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

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

6,946 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,946
Reviews: 2,954
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 11.35%
Wants: 352
Gots: 1,501 | FT: 67
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 02-06-1998

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,946 | Reviews: 2,954
Photo of Kegatron
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into a snifter. 2010 release.

Pours a beautiful looking deep clear amber, with 2+ foamy fingers of foamy off-white head. Retention is great here, with this putting up a big frothy flareup of lacing that hangs in thick swathes down the sides of the glass. The aroma mainly consists of fresh American hops that literally blow up in the nose, being full of pine and spice and a deep smelling fresh herbal tanginess. A thick malty graininess fills the back of the nose, with most of the sweetness here appearing to come for the fruitiness and earthy nature of the hops.

Resins and spice from those fresh hops just rip the mouth, while a combo of earthy dankness and bitter citrus flavor creeps along in the background. Much like the aroma, there isn't a whole lot of sweetness present (but there's just enough), with a stiff backbone of toasted gaininess holding steady across the back of the palate. Finishes with a ton of lingering dryness, spice, and some leftover herbal tang. The mouthfeel is full and chewy with a good bit of thickness to the feel; but the overall creaminess of the carbonation helps keep this smooth in the mouth for such a big beer. Even at room temp, I'm happy to report that the alcohol here is kept in check, with only some gentle warmth in the chest and throat showing itself after each sip. Well done.

A classic any way you cut it, not only because of it's great availabilty and price each year but also because this is just a damn fine American Barleywine. I personally prefer this fresh each year but aged isn't shabby either. So loosen up thee ole' belt and enjoy one of these calorie-bombs!

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.26/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage. Sampled 1-16-15. Thick and chewy malts on this one. Pinch of sweetness going on. Only mildly rough around the edges. Could use a bit more time, I think. Still a nice, classic brew. Will go pick up some more to lay down.

2005. Sampled 9-23-2007. I believe it has been in cold storage all this time. I also have three more now that will lay for a while.

Pours a clouded brown with reddish hues. Raisin nose. Touch of alcohol. Still going strong on the nose. Flavor is hoppy, with raisins, minor alcohol, and...prunes? That is what I want to say. But I can't say I am a regular prune consumer. Feel has a smooth carbonation to it and the liquid is good too. Overall very drinkable still. I am sure this could have aged in a better fashion, but it is still going strong as if it never missed a beat. I will probably go back to the store I found this and buy the other bottles. (posted scores reflect this vintage)

2008. Sampled 3-9-2008. What? No more camping Bigfoot under the cap anymore? Lame. Pours beautifully. Nice darker amber with a thick creme head leaving a lot of lace. Nose is strong piney hops. Later on I get very noticeable grass that has a distinct minty edge. Flavor is smooth with a nice bitter bite to it. Robust and full. Feel has a great carbonation to it and the liquid is nice. Very, very nice. This is extremely good. I really doubt I could have the patience to let this age. Why bother anyways when it is this nice. Overall score - 4.5

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a top notch barleywine. Very hoppy, tastes almost like a double IPA to me. Definitely a sipper as there's some alcohol kick but definitely not as harsh as Brooklyn's Monster Ale. I liked this beer a lot and will be trying it again the future.

Photo of Slatetank
4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 vintage

Presentation - Poured from a 12oz bottle with 6007 imprinted above barcode into a medium sized snifter.

A - Beautiful deep amber/copper ale pours with sufficient carbonation to produce a generous beige head with compact bubbles.

S - Fruits and wood make an immediate impression along w/ grapeskin and stone fruit odors. Hickory and boozy scents mingle with toffee and green apple aromas. Citrus hops do not hesitate to assert their aromatic presence.

M - Warm and boozy, sweet + sticky with mild to medium acidity and a blossoming effervesence.

T - Solid malt sweetness says HELLO! with an in your face hoppiness. The two join together in a sentimental marriage that frolics with alcoholic equilibrium. A great toffee sweet and woody dry essence is blended with grapefruity hop bitterness. Blends of multiple flavors such as tart and spicy are experienced. Candied pecans and sugar cookies come to mind as a malty spotlight shift occurs amid warming ale tasting temps.
A great balance is achieved with a 1-alcohol, 2-hop, 3-malt punch.

D - Great drinkability for a potent brew. Hops are showcased as well as an effervescent mouthfeel. Would be one that may benefit from aging. I might put one aside for a year to compare.

2009 Version Poured from the 12oz stubby bottle chilled into a snifter.

A - Dark copper/bronze w/ lots of visible carbonation rising to a sand colored cap of approx 3/4 inch. Appears almost like ruby colored w/ thick rings of lace clinging to the snifter

S - Crisp pine scent, lots of caramel and woody aromas like smoked hickory w/ a sweet cherry-like fruit ester

M - Mildly bitter w/ sweet feel moderate carbonation and bitter feel lingers w/ a semi sweet finish

T - The flavor is acidic w/ hoppy piney and sweet candy taste w/ alcohol flavor and mild citrus w/ sweet citrus zest. Ruby red graperfruit taste and light biscuit taste is noted in the last taste w/ gentle pepper flavor

D - A strong beer but one that is really tasty and practically begs to be drank, but slowly. A hoppy intense barleywine-Classic.

Photo of Jason
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz brown stubby with a vintage date of 2004 on the cap. A small amount of sediment stay still during the pouring. Served at cellar temperature.

Appearance: Thick pancake like head with a webby trail of lace all over the glass. Clear brownish garnet color is brilliant against the light.

Smell: Enthralling aroma of fresh hops hits the nose with a stiff punch of grapefruit and mild pine. Light fruity esters and a caramel like malt are in the back.

Taste: Pungent right from the beginning, not astringent just really bitter from the hops. Then lays in the malt base which is a stable foundation of caramel and toasted sweetness. Some fruity esters jump into the mix as well as a clean yeast in the back ground. Towards the end things dry out with a faint fusel alcohol tagging along for the ride.

Notes: Perhaps a bit green though still damn tasty, drink it now for a good whack to the taste buds or let it sit a year or so to mellow it out. Either way Bigfoot a sure thing.

Bottled 2003 batch.

Appearance: The head is perfection, the lace is thick and sticky with a web like trail down the glass. Deep and dark amber color with a tawny reddish hues.

Smell: Perfumy hop resin aroma with a sweetish oily floral back ground, pungent in light grapefruit and vague piney scents. Esters throw a whiff of alcohol in. Some caramel in the nose within the blanket of malt sweetness that can’t seem to cover the hops.

Taste: The body is big, strong and unwavering. Well textured moderate carbonation. Flat out the hops show who is boss, bitterness is hard but with little astringency. Oily hops make for a slick and smooth mouth feel. As the hops roll over the taste buds the flavor becomes more rustic with a bit of earthy leafy hop flavor. Lots more to go around with the hops with citric and piney flavors. Maltiness may not be the dominant one though it still gives a good sweet push on the palate. Caramel and a toasted malt sweetness swirl around the hops and seem semi melded with each other. Alcohol is certainly not to be ignored either with a slow yet steady warmth, mild esters and a fruity character of ripe figs and prunes.

Notes: A bit more balanced than previous years with that same trademark hardcore hop character. This is the Big Mamma of hoppy barleywines and you have to love the stuff. This is a well aged beer if you have the willpower.

Photo of russpowell
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Obtained from Trinity BP, bours orange/amber with a finger of sand colored head. Good head retention & insane lacing

S: Doughyness & piney hops

T: Piney & herbal hops, dryness, plus booze smack & whisper of caramel up front. Cakeyness, resiny hops, & pineyness as this warms. finishes with a bit of boozey tangerine, apricot, pine sap, grapefruit & dryness

MF: Chewy, moderate carbonation, skews hoppy, true to style. Stickyness & warming booze show as this warms

Drinks alright, if you don't like a hop smack, stay way, otherwise I'm good for a few points before getting sleepy.. I believe I prefer the bottled version, but would never say no to this hairy beast!

Photo of Rifugium
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 Version:

Deep amber brown mahogany with a huge caramel colored tan head. I poured this one into a 20 oz. Gulden Draak glass, and I couldn't do anything but sit stare and smell it for like five minutes. The aroma was simply amazing, I could literally sit here all day and enjoy the aroma. It's full of deep invigorating piney hops wrapped in maple syrup that are acting like pheromones, making me fall in love with this beer. The taste is one huge assault of malts and hops. The hop resins send shots of bitterness across my palate and the wave of malty sweetness of figs, raisin, and syrup sweep through finishing the flavor. Mouthfeel is syrupy fullness one full bodied west coast hop monster presenting the oily resins in the mouthfeel very nice. The drinkability of a beer this high in alcohol is so dangerous, but this is one beer to be enjoyed slowly it's an experience. In fact it's one that I would like to have again, I will tango with this classic west coast barley wine anytime.

Photo of LXIXME
3.46/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A pretty decent light brown to off white head settles into a decent lacing above a clear dark reddish amber ale.

Big hops, a lot of barley malt and a lot of alcohol in the aroma of this beer.

Alcohol dominates a bitter hops and a sweet grain malt taste.

A medium bodied beer with a alcohol and dry hops aftertaste.

To much alcohol in the aroma and taste for me, if I want that I'll just grab a bottle of JD and be happy.

Photo of kojevergas
3.21/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

01/23/12

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Disney thistle glass. Reviewed live in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California.

A: Pours a three finger head of nice cream and thickness, and great retention - especially for the high ABV. Colour is a caramel auburn. Nontransparent.

Sm: Quite malty, with some yeast and cream. The toasted malts are nice. Some moderately strong hop notes are present as well. A mild to moderate strength aroma.

T: Actually quite hoppy. I'm surprised. Some toasted malt aids the foundation. It's simple and strange for the style - to its detriment. Boring and bland, but not without redeeming characteristics. Candied sugar fills out the body without adding much flavour. It's too sugary overall, actually.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but too thick and heavy on the palate.

Dr: Decently drinkable. Okay for the style, but in major need of work. The hoppy approach just feels wrong. I wouldn't have it again. Another disappointment from Sierra Nevada.

I initially asserted this wouldn't age well in contrast to most other barleywines due to its reliance on the hoppy flavours, but GoodBeerFan2006 wrote in to let me know it does indeed age quite well. I hadn't considered that potential hop death/hop flavour demulsification would actually round out the balance better. It's a valid point; thanks GoodBeerFan2006! Consider cellaring it if you desire the best experience possible with this beer.

C+

---
12/10/12

I decided to revisit an aged version of this after questioning my initial (fresh review). 1995 vintage Bigfoot served into a New Belgium stem-goblet. Expectations are above average. Cost was ~$8.00 at a vintage bottle shop. Cap reads "Bigfoot Expedition 1995". Label is quaint and reminds me of craft beer history; so this is what Sierra Nevada looked like when Pearl Jam was popular.

Poured with substantial vigor because undercarbonation is anticipated.

A: Pours a weak tan floater. No head at all. Body colour is a dark brown. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Heavy caramel, fermented dark fruit including plum and fig, oxidation notes, malty sweetness, and dominant raisin. Not as musty as expected, but it certainly isn't fresh. No hops are detectable in the aroma. An assertive, moderate strength aroma. Not a particularly appealing one either.

T: Raisin, caramel, dates, plum, and malty sweetness on the finish. Oxidation notes ruin the balance and distract. No hops whatsoever. Rich and surprisingly full-bodied. Lacks complexity or subtlety. Not a great flavour; it's definitely past its prime by a long shot. Still, it's not vinegary - quite an achievement at 17 years old.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and weak. Sugary. Cloying, even a bit astringent. Lacks good present. Age has taken its toll.

Dr: Hard to drink on account of its poor quality. Boy, I'm not going to enjoy finishing this glass. The ABV is decently hidden, but this beer has long passed prime. Maybe this would be better about 7 years younger.

D+

I might have overshot the whole aging bigfoot thing; fresh it seems was too young and 17 years was too old. I'll revisit at different vintages in-between as my budget allows. My current score reflects the fresh review.

---

02/20/13

Final revisit. 2008 vintage (25th expedition/anniversary). It's five years old; this should be peak. Review below will be truncated. 9.6%. Heard a crack upon opening; still carbonated.

A: Pours a half finger khaki head of nice cream/thickness and above average (~2 minute) retention for the high ABV. Body colour is a murky nontransparent opaque dark caramel. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Fruity and evocative. Rich appealing biscuity malts. No hops. The malts are quite refined; age has done this well. Port-like richness and sweetness. Caramel. Toffee. Bread. Candi sugar. Quite nice, actually. Maybe I've finally found what Bigfoot is cracked up to be. A pretty strong aroma. Right on the money for a barleywine.

T: Okay. Caramelized malts with a light port-like sweetness. Refined biscuit malts. No hoppy character or yeast. Definite fruitiness; perhaps over-fermented (think depleted) fig. Plum on the finish. Licorice. Raisin. It's sweeter than anticipated, with lots of malty sugars. Balanced but simple. This is definitely better than fresh or 17 year old Bigfoot, but it's still not great. Solid for a barleywine, if a bit underwhelming.

Mf: Good coarseness. Wet. Good carbonation. Suits the flavour well.

Dr: I do like this. 3-5 years definitely seems to be the sweet spot for Bigfoot, but I'll give up the ghost after this review. I kept wanting it to be as good as I'd heard it was, but it just isn't. Bigfoot just isn't a great barleywine, but you can't say I didn't try. I'd try it again at three years, but I've lost hope that this will satisfy the hype. My current review reflects the score I gave it fresh.

High B-

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark purplish color, beneath a tan head. Aroma is fantastic, fresh, roasty, spicy, full of notes of caramel, toffee, nuts, berries, a beautiful blend. The alcohol content, also, is evident in the nose. Thick texture, not to be approached lightly. Take care, good friends, when confronting the species Bigfooticus Barleywinicus. Very warming, very friendly, heat and flavor floods and fills the mouth., hell, it takes over your entire head! An everlasting spark carries through this classic brew, loads of hops, backed up with a full load of malt. Always formidable, always enjoyable. I'm glad we can always count on finding Bigfoot at least once a year!
2002 edition.

(12-25-03)
Found a bottle of the 1999 edition at a store, Wow!, pre-cellared, so why sit on it longer, it's nearly 5 years old already, let's crack it and see...beautiful, bright crimson color, full, thick, fresh, bubbly, creamy head. Roasty, rich, fruity, yeasty, bread-y, biscuit-y, just amazing, uplifting, alive and luscious and lovely and ...surprisingly smooth on meeting the tongue, yet full of amazing flavor, and incredibly drinkable, fully fruity, woody, nutty, boozy, let's not forget...
hmmm, while I'm at it, why not review the 2003?
Eh, this is plenty...my devotion to Bigfoot is again justified, and I've kicked up the rankings a notch or two, for I've had further reason to bow down before it's greatness...certainly, I've never been able to "cellar" this brew this long on my own, for it's pull is irresistible, and I've always been pulled to drink it fresh down my gullet...oh, it's a mighty and a beautiful thing!
To answer myself so quickly, the 2003, after nearly a year is magnificent as you'd expect, full of rich flavor...yum, yum, yum...I'm sorry did I say "yum" yet?

Photo of mdfb79
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes, drank on 2/16/10. Year 2010.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Poured a dark amber color with about 1 finger of white foam and a little carbonation. Looks great.

s - Lots of fruity hops, as well as some pine. Some orange is evident.

t - Again tastes of some fruity hops and pine. Alcohol is definitely evident, especially in the after taste.

m - Full bodied but goes down easier than you'd expect. A little hot.

d - Pretty good barleywine but gotta drink this one slow. Alcohol is definitely evident, but still a great smell and taste. Got one bottle of 2010 left so I think I'm going to cellar it and see what happens.

4/3.5/4/4/3.5
___

EDIT on 09/27/12: I've had this many times over the last 3 years and actually just had the 2010 vintage on tap tonigh at the Pony Bar in NYC on the UES. It was drinking great. I've found this is a great beer with 2-3 years on it to let the alcohol fade a tiny bit. Bumping up my ratings.

Photo of smcolw
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Small amount of chill haze to an otherwise clear dark amber liquid. The head is impressive with far more lace than I ever expect from this style of beer.

Surprising amount of floral hop in the aroma. Still, the main smell is a lightly sweet malt.

Oily and rich, the greatest flavor is the powerful amount of fresh hop. The malt base is potent with a touch of malt sugar. Lots of warming alcohol. The body has the consistency of skim milk and the carbonation is quite low.

This is a pleasant beer to be slowly enjoyed. It's too powerful to quaff down but it is flavorful and complex enough to evaluate with appreciation.

Photo of drabmuh
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Matt, the foot on the cap said 2005, I didn't investigate further.

Beer is brown to gray and hazy with a thin off white head of small bubbles.

Aroma is alcoholic slightly, like a liquor, with caramel and mild toffee and perhaps some leather.

Beer is big, chewy, in the mouth. Viscous. Its not hot any longer, its sweet at the lead off and heavy. The flavors of dark fruits and raisins cover the mouth. Its great and highly drinkable. While the beer seems syrupy, its not offputting, its a very nice aged barleywine.

Photo of jwc215
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007

Pours deep ruby with a one-finger head creamy head. Decent head retention for the style.

The smell is a fragrant bouquet. Caramel, citrus, peppery spice.

The taste is of rich caramelish sweetness with underlying citrus and pine. The citric/piney hops soon catch up to, and edge over, the malt. Very hoppy for the style. Assertive, slightly raw, though not necessarily sharp, alcohol is present that will probably mellow with aging.

The body is full, rich and creamy.

A nice slow-sipper. A nice malt profile supported by a stong hop character. A unique, tasty, barleywine!

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into snifter, 2011 vintage bottled 12/30/2010. Pours lightly cloudy reddish copper color with a nice 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big orange zest, pine, grapefruit, caramel, molasses, toast, biscuit, herbal, and earthy spiciness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of big pine, orange zest, caramel, raisin, molasses, toast, biscuit, herbal, floral, grapefruit, earth, and piney spiciness. Good amount of pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, orange rind, pine, caramel, toast, molasses, biscuit, earth, herbal, and piney spiciness on the finish for a while. Great balance of flavors with good complexity; nice bitterness/sweetness balance; no overly cloying flavors at all after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a creamy, slick, and slightly crisp mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is incredibly well hidden with nearly zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent barleywine! Nice balance and complexity of flavors; very smooth and crisp to sip on. Highly enjoyable offering with the age on it. Looking forward to seeing how it changes down the road.

Photo of chinchill
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 bottle (date on cap & label) served in a pint glass.

A. Dark reddish-amber with 1+ finger of bone-colored head. The head is markedly thick, has great retention and leaves plentiful sticky lacing. There's a very slight haze, but both coarse and fine carbonation bubbles can be seen rising from the bottom of the glass. No room for improvement here.

S: The first thing to strike me was the clear hop aroma, with a mixed of resin (primary) and citrus (secondary). This is no IPA, however, and there's a solid, sweet malt base, and hints of brandy and dark fruits. High ABV becomes increasingly evident with warming, but still mixes nicely with the other aromatics.

T: Caramel malt sweetness up front is quickly replaced with a big bitter hop hit. Relatively strong, hoppy and bitter finish and aftertaste. ABV is fairly well hidden.

M: Moderate carbonation. Rather full body. Smooth. Inevitable impact of high ABV does have a negative impact on the mouthfeel.

O: This is a big beer in aroma, appearance, and flavor. Would not be out of place in a DIPA tasting session: it may well stick out less in a group of DIPA than with a bunch of other barleywines. Tasty, but consume slowly.

{Re-tasted March 2013 -- aged nicely and is a better, less-hoppy beer. Ratings partially adjusted for aged version}

Photo of WesWes
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a reddish amber color with a thick off-white head. The aroma is great. It has an awesome hop scent surrounded by a fine malty base. The taste is good. It is intensely malty with an equally intense hop flavor. It goes down easy. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a great barleywine. It has real good flavor. This is the best beer Sierra Nevada produces.

Photo of dbrauneis
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 Vintage

A: Pours a crystal clear copper color. The beer has a finger tall beige head that reduces rather quickly to a thick patch and a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Significant lacing is observed.

S: This beer has a really nice aroma, starting with some sweet caramel malt notes. After that the hops take over, first with the intense pine and then followed by some lighter tropical fruit notes.

T: The taste really follows the flavor... there is a light caramel malt sweetness up front that is followed by lots of hops. There is definitely a dominant presence of pine hops that have a real lot of lingering bitterness (and quite a bit of bitterness as well). Some subtle hints of tropical fruit hops. Some alcohol taste is present in the finish as the beer warms.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly sticky/resiny.

O: A little surprising that there is so much hoppiness in a barleywine. There is a light presence of the alcohol in the finish of the taste and a slight amount of alcohol heat left in your mouth after drinking. Not the easiest drinking beer but still enjoyable. This beer is meant for sipping and probably only one in an evening. Definitely nice complexity to the smell and taste.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage. This bottle may be off since the beer was only filled up to the top of the label. It didn't taste oxidized or flat, so I am reviewing it.

Pours a reddish-amber color with a white head. The aroma is brown sugar, alcohol and caramel malt. Pretty basic barleywine aroma. The flavor is brown sugar, toffee and piney and citrus hops. Even with the big hop flavor, the bitterness is not too high. The alcohol is definitely detectable and is front and center in the flavor. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation

Photo of mdaschaf
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes. Broke out a mini vertical after brewing on 5-21-11, including bottles from 2007-2011. Review is of 2011 vintage.

A: Poured a slightly hazy ruby/brown color with a foamy off-white head with nice retention and thick, sticky lacing left on the glass.

S: I was not prepared for the hops on the aroma, tons of both citrus and pine with a solid caramel backbone. Some tropical fruits including grapefruit and pineapple.

T: Again, surprisingly hoppy. A combination of both citrus/tropical and pine flavors with more of the former - some grapefruit and pineapple. The is a sizeable malt backbone giving a sweetness as well as a slight nutty/toasty characteristic.

M: Very smooth (the aged bottles were smoother), medium bodied, slightly filling, with moderate carbonation.

O: Very good! Typically I am not a huge fan of American Barleywines, finding them to be a bit harsh, but this one wasn't at all. Now..to resist cracking the others I have left so I can age them..

Photo of mothman
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed some of these with ThePeskyDingo

Poured into New Belgium Globe Glass

Bubbles stuck to the inside of the glass. Pours a 1 finger tan head, some what pillow-toped. Good retention with splattered lace. Color is a clear copper ruby.

Aroma is very complex. Pine hops, citrus fruits, honey, and bready malts.

Taste: Hops, hops, and more hops. This beer follows the sierra nevada line-up for sure. Piny hops, honey, grapefruit, bready malts, just like the smell. Alcohol peeps out a little here. For some reason this beer reminds me of a couple month old hopslam.

Mouthfeel is bitter at first then it gets a little smoother, but still pretty bitter. Decent carbonation and has a very clean aftertaste.

Overall a hoppy beer that I really enjoyed. If I had tasted this blindly, I would have thought it was a double ipa. It is, however, a sipper at 9.6% abv.

Edit: had a side by side tasting with 08 and 09 and here are a few notes.

The 08 was a lot farmer. Hops faded a little but the beer developed very well. Color is more hazy for the 08. The Aroma is sweeter/ not as hoppy. Overall, I enjoyed the 09 hops but I loved the developed flavor of the '08. Simply an amazing beer.

Photo of stakem
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken on 4/22/10.

Vintage 2004 on tap at the Buckeye beer engine in Cleveland, Oh. Served initially way too cold in a snifter. Pours a clear amber color with a creamy finger of tanned head. Solid retension and a wall of lace clings to the glass. Nose is a great malty monster which includes a combo of sweetness from the malt and floral hops. Taste is quite bitter from the hops with an oily resine-like feel. Body of this beer is medium with a very mild level of carbonation. The alcohol becomes quite pronounced as it warms. Malty sweetness provides a solid backing but doesn't overtake the oily hop bitterness that lingers in the mouth. Some dark carmelized sugars, a bit like molasses, are left combating the alcohol and hops. Overall well done.

I've had this brew a number of times and ways ranging from as fresh as only a couple of weeks in the bottle to a vintage on draft that was 16 years old. This is a remarkable beer that can really stand up to aging and seemingly the older it is the better it gets. A wonderful display of how malt character can develope and hops can fade. This vintage being reviewed was surprisingly still hoppy and could have easily be kept good for several more years.

Photo of GClarkage
4.73/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

01/25/05- Purchased at Beverages and More in Sacramento, CA

2005 Edition

Presentation- 12 oz bottle with no bottling or expiration date. Poured into my Duvel glass.

Appearance- About an inch creamy white head, excellent lacing and a brown-amber colored elixer. It even had those small ufo circles that you sometimes (if you are lucky) find in your belgiun or higher abv beers.

Smell- Very sweet and frutiy. Lots of hops (pine, grapefruit and maybe some melon) and a decent amount of malts. A pleasure to smell.

Taste- I have never tasted this many hops in a beer with this high of an abv or actually in a barleywine. Bitter grapefruit hops in your face with a nice warming 9.6 abv feeling in my tummy. Sweet malts polish off this beer.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation, a bit higher than expected. Chewy and resiney.

Drinkability- ABV is the only thing holding me back from having more than three of these (yeah, I'm a lightweight). An excelent beer to have on a day just like this (cold and rainy). Looks like I will be getting a few more six packs of these. Another score for Sierra Nevada.

Version 2006....

Appearance exactly the same. Smells a touch hoppier and a bit less malt. As for the taste....needs some time in the cellar. Very light in the malt department with a huge hop bite and a very long lasting bitter hop aftertaste. Still a great beer, but needs some time to mellow, unlike the 2005, which was incredible a week after production.

Version 2007-

This version IMO will mask the 2005 in maybe a years or less time. Much more mellow out of the gate than the 2006 (which still needs plenty of time before it's great). Hops are fairly intense, but the malt plays much more of a role in the '07.

Version 2008-

Same appearance as always. The scent has changed to a more caramel malt dominant one than hops (even though they are still there). This vintage has a very bold caramel malt base that is actually equal to the hops! IMO this is very drinkable right now. I actually like balanced barleywines much better than the hop bombs that everyone is producing these days. Probably the most drinkable Bigfoot yet, at least right off the production line...gets some competition from 2005 though.

Version 2009-

The scent is the least in your face out of all the vintages. Hops seem a touch lighter and maybe just not as much flavor overall. Smoother than most years. Definitely not harsh. Drinkable right now.

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.44/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 Vintage, Sampled March 2004
Pours a clear, amber-ruby color when held up to the light. A thick tan head rests atop this beer. Thick aromas of malt and hops waft from my glass as I pour. The hops dominate the aroma, Citrus, dark fruit, pine, alcohol, and a nectar like quality are all in the nose. Thick bodied, with a slightly syruppy consistency. The taste is sweet with American hops bursting forth all over the place. A strong malt character (caramel, biscuit) is here, but it is definitely subservient to the hops in this fresh example. The malt only serves as a vehicle to allow the hops to express themselves to the fullest. This is a brew that suggests what it would be like to suckle from a flower fat with Lupulin glands.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 6,946 ratings.