Sam Adams has announced the 10th annual release of their limited-edition, premium-priced Utopia beer line.
These are barrel-aged barleywines. The 2017 release is a blend of batches, some having been aged up to 24 years in a variety of barrels. The 2017 recipe includes Utopias aged in a variety of barrels including new Scandinavian Aquavit barrels, as well as a portion of the final blend aged in Moscat barrels, a first time for this beer.
The 2017 Utopia was made with a blend of two-row pale malt combined with Munich and Caramel 60 malts that impart a ruby color, the company reports. Three varieties of German Noble hops – Spalt Spalter, Hallertau Mittelfrueh, and Tettnang Tettnanger – are added to balance the sweetness of the malt. After the beer is brewed, the first proprietary brewing method begins – adding special yeast strains.
The brewers utilized several yeast strains during fermentation, the company reports, including one typically reserved for champagne and a “ninja yeast,” created for its ability to survive and continue fermenting in an environment that has such a high alcohol level.
At 28% ABV, the brew is reminiscent of a rich vintage Port, old Cognac, or fine Sherry, the company says, with notes of dark fruit, subtle sweetness and a deep rich malty smoothness. With only 68 wooden casks of Utopias created in 2017, just 13,000 bottles will hit shelves nationwide.
The suggested retail price is $200 per 750-ml. bottle.