Reviewer/Writer: Ricky Potts
Beer Name: Samuel Adams Utopias
Brewery: The Boston Beer Company
Style: Barley Wine
Hop Varieties: Hallertau Mittelfruh, Spalt Spalter and Tettnang Tettnager
Yeast Strains: Two proprietary types.
Trying this beer was special. The beer comes around every couple of years, and is fairly easy to find. But this year we were invited to share this beer with friends and did so on Christmas Day. My good friend Mickey runs Cellars Fine Wine & Spirits here in Phoenix, Arizona, and was open on Christmas Day. He was also open on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, but Christmas means a little more, in my opinion. When he invited us to share this bottle with him, I couldn’t tell him no. I mean… it’s Sam Adams Utopias. This is a bucket list beer, for sure.
If you do happen to find a bottle, look at spending $200+. Total Wine & More gets a case every two years, and charges $249 for it. At least the last time I saw a bottle sold at Total Wine, that is what it sold for. Plus, this is a beer you don’t want to drink all at once. The beer will age for many years to come, and more than a few ounces is plenty. It’s nearly 30% ABV, after all.
We didn’t finish the bottle on Christmas Day, and Mickey was gracious enough to gift me the remaining few ounces and the impressive bottle it came in. Oh, and he gave me the glassware, too. Just a great experience from start to finish.
Appearance: In the glass, it is seemingly thick with zero head, and a nice thick sticky lace. Oh, and Mickey served this in the appropriate glassware that The Boston Beer Company will provide when you buy a bottle of this beer. The glasses don’t come with the beer, but rather with a certificate you can mail in to claim your glasses.
Not sure if that will make the beer taste better… but it is a nice presentation.
Aroma: That is straight bourbon. I mean… wow. All I am smelling here is whiskey.
I also had the pleasure of sharing this beer with Sheryl. When we were smelling this beer, she said, “It kind of looks like maple syrup in the glass.” She’s right. It does. I didn’t realize they actually used maple syrup in the glass until after the fact.
Drinking this beer has been on my bucket list for a LONG time, and I’m honored that Mickey was willing to share with us. Cheers doesn’t even begin to explain it.
Taste: Holy. Crap. I’ve heard people say this beer isn’t good, that it is too boozy, but they are wrong. This shouldn’t be beer, but it is. So good. Almost puts me beyond words. Oh, and I got a second pour… so I shared it with friends.
Mouthfeel: For as much hype as this beer has, and as thick as it appears in the glass, the mouthfeel is thin, but so hot you can’t leave it in your mouth for long. I just want to swallow so I can enjoy the aftertaste. The finish just lingers for days.
Overall Impression: I only had a few ounces, but the flavor just blows me away. This is a sipping beer. Oh, it’s a sipping beer. I bet this would go well with a nice cigar. I wonder if Samuel Adams would be able to recommend a cigar to pair with this.
“This is the most complicated, complex liquid I have ever put in my mouth.” That’s the quote of the day. Mickey, I owe you big time, my friend. Wow. That is all. Is this the best beer I’ve ever had?
Cheers to you, Jim Koch!