Name: Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale
Brewery: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Chico, California
Style: American Barleywine
Alcohol Content (ABV): 10.4%
First Brewed: 1982
Aromas of toffeelike malt plus spicy, slightly resiny hops, with a kind of woody complexity. Alcohol and estuary fruit are evident. Very sweet and full bodied up front, building to a massive bitterness with caramel and orange overtones. Long, warming bittersweet finish.
I had this beer last year, and I really liked it. I like this style. I am a sucker for sweets, and I remember this one being sweet. It was interesting to read this beer is good both fresh and aged. I think I am going to get 4 bottles, hold 2 to drink in 3 years and hold 2 to drink in 10 years. Not sure I can keep beers around that long, but I am going to try! Next time I am at Total Wine & More I will grab some more. Might need to find a new cellar, though!
When I went to the fridge, it was either this or the Celebration Ale. I figured we could drink this one because it’s a big beer over 10% ABV, and it’s Phoenix Open week here in the Valley. Everyone is drinking beer, so I figured we would too! Had a beer today on hole 16 and got to watch Phil miss the green. Everyone was yelling and giving him a hard time. Welcome to the Waste Management Phoenix Open!
In the Glass: It has a nice color to it. You can’t really see through it, and the head is thin producing a very nice sticky lace. Beers like this are usually thick, and while this doesn’t have that appearance in the glass, I can tell you from experience this has a nice, thick mouthfeel.
Nose: This beer smells like melted butter. It has a nice sweetness to it, as well. This is right from the fridge, and barleywines usually smell and taste better as they heat up. I am going to let this sit for a little bit, and take my last drink at room temperature. I poured myself another beer to help me through the waiting period!
Flavor: That is the flavor I remember. However, this one seems a little more hoppy than I remember. It’s not as sweet as I remember. Like I said, I am drinking this cold… but that shouldn’t bring out that much hoppy flavor. The finish (and I will get to that) reminds me of an IPA. I wonder what they changed with this release. Do they change the recipe every year?
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is not as thick as I remember. Look at me… recalling my experience the last time I drank this. I am also not blown away with the finish. Again, I will l get to that. The beer is a little more carbonated than I remember, and it’s also not as thick as I remember. Barleywines are not supposed to have bubbles… I want thick, flat malty goodness from a barleywine. Not champagne bubbles and a hoppy finish.
Aftertaste: Did they change the recipe and make an IPA? I am serious… this tastes like an IPA. Every swallow is loaded with hops, and I am having a hard time figuring out why this is better fresh. This will, with time, mellow out. But man, this is not very good. I am actually a little disappointed in this offering. Considering I like this last year, I had some big expectations. Boo Sierra Nevada, BOO!
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale – The bottle says: “Bigfoot is a beast of a beer, brimming with flavor from massive amounts in roasted malt and spicy hops; brewed in the barleywine style, with a rich bittersweet body and whole-cone Pacific Northwest hops.
I don’t really know how to start this blog post. I have nothing clever to say. So, here we go – right into the beer. I do know that it is a barleywine, and I like barleywines. My only problem with them is that I have had a few times where the barleywine just was not as good to me because it tasted way too hoppy. I’m not a beer expert – I don’t know what defines a barleywine – I just know what I like. And I have had several barleywines that tasted just like an IPA to me, and I was disappointed. Three Floyds Behemoth was like that to me. I hope this one isn’t like that, but Ricky tells me that it is. Doh! Let’s find out.
In the glass, the beer looks pretty thick. Not as thick as a porter or a stout, but still kind of thick. It’s a dark red color, almost brown but still too red to be brown. And mine doesn’t have a lot of head. Maybe it did when poured, but it’s been sitting for a few minutes and there’s not much left. It smells… hoppy, like an IPA. Uh-oh. Not what I was hoping for. All I really smell is that cinnamon hops smell. Hmm. Well, let’s see how it tastes.
It tastes… like an imperial IPA. But to me, that’s not a barleywine. It’s still way too hoppy. It’s good, but not the way I want a barleywine to taste. I wish I could describe the taste better, for those of you that are not really beer drinkers, but if you’ve had an imperial IPA, you know what this tastes like. Strong hops, with a strong aftertaste, and a decent flavor. It’s not bad, but not what I hoped for. Probably not one I would buy again, since I’m not a huge IPA fan.