Day 92

In our last Sensory Evaluation class with Roger Mittag, we had our blind “off-flavour” test. In order to do these tests, Roger spikes pitchers of beer with capsules specially made for this. Unfortunately, something was off with the off-flavour capsules–their contents weren’t strong enough this week–so we had a hard time detecting which off-flavour was which.

Roger promised us this wouldn’t be a problem during the final exam next week–he is using actual bottles of beer with real, very detectable defects.

A few weeks ago, I managed to get one of only 150 bottles of  Samuel Adams Utopias sold in Ontario. This is a 27% abv sipping beer that would likely take me about 8 years to drink on my own, so I offered to share one-ounce samples with my 1st-year classmates at the end of Roger’s class.

Here were some of their observations:

Appearance: no perceptible head. Good “legs” speaks of high alcohol level. Colour of mahogany, stained wood, dark rum, fading at edges to golden straw.

Aroma at start: aged port, vanilla, ice wine, molasses, maple, anise, black licorice, rummy, caramel, almond, salty (umami), brown sugar, maple-smoked bacon.

Taste (at 5 minutes): viscous and oily, mouth-coating, medium bodied, warming, boozy, black licroice, apricot, dried papaya, dried dark fruits (figs, plums and dates), old oak, old leather, sweet.

Finish: Thick, satiating, medium impact, relatively short finish with lingering fruit, warming, syrupy, sweet but not cloying.

After 10 minutes: wine cellar, baked brown sugar, taste softens, maple comes to fore.

After 30 minutes: less sweet, less umami, more anise, notes of pulpy orange rind.

And then we sat and looked at our empty glasses. A great way to end Sensory Evaluation.

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One Comment on “Day 92”


  1. […] (I have mentioned Utopias before–an incredibly rare and expensive 27% abv beer. Only a few thousand numbered bottles are produced each year. The LCBO gets perhaps 200 of these, and sells them for the bargain basement price of only $115 each. I say “bargain basement price” because in the American free market, bottles are normally priced from $200 to $300. This year is even more special because it is the 10th anniversaryof Utopias, which called for a special black bottle signed in gold by Jim Koch.) […]


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