Although I said I'd be concentrating on the German beer tastings, I had a couple of bottles of other stuff that came with me from Ireland. One was a 2007 bottle of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot.
This was given to me by Declan of the Bull and Castle, my favourite bar in Dublin, on the night they hosted a bit of a farewell tasting session before I moved to Germany. Since then, it has sat forgotten in my cellar, alongside another rather special bottle given to me by Mr BeerNut which I will open in the next month - because it says so on the best before label.
But back to the Bigfoot. This poured a beautiful ruby-tinged deep amber with a tight tan head. The vapours (it's more than aroma!) are of sweet, sweet toffee, plum jam, blackcurrent, chocolate and vanilla. Lots of vanilla. It's velvety, rich, thick and sweet. As well as the dark fruity flavours and lovely vanilla, there are hints of licorice, and something that reminds me of rosemary. There's a tingly bitterness that creeps up slowly. It gets a little solventy as it warms up, but this doesn't detract from the warming, sippable enjoyment. I've always understood the Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) to be intensely hoppy, so I can only assume that this has aged really nicely to produce the rounded and complex flavours I got out of it.
I would have liked to compare this to some notes of it in a younger state, but regardless, I wish I had another bottle! In fact, on the strength if this I am planning to make an American-style Barley Wine and see if I can resist my urges by maturing it for a year before I open a bottle. We'll see...