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Poop Man Bob

The makers of Sam Adams concoct a 48-proof brew

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Jim Koch, the man behind Samuel Adams, serves up the world's strongest beer.



Chances are you'll never get to taste Sam Adams Utopias MMII -- at 48-proof, the world's strongest commercial beer.

That's because Jim Koch, a sixth-generation brewmaster and founder of Samuel Adams, only made 3,000 numbered bottles of the high-octane stuff.


"Frankly, I should have made more," says Koch, who recently unveiled Sam Adams Utopias MMII, a potent, robust, uncarbonated concoction that's more like a liqueur than any beer you've ever tasted. "That was a mistake."


Koch promises that when production begins on Utopias 2003, a beer he says will be even stronger than the current title holder, "We'll make sure to make more of it."


Koch, the mad professor of brewing, has been steadily exploring the upper limits of strong beer since 1994, when Sam Adams Triple Bock, a beer featuring maple syrup as an ingredient, was released. Triple Bock was fermented with champagne yeast and finished at a hefty 17.5-percent alcohol by volume, or 35-proof -- making it the world's strongest beer, at the time.


The previous record-holder, Samichlaus, was first brewed in 1980 by Hurlimann in Switzerland. It was the world's strongest beer for many years, at 14 percent alcohol by volume.


Koch followed his Triple Bock in 1999 with Sam Adams Millennium, a one-time batch that again set records, at 21 percent alcohol by volume, or 42-proof. With Utopias, Koch wanted to take beer to new heights.


"I think it was sort of like the Star Trek of beer," he says. "I wanted to take beer where no beer had gone before. I knew there was an undiscovered world, and I wanted to be the first to get there. I believed it would be possible to ferment beer to those extreme levels, and I wanted to see what it tasted like.


"I really like the challenge of saying, 'OK, let's make the strongest beer in the world, and let's make it taste great,'" continues Koch. "The madness is not done. I want to get over 50 proof. It can be done. To me as a brewer, to know when I opened the first bottle of Utopias, that I was going to be tasting flavors that had never been tasted before in the 6,000-year history of brewing, that was very cool."


To create Utopias, Sam Adams' brewers used two-row, caramel and Vienna malts, then all four types of noble hops, leaving the beer spicy, fiery. It was aged in scotch, cognac and port barrels, from February 2001 until late last year.


The bottles, shaped like the huge copper brewing kettles of old, used by brewmasters for hundreds of years, hold 1 pint, 8 ounces. The herbaceous aroma has a distinctive smell, a combination of cinnamon and vanilla, with subtle hints of floral, oak, citrus, and pine. The maple syrup, a prime ingredient, is immediately evident on the nose, and follows through to the tongue, where it is joined by an entwining of port and sherry, with the slightest smack of hops. The finish is all walnut.


Marketed as an after-dinner drink, Utopias MMII is intended to be imbibed in two-ounce servings at room temperature. Koch says, with pride, that Utopias MMII is actually illegal in 15 states, including Utah, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.


"To make the strongest beer in the world, it's kind of like a female wrestler with hair all over her back," he says. "It could be something of a freak."


Not Utopias, though. "It tastes good, and is a pleasure to drink. In addition to being the strongest beer ever made, it's beginning to create a new form of alcoholic beverage."


Utopias will be available in various package stores, throughout select regions of the country, including the Boston metro area, New York, Rhode Island, Long Island, Burlington, Vt., Springfield, Mass., Hartford, New Haven, Stamford, and Norwalk. If you can't find Utopias in any store, there's always eBay, where bottles of this brawny brew -- which retail at $100 -- are fetching upwards of $500 a bottle

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Guest railroadjerk

high octane brew? people are sleeping on keystone ice! shit gets you more slizzard than the youngbloodz.

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Guest sneak

i want and i want it now...give me please?

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Guest HAL

It's really too bad that everything Sam Adams makes tastes like shit. You'd think that an independent beer company with such a high reputation would make beer that actually tastes great.

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