Samuel Adams Utopias - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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Samuel Adams UtopiasSamuel Adams Utopias

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2,129 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,129
Reviews: 499
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 12.11%
Wants: 1,230
Gots: 376 | FT: 13
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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Ratings: 2,129 | Reviews: 499
Photo of cooch69
4.45/5  rDev -0.2%
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!

Photo of timc100
4.03/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4


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.

Photo of hillvt4me
4.63/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Photo of Stevedore
4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

Photo of macher0
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.26/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

Photo of WTKeene
4.49/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Photo of JasonLovesBeer
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I took only very abbreviated notes so a detailed and structured review is out, but I couldn't skip the review. A very memorable beer and of course unlike anything I've had before (having never broken about 16% ABV before).

The nose is almost full sherry / port for me, with an extra dash of bourbon heat. Lots of dark fruit and rich sweetness.

The taste is sticky honey, rich sherry sweetness with red wine tannins, some molasses and dense malts. Balanced with a bit of heat. A great sipper, similar to how I'd expect to enjoy a fine port or cognac, though I am embarassingly uneducated in those elixirs.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.4/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

the good people at boston beer brought five gallons of this to big beers in vail this weekend, and i have to thank them, because i would never be able to afford to try this one of a kind brew any other way. with much anticipation my glass is filled with a hazelnut colored liquid that shines mellow bronze on the edges and has essentially no head. the nose is hotly alcoholic, i smell it long before it even gets to my nose, very intense. but i also smell rich malted barley, the start of homemade caramel is white sugar just sweats in the pan, and a woody vanill vibe that reminds me of a good bourbon. the taste is more like a cognac than a bourbon or a beer through, and thats what i notice the most. its not nearly as sweet as it smells either, but has some necessary residual sugar to soften the alcohol burn. it almost feels distilled instead of brewed. i get a ton of wood on the finish, like a combination of countless barrels. its a little bit of everything rolled into one, but it somehow, to me at least, makes beautiful beer. i know others have been critical of the lack of carbonation, massive still body, and the price tag on this beer, which is certainly not for everyone, but i found it positively delightful. would i buy it? maybe. but i am overjoyed that i got to sample this, and honestly, a sample is all you really need with this strength and intensity of flavors. this proves that sam adams still makes some of the most far out beer in the world, even if the flagship brands are super safe.

Photo of CASK1
4.88/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

New Years Eve 2013. Finally opened my 2011 Utopias. What a treat! Ceramic "bottle" sample poured to a brandy snifter.

A - Brilliantly clear deep copper color. Persistent legs lace the side of the glass. No head, but none expected.

S - Where to begin? Toffee, vanilla, oak, leather, plum, fig; the list goes on. One of the most complex aromas of any "beer" I've had. Only negative is a bit of hot alcohol.

T - Even better than the aroma. Sweet nondescript malt, toffee, treacle, woody undertones, complex dark, dried fruit, hints of spice. Sweet alcohol, but not hot or unpleasant in any way. Sweetness seems balanced by a bitterness, but doesn't seem like hops. Alcohol also helps balance the sweetness.

M - Full body but not at all cloying. Alcohol played a major role in drying out and balancing the finish. No carbonation. Just like a fine brandy.

O - Outstanding! Sorry I waited so long to open this one (or maybe not!).

Photo of rlee1390
4.54/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A-Deep mahogany, not carbonation, sticky and leaves nice legs when swirreled.

S-Oak, vanilla, cherry, chocoalte, malt, caramel. So much going on. dark fruits.

T-Woah. Oak, bourbon, cherry, dark fruits, chocolate, vanilla, roasted malt caramel. No bitterness nor burn. Complex and amazingly balanced.

M-medium to heavy, no carbonation but somehow no alcohol burn. The heat is there but no burn.

O-An absolutely amazing beer. So glad I was able to try this. It is worth seeking out to try.

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

such an iconic brew and Jason doesn't even write a review? but he gives it a 5 of 5?
i'm skeptical, but here goes... looks like a brandy in my little Remy Martin snifter... so THAT's what 'legs' means, huh??? dang.... smells indescribably awesome. some bourbon barrel, or SOME kind of barrel.... smells like it's gonna be smooth. heck, I paid THAT much for a bottle of beer??? I know i'm an idiot, and I was drunk when I requested the hold on it.... let's see what this is going to taste like.... but that smell.... that really is exquisitely beautiful... I honestly do not like most of sam adam's brews... they all taste the same. strong alcohol nose, but smooth... almost a bit like rubbing alcohol...
on the tongue... easy! sweet. silky smooth. as it warms from the heat of my tongue it begins to taste a bit maple-y. sugar. maple syrup. cane sugar. perfect on pancakes. as it passes the tongue and drains down the throat there is some alcohol flare but it's not unpleasant. this is an awesome sip to be enjoyed. more so than a great whiskey, I think.... legs still rolling slowly down the side of the snifter. I am really so thoroughly impressed with this. why cannot others produce this? does the price have to influence the perception? I don't think it does here. this is really insanely smooth and sweet. the entire mouth is happy! there simply is no burn. no bitterness. $200 per bottle is extraordinary but I had to try it. it easily surpassed my expectations. how can this be 29% ? wow. if you have the cash, and you wanna try the good stuff, then do it. there is still a level where the 'legs' are still waiting to drop down from.... wild.
I am thoroughly impressed. beyond any expectations. an entirely different experience in taste, and I have been doing some serious research in beer this last year or so. got a bottle of Elijah Craig 12 waiting to drown out the expected yukkiness, but honestly I think it may be the other way around... this truly is nectar. I have to give this one all 5s and it is NOT due to the price. this is truly an elixir to be experienced...

Photo of ghonickel
4.21/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The first time I had this beer was in 2007 at a Samuel Adams Octoberfest in Boston, MA. The beer pours smooth with no carbonation, which I now know is to be expected with such a style of beer. It tastes more like a spirit but has a smooth caramel tone. I think this is a great beer for every beer enthusiast to try. It has a great taste as well.

Finding this beer is a search in its own. I managed to get a bottle of the 10th anniversary edition which, because it ages, I am saving until a very special moment.

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

Poured 2009 vintage into a Riedel Utopias glass.

Pour thick... cognac like not even close to a beer.

No head but legs of a fine wine.

Boozy nose with hints of port and cognac. Ages just as well as this bottle was opened quite some time ago... didn't loose it's character, only got better.

Raisin, carmel and almost tawny port notes.

Simply amazing!

Photo of KYGunner
4.52/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Like no beer I've ever seen this seems to push the envelope as to what a beer can be. It resembles more an expensive brandy than a can of suds, Utopias pours a rich ruby hue that leaves a clean sheen along the edge of the glass. There's absolutely no evidence of carbonation, this truly "has legs" as you swirl it in a snifter.

The aromas a vastly complex and intense but one must allow this to air out and warm slightly. Once the alcohol dissipates you get raisin, prune, molasses, maple, brandy, port and wine.

This keeps some flavors of a Strong Ale, as it is described. I found sherry, port, raisin, sweet prunes, creme, cognac, grape, caramel and maple on the tongue. This has some amazing diversity but tastes more like a liquor than a beer.

The feel is very smooth, easily sweet and spreads a light warmth through the chest.

I saved this for my 500th review and truly picked a good one for it. Thanks Jeff, I really did appreciate it.

Photo of bmwats
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage poured from 750 ml bottle into Utopias glass.

A: Very dark brown. No head or lacing.

S: Molasses, raisin, caramel, figs, orange citrus.

T: Tastes like it smells. Complex combination of candied fruit components, and orange liqueur.

M: Thick and syrupy. Boozy, yet so smooth. The nose infiltrates the nasal cavity and clings to the inside of your nostrils. Slightly sweet finish clings to the palate.

D: Sipping experience.

Atmosphere is nice. Fruit and candied sweet nose. Flavor follows suit. Overall, this is a great quaff.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Small pour from the awesome looking bottle at the Old Toad in Rochester, NY.

Pours a sort of transparent brown with no head, no carbonation, and no lacing. Looks like liquer in every way.

Smells very boozy, with hints of brown sugar, maple syrup, and red wine.

Tastes amazing, but it is so strong. The aforementioned flavors shine through. Tons of maple syrup here. Some oak from the barrel aging, a bit of vanilla. There is a strong alcohol burn throughout each sip. Small sips must be taken to appreciate this "beer."

The mouthfeel is great- sticky, incredibly full bodied (what did you expect with a 29% beer?).

Everybody needs to try this beer once- it represents the pinnacle of how far you can take beer and still keep it tasty.

Photo of brewtus
4.77/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

3oz pour. Pours deep clear brown with no head . Smells is absolutely amazing, I get a lot of the barrel , dark fruit, cherries , port, Carmel, chcolate, slightly smoky. Taste is sweet up front, coniac flavors, dark fruit again, oak, perfect sweetness, chocolate and Carmel flavors like the nose. This beer is amazing and im so glad I got to try it , the sweetness is spot on, heavy oak flavors, nice plum, cherry, and other dark fruits. Texture is thinner than you'd think in a really good way, no burn either.This is on another level and it's so unique.

Photo of mcanderson0
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a Glencairn Scotch glass. Big thanks to my buddy DC for locating a bottle for me.

A: Dark. Looks like a deeply aged cognac.

S: Big chocolate whiff. Smells like a chocolate flavored port I had a few years back.

T: Chocolate dipped cherries. Dark fruits such as red and purple plums or perhaps prunes. Burgundy. Port. There's a woody finish that reminds me of a wet mesquite BBQ sauce, but its rather faint compared to the more predominant wine-base flavors. A more simplified response could be: port mixed with cognac.

M: Thin like a fine liquor, nothing like a beer. Too sweet to be compared to whiskey or scotch. The closest comparison would be to a cognac. Although, the deep fruity flavors hint at the wine/port barreling.

O: Forget the 'beer' moniker. This is an exceptional beverage under any category. People complain about the price, but when you normalize the cost per ABV and volume, buying this beer for $200 at 24oz is like spending $270 for a 750ml of fine cognac. Thats not a bad price to spend for an exceptionally blended mixture of 1 to 20 year old aged tinctures.

Photo of bcm75
4.88/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2013 edition served in a Founders snifter.

A - Looks like cognac. No carbonation, as expected. Deep caramel color.

S - Port makes it way to the front almost immediately. A little sugary maple sweetness.

T - Rich, sweet and complex. Hitting some really nice tawny and ruby port notes. The complexity here is dazzling. Some really beautiful maple sweetness and rum overtones as well.

M - Slick. Almost oily. Substantial.

O - Obviously, this is a non-traditional "beer". This is a tremendously complex beverage and to pigeonhole it into any category (other than "barrel-aged blended alcoholic beverage" is to do it a disservice. Enjoy it for it's uniqueness.

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

Enjoyed this Awesome looking bottle out of the signature utopia glass.

A: Pours a black hue with cherry highlights and no head or trail.

S: Strong alcoholic caramel and rum aroma.

T: Strong alcoholic burn with a caramel malt and rum background and finishes on the boozy side of sweet.

M: Heavy body and no carbonation.

O: This is an amazing brew – although it seems more like a liquor.

Photo of Kramerbarthomer
3.44/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Tasted on multiple occasions, poured from the tap at the GABF. Can't say I agree with the general public on this one. The taste was extremely sweet, nearing that of cough syrup. The alcohol percentage was difficult to hide with significant alcohol burn. Mouthfeel was nice and rich. However, overall, this isn't one I would want to try again. Nice try Sam Adams

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


This 2011 edition considered October 2013…while our dysfunctional government was shutdown because our elected representatives failed us in one of our greatest hours of need.

The experience begins as you consider the ale from its artisan copper colored porcelain vessel. A traditional plain gold bottle cap beneath the twist off top is a pleasant surprise.

Pours a still yet brilliant cherry mahogany color with absolutely no effervescence. It coats the walls of the chalice with the oily appearance of a fine distilled spirit.

The nose is aggressive and complex, smooth and beyond agreeable. INVITING.
It has a malty molasses cinnamon maple vanilla caramel sweet fig-like fruitiness that is altogether SWEET, UNIQUE and DISTINCTIVE.

The flavors are as complex and vibrant as the nose. The 27% ABV is completely hidden. The aroma commands your attention while the smooth lingering character of the mouth feel seamlessly serenades you with the world-class flavor experience.

I really appreciate the opportunity to have considered this fine ale thanks to Dustin Fargnolli of Sam the Beer Man…and it wouldn’t have been the same if I hadn’t shared it with a fellow advocate. Thanks Jay

Photo of rx-beer
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Limited 2009 edition. Poured into a double old fashioned glass. Bottle reports a 28% ABV but this is likely to have increased over the years.

A - Pours a deep, clear, still amber that beautifully tears down the glass. After a few years, a fine sediment developed.

S - A delicious maple syrup aroma predominates, and is accompanied by notes of vanilla extract, raisin, and alcohol. There's also a hint of oak in there.

T - Initially dominated by maple syrup with a touch of vanilla, and then takes a back seat to the alcohol and oak flavors.

M - Glazes the tongue and leaves a light burn. I find it particularly enjoyable to take a small sip and let it linger for a while before swallowing. Goes down amazingly smooth.

O - My mind is blown every time that I try this very special brew. I love to sit and watch the amber elixir slowly tear down the walls of the glass. Not what I think of when I hear the word 'beer,' but that's part of the mystique surrounding the Utopias.

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

Finally broke down and open mine after almost a year of hanging on to it. Poured about an ounce into a Sam Adams Sample glass. It was 2012 10th Anniversary Edition.

Appearance: Darker reddish amber in color, no head at all, no carbonation.

Smell: Fruity like notes, figs and some nutty notes as well. Alcohol was prominent.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Smooth, warm, full bodied beer. Taste was very complex. After several sips I could make out several flavors including vanilla, cocoa, alcohol, figs, sugar, citrus, tree nuts and some earthy, grassy notes in the background.

Overall: Glad I bought this one, however I really don't care for it. Yes I gave it all "5s", but I respect this beer. The complexity and the work put into it deserve full credit. It is truly one of the most unique brews I have ever tasted. It drinks like a cross between a fine wine and good whiskey. I would recommend that everyone try this at least once to say they did.

Samuel Adams Utopias from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
99 out of 100 based on 2,129 ratings.