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

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,778 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5778
Reviews: 2784
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%

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: 5,778 | Reviews: 2,784 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of cjgiant

District of Columbia

3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Have had this beer in the past and my memory was such that I didn't recall thinking much of it. My palate has evolved (for the better??), so I decided to try again.

I definitely enjoyed it more than I recalled. The appearance was dead on for what I expected color-wise, but the thin head that provided significant lacing pushed it to the wonderful state. I couldn't get much from the smell in strength, but what I hit seemed in line with the style.

For the taste, feel, and overall, I have one slight issue in the mix of sweetness, dark fruits, and tartness combined with the hops bitterness is just slightly off-putting. Admittedly, this beer does a better than others. Combine that with the nice taste of dark fruit, cherries, a little molasses up front, and all that leads to my ratings.

Serving type: on-tap

03-09-2014 01:40:49 | More by cjgiant
Photo of Rosanne


4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

no aroma, hoppy taste upfront, sweet linger.

Shared a taster on-tap as part of four flights at the brewery; Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, Chico, USA. As part of a six-week West Coast beer tour. I rate to taste, not to style. See my blog for more details: carbeers.wordpress.com

Serving type: on-tap

06-14-2013 07:37:56 | More by Rosanne
Photo of williamjbauer

West Virginia

4.44/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap served in a pint glass

A - Golden amber clear with 1 finger off white head with minimal lacing and moderate head retention.

S - Spicy aroma with great hop bouquet mostly flora

T - Interesting spice with a good sweetness and bitterness contrast and great full hop balance.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation

O - Pretty good, I'm not a huge fan of this style but I can really appreciate the quality of this beer.

Had this again in 2013. Amazing balance of big malt and robust hops.

Serving type: on-tap

04-20-2013 13:46:41 | More by williamjbauer
Photo of Brager77

4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served on Tap at 8th St. Grille in Holland, MI into 16 oz. Glass

A - Dark Amber-Brown color. Strong to moderate amount of lacing. Very light amount of carbonation. A tad bit darker than I had expected. About a half inch white head.

S - Strong malt smell. Some citrus hop smell to it as well.

T - The hops in the taste of this come out very overwhelming for what I was expecting. The malt and caramel tastes seem to come out later, after the hop tastes have died down a bit.

M - Very easy drinker for a Barleywine. Thin mouthfeel at first from the hops. Medium thick feeling to it after. Minor sticky aftertaste, probably from some molasses.

O - I liked it alot. Definitely plan on buying a pack of this to try aging for a bit. I was a bit surprised by just how hoppy it was. Not that I did not like that, as I am a huge hophead, just surprised. Was expecting more of a sweet tasting drink.

Serving type: on-tap

02-12-2013 02:24:14 | More by Brager77
Photo of jtd1969

North Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Amber in color with great lacing, nice head

S - Burnt sugar, bready slightly hoppy

T - lots of sweet malts, caramel then finishes with powerful hoppiness (piney mainly in character)

M - FUll bodied with lots of hoppiness, smooth however as well. Very well balanced

O - For a big beer, it drinks so smooth. A real treat to drink. I recommend it! One of Sierra Nevada's best!

Serving type: on-tap

09-16-2012 22:37:50 | More by jtd1969
Photo of 57md


3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is copper in color with a golden honey hue. There was a thin layer of head to this offering and it dissipated rather quickly. There is a light malty and bready nose detectable. Abundance of malt flavors in the upfront taste followed by a nicely bitter finish that indicates the presence of a touch more hops than normal in a barley wine. Slight touch of alcohol here, but all-in-all this is a smooth one for clocking in at almost 10%

Serving type: on-tap

09-04-2012 03:26:56 | More by 57md
Photo of DoubleSimcoe

New York

3.2/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bigfoot 2010, served on tap at Sunswick 35/35 in Astoria, Queens, New York and consumed in spring 2012.

Appearance: Served in the funkiest-cutest glass ever (12 oz), with a great looking body, bubbles on the side of the glass going up and up and a bubbly head that lasts and leaves thick lacing afterwards.

Smell: Not too bad, considering how underwhelming the rest of the beer is. Nice citrusness, faint tropical aromas and even a bit of wood. Fruitcake, sweetness.

Taste: Lots of malt, booze. Musty hops. Resin, stickiness and some aperitif-style liquor, plus rum. Mighty disappointing, to tell you the truth. Hardly a barleywine, more like a faded IPA or strong lager.

Mouthfeel: Rather average for a DIPA and more so for a barleywine. The maltiness is almost overwhelming, and there is a lot of heat as it goes down. The hops are faded, stomped upon by a bunch of overweight cows with saggy tits in a dirty, industrial cowpen somewhere in Texas sloppily cared for by ilegal aliens paid for in food and lodging only. Low, almost non-existent carbonation to boot.

Overall: Drinkable alright, but not a pleasure. Lacks balance, excitement, flavor. I suspect Sunswick may have dirty lines, but I also think that Bigfoot is not good for aging.

Serving type: on-tap

05-29-2012 00:22:05 | More by DoubleSimcoe
Photo of thegodfather2701

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Poured into a New Belgium glass. It was an amber color with an off white head that lasted a few minutes. No real lacing was left, but there was some slight cascading.

S-Toffee, caramel, dried fruits, and hops

T-Bitter hops with some caramel and dried fruit flavors. It had a weird bitter almost skunky aftertaste that I would get from drinking a Euro Pale lager or a pilsner. Hops dominated to say the least.

M-Thick, chewy, yet creamy

D-This is an intense beer with lots of hops which would cause some palate fatigue quickly, so you could probably sip a couple of these in one session.

Overall, this is a great beer it just had a weird aftertaste for some reason, it could just have been me. I prefer this beer aged so all of the flavors can meld together and its not so one dimensional. I'm glad I had the chance to drink it on tap.

Serving type: on-tap

05-26-2012 21:30:17 | More by thegodfather2701
Photo of Hopdaemon39

New York

4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Lord Hobo- pours a dark brown color, pretty clear for the darkness, nice 1.5 finger head with excellent retention and great lacing.

Smell is somewhat subdued- big malt flavor with a little pine hoppiness.

Taste is consistent with smell- big thick malt flavor with a good dose of hop bitterness. Really full flavor. Slightly sweet, slightly bitter finish. Excellent.

Mouthfeel is very smooth- thick, full-bodied; very light carbonation. Great brew on tap- not sure what bottles are like but worth getting on draft.

Serving type: on-tap

04-09-2012 00:01:59 | More by Hopdaemon39
Photo of sailorastro


4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Overall: For the 2012 edition, there is a lot going on. The hops interlace with the sour base to make a beer that leaves me to reconsider my opinion on barley wines.

Appearance: Clear mahogany-gold body with a steady stream of carbonation. Full two finger head. Good lacing.

Smell: lemonpeel; grapefruit; cloves; hops; alcohol.

Taste: A rich grapefruit flavor strikes first, followed by a rise in bitterness that is harsh on the palate. Be ready to brace yourself with this one.

Mouthfeel: Acridic and full-bodied. Lasting bitter taste.

Sampled from a pint glass.

Serving type: on-tap

04-06-2012 16:09:17 | More by sailorastro
Photo of Kadonny


4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 version on tap at TJs in Paoli. Poured into a tulip glass.

A: A dark ruby red color with brownish notes. A one finger slightly reddish off white head leaves nice full glass lacing.

S: Huge pine and citrus hops note on the nose mix with caramel sweetness and some fruit. Alcohol is detected on the nose.

T: The hops are really crisp and fresh on this kegged version. Pine and citrus hops assault the mouth and slightly give way to the hefty malt that comes into the mix. Some caramel, toffee and sweeter fruits mix with the hops to produce a nice balance. Bitterness finishes out the beer and lingers for a long time. Nice.

M: Full, coating prickly and alcohol heat. I get more alcohol on the tap version than the bottle.

O: Does anyone need to say this again? One of the best American barleywines made today. The fact that it is also readily available and fairly cheap, this is a all time great beer.

Bigfoot is the benchmark for American barleywines, no question about it.

Serving type: on-tap

02-16-2012 21:56:01 | More by Kadonny
Photo of Philousa


4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Batch imbibed at Rose & Crown in Palo Alto on 2/10/12.

Pours a red caramel in color with a little head. Clarity is apparent when held up to the light. Rich caramel, hint of chocolate, with some heat in the nose. Rich is the operative word. Held up well. heat balances out the sweet well. Big caramel again in flavor. Thick. Turns alcoholic, biting, then bitterly hoppy with dark, burnt chocolate. Medium mouthfeel. Incredibly well balanced, considering what went in it. Great complexity but not too complex and very smooth with an alcohol bite for balance sake.

This is my first Bigfoot, so I look forward to comparing it to a fresh batch. From what I've heard, this is the best bang for your buck when drinking barleywines. I can tell that this sat down well and mellowed out. That said I want to experience the hop aroma and flavor to its fullest, fresh. This is a complex beer that I look forward to getting to know over the years.

Serving type: on-tap

02-15-2012 06:05:33 | More by Philousa
Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan


4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage on Tap at Beer Revolution in Oakland.

Appearance: Opaque ruby with dark brown. Nice light creamy lacing.

Smell: Dark fruits on top. There is an underlying mellow toasted maltiness interlaced with caramel. The malts conceal the hops from the aroma.

Taste: This beer taste amazing. Dark caramel malts with a nice desert like bite. The hops are amazing. Textbook Sierra nevada piney,resinous and grassy hop flavors. There is some nice citric fruitiness deep in this ale. I notice grapefruit. At some point a cinnamon flavor emerges.

Mouthfeel: A delicious creamy chocolate textured malts. Full and desert-like. This beer goes down smooth with a bright refreshing citric flush.

Overall: This beer is simultaneously complex and refreshing. This batch of Bigfoot aged mighty fine.

Serving type: on-tap

02-13-2012 08:53:41 | More by BerkeleyBeerMan
Photo of Scotchboy


4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap @ Kahootz, Meridian ID. Served in a snifter.

A: Dark tawny, muddy looking brown. Light lacing.

S: Sweet malts, caramel, sugar and brown sugar, dried fruit, with a touch of light booze.

T: Spiced peach and papaya, small amount of grapefruit flavors and bitterness, light toasted grains, sweet bready malts, a touch of astringency and a good amount of bitterness.

MF: Thick, sugary, full mouthfeel. Good dryness and pleasant bitterness.

O: A good, enjoyable barley wine. Its got a great, sugary malt profile, caramel, lots of darker & dried fruits, and nice bittering hops.

Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2011 19:26:29 | More by Scotchboy
Photo of MsRif


4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at the Farmhouse in Emmaus, PA. Poured a dark ruby red color with a thick beige head that retained well and left nice lacing. Had an aroma of sweet malts, dark fruits, earthy hops, citrus and alcohol. Tasted of dark fruits, earthy hops, pine, caramel and alcohol. Amazingly complex and well-balanced.

Medium to full-bodied. Smooth, especially considering the ABV and style. Dry finish that is certainly bitter, but not too harsh. I normally detest barleywines but this one is an exception. One of the BEST beers to cellar!

Serving type: on-tap

11-20-2011 15:59:16 | More by MsRif
Photo of MDDMD


4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- golden brown color with a light tan head and decent lacing

S-yeast and malt aromas with some citrus and pine

T-heavy roasted malt flavor with a rich sweetness that fades to a hoppy finish

F-smooth mediun body with moderate carbonation

O-good flavor and balance, a nice change of pace

Serving type: on-tap

11-09-2011 02:48:57 | More by MDDMD
Photo of modernartblues


4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from Notes, Poured into a Tulip at Prime 16 (late October 2011)---I am assuming a 2010 keg

A: dark red, big white head, excellent lacing

N: hoppy and full bodied malt, classic citrusy Sierra Nevada nose, more DIPA like than barleywine for my money

T: sweet malt is more than balanced by the grapefruit bitterness from the hops, complex and changes as it warms

M: pretty thick, and coats the palate, but enjoyable

O: This is pretty intensely hoppy for a beer brewed almost a year ago. It may not be a barleywine to style, but its probably my favorite barleywine to date. Really enjoyed and will def. be picking up a sixer come 2012.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: on-tap

11-03-2011 23:36:21 | More by modernartblues
Photo of Jerone


4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Cloudy amber and red color with a tan thick two finger head that sticks around and leaves great lacing, not too many bubbles.

S - Sweet and fruity malt, maybe some raisin and floral/pine hops. Yum!

T - Fruity malt that has some sweetness as the beer warms up and ends with some nice pine bitterness and a big of alcohol that taste very good with the very, kind of a rum raisin thing.

M - Full bodied beer, coats your mouth, low carbonation deliciousness.

O - Great beer that I want during all seasons, out of the bottles seems more sweet and malty than on tap, more hoppy, probably due to the freshness.

Serving type: on-tap

10-24-2011 18:46:35 | More by Jerone
Photo of jale


4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Crunchy's in East Lansing.

A: Pours a light reddish brown with two quarters of off-white head.

S:Fruity and malty with a nice hop aroma.

T: Sweet malt and hops together upfront with a wonderful strong hop bitterness in the finish.

M: Lighter side of medium with good carbonation.

O: A nice barleywine.

Serving type: on-tap

09-20-2011 18:19:55 | More by jale
Photo of Burt

Rhode Island

4.93/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Half pour served in a wine glass.

Dark amber with red hues, thick off white head that leaves thick lacing.

Caramel, dried fruit and a big citrus nose with a little alcohol. Hops are very present in this one.

Roasted malts at first, caramel sweetness and citrus in the middle then it turns bitter and thick on the tongue with a little bit of an alcohol burn.

I have been looking forward to this one and it did not disappoint. One of the best beers that I have had.

Serving type: on-tap

09-11-2011 19:53:38 | More by Burt
Photo of kylehay2004


4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: 2 finger head, nice and thick with a decent lacing. Copper/amber color.

S: Fruit, very piney and hoppy. Expected a sour, wine odor and was caught off guard. Liked it.

T: Very strong on the front end, especially the first sip. Malts, caramel, tons of hops, bitter fruit,

M: Thick, oily, full bodied and moderate carbonation.

Overall: Drinkability is the downside. I see many people say this is drinkable and for a heavy beer and they may be right but this is still a tough one at the beginning.

Serving type: on-tap

08-01-2011 01:16:46 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of Eramen


4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Appearance is a ruby-orange, thin head with low retention. |Tends to collect at the edges of the glass.

S - Highly sweet in odor; I get citrus, orange peel, deep pine, wine for the most part.

T - Taste is exquisite! I'm getting caramel, hints of pine, red wine, spices, an intense yet very palatable bitterness.

MF - Very low carbination, smooth, low-medium body, great drinking.

O - This is a fantastic beer, beautifully crafted, intense, bitter, definitely not to be missed!

Serving type: on-tap

07-30-2011 22:08:20 | More by Eramen
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had the 2004 edition on tap a Buckye Brew Engine, in summer 2011 an it was very nice. It has muted, but was still a very nice beer despite the temperature and it likely up in abv by now over 10%. Orange coloured body, a lace sheet. Taste as if dry hopped. Very smooth and mellow, and a full mouthfeel. An American strong ale, with a citrus character.

Serving type: on-tap

07-10-2011 14:43:49 | More by Sammy
Photo of TheHoppiest


4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had a 2004 vintage on tap at Lakewood's Beer Engine. Poured into a small snifter, and surprisingly was served a little too cold.

Appearance is a remarkable clear amber color with only slight haziness. A 1/2" head reduces to a soapy lid, with excellent retention around the glass as it is drunk down.

Smells of vanilla, molasses, mild alcohol and esthers. Not much yeastiness, which I know has been a feature of later releases of this beer.

Tastes quite hoppy, which again is slightly surprising (and pleasantly so) given it's age. Alcohol, bitters, mild malt, slight honey, and a hint of sweet fruit (grapes, apricots) all are present. To be honest, this is very much on par with a decent Imperial IPA.

Medium bodied, this has a lighter, sweeter start before assaulting the back of your tongue with it's bitterness. Slightly thinner than later releases, yet still enjoyable.

This brew was, and still is, a beast, with high alcohol content and a bitter taste. Yet, that is why I love it so!

Serving type: on-tap

07-08-2011 00:01:11 | More by TheHoppiest
Photo of Klym


3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A translucent red beer that goes into brown shades in its deeper parts. Head is small, off white, and leaves plentiful lacing. Hops and the oh-so familiar raisin, fig, date-ish smells in the nose. The taste is much of what the nose is though more well blended-- while in many beers the dark fruits and hops are simply concurrent, in this beer they are fused together into one taste that is interesting and make both more delicious. Despite the fusion, hops definitely take the forefront with the dark fruits taking the undertone. Mouthfeel has some alcohol burn on the top of the throat, but the bitter sensations in the mouth are pleasant. Solid barleywine overall, but mostly just a more well-crafted version of generic flavors and sensations.

Serving type: on-tap

07-05-2011 05:03:08 | More by Klym
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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 5,778 ratings.