Trying to cover a good amount of styles and breweries as I roll out my initial beer reviews for this site. For my next review I have Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale. This has been one of the best and most consistent Barleywines and is praised as one of the innovators of the American take on the style. First released in the Winter of 1983 it recently celebrated its 30th anniversary last year. Bigfoot is loved by many for how well it develops with age and is quite common to find in most beer cellars. Coming in at 9.6% ABV and 90 IBUs Bigfoot really is the beast we all thought.
Appearance: The beer is a really beautiful, deep copper/amber color as you can see above. I poured quite aggressively and was able to get a decent sized off white head which turned later into some nice lacing. One more time let’s look at how nice of a color this beer pours, damn.
Nose: Immediately pick up very piney and spicy hop aroma as expected from how packed this beer is with centennial and chinook hops. The pine on the nose is very pleasant, something like standing near a pine tree outside or the smell of your hands after holding pine needles. You are also able to pick up some sweet malt and caramel.
Taste/Mouth: Beer has a syrupy feel to it with some nice carbonation. Tastes sweet but is balanced out nicely by the spicy/piney hop bitterness. They bitter this beer with Chinook and it really shines throughout the beer. It has such a unique spicy/piney taste and smell balancing out it’s syrupy sweetness and the alcohol. You do pick up some heat from the alcohol on the back end of the taste but it adds more complexity and is quite enjoyable. Bigfoot is a complex mix of spicy, sweet and hot while maintaining supreme drink-ability.
Availability/Price Point: As usual Sierra is really fair with price and makes their beer very available. I paid $8.99 plus tax for a four pack which is more than fair considering its a 9.6% Barleywine. This is a winter seasonal release but I’ll see 4 packs hanging around into the summer months probably. I think the best thing about a beer like this is I can drink two now and put the other two in the cellar for aging.
Overall: Another great offering from Sierra’s enormous collection of incredible beers. I think this one could use a little age on it to really shine, but it was still very enjoyable young and I don’t think it absolutely must be aged for it to be a great beer. I will enjoy the other one I have in my fridge for drinking now and I am excited to crack open the ones in my cellar down the road at some point and see how well Bigfoot ages. Definitely one of the best (pretty) readily available Barleywines out there, give Bigfoot a try if you haven’t yet!