Paris and I generally celebrate the first day of the new year by raiding our beer cellar. Tom Froehner joined us at home, and we all enjoyed a lineup of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot barleywines dating back to 2001.
|2007||Bright red-brown. Thick head.||Perfumey, a bit oaky, some vanilla.||Creamy body. Hugely malty and firecely hoppy. Bitterness is still a bit harsh, resiny.|
|2006||There's no 2006 in my cellar!|
|2005||Red-brown, hazy. Moderate head.||Malty, almost chocolatey, some vanilla.||Big smooth body. Hugely malty, hugely bitter. Resiny, but not like the 2007. Citrus hop flavor in the background. Some earthy, oaky character. Some astringency in the finish.|
|2004||Bright red-brown. Low head.||Sweet, malty, with more oaky character than the 2005.||Big body, really smooth. Lots of malt, with a real nice earthy, woody character. Very bitter, but very much in balance.|
|2003||Red-brown, some yeast. Low head.||Mild toasty malt. Mild grassy hops. Mild alcohol.||Big body, low carbonation. Big toasty, caramel malt supports a big grassy, resiny bitterness. Maybe just a little less smooth than the 2004.|
|2002||Bright deep red. Low head.||Spicy, alcohol? Toasty sweet malt.||Big creamy body. Intensely malty and really hoppy, with a grassy, fruity, resiny flavor and a big bitterness. Spicy alcohol, and a big wood character from the malt. Fairly warming, with lots of alcohol on the tongue. Very nice beer.|
|2001||Bright red. Low head.||Big dark caramel. Hint of maple. Mildly resiny.||Medium-big body, smooth. Fiercely malty with lots of wood character. Big bitterness, resiny, but in balance. Just a hint of solvent (acetone) with the alcohol. Warming, malty, resiny, alcoholic finish.|
To make up for the lack of Bigfoot 2006, we cracked open a bottle of North Coast Old Stock 2002.
The pièce de résistance, if I may say so, was the annual bottle of Cow Palace Scotch Ale, which I brewed at Egan Brewing in De Pere WI back in 1998. I bottled twelve 7-ounce bottles from the last keg, and we've been opening one bottle every year around this time. This was bottle #8, and it keeps getting better every year. Choo asked me what I'll do when the last one is gone, and I answered, "Mourn."