Dogfish Head to release Utopias barrel-aged World Wide Stout

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by drunkenmess, Jan 9, 2020.

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  1. drunkenmess

    drunkenmess Savant (951) Mar 27, 2015 Michigan


    When Dogfish Head and Boston Beer merged last year, it was nothing short of big news. After the dust settled, we were left wondering what’s next. Will it just be Sam Adams and Dogfish Head, independently but together? The sales team for Dogfish Head grew by more than 400%, and there was talk of seeing the Boston Beer logo on Dogfish Head, and vice versa. All that is just boilerplate business stuff.

    This, on the other hand, is pretty freaking crazy. Dogfish Head Utopias Barrel-Aged World Wide Stout.

    The combination of those two things might make you a little dizzy. Besides 120 Minute IPA, World Wide Stout is one of Dogfish Head’s strongest beers.

    Utopias is a blended strong ale that comes from a plethora of barrels, hovers around 27% alcohol by volume, and runs more than $200 dollars a bottle.

    By the looks of it, these two big beers are coming together in something boozy, rare and special.Dogfish Head won’t give us a comment on it, but from the artwork, it’s coming in 2020.

    That’s one hell of a way to intercompany collaborate…

  2. RobH

    RobH Disciple (354) Sep 23, 2006 Maryland

    Now THIS is definitely something I am excited about! Guessing ABV in the 20% range.
  3. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,774) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    Pretty cool that they jumped on concepts like this so quickly. Not really my cup of tea taste-wise, but it's a neat idea.
  4. deadwolfbones

    deadwolfbones Devotee (444) Jun 21, 2014 Oregon

    OG on the label is 31.62 Plato, which is 1.137ish. This will be a very big beer.
  5. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (6,960) Mar 25, 2013 Connecticut
    Moderator Society Trader

    I know the reality of the merger was driven by economics. But the craft beer fan-boy in all of us couldn't have asked for anything more amazing than this!

    Think about all the chatter: "Maybe they'll simplify their portfolio and do what they do well - no more IPA duds from Sam Adams." "Hopefully this means more tap handles for DFH."

    Did anyone say, "Hmmm, maybe we'll see their most extreme beers combined, and age some WWS in Utopias?"

    This might suck, this might be great - but this is definitely exciting.
  6. ovaltine

    ovaltine Poo-Bah (4,240) Apr 6, 2010 Indiana
    Society Trader

    I would love to see the intercompany billing for Utopias that DFH has to absorb as burden in the cost of the beer they create.


    PS: I’d love to try this - never had Utopias, so two birds, one stone. And probably a slightly hammered beer nerd.
    redeemer, nicholas2121, Donco and 3 others like this.
  7. officerbill

    officerbill Savant (962) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society Trader

    Seeing as how neither one of these beers is sold in my area, I doubt this will be seen anywhere around here either (not that I could afford a bottle anyway:anguished:).
  8. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,439) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Maybe they can collaborate and bring back Sam Adams Black Lager!?!:thinking_face:

  9. Jlabs

    Jlabs Poo-Bah (1,562) Nov 11, 2013 New York
    Society Trader

    sounds awesome...hope to procure a bottle at some point
  10. rolltide8425

    rolltide8425 Meyvn (1,314) Feb 18, 2011 Pennsylvania

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  11. LADEDA

    LADEDA Disciple (352) Jul 29, 2014 Florida

    Well, let's guess: 20% $20
  12. alucard6679

    alucard6679 Aspirant (234) Jul 29, 2012 Arizona

    I wouldn't mind seeing Boston Ale again
  13. Griffin2

    Griffin2 Savant (965) Aug 22, 2014 Virginia

    Pricing per the link referenced by drunkenmess:

    Ed note: Retail price has been updated to $200+ per bottle.
  14. JayORear

    JayORear Meyvn (1,437) Feb 22, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    That's the retail price for Utopias.
  15. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan Initiate (160) Mar 15, 2014 California

    Considering it'll be a green top release (which WW Stout already is) which runs anywhere from 39.99 to 44.99 aged for a 4pk and its aged in barrels that held a beer that can retail around $200+ I'd imagine it would fall into the 44.99 4pk range if not more, so about 10.99 to 12.99 or so a unit.
  16. Griffin2

    Griffin2 Savant (965) Aug 22, 2014 Virginia

    Sorry, I miss-read that note. I was just thinking, there is no way I'm paying $ 200 for a bottle of this.
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  17. Giantspace

    Giantspace Savant (948) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I had fresh Boston Ale last summer. Can’t say I loved it. I thought it would be hoppier. It was refreshing and a bit too malty and sweet for my taste.

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  18. PatKorn

    PatKorn Initiate (185) Aug 30, 2007 Oregon

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  19. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (14,114) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    Damn, will have to get some of this. That label would have been hilarious last April fool's day. :astonished:

    Bet this is in the 2019 Utopia barrels now, and we'll see it no later than March.
    #19 bbtkd, Jan 10, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
  20. alucard6679

    alucard6679 Aspirant (234) Jul 29, 2012 Arizona

    I always liked it because it was on the maltier side, it was always a good and cheap option for what it was
  21. IMN0P

    IMN0P Initiate (54) Oct 19, 2019 Massachusetts

    You should talk to your LBS and see if they can order it, I would think they should be able to without a problem. It’s easy to find here, we always carry it at the liquor store I work at. With that said, being in Massachusetts, it might be easier to find Boston ale closer to home.
    AlcahueteJ and alucard6679 like this.
  22. alucard6679

    alucard6679 Aspirant (234) Jul 29, 2012 Arizona

    Been a couple years since we've carried it or I've seen it in general here in AZ, and I kinda just assumed it was discontinued lol
  23. eldoctorador

    eldoctorador Champion (822) Dec 12, 2014 Chile

    Super exciting, sad I'm not living in the US anymore to get it :slight_frown:
  24. Donco

    Donco Devotee (476) Aug 12, 2013 Pennsylvania

    Glad I live close to Delaware :grin:
  25. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,430) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    This was mentioned by Caligione at the GABF according to the Brewbound article on the Release of Utopias 2019.
    Thing is what exactly is a "Utopias barrel"? According to the Brewbound article:
    Are they all, after emptied, "Utopias barrels"? Seems they'd all give different flavors to the SA beer (otherwise, why blend the contents?) or are the contents blended and then further aged in the "... 77 wooden casks of Utopias were brewed* this year" and those "casks" are the Utopias barrels the WWS is aged in?

    * Of course, the Utopias wasn't "brewed this year" since it's made up of numerous years' brews. Do they mean "blended this year"?

    The Feds state that when brewers use wine or spirit barrels for aging beer they:
    ... but because Utopias is legally "beer", there'd be no such prohibition. (OTOH, BBC would probably find it more financially beneficial to sell the liquid as Utopias retailing at $210/25.4 oz. bottle than mix much of it with DFH WWS).

    Me? I think I'd rather have 120 Minute Ale aged in those barrels...
  26. DIM

    DIM Poo-Bah (3,395) Sep 28, 2006 Pennsylvania

    That is interesting. Plenty of spirit barrel aged beers see a significant increase in ABV. Bigfoot for instance goes from 9.6% to 12.2%. How do they get away with it?
  27. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,430) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    How does anyone get away with anything? :grin: (Don't get caught - granted listing the ABV on the COLA's of both makes that difficult).

    Probably it helps that "discernible quantity" is pretty vague, especially when you're talking a 53 gallon whiskey barrel.
    "Hmmm... really Mr. or Ms. TTB, you can discern that extra alcohol? Here, have another glassful of both the base and the barrel-aged barley wine..."
  28. bowzer4birdie

    bowzer4birdie Poo-Bah (1,905) Aug 16, 2012 Illinois

    SICK. Like me. I'm in.
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  29. DIM

    DIM Poo-Bah (3,395) Sep 28, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Good post! Takes at least a few gallons of spirits to raise the ABV 5%. The following was posted by a Sierra Nevada employee in 2014.

    As @pitweasel correctly mentioned above, the state of the barrels has a big effect on how much alcohol is gained over the aging process. We typically see 1.5-5% ABV swings depending on the type of barrel, the freshness of said barrel and the length of aging time. In this case, Narwhal was aged in fresh bourbon barrels (a combination of Willett single barrel, Heaven Hill and various Beam brands) some of which had standing uncut spirit still in the barrels themselves. The amount of the char on the interior of the barrel has an effect as well, as distilleries who use high (alligator) char tend to absorm more spirit into the wood which over time expresses itself into the finished beer. In short, the recipe is exactly the same as the standard production Narwhal, the ABV bump solely comes from the aging.
  30. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,041) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    I'm imagining that the barrels used are a mix, hopefully chosen with some thought to their impact on the finished product but possibly just picked more or less at random, and the finished beer will be blended to achieve uniformity.
    Unless there is the 'cask' phase that you alluded too where blended utopias is aged further and those are used but 'casks' sound bigger than barrels and if I were SA I'd want to be able to reuse my utopias casks over and over again
  31. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,170) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    Context is everything sometimes.

    My impression of the beer at the present time is identical to yours, but...

    30 or so years ago when I tried Boston ale I thought it was great (my favorite beer in the SA line-up). It wasn't quite as sweet and malty as the regular lager (though I liked the regular lager just fine), and the sweetness was balanced with some nice hoppy bitterness on the finish. I considered it SA's answer to SNPA, which was my favorite beer at the time and was a beer I was drinking a lot of. So for a change of pace, I would sometimes buy the Boston ale.

    Back in those days (late 80's and early 90's), I was mostly looking for something that wasn't BMC. There wasn't anything like the selection on the market that there is today for craft beer, and in comparison to the swill I was accustomed to ordering from BMC, Boston Ale was a very fine beer.

    In comparison to what you can find on the market today, the Boston Ale is nothing to write home about, and I'm kind of surprised SA is still making it (it's been at least 10 years since I last had a glass). However, 30 plus years ago, when the craft beer landscape was completely different, it was a very fine beer I thought.
    #31 John_M, Jan 10, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
  32. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,884) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    It's an English Ale, so it's meant to be maltier rather than hoppier. Granted, it should still have some hop presence.
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  33. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,430) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    Yeah, in the US (unlike the UK) "cask" used to refer to either horizontal or vertical large (5 bbl. and up) wooden vessels - but, these days, the cool kids brewers tend to call 'em "foeders" - an uncommon and "furrin" word so - exotic sounding [ you know, like "adjunct"] :grin:.

    But would they really either ship the beer to BBC (and back to DE for bottling) or BBC's casks to DFH?
  34. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Poo-Bah (2,041) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    You know 'foeder' is the proper word because no one really knows how to say it so you can always out hipster your opponent by correcting their pronunciation:wink: (It's DEFINITELY 'Fay-dure' for the record)

    But ya the logistics of this make me think that they would use various barrels that held batches of Utopias for many years and are probably on their last legs but also probably contain the most pronounced Utopias flavor (and thus, possibly, the least interest for SA in making future batches of Utopias).

    In any case, I'm certainly curious enough to buy a single or a pour on draught should I encounter this one in the wild
  35. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Disciple (308) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    I'm guessing price point about the same as 60 Min IPA?
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  36. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,430) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
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    :thinking_face: Seems unlikely since non-barrel-aged World Wide Stout is typically $9 -10 a single bottle. (Unless I'm missin' the joke? :astonished:)
  37. John_M

    John_M Poo-Bah (7,170) Oct 25, 2003 Oregon
    Moderator Society Trader

    I would presume he's being sarcastic. He's knows very well what the price of regular WWS is, and obviously this is going to be priced far higher than that. I'm guessing part of the sarcasm has to do with the less than gentle pricing of Utopias by SA, but that's just a surmise on my part.
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  38. Giantspace

    Giantspace Savant (948) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania


    I remember a bunch of beers being “great” back late 80’s. I remember when Harpoon IPA came out and thinking it was insane bitter and hoppy. There were many Belgian and English beers also that were so much better to me back then. Coming from yuengling lager and typical AAL they tasted amazing. Today many are still amazing but some are just ok.

  39. GOBLIN

    GOBLIN Meyvn (1,291) Mar 3, 2013 Ohio

  40. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,430) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Hmm... gotta say, I was disappointed with Boston Ale when it was released in the late 1980s. I was expecting a hoppy ale - after all SNPA and Celebration Ale, Anchor Liberty and even the dumbed down Ballantine IPA were around by then. On top of it, wasn't it originally labeled "Stock Ale" or was that separate brand? BBC's website still calls it a "stock ale" which, even in the late 1980s should have meant a long aged strong ale (to me, anyway) which SABA sure wasn't --- or isn't.

    There was briefly a Samuel Adams Pale Ale, had a light green label as I recall. Maybe released in the 1990s? First purchase of it I remember thinking, "Wow, this reminds me of classic Ballantine XXX Ale... gee, makes sense with Falstaff's Narragansett brewery long gone and the Ft. Wayne then the Pabst/Milwaukee versions lacking and, given that New England was maybe the beer's final best market, it makes sense for the Boston Beer Co. to make a similar beer..." I did think "Pale Ale" was the wrong designation for such a beer, tho'...

    Next time I had it, I said "WTF was I thinkin'..." SA Pale Ale was nothing like XXX Ale... so, who knows?

    Yeah, but that concept is a relatively recent construct. In the 1970s and into 1980s (well, and before - they were called "Bitter" when on tap at home after all) UK ales were "hoppy" in the US, certainly tasted hoppier than most existing domestic ales with a few notable exceptions (Ballantine IPA, Rainier, McSorley's) but since IBUs weren't commonly known at the time, it's also likely that the UK ales consumed in the US suffered from excessive age in the bottle, too.

    Today, well after the above mentioned "craft" ales came out in the 1980s and the continued dumbing down of Bass (and the disappearance of many UK imported ales), sure, English ales are "maltier" than US ales.

    All I remember is Bass Ale of the '70s knocked me out and, by the 1990s, a Bass Ale out of a friend's refrigerator in the late '90s had me accusing him of taking a Budweiser, adding a touch of food coloring, and pouring it into that Bass bottle as a prank.
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