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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.

5,771 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5771
Reviews: 2782
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: 5,771 | Reviews: 2,782 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Rifugium


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

First had: cask conditioned at Ebenezer's Pub, Lovell, ME

This was a 2002 batch, cellared for 9 years, and served on tap at Ebenezer's. It definitely picked up some interesting flavors in the cellaring process that made it distinct from the fresh batch I had the day before.

Poured a dark maroon-amber with more haze than its younger brother, to the point where it was pretty much opaque. Still sweet with rich malts, with rich coffee tones appearing, pine resin, dark fruits, a very woody quality, and a definite alcohol burn. Heavy mouthfeel, but not quite full-bodied. Strong, but drinkable...though perhaps one serving is enough.

Serving type: cask

06-17-2011 23:54:13 | More by Rifugium
Photo of 01001111


4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: A thick, rich, burnt orange.

S: Caramel and pine.

T: Very hop forward. Bitterness hits first, then the pine and resin, followed by faint tropical fruits and big, caramel malts.

M: Thick and syrupy but not cloying.

O: Less barleywine in flavor and more of a less-tropical-more-caramel double or triple IPA. After getting over the slight disappointment on the first sip, despite knowing that this wasn't going to be a typical barleywine and expecting a lot of hops, I'm surprised at how good this is.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2014 03:13:47 | More by 01001111
Photo of JerUrbans


3.41/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pour looks like liquid caramel with a nice off white foamy head that holds on very nice. Smell is hoppy with a touch of alcohol. Taste is boozy and hoppy, some bitterness as well. Mouthfeel is silky, yet very sharp carbonation bubbles in my mouth.

Overall a good beer, love that it's got such a hoppy flavor, just wish the alcohol was hidden a bit better.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2014 01:37:25 | More by JerUrbans
Photo of BernieBones


4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Barleywine. Being a novice in the beer world, I immediately checked the barleywine wikipedia page after bringing a 4-pack of this character home. Upon pouring a glass, I notice an incredibly vibrant amber, almost red hue. While incredibly vibrant, it also sports an apparent cloudiness to it's texture. A short, creamy and frothy head sits on top of the beer like a autumn cloud at sunset.
Taking a close whiff, I catch an overwhelming sense of the outdoors; a very strong hint of pine, with an overall floral aroma. Tasting the ale, I first notice its incredulous sparkling sweetness, which follows with a bitter, almost grapefruity tang to the palette. I feel my sinuses open from its spicy bitterness and what lingers after is a very minuscule hint of wheat, as well as a strong sense of centennial/chinook hops.
Overall, this is probably both one of the most unique ale's I've yet to try, as well as the most bitter. The bitterness was actually a bit overwhelming during my first exposure, but I've accommodated it as part of this ale's unique character. This is definitely a strong beer. Boasting a 9.6% abv, this is definitely something you'll want to relish in gradually if you wish to enjoy it's character. What I was a bit skeptical of at first, is now one of my favorites from the folks over at Sierra Nevada. I definitely recommend this beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2014 05:43:22 | More by BernieBones
Photo of boudeysbigbrew


4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Beautiful amber color. Poured somewhat aggressively yet little head to be found, with poor retention of the head thereof. Either way, still very impressed by the dark golden color distinct to the Barley Wine.

Smell - Initial whiff had a delicious outdoorsy whiff clearly reminiscent of pine trees.

Taste - This is where the Big Foot truly excels. Delightful syruppy taste with luscious and sweet after taste. I'm in love with the warm, malted caramel kick of this beer.

Mouthfeel - Perfectly carbonated. Goes down smoothly, leaving a pleasant, coated layer behind that tends to stay long after the beer is finished.

Overall - Certainly one of my recent favorites, and potentially my favorite SN (the Celebration coming in a close second). For the relatively good price, there's no way to go wrong with the big foot.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2014 21:59:01 | More by boudeysbigbrew
Photo of samtrillo


3.81/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2014 Vintage...
A - Beautiful amber with attractive bubbly head.

S - Sweet pine smell with some fruity character.

T - Incredibly drinkable for a barleywine. Big caramel sweet malt with some hops and alcohol and the end. Sweet earth flavor with apricot.

M - Medium to full body with medium carbonation. Stays with you. Sticky as people say. But it's pleasant.

O - A real quality and drinkable barleywine. Lots to unpack if you're paying attention, but you could also just drink and enjoy. I'll be back in a few years to rereview this vintage.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2014 05:44:05 | More by samtrillo
Photo of Samuel906


4.01/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2014: Pours a deep dark reddish, amber. Thin light head remains briefly, withdrawing to sparse bubbles on the surface. Smell is actually much hoppier than I was expecting and there is very noticeable booze on the nose. Some dark fruits and brown sugar come through too. As for taste, the biggest thing I noticed is that while there is certainly still some molasses sweetness, this is one of the drier barley wines that I have had. Caramel, plum, hops, and roasted malt. Mouthfeel is full bodied but not sticky and overly heavy like some barleywines can be. Low carbonation. Overall, a great barleywine, one of the more drinkable I've ever had. Lot's of hop character and not overly sweet. Only real complaint is that it is a bit boozey. I'm sure some aging would deal with that nicely.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2014 06:15:14 | More by Samuel906
Photo of homersimpson67


4.01/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried a 2013 Barley Bottle datte 3018, Julian calender 01/18/13 around 15 months.

A- pours a deep copper with a thick head of creamy foam.

S- Some sort of boozy mixture with cranberry, molases and perhaps raisins or dates.

T- reminescent of a port or sherry, very warming and subdued with the age.

M- a bitter/sweet smooth transitions, not sure I like it at first but after it warmed a bit I started to really enjoy the complexity of the flavors more and more.

O- Love this fresh and have had the 2014 this year which boasts more fresh hoppy flavor that I enjoy immensely but wanted to try something with age on it. At first not sure I liked the sweeter, wine like flavor but as It warmed I started to really enjoy what this ale had become.
Have a 2012 still that I may try also and see what even more age can do.
Definately a winner and very enjoyable, will come back to time and again and it won't let you down.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2014 04:17:09 | More by homersimpson67
Photo of againes


5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My all time favorite beer from my all time favorite brewery. If I can find it in the store, I'm hoarding it. The aroma, taste, mouthfeel, and look are perfection. Specifically, the taste is malty sweet candy with a wonderful piney, bitter finish that tops it off. The alcohol is there but it does not overpower the hops and malt. I was a little disappointed that it went from a 6 pack to a 4 pack but I can appreciate the business sense of this. I do wish production and distribution would increase. I could find this product easily in the past but suddenly it's become difficult to find. Apparently the cat is out of the bag now.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2014 16:58:19 | More by againes
Photo of ZagZagg


4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into goblet glass

A: Off tan colored one, maybe one and a half-finger head. Real pretty looking brandy colored brew that has a certain haziness – gives off a warm glow. Mean retention and excellent lacing – plastering the whole inside of my glass. Visible carbonation, but appears mild, didn’t catch any sediment. Looks medium-well bodied.

S: Worty smelling giving off a bit of an unsweetened ice tea, notes of caramel and maple. Earth mixes right into the nose with aged wet wood. Sweet smelling malts evocate a refined dry nose.

T: Caramel and blends of sweet and bitter malts influenced by earth inflected hop dryness. Middle mouth consists of a lot of earth and resinous hop varieties. Wet dirt, bark, and heavy mineral water, inundated with a certain musty funk. Big malt body persists throughout, offset just slightly by the zesty hop presence and supported by a mild boozy backbone. Faint flavor of dried banana and apricot fade into the finish with a lingering robust combination of flavors – strong finish

M: Fully body and a bit sticky too, fills the mouth right up and medium-light carbonation pinpricks the tongue. Aftertaste is dry and earthy-sweet. Pleasant on the palate

O: Very easy to see how this can age and become more delicious. Barleywine isn’t a style I fucks with much, but this brew has set me straight. It fills up my senses, like a walk in the forest. It’s warming and fervently delectable, it has breathed life into the style for me.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2014 23:12:54 | More by ZagZagg
Photo of BeeryMcbeerenstein

Rhode Island

4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottle. Why am I drinking this already?

A - Amber/Tan brownish color. Nice head for the abv but goes away fairly quickly.

S - Booze, hops and caramel.

T- Gripping bitterness and boozyness hitting pretty hard. Some crystally caramel but hop bitterness is killing it right now. Once a couple sips destroy my palette it's easier going.

M- Medium body, leaving a slight slickness on the tongue.

Like I said at the intro. IMO, too young to be drinking, but I drank it anyway. I love me some BF after about a year to 18 months. But hey, cheap buzz =)

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2014 14:17:10 | More by BeeryMcbeerenstein
Photo of brurevu


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

The review is based on a fresh 2014 bottle. I like the big hops so I usually can’t hang on to these for very long. The Bigfoot poured a deep ruby red with a significant head a good retention. This was a great looking beer. The aroma was very sweet and hoppy with citrus hops dominating into a sweet and slightly boozy tones. The taste was huge, with more bitter resinous hops on a bed of bittersweet malt that finishes with more pine hop notes. The bitter pine stays on your palate and lingers between sips of this mammoth brew. There is a slight alcohol finish that is hidden well underneath all the bitter hops and malt but definitely not dominant. Fresh the Bigfoot is dangerously drinkable and a thick,chewy, hoppy brew.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2014 17:28:25 | More by brurevu
Photo of luvND


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

One of my first craft beer encounters many many years ago. Havent visited this monster for a few years and just picked up the 2014.

Beauty in the glass, thick head, ruby color.
Raisins, dates, dried fruit, grain and hops in the nose.
Sweet roasted grainy malt up front, a little black licorice towards the back end and a long long bitter hop finish.
Gets sweeter and a slicker mouthfeel as it warms.
This is truly great stuff. I gotta visit this old friend more often.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2014 16:05:08 | More by luvND
Photo of titty_mcbitty


4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Red-brown and slightly foggy. Khaki, thick head. Nice looking beer.

S: Those awesome fresh Sierra Nevada hops! Some sweet malt and caramel.

T: Caramel, toffee, brown sugar, hops hops hops, cinnamon, spice, nutmeg, and some fruit notes. Awesome taste.

M: Thick, but not too syrupy. Amazing balance on the mouth. I am pleased with this.

O: Still can't believe how good this is for the price. Sierra Nevada knows their stuff.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2014 02:54:06 | More by titty_mcbitty
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2014 00:45:05 | More by don1481
Photo of tigerbeer90

South Carolina

4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 Vintage into a Tulip glass

A: Beautiful orange/red color with a finger and a half of head. Good lacing and lots of floaties in the bottom

S: A LOT less hops than I year ago. I'm getting some golden raisins and other lighter fruit. Wow, totally different than a year ago.

T: Hop bitterness is still there, but the star is the caramel/fruity/sweet alcohol backbone that has developed.

M: Coating and smooth. Good amount of carbonation

O: Very impressed with this 2013 Bigfoot. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of this beer fresh. These American Barley Wines seem like nothing but slightly maltier IIPAs. This beer with a year has really developed it into something special! Great job SN!

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2014 00:20:59 | More by tigerbeer90
Photo of ykncornelius

North Carolina

5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This guy is really one of my favorites, but I've never formally reviewed it. I guess usually my glass is empty before I have a chance to hop online...

Beautiful orangey-garnet pour (burnt umber, for you Crayola aficionados out there), creamy off-white head died quickly and gave way to good lacing and a thin film.

The aromas were elusive as all hell to me. Lovely, but tough to put my finger on. It wasn't until I had a sip that I realized I was getting an absolute blast of sugary-sweet grapefruit on the nose. Imagine slicing out wedges from a fresh fruity half and tapping demerara sugar on the top--THAT is the nose and the first taste.

The best part is how that quickly vanishes and leaves you with this meaty mouthfeel of malt, like chewing up a mouthful of animal crackers + a shot of aged rum + a couple raisins + a drying drop of quassia. The flavors just LINGER for AGES, it's fantastic. Especially the residual throaty tastes from that first sip--so if you're just popping the top, really pay attention to the first taste.

Add in that typical barleywine effervescence and chewy creamy mouthfeel, and extremely mild alcohol heat for nearly a 10%-er. It's boozy and yet (dangerously) sessionable...at least to this guy.

I hate to get too technical and give something a 4.5 for appearance or mouthfeel when, given the style, it couldn't be any different or better. So this one's getting 5's across the board. Brilliant brew.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2014 02:40:06 | More by ykncornelius
Photo of Boozermurfin


3.54/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A - pours beautifully. Amber red with 2 finger head into a snifter. Great lacing.

S -I'm newer to the style, so the smell is wonderful and intriguing. But I can't figure out exactly what's going on. Some citrusy juicy hops up front. Spiciness coming through, maybe pepper. Some dark fruit perhaps.

T - some sweetness upfront but overpowered by a lingering bitterness I wasn't completely expecting. Oaky. Don't really like it. Gets worse at it warms up.

M - slightly syrupy. Oily is maybe better word.

O - I think this looks, smells and taste much like a double IPA, but with a greater warming effect. There's the bitterness of the hops but without the joyous aroma or flavor I expect from them. Will let age and come back to it.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2014 23:57:54 | More by Boozermurfin
Photo of GinjaSlice


3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: great looking dark redish brown, it has a thin yellowish head and very thin lacing
S: smells like some maltiness maybe dark fruit with a little hop at the end.
T: good balanced taste at first, with some malt at front and hop at the end, but as a drank it more it became more and more tasting of alcohol
M: too much carbonation

O: Okay beer trying to age it and will review again.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2014 20:16:22 | More by GinjaSlice
Photo of richj1970


4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle. 2014 release.

A: Pours a reddish mahogany brown with a two finger off white head that left significant sticky lacing.

S: Sweet caramel malts combined with a huge hops assault. Perhaps a whiff of toffee.

T: Biscuit, caramel, toffee mixed with bitter piney resin.

M: Medium body and carbonation. Just a bit sweet on the tongue, but a bit dry in the finish.

O: Very solid barleywine. The flavors developed nicely as it warmed. Looking forward to aging a couple for a bit to see how it evolves.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2014 01:25:57 | More by richj1970
Photo of MasterfulIdiot


3.46/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Riedel tulip glass. Kicks up a nice foamy tan head that takes a few minutes to die down. The liquid is a nearly opaque amber with red hues coming through.

Aroma is lots of toasted malts, with a bit of a hop kick hiding underneath.

Taste is roasted malts at first, but it gets quickly undercut by hoppy bitterness. Hops are kind of citrusy, but overall seem to bring a lot of bitterness without much flavor. There's a nice interplay between all the malts and hops, but it comes out having that sickly-sweet bitterness that I find in some beers that I don't like. The hops and alcohol do bring out a nice warming character, which is really pleasant.

Mouthfeel is semi-thick, with lots of carbonation. The head sticks around pretty much forever, and gives you a nice dose of foam with every sip.

Overall, it's just got a flavor profile I don't really like that much. I think it's well done, but not my cup of tea. Maybe it would be better aged, so the hops aren't as strong, but, to be honest, there's not that much else I can taste in the beer that I would look forward to. However, if it's a cold, wintry night and you want something warming, but also want an IPA, then this would probably be your beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2014 01:22:19 | More by MasterfulIdiot
Photo of BoJengs


4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle consumed 3/15/14 after a little over a year in the cellar.

A- pours a reddish copper. Very clean looking and nice head.

S- sweet smell. Maybe a hint of bourbon even though this wasnt aged in a barrel. Good smell.

T- tastes delicious but almost like a beer in transition. It has shed a little bit of the hoppy bite the freshy had and has more of a sweet malt backbone. Still very balanced but could smooth/mellow more.

M- great mouthfeel-tickles the tongue. Nothing to complain about here.

O- this is a great beer. I will purchase at least a 4 pack every year. Im looking forward to seeing this one after 2-3 years in the cellar.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2014 21:50:40 | More by BoJengs
Photo of 8stringfan

District of Columbia

3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured straight down into a large style tulip it produced a massive, thick, fluffy, light beige/off-white three finger head with considerable staying power (after a couple of minutes in the glass it was still well over a finger) and considerable lacing. Color is a hazy, opaque, tawny brown with hints of amber. Nose is well balanced with crisp, piney, and slightly grapefruit hops underlying a big, malty nose presenting dark caramel, toffee, molasses, a tinge of vanilla and, well, just plain old malted sweetness. For a 9.6% abv, there is no sign on the nose of the higher alcohol content. Sip is bittersweet on the front of the tongue leading with lightly floral piney hop notes. Midpalate sees the full expression of this powerful and complex brew with an explosion of multi-layered sweet flavors from the malt including caramel, stewed fruits, dried Turkish apricot, sweet dark bread, and fruitcake. The hop component has a fresh and extremely well-balanced quality and presents a generalized sense of light citrus and pine bitterness. The back of the tongue and swallow sees an aggressive hop expression overtake some pronounced malty caramel notes, first in terms of light crisp pine notes and then an aggressive burst of tannic, slightly rubbery bitterness. Finish is somewhat thin, given the strength and depth of flavor on the sip, and consists most strongly of drying tannins with, again, notes of bitter grapefruit and pine. Despite a head suggesting massive carbonation, the mouthfeel was velvety smooth and slick while the alcohol never really showed up. I meant to A/B this with last year’s Bigfoot but before I could do it, someone at our holiday party back in December accidentally drank the 2012 Bigfoot I’d been saving all year. Grrr!! At any rate, based on my review of last year’s Bigfoot, this one seems a bit less hop forward and more malty, with some greater depth in the malt profile. I think that’s an improvement and a better reflection of what I’ve come to expect from American Barleywine’s. I’d like to see more happen in the finish, but all-in-all, this was a terrific brew and an excellent example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2014 03:21:00 | More by 8stringfan
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 JuicesFlowing


4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a balloon glass.

Look: Dark rusty amber with more burnt orange when held up to light. A tan colored head dissipates to a wispy film while a decent amount of foamy lacing stays on the glass.

Aroma: Lots of oaky wood and piney hops with an undertone of syrupy malts.

Taste: Thick, syrupy sweet malts are immediately evident. This is followed up by a very bitter, pine and spruce hop bill with good grapefruit rind citrus in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thick, heavy, and slightly sticky.

Overall: Quality flavors and aromas all the way around. Definitely rich and worth sipping for a while.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2014 20:21:21 | More by JuicesFlowing
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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 5,771 ratings.