Review: Sam Adams Utopias

By | November 24, 2007

As previously promised, here’s the review of the most expensive beer, by nearly an order of magnitude, that I’ve ever tasted. It’s very important when trying something like this not to get your expectations up too high. It’s a bit much to expect any beer to be 10 times better than any other beer you’ve tasted.

From a realistic point of view, Samuel Adams Utopias didn’t disappoint. The initial scent from the bottle made it clear that they weren’t kidding about it being 27% alcohol by volume. The liquid had a slightly syrupy consistency and individual drops with high surface tension formed on the rim of the bottle like with maple syrup. The aroma from the glass was rich with caramel and maple overtones, and perhaps a hint of jasmine. I was amazed that those scents could be coming from a beverage primarily made from malted barley and hops.

In the mouth, the initial taste was very much like a cognac, but with little to no fruit flavor from grapes (it was aged in sherry and Madeira casks). The maple flavor was clear, but definitely not overly sweet. I also picked up a toffee taste, but not so much the coffee and honey that others have mentioned. The taste was very, very smooth, despite the high alcohol content. The after taste lingered for not quite as long as with a great port, but it remained smooth and delicious.

So, my verdict is that this was the best beer, or at least beer-like, beverage I’ve ever tasted. The caveat is that even if it were inexpensive, it would still be a niche choice for me. I enjoy having a beer with a meal, but I can’t imagine too many meals where Utopias would be my first choice during the meal. However, I think it would make a great after dessert choice.

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