A blend of three beers and aggressively dry hopped. 22% barrel aged : 78% ale
- Oak aged Bigfoot Barleywine
- Celebration Ale
- Pale Ale (fresh)
The last of the 30th Anniversary ales had to be huge and the team at Sierra Nevada chose to showcase three well-loved brews the produce into one historic concoction. These beers (a barleywine, IPA, and hoppy APA) were blended together and they fit perfectly! Corked and caged like prior brews, it developed a silky cream colored head as I poured the vibrant ruby-amber-copper hue into my snifter. With a generous swirl (after pictures) I noticed it had some legs as well.
The smell is powerfully hoppy with undertones of caramel, wood sugars, candied fruits, pine, citrus, figs, a sweet abv heat, a resinous herbal layer that sticks to the lungs, and I cannot forget what seemed like a combo of sherry-cognac-bourbon that lingers. I can tell it was dry-hopped big time! The smell definitely hints more towards the barleywine style, but the various hoppy layers do conjure up thoughts of a massive IPA.
When it comes to the taste this blend kicks ass. Bold, hoppy, oakey, and fresh would be the “no-duh” descriptors I’d use. The big barleywine abv is noticeable in the middle and finish of each sip while the dry-hopped IPA and APA ignite a medley of flavor the rest of the way (just about every hop characteristic is present).
Residual sugars provide a sweetness up front which is quickly turned into a glorious IPA bitterness. Piney, oily, and resinous is the main thrust of the bitterness with minor citrus notes of grapefruit from the fresh APA blended. It helps to lighten the body and flavor just enough. The oak aged portion adds a touch of vanilla and serves to round out the hop presence ever so slightly.
You get a little of everything from a barrel aged beer, IPA, I2PA, APA, and barleywine. The aftertaste is not overwhelming and leaves a good mixture of sugars, hops, and an abv punch. Might be good cellared, but why wait … buy two and drink up!
Side note: Jack & Ken’s Black Barleywine was my favorite of the 4 anniversary beers. Grade: A