Since its World Wide Stout arrived in the Dogfish Head lineup back in 2019, it’s taken a few different, special edition forms, from bourbon barrel-aged to a more recent coffee-enhanced version. While those are pretty familiar stout renditions in today’s beer landscape, one World Wide Stout was quite the standout. In fall of 2020, and probably not coincidently just after their acquisition by Sam Adams parent Boston Beer Co., the brewery dropped a real mind-bender. Utopias Barrel-Aged Worldwide Stout ages for a full year in barrels that formerly held Utopias, the godfather of strong, aged ales from Sam Adams. As if one ridiculously high-octane beer wasn’t enough, for 2023, Dogfish is taking its 120 Minute IPA, one of its most iconic and booziest brews, and giving it the same barrel treatment, aging for a year in freshly dumped Utopias barrels. Thankfully, I’m not driving anywhere this afternoon.
Dogfish Head Utopias Barrel-Aged World Wide Stout – Pours a deep milk chocolate color with a light, mahogany-tinged head. The aroma is boozy but still light on its feet. While its bourbon barrel-aged brother was all sweet, creamy fudge, the Utopias aging has given this one a big, malty nose with notes of maple syrup and milky coffee. The palate is big and lush but with a well-balanced sweetness. Notes of dark raisins, treacle, and barley sugar give way to a generous finish of cola, malt balls, and chocolate chip cookies. Exceptionally balanced and surprisingly approachable for such a high-octane stout. 17.3% abv. A / $10 per 12 oz. bottle
Dogfish Head Utopias Barrel-Aged 120 Minute IPA – Pours a tarnished gold with a light, cream soda head. The aroma is subdued compared to the classic 120 Minute, with less of the punchy, piney aromatics and more vanilla, raw honey, and toffee. It’s still impressively boozy, but like the stout, surprisingly approachable for the abv. The palate is initially heavy with a mouth-coating, malty sweetness that obscures much of the big IPA at its core. Thankfully, there’s a quick transition to more lively and complex notes of caramel-kissed tropical fruits, golden raisin, and dulce de leche, culminating in a long, resinous finish of barley sugar and mildly bitter hops. Still, a bit more like a barrel-aged barleywine than an IPA. But I’m digging it. 17% abv. A- / $10 per 12 oz. bottle