The Quest for Utopia

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Sam Adams Utopias is sort of the white whale of the white whales for beer chasers.  It’s not made every year and it’s super hard to find.    Add to that that even when you can find it at retail, it can cost $200 a bottle.  Older vintages can be up to $900 on eBay, or at least $450 for a recent year.  I have to admit I came into this tasting of it by happenstance in that I am friends with a guy who happens to have a very generous friend in New England who sends him amazing beer for his birthday.  This batch had to top them all because it included a bottle of Utopias.  Utopias is a special blend of aged beers from Sam Adams’ barrel house.  Some of the beer included in the mix, which varies at each release, is as much as 19 years old.  I would probably call it a barley wine because of the high ABV and look and flavor of it, but at its heart it is a Triple Bock.  It is mixed with other rare Sam Adams’ releases like Millenium as well.  Then they age it in a series of different kinds of vessels like Jack Daniels barrels, and port, scotch and cognac casks as well.  The end product is decidedly unique for a beer.  However, it is not unprecedented in terms of flavor.  It does have an unusually high ABV.  I think the version I had was 27%, but the releases range from 22-28%.  Anyway, the having the opportunity to taste this white whale of white whales just fall in my lap was an amazing stroke of luck and I am most grateful to my friend and also to his friend who bought and sent the beer.  I would say the flavor was a strong combination of bourbon and port with lots of dark fruit like figs and cherries thrown in.  It was quite boozy and the body was heavy.  It really resembled a port more than a beer.  I would clearly recommend it as a dessert or nightcap beer.  The bottom line is that it was amazing and if you have an opportunity to get it, definitely do.  I’m not sure I would advocate spending $900 on one bottle of beer.  Even $450 is probably too much to spend.  But if you find it for less or have an opportunity to taste it somewhere, jump on it!