Like snowflakes and tailgates, no two beers are alike. And there is really nothing like Samuel Adams vintage Utopias beer. Arguably the most extraordinary concoction of the ever-growing family of Sam Adams beers, this blend of batches (including some that date back 18 years) is advertised as tasting like a “slightly fruity brew with a sweet, malty flavor that is reminiscent of a deep, rich vintage port, fine cognac or aged sherry.”
Utopias was released in 2002, and at the time was the strongest naturally fermented beer ever made. The alcohol by volume was 24%, or roughly 56 proof! Now some vintage Utopias run about 27%ABV. That exceeds the legal limit allowed for beer in 13 U.S. states (Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia), so these poor folks will have to go elsewhere in search of their Utopias.
This product really is more like a fine wine than a beer, which is why it comes in such a cool kettle brewing-shaped ceramic flask and costs in excess of $150 per bottle. The Utopias are released every two years, with 2011 being its sixth release. Like all Utopias, the volume of bottles is very limited. Only 53 barrels were used in the 2011 version which was released this past May. Riedel has even created a special drinking glass to further enhance the consumer’s experience.
The beer pours like a wine with no foam head, so it can be put back on the shelf (or in your home safe) without any fear of skunking or lost taste. For full details on the brewing process, visit Samuel Adams.com and watch the video of the Utopias blending process from the company’s owner and co-founder, Jim Koch.