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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

6,367 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,367
Reviews: 2,817
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 270
Gots: 1,139 | FT: 48
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 02-06-1998)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,367 | Reviews: 2,817 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by stinkydaddy:
Photo of stinkydaddy
4/5  rDev -3.6%

stinkydaddy, Jul 04, 2013
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 Expedition,pours a deep rich amber with a slightly off white one finger head that leaves a light amount of laces behind as it settled,aromas of brown sugar and pine and I mean big on the pine like whole hop cones just beautiful.Very nice medium to full mouthfeel wich is still slick and easy sliding down,this is one of the defining American barley wines at least this years full and sweet up front with brown sugar and dark fruit but a big resiny/piney hop note takes over midway and in to the finish.This is comparable to my personal favorite Old Ruffian in its big hop character,it dont get much better than a big American barley wine in my opinion.

oberon, Feb 12, 2006
Photo of don1481
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 vintage poured into Mr. Pint.

Appearance: Beautiful, beautiful dark orangish color. Head is slow to dissipate. Leaves a little lacing on the glass as it dies down.

Smell: I could smell this bad boy the moment I poured it from the bottle. WOW. That is a stong, sweet nose. Raisins, for sure. Not really any hops to be detected. Complex.

Taste: That's... interesting. It's softer than last year, but definitely with a hop-forward taste that quickly goes bitter. Weird. It's not as sweet as I was hoping.

Mouthfeel: That bitterness sits around here for a bit.

Overall: I think it needs a little more aging - it's like it's in transition to something spectacular.

don1481, Mar 25, 2014
Photo of Popsinc
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very nice looking dark amber pour with a small, off-white head. Semi-cloudy appearance.

The nose is sweet and malty. Hints of honey and raw sugars as well as caramel and a touch of dark, over-ripened fruit.

The taste is big and very upfront with dense caramel-fudge sweetness. Hints of maple are very prominent beneath all the over-the-top malts. Towards the finish there is a small trace of orange & lemon peel which adds a kick of bitterness and dryness on the tongue. Big hoppiness beneath all the clutter. The sweetness and itterness maintain throughout the experience and linger nice and long with a numbing effect on the tongue and a warming effect on the mind. Huge alcohol kick to this one.

The mouthfeel is both very rich and full. A drying out taste towards the finish. Sugary bitterness stays at the back of my mouth the giving this beer great staying power.

Quite an overwhelming beer. Not big on drinkability but great for the right occassion...winter warmer, apertif, dessert beer.

Popsinc, Apr 04, 2004
Photo of RoyalT
4.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance – Gorgeous, monster head that rose brilliantly, went down slow, and actually laced the glass which was impressive considering the high ABV. The body was a beautiful orange/brown color, thick and solid.

Smell – There are some big, floral hops to this one. These things filled the room. The deep, ripe, fruity scents are there as well. This ale has a tremendous bouquet.

Taste – This is monster flavor. It reminds me of The Guardian. Every type of hop flavor is represented here. This one will pucker your cheeks for sure. Then comes the classic barley wine sweetness. There’s also some smoke in there to boot. The only thing that’s missing is a sensation of alcohol from this 9.6 ABV ale.

Mouthfeel – This is the fullest beer that I have tasted to date. Every sip fills the mouth and bloats the cheeks.

Drinkability – This is dinner tonight. You don’t drink Bigfoot Barley wine, you eat it.

Update – I wrote the initial review with a 2003 sample. I enjoy this immensely every year but though I’d offer an update with a fresh 2006 vintage.

The consistency is amazing from year to year. If you get it fresh the ale is so big and explosive it makes you literally shake your head and call a friend. The ABW ages nicely, too, so you can burn the candle by both ends. Just an amazing ale all around.

RoyalT, Sep 26, 2003
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Simultaneous tasting of 2000, 2003, and 2006 vintages in midwinter of 2006.

Appearance: The 06 and 03 are fairly equal in terms of carbonation and head. 00 is lacking. All three are semi-cloudy, light orange/ruby brown. 00 lacks some life in color and body.

Aroma: The 06 reminds me more of an IPA than a Barley Wine. I’m still getting used to American Barley Wines so this is a learning experience as much as anything. Pine sap is oozing out of the 06. I think I could smell it clear across the room…just checked…I could. Strong alcoholic caramel notes are also present but really covered by the hops. Citrus and floral spice are strong as well. Everything hops are supposed to be and more can be found within these confines. As expected, the 03 is less blistering but still heavily hopped – actually to a degree considerably greater than I would have expected. One can tell that SN really loads the hops into this one. After three years, a lot of hop oils must have broken down yet the 03 barley wine still ranks with the hoppier of American Barley Wines that I’ve tasted. It’s pretty cool. Also as expected, the 00 has really lost most of its hops. This isn’t exactly a bad thing. I prefer English Barley Wine and I find the 00 to be just delicious. The caramel is a alive as ever. It’s deeply earthy and subtle dark fruit flavors that go entirely missed in the younger vintages are present here. I think I pick up cherries and plums.

Taste: Following aroma, the 06 is largely hops with some minimal caramel content. Hop lingering in the finish is up there with perhaps the 5 hoppiest beers I’ve had. One sip leaves a hop oil residue for a good two minutes. Intensity is exceptional. The 03 is a step down but once again surprises with some pretty discombobulating hops. Caramel flavors are more pronounced but only slightly. Some wood and sweet grains are present. The 00 vintage on the other hand is loaded with sweet caramel, earth, dates, and Japanese plum wine.

Mouthfeel: Obviously, the 06 is dry as Antarctica and blisteringly bitter. Beyond that the sweet alcohol plays a large roll as does lively biting carbonation. 03 compares as in the aroma and flavor – same as the 06 but smaller, although bitterness in the finish is considerably lessened here. The 00, despite its many fine qualities, has lost a lot of its zing here. Carbonation levels are below where they should be. A lot of the bite is gone. All that remains is a burn from the alcohol but even that seems mellow in comparison to the ass kicking tongue attack of the 06 and 03. Body is too flat and lifeless compared to following years.

Drinkability: The combination of high ABV and crazy hops in the younger vintages is a problem for me when it comes to drinkability. My taste buds simply aren’t that mature (read old and dead) yet, maybe if I started smoking… At any rate, it’s not a knock on the beer, just personal preferences coming into play. The 00 would be more drinkable for me because of the hop mellowing but the lack of vitality in the body becomes a problem.

Overall: Impressive beer that ages well and changes drastically, although not necessarily for the worse, over time. I am pleased by all three vintages and curious to try others. Peak seems to be sometime before the beer hits three years.

DaPeculierDane, Jun 19, 2006
Photo of DanGeo
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

DanGeo, Apr 26, 2014
Photo of tectactoe
3.86/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, copper-amber color with a light tan head; recedes pretty quickly and leaves very small amount of lacing here and there along the glass. Aroma is full of deep, sweet fruits; dates, figs, and plums, some light boozy notes on the nose, maybe some woodiness in the background.

Taste is full of what you'd expect in an American barleywine, and it follows the nose quite nicely; booze-soaked, dark fruits, dates, figs, plums, raisins. Ripe, juicy, and sweet; brown sugar, burnt caramel, light toffee. Some fairly heavy, floral hop notes travel up and down the palate to bring a fighting edge to the sweetness. The brew gets slightly bitter for a second, but remains a primarily sweet beer from the heaviness of the malt. Definitely hopped up quite a bit, though.

The booze is heavy, not quite hot, but slightly more than just "warming" - almost bourbon-like in character with a slight vanilla and butterscotch undertone. Thick, mildly syrupy, and just a little sticky on the palate, a bit on the lower side of the carbonation scale.

This is a nice take on the American barleywine style, and it's relatively cheap for a six pack. I plan on aging some of these to see how they pan out. My guess it that the hops will fade a bit and the brew will get a little sweeter, and hopefully a touch more mellow.

tectactoe, Jan 02, 2013
Photo of ricke
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving date: 2009-04-10. Vintage 2008. Cellared for about 1 year.

A: Hazy dark amber with a quite big pale beige head that slowly settles into some lacings.

S: Rich aromas of both malts and hops. Pleasant fruity aromas (gooseberries, red grapefruit, lemon peel) blend with a large amount of sweet chocolate. Hints of raisin and vanilla. A very sturdy malty backbone. All in all, the smell is very powerful, rich and dense. Very complex and very pleasant.

T: Big caramel flavor, sweet fudge and chocolate. Sweet and ripe fruit - citric notes, grapefruit, cherries. Notes of almonds. Vanilla and licorice in the middle. The finish is very bitter with notes of grassy hops and raisins. A well integrated taste of alcohol delivers a spicy layer on top of the sweetness. Very nice!

M: Full bodied, smooth and soft mouthfeel with a slightly chewy finish. Medium carbonation.

D: A very good beer. Complex and well balanced. One year of cellaring is really suitable for this one.

---

2005 vintage. Serving date: 2009-04-10. Cellared for about 4 years, parallel tasted with the 2008 vintage.

A: Much darker than the 2008 vintage, and with a smaller head that dissipates faster.

S: Not as impressive as the 2008 vintage, but still good. Not as powerful and not as complex. A similar fruitiness, but with a slightly tart edge and it is harder to pinpoint exact components. A big malty backbone, but not as sturdy as the 2008 vintage. Still plenty of chocolate and raisins. One of two funky notes and a prominent aged character.

T: A prominent taste of dusty cellar, somewhat sweet but mostly funky - not unpleasantly funky though. Sweet fruits (currants, grapefruit and some cherries). Hints of wood. The flavors have in general a very mature character. More sweetness in the form of chocolate and some vanilla. The finish is not as bitter as the 2008 vintage. The hops have faded significantly. The alcohol is not as prominent as in the 2008 vintage, and it is very well integrated. All in all, the flavors in the 2005 vintage are a little edgier than in the 2008, and it is not as complex. The 2005 vintage has some notes resembling sherry, and I did not pick that out in the 2008 vintage.

M: Basically the same as the 2008 vintage.

D: This is still a very good beer, but I think the 2008 vintage was better on almost all accounts (except for the well integrated alcohol and some of the mature notes in the 2005 vintage).

Grades: A: 4, S: 4, T: 4, M: 4,5, D: 4, Total: 4,05 (A-).

---

2009 vintage. Serving date: 2009-08-04. Cellared about 7 months.

A: Reddish amber, slightly hazy. Pale beige head that leaves some lacings.

S: Lots of grapefruit and hop resins. Notes of pine-needles. A hint of vanilla. The malty caramel background is noticeable, but muted by the powerful hops. Compared to the cellared 08 vintage, this one is clearly more hoppy and not as balanced.

T: Lots of grapefruit and tropical fruits. Hints of vanilla and toffee. Juicy caramel malts in the background, but clearly overpowered by the hops. Rather sweet. The finish is massively bitter, really aggressive, with lots of piny and spicy hops and sweet and spicy alcohol.

M: Same as the other vintages.

D: A bottle this young is much more hop forward than older ones. The beer is quite different when it's young compared to when it's cellared. The sweet and chewy vinous character of a barleywine is considerably held back in favor of the hoppy flavors. Not as well-balanced as especially the cellared 08 vintage. I enjoyed the latter more than this one.

Grades: A: 4, S: 4, T: 3,5, M: 4, D: 4, Total: 3,8 (B+).

ricke, Jun 21, 2009
Photo of t2grogan
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

t2grogan, Oct 06, 2014
Photo of boston2bburg
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Found a 2008 and 2006 version at local beer stores today so figured I'd try them both.

2006: Pours over a finger of creamy tan head with a deep dark brownish red body. Head winds up as a thin layer, not covering the glass. Trace amounts of lacing on the sides of my snifter.

Wow what a thick aroma. Caramel and chocolate blended well with earthy, woody hops. Butterscotch also pulls through.

Taste is of sweet caramel and butter with citrus hops at the back of the throat on the finish. Hops have obviously mellowed with age. Alcohol certainly hasn't, and gives my nasal passage a nice cleansing with each sip.

Very smooth, chewy, silky mouthfeel. Very drinkable for a barleywine. Now on to the '08.

2008: Label has a brief description of the beer and mentions the "25th Expedition" of Bigfoot Barelywine. Also shows Bigfoot sitting around with two woodsmen sharing a brew. Nice. Twist-off replaced with a pop-off as with their other beers.

Color is very similar to 06 but pours with more head and lacing. Wow! Smell is almost all hops with this one, nothing like the 06. Clean fruit and flowers.

Smell translates to the taste, with more citrus hop bitterness up front but still very pleasant. It's hard to review such different beers at once, but I'll take the best qualities of each.

Mouthfeel is still very silky, maybe a bit thinner than the 06. Alcohol not quite as noticable but maybe I'm getting used to it.

Very impressive and easily the best Sierra Nevada has to offer. Also very reasonably priced, but I wish they'd produce some 22 oz. bombers.

boston2bburg, Feb 15, 2008
Photo of haygood
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

haygood, Apr 25, 2013
Photo of TCHopCraver
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage. Any beer that has Sasquatch on the label has to be good, right? Time to find out.

A: Poured into an oversized wine glass. Really pretty ruby-brown that, when held to the light, has a very jewel-like quality to it. About a finger head. The lacing is sinewy and sticky.

S: Mmmmm, piney hops. That is the overriding kick to the nostrils in this one. I can smell the malt hiding in the background, though. A slight caramel aroma is also present. Not really complex, but I do like the dry hop character.

T: Definitely more of a balance between the malt and hop flavor in the taste than in the smell. I was expecting more of a hop-bomb based on the bouquet. The piney-hop dryness is present throughout the sip, but the malt sweetness is there until the very end to complement the hop flavor. Some really dry citrus flavors and a little breadiness are also in there.

M: A nice, full, puckering feel. Pretty dry at the end. It's not a full-out party in the mouth, but it's enjoyable. Good carbonation to support the taste.

D: I enjoyed drinking this brew thoroughly, but the dry hop flavor really affects my palate and I wouldn't want more than one, or maybe two in a sitting.

TCHopCraver, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of OhioBobcat
4/5  rDev -3.6%

OhioBobcat, Sep 27, 2014
Photo of MadScientist
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

MadScientist, Mar 27, 2013
Photo of Zakk
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Zakk, Jun 16, 2012
Photo of brownbeer
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage poured into a new belgium snifter.

Appearance- deep ruby with a substantial dirty white head.

Nose- Burnt carmel, piney hops, a touch of oak, and a whiff of alcohol.

Mouthfeel- reveals a slighty syrupy medium body.

Taste- Up front is a malt bomb all the way with toffee and citrus showing. The finish ends dry with aggressive hops(a little more than I was hoping for considering three years age) and a touch of warming alcohol.

Overall, this beer needs more time to develop into what I want from an aged bigfoot but shows great change and I can't wait to revisit in about three more years.

brownbeer, Jul 05, 2009
Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a dense, deep, dark, amber- ruby colored brew with a muted glow and a big bright off-white head that fades fast and leaves some delicate lacing.

The nose is amazing. First thing that hits is hops. They are old, resinous, herbal, and quite inviting. Amazingly subdued alcohol is nicely blended with yeasty aromas. The more I sniff the more I just smell grapefruit. Continued quaffing just makes this grapefruit smell more intesne. I am very impressed at the way niether the alcohol, esters, or malt are running the show here and it avoids that vapory smell. Those qualities are left in the taste, where I feel they belong.

The taste starts off with sweet, sweet, malt and citrusy and herbal hops. Vapor alcohol and berry esters show for just a second. Next comes a sublime bouquet of dark berry, red apple, and citrus fruit flavors which are scrubbed off by a slight yeast bite in the finish. Damn that is good.

The mouthfeel is light bodied but thick feeling. It is amazingly NOT slick. It does not feel like my tounge is lifting weights like other barleywines do and it really helps this beer's dangerous drinkability.

As a rule, I'm not that into barleywine. I love this one because I think it retains all the complexity of the style, yet avoids all the things I dislike usually. My favorite barleywine easily.

ADDING ON JAN 2010 - I aged a bottle of this from 2008 beer for 2 years? The longest Michael Jackson suggests in old book of his. The nose, interestingly, developed an amazing complexity, and I have very nice things to say there. Hop aroma has taken a backseat to a host of other aromas including fig, date, sage, with candied fruit flavors intensifying in the flavor and dominating a mix which also included anise, blackberry, mint, and a leathery finish. The alcohol character became a liitle oppressive and despite all the fascinating complexity this beer developed, I felt its drinkability declined severely.

JudgeRoughneck, Mar 08, 2006
Photo of npala86
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

npala86, Aug 07, 2013
Photo of kaimcm
4.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at the Publick House for almost 2 months now.

This beer is a beast and very different on draught then in the bottle. Huge creamy fluffy head that leaves tons of stick all over the glass. Enormous nose of hops, oil, pine, resin, redwoods, california fog, damp bark and wet forest just to name a few. doubt me? go to chico and you'll see. extrememly balanced taste of spicy, prickly hops and sweet coating malt. flashes of fruit, brown sugar, malt backbone, drying hops. super complex and super quenching at the same time. im at a loss, this beer is just that good on tap. in the bottle its a different story and needs some cellaring for my taste. suffers slightly in drinkability cause its so dangerous and high alcohol. if youre not careful this beer will kick your ass. right on sierra. one of my all time favorites.

kaimcm, Mar 09, 2006
Photo of Tiernan
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

Tiernan, Jan 10, 2014
Photo of hopsleeroy
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008
Copper pour with very nice lacing that sticks around the whole time I'm drinking this beer. Smell-It's Sierra Nevada. You know what it smells like-hops. But can smell the alcohol on this one. There is a sweeter scent that's reflected in the taste. Taste is a sweet malt backbone with some caramel and fruit esthers coming forward, but the hops are what jump up and hit you. Slick and vinous there is the typical grapefruit pine hoppiness that plays in the mix. Alot of flavors-I notice a different dominant flavor on each sip. Good mouth feel and deceptively strong at almost 10% ABV.

hopsleeroy, Feb 08, 2008
Photo of weatherdog
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage - Poured into my 20oz tulip

It pours a deep amber/ red with a small less than finger widths head after an aggressive pour.

The smell is this wonderful rich caramel sweet smell with just a little bit of alcohol presence inviting you in. The hop aroma is virtually undetectable compared to a fresh bottle.

The taste starts off with a mild alcohol bite to remind you of its strength then fades away to a sweet malty rich taste and ends crisp and on the dry side. As sweet as the aroma is it finishes well and not cloying in the least.

Mouthfeel is smooth with the exception of the upfront alcohol bite. That upfront taste is subtle though, and needed in a beer of this gravity to remind the drinker that this is a beer to savor and not a sessionable ale.

I've had this beer many times before and I will say that for being the most assessable barleywine available it is an excellent representation. It isn't mind blowing in any way but it is unoffensive and a great beer to sip to relax and unwind after a hard days work. Also in terms of bang for your buck (which is a big factor in my ratings) this beer scores very high. Not many other barley wines you can buy for $10.99/ sixer

weatherdog, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of tbryan5
4/5  rDev -3.6%

tbryan5, Feb 02, 2013
Photo of TimBeaulieu
4/5  rDev -3.6%

TimBeaulieu, Jan 17, 2014
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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,367 ratings.