1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

6,056 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,056
Reviews: 2,804
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 244
Gots: 1,047 | FT: 37
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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,056 | Reviews: 2,804 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Davidpgibbons


4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

opened a bottle of 2011
I love this beer, poured with very nice lacing wrapping the sides of glass with a good carb light amber color, and hints of piney hops. Not as winey as usual barleywines but still amazing. Overall great balance between hops and malts, i have 6 left gonna let 3 age and see how they change. Pretty exciting

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2011 03:06:32 | More by Davidpgibbons
Photo of CZeman


3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

There is a lot of hype about this beer. As far as I'm concerned this is a good beer, but not exactly what I expect a barley wine to be. The appearance was a good medium or dark amber with subtle ruby highlights, the smell was almost over powered with hops, which seemed out of place for the style. The body and mouth feel were very nice but once again the taste was almost over powered by hops, again a bit out of place for the style, in my opinion. That aside this beer if labeled differently, say maybe an imperial IPA or a specialty IPA, is a repeat drink. I do love the flavor and aroma of hops, but for them to be this present in a barley wine just seems to be odd.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2011 22:52:04 | More by CZeman
Photo of metter98

New York

4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a light to moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense beige head that died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of piney hops in the nose along with notes of alcohol and hints of caramel malts and citrus hops.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and finishes with a moderate amount of bitterness from the hops. There are some hints of malty sweetness in the initial taste.
M: It feels full-bodied and a bit sticky on the palate with a light to moderate amount of carbonation. The finish has a bit of dryness and warming sensations from the alcohol.
O: This beer is a good sipper. It's a bit easier to drink compared to other barleywines because it has a moderate amount of bitterness (instead of stickiness and sweetness).

Note: 2011 vintage

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2011 03:15:54 | More by metter98
Photo of Marty30


3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottle poured into my Harpoon 100 barrel series type snifter.Around 50 degrees.

A. Nice ruby red clear body with good carbonation coming of the bottom of the glass,two finger off white fluffy head.Leaves good lacing behind as I work my way through the glass.

S. Lots of hops I get first and foremost,some pineapple and pine, as i keep smelling it I start to get caramel and some grainy bread,get some typical sweet sugar smell also.I get some alchohol in the nose also.

T. Very hoppy,the hoppiest barlywine i've had to date.First off I get that earthy bitter pine taste,I'll say that the hops pretty much dominates this one.Also some caramel and sweet sugar,like I said before hops take away alot of underlying tastes.Hoppy after taste.

M. Mouth is very nice medium heavy feel.Very smooth and creamy.

Overall I liked this beer ,I'm thinking I definately would like it better with some age on it.A bit to hoppy for a Barleywine for me,but I still really liked this Craft beer classic.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2011 02:07:38 | More by Marty30
Photo of TIAAN


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

I poured the 2011 Bigfoot into a snifter glass and a not too thick white head stayed for several minutes and then retracted to just the sides of my glass where it stayed for the rest of the beer. Nose of this beer is big with lots of caramel malt, toffee, but also a little bit of pine needles.

Mouthfeel and taste is really good, starts off big and full. It seems really thick and viscous. The carbonation is very fine, like champagne mousse, but at a very good level that really helps to build the beer. Bitterness sits on the edges of the big taste all the way to the very intense finish. BIG BITTER FINISH! Good beer, I look forward to trying older vintages in the future.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2011 19:14:34 | More by TIAAN
Photo of uwharrieguy

North Carolina

4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

nice walnut color
actually i did a good poor in pint glass which gave me a good head-nice lacing on glass....gave a swirl repeated 3/8s head 1/2 way through
nice aroma...warming from alcohol,nice on cool day here in n.c.
this is a goood ale,not sold in my town but i will drive the 26 miles to get more..people that drink girl friend beer want like this ale.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2011 16:17:22 | More by uwharrieguy
Photo of Glibber


3.25/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A dreat looking beer, with a nice clear amber with some red tones. Nice big head that laced the glass a bit. I thought the carbination was a little too much, and was not expecting so much hoppiness. I had heard about this beer, and had only a few other barleywines to compare it against- but this was not as complex as the offering I had from Lagunitas.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2011 21:46:24 | More by Glibber
Photo of nicnut45


2.17/5  rDev -47.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Presentation: 12 oz bottle poured into Chimay chalice/2011

A- Deep red brown color, slightly hazy with sediment swirling around. Superfine off white head.

S- Smell is very muted upon a vigourours pour, perhaps it needs to warm up a bit. Upon warming up there is very little scent to this beer. What is there, smells like fruitiness from the yeast with a slight rubbing alcohol scent.

T&MF- This is just plain bitter without the finer qualities of hops. Malts are underwhelming and over attuenated resulting in hot rubbing alcohol flavors. This overly overly dry in my opinion. There is a faint glimmer of sweetness to this beer and it reminds me of burnt sugar but it is soon overpowered by alcohol and bitter hops.

O- I will be laying down at least one of these bottles in hopes that it gets better with age. The others will go to enemies.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2011 20:36:01 | More by nicnut45
Photo of mikeyv35

New York

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

Date: 03/07/2011
Type: 12oz. Bottle
Vintage: 2007
Glassware: DFH Tulip

Poured a light brown mahoghany in color w/ a skim coat white head that left nice sticky lacing. Aromas of caramel, toffee, dark fruits, tobacco, and subtle pine. The flavors were of rich caramel and toffee up front, w/ a touch of dark fruits and slight tobacco, and a finish of mild hop bite. Amazing that a touch of hop bite is still remaining after 4 years of aging. Medium bodied and somewhat dry. Pretty good stuff, you know the booze is there, but well hidden.

Gotta say I am an English BW type of guy that is all about the malts, so needless to say I don't care for Bigfoot fresh. However, w/ 4 years of age this brew is starting to become pretty enjoyable. I bet my 1993 bottle will be sublime. ISO: pre 2007 Bigfoot.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2011 15:12:56 | More by mikeyv35
Photo of perrymarcus


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

12oz bottle served ina snifter.
2011 vintage.

pours a beautiful, translucent deep amber/copper hue with orange highlights; yields just shy of 1" creamy beige head. (expected) middling retention - lapses into a thin cap, collar around the glass - but nice walls of lacing. overall an excellent presentation.

my first impression of the nose is that this is going to be one heck of a hoppy barleywine, even for the american style (this is my first experience with bigfoot, incidentally). very heavy floral/cirtus presence of hops. also notes of sweet malt.

one sip confirms the nose. big bitter hoppiness out front, *almost* reminiscent of a DIPA, but as it warms the maltiness seems to open up and the beer becomes much more complex and flavorful. still, hands down one of the more heavy hopped barleywines i've had.

really nice mouthfeel: luscious, medium-full bodied with average carbonation.

overall this is an excellent barleywine. as noted, a bit too hop-forward for my personal taste, but i can see where a little age would take this beer to another level. i intend to test that theory.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2011 02:29:32 | More by perrymarcus
Photo of ramseye4


3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 Vintage.
A=Pours a dark amber color with a huge 2 finger head with awesome retention, huge clumps of lacing down the sides of the glass. Great looking beer.
S=Decent balance of malt and hops, however neither is pronounced.
T=Fairly hoppy up front, with lots of malt sweetness and a bit of boozy heat in the finish.
M=Sticky, sweet, and medium body. Syrupy, but in a good way.
O=Not bad, definitely needs some age. I'm storing another for a year and we will see how it goes.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2011 03:48:47 | More by ramseye4
Photo of ehammond1

4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2011)

Holiday Wine Cellar
Escondido, CA

This beer started gushing on me as soon as I cracked the top. Strange, because I've probably had this beer 1xx times and that's never happened....only on the one I finally choose to review! That being said, this beer is as gorgeous as ever! It's damn near majestic!
The darkest ruby almost eats up all the light trying to pass through it. The head is a monster, especially for a beer of this ABV, and it doesn't have any intentions of going anywhere soon! With big, soapy bubbles, it's got quite the legs to stand on, and stand on, and stand on...
Sticky sheets and rings of lacing run down the glass as I sip.

The aroma is a varied bundle and changes as the beer warms. The first thing I notice is the candied sweetness and the fruity elements in the nose. There's a bit of brandy-soaked cherries in the nose along with a nice punch of floral and citrus hops. The alcohol is certainly present and, unfortunately, just the least bit unpleasant. All in all though, a nose I love returning to.

Another cornucopia in the mouth, similar to the nose. The first thing that always strikes me about Bigfoot, especially when fresh, is the blinding bitterness and strong pungency of the hops. This is one hopped up barleywine. While the hops are certainly there, they don't quite get too far in the way of the sweet cherry, sweet caramel malts, a hint of woodiness and earthiness, and a certain presence of warming alcohol. When aged, I think this beer is very close to perfect, but fresh, it's just a touch too raw and blindingly bitter to truly appreciate the other complexities that are there but just hiding underneath.

The mouthfeel is one of my favorite aspects of this beer. It's thick and chewy and a touch oily but all that simply drinks so well with this flavor-first barleywine.

A wonderful barleywine. It's consistently flavorful, available, and always affordable. It's better with age on it, but a wonderful beast to battle when fresh.

A very special beer to me personally. As a CSU, Chico student, I remember waiting anxiously for this release every year. It opened my eyes to what very good beer could be, and I make sure to pick up at least a 6er every winter.


Serving type: bottle

03-26-2011 02:10:59 | More by ehammond1
Photo of industrialswill


4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got a 6 pack at Trader Joes
Nice dark complexion and a very strong head
Aroma is what you should expect from a Sierra Nevada beer...floral hoppyness balanced out with rich malt.
Tastes like beer should. Malt combined with enough citrus / pine hops and a pretty high ABV punch.
This beer would score higher points with me if not for my silent protest about how appearance carries too much weight in our scores.
In my opinion, all beer looks "GOOD", unless it is infected

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2011 02:08:01 | More by industrialswill
Photo of engagechad


3.45/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage - fresh
This beer was purchased fresh as a single from Total Wine in Richmond, VA - poured into a DFH snifter

Pours fantastic, gargantuan head.. like.. huge head.. I wasn't expecting that at all. Beautiful ruby color with a blonde leather looking head. Looks like the head on a root beer float, lots of protein in there and the foam is smooth and palatable almost like whipped topping. If i could give the appearance a 6 I would.

Smells awesome, very hoppy while also maintaining a minty presence and malt backbone. Reminds me slightly of 3rd coast from Bells but a bit hoppier.

Taste is great, but I feel that it's a bit harsh when fresh. Alcohol burn is hard to get past as it kind of disrupts the rest of the tasting experience. Great hops and acidic flavors with decent smoothness from the malt.

Overall I think this beer is great but I intend on purchasing another 2011 and put a year on it to review again

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2011 12:46:55 | More by engagechad
Photo of bbb099


3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear, dark amber color with a thick and foamy light brown colored head.

S - Some pale malt aroma and floral hops. Not a lot.

T - Unsurprisingly, this one is packed with strong flavors. Bitter piny hops up front followed with a more mellow floral hops as it goes down. Maybe a small hint of alcohol bitterness, but the hops cover it up pretty well.

M - Full bodied and moderate amount of carbonation. Pretty much what you expect out of the style.

D - Very strong bitter flavors, but not in a bad way. It's quite drinkable though the color threw me off a little bit as I was expecting something darker.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2011 03:54:00 | More by bbb099
Photo of EricCioe


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

This 2011 vintage pours a very deep amber with a one finger white head that dies quickly and leaves lace. On the nose there is a caramel malt base with light fruity esters and a piney hop presence, but overall the nose is pretty muted and takes some agitation to stir up these aromas. In the mouth the caramel lays claim to most of the tongue, but as that dies away there is a huge pine hit behind it that leaves the tongue buzzing a bit. It's a medium body with a long, bitter finish, seemingly highly carbonated, but then these are made for the long haul and I'm drinking this one in its infancy. Overall, a good beer, but definitely not my favorite barleywine. I'd like to see how this ages because it might bring out some more of the fruit as the hops die down a bit.

EDIT - I've had several glasses of the 2008 vintage on draft during February 2012. It's shocking how much bitterness this can retain. It's not the hop monster it was fresh, but neither is it a sweet beer.

I also had the pleasure of having the 2008 vintage on cask. The nose was muted but the body was absolutely incredible. On cask this goes down as easy as any big beer I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2011 02:43:21 | More by EricCioe
Photo of polisanl


3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From bottle to snifter.

Amberish with a red hue to it. White medium head. Very hoppy nose. Tastes much like a magnified Celebration Ale. Lots of hops, caramel & malts. ABV is prevalent. Medium to thin on mouthfeel and smooth. could definitely creep up on you. Overall great beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2011 17:11:59 | More by polisanl
Photo of wvsabbath

West Virginia

4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Tanish brown, some red tint, nice creamy thick 2 inch head, tons of lacing.

Smell - Malts, hops, barley, carmel, sugars, spices, some dark fruits like plum and rasin. A little cherry and lemon also.

Taste - Classic malty caramel at first sip, with a nice cherry and plum fruit flavor. Lots of sugars, mollasses, brown sugar and yeasts. Alcohol adds a warmth after each drink. Rasin and some added spices give this even more flavor.

Mouthfeel - Mouth and tounge is bittered from hops, sweeted slighty from malts, and numbed finally with the near 10% booze. A dry strong hoppy aftertaste finishs it out.

Overall - Excellent beer, balanced, flavorful, not overly sweet or bitter. The cherry flavor almost gives it a dubbel like feel. Its a little hoppier then most barleywines, so im interested in aging a few to see what this turns into. As it is fresh, a fine beer, good price and avability, a must try for the craft beer fan.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2011 05:07:51 | More by wvsabbath
Photo of HighCotton


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

Pours nicely with a thick off-white/tan head. Leaves medium dusting. A copper color with a nice amount of unfiltered debris swirling about. Very solid carbonation out of the bottle. Smell is hoppy and piney. Honestly smells like an IPA or double IPA (a plus in my mind), but smell is a bit boozier than expected. Could really smell the alcohol once the head dissipated and it warmed a bit. Bitter in and down. Lingers on the back of the tongue, and as the hoppiness fades a nice, doughey malt finds life. A relatively thick mouthfeel for a beer this hoppy. The beer remains in your mouth for several swallows after a drink. The alcohol is there, but would've guessed it was 6.8-7.6% when it was in my mouth and initially swallowed, but the 9.6% makes itself known for a brief instant following the hop-stage aftertaste but is gone by the breadiness stage if not the malt stage. Aftertaste: hops->malts->breadiness. At the end of glass, the dusting reveals the level of each drink.
A nice beer. It is a bit boozy. If I had the discipline to keep it for a while I would be interested to see how it mellows.
I am always satisfied with sierra nevada's use of hops. This beer does nothing to lessen that, for sure.
Bottle 0 348 113 01. A 2011.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2011 02:27:56 | More by HighCotton
Photo of tbrown4


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. -> Chimay chalice. 2011 vintage at room temperature. Pulled one from the initial six pack I bought at the beginning of the season. I'm thinking that I should be getting a few sixers each year. I'm new to Bigfoot as of last year. I've since got a some bottles dating back a few years. I have a goal of doing a 10 year vertical evening. We'll see if they last. In general I prefer to European barleywines.

A - Dark ruby read, big frothy off white head. Carb is present immediately after pour, but is gone quickly. Thick webbed lacing

S - Mildly sweet fruity aromas. Hints of fresh pizza dough. Minimal hop bitter nose.

T - Big malty sweet dark fruit flavors are dominated by very forward hop bitterness. As expected for a fresh American barleywine. Dark toasted pumpernickel bread in the middle. Strong bitter hop finish with a hint of creaminess. The hops will mellow with time I imagine.

M - Medium bodied, mild carb, strong alcohol warmth in the finish.

O - This is a very good American barleywine. It's not a total booze bomb like some others, but it will take you for a ride. I really feel that this one needs some time to mellow out and develop a bit. I wanted to get a good baseline tasting to look at later. As stated in my intro, I will continue to buy this, hopefully on an annual basis.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2011 00:23:58 | More by tbrown4
Photo of Janderson91


4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally a Bigfoot sighting! This one was bottled on the 348th day of 2010 at 5:05pm. Enjoyed on 03/22/11. Last year was my first Bigfoot experience so I've been looking forward to this one for a while.

A - This is a great looking beer. A deep, slightly cloudy, red color with a good one finger off-white head. A small head covering the top of the beer remains for the entirety of the bottle. Leaves a wall of lacing around the sides.

S - Piney, resiney hop aroma that I've come to expect from Sierra Nevada. Some sweet and nutty malts are there for sure but this is fresh enough that the hops are still dominant. Smells excellent.

T - Sticky sweet malts up front then a huge pine bitterness comes. Very bitter through the middle. Nice and balanced finish with some syrupy malt flavor and a nice crisp hop flavor that lingers long after each sip. Seriously toes the Barleywine/DIPA line.

M - Mouthfeel is near perfect for the style. Thick and almost syrupy but with good carbonation that balances it out.

O - Overall, this is a near perfect beer. Never had it with any age on it, so I may be revisiting this review in a few years.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2011 22:12:19 | More by Janderson91
Photo of robwestcott


3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

cold from the tap poured, strangely enough, to a standard shaker pint a deep and semi-opaque caramel brown with a 1/2 finger, short lasting, off white head.

big hoppy aroma, subtle citrus and pine.

seriously hop forward with an immediate bitter bite fading ultra-slowly to a sweet dark malt. bready, caramels and toffee.

big bodied, bigger than this year's bottle, bitter - again bigger than this year's bottle. smooth, creamy, sipper.

drinkable - hmmm, one or two.

Serving type: on-tap

03-21-2011 21:23:00 | More by robwestcott
Photo of jdanoff


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

I am new to the Barleywine scene, but I must say that I am a fan. I got a six pack of this for around $12-13, so the price was not bad either. I would buy this again.

Although I am a newbie, I must say that this beer packed a punch. High ABV (9.6) and a serious amount of hops made me stutter after the first sip. It seems that an American style Barleywine is pretty much an American IPA on super steroids. The malt was there but was definitely covered up by the waves of hops that are added to this beer during brewing. This beer could be good with food, but the high IBU count (90) would probably cover up your meal's flavor.

The brew pours with a nice dark/woody red tint and has a strong initial head. Strong hop and pine forest aroma. A thin white lace stays with the beer throughout drinking.

Sierra Nevada always does a nice job with their labels also. The Bigfoot ale being no exception. Its a weird thing to review but the label goes a long way for how a consumer decides on purchasing a beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2011 18:41:32 | More by jdanoff
Photo of unclemorgan


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

This was my first introduction to the barleywine style beer. It will be the Rosetta Stone for which all others will be compared.

Pours a ruddy red with hints of brown. Has a thin head but laces well.

Has an initial smell of citrus fruit and hops. Tastes of grapefruit, lemon, and hops. Mouth feel is great. Carbonation spreads the taste all over your mouth. Clean aftertaste. You have to be careful not the finish this beauty too fast. This would be a great summer time beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2011 03:51:10 | More by unclemorgan
Photo of alexkeil

New York

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

Pours a brilliant ruby red with a fluffy tan head. The aroma is a knock your socks off intense hoppiness. The flavor starts with some sweetness, ripe fruit, plum, apricot. The middle is boozy with some hoppy bite. The finish is dry with some bitter coffee aftertaste that lingers for some time. The alcohol is there...you can taste it and you can feel it, but it doesn't take away from the drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2011 01:04:04 | More by alexkeil
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,056 ratings.