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July 15, 2011
Samuel Adams Utopias 2011
Somehow, despite all my pressings and searches over the last several years, Sam Adams Utopias had avoided me. That is, up until a few weeks ago when a package arrived on my doorstep containing a sample 7oz. bottle of the new 2011 version of Utopias! Sure, its not the full retail version, but at a whopping 27%, i was more than happy to have a small sample size.
The 2011 version of this barrel-aged rarity pours thick and syrupy with a dark murky color. No head exists, not even for a moment. As I said, I have never had the fortune of trying any of the previous incarnations of Utopias, so I can't compare it to prior versions. The aroma is strong of oaky sweetness with notes of maple and cocoa. This beer may be the utter definition of slow sipper. Try otherwise end up face down on the floor.
The closest beer I've had to this was the BrewDog Tactical Nuclear Penguin back in May 2010. But this beer is dominated by the benefits of the wood aging. Compared to the Penguin, the Utopias feels more balanced overall. What a big difference there is in the 7 or so percent between Utopias and Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout. But again, that is likely the difference of the barrel-aging and the blending that goes on at Sam Adams.
I hope that one day I can get my hands on a full-size bottle of this beauty and store it away for a few years to really get a sense of how such a high ABV beer ages.