Sierra Nevada - Bigfoot - barleywine ale
Before I so much as nose this beer, it should be noted that I haven't had a fresh Barleywine ale in nearly a decade; I tend to believe that they should be aged yet... here goes. It pours almost the same color as the dark brown bottle from which it was poured with a robust head. The nose is very malt forward with noticeable molasses-esque sweetness. Some dried fruit notes come through on subsequent inhales: raisin, maybe currant, notes. The first sip is mostly bitter with a slight hint of the sweetness I found on the nose, yet the hops used really keep things under control. I normally have to wait several years to have this kind of balance in this style of beer; some sweetness, but mellowed by age. It has a solid amount of effervescence that helps lift many of the bold flavors off of the palate. The finish is fairly bold, and hangs on the back of the palate in a dark and bitter way. This beer is, generally speaking, ready to drink right out of the gate; exhibiting the elements that I often have to wait for. As the label suggests, it will age well, and I am intrigued to experience that. Fortunately, this beer is sold as a pack, so it should be an easy journey to drink a few and save a few for a while and compare with a fresh batch. While many brewers like to release a single bomber of their barleywine, Sierra Nevada is kind enough to give us a pack of them. Grab a pack while you can, it makes for a great vertical in the years to come and a robust sipper for the here and now. Review by James Fisher
9.6% abv 90 ibus
WAS : $13.49 EMAIL : $11.99 SIZE : 6pk 12oz bottles
Like its namesake, this is a behemoth of a beer, but it's balanced and appropriately intense for the style. Bold, assertive scents of citrusy and piny hops lead the bouquet, supported by notes of roasted grain, caramel malt, toasted brown bread and cocoa nib. The palate showcases the rich, malty core at first sip, but soon after transitions into hop-fueled flavors of sticky citrus oil and pine resin that carry on long into the finish. The texture is smooth and full, with ample carbonation to keep the mouthfeel from feeling too heavy or flat. While it's certainly enjoyable now, it's also an extremely cellar-worthy selection, as it will mature beautifully for many years to come.