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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.

2,924 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,924
Hads: 7,013
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.63%
Wants: 363
Gots: 1,544 | FT: 68
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,924 | Hads: 7,013
Photo of tdm168
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a 2011 Bigfoot with little if any aging.

Pours a dark, hazy amber with 1/2" of off white, extremely foamy head. Great retention. Nose is dark fruit, piny hops, and alcohol esters. Taste is immensely piny and hoppy up front with a thick, malt character in the finish. Great, but not overwhelming, warmth from the alcohol. As the beer warms, I get hints of dark fruit; figs and dates. Mouthfeel is full bodied, rich, and smooth.

This was an incredible beer even fresh. A little on the hoppy side, but that was expected. I have a few more of these aging so I'll revisit this review in a few months. (605 characters)

Photo of Gavage
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Broke open a bottle from 1998. Let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes and then poured into a glass. It was a lovely deep auburn / burgandy color with a thin head. The aroma was sweet and alcohol was noticeable. The taste definitely mellowed over the five years, as it was still quite malty, extremely smooth, and a bit of caramel tones were detected.

The hoppiness that is present in current releases is much mellower and tamed from aging, but still is noticeable. The smooth flavors lasts long into the aftertaste, and the alcohol is quite noticeable. Always save a bottle or two for the future. It ages well. (618 characters)

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. (736 characters)

Photo of BARFLYB
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a philadelphia flyers pint glass. 2009 version. 1st time having this.

A- Bigfoot has a deep dark amber with a mixture of orange and red spots in places. A semi aggressive pour yields one inch of off white foam that sticks to the glass. Slow rising bubbles lead me to believe this is thick.

S- A nice aroma coming from this as i'm getting a nice hop punch up front resembling piney scents, some citrus as well. Malts giving off some caramel. A bit of honey.

T- A big focus on the hops in this b-wine, perhaps the most hopped in this style that i've had to date. They give off a rather bitter appeal. Backed by some malts that drown out the hops although they never fully leave. A bit of caramel/toffee. some alcohol as well.

M- Medium to semi full bodied with a very slick feel as it glides down the tounge. A nice bitterness to start but smooths out. A bit of alcohol here as well.

D- A slow sipper for sure, i took about two hours with 12oz. A bit of hotness and the thick appeal makes for small sips. Only one bottle a night for me. This is a great example of the style and will try in a year or so. (1,130 characters)

Photo of billab914
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured a caramel brown color with a thin but bubbly, khaki colored head. The head clung to the edges of the glass and left some very nice lacing as I drank it.

The aroma shows a lot of both hoppy and malty flavors to it. The caramel and toffee is what first catches my attention, but it also has a pretty bold juicy and citrusy hop profile to it with some grapefruit and orange notes. It feels pretty balanced between hoppy and malty overall though.

The taste has more of the malty sweet flavors coming out up front. I get some caramel at first with toffee starting to come out a little later. Midway some of the hops start to add a juicy, bitterness that lasts into the finish. I get some grapefruit and citrus rind flavors coming out in the finish and mixing nicely with the sweet malts.

The mouthfeel is about average for the style but on the heavier side overall. Carbonation is moderate. Overall it's a great beer, Very well made and relatively balanced for the style. A classic American version of the style and pretty much a benchmark for the style for me. This one was very nice with a few years on it. (1,183 characters)

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

12 ounce bottle, 2002 vintage, pours a golden amber.
Hoppy nose, rich, thick mouthfeel, Rum, brandy type flavor notes. Alcohol obviously present, warming. rich malt center, and a wollop of hops! Citrus, resin, pine notes. This one is a whole lot of beer. Malt, hops alcohol, strong flavors, yet it remains in balance. A favorite that deserves the high marks it typically gets. (377 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
3.7/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter vintage 2011.

Pours gold from the bottle giving a nice cream colored head. Lots of leg action and stickiness with pocked marks. Head is very resilient with staying power. Burnt orange to very dark amber body in appearance, but seems a little hazy also.

The first thing I got off the bouquet was strangely supermarket red grapes.. citrus faintness but with hop character. Interesting. Some fresh cut lawn grass sense as well. Some little tight visible carbonation from the bottom of the glass.

Hop character and bitterness shows through in a tolerable way, but missing hinted at fruit character off nose in the taste. Alcohol is masked a little, with double imperial American pale ale feel. Strange grassy feel (literally lawn cut grass) to this that doesn't translate into lingering aftertastes. Fairly alright but sort of a letdown. Palate seems to be focused on the front for me than the entire region tasting this beer.

Does this need to age perhaps? Well can't say, I don't have a time machine. Tolerable drink. Would I chose this over other recent barleywines that I have of this style the answer is no. (1,134 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
4.73/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On-tap at Hollingshead's in Orange, CA, 2007 edition, aged for about a year,

A: Pours a very dark amber out of the tap, with a small white head, but leaves nice, thick, sticky lacing down the glass.

S: Thick brunt of hop character, very piney.

T: At the first taste, you can feel it's more subdued in character than the '07 fresh, which I truly enjoyed, the maltiness comes out in a toasted biscuit and caramel/toffee character, but later on I felt the hops had regained their stronghold, a thick, resin filled pine came through, even at it's power, I felt it complemented the malt perfectly, it didn't go crazy into an unappetizing bitterness, like many ABA's can do. Restrained at times, but still a hop bomb, absolutely delicious.

M: Thick and resiny, with a full carbonation that conveys that image to every corner of your mouth, the aftertaste will stay with you forever, if you want it to.

D: An absolutely dynamite barleywine, possibly my favourite made in America, I can't wait for the '08 to come to town, definitely Sierra Nevada's finest creation. (1,063 characters)

Photo of DoubleJ
4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I really like strong beers, but the irony here is I've had limited experience with barleywines. Here's a mainstream one which seems highly respected. Poured into an Old Guardian glass, on to the beer:

Deep reddish copper with a compact frothy head on top. Some clumps of yeast splash into the beer during the pour, but I'm not surprised. Big hop aroma with some burnt sugar and caramel notes. The taste is exploding with hops, but the balance is pretty good for what it is. Citric and piney at first, dextrin and fruity esters then take over the ride, then a burst of passionfruit and pine bury the palate in the aftertaste. Thick and smooth like syrup.

Great success. Here's to the last day of April 2008! (709 characters)

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.92/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 edition.
Cloudy amber/brown body with minimal head that stayed for a bit, then fizzled out.
Smell had some light hints of alcohol, with a bit of peach or apricot. Sweet malt and sticky honey smell as well.
Taste was a bit thin, but still good. The alcohol became more present and the peach/apricot moved to papaya and leather. Earth tones finish it out.
Thin feel. Alcohol seemed to stop any flavors that appeared. However, it was easier to drink than first suspected. (478 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep amber body that's pretty clear topped with an off-white head. Good legs and great lacing. I like to swirl it in the glass to make myself look sophisticated.

Smell - Pungent hops. Piney and citrusy aromas that are quickly overwhelmed by caramel. It also smells boozy, but I generally don't hold that against a beer unless it's offensive. The only thing that prevents me from rating it higher is the lack of malt complexity. Still smells awesome.

Taste - The flavor follows the aroma exactly. Piney hop flavor up front, sweet caramel midrange, and a great hop bitterness in the finish. Again, it's not complicated, it's just good.

Mouthfeel - Heavy side of medium-bodied. Viscous enough to coat the tongue and let the flavors linger. Not such intense carbonation, which makes it feel creamy. This is how I like barleywines to feel.

Overall - The only thing it lacks is complexity. A variety of flavors and it would be spot-on. As it is, there not a thing you can complain about in this beer. I started with a case and I'm down to 12. We'll see how long they last me. (1,124 characters)

Photo of tempest
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Damn, this beer still knocks my socks off. Big estery malts with big citrus hops, rolled into an explosive barleywine. The balance aspect of this brew falters a bit from the kick making a little tough to drink. It's almost like the flavor is too big. I'm going to have to stow some bottles away in a cellar/closet and see what they can do after a couple years. (360 characters)

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured ontap, assuming its the 2010 vintage. A rich reddish color with a large off white head and a sheet of lace engulfing the whole glass. A beautiful looking beer.

Smell: Floral hops, hints of malt sweetness.

Taste: Bitter hops mingle with the malt. Notes of caramel, brown sugar and a soft fruityness. The hops are very piney and resinous, and really round out this big beer. Alcohol heat is not noticeable right away, but creeps in later as it warms. Light citrus, pine and earthy tones, brown sugar and caramel malt.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth on a fuller bodied beer. The mouthfeel of the draught Bigfoot is very nice and worthy of note.

Drinkability: Though it is a rather strong beer, I had no problem drinking several 12 oz pours of this. Great beer. (761 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 served in a chalice. Pours a dark, slightly cloudy orange with a short head that mostly fades quickly but leaves some nice lacing. The smell is a little bit fainter than I'd like, but there is still a wonderful nose of fresh piney hops. The taste is amazing- this beer is definitely best fresh and unaged. An explosion of fresh and piney hops with a backnote of grapefruit and a solid dry malt background. There are also notes of bitter orange and an undefinable meaty taste as well. Delicious. The mouthfeel is substantial without being grainy or sweet. The hop levelof this barley wine keeps it dry and powerful- flirting with dipa style. Perilously drinkable! (667 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
4.48/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had this many times, many diff vintages and I can't believe I haven't reviewed this yet. This is a fresh bottle of the 2009 Edition.

Pours a clear deep copper color with a fluffy off white head that laces most of the glass on the way down. Smells of grapefruit pine and resin. If I squint and close my eyes I smell a tiny bit of caramel malt deep in the background. Taste initially hits with the hops, grapefruit and pine eat my palette. There is a malt backbone here that caramels its way through some of the hops before being beaten down by the bitterness. Resinous aftertaste begs for another sip. Alcohol is very well hidden. Body is thick, mouthfeel is syrupy and resinous, carbonation is low but ample. This is one of my favorite beers. Barleywine or DIPA who knows. I don't care I'm going to drink this every year! (828 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 batch. I've never had this brew, so I'm trying some fresh and planning to age the rest.

The beer pours a crystal clear amber-copper coloring that starts with a thin, dense, yellowish, half-inch foamy head that quickly disappears, leaving only a slight film across the top of the brew. The nose has a surprisingly strong undertone of hops which does a decent job to balance the caramel malty smells. The flavor is complex, and honestly feels like it changes as it swims through my mouth. Wow. The first thing I got was a blast of flavor, both hoppy and caramel sweet, but that went by quickly. The next thing I tasted was a littly boozey and a little peppery. The quickly transitioned to a smokey flavor so strong I thought my uvula had been set on fire. Subsequent drinks give similar kaleidescopic flavors, and I also start to pick up some slight sour notes and the steadiness of the hops bitter throughout the taste, although sometimes stronger than others. Very complex. Every once in a while I get a flash of some grapefruit type flavors, too...a little tart and a little sweet. All of these flavors ride a creamy and smooth body that transitions to crisp right at the end. The beer leaves a slightly bitter and puckered feel after swallow, and that feeling lingers a while along side the slightly sour and spiced aftertaste. This beer begs to be consumed. Shockingly easy to drink despite the slightly elevated ABV and the robust catalog of flavors. Now the test will be of my will power to keep from drinking the rest of this and actually age some of it. (1,566 characters)

Photo of Zorro
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2004 bottle, it's just a baby! ;)

Pours a slightly cloudy deep orange/brown.

Smells sharply hoppy, and a bit malty, subtle fruity smells here too.

Prominent hops taste but not enough to call it a hop monster, slightly sweet and fruity too. This has lots of complex tastes in the background but it isn't yet really ready. Too bad they don't cellar this for a year or two before they release it.

Mouthfeel is almost to thick, Big beer here.

Drinkability is OK this REALLY needs a few years of aging. I will locate a more mature bottle and re-review this. (567 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


2011 batch on tap at Stone.

A: An attractive crimson amber with a frothy off white head. Adequate retention and lots of lacing.

S: Caramel malt with evident alcohol. Hops are aggressive, imparting heavy pine notes. Grapefruit flesh and lots of rind accompanies a decided floral and earthen character. Lightly sweet, though dry on the whole. Malt is more complex and evident with warming.

T: Bready and caramel malt with big pine and grapefruit rind notes. Hops are aggressive, imparting an upper moderate bitterness with evident astringency. Booze is unabashed in the flavor. The finish is dry, bitter, boozy, abrasive, and slightly astringent.

M: Upper medium in body with moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is sticky, astringent, and dry, with lots of warming.

Overall: Aggressive when fresh, and I see the value in aging this for a time, but I found it enjoyable. (879 characters)

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A rather splendid burnished copper colour, with a thick and frothy head of yellow-beige bubbles. Lacing is phenomenal. Clarity is excellent. This is a damn hell yes looking beer. Just gorgeous.

Oh my and goodness. What a truly lovely American-hopped nose. Full of citrus, fruit and pine, delicious with resin and deliciously good. Oh, this smell always takes me back to San Francisco, a very pleasant place to be, surrounded by delicious beer. If I'm being picky, it's probably not as sharp or pungent as the best highly-hopped American ales, but it does have a pleasant sweetness sitting around that adds some character. Still - this is very, very nice indeed.

Creamy and silky on the mouth, a very fine and slick feel is noticeable from the first sip. Amazingly, it's not as bitter as I would have imagined from the aroma - and for a barleywine, that's excellent. There's a rich sweetness lolling over the tongue, feeling rich, heavy and gorgeous, and the hoppy notes just dance around over the top, never proclaiming their dominance. The beuatiful coupling of the flecks of bitterness and the creamy, sweet backbone make this a really, really excellent beer.

This is an exceptionally good barleywine, in my opinion. The hops remind you of its origin, but the palate is so full, rich and heavy with malt sweetness that you can't mistake this for a DIPA, which is how I feel a lot of barleywines end up. Extremely drinkable, and thoroughly enjoyable. Sierra Nevada, I take my hat off. (1,488 characters)

Photo of John_M
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As barleywines go, this is just about as good as it gets. For me it's something of a mood thing; sometimes I prefer the sweeter style, sometimes the hoppier style. This is decidedly the latter and is just fabulous. This was listed at Max's as the 2006, which I would assume means that it is now one year old. No matter, this beer was very fresh tasting with a faulous hop profile. I find this beer to be very complex with all kinds of things going on. The first thing you notice is the sweetness, followed almost immediately by the blast of hops. Then you start to notice the alcohol and sweetness again, but the flavor profile finishes with a blast of hops. Incredible. This could almost be an imperial IPA it's so hoppy, but it's got the kind of maltiness and sweetness you just don't encounter in most DIPA's. The beer is a beautiful copper color, I don't believe I've seen anything else quite like it. The beer pours with a perfect creamy head that dissipates slowly. A beer to sip and enjoy. A consistent winner from Sierra Nevada.

Note: Recently had occasion to try two aged versions of this beer. On 5/9/09 I was fortunate enough to sample the 2002 and 1999 at Max's. Both versions had held up superbly well, with 2002 showing a bit more hoppy bitterness, coupled with ablack, bittersweet chocolate flavor. The 1999 was nearly still, with more of a soft, creamy milk chocolate flavor, but still with some noticeable hoppy bitterness on the finish. Both bottles were absolutely superb! (1,492 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
3/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a deep and hazy ruby red, chunky with light visible carbonation. Head is rather big. Nose is alcohol, caramel and sugar, maybe some toffee and dried fruit, plenty of bitter hops. Flavor is full-bodied, and hoppier than expected and more bitter than I expected, somewhat obnoxious on the taste. As it warms, the finish takes on some licorice flavors. Mouthfeel is thick, bitter, off balance, tingly with alcohol and warming. That bitterness leaves it off balance to me. This thing need some age to mellow out and kill that hop bitterness. I know that American Bwines are hopped to Hell but sometimes you have to find common ground. To bitter and unpleasant to drink. I like SN but not giving it an A just because of the name or label. Sorry, average Bwine at best. (770 characters)

Photo of biegaman
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 Vintage - 25th Anniversary Edition - sampled 18/03/09

Luscious raspberry puree with a bit of cantaloupe polish near the bottom end - if I worked in the cosmetic industry I'd be sure to have a lipstick made in this colour. The beer has such a healthy glow when held up to the light, the rosy brilliance is striking. The scantiness of head manages to provide outline but largely denies the beer of contrast.

The bitterness of the beer can be sensed from the smell at first instance. Pungent, earthy hops bombard the nasal passage with a cannonball of grassy vines, bitter serum and crushed up tree bark. This is much less the zest of citrus than it is the piths. There is something very inelegant about this scent that I don't remember noting in the best smelling Barleywines. (Note: I've revisited and upped the marks, this is delicious!)

The flavour is dominated by a very harshly roasted malt bill. It tastes as though the grains and their husks are still in tact. Notes of burnt toffee, dark chocolate and dried fruits unfold. Given the richness in the colour I'm surprised the beer isn't more sweet (I know from experience the sweeter caramel malts will come forth more once the hops begin to fade).

Speaking of those little lupullin pellets, they impart a discernibly earthy character as well as a grapefruit pith so bitter it will cause your cheeks to suck in (this wouldn't be a classic West Coast staple if it didn't have a little citrus!) American Barleywines age well but also drink wonderfully young when the copious level of hoping is on full display.

But on that note, I think I personally prefer this Barleywine aged. Like the creature after whom it's named, I find the beer a little beastly and brute at a young age. Unlike him, however, the alcohol can often be seen in plain sight. Not to say it doesn't have some camouflage (caramel drizzle and candied fruits) but I was hoping not to have spotted it.

Having sampled previous vintages and older bottles, I can be fairly assured that all my qualms with this batch should fade as it matures over time. The fact that the beer is still this tempestuous at age 1 tells me it'll be fine to hold up over the long haul. Indeed, I always look forward to revisiting this beer and have never finished the glass anything but satisfied. (2,304 characters)

Photo of wl0307
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 Vintage/25th Expedition! BB 25/01/09, served cool in Tripel Karmeliet's long-stemmed, flower-bulb shaped sniffer.

A: the colour comes dark ruby, with a decent but not fierce input of carbonation and a lovely, thick and creamy dark beige froth that lasts extremely well, leaving even lacing as it slowly retreats.
S: superb, like a DIPA, the aroma bursts with Cascade's bouquet of sweet citrus and overripe lychee fruits, syrupy+creamy caramely malts, really dense honey-ish notes, and random inputs of dates, fat (preserved) cherries and figs. A swirl gives rise to a very mild edge of fruit esters as of ripened pears, but not quite assertive as a traditional English Barley Wine, due to the heavy presence of US hops on the balance. The overall aroma is intensely perfumy and hoppy, yet balanced and complex at the same time.
T: a lubricating slurp of marvelously flowery, piney and lychee-ish juicy hops plus rich caramely malts precedes a rather soothing edge of tangy+tannic bitterness, as of dried citrus/grapefruits and stems of semi-fermented teas; as the bitter palate prevails, the rich yet belated fruitiness consisting of longan-fruits, nectar and rum-soaked sultanas manages to chime in. In the finish, aromatic Chinese tea-leaves, hop oil and perfume linger with the 3D grapefruit bitterness and an herbal "bite", in an assertive but still elegant manner.
M&D: softly carbonated, full-bodied yet ever so easy to drink due to the attenuated alcoholic feel, this beer is uncompromisingly hoppy, bold, bitter, and tannic-dry, actually much more in line with the style of a DIPA (or "Triple" IPA?). I can't see the point of branding any ale "American-(something)" if only it is extra- or over-hopped with American hop varieties, which hardly merits a new beer category IMO, but the experiment in this bottle is truly sublime all the same. I haven't forgotten the initial shock and eventual, extreme joy when I first tasted the 2005 Vintage - my first ever experience with an American Barley Wine, while the performance of this bottle connects me to that fond memory just seamlessly and ever so vividly! To me, this is a world-class heavy ale.

* Tasting Date: 16/11/2005
Got this beer at the UTOBEER beer stall in the Borough Market, London. On the cap it says "Bigfoot 2005 expedition", so that's Vintage 2005 I believe. Apart from that there's no freshness info. on the bottle.
4.5 A: served in a goblet, it comes with a slightly hazy, ruby hue; I manage to pour an extremely thick and fluffy off-white head which "egg-shell cracks" ever so slowly, leaving different layers of fine lacing; pretty static body, as far as my eye-sight could manage. Looking nearly perfect, like a glass of port if without the foam.
4.5 S: as wildly malty as incredibly hoppy--hallmark of oily, fat hops (Cascade?) reminiscent of the heavier American IPA/DIPA even...; after swirling, a flow of intoxicating, intense and mixed aroma comes through, with intense aroma of caramel (liquid form), sharp pine-wood smell, preserved prunes, dried longan-fruits, over-ripened lychees, a dash of orange syrup, and (maybe) a sprinkle of cinnamon or other spices. Overall, the aroma, despite its thick, even syrupy texture, shows great complexity and depth.
4.5 T&4.5 M: thick, syrupy and oily texture of fruity malts pours in, almost immediately bringing on board a wave of powerful bitterness so tannic and herbal it transforms the impression of the nose in no time! Lots of dried fruits as identified in the aroma, all wrapped between the mighty oily hops and underlying bitter taste. The tannic bitterness lingers too well, like the kind of mouthfeel you get whilst wrongly crushing grapeseeds b/w your teeth; but this one goes even deeper down the throat, well balancing the undesirable sugary and alcoholic aftertaste. 120%-bodied and fuller-than-full-flavoured barley wine it is, with a thick mouthfeel supported by tiny bubbly texture of carbonation--just about right.
5 D: this is my first-ever bottle of American barley wine, and it's incredibly delicious as well as surprisingly balanced. It's so different from those English barley wines I've tried which tend to taste "older" and mellower. In a sense, it bears much resemblance to other types of American ales maybe thanks to the bulk of strongly-scented hops used in this ale, even reminding me of some fantastic characters of SN's own Celebration Ale, but of course this one is of different type. Overall, this is a good digestif to replace a vintage port for me this winter. Though it's not something to savour for more than one bottle, I think the "drinkability"--overall performance, satisfaction vis-a-vis expectation--is sublime. I shall buy some more bottles for ageing and see if it indeed improves with age like a port~~ (4,781 characters)

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

2011 Update
S- The dark pine hops take on a tropical fruit quality as the beer opens up. Followed by some green mango hops in the finish.

T- The big pungent bitten hops have a strong bitterness that really lingers.


( Served in a medium brandy snifter)

A- reddish brown somewhat opaque body with tiny bubble gently rising to the surface. The head is a thin white ring around the edge of the glass.

S-The aroma is malty sweet with a hint of citrus hops.

T- Nice big maltyness with hints of caramel and sweet malts. There is also a nice strong hop bitterness and a floral/citrus hop flavor aswell. It finishes with a nice alcohol warmth.

M-Nice full body but not syrupy. Nice alcohol warmth but not hot.

D- This has a nice depth of hops but the malt is right there standing out. It is well balanced and I think this would stand up to aging aswell. The alcohol is nice but not overpowering in this beer. It has a lot of big flavors but they all work well together. (979 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
3.91/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a cream, five-finger head, fades very slowly and leaves a good lace. Light-medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Clear amber color. Nose is mostly hoppy. Flavor is sweet almost syrupy but hops take over and aftertaste is a tart grapefruit. High ABV is hidden. $1.50 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits, Acton, MA (326 characters)

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,924 ratings.