SIERRA NEVADA BIGFOOT BARLEYWINE - VINTAGE 2008
Visiting another American barleywine, this time with far more age on it. The Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale is pretty hot and bitter forward when fresh. It's sticky bitterness is almost like a hop cone dipped in honey. This is an incredible beer to age as it has a bit hop load to ensure that it can withstand the test of time and mature for a great while after bottling.
Carbonation has kept up well. Produces a decent half inch head that recedes to a ring around the glass. It pours a dark red, burgundy color that is primarily clean, but so dense that you can't see through it.
The smell still has a nice amount of grapefruit and hops. There is a bit of plum and a ton of malt sweetness that suggests caramel and bread. There is almost a candied sugar aroma that mixes with the bit of booze that is still present. As it opens up, pine and some citrus rind start to surface.
The taste is sweet right at first, but only for a fraction of a second. As it hits mid palate, you experience a sharp spike in bitterness and booze. This is very strong and drinks heavier than a 9.6% ABV. The hops are still very present and yield a piney resin flavor that dominates the taste. The back and end hold the booze along with the aftertaste of bitters and grapefruit rind. As the beer warms, the grapefruit and hops continue to unfold in the flavor. The malts seem to be the slight sugar on your fruit for breakfast that does little to nothing.
This beer could have gone for another 5 years, easily. I would have thought for sure that having 6 years on it would have tamed the bitterness but it has done very little. After warming up and oxidizing a little more in the glass, the beer starts to balance out, but it is a very slow transformation. It drinks as though it is still fairly new which is both surprising (for being 6 years old) and expected due to the fact that it is an American Barleywine and hopped up like mad. Do you have a few of these lying around and have forgotten about them? No need to fear. This beer could easily go for a decade without being touched.
WHAT IS CELLARED?
Our CELLARED series aims to explore the world of aging beer and sharing the effects of time in the bottle. Bottles have been kept away from light and at temperatures between 44-60 degrees. Individual experiences may vary depending on storage environments.