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

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

6,517 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,517
Reviews: 2,830
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 296
Gots: 1,200 | FT: 49
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: 6,517 | Reviews: 2,830 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
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.

Photo of t0rin0
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have tried 06 and 07 Bigfoot both on tap and in the bottle. I heard a lot of people say that its more bitter this year but I can't notice the difference. That may be because it had been a year since I had it last.

The appearance is amazing. Its an awsome red color with a dark head. Hold it up to a light, its really a nice color.

It has an intense malt smell with a considerable hop presence. The only downside is that one can almost smell the bitterness. I am not saying that bitterness is bad, just that when it comes out in the smell it doesnt bode well for the beer.

This beer is remarkably well balanced in sweetness and bitterness. Despite my initial predictions based on the smell it is one of the best flavors ive tasted in a beer. The first sip almost hurts its so bitter but after that its really quite delicious and after 1 or 2 bottles in an evening you wont even notice the bitterness.

Bigfoot is fairly heavy bodied as it should be considering how much unfermented sugar there is in the beer. It has a low-medium carbonation but it doesnt matter because its just as good once it gets flat.

It is drinkable but it must be sipped and enjoyed. The 6 pack challenge has a become a ritual in my group of friends. If you want to "chug" a 6 pack, which still takes a few hours, be prepared to wake up the next morning in a strange place. Otherwise enjoy it with a meal or on tap somewhere.

Overall: a great beer even warm and/or flat. Well worth the cost.

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage.

Pours a murky dark iced tea color with a small 1 inch khaki head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. Nice rings of lace lin the glass on the drink down. Smells of biscuits, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and citrus zest. Taste is very similar but in the reverse order of the smells: citrus zest hops, brown sugar/caramel/toffee, with the biscuit like malt coming through at the end. Medium hop bitterness on the palate after each sip. Thick and chewy in the mouth with each sip. Slight alcohol burn in the throat. Overall, this is a good barleywine that packs a hop punch. One of the hoppiest of the style that I have tried.

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 01.07.09. Tasted on 03.01.09.

G: Oversized snifer.

A: Pours a very dark amber with a single-finger thick and creamy head. Lacing on the glass as it goes down. Not very transparent.

S: Strong, sweet malt with a hint of alcohol. Mild fruity smells.

T: Initial malt presence with the hops coming on shortly thereafter. The flavor comes out much more as it warms up. Not as complex as some other barleywines I've had, but still a very solid offering.

M: Medium-bodied and creamy. Alcohol hits the tip of the tongue and the beer is smooth as it goes down.

D: A nice drink that I'll definitely enjoy each year, but not one I'll plan on really stocking up on--maybe one to grab a few bottles of each year to see how it changes.

Photo of nmann08
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of GRG1313
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 Bottle. Notes from January 2009 and now review two years later, tasting in January 2011.

Pours a medium dark copper red with white thick head when fresh and very little head after two years.

Citrus hop/lemon nose when fresh that, after two years, goes to a maple whiskey - big maple whiskey character carries through flavor profile and finish.

Mouthfeel is big and rich and well balanced with lots going on. You can't help but want to put more in your mouth.

I was not a fan until I again tried it after it spent two years in my cellar; I'm a fan. Complex orange peel lemon/lime hop flavors when fresh that, again, goes to a maple whiskey flavor profile; lots of burnt toast and bitter burnt orange; very complex overall; lots of hops; long hop finish that, after some age, retains complexity and goes to a bitter burnt orange/burnt toast bitter maple whiskey. This is something that I will continue to try, both fresh and with some age.

A nice experience with a beer that I aged for two years. It was worth it.

Photo of metter98
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

Photo of olradetbalder
4.04/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of brentk56
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 Vintage

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with a modest head that leaves good lacing

Smell: Spruce pine aroma with a bit of wood and alcohol esters

Taste: Starts out with a toasty caramel flavor that is quickly stepped on by the piney hops; after the swallow, the bitter pine flavors overwhelm everything else and cruise to the finish , where it is joined by a touch of sweetness on the tip of the tongue

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with modest carbonation

Drinkability: Like all Bigfoots, this is a bit raw when young; give it a few years to mellow out

Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

With the release of this annual Barleywine, I am aways taken back to the firt time tasting this massive beverage. With extremes of hops colide with extremes of malt, you don't see the finess of balance comming....

This godfather of the American Barleyine style jumps out of the bottle and lands with a masculine viscocity that's caught somewhere between viscous and crisp. Deep bronze in color, the beer is quite clear for such a hop-forward flavor. Froathy off-white foam blankets the surface of the beer and much of the glass, making it difficult to know where the head character ends and the lacing begins. It's to be expected of a richly malted beer with a generous hop contingency.

Molasass and toffee malt aromas reach the nose, along with an abundance of pine and grapefruit scented hops. Esters of cherry, plumb, and currant help to bridge the hop-malt divide, and to give a sense of meldedness to the nose.

Malt dominance is evidence with the very first sip; with the strong sweetness of black strap molasass, barley sugars, and sturdy malt taste. But the hops provide an attack of white grapefruit, citrus piths, pine resin, and a smooth pang of bitterness... Nether allowing any ground to the other- somewhat combative in taste, but strikingly harmoneous in balance. (Kinda like tango with Fred and Ginger).... Meanwile, back at the ranch- The strong brandy-strength esters of cherry, berry, plumb, grape, and dates begin to sew the flavors together for an intense dichotomy in the mouth.

Strong and matly early, but with the dryness of hop and alcohol late tells the tale of two halves: malty rich and velvety smooth to mid palate then turns IPA-ish with malty-dry textures and alcoholic warmth leading to a strong and dense beer that's way more drinkable than it should be.

A long, dry linger of barley and hops continues to develop in aftertaste making this beer as drinkable as you want it to be, and as savory as you want it to be. That's the beauty in this classy ale!

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a light dark beer with a huge head with excellent retention. Aroma is comprised of sweet plums and some nice malt. Taste is quite wonderful with again the plums/raisins sweetness being noticeable. It ends with a wonderful warm feeling. Overall, this is a very good barley wine and would like to taste this again on a warm winter night.

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.

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

2004 vintage. Hazy tawny that is a wonderful, multi-hued melange of orange, red, caramel and copper. The pale caramel cap is a thing of beauty as well. Creamystiff and tacky at once, its rugged surface is slowly deflating in sections and thick gobs of lace are beginning to stick to the glass. A real looker, this one.

The nose is hugely powerful and smells like generously spiced fruit brandy. Sweet caramel candy bass notes hold down the bottom end while barely disguised ethanol and floral-citric hops rampage on the top end. The slight rubbing alcohol scent keeps it from greatness.

Sweet, syrupy, bitter, chewy, malty, hoppy... Bigfoot BSA covers all the bases. Repeated mouthfuls fail to isolate a dominant presence on the palate; all of the various elements of the flavor profile are combined seamlessly. Unfortunately, that includes alcohol. I know that it's difficult to hide the alcohol in what is, essentially, a 20-proof beverage, but it seems to me that it could have been done with a bit more success.

I've been hearing for years about how hoppy Bigfoot is, especially when young, but it doesn't seem overly bitter or hoppy to me. Perhaps my 'mouthful of hop cones' expectations were misplaced or perhaps the gargantuan amount of malt and the high ABV do an effective job of smoothing out and blunting the hop flavor.

As noted in the description of the nose, melted caramel blends with brandy-macerated orchard fruit and citric hops to form a wonderfully viscous, mouthcoating, sweet sipper of a beer. The finish is seemingly infinitely long and features diminishing echoes of caramel-drizzled hops. Warming and satisfying.

Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale is good beer. It isn't as hoppy as I had hoped and it doesn't surpass Old Foghorn as far as I'm concerned, but its reputation is well deserved. I plan to pick up at least a sixer every year to see how each vintage changes from year to year and how each changes with cellaring.

Photo of jaydoc
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -3.6%

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

2006...Poured a rich hazy caramel color, with a thin head. Smell was Hop with a caramel, coffee under it with a hint of alcohol. Taste was much more complex. Caramel and rosted malts, followed by a very dry hoppy finish. Alcohol was very very well hidden. Superb taste and mouthfell make this very drinkable indeed. This was my favorite barleywine to date!

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

2007 Vintage Tasted on 6/24/09

A: Dark amber in color with lots of red highlights and minimal head.

S: Lots of sweet malt, with still a fair bit of hops/bitterness despite being two years old. Dark fruits are very present in the nose as well.

T: Like any barleywine, the sweet caramel and toffee are the stars. But again, a very noticeable bitterness is still present.

M: Full bodied, smooth, and moderate carbonation.

D: Sort of the quintessential barleywine. This stuff seems to have an infinite shelf-life, and I'm glad I've got several vintages of this sitting around.

Photo of Knapp85
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is pretty freaking intense, Had a new bottle of this back in 2008 and it was really potent to me. The appearance of the beer was a muddy golden color with some brown in there. The head was white and had some good retention. The aroma of the beer was really hoppy for a barley wine. The other aromas if any where difficult to pick out. The flavor was big and bitey. There was a lot of complexity in here there were hops and malts colliding, there was some dark fruits in the aftertaste lingering around it was pretty different from anything I had tried prior to this. It's an impressive brew, wish I would have aged one from years ago to see if it mellows out over time.

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev -3.6%

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,517 ratings.