Monthly Archives: May 2013

Bigfoot Found!

It’s true!!  Bigfoot found!!

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale 2013 is in my local grocery store, and I picked up a four pack.  Such an amazing brew!  This is the definition of barleywine if you ask me.  Although a bit hoppier than most barleywines, I haven’t found one that I like more.  Well, Dogfish Head Olde School is pretty damn awesome too, but that one is kind of a different beast: it’s got way more alcohol, for one thing, and isn’t comparable to bigfoot ale.  Although both brews are fantastic, this post is about Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot ale, so we’ll stick to that!

I’m going to post my original review from more than a year ago, along with my edits for this year’s vintage:

Bigfoot!

Downright gorgeous to look at, deep amber with copper notes, clear, with a great 3 finger head that lasted forever and laced the glass with sticky chunks.

More like an IPA in the nose, hops are dominant and the typical barleywine smells are secondary. Piney and even grapefruit hops are pungent. A little caramel malt and a little fruitiness provide something other than hops as a side note.

Taste is bold and again, very hoppy. Tastes more like a barleywine than it smells, but still, this one is quite a bit like a DIPA in the taste department. The hop profile is just dominant as hell, this fact cannot be hidden. Fruity and caramel malt flavors do balance out the taste more so than the smell though, and overall it’s quite nice!

The body is thick and tangy but the alcohol is surprisingly well hidden. The hops even leave a bit of a bite on the aftertaste.

Honestly, this is a fine barleywine, albeit a lot hoppier and a bit different than I’m used to when I buy a barleywine. I really like this stuff. I can’t wait to see how it mellows. I’ve put a bottle away for a year, and another for two years, will re-try it again next march (and the one after that) and report back.

I really like trying new beers, and I hadn’t had this one yet. Overall I’d list it as “must try” Excellent job, SN!

Edit for 2013: once again, they nailed it.  The original review is more than a year old, but now I’ve had 5 different years of vintages, both aged, and for the more recent years, fresh.  Every time it’s just fantastic!  Gold standard of barleywines.  Monstrous hops and tons of delicious malts, one of my favorite beers anytime, from any brewery.  If I decide to try and brew a barleywine, it will be based on this!

Cheers to Sierra Nevada for 2013 Bigfoot Ale!

 

Bigfoot Found!

Advertisements

Vienna Cascade SMaSH

Slapped together a quick one last saturday, a SMaSH beer with only Vienna and Cascade.

  • 12 lbs Vienna malt
  • US-05 yeast
  • 1 oz cascade at 60
  • 1 oz cascade at 10
  • 1 oz cascade at 5
  • 2 oz cascade at FO
  • about 2.5 oz of cascade dry hop (the rest of the bag, whatever it weighs)

Mashed at 153 for an hour.

Targets:

  • OG 1.058
  • IBUs 38
  • SRM 6.4
  • ABV 6.2

Freetail Brewery IPAs

Was working on a deck over on that side of town, and stopped at Freetail Brewery to see what bombers they had for takeout.  There were four bombers available, and I didn’t know what any of them were all about, nor did I have the time to read about it or discuss it with the staff.  So I picked the two IPA type beers to try later that day.

Two days later, we finished the job early, so we went to Freetail for lunch and a couple of beers.  I saw that there was a third IPA in bombers for takeout, so I picked that one up too.  I guess it’s Freetail “IPA week” for me!  I’ll post the review of Soul Doubt IPA below.

The other two IPAs I picked up:

Velocihoptor (what a great name for an IPA!).

Buffalo Hump 1840 Belgian IPA

In addition, I had another round of Spirulina Wit, a delicious rye witbier with spirulina added to give it a wonderful and deliciously strange green color!  At 3.9% ABV, it’s damn easy to drink, and I could easily have several of these in a sitting.

I also tried Uglie Ollie Stout, a delicious dry Irish stout that’s full bodied, but only 4.1% ABV.  These two brews made a nice lunch (along with some delicious pizza from their food menu).

I am going to try to make it there this Saturday for the “battle of the wits” where they’ll have various varieties of their witbier for your drinking pleasure!

Cheers to Freetail!

 Soul Doubt IPA

Pours a nice amber to copper color, mostly clear, with a creamy head that left about a 1/4″ sheet of dense foam capped on top the whole way down, leaving sheets of nice sticky resinous lacing.

The aroma doesn’t blow me out of the water, by any means. It’s somewhat subdued, but I get Cara-Munich malt first, then some herbal, earthy hops.

Flavors much follow the aroma, but they stand out more, and leave me wondering why I don’t make it out to freetail more often! The Cara-Munich and aromatic malts (along with whatever crystal malts they used) make a great base, and an unusual one for an IPA. I like the innovation! It’s well hopped, but balanced very well with the moderate ABV and bold malty backbone. There’s a little citrus, but I am getting mostly heavily earthy and lightly floral or grassy hop flavors.

This IPA is very unusual, and very likeable. Just don’t expect to be getting a standard west coast 47 lbs of hops per five gallons type of IPA. This beer is well crafted and delicious, but it’s not Pliny the Younger or Heady Topper.

Cheers to Freetail brewery for this brew!

Elderberry Wheat III

Brewing Elderberry Wheat again!  It’s a great recipe and I’m ready for some more of it now that it’s getting warm outside.  Base malts identical to last two times, this time will use serebrianka hops.

  • 4 lbs, 8 oz pilsner malt
  • 4 lbs wheat malt
  • 1 lb flaked wheat
  • 0.5 lbs 20L crystal malt
  • 1 oz Serebrianka at 30
  • 1 oz Serebrianka at 10
  • 0.5 oz Serebrianka at FO
  • 8 oz dried elderberries at 20 minutes
  • Bavarian wheat yeast
  • OG 1.054
  • IBUs 20
  • SRM ??
  • ABV 5.1%

Real Ale Brewing Company, Blanco Texas

I’ve been steadily trying different beers from Real Ale Brewing Company (often referred to by beer geeks as RABC).   So far, I’ve found they make great beer!  In fact I’ve liked every beer I’ve tried from them, and hope to try more!

This brewery is right up there with America’s top craft breweries in their quality of beer.  They make flavorful beers, often plentifully hopped, and even seem to be setting a few trends (like with their four-squared, a blonde ale ramped up with lots of extra hops and more malts).

Their Brewer’s Cut series has been interesting.  The latest two are Altbier and Blonde Barleywine.  I really like the Altbier, it’s plentifully malty with enough hops for balance, making a really enjoyable Altbier (not a style we see a lot of). The blonde barleywine is a strange one, but it’s quite enjoyable if you’re a barleywine drinker (don’t think it’s a blonde ale, it’s over 9%!).  Kind of like a barleywine mixed with a blonde ale, but mostly it’s still a barleywine.  I applaud them for trying new and different things!

Here are some other of their past Brewer’s Cut projects:

I particularly liked the Signature Hop Pale Ale, and the Imperial Red.  I wish they’d just make the Signature Hop Pale Ale a regular offering, or at the very least, a seasonal.  Can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

Value-wise I’ve found their beers to be spot-on.  The prices are reasonable and the quality high.  This is real American craft beer, not some Podunk bunch of amateurs.

Their annual anniversary party was quite large, and I appreciate the free beers I got from them!  More importantly, I appreciate being able to get high quality, reasonably priced craft beer that’s made locally.

Stuff I’d like to see from them, should they be so inclined to brew it…

  • Double IPA
  • American Stout or Milk Stout (about 6% ABV)
  • Sessionable “Bitter” or “ESB”
  • Anything fruity

Anyway, don’t be afraid to try some RABC brews, they’re delicious!

Altbier

 

%d bloggers like this: