Sierra Nevada ‘Bigfoot’ barley wine style ale


Sierra Nevada Bigfoot barley wine style ale“Bigfoot is a beast of a beer, brimming with bold flavors of bittersweet malt and heaps of aggressive whole-cone Pacific Northwest hops. First introduced in the winter of 1983, Bigfoot is a cult-classic beer brewed in the barleywine style, meaning a strong, robust, bruiser of a beer with the refined intensity of a wine. Bigfoot is prized by beer collectors for its supreme cellarability. Under the proper conditions, it can age like a fine wine, developing new flavors and character as it matures in the bottle. Each new release or “expedition” is vintage dated. Collect your own and see the flavors develop and progress.”

We served this barley wine in a beer tulip. Our eyes are treated to an exceptionally clear tawny copper appearance with deep ruby red hues. Over the top sat a big 3 finger crown which steadily reduced to a firm covering. Good head retention with sheets of lacing clinging to our glasses. Deep and complex aroma, there’s much more focus on the fruity sweetness rather than the oak and vanilla which barley wines are more commonly known for. A vigorous twirl also reveals a hearty earthiness with tangy hints of pomegranate, red grapes, stewed fruits, residual sugars, raspberry, alcohol and floral pine. Quite pungent to be honest. In the mouth it’s light and slightly oily with a sharp alcoholic astringency. The carbonation levels are mild with a moderate body. Upon entry an overrepresented alcohol burn takes a hold of the taste buds. Dank, earthy flavours are softly sweetened by syrup and hints of a fig-like viscosity. We were kind of hoping the alcohol burn would settle but it almost does the opposite, taking on a muted burn on the back end as it fades out. A suggestion of honey and doughy malts finish the beer off as a firm dryness offers decent duration. Well, it’s safe to say the 9.6% ABV is left slightly unchecked, although when we look at this as a belly-warming winter beer, we can kinda dig it. We aren’t completely sold on it though, if it were aged a little longer maybe the alcohol would soften and allow more of those sugary flavours to come through. Nothing spectacular but certainly offers nice quaffing.