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October 23, 2012The Sam Adams Editorial Team

10th Anniversary Utopias What You Need to Know

For those who have not heard, this year marks the 10th anniversary of one of our greatest brewing accomplishments: Samuel Adams Utopias®. As with every release of this special brew, Jim and the other brewers get excited about sharing this beer because of the passion and innovation that went into brewing. The extreme ingredients and techniques used to make this beer are unlike any other style we brew. Look for this year’s release to hit stores in November.

It all began with Triple Bock …

Cheers to 10 years!

Over 20 years ago, Jim started thinking about the far reaches of the beer universe. As big brewers were making their beers lighter and lighter, Jim was curious about the other end of the beer spectrum and wanted to continue exploring the uncharted territory of extreme brewing. After several years of trial and error, we released Samuel Adams® Triple Bock in 1994 and set the record for the strongest beer ever (17.5% ABV) but Triple Bock wasn’t just about breaking the historical ABV ceiling. Jim found that aging the beer in whiskey barrels helped mellow the harsh ethanol attack on the palette, while adding some wonderful complexity to the beer.  This was also the first time that any brewer in the U.S. had aged a beer in barrels previously used for spirits, a practice that is now fairly common among American craft brewers.

Triple Bock, the backbone of all of our Extreme Beers, served as the archetype for Samuel Adams Millennium®, a rare (only 3,000 bottles produced) style we brewed to commemorate the year 2000. In 2002, we introduced Samuel Adams Utopias which shocked the beer world with an incredible 24% ABV. With each new batch of Utopias, we pushed for more complexity and strength, producing brews with alcohol levels reaching 27% ABV over the last 10 years of Utopias’ existence. With that said, this year’s batch is coming in around 29% ABV though some of our barrels have reached over 33% ABV. With taste as our primary goal, we refined the liquid back to optimize the flavor best.

Popular questions around Utopias…

Where can I get a bottle of Utopias?!

The most important thing to remember is that Utopias is a very (and we mean very) limited brew, with fewer than 15,000 bottles released each season due to the long aging process. While our Find a Sam page will outline where Utopias bottles are sold (Utopias will be added to the list once the beer starts shipping), it is likely that many locations will sell their few bottles quickly. If you are traveling a far distance to acquire a bottle, we strongly recommend calling the retailer ahead of time to ensure they still have one to be purchased.

NOTE: Thirteen states prohibit its sale because its alcohol content exceeds the legal limit for beer: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington.

How much does a bottle cost?

Retailers are free to set their own price, but we have placed a suggested retail price of $190.00 per bottle.

What does Utopias taste like?

The 2012 batch of Samuel Adams Utopias has its entire lineage in it, some of the beer has been aged in a variety of wood barrels for 19 years. This long aging process and variety of spirit barrels enhances the beer’s distinct vanilla and maple notes, and its high alcohol content creates a heated aroma of ginger and cinnamon. As a result, this big brew invokes the flavors of a rich vintage Port, fine Cognac, or aged Sherry while feeling surprisingly light on the palate. The brew has sweet flavors of honey, toffee, caramel, cocoa and vanilla, balanced by distinct notes of molasses, raisins, plums and berries.

I’ve got a bottle of Utopias, now what?

Congratulations! Our brewers recommend serving this strong, rich, un-carbonated dark beer as an ideal after-dinner drink or toasting a special occasion at room temperature (about 70°F) in 2oz pours. Because this beer is un-carbonated and high in ABV, it can be opened and closed to be enjoyed when you want to enjoy it. No need to keep this beer in the fridge… a cool/dark place (basement, closet, etc.) will do the trick. Don’t be afraid to hold onto the bottle… the liquid will only get better with age!

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