Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bigfoot Barleywine 2005 vs 2008

Thank you Greg Ferlin for sending me these two Bigfoot Barleywines to help me come to terms with Barleywines and their ability to age. Having seen my post on the 2010 version, and how I "panned" it, he sought it necessary to acquaint my palate with the way they should be drunk. Thanks Greg!
And Jaron Gaier, thank you too.
These were enjoyed using my tasting flight with Don, Jim and Hank as a comparative tasting (unfortunately Bigfoot 2010 wasn't available).

2005 – twist off
Appearance: Darker brown with a minimal head , highly apparent carbonation build-up on the side of the glass. Quite hazy. Lingering middle brown-amidst the orange.
Aroma: Citrusy and orange zest to the nose with an underlying malt backbone. Mild booziness with a citrus zest finish. It imparts estery phenols.
Taste: is 10 x milder than the 2010, but still admits some tannins. Carbonation is very minimal. Semi-oxidized in flavor. I still taste some plain warrior hop bitterness.
Mouthfeel: Thick and tacky with a full body. Carbonation is dwindling on almost nothing, leaving the body completely full
Overall Impression: Based on what I know about barleywines, and my N00bish palate in the style I still think it was . There was extra effort involved in sipping this beer.
Hank says that a hot dog would pair well 

2008 – Pop-top
Appearance: More orange with a with a soapy off white head. Still some carbonation growth on the side. Quite orange and glowing
Aroma: Lesser citrus and more estery aroma. Though still maintains a complexity to the caramel malt backbone.
Taste: A lot more sweet and drinkable. Lighter body and more fruity tasting. Grassy aftertaste and caramel malt midtaste sweetness. The mellowest of the barleywines tasted.
Mouthfeel: A lot more drinkable lighter body and higher carbonation. Texture is dispersed with a normative amount of carbonation which really helps loosen up the beer and give it some character.
Overall Impression: Far more balanced and milder than the 2005 and definitely the 2010. I find this one has a lot more complexity, the bitterness isn't harsh, and the texture is a lot lighter than the others. This beer exhibits the qualities in a barleywine that I'd prefer. Nevertheless, this will always be a beer I'll need to practice getting used to.


Overall Overall Impression: Both beers brought to the table quite a different profile. I hadn't any idea how much a beer may vary from year to year, but this clearly outlined it for me. The 2005 had mellowed almost too much, just exhibiting a tacky syrupy mouthfeel that was overly sweet, yet far better than the 2010. The 2008 was delicate and smooth and highly flavorful and drinkable.

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