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29% ABV. Special beer blend from the Boston Beer Company in MA. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to try this (very) expensive “beer” at a tasting. These things run for at least $150 a pop before taxes. The 2012 batch of Samuel Adams Utopias nets out at a bit above 29% ABV – an unprecedented level. This is brewed using traditional methods, Sam Adams begins with all-natural ingredients, including a blend of two-row Caramel and Munich malts that impart the rich, ruby-black color. Distinct hop character from Noble hops – Hallertau Mittlefrueh, Spalt Spalter and Tettnang Teggnanger – impart complexity and balance. Samuel Adams Utopias is brewed several yeast strains, including one typically reserved for champagne.
Apparently, the 2012 batch of Samuel Adams Utopias is a blend of liquids, some of which have been aged in a variety of wood barrels for 19 years. This long aging process enhances the beer’s distinct vanilla and maple notes, and its high alcohol content creates a heated aroma of ginger and cinnamon. As a result, Samuel Adams Utopias invokes the flavors of a rich vintage Port, fine Cognac, or aged Sherry while feeling surprisingly light on the palate. The brew has sweet flavors of honey, toffee, caramel, cocoa and vanilla, balanced by distinct notes of molasses, raisins, plums and berries.
After blending, Samuel Adams Utopias is aged in finishing barrels sourced from all over the world. This year’s batch was finished in single-use bourbon casks from the award-winning Buffalo Trace Distillery to enhance the beer’s distinct vanilla and maple notes. The 2012 batch also spent time in a variety of finishing casks: Tawny Port casks and Vintage Ruby Port casks from Portugal and Rum barrels from Nicaragua. The Port casks contribute the slightly more elegant, dark fruit aromas while the Rum barrels add flavors of fig, chocolate, raisin, vanilla, and a slight spice. From these barrels, Sam Adams created a completely new brew, never crafted before, for their 10th Anniversary.
The complex flavors intensify individually over time, making Samuel Adams Utopias a very special brew that supposedly becomes even better with age. Again, glad to have tried this unique 10th Anniversary beer.