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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2,643 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:
#217
Reviews:
566
Ratings:
2,643
pDev:
11.88%
 
 
Wants:
1,405
Gots:
528
Trade:
17
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,643 |  Reviews: 566
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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Photo of blitheringidiot
4.03/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Here is a trick question: How to review a 25% ABV beer? Here is the answer:

To appreciate the appearance of this beer, one must observe the lace dripping down after a healthy swirl. Perfection with small drippy drops. A clear honey hue with no nada nothin' carbonation. This is awl-kee-hawl booze!

Scents and flavors mirror one another. Pecan and vanilla extract that is exquisite. A cool warmth (does that make sense?) as this goes back. Beer? Really??? Hmmm. Honestly I am not a booze fan but this is the best darned booze I've ever tried. Just a smooth nutty butter pecan full flavored treat. My best humble guess is that this this pretty good, actually.

Feel is hot but tasty.

Last swigs: Is this worth the price? NO!!! Is Jim K. a genius at marketing this stuff? YES!!! Props goes to Jim K. He made a good awl-kee-hawl beer and people actually are stupid enough to shell out $100+ ducats to taste it. What a belly holding laff! Should you seek this. Naw, but if it falls in your lap, check it.

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Photo of hero27
4.31/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Limited 2005 Edition. Bottle #00732. 24oz. Beautiful bronze/copper brew kettle bottle. Easily the most stunning bottle I've ever seen..downright impressive just to look at. Sam Adams signature engraved on the front, and on the back, copper sliding doors that reveal a picture of Samuel Adams. Bottom of the bottle is individually numbered in gold lettering.

Strongest beer in the world? Sure, it's somewhat of a gimmick, but I still had to try it. Saw it at John's Grocery in Iowa City and took the only two bottles they had.

Served right around 60 degrees..let it warm to room temp as we drank it.

Pours a clear bronze/amber color..looks very much like cognac or whiskey. No head, lace, or carbonation, but it holds to the glass like syrup..very sticky consistency. Aroma is surprisingly alcoholic..smells stronger than many 40-50% liquors I've had...wow. Sweet smells of brown sugar and almost has a tequila-like quality to it. Interesting..

Tastes are incredible..very sweet & rich..dark fruits, brown sugar, smoky malts, oak, vanilla, molasses, cinnamon, raisins, maple syrup....with a slight burning alcohol finish. Hop character is subdued by the huge malty tastes and alcohol bite. Very warming and has a wonderful complexity to it.

Overall, I'd say the 24 ounces probably isn't "worth" the $100+ price tag, but then again, what could be worth that? What's gold going for an ounce these days? Other great high-alcohol beers such as DFH World Wide Stout and DFH 120 Minute IPA are less than $10 per 12oz bottle, and are around 20%. You can't get much more unique, though..and it was nice to get the chance to try it. Goes down remarkably smooth and is surprisingly drinkable as well..the tastes linger on the tongue, and as soon as they fade, you find yourself yearning for another sip.

If you have money burning a hole in your pocket and can find this great brew, I'd say go for it. You can always split the cost with a few friends like I did. That way you won't feel so guilty when you're staring at the gorgeous empty bottle.

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

Pours without a head and no lace. Crystal clear deep amber color, no carbonation and heavy bodied. Nose is a strong alcohol. Starts sweet, with serious alcohol overtones, taste is a cognac/brandy, lingering alcohol aftertaste. Is this a beer?? And how can you compare to others? Its bottle #1776 for me, very expensive and really DFH World Wide Stout (18-23% ABV) at $7.95 tastes more like a beer. $100 for 24oz bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

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Photo of damifino
4.05/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A buddy's girlfriend scored a bottle in California since our Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission has their head up their ass when it comes to beer sales and the alcohol content.

-=[Appearance]=- & -=[Smell]=-
Pretty bottle that can double as a club when you are through with it.

It looks and smells like a Cognac, but does it taste like one?

-=[Taste]=-
The alcohol hits you first. Afterwards you begin to gain the malt with hints of raisins, caramel and hazelnts coming through. A slight fruit undertone was there as the taste was acquired. I can see why people asked for more samples. It was complex.

-=[Mouthfeel]=-
It was warm and smooth going down the hatch.

-=[Drinkability]=-
This is one of those beers that you can sip and ponder life. A hundred bucks for a bottle is something you spend on wine usually, but I am sure glad someone else out there was willing to spend it for me.

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Photo of atomicbwax
3.69/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Back Story - A major men's publication, Stuff Magazine, printed the "80 Best American Beers" a couple of months ago. The validity of the list is and whether they are truly the "80 best" beers is highly debatable. Whether or not they were actually the 80 best my friend Richey and I made it a goal to try all 80. The only rules were the two of us had to drink the beer in each other's presence for it to get checked of the list. To make a long story short Utopias was on the list. We found a bottle on eBay, shelled out the dough and it arrived a few days later.

Appearance-Dark in color. Deep brownish crimson. Dark, rusty in color.

Smell-Very strong. This does not smell like beer. It smells more like a brandy or other "after-dinner" alcohol. It has a very spicy odor.

Taste-This does not taste like beer either. It has a more brandy-like flavor. I taste spice. A cinnamon flavor is stron and I even pick up a hint of cloves. This is not for the macro-brew fan. This is not a session beer. There is an alcohol taste but it is not overpowering.

Mouthfeel-Smooth and thick. It feels good in the mouth. Warming.

Drinkability-Considering the alcohol content it was surprisingly drinkable. You could taste the alcohol so if you don't like hard liquor you may not like this. As mentioned before this is NOT a session beer. The label describes the best way to drink it, and think it is accurate: room temperature (we chilled it too and I preferred it chilled) in small (1 or 2 oz) portions.

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

How many samples of this did I drink at the Jom Koch lead tour at BBC in JP..at least 4 or 5. Why? Cause it was unbelievably tasty. Normally I shy away from these huge alcohol beers, but this was surprisingly drinkable. Where do we start. First, it looks like cognac in the glass. Good start. Secondly, while the alcohol is very very evident in the aroma, my impression was of a good reposada tequila: some spice, maybe some cinnamon, definitely enticing. Tastewise it is surprisingly sweet, aka, no alcohol burn, which is why I was able to drink so many samples ;-) A very smooth drinking beer, there's a lot of different angles of sweetness here: maple syrup, brown sugar, molasses, even fruit sweetness from raisins. Add a bit of butterscotch in the finish. I really enjoyed this one, and kudos to BBC for this tasty, sipping brew.

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

Presented to me as a 3oz. pour in a snifter the beer was a flat brown brandy color. No head and no carbonation. One would easily mistake it for liquor had one not know it was beer.

Smell is very alcoholic upfront, perhaps even more than its indicated 25% ABV. Brandy in the nose, almost nothing else.

The taste is a slightly burning alcohol upfront with all malt to the beer and not the slightest hint of hops. Caramel, grapes, raisins, mollases, and toffee are all coming thru. Some undertones of prunes and dried fruit as well.

A thick syrupy consistancy that even coats and it quite potent. Zero carbonation.

This beer can simply be had no other way than sipping. The 3oz. I had was enough to enjoy, and a good, albiet very different beer.

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Photo of scooter231
4.37/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow. Scored a free sample at a beerbar in NYC (which I will not name, for fear they'll be bombarded with people wanting free samples.) I was surprised, very surprised, by what I drank.

Pretty color (from what I could see- it was a SMALL sample) and smelled of maple, vanilla... sherry-y. You can smell the alcohol, but it's not overpowering. Taste is... amazing. Cognac comes to mind. Sweet, but not too sweet. The alcohol was sneaky and warming. I expected to be gagging and coughing after one sip, but I found myself really enjoying it. I sipped and savored. Couldn't do too much of this- like cognac- but I enjoyed my little snifter of it. I would have it again, cerainly- for free, of course.

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Photo of Buildscharacter
4.04/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this great extrodinarily rare beer at a Sam Adams tasting recently at the Hop Devil Grill in Manhattan. I only had a small 1 oz. pour, but with a beer such as this, that's plenty to get a good idea of how flavorful and amazing this beer is. This was actually the second time that I've had this brew. Once was a year or two ago at the Extreme Beer Festival in Boston. I think that at that point I didn't have a good enough palete to really know what I was tasting.

This time however, I was much more prepared for the goodness that was to come. The beer was in a small 4 oz. glass and looked like highly viscous maple syrup. The scent was strong maple and vanilla flavors with a hint of scotch to let you know it was in a barrel before you got to it.

The first sip is just an assult on your mouth. It is so smooth and has a nice vanilla and maple taste that's just hard to describe. There's an apparent alcohol kick to it, but it's actually warming and nice. I would love a large 4 oz. glass of this, but anything more than that and I think it would just hurt me :)

If you ever see it around, I would pick up a bottle (at $180 I know it's rough) for special occasions.

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

Sampled (two samples actually) at the brewery during the BA Jim Koch tour.

Pours a rich auburn with zero carbonation, zero head. I would describe this beer as having "nice legs" like a wine or port. Smells of sherry. I have heard it compared to cognac but I have no frame of reference there. Vanilla, oak, alcohol, and bright caramel and molasses all intermingle in the nose.

Sherry is the flavor that dominates here but lets break it down a little. Roasty caramel, vanilla, hints of black currant and oak. Alcohol is a bit pronounced but not as much as I would have expected. This beer is refined and sophisticated, not rough. Lightly sticky in the mouth with a dry finish. A sipper to be sure but a tasty one.

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

07/08/05- Sampled at BA member Spinlock's house last night.

Presentation- Sampler size taste from the copper-esque bottle.

Appearance- Just what is a 25% beer supposed to look like? Cognac colored pour with no head or lacing. Guess that's about right?

Smell- Wow, strongest beer I have ever smelled. Pretty much a brandy hard alcohol smell. No hops or malt detected. A good strong scent though.

Taste- Cognac like flavor, maybe even a scotch whiskey influenced flavor. Raisins, maybe a bit of aged orange flavor to go with some oak and caramel. Maple syrup in the finish.

Mouthfeel- Smooth...very smooth. No carbonation here. Syrupy sweet and cloying.

Drinkability- Just a bit of this was good enough for me. Good stuff best had as an after dinner aperatif. Thanks Pete for the chance to try this wonderful brew!

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Samuel Adams Utopias from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 4.46 out of 5 with 2,643 ratings