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This rare Sam Adams beer is $200 a bottle — and it's illegal in 15 states

CNBC logo CNBC 3/18/2018 Ali Montag

Jim with Utopias

Jim with Utopias
© Provided by CNBC
A typical beer's alcohol content is between 4 and 8 percent, but if you're willing to shell out $200 for a bottle, you can try Samuel Adams' most deluxe beer, which packs a whopping 28 percent alcohol content.

"It's kind of the Starship Enterprise of beer — it takes beer where no beer has been before," Jim Koch, the billionaire founder of Sam Adams, tells CNBC's "Secret Lives of the Super Rich," on a recent episode.

The brew, called Samuel Adams Utopias, is aged in barrels that once held bourbon, which are emptied and re-filled with beer. The ingredients include multiple malts, three varieties of German hops, and a yeast that is typically used for creating champagne.

The beer's flavor is "reminiscent of a rich vintage Port, old Cognac, or fine Sherry with notes of dark fruit, subtle sweetness and a deep rich malty smoothness," according to Samuel Adams.

"One of the things I wanted to do is bring to beer the same dignity and respect and nobility that's been accorded to wine," Koch says.

The beer is then put into bottles that are replicas of the company's giant brewing kettle.

"You don't pound it like a regular beer, you just sip it," Koch adds.

In 2017, only 68 casks were produced, and 13,000 bottles available for purchase.

There's just one catch: the brew is illegal in 15 states in the U.S., including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia, according to the Sam Adams site.

Koch says it's illegal "because of the high alcohol [content and] the unique brewing process," which he calls the "lunatic fringe of brewing."

"As a brewer I'm okay with that," Koch tells "Secret Lives of the Super Rich. "To me, there's only one thing better than great, wonderful beer — it's great wonderful beer that's illegal."

Watch new episodes of CNBC's "Secret Lives of the Super Rich" Wednesdays at 10P/ET.

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