Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 6,107 | Reviews: 2,805 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by mayorwalda:
1.83/5 rDev -55.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2
I review this the way I have because I have a number of expectations when cracking open a "barley wine" and this brew fulfilled almost none of them.
Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot Barley Wine Style Ale
Man, I love Sierra Nevada! Let’s pry the cap off this thang (12 fl oz bottle).
Here comes the aroma! More like “ah-ro…what?” Do I smell hops? Weird. I really do, I smell hops; and basically no malt. Smells can be deceiving sometimes, I guess.
Let’s move on.
On the pour, Sierra Nevada’s barley wine looks like a barley wine, at least. It has got that dark red, unfiltered beauty which signifies to me, visually, “Hey, man, good job picking that barley wine.” But my nose is calling the bluff here, “Hey, guys, I smell hops. Just hops.” We’ll let senior Palaté (I have no clue how that would be pronounced) mediate this discussion.
And, so, on the first sip, well, my nose had this brew’s number from the start.
Holy hell, are there hops in here! There are really, really a lot of hops in here. So much so, that I am not getting any sense of maltiness at all—certainly nothing from our subtle, sweet, amazing friend, barley. No malt/barley sweetness frolicking across my tongue this time around. What a bummer.
Instead of the smooth, round tastes I’m used to, I’m getting the taste of something a lot more hop-centric. Something like an imperial IPA. I know Sierra Nevada loves their line of pale ales, but it still surprises me that they’d overwhelm this style with the tank full of hops they must have used to make this. I find that it’s a strange decision as a person smitten with this style of beer.
All the things I love about barley wine seem to go ignored in this. The sweetness is not there. While on your tongue, this brew drinks like an IPA. Very green, resinous and slightly floral. After gulping it down a bit you get that typical IPA trail of bitterness on your tongue which waits eagerly for you to reinforce it. There isn’t a moment in the process of enjoying this brew that you do not taste hops.
Word on the street, though, is that this thing perks up—or rather mellows the ‘eff’ out—with age. This is the 2012 release I’m drinking, so, if this thing needs age, well, I haven’t given it that. To be honest, I’ll have no trouble shelving two or three of these for a year or two. I would like this beer to really live up to the sweet mellowness “barley wine” signifies to me. If it takes a year or two, I guess it’s an investment I’m willing to make.
At any rate, the skinny is like this. (I promise from here on out I’ll be less whiny.)
A(ppearance): Well, Sierra Nevada’s got the barley wine style down in this department. This brew most certainly has the dark, red, copper color of the beloved barley wine. The head gathers tightly and eagerly. This brew’s head has a piney, resin texture.
S(mell): This is where things seem to deviate from expectation. The bouquet from this beer is completely composed of hops
T(aste): As far as taste is concerned, this beer is green and hoppy. There is little in the way of malt taste. I mean to say that it must be there, but it is completely overwhelmed by the hop intensity that it’s not present in a way that can be appreciated. It’s probably only serving, at this point, to keep us from going cross-eyed from bitterness. I will say one positive thing about this brew, though. This beer comes with an ABV of 9.6. That will serve as a surprise to anyone who doesn’t do their homework before cracking this thing open. The booziness of a 9.6 ABV is totally hidden in this brew. Kudos for that, Sierra Nevada.
M(outhfeel): The mouthfeel is a bit tacky, with lasting bitterness that asks to be endlessly refreshed. A great quality for an IPA; not, in my opinion, a good quality for a barley wine.
O(verall): Well, as this review is part of my ongoing Quest for the Best Barley Wine Under $14.99, well, I have to totally fail Sierra Nevada’s offering. As a beer in general it’s nice. I’d like to see it called something different because I don’t think it lives up to the qualifications they put to it… At any rate it’s a quality, high ABV ale and deserves a lick. You should try it if for no other reason than, it’s another good hop-centric beer from Sierra Nevada. But, again, it doesn’t even qualify for a rank in my quest…
Serving type: bottle
04-10-2012 23:35:40 | More by mayorwalda
More User Reviews:
4.3/5 rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4
Today I will be reviewing the mythical Bigfoot, a brown hair covered beast that roams the Pacific Northwest woodlands attracting attention from the occasional camper with a video camera... Wait a sec. I'm actually reviewing the Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale or Initialised (as always in my Sierra Nevada reviews) as SNBBSA. What more can be said about Sierra Nevada, they rule the roost when it comes to the West-Coast craft scene, and I imagine they are all-round nice guys/girls as well. Note: This is the 2014 batch, and also my first US style Barleywine.
Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.
A: A deep hazy cooper body with a ring of beige lace awaits the next lucky drinker (i.e. me).
S: An intriguing mix of dark fruits (fig, raisin, dates), pine and citrus hops. Also noted is a caramel malt and a hint of bread yeast that lingers around. There is a great synergy going on between these aromas, it's as if a fruity Belgian Quadrupel got in bed with an aggressive hop forward American IPA and the two had a passionate love-making session.
T: Then the flavour hits you, nay punches you right in the tongue. Elements of the above aromas swirl about taking a dump right on my palate. There is however a sharp forward hop bitterness that is a tad distracting, it's like an ultra concentration of pine and grapefruit. Shame when everything else within the taste of this fine Ale hits the right spot.
M: Dense and syrupy - it has the consistency of a delicious beer-flavoured treacle.
D: I guess I knew what I was in for when I cracked open SNBBSA but boy oh man oh girl oh woman it really smacks you around. Although the hop bitterness is a smidge over the top, the flavour and texture of this beer is indeed akin to a big hairy manbeast roaming the giant redwood forests of Oregon. Perhaps the only thing holding it back from being as great as a similar ABV Belgian Quad would be finesse - the Belgians nail finesse, whilst the Americans bring complexity to the table it will only take you so far, then you need finesse.
Food match: The heavy body of this beer really makes it more of an after-dinner brew, however if you were going to attempt it with food then you need a bold spicy cuisine like a Thai with a light body to counteract any bloat, such as a green Papaya salad with chopped red chilli.
Serving type: bottle
07-22-2014 07:53:15 | More by doktorhops
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,107 ratings.