There's A New Beer That's So Strong It's Illegal


I don’t want to upset anyone here, but Samuel Adams isn’t a very nice beer. It’s just too fruity and dull; sort of like if an alcoholic man were to chew some hops and then spit them into your mouth. Not for me, thanks.

That said, all beer is better than no beer, and if I turned up to a party and all they had was Samuel Adams, after getting over the initial shock, I’d almost definitely drink too much of it.

But now Samuel Adams have released a new beer, and I’ve got to say, I really want some.


It has an alcoholic percentage of 28 and is illegal in twelve states in America, so that’s pretty cool. Imagine a beer so strong that it’s considered more dangerous than guns, which you can legally buy anywhere in the states…

Called the 2017 Utopias, the beer comes in a fancy, stubby gold bottle, and isn’t actually a beer at all. In fact, it’s a barleywine and there’s only 13,000 bottles being produced this year along with 68 casks.

So don’t go to Tesco Express hoping to find some among the cans of Stella.


Now, I’m not a total pessimist, and there’s every chance you could run into it in your local supermarche, but make sure you bring your credit card, since a bottle of 2017 Utopias will set you back a cool $200.

Jim Koch, founder of Sam Adams, told Forbes:

Utopias challenges conventional thinking about beer but it is definitely a beer – that’s what’s so exciting!

Utopias is brewed like any other Sam Adams beer, using four main ingredients and the traditional brewing process, but it’s the yeast strains we use, as well as our barrel-ageing and blending process that makes Utopias truly one-of-a-kind.”


The beer owes its deep flavour to a blend of various – and presumably too many – hops, malts and yeasts. They’re then aged in Buffalo Trace bourbon casks and Aquavit barrels.

It’s also made with champagne yeast, with one of them specially designed to survive in environments with a high alcohol content… such as 2017 Utopias.

Koch said on it:

This process, along with our blends from various barrel-aged beers, creates the most complex naturally fermented beer available anywhere – truly the lunatic fringe of extreme beer!

He lost me with the last five words there.


Remember those ridiculous adverts where people would essentially be killed and then some voice would say “what it feels like to chew five gum”? You can imagine something for this beer.

Actually, they could just release the whole of The Shining and then at the end have an old-timey Boston man come up and say “what it feels like to drink 2017 Utopias”. That would do it.

Regardless of the price though, at least if you buy it, you don’t have to worry about it going off.

Koch explained:

Utopias has an indefinite shelf-life, getting better with age, even after opened, due to its complexity and high alcohol content, much like a port or cognac.

While oxygen would typically cause unwanted oxidation in an average beer, it smooths the flavour profile of this beer, making it even more complex over time.”

I think I’d still rather a Budvar or something.

That said, if anyone wants to buy me a bottle of this for some reason, I won’t say no.

Failing that, give me a follow on Twitter. I need the attention – @AlfiePowell

Images via Samuel Adams, iStock

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