Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot Barleywine Ale is released in the first quarter of each year making today’s beer a healthy four years old. When beer nerds think or discuss of cellar-able options Bigfoot is invariably near the top of the list. Let’s dig in and see what a 2013 Bigfoot tastes like in 2017.
The pour is a deep clear crimson copper color with a shockingly large tan shaded head. Retention and lacing is absolutely top notch. The aromas are massive; you only need to be within a few feet to catch a whiff of the sweet raisins and dates emanating from the glass. The nose is dominated by that sweetness with no sign of hop aroma and so far no hint at any oxidation. To be honest, I prefer a touch of oxidation in barleywines. Not enough to be dominate but just enough over the threshold that it adds to the complexity and layering of flavors.
Speaking of flavors; the taste is pure whole grain bread with a spread of sweet dark fruit jams upfront, think figs and dates. This leads to a surprisingly big hit of hop bitterness on the finish. After four years the hop aroma may be gone but the bitterness is still very much in play. I am not picking up any oxidation or even alcohol heat. A testament to the brewing prowess in the hands of the people over at Sierra Nevada. There is a reason people have been aging Bigfoot since it was first released in 1983. Proven time and time again to those with the patience to wait for the inimitable effects of the arrow of the fourth dimension to work its wonders.