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 years 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!

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.bonniwell.3 Andrew Bonniwell

    Really wish they sold this in Texas.. But the liquor laws down here don’t allow it. Strongest I’ve seen is 14 percent and that beer was impossible to down. To anybody who gets one.. I wish you the best. And anyway it’s out of my budget as it is.

    • http://www.facebook.com/culley.hughes Culley Hughes

      Andrew, they do sell it in Texas. I live in Austin and just purchased two bottles in the last two days.

      • Gene

        I live in Austin also and would really like to purchase a Utopia, by any chance can you tell me where u purchased the two bottles at?

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.poss3 James Poss

    Too bad the ABV cap for a beer to be sold in Georgia is only 14%…

  • http://twitter.com/ifartlek Ken Mello

    It is sold in Texas, or at least always has been in the past. But if you’ve had trouble drinking a 14% beer, you don’t want this anyway. Its more like a liquor than a beer, and is distinctively unlike anything else.

  • wayne ferguson

    i live in texas i have a beer right now that its abv is 16.0

    • http://www.samueladams.com/ Samuel Adams

      Very nice Wayne! What style?

  • http://www.facebook.com/raymond.elder1 Raymond Elder

    true story, years ago In Albuquerque New Mexico , in the north east heights Quarters package store sat a small black bottle of sam adams triple bock , it sat there and sat there and sat there, doomed to a life of collecting dust. I was a member of the special customers loyalty program, as i had purchased more than 5,000 dollars in one year from the store, I was finishing paying off a collection of small bottles of Scotch, 7 of them bottled from 1963 to 1969, that totaled more than $800.00 and asked about the lonley little bottle on the shelf, and the store manager just pulled it off the shelf and gave it to me gratis. I had NO idea what to expect, so I got home, and slightly chilled it, cause i knew it was special and not just another beer. I was sad that I had no one to share this beer with, but it made me a life long Sam Adams customer. I lack the words necessary to describe the triple bock . It was awesome, but there was only one, and I was very sad. I really want to try Utopias, It comes highly recommended.

    • http://www.samueladams.com/ Samuel Adams

      Great story Raymond. Keep us posted if and when you find Utopias.

  • Shawn Tatro

    I have the full collection of Sam Adams heritage from the first Triple Bock to the Millemium and all issues of Utopias. I have only opened one Utopias that is a duplicate in my collection because I was dying to find out what it tasted like. I toasted my 15th wedding anniversery with a bottle of Infinium and toured the Boston Brewery the next day. You could say I’m a beer nut, I say I just know a good beer!!
    That being said, I plan on having one heck of a retirement party in another 20 years or so, especially if I keep colloecting the Utopias releases.
    I will be placing my order for this years Utopias in the next couple days!!

    • http://www.samueladams.com/ Samuel Adams

      Very cool Shawn! Though we’re big believers in beer is best enjoyed in a glass and not on a shelf :) Though the aging process should do some great things for Utopias.

    • http://www.facebook.com/aaronguggisberg Aaron Guggisberg

      Hey Shawn, Congratulations on your 15th anniversary! I am like you, a beer fanatic. I take that back, I am a GOOD beer fanatic like you. That is why i installed a kegerator in my bar. Just so my friends and I could enjoy Sam Adams Boston Lager fresh from the tap year round! I have been trying to purchase a bottle of Utopias for a few years now, with no luck. I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction on purchasing a bottle of Utopias? Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated! Thanks

  • Rob W.

    I’ve been a superfan and advocate of all Sam specialty brews “officially” since midnight of January 21st 2002. Super excited about coming over today for my first tour before the tailgating starts for the ND vs BC game this evening…any Utopias in stock on site?

    • http://www.samueladams.com/ Samuel Adams

      How’d your tour go Rob?

      • Rob W.

        Excellent!!! Walked around smelling my hands all day (for a good reason), sampled fantastic beer, and got to meet my Willy Wonka! No leads on Utopias yet but i’m still searching.

  • http://twitter.com/jakonrath JA Konrath

    Best Utopias yet. Congrats on an amazing beer!

    Why not rerelease the Triple Bock in between Utopias releases?

    Also, if I’m allowed to dream, how about bringing the Imperial Pilsner back? I have one left in the beer cooler, the hops bitterness fading every day, but I can’t bring myself to drink it if there will never be any more.

    A lot has changed in the beer community since it was first released. Now many craft brewers release hoppy beers meant to be consumed immediately. Beer lovers are smarter than they were years ago. If Jim is concerned about the hops fading when on the shelf too long, he’d be pleasantly surprised to see the beer sell out immediately, as it does with releases like Dogfish 120.

    My favorite beers of yours (Utopias and Millennium not included) were the George Washington Porter, James Madison Dark Wheat, Root Beer, and Ginger Ale from the Patriot 4-pack years ago. They were so different, so unlike anything I’d ever had before or since. Great labels, too. Got the empties on my trophy shelf, along with every Utopias release.

    Keep up the great work. I’m a huge fan. I wrote a thriller novel called STIRRED, and the main character had a baby she named Sam Adams, because a bottle of your beer saved her life.

  • Bill

    Would it be okay to enjoy a glass now and save the rest for a couple years? I just got my free glass but I’ve been staring at my bottle for over a week. I want to save it for a special occasion, but I really want to taste it.

  • Mark

    I have tripple tripple bocks I drank one 10 years ago, anyone know what they are worth,I might have to sell?

  • Carl Schear

    Hello I would like to ask the following question. My brother and I both have a bottle of the 94 triple bock. Is it still good both have been stored per instructions on tags on bottle.
    Thank You look forward to hopefully an answer.

    • Samuel Adams

      It should still be good if stored correctly. Though when any beer is aged that long, it can do a lot of things that are out of any of our control!

  • robert houston

    where in central florida can i find this wonderful brew

    • G NottheBozURLoking4

      just bought one TODAY at a popular chain beer, wine, liquor store on Reinhart in Lake Mary.

  • Frank Gondermann

    Can you please advise what the expected “shelf” live of Utopias is? I have the last three releases un opened but would hate to find out it went bad because I waited too long to enjoy

    Thanks!

    Also, how long will it last once opened?

  • JoJo

    What is the Self life of unopened Utopias ? I know Bourbon County Stout ages in the bottle for up to 10 years…. I just can’t find the Self life of Utopias….

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  • http://www.tercerowines.com larryschaffer

    Not sure if you still following this thread or not, but am wondering if you’re hitting that alc level based on actual fermentation or based on evaporative characteristics of those barrels over time. Never heard of yeast that can live in that high a fermentation and would love to know more . . . Thanks!