Samuel Adams Utopias | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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Samuel Adams UtopiasSamuel Adams Utopias
2,667 Ratings
Samuel Adams UtopiasSamuel Adams Utopias

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 29.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

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Ratings: 2,667 |  Reviews: 570
Reviews by hu5om:
Photo of hu5om
5/5  rDev +12.1%

More User Reviews:
Photo of biboergosum
4.07/5  rDev -8.7%
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?

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Photo of Raime
3.93/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Funny story how I managed to get ahold of this one. Helping out a buddy move his grandfathers shit outta the house he's leaving and the guy throws us a dozen bottles of booze for the effort. Looking throigh the bottles, I notice one looks a bit...different and almost familiar. Low and behold it's a 2007 unopenes Utopias that he never drank due to buying it, ignoring it, and realizing it was a beer and foguring the thing was wayyyy passed its day.

So here we go. Into a snifter glass, with three other friends.

Look - Pours a crystal clear amber without even a touch of head. Not spots, no rings, not even a few bybbles come to the top. The carbonation is very low, bubbles appearing to die midway to the top of the glass. Lacing shall not be a factor as there was no head to retain in the first place.

Smell - I almost feel I shouldn't be reviewing this. It has a nose dominated by something I've yet to encounter in a beer. Lots of vanilla extract and wood are there, with the alcohol smelling brandy like in nature. Brown sugared baked bread fresh out of an oven.

Taste - The alcoholic heat delivers swift and immediate justice. It isn't as potent as I expected, but it does give off a nice burn. Vanilla and woods are the dominant flavors and the rest have dropped off into the everblack from where there's no going back.

Feel - Very full and very hot immediately subsiding as it sits. Carbonation is nonexistant and the woody levels consume the mouth like you just bit into a table.

Overall - In MY OPINION this one is nowhere near worth the price point. Certainly glad I could give it a try, since I sure as hell wouldn't have paid for this thing. It is good, yes. It is NOT $200-$??? A bottle good. Nothing is. I think the rating average on this one comes more from ridiculous hype with mythic level rarity over the actual qualities of the brew.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
2.83/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Unattractive appearance, no head. Brown liquid. Looks more like bourbon. Doesn't look like beer. Super boozy heavy brown malt kind of aroma going on. Maybe some toffee and caramel under the massively hot aroma.

Taste finally got better, still plenty of burn from the heat, some brown sugar, molasses, cognac like orange gran marinier edge to the mouthfeel should you ever get passed the massive heat. Drops some barrel aged flavors like oak and vanilla along the line too, although I don't know if this is actually barrel aged.

The price point on this is a joke. Tastes equal parts cognac, English barleywine and old ale. No not equal parts. More like Cognac 50%, bw 25%, old ale 25%.

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Photo of jmasher85
4.54/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The myth, the legend, the beer...if you could call it one. It's brewed like a beer, with beer ingredients, but believe everything you've read that says that this is more like a liquor, as far as drinking purposes go.

Look: Dark, clear, ruby red, leaves long legs down the glass.

Scent: Mainly cognac, old leather coat, oaky port, bourbon; hints of maple syrup, tobacco, prunes.

Taste: More leather, more tobacco, more cognac, a sweetness that is almost fruity, but not one fruit in particular - a dark one, toffee, sweeter on the sides of my tongue, faintly bitter on the top.

Feel: As thick as port or another dessert wine with nice legs down the glass, but with far more burn - the alcoholic tingle and numbness of a strong schnapps, but less aggressively hot or harsh than whisky. Zero carbonation.

Overall: This is a hard beer to rate. As I said, it's incomparable to any other beer, so it's hard to rate it as one. Compared to itself, based on pure enjoyment, I love it! It's a bold, beautiful, complex spirit, and it's sure to be appreciated by fans of other spirits (if less so by beer drinkers). I could easily see myself enjoying this as an after-dinner drink or just on a lazy evening sitting by a fire or enjoying a movie.
However, these are activities I am just as happy doing with a scotch, wine (fortified or other), or any number of other fine spirits, and I would be paying about a quarter the price. So what is the justification for buying this? Novelty - no more, no less. It's the only beer like it, for beer aficionados. It's the only beverage exactly like it in the world. It's a work of art - sure, it's comparable to other, cheaper, easier-to-produce spirits, but this is so complex, both in its execution and in its turnout, that it's like comparing Ikea to handmade artisan crafts.
Don't feel compelled to buy this if you are tight on cash; it won't change your life or affect your perception of beer forever more. Don't buy this because it's the best drink ever - it's not, though it is a damn fine and unique one. Buy it for the hype, prestige, the ability to feel like a boss, and the appreciation of drinking something unlike anything else, crafted with thought, soul, and love. Enjoy it because you only live once.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.92/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Extreme beers don't get any more extreme. ...or higher in quality. ...or more sultry or savory. This year's 10th Anniversary edition satisfies all the sophisticated taste, texture, and pleasure of anyone who believes they have a discerning palate. If, as a craft beer enthusiast, you enjoy the better things in life, then do yourself a favor.

An ounce and a half poured into a small brandy snifter proves to be all of the beer that's needed for full appreciation in taste. Its dark tawny redish brown hue and absolutely stillness allows the beer to relax and mirror port wine in appearance. A casual swirl of the glass allows the brandyish legging to climb up to the glass with a glossy sheen. No carbonation or foam character is necessary- all the complexities are built in to the aroma and taste.

Incredibly strong aromas of brandy-like alcohols weave into a savory mix of maple syrup, molasses, and rich dark fruit. Bordering on sherry, the mouth watering aromas waft over the palate with concentrated red grape, raspberry, plumb, dates, figs, and cashews. Aged oak becomes the common thread that ties all the dense fruit, peppery alcohol, and savory sweet notes together.

Insanely complex flavors of maple, toffee, and sorghum coat the mouth with a film of mature sweetnesses that's toasty and slightly seared to bring out a buttery taste that's devilishly seductive. The sweetness merges with fortified alcohols that stop shy of overly boozy distilled spirits. It's result is a port-like brandy taste that's even more captivating with the oxidized fruits- rum soaked cherries, raspberries, grapes all seem concentrated in taste even as complex sherry, cognac, bourbon, and scotch flavors emerge with each alternating sip. Mild herbal hops give a tea-like roundness to the taste, even as vinous tartness balance the sweet. Dried aged oak and even savory soy sauce and chocolate tastes emerge with elegance, grace, and an obviously masculine quality. This beer begs a pairing with a fine aromatic cigar.

Thin alcohol sweetness seeps into the mouth without the lift of carbonaiton to brace from its full brunt of tooth. Lightly oily and chewy at the same time, the beer's coat is like a rich dessert that's meant for sipping and savoring rather than drinking. Extremely warm, the beer is surprisingly balanced from the fusal heat and rounded off nicely for a smooth and peppery finish. Its closure of alcohol-sweet texture keeps rewarding the taste buds well into the next sip.

After recently having the past five vintages of the beer, its quite obvious that these beers get better and better with each subsequent release. Even as earlier versions are lesser in alcohol, they portray an overall rougher alcohol taste. The more recent versions are smoother, stronger, and more sophisticated in taste- and yes... worth every penny!

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Photo of Rob_Marquis
3.41/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This isn't a beer. This is a dessert liqueur. Thick, sweet, very port like. The price tag is bogus. I'll spend a quarter and less of that on Founders KBS or Weyerbachers Sunday Morning Stout and then head to my local antique shop and but a nice bronze or copper decanter for my hutch that's cheaper and nicer then that Genie in a bottle looking crap you get from Sam Adams. In my opinion Sam Adams should stick to their main stream beer.

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Photo of ChrisG523
4.88/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Hard to rate this one. When I first got it, wet opened it soon after and drank some.... and I was a tad disappointed. I knew not to expect a typical beer, and it does drink almost more like a congac, but that wasn't what bothered me. And it was almost three years ago, so it's hard to say now, but I think the alcohol taste overpowered any of the tastes I would later enjoy.

Fast forward almost three years.

It's been sitting in my closet and a friend has never tried it. I take it out and put two glasses. And I love it. It's still strong, and tastes so, but doesn't have as much bite and the flavors are blending well. Sweet, cherry, toffee, leather (stole that from another description, but it somehow works) and delicious. I would get another sometime and age it at least three years, but I'll have to make far more money first.

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Photo of WickedBeer
4.71/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2015 Vintage, complete with Utopias glass set. The share to be at!

Deep sienna brown, murky, with no head. A beautiful whiskey toned pour, but with that haze you know you’re still getting a beer.

A huge, potent nose. Dark fruit hits the senses first, very sweet at first. After a fleeting moment, you get a blacksmith’s hammer fist of oak, booze, and tobacco. The hints of peat and charred oak compliment a nose hair burn.

I was most surprised at how damn smooth this was. More of that pleasant Oakley barrel first. Bourbon and sweet syrup fight for the spotlight, and dark fruit plays it’s part where necessary. The interplay of elements make this so much more than an extreme beer that is just looking to push the envelope on ABV. This beast has so much more to offer.

It has a Medium body, slightly lighter in weight than expected. No carb (as expected), but again... incredibly smooth. Sticky, boozy, warm. My white whale slain.

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

2015 vintage. yes I Finally bit the bullet and spent $240 on this. I have been dreaming of getting this for decades now and the day has finally come. This looks, smells and feels unlike any beer I have ever drank . Pure bliss! Wow, there is no beer to compare to this, unlike anything you have ever experienced in a beer! I can sit and sniff this for hours, the smell alone is intoxicating! When sipped your taste buds totally explode with flavors so rich and perfect I can't begin to describe the complexities of it! Unlike any other malt beverage ever brewed! I'll be back next year to update another 2 oz of this heaven 5.00

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.56/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

24 ounce bottle, 2015 Edition, bottle #17398, 28% ABV. I've opened the bottle and shared some with friends a couple months ago, but figured I'd give it a proper review this time. Served in a small tasting snifter (about an ounce or 2 pour), the beer pours a clear amber color with no head or lacing. It's similar to drinking whiskey, when I swirl it around in the glass you can see the "legs" sticking to the side of it. Aroma is rich, malty and boozy, the brew smells like vanilla, maple, molasses, dark fruit, wood, sweet spices and earthiness. Taste is sweet and actually not as boozy as I expected. There's caramel, maple, molasses, wood, dark fruit, sweet spices, vanilla, candied oranges, Sherry, and earthy/tobacco flavors. There's also a lingering sweet boozy finish. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's a bit syrupy and slick with pretty much no carbonation. I really like this brew, it's certainly a sipper. Utopias is similar to drinking a bourbon or Scotch, it's pretty hard to compare this even to most craft beer. Very unique and tasty brew, definitely worth trying if you get a chance to!

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Photo of Rutager
4/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

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Photo of MrZach76
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Heaven in a bottle. As pricey as this is, I seek out a bottle with each release. It’s like going to Disneyworld or Vegas, you have to try it at least once.

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Photo of Sabtos
4.21/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served room temperature, Utopias is clear, tiger-eye brown. The appearance is pretty close to bourbon, with clear legs and no carbonation.

The nose brings a surprising complexity, and none of the earthy, peaty, funky or musty decrepit smells I had expected--I've tasted some really poor attempts at spirit-strength beers from other large breweries that set my expectations pretty low. Utopias scoffs at all that noise, and exhibits welcoming caramel, vanilla, leather and prune at first. Some bourbon and Madeira heat is quick to indicate its strength, followed by wet wood, walnut, musty cherry, and coconut.

Taste starts with sweet, round and smooth caramel and vanilla. Bourbon and Madeira flavors bring some heat, but it is fairly mild, allowing attributes of raisin, cocoa, toffee, cigar skin and smoke to shine. A nice maple aftertaste lingers long after the swallow.

Feel is slick yet tingly on the tongue, finishing semi-dry, and gliding with a soft burn down the hatch.

Impressively, Utopias imparts all of the positive attributes of barrel aging beer without allowing any of the actual attributes of beer to survive, and while also not being too boozy. I really can't knock such a unique convergence.

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Photo of zac16125
4.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

freshly opened bottle, 3oz pour into a snifter
served at room temperature
Vintage 2015
28% ABV
Bottle #: 08626

Drank in honor of my completion of residency, June, 22nd, 2016.

BeerAdvocate review #900, and beer #97 out of the former “Top 100” which I started several years ago. I flew through the first 50, steadily moved through the next 25, slowly progressed through the next 15, and finally am crawling towards the finish with the the last 10 or so which have proven to be exceptionally difficult to obtain. Its been a fun journey though! Onto the rating:

A: Pours a dark mahogany with beautiful ruby hues when held to light. There is no carbonation and thus no head or lacing, but alcohol legs cling to the sides of the glass. 4.75

S: The aroma is a huge, wonderful, boozy sweetness. Boozy sweet grapes, like a strong Italian desert wine, charred oak bourbon characters, rich cognac and port wine. Subtle bitter aromas to balance it out. Layers of complexity. Exceptional. 4.75

T: A wonderful combination of sweetness and booze. Port wine, heavy caramel malt and toffee flavors, sweet cognac. A bitterness and fusel alcohol character to balance out the sweetness. I also get cocoa, charred oak bourbon notes, dark fruits, syrup-like sweetness, and candied sugar. My only complaint is that the fusel ethanol may be a touch high at times which can mask some of the complexities. That being said, its still phenomenal. 4.75

M/D: Mouth feel is thick and velvety smooth coating the palate wonderfully. There is no carbonation, as advertised. Although its certainly booze at 28%, it doesn’t have the burn that most ABV equivalent spirits have. Drinkability is remarkable for the ABV. 4.75

O: A truly unique and special treat. In the conversation with the best beers I’ve ever had. 5

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

2015 vintage. Poured from the Utopias bottle into a snifter, the beer is a deep, dark, vibrant, toffee coloring with no head. Oily slick in appearance. Nose of maple, molasses, tobacco, vanilla, bourbon, port wine, woody notes, and booze. Very rich, smooth, and warm aromas. Flavors are boozy and amazingly rich forward. Wow! Heavy and rich notes of vanilla, molasses, toffee, maple syrup, cherry, date, fig, apple, bourbon, port wine, cognac, and boozy heat. Holy shit this is good. Lots of characteristics open up in the glass as you go, layer after layer. Smooth, heavy, bold, and slick in mouth. The aftertaste has warmth, with a solid linger of the rich notes of caramel, toffee, vanilla, and molasses. The finish is slow and smooth, with a solid warmth and great linger. Amazing. Glad I finally got to try this one.

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Photo of John_M
4.33/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The owner of Beer Mongers opened up a "bottle" of Utopias in honor of their anniversary, and so I finally was able to sample enough of it to rate. I'm not sure how old this particular bottle was, but I don't believe it was a current version.

The beer pours a murky brownish amber color with virtually no head retention or lacing (the beer had minimal carbonation at best, so this was no surprise). The nose is quite boozy, but even so, I picked up some vanilla, dark fruits and rum raisins. The flavor profile replicated the nose pretty closely in this sweet, rich, extremely potent beer. This beer is very soft, full and smooth on the palate, but with some noticeable heat on the finish from the alcohol. However, the heat wasn't at all out of place, and seemed appropriate for this monster of a beer (drinking this is similar to the experience one encounters when drinking single malt scotch or XO cognac, except for the level of sweetness in this beer). Also, while I've read that this beer is completely still, both this time and the time I had it previously at TJ's back in Paoli, Pa, there was something of a prickly sensation with the mouthfeel, leading me to believe there was some light carbonation in this beer. The alcohol is otherwise very well integrated into the flavor profile, though obviously this beer is very, very boozy, and a little bit goes a long way. Had roughly a 2 ounce pour of this beer, which I thought was more than sufficient (would not have wanted any more than that).

An interesting beer to try for sure, but I can't imagine paying the freight to obtain a bottle on my own (as this really isn't the sort of drinking experience I want to replicate very often). Regardless, it was a treat to try this at the Beer Mongers anniversary party (and was an extremely generous offering on the part of the owner).

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Photo of floridadrift
4.79/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

L: Amber colored, no head, some lacing that stains the glass
S: Caramel, molasses, burnt sugar, bourbon
T: Extreme heat from bourbon, like drinking Grand Marnier
F: Thin, doesnt matter, its like liquor
O: A great example, unparalleled in its beer class.

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Photo of Ristaccia
4.74/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Clear amber pour with no head. Looks closer to Bourbon than anything else.

Smell: Maple syrup, port, brandy, bourbon, caramel, alcohol. Smell is hot but complex.

Taste: Follows the nose. Maple syrup, burnt sugar, caramel, brandy, port, bourbon, and subtle hints of wine. Very complex and inviting.

Mouthfeel: Sticky and light; much akin to a thicker, stickier bourbon.

Overall: Impressed even given high expectations. A terrific sipper and one I happily would have had several additional ounces of.

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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.

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Photo of deaddear
3.3/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Two ounce sample, vintage c. 2011. Smells and tastes like sherry. I'm sure it took skill and effort to pull it off, but I just don't see the point of this one, especially for the price. I drank it. But I don't get it.

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Photo of unclekeith
4.88/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

3 oz pour of the 2015 in a snifter

L: No carbonation, dark amber, sticky curtains
S: Wow! Raisins, heat, malt, sweet, dark fruit - maybe the best characteristic of this beer
T: A cross between a cognac and a beer, follows the nose, there's heat but oh so smooth
M: Viscous
O: Absolutely a wonderful experience that I would repeat at any given opportunity.

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Photo of Thedraftdoctor
3.75/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

If you can't find or afford a bottle of this, mix equal parts Madeira and Sherry with a splash of Marsala and you've got it. Each batch does very from the previous, so some are much better than others.

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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.

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Photo of ricke
4.18/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Samuel Adams Utopias from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 4.46 out of 5 with 2,667 ratings