the price tag, especially at ABV of around 29 and the age and blend that make up this beauty. (599 characters)

Photo of Stevedore
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

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. (1,359 characters)

Photo of macher0
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pour.

A. A translucent dark amber. A slick appearance, similar to that of a liquor. Legs prevalent.

S. Strong aroma. Carmel and toffee. Brown sugar. Dried cherries and hazelnuts. Booze.

T. This starts off very similar to the nose but not as sweet. Plums and figs with agave nectar notes. The booze is prevelant but not overwhelming or hot. Excellent balance.

S. Super smooth. No carbonation. Oily. Laquory.

O. This ale totally surprised me in how smooth it was compared to the abv. I could drink a much bigger pour. This was really good and the price is very hefty, but certainly worth a try and dare I say, I would have this again. (648 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.26/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2012 bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Deep ruby brown. Leggy and flat. Looks like a liqueur.

Smell - Really nice, but boozy as hell. No surprise, I guess. Tons of maple syrup. Lots of red wine. Bourbony aromas singe the nostrils.

Taste - Sweet red wine and maple sugars. Brown sugar. Maple lingers on the tongue. Some deep chocolate and dark fruits behind the sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Big, boozy, and flat, but none of that is offensive for what this is. Drinks like a cognac or a port. It's quite sugary, though, which separates it from it's distilled counterparts.

Overall - Few beers match the over-the-top descriptors used on their bottles, but this one does. Extremely complex. (717 characters)

Photo of WTKeene
4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to an amazing beer guy at the local liquor store who gave me, for free, the bottle containing what was left over from a tasting I missed out on. I thought the bottle was empty, was a pleasure to discover it was not!

About 1 ounce poured from a 2013 bottle into a Glencairn whisky tulip, enjoyed at room temperature.

Appearance: Well, this doesn't look like beer, but it does look like a fine liquor. Dark, translucent amber, hints of rose. No head, of course, no lacing, of course.

Smell: Cognac, sherry, lots of dark fruits. And so much alcohol heat it's incredible. I feel like if I had more experience with whisky and other fine liquors like that, I'd be better equipped to review this "beer."

Taste: I'm getting lots of raspberry type flavors in here. A slight fruity tanginess that, together with the dark fruit flavors, tastes like raspberry. A good deal of woodiness, and of course plenty of alcohol burn. The finish is very sweet, probably from the maple. I think I can see why this is compared to sherry and cognac and such, even though I have no knowledge of those. The whisky my roommate has here is aged in sherry casks though, and this smells and tastes similar to that.

Mouthfeel: It burns from the heat. This is why I stick to beer instead of liquor. Completely flat, of course, which is to be expected.

Overall: Well I'm definitely sticking to beer and not liquor, but for a hybrid between the two this was quite good. I doubt I'll buy full bottles of it very often before I win the lottery, but it is very nice to have every now and then. (1,569 characters)

Samuel Adams Utopias from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
97 out of 100 based on 492 ratings.