Photo Courtesy of Samuel Adams
Sam Adams is well known in Boston for a flavorful selection of classic and seasonal brews, but what you may not realize is the brewery has created a unique beer called Utopias
that is reminiscent of a deep, rich vintage port, fine cognac or aged sherry.
Unlike any other brew of its kind, the 2009 release is a combination of batches, some having been aged in a variety of woods up to 16 years in the barrel room of the Boston Brewery. We have tried nearly every beer in the Sam Adams line, from the traditional Boston lager to the citrusy summer, so we were anxious to check out their latest Utopias.
A portion of the beer is aged in hand-selected, single-use bourbon casks, spends some time in Portuguese muscatel finishing casks and moves on to sherry, brandy and Cognac casks. The result? A flavorful, sweet and fruity brew with a nice malty flavor.
The first batch was created 10 years ago with 24 percent ABV but the fourth batch released in 2009 has gained some strength and now offers 27 percent ABV. The process of aging beer in barrels creates an entirely different flavor. Obviously, the idea of aging in casks and blending was one inspired by whiskey makers but the folks at Sam Adams have expanded upon this idea to include casks of different origins.
The limited release Utopias were brewed at a very high gravity using a variety of malted barley and a touch of maple syrup. From there, it was aged in a blend of scotch, bourbon, port and cognac casks for up to 10 years. The flavor burst is incredible, offering more of a vintage port, old sherry or fine cognac taste instead of a beer. For more information, visit SamuelAdams.com.