New Samuel Adams beer is so strong, it’s illegal in 15 states

·3 min read

Eager to get your hands on Samuel Adams' new limited-edition beer? Don't get your hops up.

The brewer is releasing a new version of its Utopias brand on Oct. 11, and the beer is so strong, it's actually illegal to sell it in 15 states.

The new potent beverage contains 28% alcohol by volume, which is more than five times the potency of most beers in the U.S., as first reported by CNN. According to the company's website, it's an "extreme barrel aged beer that pushes the limits of barrel aging."

Samuel Adams is known for its classic brews and fun seasonal flavors (like fall's ever-popular OctoberFest and Jack-O Pumpkin Ale), but the company has also been releasing a new Utopias beer every two years since 2002. It only brews a limited number of bottles, so they're kind of hard to come by. And they'll set you back a pretty penny, too: The suggested retail price is $240 for a 25.4-ounce bottle.

Naturally, TODAY Food was curious to know: What does it taste like? The site describes it as a "deep rich malty smoothness reminiscent of a vintage port, cognac, or fine sherry."

Ben Gebo Photography (Courtesy Samuel Adams)
Ben Gebo Photography (Courtesy Samuel Adams)

So, what makes the latest version of Utopias so special? According to the Samuel Adams website, the brewers used multiple yeast strains during the fermentation process, including one that's usually 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."

The brew was created with a blend of batches, some that were aged up to 24 years, in a variety of barrels. The ruby-colored beer has a blend of several malt varieties and three varieties of German Noble hops to "balance the sweetness of the malt." It even has a special ingredient: Vermont maple syrup.

"Each biennial release is years in the making, built on the reserves of earlier editions. As innovative as the brewing and blending process is, it’s also about honoring and archiving the rich history of this unique brew," Shelley Smith, Samuel Adams Brewing Innovation Manager, told TODAY.

This time around, brewers finished the beer off with 2,000 pounds of cherries to add a sweet and tart touch.

"The decision to finish this year’s blend on the slightly sweet and tart Balaton cherries of Michigan was a purposeful one that we knew would beautifully enhance the taste," Smith explained. "What the brewers didn’t know was that the cherries would arrive to us in 400 individual 5-pound bags that we would have to open individually. I think drinkers will agree - it was worth it.”

If you think it's worth the splurge (and, likely, the hangover), you can find Utopias in 35 states. But if you live in one of the following states, you'll have to travel elsewhere to give it a try: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia.

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