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The Strongest Beer in the United States

How much would you pay for an exceptional brew? $10 a six-pack? $20 a six-pack? How about $5 an ounce?

That's the minimum going rate for Boston Beer's Samuel Adams Utopias, which retails starting at $120 per 24-ounce bottle.

The country's most expensive beer is also the strongest. The 2007 edition of the vintage-dated biennial release clocks in at 27 percent alcohol by volume, more than five times the proof of the average American golden lager.

The Utopias container, a ceramic bottle molded to resemble a brew kettle, is a collectible in and of itself. The copper-colored liquid inside hasn't a bubble of carbonation. The first sensations are a viscous mouth feel and a sweet sherrylike flavor with nuances of toffee and maple. There are notes of vanilla and plum and a hint of charred wood. A long, lingering alcohol burn, more reminiscent of a cognac or brandy than a beer, is followed by a sweet burned-caramel aftertaste.

Via: Sun-Sentinel

Sam Adams--yuck. This a fine beer for all you playa's out there. Straight up or Utopias and coke.

"Utopias, cause one Utopia ain't enuf!"
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I was (slightly) interested until I read the "viscous mouth feel" part.

If I want a "viscous mouth feel" I'll wait until I have a bad cold and just inhale a gob of snot.

Plus for that type of money, you can get really good Scotch.
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Wow, Samuel Adams makes its beers "too heavy"? The majority of the Sam Adams beers are pretty tame, especially the fruity wheat ones -- a bit "ginger beer" to me if you get the rhyming slang -- nothing like a tasty Guiness or even a Bass Ale in any event!

It sounds like you might need to stick to Milwaukee's Be(a)st, Meisterbrau (a.k.a. Mister Beer), Budweiser, or Miller! Or how about Shaeffer? That is the "one beer to have when you are having more than one" (so the jingle used to go...) Maybe Pabst Blue Ribbon? Iron City beer? The list of dying weak swill "old grandpa style" American beers is seemingly endless, but fortunately growing shorter as more of us acquire taste.

Back to the main subject, though ... how can it really be "beer" if it's 54 proof? At that alcohol content, it isn't just fermentation -- there is clearly some distillation involved. I'd try it, but not on my dime.
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I know its a common term, but whenever i see something that describes a fragrance, or a flavor and uses the term "notes of" and "hint of"

I get this odd urge to slap someone. >_<

Notes of vanilla with a hint of smokey plumblalksdfjalksdjf *SMAAAAAAACK*
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$120 my a**. This beer retails (if you can find it) for no less than 159.99. Can't find it locally? Ebay has listings from $229 to $299. This stuff is more like a cognac than beer. In fact, it's beat a number of more expensive cognacs in blind taste tests.
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The strongest barley wines (naturally fermented) top out at only around 12% alcohol. This brew has to be distilled because as far as I know, no yeast can survive that high (27%) an alcohol content.
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It takes some careful, careful brewing, but you can coax high alcohol % by keeping the yeast on the brink of starvation, adding your fermentable sugars gradually.

Plus, professional brewers like Sam Adams can get their hands on pretty damn good yeast to start with.

some discussion here:
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Agree with Sid, but then I'm a stout drinker (oatmeal mostly and room temperature only please). If I feel like having some flavored water, will go for Sam Adams' cherry wheat or some other ale. Instead of "Utopia" would rather spend it on a fine brandy or several cases of eight ball stout or Sam Smith.
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LOL @ opinionated some more.

Too heavy? Good one.

"Mighty Zeus! No one told me Zima was so strong! My petticoats are in ruffles!"

"This baby food is so spicy. I require a glass of skim milk immediately or I shall surely expectorate!"
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I know nothing about American beer, but this sounds like it could be tasty (though possibly a bit sweet). [I say this as someone who likes whiskey, cognac, dark ales, stouts and square brackets]
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sounds taste-E. i would definitely try it. i had sam adam's seaonal winter brew last night.. it was dilicious. i bet this stuff stings the nostrils.
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What have you done Sam Adams? serious , why would they go off the deep end like this? Is it an inside joke or something? making beer into prison hooch is never a good idea. Liquor is to be sipped, Beer is to flow down the gizzard. 27% abv. most likey tastes like rubbing alcohol mixed in malt liquor. $120 a bottle!? I should call over there right now and chew them out for that silliness. matter a fact I will.
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I've had two different vintages of the Utopias, the 2002 which I bought myself, and the 2005 which was a gift to our beer club from Marius, the owner of the excellent Trinity Irish Pub in Dallas. The 2002 I found very "hot" and nearly undrinkable. The 2005 (sampled after 2 years of aging, split among 7 people) was much better, very complex, and reasonably tasty.

Both of them were at least better than the absolutely disgusting Sam Adams Triple Bock of the mid-90s (at 17.5%).

The only other really good, very strong beer I can think of is Dogfish Head's Raison d'Extra, a 20% version of their Raison d'Etre. Their Fort (18%) and 120 Minuate (21%) were interesting and complex, but not beers that I really enjoyed. Nearly everything else I've had above 12 or 13% has ranged the gamut between unpleasant and undrinkable.
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@Mr S.-
Until about 25 years ago, almost all commercially available American beer was absolute crap - pale weak swill made with a lot of corn and rice. Around that time, small "microbreweries" started doing things the right way and began introducing beer that tastes good. Gradually these little tiny operations began to chip away at the big breweries' market share (or at least capturing all the market growth) Simultaneously, wide availability of decent imports (rather than US-taylored versions of Heinekin, Becks, and mediocre Canadian brews) furthered the pressure. The big US brewers (Budweiser, Miller, Coors, &c.) were forced them to release somewhat better product lines as well. These were still cheapened up, but are a good lot better than the old "American (ahem) Pilsner" swill.

I still can't find a available-nearly-everywhere US brew that I like as much as Guinness for the same price. You can get some superb U.S. ales, stouts, and porters, but they still come from microbreweries which don't have the economies of scale of the big ones. The mass-market brewers put out some semi-reasonable pretty cheap stuff, though, and for that we should be thankful. They still make the swill of old in their main lines, but only old men, poor college students, and trailer park residents in in wife-beater shirts drink it anymore.

Samuel Adams is a US brewer than started out really small a couple decades ago and then grew phenomenally with their success. They are still *tiny* compared with the likes of Anheiser-Busch (Budweiser), but put out a TON better product for not a lot more money. Kudos to them for kicking the big guys in the balls and changing the industry. Now please come out with a year-round (they do a lot of changing season beers) good stout that is available everywhere.
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