Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Beer Review: 2012 Bigfoot (fresh)

Reviewing the Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.
Score: 92

2012 vintage bottle. Bottling code is "1364212:37." Served in a Great Lakes snifter and enjoyed on 02/15/12.

Appearance: Pours a dark, translucent mahogany color with a finger of "dirty" tan sea foam head that settles into ring around the glass and thin splotchy coating atop 80% of the glass. Excellent lacing at first, but that quality seems to dissipate some as the beer warms. 4/5

Smell: First pull is a sweet and sappy "piney hops" aroma mixed with fresh and "sticky" citrus. Smooth caramel, creamy malt, and complementary alcohol esters are also present in the nose. The aroma is much more reminisce of a IIPA/DIPA than a barleywine. A very modest amount of "stout-like" dark fruit and toasted maltiness comes out in the aroma as the beer warms. 4.5/5

Taste: The first sips leaves me with the distinct impression of malty grapefruit and hops -- though not in the sense a stale IPA. A mellow piney and citrus IPA-like bitter hops flavor is counterbalanced by a creamy caramel maltiness and moderate alcohol flavor/alcohol warming effect. Toasted grains and a little sugary-sweet dark malt on the midpalate. Not detecting any of the "dark fruit" I detected in the aroma on the palate. A sweet barley maltiness grows in the finish as the beer layers, overshadowing the citrus. The bitterness never dissipates, however. The level of alcohol flavor present in the back end of the flavor also grows as it warms. At first, this beer tastes a lot like a mellowed out and slightly boozy single IPA -- much more so than the typical barleywine. As the beer warms and layers, however, it becomes more barleywine-like with malty sweetness. Bigfoot reminds me a lot of the recently released New Glarus Thumbprint Barleywine. The finish is bitter, slightly grainy and malty-sweet. Flavors of caramel, barley and bitter citrus linger. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus bodied, moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is sticky, malty and creamy. Finish is bitter and malty, mixed with some alcohol. 4.5/5

Overall: An excellent example of what a non-barrel aged barleywine can be, though I suppose this is more a "barleywine styled ale" than a real barleywine. As someone who does not like most barleywines (e.g., the Y2K I recently reviewed), I always enjoy stumbling across the DIPA-like barleywines such as Behemoth. I cannot wait to see how this one ages.

Recommendation: I would highly recommend this beer to hops fans and fans of bitterer beers. Casual beer drinks will probably not enjoy the stark bitterness of this one.

Pairings: French vanilla ice cream.

Cost: $10.99 for a six pack.

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