Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Getting Vertical on New Year's Day

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.

Appearance Aroma Mouthfeel
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."


Anonymous said...

Oh me, oh my...if only I had read your blog BEFORE trying to write a piss-poor attempt of taste-testing Belgian beers. Monsieur Bière, you certainly can talk the talk – it’s poetry in fermentation! (and I have a lot to learn!)

Richard Stueven said...

It's all down to practice! The more you drink, the better you write. (At least that's what I keep telling myself.

have fun

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the wise words, I'll have to put in a few more hours/days/months/years of practise! I'm looking forward to the challenge! ;)