Few craft breweries can match the reputation and market share of Sam Adams (Boston Beer Co.). Sam Adams regularly puts out a range of standard and seasonal beers that are popular with almost everyone, regardless of their stance on the “craft beer” world. However, Sam Adams also offers a few things that are a bit different – their line of Samuel Adams Utopias – extreme beers. What is in the lineup for these extreme brews now?
What Is the Utopias Line?
Sam Adams Utopias is a line of small batch beers aged in special casks. In fact, these batches are so small that only 53 barrels were used. You’ll find that the aging process imparts a number of unique characteristics to this beer, including honey, nut, toffee, vanilla and maple notes to name only a few. You will also find that this is a very strong brew. The aging process earned their 2002 batch the Guinness World Record for the strongest beer commercially available.
What Casks Are Used?
As you might have guessed, the aging process is what’s responsible for making this beer so special. The aging process can take up to 18 years and you will find sherry casks used, as well as Madeira and port casks as well. Each cask has been previously used to age some of the world’s finest liquors and helps to mature and develop the complex character for with Utopias has become known.
What’s the Beer Like?
For those more interested in what the beer is like than in how it was aged, the answer is simple – rich and incredible. Unlike most beers which average about 5% ABV, Samuel Adams Utopias comes in at about 27% ABV – that’s a heck of a kick for beer.
In addition to being very, very strong, they are also very rich. They’re not meant to be consumed from the bottle (they arrive in a limited edition ceramic bottle meant to look like a brew kettle). Instead, they should be consumed a sip at a time, via a 2-ounce pour in your preferred snifter glass (the beer should also be at room temperature, so don’t put it in the refrigerator).
Where Can I Find It?
If you’re intent on getting your hands on Utopias (released in May 2011), you’ll have your work cut out for you. Not only is the batch very, very small, but it’s only sold in a handful of retailers throughout the nation. Happy hunting!