Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot (2015 edition)

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1343) - Albany, New York, USA - MAY 5, 2015
I don’t know why it took me so long to finally drink and review Sierra Nevada Bigfoot – it’s one of the most famous and revered craft beers in the country. Now that I’ve had it I can say it was worth the wait. Don’t get me wrong, this is a very good beer for sure; but not quite the world class amazing brew I had expectations of. As an American-style barleywine it does exactly what it should do. I’m inclined to believe this beer gets better with age.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a snifter. It was bottled on 2/11/15 and cost $3.99 ($0.33 per ounce).

Appearance: Beautiful burgundy hue; particulates can be seen floating in suspension. Pours to a relatively large, beige, foamy head which laces and retains very well.

Smell: Fruity scent – dark dried fruits along with an assortment of berries or citrus. Significant alcohol aroma as well.

Taste: Plenty of malty sweetness right away. It’s not thick, syrupy or cloying, though. Slight confectionery flavors of toffee or caramel along with a general dark/dried/berry fruit taste. Not quite as intense or complex as a Belgian quad, but definitely not a simple, direct palette by any means. The hops are quite prominent – not surprisingly – imparting a substantial bitterness with minor citrusy and floral overtones. It also has that distinct Chinook hop character of dry bitter astringency. The alcohol is a major player as well, but doesn’t make for the woody or vanilla character often found in similar brews. I think this beer would improve with aged and a barrel-aged edition would be nice, too.

Drinkability: Weighing in at 9.6% ABV, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot is probably the strongest mainstream beer available in all 50 states. Yet, it isn’t the carbonated extract you might think it is. The mouthfeel is soft, smooth and thick, but in no way sticky. Much of that has to do with the alcohol warmth which seems to thin out the body a bit (I could feel it in my sinuses after each swig). Slightly drying on the tongue after each taste, but easily tolerable.

Score: 8/10

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