Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 6,141 | Reviews: 2,806 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Dantes:
4.38/5 rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Package: Stubby "heritage" bottle. No date guidelines. Cap denotes “2003 Expedition” and 2 men and a Sasquatch around a fire underneath. Label depicts a prospector examining footprints, while his mule shies away. 9.6% ABV.
Cost: $9.49 a 6-Pack at Bottle King
Presentation: Snifter at 50º
Appearance: Coppery, strong-tea color with some haze. Generated a medium-dense off-white head, resolving to almost nothing. Isolated strings of small bubbles stream from the bottom.
Smell: Provided a snootfull of hops at the get-go. In that signature Sierra style, they weren't harsh or off-putting as I find in some other brews. One can pick out some dark-fruity notes like raisins, green apple, and a citrusy element. Clearly reminiscent of Celebration Ale.
Taste: “Tangy” was the word that kept coming to mind as the beer made my mouth water. I don’t know how Sierra Nevada does this, but they practice perfect “hopsmanship,” pushing the limit just to the point before it becomes medicinal. There's a strong, pine-resin taste with a citrus edge (pummello?) that avoids the overt grapefruit flavor I find unpleasant. As I savored this; caramel, malt, roasted nuts, clove, allspice, currants, and dried plums emerged. Evoked the iodiney single malts from Laphroig and Caol Ila. At the denouement, the hops reasserted themselves in the long, dry finish. Whereas Old Horizontal starts sweet and dries out; this starts dry, ripens, and then tightens up again.
Mouthfeel: Carbonation is a bit more assertive than some other barley wines, but matches well with the unctuous, palate-coating body.
Drinkability: A wonderfully drinkable barley wine that doesn’t flaunt its ABV. Obviously not a quaffer, this doesn’t shortchange you on refreshment or satisfaction.
As noted in my review of Celebration Ale, Sierra Nevada just knows how to do this kind of thing. Clearly, Bigfoot carries the hops banner in the barley wine wars, and does it proudly. Maybe not quite as complex as Old Horizontal, this promises that cellaring will be well-rewarded with more complexity, perhaps at the cost of some vibrancy. Less malty and sweet than some barley wines, this brew clearly demonstrates its Celebration Ale heritage.
Bottom Line: An “Imperial" Celebration Ale.
NB: A pre-1983 to 1997 vertical tasting in The Malt Advocate determined that 3 years of aging was the "pivot-point," where this seemed to reach its optimal condition.
Serving type: bottle
03-27-2003 10:52:21 | More by Dantes
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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,141 ratings.