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:
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!