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Samuel Adams Utopias | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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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:
No notes at this time.

Added by GClarkage on 07-09-2005

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Reviews: 533 | Ratings: 2,438
Photo of JebBeerFish
3.79/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2013 edition.

Is it worth the $? no.

Is this beer? Probably not.

Am I glad I tried this? Yes,

1 inch pour - nose - Fortified wine, sherry, port. No resemblance to beer in terms of carbonation (zero) - or taste. Taste - sherry/brandy/port.

Glad I tried but no way worth the cost, esp. at retail.

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Photo of JamesMN
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got a free sample in my local beer store. Definitely pays to frequent one place.

Appearance: Deep caramel with good clarity.

Aroma: Spices galore with a touch of alcohol.

Taste: A great mix of hot alcohol and a whole spice cabinet in one sip. Closer to top shelf liquor than beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium and tepid, which is no problem considering the ABV.

Final Thoughts: Amazing to have had the chance to try this. Albeit just one sip but I'd take another sip over half the mediocre craft beer taking up shelf space these days. Would I drink it again? In a heartbeat, given the opportunity.

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Photo of GeeL
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2013 poured into a snifter. There was an aura around this bottle, a subtle glow; or, that could have been me glowing with excitement.

Look: Just like a ruby-black vintage tawny port. Thick "legs" around the glass. It looked sweet and thick. No head, though there shouldn't be because this isn't a carbonated beer. It didn't look like any beer I've had before.

Smell: Like over-dried raisins, slight hint of spices, some cinnamon. It smelled vaguely like dark rum, maybe a little like rum-raisen ice cream, lots of vanilla. Mostly it smelled like aged port. Slight hint of floral--maybe a tad spicy-- aromas consistent with Noble hops.

Taste: Aged port. Good thing I like port. The label said there's a hint of Noble Hops. There is no hop bitterness, some taste (very feint) consistent with Noble hops. It is a LOT of flavor. Take a port and boil/reduce it by 25% to strengthen the flavor. It's really malty-sweet, not due to it being under attenuated, but from the malt and lack of carbonation/carbonic acid to counter some of the maltiness/sweetness. It tastes over the top strong. I liked it, but a little went a long way.

Feel: Really thick, almost like syrup. The thickness helped the flavor linger a long time.

Overall: the recommended 2-oz pour would have been too much for me. I had about an ounce and it was plenty. After that and the taste was becoming overwhelming.

I didn't pay full retail for this and I'm glad because it allowed me to be more impartial. I think sometimes we overrate things we pay a lot for because we want to reassure ourselves we got our money's worth.

Keep in mind I'm reviewing the 2013 vintage and each vintage reportedly tastes different.

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Photo of M_chav
4.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L - Pours a dark burgundy brown, thickness coats the glass and virtually no lacing
S - Definitely HOT, but tons of dark fruit/vanilla flavors - incredibly complex brown sugar, tobacco and wood
T - surprisingly smooth and awesomely warm, completely coats the throat with sweet molasses and deep and rich sugars - overwhelmingly complex - like a smooth brandy - I'm not doing it justice for how many flavors are present here.
F - raisen/dates/prunes form a thick layer on the palate, warm alcohol but not overly hot like a shot - this is cool
O - hard for me to rate it against the IPAs I just consumed right before, just completely different but absolutely happy to have been given a chance to try it. The 2oz pour was the right amount for a night cap.

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Photo of yankeepride
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is just perfection, if you like cordial-like flavors. From the deep ruby hue, to the warm, inviting smell, next to the way it just coats your mouth with deep, dark fruit flavors, I just can't get enough of this beer. A steep price, yes, but small pours and the look it brings to people's faces when you break it out make it a worthy investment.

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Photo of shangwang
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

10th Anniversary edition, 2012. Only had a few ounces, but it was more than enough. Rich and sweet, with boozy dark fruits and figs. Drank like a brandy or dessert liquor. Very nice though, unlike any other beer I've tried.

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Photo of Marius
4.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A dark amber / golden brown liquid, thick, with no carbonation and no head. It looks a lot like a darker brandy, with the alcohol sticking to the sides of the glass when you move it around.
The smell is incredibly rich, something between a bourbon, a cherry and a brandy (as far away from beer as I have ever smelled), blended with caramel, vanilla, raisins and, of course, alcohol, especially right after the pour.
As was expected, the taste is quite complex. Rich caramel sweetness up front, together with vanilla, toffee, maple syrup, notes of bourbon, a bit of wood and much, much more. Figs and other dried fruit right after that - raisins and dried plums - as well as dark cherries. A very nutty aftertaste, with different flavours unfolding after every sip.
The body is viscous and thick, and the alcohol is at 29%, yet this is incredibly pleasant to drink, much more than any spirit that I have tried.

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Photo of Magbas
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Slightly lighter caramel coloring, but still rich. Has a sherry/amarone type nose and has a rich taste that for its abv, is remarkably balanced. I'm not positive if this is the best beer I have ever had, but nothing else comes to mind.

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Photo of cubs943
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am new 2 all this but I've had some good stuff and by far I think this is the best of what I've had so far. It looks cool, smells great, and goes down easy just like I like it!

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.59/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm not sure what I did to earn some positive beer karma, but I was at a going away party for a coworker on Friday night and suddenly the head of our company shows up with a brand new bottle of 2013 Utopias [record scratch]. I didn't realize before that the bottle itself is actually ceramic, with a metallic lacquer or something on the outside. Poured into a classic Old Fashioned glass, since--let's face it--Utopias is technically beer, but drinks more like a fine spirit.

Appearance (4.25) - Pours a deep ruddy brown that brings to mind brown sugar and molasses. The liquid has a fair amount of haze in suspension, with the edges taking on a more golden brown hue. There is zero head formation, partly because of the nature of the beer, but also because I poured it ever so gently so as not to be the jerk who takes an overly-generous pour. Lacing is completely nonexistent.

Smell (4.5) - A wonderfully rich blend of sweet aromas comes wafting out of the glass--caramel, molasses, brown sugar, vanilla, graham cracker and even some notes of sherry and port are all present. Alongside the sweeter overtones is a complementary base of dried leather and moist tobacco as well as some nice woody notes to prevent the aroma from being cloyingly sweet.

Taste (4.75) - Upon first sip, I can't decide if I'm more stunned by the decadent flavors or the fact that I can't believe how easily it drinks for a near-30% abv drink. I've had beers with a far lower alcohol content that were harsher to consume. Many of the same sweet notes from the aroma are again present in the taste, with emphasis going to molasses, vanilla and port wine. I also get some nice hints of brandy-soaked cherries that I didn't pick up on the smell as well as some candied plums. I have to say, the subtle notes of fruit are really what kick the taste up a notch from the aroma. It adds a layer of complexity that makes it dangerously easy to drink this extreme beer. Drinking something with 30% alcohol that costs as much as this one shouldn't be so easy.

Mouthfeel (4.5) - Body is on the full side of medium, with a nice viscous, mouth-coating feel that sticks with you and allows you to savor the blend of flavors long after the drink has been swallowed. Carbonation is extremely low--for all intents and purposes, it's nonexistent.

Overall (4.5), what can I say about this beer. Prior to having it, it's one of those beers that it's easy to remain aloof about--the price point is so over the top that thoughts of "how good could it really be?" come naturally. I've always wanted to try it--mostly for the novelty of a 30% "beer"--but also recognized that it would surprise me if the opportunity never presented itself, given that I wouldn't go out of my way to procure a bottle and probably would balk at the cost if one ever crossed my path. Now that I've had it, I can honestly say that I would actually have to talk myself out of buying a bottle if I came across one, and that in spite of it's high rating on BA, I think it might actually be underrated. It's just an amazingly well-done and envelope-pushing beer.

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Photo of kerry4porters
4.73/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is the Samuel Adams 2012 Utopias 10th Anniversary
When this gets poured for you you know you are in for an experience
Pours a dark Ruby hue that is slightly transparent nose is a world class barley wine with candied dark fruits molasses and hints if vanilla
Taste follows smell lots of sweet dark fruits and boozy sweetness surprisingly the abv doesn't overwhelm everything
Mouthful is thin and somehow syrupy warms your belly as it goes down
This beer is a definite experience and I'm stoked to have had the opportunity to try something I wouldn't have bought for myself it's an incredibly smooth beer at that high of an abv that is surprisingly drinkable and to me tastes like a world class barley wine that had been age in bourbon barrels but the bourbon flavor faded away

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Photo of ConanSachler
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This stuff is not beer. It's liquor. Very strong on the first sip. It cools down after a few sips, but that might be because your drunk. This is an interesting experience, not all I hoped for though.

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Photo of WunderLlama
4.56/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into an authentic Sam Adams Riedel tasting glass

Smells like a rich port or sherry

Syrupy , silky smooth

Cannot taste the alcohol, but, it is there

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Photo of MrBrewMaster
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%

I bought this beer several years ago and opened it on my 30th B day. Very complex with layers of flavor. Hats off to the vision they had to age a beer 18 years. I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of KornWallace
4.95/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Date: 11/15/14
Location: Peconic Beverages
Bottle/Draught: Utopias Decanter Bottle
Glassware: Riedel SA Utopias Snifter (Aproximately 2oz. Pour)

Appearance: Amber/Brown with ruby highlights. Allows some light in which brightens to ruby but is always difficult to see through. No carbonation, of anykind, anywhere. The beer leaves a viscous alcohol ring around the glass whenever sipped. Smooth long legs find their way back down.
Aroma: The most complex beer I have ever inhaled. Absolutely closer to cognac then beer. I’ll take a stab at this. Caramel, molasses, maple syrup, raisons, prunes make up a portion of the sweetness. In the back the alcohol aromas really kick in with sherry, port, and an ethanol alcohol. The wood helps ties the flavors from the sweet to the alcohol but I’ve never felt like I’ve missed so many descriptors in my life.
Flavor: Maple sugar, dark fruits (raspberries, cherries, raisons, plums). A slight oxidation flavor moves us from the sweet to the alcohol content which is like well barreled apple brandy and/or port. A Whisky wood like flavor helps to remind us of this beers age. There is an umami flavor of soy sauce that can be found in beers this big that have oxidized.
Mouthfeel: Hugely bodied. The sweetness coats my tongue while this beer, clocking in at 29% provides such wonderful alcohol warmth starting in my throat and quickly working its ways to the back of my eyes. Zero carbonation.
Notes: Served at room temperature.
The question is- “Is it worth the $200+?” and my answer is going to be absolutely yes. If you understandably can’t afford the decanter try a $20 two ounce pour at a bar. Frankly, that might be the best way to try it. If you do get the decanter it’s got to be something you share, it has to be conversational; a sign of what great things beer can be at one of its outliers.

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Photo of arlo19
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%

2013 bottle, purchased from a neighborhood liquor store in Leominster, MA.

Pour is viscous, syrupy, caramel colored. Zero carbonation as you probably know.

Aroma is booze and maple syrup.

Flavor is complex: syrup, bourbon, tobacco, caramel, dark fruit. Leathery aftertase. A little alcohol, but amazingly smooth for the 27%+ abv. Mouthfeel is thick as expected and stays on the tongue.

Overall, this is a must try and, for me, lives up to the hype. It's just a sipper, so your 2oz pours sould last a while!

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Photo of stouts4me
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%

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

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Photo of mrn1ceguy
4.95/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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

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Photo of mr_monch
4.62/5  rDev +4.8%

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

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Photo of Roguer
4.5/5  rDev +2%

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.8/5  rDev -13.8%

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of barhoc11
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%

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

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Photo of AlpacaAlpaca
3.98/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Good as a sherry or a plummier/more raisin-esque port, but there are better and cheaper sherries and ports out there. Plus, if I had a hankering for a beer, this would not satisfy it.

Overall, not worth the price. I might spring for one occasionally if it was 25-30 dollars.

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Photo of IvoryFoxhole
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of kayalla
3.91/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

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Samuel Adams Utopias from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
4.41 out of 5 based on 2,438 ratings.
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