I was going to title this post, "One of the More Expensive, Stronger Beers I will Ever Drink", but I wanted to be a bit more direct. This made possible by my older brother, Mark, who purchased this beer for me for my 21st birthday.
Today's beer is the 2009 release of Sam Adams Utopias. If you are unfamiliar with this beer, I should probably start out by mentioning that it is really barely a beer. It sits at a staggering 27% ABV, which when it was released, was the most alcoholic beer in the world. Sam Adams was able to achieve this level of alcohol by doing several fermentation stages with their own strain of a highly alcohol tolerant yeast, which they now have patented (most strains of yeast die around 10-15% ABV). Since then, there has been a kind of battle to get the strongest beer. The current winner is from theBrewery in the Netherlands. It is 60% alcohol, which they achieve through freeze distillation (freezing everything but the alcohol and transferring that away, repeating a few times).
Ok, now more about the beer itself. First of all, it is brewed with several different German and Austrian malts and 4 different varieties of noble hops. It also uses some maple syrup, which shows up clearly in the flavor. After the beer is brewed, it is aged in a variety of different barrels, including Scotch, Cognac, bourbon, and Port for up to 10 years. After the aging, beer from each of these casks is blended together to produce the beer that they desire. They suggest that the beer be served in small doses (1.5 oz) in a snifter or scotch glass. In fact, they paired with Riedel, a crystal glass maker, to make a specific glass (see above) for their beer (which is included in the purchase).
This beer is overwhelming. It really shouldn't be called a beer. The Sam Adams website suggests that it be treated like a Cognac. I have to disagree with this. It really tastes like someone mixed a Port with some maple syrup. The two major flavors that hit me are raisins and maple. Don't get me wrong here, I find it delicious, but it is an after dinner drink by all accounts. It is sweet, smooth, and if I didn't know it was 27% ABV, I would not have guessed it. You cannot taste the alcohol at all. This is certainly a beer that you should try (if you have the opportunity). I mean, just look at that sweet bottle. How could it not taste good? It just doesn't taste like a beer, so be warned.
Oh, did I mention that it sells for $150 retail (more on Ebay)?
Glassware: Snifter, scotch glass, or ideally, the Sam Adams Utopias Glass
Synonym Beer: Port?
P.S. If you actually know me and are seriously interested in trying this, maybe I can make that happen, just let me know.
If you want me to look at a particular beer, drink, place, or have anything to say to me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can send me cool photos too, if you like.