Alengrin (2884) - BELGIUM - FEB 27, 2015
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: FEB 28, 2015 After having tasted thousands of beers in most of the styles in existence, I thought it was about time to confront myself with something really special, the legendary Sam Adams Utopias, in its 10th Anniversary edition. Unpacking the bottle of this famous barley wine made me feel like a child opening a really exciting Christmas present... The bottle in itself is as arty as it is fun, you even get to play with the little doors of the kettle. Removing the cap immediately released a very strong, beguiling aroma. Very promising indeed... The colour is a beautiful, very deep and intense, transparent but slightly hazy bronze with a lovely Marangoni effect (’tears’, as we say in Dutch), lacking even the slightest form of carbonation, so no fizz nor head - which would be totally irrelevant in this beer anyway. The aroma is... well, a challenge to describe, but extremely complex, noble, elegant, pointy, powerful and enticing. I get hints of all kinds of wonderful things: old tawny port, old and oxidized medium dry sherry or madera, fine brandy, chocolate liqueur, hint of sweet tobacco, lots of vanilla tannins, candied figs, blueberries, caramel candy, a hint of the soy sauce I remember from that vintage Samuel Adams Triple Bock I tasted last year and which apparently is physically part of this beer too, artisanal acacia honey, strong maple syrup, eucalyptus, candied orange... The taste is, if anything, even more exciting: warming alcohol hits the tongue and mouth cavity in instants but never gets wry or overpowering - instead it provides a wonderfully exciting spiciness; a refined, noble maple syrup sweetness spreads over the tongue, a faint salty accent only adds balance and the caramelly malts linger in the background, providing structure and reminding you in an ever so subtle way that this is still beer. The overall taste is sweet but in an incredibly complex, multi-layered way, as in a very old and high quality tawny port; drying tannins, beautifully vanilla-like and woody, come to the foreground in the finish, where the profound complexity of malts, complex and refined, bourbon-, port- and rhum-like alcohol and sugary sweetness persist. The alcohol heat remains gentle and together with the strong oaky tannins, provides a long, drying, warming and totally satisfying finish. In fact, minutes after swallowing this, it seems as if more flavours come up and disappear again. I had my share of fine single malts, cognacs and maderas, but this beats everything... I felt a bit intimidated at first, not sure if I was ’mature’ enough as a beer fanatic to deserve a treat like this, but I can honestly say that this was one of the most memorable beer experiences I had so far. The complexity of this beverage is seemingly infinite. If you are able to enjoy a fine liqueur every now and then, this is the beer equivalent of it, which deserves its cult status completely. As for the price: this bottle cost me a small fortune, being about three and a half times as expensive as the second most expensive beer I ever bought, so the question of whether it is worth the money comes naturally. Personally, I do not regret buying this whatsoever, every ounce is worth its price, especially considering the fact that the bottle is resealable and can be treated in much the same way as a precious bottle of your favorite single malt, old cognac or any other liquor. As for me, I will guard the bottle with deer life, only to return to it just every now and then, for special occasions, so I will keep enjoying this over and over again for a long time to come. Pushing the boundaries of the concept of ’beer’, I am glad I finally tasted this, after having read about it for 13-odd years. Man, what a treat... But a difficult one to rate - in fact, rating this at all seems irrelevant, as it is so out of the ordinary that it forms a gastronomic experience in its own right. Given the fact that this was one of the most complex beverages I ever had the pleasure to enjoy, let’s give this a near perfect score...
alex_alkis (410) - SWEDEN - FEB 22, 2015
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
It’s not a suprice that it tastes more like an cogncac than an beer. Really fun beer to have tried but perhaps not my cup of tea.
Scouser (290) - Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 14, 2015
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Pours a burgundy color with no head or lacing. Smells of figs, vanilla and alcohol. Nice sweet alcohol taste, taste like it smells. Wow.
reggiedunlop (3402) - The dub c, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 11, 2014
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Ruby colored pour with no head. Aroma of port, bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar. Flavor follows suit...very warming but not boozy or hot...beautiful marriage of barrel flavors and sweet brown sugar/fruit notes. Mouthfeel is slightly syrupy with a very warm bourbony/vanilla finish.
boFNjackson (4185) - Portland, Oregon, USA - DEC 11, 2014
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle... Poured deep amber/crimson with no head. Aroma of brown sugar, maple syrup, and Port-like fortified wine qualities. Super sweet, mildly cloying. Maple syrup and Sherry/Port-like notes. No carbonation with full mouthfeel. Insanely boozy and potent. Lingers with alcohol.
boisebeerguy (88) - boise, Idaho, USA - DEC 8, 2014
4.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 20/20
Thank you Toby for this. Bottle from 2011. Poured thick and smelled of honey and booze. Was very sweet which helped cover up the high abv. Everything blended well and was very smooth.
BuckeyeBoy (3158) - Boise, Idaho, USA - DEC 8, 2014
4.2 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
2011 vintage thanks to Toby. I have hid it fresh and with a few years much better. Pours out burnt orange amber no head. Nose is great it remind me of apis jadwiga. Sweet honey spice and lots of heat. Taste is sweet caramel spice peat smoke and lots of burn.
mike5326 (1082) - virginia beach, Virginia, USA - DEC 6, 2014
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Poured from a bottle. Clear light brown color. Medium sweet alcohol and malt nose. Full body with a sweet alcohol malt flavor and a full finish.
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
Earlier Rating: 12/21/2013 Total Score: 5
Poured from a room temperature bottle. Medium brown color, no head. Smells of rich malt alcohol. Sweet thick body of nectar with a holy alcohol flavor. Yummy.
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
Clownoisseur (341) - Buchanan, Michigan, USA - NOV 25, 2014
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
2013 vintage, 2 oz. pour into tasting snifter. Amber/copper in color. Still, no carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toffee, vanilla, char, leather, overripe fruit and a wafting alcohol. Nothing subtle here. Taste is very sharp. Again, bold flavors of caramel, toffee, vanilla, leather, earth...a slight tang...and loaded with booze. Mouthfeel is syrupy and oily. Drinks like a liquor. Good stuff, appreciate it for pushing boundaries.
adasko (787) - Poznan, POLAND - OCT 22, 2014
4.7 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Niesamowite piwo. Najbardziej gładkie, aksamitne i miękkie piwo jakie kiedykolwiek próbowałem. Niesamowite bogactwo w aromacie i smaku. Wspaniałe alkoholowe grzanie w ustach i w przełyku. Cudowne piwo, niezapomniane przeżycie.