Samuel Adams Utopias | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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Samuel Adams UtopiasSamuel Adams Utopias
BA SCORE
4.46/5
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2,661 Ratings
Samuel Adams UtopiasSamuel Adams Utopias
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 29.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by GClarkage on 07-09-2005

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#236
Reviews:
570
Ratings:
2,661
pDev:
11.88%
 
 
Wants:
1,413
Gots:
530
Trade:
17
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,661 |  Reviews: 570
Photo of objectivemonkey
4.32/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally found my notes for this one... one of those legendry beers that mostly lives up to its name. Into a snifter glass, pours black, viscous, no head, no lacing, no carbonation, just a thick black liquid. Looks dangerous. Aroma is strong, and I mean strong. Heavily bourbon, vanilla, heavy fruits, maybe some oak in there if i can sort it from the bourbon, very intoxicating, delicious. Taste is on the verge of overpowering, can't imagine going more than a snifter full of it. Mirroring aroma, heavy on the bourbon, really more like hard alcohol than beer, complex and fierce, but refined in every sense of the word, smooth and warm in the mouth. This beer is the answer to all those Boston BrewCo bashers, like the Jaguar wing of FordCo.

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

I'm not sure what all of the interest in this beer was about. The alcohol, I guess. But that seemed gimmicky to me. To try to make the strongest beer in the world. Well, I guess that is something. And it's not overly aggressive either. But at least the bottle is gimmicky! Of course, you're paying for it! I haven't bought it myself, and I never would.

The first time I tried it I just happened to walk into d.b.a. in Manhattan and found Tony Forder and the Ale Street News gang tasting it. My response... "tastes like Triple Bock with a little more alcohol and a bit more character". And I'd stand by that today. But for my money I'd take the whole case of Triple Bock instead of the fancy bottle. On the other hand, you do have to hand it to the guys at Sam Adam's, as it couldn't have been easy to pull this one off, AND, on top of that it's really well done!

Rich. Satiating. A true sipper!

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Photo of dedrinker
4.06/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

My Utopias was a 2003 - I don't know what the other people on this sight are talking about with their Utopias "MMII" and "MMIII" because they are not listed that way on the Boston Brewing Company websight. Anyway, I was lucky enough to come across a bottle of this stuff for free! Oh, but it was no accident by the way. So, it poured a nice copper with no head (not carbonated) smelled and tasted at first like a cross between tawny port and single barrel Bourbon. Repeated tastings narrowed it down to a monster strength J.W. Lees Harvest Ale, or a 10 year tawny, but with more burn. I shared this out with five other friends. We had all we wanted, and dumped the rest out the window (not kidding - it was free, and we had our fill). It tasted marvelous for a beer, but just standard for a good tawny port I bought for a quarter of what this thing originally retailed for. Why go out of your way to pay 120 bucks for something that tastes like a good 35 dollar bottle of port? Oh, because it was free (for me) that's why. Still - an amazing beer.

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Photo of hungryghost
4.09/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this at a homebrew festival, a generous soul brought a bottle to share. We all got about a shot and it was worth every drop.
Poured deep, dark copper brown with no head, carbonation or lacing.
Smells sweet, a little like brown sugar, some vanilla and an alcohol note.
First thing I tasted was maple, like maple syrup then some roasted caramel, woody/oakey, sweet fruit, like raisins soaked in port, all the while with a pleasant alcohol warmness that continues down into your gut. Each sip brings out something new.
Mouthfell is smooth and sticky, again like drinking maple syrup but not that thick.
Drinkability...Try it if you get the chance, I would again, but this is not a beer one drinks on a daily basis. Definately something special.

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Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.14/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Great Taste of the Midwest. I got my hands on two samples worth (probably about 3-4 ounces) because my girlfriend wasn't a fan.

Pour: fiery, crystal clear amber/mahogany, no head of course, fairly viscouse in the glass.

Nose: can literally be smelled from several feet away, even outdoors in the middle of a crowd. Amazing notes of oaked bourbon, rich vanilla, brandy and cherry liquor.

Taste: tongue-numbing booze of course, at 25% you're essentially sipping distilled alcohol. A mix of vanilla-bourbon-oak aged brandy with notes of bourbon-soaked apricots, cherries and raisins. The most potent beverage I've ever sipped and enjoyed.

Feel: oily and slick, yet thinned and super dry due to the immense alcohol content. No carbonation to speak of. Burningly strong and warming all the way down the gullet.

Drinkability/Overall: an amazing experience that I am glad to have had a chance to partake in. Truly blurs the line between beer and spirits. Distinct and refined, this is the sipper of all sippers. Worth the money for a bottle? Not for a starving college student like me, unless I won the lottery, wherein this would become a staple in my liquor cabinet.

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

Ok, just to preface this review, this is a Utopias 2002.

This is my ast 3 ounces of my Sam Adams Utopias 2002, bottle #2166. Cost me $106 4 years ago, opened it 6 months ago, and it's still drinking a good as when I opened it.

Poured into my DFH longstemmed Raison D'etre chalace.

No head. No lace. None. But with no carbonation, that shouldn't surprise anyone. Quite viscous. With a swirl you can see the nape being left on the sides of the glass. The nape takes the place of the lace, slowly dripping down the side of the glass at inconsistant intervals.
Murky off brown color with dark orange highlights. Sits as flat as a pond at day break. No movement, save the last remaining drops of nape continuing on it's decent towards the beer.
Now, I have a fan at my back. And the beer is in front of me. 2 feet in front of me. And I can still smell the aroma of this beer, even without roughing it up a bit. Immediate alcohol bit on the nose. Almost burns the sinuses when I immerse my nose into the glass. I'm glad I went with a glass so wide, to get the full effect of the aroma. Heavy maple syrup, brandy soaked prunes, port reduction, vanilla, oak. No discernable "beer" smell, but what a smell.
Slight burning on the tongue upon the first sip. Chard oak chips, vanilla extract. Warms the belly from the get-go. Like a sip of good apricot brandy on a cold winter night. This being the middle of August, my belly was already warm, but it just got alot warmer. Heavy alcohol taste, over-ripe bing cherries. Very complex. I could sit here for a long time and keep finding different tastes. I'm sure that's what Jim was looking for in this "beer".
Viscous? Yeah, you could say so. Thick on the tongue, thick on the glass. Drinks like a cognac, and at 25%, it should be treated with respect. Not even your average sipping beer. This one is special.
Now, I've heard people say, "whoever spends $106 (or now $150) on a bottle of beer is crazy.". Well, they may be right. But ya know what, I worked hard for that money I spent on this beer. It is like no other beer I've ever had, or will have in my life (unless I get another bottle, which is definately not out of the question). It's an experience. Some people go to strip clubs and drop $500/night for something they won't remember the next day. I spent $106 on something I'll remember for rhe rest of my life. Personally, I think it's worth it.

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

This one pours completely flat with a rich color.

The smell is port like with some vanilla. The alcohol is evident, but not burning like hard liquor, and it lends to a warming sensation as you sip. There are tastes of vanilla, port, and there is a strong malt profile that is distinctly beer. I could detect some noble like hop flavors even if they were subtle. There is a lot going on with this very different and complex brew.

The mouthfeel is sweet and viscous. The drinkability would be as high as a sipper like this one can be. I would enjoy it far more often if I could find it and afford it. Superb and different.

I like how Sam Adams can still demonstrate a huge set of balls when they want to.

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

Dark amber pour with zero head. Immediately after smelling the question arises, is this beer or sherry? Smells like a good oloroso sherry with aromas of dried apricot, burnt sugar, vanilla, prune, maple, hazelnuts. The flavours on the palate follow through with a little more of a boubon overtone, and more than a little heat on the finish. Absolutley fascinating!

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Photo of badbeer
3.9/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

World's Strongest Beer

Is a dark, murky brown color with no carbonation and no head whatsoever, but with this high of alcohol I cannot punish it for that. Smell is of candy, burnt sugar, vanilla, and alcohol is noticeable (not surprisingly) in the nose. Taste is very strong, burnt sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and an alcohol is present but does not over power you as one might expect. Mouthfeel is thick an syrup-like with no carbonation, very smooth. Drinkability is tough to judge, it's good no doubt, but you couldn't possibly think of drinking very much. Definately worth a try in my book.

Much thanks to hero27 for graciously sharing.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
4.02/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured without any carbonation at all with a thick brown color and a syrupy look to it. It still looks appealing without a head, but it still puts it at a disadvantage.

The smell has sweet burnt sugar with a very strong alcohol scent.

Tastes of sweet butterscotch, burnt sugar, maple syrup, and a slight vanilla flavor.

Mouthfeel isn't watery, it's more of a hard alcohol feel to it.

Sippable and enjoyable, I would enjoy more of this if it was free again.

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Photo of edchicma
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark, dark, dark...no head but with high abv..who cares. Smell had distinct bourbon notes. This has the texture of an after dinner drink, syrupy, smooth, alcohol, but with a malt kick. Naturally, with a syrupy quality, the mouthfeel is chewy..mmmm. Natgurally, this is a sipper...smooth for the extreme abv. Evereyone should try this at least once in their beer tasting lifetime.

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Photo of HimerMan
4.41/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The last bottle at the House of Brews in NYC - they actually had to walk to their other location to get it!

It was worth the wait, and money.

Smells intensely like caramel and fire. No head whatsoever, but a beautiful color – amber and copper with a gold brazen hue. You really can smell it from the other side of the bar. They poured a rather large 1 oz dose of this limited brew in small snifters. Goes down with a rather nice burn, from the abundance of alcohol, and a warming aftertaste reminiscent of fresh gingerbread cookies.

It is very similar to a fine brandy, cognac or even scotch in the way that it is sipped slowly and for longer duration of time. I find it difficult calling this a beer - but, as it is I would highly recommend trying this if the opportunity comes your way.

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Photo of nflmvp
3.83/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap from a wooden cask at the N.E.W. Beerfest in Appleton, WI on Satuday April 1, 2006.

As you would imagine, this was highly sought after at the fest and when I showed up, five minutes after the doors opened, there was already a long line for this brew.

I could smell this one as people who had already made their way to the front of the line passed me on their way back out. I heard that there were some people who bought a ticket to the fest, merely to try this beer.

It poured with absolutely ZERO head. The color was somewhat hard to peg but I'd call it a golden chestnut that literally shimmered in the glass. The appearance reminded me of Frangelico and for that matter, while it smelled and tasted differently, the aroma had that kind of quality to it. The alcohol was very apparent, to the nose.

Taste was very sweet, with strong vanilla, carmel and toffee overtones. It was also somewhat smokey. The alcohol was ever present from start to finish.

Drinkability was good but I've had numerous other big beers that were more dinkable, albeit slightly less alcohol. While I enjoyed this (as much for the novelty as for the taste), I think I'd still rather spend $16 on two, 12 ounce DFH WWS or Raison D'Extra vs $100 or more for 750ml of this. Then again, I'm sure I'm not really the target customer for this product.

If this were priced more competitively, I'd probably be more inclined to try it again and again but for the money, I'll just be happy I've had the opportunity to try it once. If I stumble upon it again at the same kind of venue, I'll be sure to take advantage.

A final note: I can only assume that the cask conditioned sample I had yesterday would be completely different from a bottled sample.

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Photo of Crosling
4.57/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled from a cognac like pour at the Sunset Grill and Tap in Allston, Massachusetts. Copper colored with no head. The nose is sharp and extremely alcoholic if you take a big sniff very close to the glass, but if you sniff from a bit further away and use the wafting method, an unbelievable range of aromas comes about, including caramel, vanilla, mocha, maple and hazelnut. Rich, diverse range of flavors, very similar to the aromatic descriptors above. The alcohol is huge, but I didn’t find it overwhelming in any way, but well hidden.

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Photo of MattBrooks
4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got the privelege of bringing a bottle to a rather high end tailgate party this past fall. Yeah, I know it's $150 and that scares a lot of people, but they only make 8000 bottles for the entire world, it comes out once a year and it's 25% abv. It pours golden-amber- brownish with a light ring around the top. This "beer" drinks more like a port or fine cognac with a certain level of "burn" on the lengthy finish. A real treat if you ever get the chance.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.
This was very expensive, but at least the bottle is cool looking.
Golden brown pour, no head, no carbonation.
Smell is strong. Maple, vanilla, peat and alcohol.
I was bracing for a sharp alcohol bite, but didn't get one. It started to bite, but the maple and caramel flavors covered it well. Very sweet, kinda smokey. Seems like a cross between a tawny port and scotch, maybe a little thicker. Couldn't drink more than about 2 oz. Bottle comes with a screw top so it will keep for a while.

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Photo of clvand0
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have been looking forward to trying this beer for a long long time and finally had the chance recently. Pours a golden color with no carbonation to be seen anywhere. The aroma is very alcoholic, but lends way to something that reminds me of a tawny port. Very strong vanilla, cherry, and some wood character. Extremely complex. The flavor has all kinds of stuff going on. Starts out with a caramel and cherry thing then melds with the vanilla. The alcohol is obvious, but it's not overbearing like I expected. This beer is extremely easy to drink, surprisingly. The mouthfeel is medium and the drinkability is surprisingly good for such a high abv.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.09/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm excited to finally get a chance to sample this one, being that it's the strongest beer in the world and carries a hefty price tag. The Utopias pours into my brandy snifter a wonderful golden, copper with hints of red. No carbonation to be found here. Sticky clear, syrupy lacing cascades down the side of the snifter. It's hard to find a resemblance to beer here, but I do love the color. Aromas are quite intense with caramel, vanilla bean, cherry, pure maple syrup and a heady woodiness that's a touch smoky. The alcohol is readily apparent in the nose. Lots of bourbon and scotch undertones are present as well. Quite amazing that this is in fact a beer and not a liquor. Lovely aroma.

First sip brings a sweet caramel/vanilla infusion across the palate with a cherry fruitiness as well. Maple syrupy goodness collides with woody flavors, butter rum and a touch of honey. As is flows down the throat the alcohol warmth goes all the way down as well. Quality bourbon and oak come to mind with each sip of this intiguing brew. A wonderful melding of flavors.

Mouthfeel is smooth, slick and sweet. It's 25% abv but there's no harsh alcohol burn to be found here, making it easy to swirl it around your mouth and really enjoy the flavors of each sip. This is really quite tasty and an enlightening experience to show just how far the limits of beer can be pushed. The high price tag will keep me away for now, but maybe someday I'll be able to snag a whole bottle of this for myself. Kudos to Jim Koch and Sam Adams for pushing the limits and thanks to blitheringidiot as well for giving me the opportunity to enjoy this rare treat.

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Photo of masterbruewer
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

UPDATE: Had the latest vintage (2015) at a tasting at Party Source in Bellevue, KY. 2 oz in a snifter. Similar to what a remember but a bit more balanced and well-rounded. Seemed more refined and/or tamed, which may just be a reflection of my tastes getting muted. Still a great beer, thanks to Party Source for making it available.

Original Review, Jan. 2006 - Served out of a one-ounce baby bottle, shipped courtesy of blitheringidiot. I guess that counts as a growler.

Appearance is syrupy with no carbonation, kind of like watered-down coke syrup. Very light lacing that clings and drops into a honeycomb like form.

Smells like alcohol. Very much alcohol, almost like paint thinner at first. Then more subtle smells work out like walnut, or pecan scents and a bit of caramel. Kind of smell like a nut-topped coffee cake.

Taste is nutty and caramelly, like a very strong butter toffee perhaps. Lingering flavor of honey.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth with flavor that envelopes the mouth and a pleasant smooth burn as it goes down.

Drinkability is surprisingly high for me. I'd probably buy a bottle if I could find one around here. (Ohio doesn't sell beer above 10 percent or so.)

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Photo of AJPainter
4.22/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm not sure if this was really on cask; it was drawn from a small barrel with a hand pump, so I'm assuming...

Poured a dark copper with no head, no carbonation, and no expectation of either. It looked more like sherry than beer.

Initial aroma was of a very strong cream sherry or port; vinous, oaky, with a hint of vanilla.

Tasted very much like a cream sherry, and a little like bourbon, with some alcohol heat, and, again, vanilla.

I was a little wary before trying this, not being sure what the mouthfeel of an uncarbonated beer would be like. Thin? Watery? Insubstantial? Boy was I wrong! Thick and full, almost tongue-coating.

As good as this is, too much of a good thing is indeed too much. More than a snifter and this would lose much of its appeal.

I was glad to have the opportunity to try this (at the brewery -- free, no less), and if I had the extra $$$ I'd get myself a bottle. For now, though, I"ll content myself with memories of this incredible brew.

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Photo of akorsak
3.94/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is my second bottle of Utopias (2005), so I figured that it was time I got around to reviewing it. I poured about 2-3 ounces into my Chimay mini goblet. The ale is at room temperature.

Appearance: The ale is a deep ruby red with hints of orange. It pours without carbonation, hence no head or lace. The ale is translucent, no floaties.

Smell: Alcohol is immediately evident. Behind that, maple syrup comes through and is quite intense. The aroma is unlike any other beer that I have ever smelled.

Taste: If the aroma is unique, the taste is also one-of-a-kind. The high alcohol content is evident from the second the beer hits the tongue. After that, the sugary sweetness of maple syrup comes through, along with a hint of candied sugars. There is little hop character, but I think that hops would push this beer over the top.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is a little astringent, based on the abv. The bitterness of the alcohol and sweetness of the syrup, while intriguing, are not flavors to keep on the tongue for a long time.

Drinkability: Excellent as a novelty beer (TRY THE STRONGEST BEER IN THE WORLD!). Treated like a scotch, this is one ale to savor, as the flavors and aromas have never been repeated (in my experience).

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.65/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I went to a “Big Beers Barelywine and Belgium” festival in Vail CO and Utopia was on tap. Well sort of. They had about a 5 gallon wooden barrel that they tapped directly and poured directly from there. So I sampled this beer on tap.

The pour was very thick with a very hazy amber to bronze color. I would say it seemed thicker then motor oil. Like watered down syrup. There was no foam or lacing as I would have expected. The smell was super rich and very similar to port. I was expecting more of a phenol aroma but instead got more of a toasted almost caramel nose.

The taste was thick as well. The flavor coats your mouth. A big caramel flavor with a molasses aftertaste. Reminds my of cough syrup. The alcohol is noticed but doesn’t burn as it goes down. Malty is the best word to describe it.

The drinkability of this is much easier then I would expect. You could almost say it was smooth. It is not a liquor-esk taste but still demands your attention with the malty, syrupy, alcoholic bomb.

Overall, I’m glad I got to try this but I don’t think I would ever want to buy it. $25 for a entry fee beats $150 for a bottle any day.

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Photo of Prufrock
4.44/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from the nice copper bottle into a small brandy snifter.

nice clear reddish amber with no foam and no head. sticks to the glass when it's swirled.

smells like brandy or a sweet sherry. alcohol is present, but mainly sweet raisins with a touch of maple.

taste reminds me more of a pedro ximenez sherry, fortified even further. sweet raisins with less of an alcohol kick than i'd expect, but it's definitely there. touch of earthy, peaty scotch flavors as well.

in comparison, is far better and more drinkable than the other strong beers i've tried, such as Dogfish's WWS and 120 IPA or Sam's Triple Bock. setting the record for alcohol content while making an enjoyable sipper? have to call this one an unqualified success.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.13/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from its container(less than 1/4 of a Chimay Goblet) like a brandy, with no foam and no carbonation.

The smell? Smells like a fine cognac to me and gives me the giggles because I *love* a good cognac. Swirling it in the glass, it looks so thick and syrupy, it's not a cognac, Bill, it is not!

As my mouth sips into the intial offering, I'm thinking, wow. Maple syrup sweetness mixed with the heat of 25% abv...where is the sub zero degree weather when you really would *not* mind it being there??? What a warming drink Sam Adams has cast upon us and for that experimentation, I salute them!

I'm going to let the rest of ths elixir sit right where it is until Christmas *next* year!

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, ruby amber color. The aroma is quite pronounced and concentrated with notes of brandy, concentrated malt almost extract light notes. There is lots of hot alcohol fumes, but it is not so much that it dominates the other aromatics, in fact it is in a pretty good balance with the concentrated malt notes. This really does smell like a brandy, or a scotch or perhaps a bourbon, I can't really say, but it does have a sticky sweet note that is not really found in any of these.

The taste is sweet, but not overly so and has a concentrated maltiness to it. There are also flavor notes reminiscent of molasses and maple syrup here. The finish, at times, is dominated by hot alcohol notes that make the finish reminiscent of rum. Actually the more I think of it, the more apt the rum analogy is; there are lots of molasses and fermented cane flavor type notes here. The flavors are so concentrated that they are almost overwhelming, some of the notes I can't seem to pick out. I do get notes of vanilla, lots of caramel, and toffee brittle.

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Samuel Adams Utopias from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 4.46 out of 5 with 2,661 ratings