AT LAST: a Sierra Nevada heavy hitter that’s had time to fully grow into its vast potential. Their trademark hop bite is still present in this American-style Barleywine even after laying down these five years, but has been neatly slipped into a much broader array of equally potent flavors. A fresher nose than expected, tipping as much citrus and grass as it does berry and grain. Blooming immediately on the palate, its round body spreads with a smoky smoothness that’s followed in turn by the caramel, vanilla, oak, and fortified wine tannins associated with aging. A stab of hops appears about 40% of the way through, enveloped by a golden barley crust, with a touch of vinegar zing on the back end. Altogether not as fruity or malty sweet as some other American barleywines, but true to Sierra Nevada’s aesthetic and rightfully so. Though no head emerged on the pour it was still reasonably well carbonated, particularly given its age, and quite lively despite its thick constitution. A landmark beer that does justice to this brewery’s lofty reputation and prominent position.
Served: 12 oz bottle (2007 vintage)