Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale poured a thick, soupy head propped up by mild carbonation over a near transparent, acorn-brown body. The nose was full of pine, candy sugar, and subtle hints of pitted fruits.
Despite the mild amount of carbonation observed, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot hit my mouth with a well carbonated, fruity hop front. The core of the body was reminiscent of poached peaches; ripe fruit with notes of honey and vanilla framed by a subtle bitterness. The fruity sweetness became more pronounced as the taste faded, with the bitterness drying out the finish.
To my knowledge, Sierra Nevada was one of the first big craft brewers to make a barleywine style ale a part of their regular seasonal lineup, and it certainly set the bar high. After some coaxing, even the light beer drinkers in my group gave it a try and praised balancing act between a big, nuanced beer and ease drinking.