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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

6,314 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,314
Reviews: 2,815
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 268
Gots: 1,119 | FT: 42
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale Alström Bros
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Ratings: 6,314 | Reviews: 2,815 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BGsWo22
1/5  rDev -75.9%

BGsWo22, Mar 22, 2013
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
1/5  rDev -75.9%

Hopheadjeffery, Dec 22, 2012
Photo of harrylee773
1/5  rDev -75.9%

harrylee773, Aug 24, 2013
Photo of NonicPanic
1/5  rDev -75.9%

NonicPanic, Dec 05, 2013
Photo of yas
1/5  rDev -75.9%

yas, May 30, 2012
Photo of FLBEERGUY25
1/5  rDev -75.9%

FLBEERGUY25, Jun 12, 2012
Photo of kvnstfrd
1/5  rDev -75.9%

kvnstfrd, May 23, 2013
Photo of djchrismac
1/5  rDev -75.9%

djchrismac, Feb 26, 2014
Photo of MonkeyBread
1.25/5  rDev -69.9%

MonkeyBread, May 11, 2014
Photo of Taste-Acquired
1.25/5  rDev -69.9%

Taste-Acquired, Mar 24, 2014
Photo of FtownThrowDown
1.45/5  rDev -65.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

I keep trying to like this beer. It’s just not going to happen.
Pours a reddish amber color with a slight head that recedes quickly. Smell is bittering hops. Strong and dominating. Taste is more the same. Can’t even tell if the underlying barleywine is any good, because the hops are all that’s there. I just don’t get the fascination with this beer. I guess it can’t be for everyone. I feel this is just a highly over-rated beer that I just can’t figure out.

FtownThrowDown, May 04, 2007
Photo of Kuongming
1.5/5  rDev -63.9%

Kuongming, Feb 17, 2013
Photo of cliftonsbiehl
1.5/5  rDev -63.9%

cliftonsbiehl, Mar 18, 2013
Photo of Das_Reh
1.6/5  rDev -61.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 1.75

2013 bottle poured into a snifter.

Aggressive pour produces minimal head, about a half finger thick, before dissipating into a thin white film. The beer is a striking mahogany color and looks wonderful in the glass.

Oh my... BIG hop presence on the nose, very potent and piney. I've had IPA's that didn't smell this hoppy. I'm worried... I've never had the barleywine style before, but I was assuming it would have the dark fruit/caramel/brown sugar aromas of other dark, high alcohol beers.

Holy crap, that's hoppy! Big smack of pine resin and grapefruit rind to the face, a bitterness that dominates and completely overpowers the bourbon-like sweetness that is barely discernible in this brew. There is a bit of warming heat from the alcohol, but again, hops overshadow everything. Each sip makes me grimace; this is far from drinkable...

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and slick, with oily hop bitterness coating your tongue.

After a few sips, I had to pour this down the sink, much to my dismay. This is the last time I base my beer purchases on reviews from BA, as my past 4-5 purchases have left me disappointed and wishing I had my money back. This beer was all bitterness and no flavor, a hop bomb. They should have called this a DIPA instead of a barleywine. I've heard that you can mellow this thing out by cellaring it for a year or so, but this is the last Bigfoot I will ever have.

NOTE: Although I stand by my review scores and consider this undrinkable, I should have realized it actually does fit within the style of being very hoppy, as it is an American styled barleywine. American styled barleywines have a more aggressive hop profile than their English counterparts, and I failed to realize that at the time.

Das_Reh, Nov 18, 2013
Photo of Contagion
1.6/5  rDev -61.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

It's dark brown in color with a nice rich ruby highlights. It poured a thin tan head that faded quickly to a film on the top of the beer. It is cloudy, light passes through easily enough, but you can't see any clear images. There was some lacing.

The smell is of dark fruit with a hint of vanilla. The scent of bourbon from being aged in a bourbon barrel. The bitter scent of hops is present, almost overpowering. The taste is a mixture of roasted malts, vanilla bean and hops. The bitterness from the hops overpowers the scent and the taste of the beer, and leaves a very IPA like aftertaste to it. I'm not sure if this beer is just a little skunky or if it should taste like this as it doesn't taste like any other barleywine style ale that I've ever tasted. Although I will say that you can't taste the alcohol in this 9.6% Alcohol by Volume beer.

This is medium bodied beer that is light on the carbonation. There is some coating to it, which may be why the aftertaste sticks around for a long time.

This beer was given to me back in June and had been lost in the back of the fridge since. It may have gone skunky in that time so I'm thinking of getting another one to re-review it at another time.

Contagion, Sep 26, 2008
Photo of champ103
1.65/5  rDev -60.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A: A slightly cloudy amber red color. A nice head forms, but fades to a ring. This has a good coat of lace.
S: A hoppy grapefruit, orange, and citrus fruity aromas overpower any malt present in this beer.
T: An extreme sweet bitterness overpowers everything again. Lots of grapefruit. The taste lingers for a long time, but not much else comes through. No maltiness to speak of. I have not had very many barleywine's, but from what I have tasted this does not follow the style.
D: Very hard to drink. The alcohol does not come through all that much, but I don't like overly bitter beers like this. This is just way over hopped, and I have to force myself to choke down the rest of the bottle. I do not enjoy this at all, and don't know how I can bring myself to finish the rest of the sixer.

SN does not know how to make a good malty beer in my opinion. The stout and potter are overly hopped for the style, and this is just bitter hops as well. I was looking forward to trying this, but as a malt head I was disappointed. The many hops heads out there might like this though.

champ103, Feb 06, 2008
Photo of PorterLambic
1.7/5  rDev -59%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Wow. This was quite an experience, sadly not a good one.
Reddish brown with a coarse 1" head, decent lacing.
Smells of spice, alcohol, malt and fruit.
Taste is spice, fruit, malt, alcohol. Starts a little rough, way too hoppy. Finishes with a extremely noticeable and harsh piney, almost turpentine, aftertaste that get horrendously rough, very bitter.
Mouthfeel was medium-bodied, but not smooth.

Definitely a beer I will NEVER drink again, barely able to choke this one down, and it wasn't because of the alcohol. It did not improve as the temperature came up, quite the opposite. One was definitely enough. If you want a barleywine style ale, I would suggest Anchor's Old Foghorn instead, or any other.

PorterLambic, Jun 15, 2004
Photo of NoetheMatt
1.75/5  rDev -57.8%

NoetheMatt, Jun 19, 2013
Photo of ChrisBuster
1.75/5  rDev -57.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

07' Bigfoot

So I think I must have stumbled on a bottle that had somehow soured in one way or another. The color was excellent however a nice amber red, bright yet opaque. But a very small head that dissipated in an instant. Smell was hard to explain yet very pleasing...everything else was just bad. Strong alcohol taste that gave me no room to even really taste anything else...in all honesty tasted like cheep booze to me. Also everyone is raging about the hops yet i didn't smell or taste even a hint.Something had to be wrong with this brew...

ChrisBuster, Jan 30, 2008
Photo of fishguyac
1.75/5  rDev -57.8%

fishguyac, Aug 16, 2013
Photo of jamie2dope
1.75/5  rDev -57.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

From what I understand, this years vintage has received a large amount of criticism and praise at the same time. Lets see how it turns out. Poured in to my Westmalle chalice a nice looking cherry color. Besides the color, it looks slightly dull, with not much head save for a tiny ring around the glass. Aroma is a slight improvement, with some great berry and cream characters backed by a heavy perfume of booze. Taste begins with a huge assault of hops, a bit of juicy dark fruit, then leaves on an intensely bitter note that reminds me of cheap tobacco. Aftertaste is rather unpleasant. Reminds me of the taste in my mouth after a harsh night of drinking mixed with bad cigarettes. Mouthfeel is heavy on the palate, and drinkability is lessened quite a bit by the rough aftertaste. Quite a disappointment in my book, as other years of this brew have been very enjoyable. I suspected maybe I had a poor bottle, but found the same flaws present in the second bottle I cracked open. I don't think I will be drinking the rest of my six pack at this point, so maybe I will lay a few down to see if they mature well. Simply a mess of a beer IMO. Avoid.

jamie2dope, Feb 20, 2008
Photo of mayorwalda
1.83/5  rDev -55.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I review this the way I have because I have a number of expectations when cracking open a "barley wine" and this brew fulfilled almost none of them.

Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot Barley Wine Style Ale
Man, I love Sierra Nevada! Let’s pry the cap off this thang (12 fl oz bottle).

Here comes the aroma! More like “ah-ro…what?” Do I smell hops? Weird. I really do, I smell hops; and basically no malt. Smells can be deceiving sometimes, I guess.

Let’s move on.

On the pour, Sierra Nevada’s barley wine looks like a barley wine, at least. It has got that dark red, unfiltered beauty which signifies to me, visually, “Hey, man, good job picking that barley wine.” But my nose is calling the bluff here, “Hey, guys, I smell hops. Just hops.” We’ll let senior Palaté (I have no clue how that would be pronounced) mediate this discussion.

And, so, on the first sip, well, my nose had this brew’s number from the start.

Holy hell, are there hops in here! There are really, really a lot of hops in here. So much so, that I am not getting any sense of maltiness at all—certainly nothing from our subtle, sweet, amazing friend, barley. No malt/barley sweetness frolicking across my tongue this time around. What a bummer.

Instead of the smooth, round tastes I’m used to, I’m getting the taste of something a lot more hop-centric. Something like an imperial IPA. I know Sierra Nevada loves their line of pale ales, but it still surprises me that they’d overwhelm this style with the tank full of hops they must have used to make this. I find that it’s a strange decision as a person smitten with this style of beer.

All the things I love about barley wine seem to go ignored in this. The sweetness is not there. While on your tongue, this brew drinks like an IPA. Very green, resinous and slightly floral. After gulping it down a bit you get that typical IPA trail of bitterness on your tongue which waits eagerly for you to reinforce it. There isn’t a moment in the process of enjoying this brew that you do not taste hops.

Word on the street, though, is that this thing perks up—or rather mellows the ‘eff’ out—with age. This is the 2012 release I’m drinking, so, if this thing needs age, well, I haven’t given it that. To be honest, I’ll have no trouble shelving two or three of these for a year or two. I would like this beer to really live up to the sweet mellowness “barley wine” signifies to me. If it takes a year or two, I guess it’s an investment I’m willing to make.

At any rate, the skinny is like this. (I promise from here on out I’ll be less whiny.)

A(ppearance): Well, Sierra Nevada’s got the barley wine style down in this department. This brew most certainly has the dark, red, copper color of the beloved barley wine. The head gathers tightly and eagerly. This brew’s head has a piney, resin texture.

S(mell): This is where things seem to deviate from expectation. The bouquet from this beer is completely composed of hops

T(aste): As far as taste is concerned, this beer is green and hoppy. There is little in the way of malt taste. I mean to say that it must be there, but it is completely overwhelmed by the hop intensity that it’s not present in a way that can be appreciated. It’s probably only serving, at this point, to keep us from going cross-eyed from bitterness. I will say one positive thing about this brew, though. This beer comes with an ABV of 9.6. That will serve as a surprise to anyone who doesn’t do their homework before cracking this thing open. The booziness of a 9.6 ABV is totally hidden in this brew. Kudos for that, Sierra Nevada.

M(outhfeel): The mouthfeel is a bit tacky, with lasting bitterness that asks to be endlessly refreshed. A great quality for an IPA; not, in my opinion, a good quality for a barley wine.

O(verall): Well, as this review is part of my ongoing Quest for the Best Barley Wine Under $14.99, well, I have to totally fail Sierra Nevada’s offering. As a beer in general it’s nice. I’d like to see it called something different because I don’t think it lives up to the qualifications they put to it… At any rate it’s a quality, high ABV ale and deserves a lick. You should try it if for no other reason than, it’s another good hop-centric beer from Sierra Nevada. But, again, it doesn’t even qualify for a rank in my quest…

mayorwalda, Apr 11, 2012
Photo of SoupKitchenBeerSnob
1.9/5  rDev -54.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I told myself I'd never drink another Sierra Nevada beer, but saw this and thought, ok, they're doing a barley wine-- maybe this one will be different. Nope. Just more hops than ever before. I mean really... Sierra Nevada takes the IPA model and makes every damn thing they brew taste like just another version of an IPA. Did I happen to mention that I detest IPA's? Cramming a brew full of hops does not equal a great brew-- it just shows a profound lack of imagination. But for all you hop-heads out there, you'll love this stuff. Personally, I'll pass, and thank you very little.

SoupKitchenBeerSnob, Jan 13, 2014
Photo of ralree
1.98/5  rDev -52.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

A: Head is a little weak, but that's almost expected from this style. 1/2 finger at best. Color is reddish-orange and murky. Laces nicely.

S: Grainy and pretty fruity. Will probably be good.

T: REALLY bitter. I wasn't expecting this level of bite. It's not my style, so I'm going to give it a lower rating than some others might. The alcohol is very evident as well. Has a bready finish.

M: A little thick - a little astringent.

D: Had to pour it all out. Completely undrinkable.

ralree, Oct 02, 2007
Photo of sugit
1.98/5  rDev -52.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

2010 Bigfoot.

A: Cooper color pour with big long last head. Great lacing.

S: Some hops, but mostly a nice carmel malt aroma. Faint raisins and other dark fruit. Damn, this is going to be good.

T: Bamboozled!! Man, nothing like the nose. A hops assult on the palate. I really don't like this beer. I love good hoopy beers, but this one has a way of jut blasting you in not a good way.

I get very very little of sweet malts from the nose. The aftertaste is like waking up after a night of beer and cigars. Terrible.

M: Full bodied. Feels like gritty hops stuck to my teeth and tongue.

D: Drain pour. Such a harsh tasting beer I couldn't even finish a serving.

This is the second time I've tried 2010 BF and it just does not do it for me. I'm coming to realize I like English Barleywine, but don't like American Barleywine at all.

I'll leave the rest of my 6-pack in the cellar for another year and see what happens.

So far, I equate BF to a hot stupid blond. Got the looks and smell, but everything else that counts is terrible.

sugit, Dec 10, 2010
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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,314 ratings.