This is a big one. First hit is maple and lots of it. Not sugary though, more dry. It is an odd duck. I get some notes of Utopias peering through but that maple is the keynote. The cheeks warm after just a couple sips but the alcohol is not a large presence. I do get some tobacco / coffee ground combo. Chicory maybe. Due to the cost per bottle and the ABV, this is a special occasion beer.
Reviewing a beer like this is hard. It is not a new release and more museum piece. New Utopias are not done in the same manner and barrel-aging is totally different now than in 2002. Even the naming convention was abandoned after this beer.
But, the beer was due to be opened after nearly twenty years and I need to talk about it. First off, the top is twist off and then there was a bottle cap as well. Was kinda of expecting cork but this was much easier. The first aroma was a bit on the soy sauce side which had me concerned but then wave after wave of maple started hitting the air. The kitchen smelled like a pancake breakfast.
The three main words I would use to describes Utopias is maple, sweet and viscous. At first you get a big hit of alcohol heat but that really fades as the beer warms up. I have had much more hot, cheek warming beers at lower ABV’s.
I gave samples to two other gutsy drinkers and got descriptions such as vanilla extract, molasses, syrupy and caramel.
I now want to compare a newer version to do the whole compare and contrast thing.
I received a very unexpected present for my birthday this year. Utopias from Sam Adams. And not just any Utopias. This is one from the 2002 run of 3,000.
I really don’t know when/if I should open this but I do know that the temptation will be great.
Continuing with Sam Adams day, here is the information on this year’s Utopias which is the 10th anniversary edition.
“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.”
You can see a video detailing more information right HERE