Since its introduction in 2001, Samuel Adams Utopias has earned its reputation as one of the world’s strongest, most mysterious, and sought-after beers. Its ruby black color and lack of carbonation suggest a vintage Port, while its high alcohol level begins to approach a fine Cognac.
As Founder and Brewer Jim Koch explains, “In the 1990s the big brewers were competing to make lighter and lighter beers, but I was drawn to the darker, richer end of the beer spectrum. We brewed Samuel Adams Double Bock in 1988, and then a Triple Bock in 1994. These beers are pioneers in the Extreme Beer movement. After the 1999 release of Millenium, we challenged ourselves to create an even stronger, more distinctive beer. Enter Utopias in 2001.”
Utopias 2023 brewing
Now released every two years, Utopias is a blend of multiple batches of the brewery’s earlier Extreme Beers which are further aged in multiple types of barrels. Utopias has always been aged in charred whiskey casks, and this year the Sam Adams brewers expanded the kinds of barrels for more complex flavors.
In addition to American bourbon barrels, Sam Adams used imported Scotch and peated whisky barrels. The peated Scotch barrels add a wisp of smoke to the flavor, while Ruby Port and Carcavelos casks from Portugal and Cognac barrels from France bring dark fruit notes. New to Utopias 2023 are the barrels from Pineau des Charentes — a rare, fortified French aperitif wine from western France. While Utopias 2023 has European roots, it’s a distinctively American innovation.
Brewed in Ohio, aged in Pennsylvania, blended in Massachusetts, bottled in Delaware
Samuel Adams has grown over the last 39 years, and to celebrate this — as well as the motto for Boston Beer “Together We Are Heavy” — each Utopias 2023 is brewed so that the teams of Boston Beer coworkers in all four states contribute to the final product.
It is brewed and fermented at the Samuel Adams Cincinnati Brewery, moved to the beautiful cask room at the Samuel Adams Pennsylvania Brewery for aging, then sampled and blended with previous vintage Utopias in the Samuel Adams Bier Keller at the Boston Brewery. Finally, it is shipped to the Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware to be bottled. Utopias is packaged in ceramic bottles fabricated by Brazilian artisans that look like a classic copper brew kettle.
How to indulge in Utopias 2023
This extreme barrel-aged beer is recommended to be served in a 2-ounce portion served at room temperature in a sniffer to capture all the aromas. Samuel Adams Utopias 2023 can be found at select specialty beer and liquor stores starting October 30th for a suggested retail price of $240 per 24.5-ounce bottle.
Illegal in 15 states but perfectly legal in 35
Given it clocks in at 28 percent ABV, many states have laws regulating the maximum legal ABV for beer and is illegal in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia. Prices vary by market and availability is limited.