Samuel Adams’ Utopias is one of the strongest beers in the world and does not use freezing techniques to raise their ABV. Some breweries freeze their beer to concentrate the alcohol, but Utopias is given a little more tender loving care and making things extra special for the 10th anniversary of this very rare 29% ABV beer.
Samuel Adams co-founder, Jim Koch, began thinking about “extreme brewing” some 20 years ago. While big beer companies were concerned with making beers lighter, Jim was looking towards the other side of the spectrum. in 1994 they released Samuel Adams Triple Bock which gained the record for most ABV at 17.5%. Koch experimented with a new technique of aging the beer in whiskey barrels to help mellow out the strong alcoholic taste. This was the first time this process was implemented and has now become a common technique used by many craft brewers. After Triple Bock came Millinium at 22% then in 2002 came the first Utopias.
Samuel Adams Utopias uses Jack Daniel’s barrels to help mellow out the intensity of the alcohol in the beer. Adams experimented with several different types of barrels and Jim Koch describes in the video below, that the barrel is treated as an important “ingredient” to what makes Utopias special.
Samuel Adams describes it as so:
“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.”
Where Can I get it
Samuel Adams Utopias is a VERY limited brew, where only about 15,000 bottles are made. You can find locations here, but you will most likely want to call and confirm with an establishment to make sure they have it. Be prepared to shell out a couple hundred dollars for it too.