Friday, April 6, 2012

Beer Review: Sam Adams Utopias (2011, relatively fresh)

Reviewing the infamous Samuel Adams Utopias from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams). Jason Richard sent me a sample of the 2011 vintage this beer in a pouch to review. Thank you so much Jason!
Score: 94

2011 vintage sample served in a stemmed Hill Farmstead snifter and enjoyed on 04/04/12.

Appearance: Pours a transparent dark caramel brown color that looks like a shot of whiskey. Absolutely no head, no lacing, and, by extension, no retention. Tilting the glass to inspect the color for a minute left an oily line across the middle of the side of the glass that slowly oozed its way down, back into the beer. This beer looks incredibly menacing. 4/5

Smell: Hoo boy! Upfront is a fiery, vodka-like alcohol aroma that singes nose hairs, but quickly behind it is a pleasant mix of brown sugar, smooth caramel, and maple. There is raisin, fig, peanut, walnut, leather, tobacco, and vanilla too. This is easily the "hottest" aroma I have experienced to date, but the nuances behind the fiery spirit smell are pretty awesome. 4/5

Taste: Whoa. For as fiery as the aroma is, the taste is substantially smoother. Sweet grape, vanilla, and brown sugar upfront, with a lingering brown sugar sweetness. Lots of sweet raisin, cognac, oak and dark fruit on the midpalate. Further sips reveal sugary molasses, whiskey caramel malt, vanilla, and cognac flavors. There's a distinct booziness and alcohol warmth on the palate (at 27% ABV, this is quite expected), but it is surprisingly well mixed with rest of the flavor components. This tastes almost like a smoother, sugarier brown spirit with a red wine and raisin twist. This brew is very complex, and it's fifteen year aging process in everything from port and cognac to whiskey barrels is apparent. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, no carbonation. Thick, chewy, syrupy and sugary. Finishes sweet. 5/5

Overall: Big, bold, delectable and sweet. This is a heavy sipper that should be enjoyed a few ounces at a time (there is no way in heck I could enjoy a full glass of this stuff, even at a lower ABV). The beer is not too sweet for me, but it's certainly one of the sweeter beers that I have enjoyed. Those that think Dark Lord is a diabetes-laden sweet bomb should be forewarned.

Recommendation: Priced at $8 per ounce if you can manage to get your hands on a bottle, or $20 for 1-2 ounces at those rare bars that carry it on their top shelf, this one is definitely overpriced for what it is -- but it is absolutely worth trying once. Find a bottle and split it with your friends.

Pairings: Chocolate chip pancakes or Crème Brulee.

Cost: Retails at approximately $200 for a 750 ml bottle that looks like a brew kettle. That is, if you are lucky enough to find a bottle at the price.

No comments:

Post a Comment