Samuel Adams’ New Barrel-Aged ‘Utopias’ Beer Is So Strong It’s Illegal in 15 States

by Lauren Boisvert

Ever wanted a beer so strong it’ll knock you out with one sniff? Samuel Adams‘ “Utopias” will not quite do that. But, I can tell you you’re going to have an experience drinking this. If you agree to that price tag, that is.

Released every two years, this 12th edition of Samuel Adams’ “Utopias” is a 28% ABV masterpiece that’s illegal in 15 states. Because of the alcohol content, Samuel Adams can’t ship “Utopias” to “Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont or West Virginia,” according to the website.

So what makes Samuel Adams’ “Utopias” so special? Besides the alcohol content and the limited release, the beer is aged in spirit barrels and “finished with 2,000 pounds of cherries,” according to KTVQ. The fruit finish includes the coveted Balaton cherry from Michigan, a type of sour cherry that goes equally great in pies and liquor.

According to Samuel Adams, the brew will be available starting October 11. But don’t go rushing to your local grocery store quite yet; this isn’t any old Octoberfest. “Utopias” goes for the suggested price of $240 for a 25.4 ounce bottle. A bit steep, but it’s possibly worth it considering the long process it takes to get made.

What Are the Strongest Beers in the World?

Well, right off the bat, there’s “Snake Venom”, which already sounds like a bad idea. At 67.5% ABV, the Scottish brew packs a punch. Brewmeister brews its “Snake Venom” with “smoke peat malt and Champagne and ale yeasts,” according to Fine Dining Lovers. It is frozen multiple times in order to keep its potency, which is a traditional fermentation method known as Eisbock. While not as expensive as “Utopias”, “Snake Venom” does go for $76 a bottle.

Dutch microbrewery Koelschip brewed up a 60% ABV beer called “Start the Future.” According to Beer Connoisseur, it is a German Eisbock-style beer, which is recommended in “small doses” and usually falls between 9 and 14 percent. “Start the Future” ramped it up, though, and the resulting beer is not for the faint of heart; it’s a thick yellow beer with a sweet, tangy, peppery flavor profile. For a 1/3 liter bottle it’ll cost you $45.

Scottish BrewDog and German Schorschbräu teamed up for the next one; “Strength in Numbers” is a “Belgian golden ale aged for 10 years in whisky casks [blended] with an Eisbock,” according to Fine Dining Lovers. “Strength in Numbers” comes in a 57.8% ABV and costs $35 for a 40ml bottle. The two breweries notoriously clashed when Schorschbräu released the beer Schorsbock in competition with BrewDog’s 32% ABV Tactical Nuclear Penguin. The breweries were at each other’s throats for years, releasing consecutively stronger beers. The two combined on the Eisbock, producing a traditionally fermented brew that held the title of World’s Strongest Beer for a while.