Review – Sierra Nevada Bigfoot / Colonel E.H. Taylor Bourbon Barrel-Aged

Usually, I am a little late to online beer sales. The beer goddesses smiled upon me this time though and I snared one bottle of this Sierra Nevada meets Buffalo Trace barleywine.

Here is the description from the brewery, “Brewers hand-picked vintages of Bigfoot already aging in bourbon whiskey barrels — for up to 7 years — and after a final year in E.H. Taylor barrels, the beer that emerged was simply unreal, and at 15% ABV, full of immense flavor.”

Using the same packaging as the E.H. Taylor bourbon is a great choice, that is some classy, handsome, rugged design. Having it caged and corked is another high-end look.

BBAB pours a dark brown color with a streak of red to it. On the nose, the bourbon is not super big which came as a bit of a surprise (not the biggest one, get to that a bit later). This very smooth with close to a caramel taste to it. The rough, spiky hop notes in regular Bigfoot have been completely sanded down.

The biggest surprise is that this does not taste 15% or anywhere near it. Not in aroma, viscosity or taste. This is not a beer that you need to pace yourself with.

Overall, this was really good but I was letdown by the lack of bourbon.

Review – Bourbon O.E. from Smog City

Time to barleywine, two ways with Smog City Brewing. Bourbon O.E.

For 2022, there is the OG O.E. aa well as a special variant that “was aged in Garrison Brothers Balmorhea Bourbon barrels and is absolutly oozing with bourbon characteristics. If you love bourbon, this variant is not to be missed.”

Bourbon Barrel – starting with the standard bearer. it has a subdued initial nose to it. the bourbon and wood is there but I also get a cherry note that is followed by a soft vanilla. There is no mistaking that this beer is nearly 14% abv but it is not heavy at all.

Balmorhea Barrel – this aroma tickled my nose literally and figuratively. Leather and vanilla are the leads and the first sip yields caramel as well. Oddly is a bit more fizzy and with much less of an alcohol burn to it.

Amazing how different these two beers are but I would nudge the Balmorhea ahead of the standard. The toned down alcohol brought the other flavors up a notch in my view.

Santa’s Pint Glass – Day 17

Next up is a dickens of a beer from Silver City Brewing.

Old Scrooge Christmas Ale is the brewery’s most award-winning beer. Through the years it has been awarded 13 medals that includes 6 from the Great American Beer Festival and one award from the World Beer Cup.

This take on an English-Style Barleywine is a malty ale that derives from a long boil time, cool fermentation and extended aging. Silver City uses a malt bill of NW Pale, British Pale, Caramel, and Munich with Columbus and Willamette hops.”

Sip, Silence, Repeat

Unlike some, I like a good barleywine now and again and if it is from The Lost Abbey, you can double that emotion. But even more appealing is the idea forwarded by the Abbey of a “contemplative pause”. Good idea for all beers but even better for this beer style.

Review – Two from The Crac Brewery

I scurried down to Carson to to-go some beers from one of the newest breweries in the L.A. area, Crac and brought back a pair to try and here’ve is my review…

AphrodisiCrac.  Smooth taste.  Has a touch of smoke, coffee and just the right amount of salinity.  All tied together into a beer ver I like what normally comes in 16ounce cans.

The Bollox. Very nice example of a barleywine.  Has a bit of floral aromatics but the cheek warming ABV and the nice punch of hops works really well together. A dash of caramel here too that ties it together. 

There were three other beers on offer and if these two are any indication, they will be pretty good.

Less Deal, More Devil

Well, I should have known that the fervent beer traders would not be slowed by a Virus. Apparently, the beer seller, Tavour got cans of wax dipped (?) Barleywine and were able to sell it for $50! Now, I have not had Anchorage beers lately but I know of their high reputation. But that is not a price I would pay for any one can of beer because my expectations would never meet the actual experience. And I certainly wouldn’t get in the way of those who think they MUST have it.

Featured Review – Old Jetty Barrel-Aged Barleywine 2019 from El Segundo Brewing

Continuing the reviews of beers bought from the Glendale Tap cellar, we go old with the 2019 barrel-aged Barleywine release of Old Jetty from El Segundo Brewing.

This ale was aged in bourbon barrels and strides in at 13.2% ABV. Old Jetty is both prickly and smooth at the same time. There is loads of bourbon character but at the same time the sweetness is restrained. A bit of syrup note here. Great brunch beer.

Last Beer Review of 2018 – Bigfoot from Sierra Nevada (2013 & 2017)

I probably tallied north of 60 beer reviews this year. I know that there are some who hate the practice or don’t think that personal preferences can be of use, but I think it is instructive to see which beers struck a chord and which elicit such little word count as to telegraph the yea/nay response.

On to the last review of the year, I have dug into the cellar and brought out the famed barleywine from Sierra Nevada, Bigfoot.

Faint port like aroma. Bitter at the end. Showing some age I think. Caramel notes and a slight oak-y bourbon flavor. A bit vinous.

Lighter and brighter. Bitterness is there but not pounding. A little burnt tasting. More pine notes on this one.

Of the duo, I would take the 2013 first.  It had a swirl of different flavors and aromas going on in it’s 12 ounces.