Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Grand Cru
Wow. My first reaction - wow.
I was letting the beer warm up to get a better feel for the aroma, but couldn't wait to have a taste. Wow.
According to the label, this beer sits at the intersection of Bigfoot, Sierra Nevada's barley wine, Celebration and Pale Ale. I expected a potent mix of hops and alcohol, strong and bitter, and it delivers.
The aroma is full of phenols and higher alcohols - sweet and strong. The hops have a tough time getting heard with all the competing flavors in this beer.
It pours copper in color, with a thick creamy head and lots of lacing, from all the malt to fuel this high powered beer.
This beer is a mouthful - malty and sweet, with its barley wine roots dominating from the start. Apricot, caramel and full bodied maltiness dominate out of the gate. Its rich and full-bodied throughout, with hop bitterness asserting itself throughout. The hops are full of citrus and spice, with pine and grapefruit notes. It finishes sweet and bitter - lingering long on the palate.
This is a hell of a beer - rich, decadent, over the top. I love when great brewers stretch their wings. This is the result, great stuff.