Sam Adams Utopias is the strongest naturally fermented beer on the planet, and it’s so good that it’s illegal in thirteen states. I’d also be willing to bet that it’s the oldest beer you’ll ever drink.
Barrel aging is all the rage right now, but Sam Adams has been doing it for over 20 years, and they were the first in the U.S. to age beer in a barrel formerly used for spirits. It seems so obvious today, but back then it took some real balls. Utopias is the eventuality that initial leap of faith, and it continues the legacy by blending beer from the early barrels into each new iteration of Utopias. That’s right, some of the beer is almost legal drinking age.
The race for the strongest beer has gotten ridiculous thanks in part to jackwagons like me who feel the need to laud every new achievement. There are even accusations of fraud at the top. Sam Adams does it the right way though. Their beer hits upwards of 33% ABV all through natural fermentation. Flavor comes first for them though, so it’s blended back down to around 28% in the 2013 Utopias. They’re still top dog though. You know you’re dealing with a huge beer from the second you smell it.
Utopias is much more like a cognac than it is a beer, so if you’re looking for something nice and refreshing you might want to try their Hopology instead. This is viscous and rich. There’s nearly no alcohol on the nose, just the rich aroma of raisins and other dried fruit. The taste takes you aback if you don’t know what to expect because there is zero carbonation. It’s all flavor, baby. The 2013 edition welcomes Kosmic Mother Funk, which is tremendous beer on its own, to the blend and with it comes a great dark fruit flavor. Overall Utopias is malty, sweet, and a little slice of heaven.
There won’t be any chugging contest with Utopias. They recommend a 2-ounce pour and serving just below room temperature because it’s so rich. Like I said, this isn’t your average beer. Utopias is something special and should be treated as such. It also costs $200 for the 750ml bottle, so don’t go wasting it on people who can’t appreciate it. The beauty of not having carbonation is that the screw top bottle can be opened without worry that you have to finish the whole thing immediately. You can pour yourself 2 ounces every 2 months and it will only get better with time.
Utopias is incredibly tough to find, so check out the beer finder and call around. I wouldn’t expect you can just show up and buy it most places. If you can track it down though, the experience is certainly worth the money. Here’s more of the nitty gritty from Sam Adams blog. God speed, extreme beer lovers. This was me last year…