Posts Tagged Sam Adams
First of all, I’d like to say Happy Birthday to America this coming Saturday. What better occasion to celebrate with a super special, uber-concocted barrel aged beauty as Sam Adams Utopias? Few, my friends. Few.
Knowing the painstaking process followed to make such a brew, I wanted to enjoy this without getting smashed, so I took only the small amount you see below. This was all I needed to get the full experience of this beer (which is technically more of a barleywine).
It poured a deep golden amber color, almost like a long-aged bourbon. As expected, it had no head or carbonation, as the aging process takes this element out. One whiff gave me a full spectrum of aromas that reminded me of the holidays: dark fruits, cherries, bourbon, cinnamon, cloves and honey. The taste was thick, with honey up front, followed by bourbon and tart fruit flavors. The combination of flavors and heavy mouthfeel reminded me of maple syrup. Dark fruit made up the middle, with a little sourness. It then moved to clove flavors, finishing with sticky sweet honey, balanced by tart fruit.
The long wait to try this one may have influenced the score I gave it, but this is about as complex and nuanced a beer you are likely to find.
Belgian-styles are often described as complex, malty and perhaps a little sour (depending on the type). Tetravis from Sam Adams’ Barrel Room Collection is a quadrupel, or “quad”, which told me to expect a strong, rich beer. Added to the intrigue with this beer, was the fact that it was purported to have notes of raisin and currant. This did give me pause for a second, then it passed and I dove in.
The pour is a deep, dark red, with a cloudy complexion and thick tan head. Lots of bubbles streamed up from the very bottom of the glass, which told me this was going to be a very yeasty beer. Indeed, it smelled a little sour, malty, rich and sweet. The taste was a little hard to get at first, due to the thick cap of foam on top. Once it came through, I tasted sticky-sweet flavors of raisin and brown sugar, mixed with sourness that reminded me of some tart fruit, and finally lots of malt, which was in turn broken up by all the fizzy carbonation I saw on the pour. As it moved through my mouth, so too did a slight burn in the back of the throat, muted somewhat by the smooth warmth of the alcohol.
This was a very good beer that had a lot of characteristics I expected and even some I didn’t. I am glad there was no heavy currant taste, as that probably would have made me think I was drinking some kind of brewed grape juice.
Overall, I would rate this beer:
Merry Christmas to me! (a little late)
Every two years, Sam Adams releases a special concoction called Utopias. This is a mixture of some very old and very limited-release beers from what has become one of America’s favorite breweries. They then move the mixture into different kinds of barrels during the aging process to impart different flavors into the beer. I understand that there is an 18-year-old brew in this one. No two releases are alike. They already released the 2012 batch, which was their 10-year anniversary brewing of Utopias, but decided to do it two years in a row and released it again this year. This is a so-called “extreme beer” due to its extremely high alcohol content. At 28% abv, I would say this definitely qualifies.
With all of this in mind, a buddy of mine and I decided we would treat ourselves to this most magical and elusive elixir when we got a chance and I have been looking a long time. Well, they say you always find what you’re looking for when you least expect it. This dream became a reality on an innocent trip to the Keg-N-Bottle liquor store in Rancho San Diego. This chain of liquor stores is the same one that brought me K’n’B Wine Cellars and man am I glad they did.
As I said, we went in to just bring back some beers to our final location for the night, when the guy behind the counter, Chris, said, “You know, we also got in a bottle of Sam Adams Utopia.” I almost said something about his incomplete pronunciation of the name of this brew, but I decided against it and instead asked, “Yeah, but how much is it?” It was pricey, but Chris did a good job of selling us on it; it wasn’t hard, since it was something we already wanted anyway. We quickly put back the other brews we had picked up, slapped down the fee and took home our prize. Of course, we deliberated quite a bit before deciding and Chris did his best to make our decision for us. He said it comes with a coupon code for a special edition Utopias glass, made specifically for this beer by Riedel.
Well, when we got it home and out of the box, there was nothing with any kind of code on it. We called Chris and he said would look into it for us. Boy did he come through. I am amazed at the effort he is putting into helping us out on this. It turns out Sam Adams is not allowed to ship this glass to certain states and California, where I live, is one of those states. Chris called his sales rep from Sam Adams to see what could be done and we are just waiting to hear the word.
I will post part 2 of this saga when we find an occasion auspicious enough to crack this one open.
No, seriously. It’s Samuel Adams New World. I know, I know– Sam Adams is about the biggest you can get and still call it a microbrewery, but I still love their beer. The Sam Adams New World is another from their Barrel Room Collection. I have written before about the Stony Brook Red and my love for this one is not much different.
Like the red, still in the Belgian style, this Tripel is a big beer. It is super malty for being a “lighter” (read: non-stout) beer, but it packs a 10% abv. It pours a dark golden color with bright creamy head, not unlike that of a lighter red brew. The first thing that hit my nose is the sourness, though it is not overpowering or unpleasant. There is also some sweetness that comes through. With the first sip, I immediately tasted the rich malt. That maltiness is the main characteristic of a Tripel, after all. After that, the sourness came through, with some light spice notes and some sweetness that really helped mellow out the bitterness. I was left with a nice semi-sweetness in my mouth, aware I had just ingested a highly alcoholic beer, but not a punch in the gut.
I liked this beer every bit as much as the Stony Brook. I will have to try at least another of the Barrel Room beers, though many of them are berry-flavored…
Oh, and for those of you who are inclined:
I thought about putting this one under The Journey, since I consider it part of my discovery of all the different brews out there, but I suppose it matters not. Anyway, I had the most wonderful concoction brewed by Samuel Adams that I have had (so far) the other day and just had to see if anyone out there had ever tried it before: Sam Adams Stony Brook Red. This one is from their “Barrel Room Collection.” This was the first I had heard of it, but always willing to try something new, I picked up a bottle from BevMo. At $9 a bottle, this one isn’t one I’d buy everyday, but still not too pricey.
It pours a surprisingly bright red color, with a little orange streaking through, with a kind of light tan head that dissipates rather quickly. It smells quite malty with a definite sourness to it. This being in a big fancy bottle from a specific “collection,” I expected this to be super rich and sweet, not unlike many other breweries’ anniversary collections. My expectations couldn’t have been further from the truth. This beer tastes much like it smells: super malty, but still refreshing, likely due to the sourness that permeates the entire experience without overpowering it. There is a slight fruitiness to it, without actually being sweet, which was a pleasant surprise. The finish is also very malty, without being heavy and the sourness lingers well after the beer is gone.
All in all, I highly recommend this beer and I will be on the lookout for more from this great American brewery (Utopias, anyone?)