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

3,002 Reviews
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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.60%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 02-06-1998

User Reviews
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Reviews: 3,002 | Ratings: 7,307
Photo of Sandalwood
3.87/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

2014 version, drinking in 2015 - pours a dark amber brown color with a two finger off white frothy head. It is a little cloudy with some carbonation. The odor is very malty, sweet, dried fruits, candied fruits, honey, roasted malt, spices, slightly bread like. The taste is very malty, heavy, sweet up front, but then very spicy, clove, pine resin, sticky, but ends bitter dry.

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Photo of SublimeZero
4.64/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a solid Barleywine Ale. The color is a deep amber with a tan head giving forth to a bouquet of floral aromatics. As the deep amber liquid strikes the palate it yeals flavors of malty and a hint of sweetness due to left over malt sugars witch is quickly balanced with hop bitterness with the finish of hoppy radiance and floral tones.

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Photo of Libeertarian
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Purchased 8 Vintage 2015 in February/March. Plan on aging them and then adding onto this review once a year, as aroma and palate evolve.

May 2015: Served at about 55°. Pours a deep, dark, semi-opaque copper capped with tapioca-colored head. Retention wasn't great, but that could just be the result of the glassware (snifter). Filming lace, on the other hand, was magnificent, sticking to the sides of the glass as well as the surface of the beer. Yeast dancing around the bottom of the glass. Hop aromas are sweet citrus, perfume, pine, and resin. Can't detect much from the grain on the nose. Caramel probably melds too much with hops, although perhaps the slightest toastiness is there. Sweet, caramel malt, some yeast character, and strong, dank fruity/floral hops in the lead. Overall, raisin-like, but bitter. Just as soon as you think these are sure bets, piney and spicy bitterness overtake them. Herbal, rindy notes and black pepper are hot on their heels as they lap and finish. Retro-olfaction brings out crushed mustard seed. A thin, metallic tasting lining of the mouth is soon all that remains. Very smooth, full-bodied, astringent and warming, with medium carbonation. A year is a long time to wait for another tasting.

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Photo of stompilator
4.49/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip.

A - Poured a slightly opaque, reddish copper. Medium head thickness, fairly weak lacing.

S - Tons of subtle hop aroma, mostly berry and pine,

T - Hits hard with a mixture of fruity and resiny hops, along with a fat, roasty malt body completely undetected by the nose. The hops step back for a moment and let the malts shine, ending with a nice spice and oh so slight residual bitterness.

M - Almost stoutlike, very heavy body with very light carbonation. Fairly dry.

O - Very easy to sip, but if you're paying attention, all of the elements play together wonderfully. A very subtle creation by SN.

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Photo of Trombone69
3.59/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I guess maybe I'm not a barleywine fan. It's a bit rough, too much alcohol, too bitter. Indeed "a challenge to the pallet", true to the BA style description.

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Photo of greshdoghophead
3.77/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pkgd 12/04/14 Vintage 2015 - dissapointing finish to my Barleywine season. Was really looking forward to revisiting this classic. Alcohol, hop aroma, and IBU presence were all muted. Solid but not outstanding as compared with other examples in this style. Maybe I'll shelf the rest of the 4-pack for a year but I gather that will only dull the allready muted flavors.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.46/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is a hearty and intense but drinkable bear that goes well alone or with a big meal.
Pours a dark caramel or copper color. Big cream and foam slightly tan or off white head. Sticky lace retains through ought.
Lots of complexity in the aroma. There are dark fruit in the nose as well as a sweet caramel, toffee and molasses type aroma. Later, there is some biscuity malt with a whiff of alcohol on the backend. Later still, some resiny oily hops come to the forefront.
This brew is in many ways a tale of two palates. As with the aroma, at first the fruity and malty sweetness are felt on both the tongue and the finish. The feel is viscous, medium bodied to full and almost buttery. However, the big hops bittering and flavoring provide a resiny and even citric feel. The alcohol is also there although not to the point of being too boozy.
This is a great beer.

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Photo of Rfm4000
3.35/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Taste like a SN IPA not really a barely wine. Still good none the less, just a bit too hoppy for a barely wine. Finish is more pronounced, but still leaves things to be desired. 7/10

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.96/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle 2015 vintage $ 2.79 at Vintage Estates, Boardman, OH
Packaged 12/4/14 at 55 degrees into snifter
Aroma – malt
Head large (5 cm, aggressive pour), off white, frothy, slooowly diminishing to 4 mm frothy layer
Lacing good – complete rings and curtains of tiny to medium bubbles
Body red amber, clear
Flavor of malt and light alcohol; no hops, no diacetyl
Palate medium, syrupy, soft carbonation

Appearance 4.25, Aroma 3.75, Flavor 4, Palate 4, Overall 4

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Photo of Smelly
2.23/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

It's a waste to be a hater, but I gotta be honest. It's like they took a regular off the shelf mass produced Sierra Nevada Ale and threw "something" in the mix to try and make it a "Barleywine". I tried this twice to be sure my palate wasn't many good reviews here.'s just plain terrible. Maybe I got a bad 4-pack:(

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Photo of Bisco42
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2015, poured into a Palm nucleated tulip.

Almost no head that disappears almost immediately.

An exceptional American style Barleywine. The mouth feel stood out. Thick almost, wonderfully carbonated. For 4 months old, the alcohol warmth has significantly dropped since I had one back in December. Tastes very sugary, will purchase more to cellar.

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Photo of eriff
3.61/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into snifter
Dark red/ brown pours with a small amount of off white head, which retains well and gives good lacing.
Hoppy, grassy, sweet caramel notes, biscuity
Hefty malt biscuit, caramel and sweet notes followed by a bitter slightly solventy taste end is dominated by the hops, leaving a slighlty sweet bitter hop finish
Orange Grapefruit are apparent in the hops

Rich heavy mouthfeel

Good sipper not a daily drinker heavy and the alcohol hits heavy, it is nice that they have released this in 12oz bottles now, as it is much more manageable to have one with another lighter beer.

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Photo of ElJacobian
4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sweet aroma with a hint of floral notes. This beer slaps you right in the face - absolutely massive beer. Pretty malt-heavy in my opinion. I'd like to have one that's beer aged for a while and see how that affects it. Very boozy beer.

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

Bottle dated 12/31/14 so it is 3 months old already. Served in a goblet. 2015 vintage

Appearance: clear copper with a white head that sank to a thin one on the top of the beer.

Nose: flowery, toffee and caramel, fresh hop aroma

Taste: hop bite, slightly bitter, heavy malt body, no alcohol in the front but there is a warming fusal alcohol taste in the back. Bitter grapefruit when it warmed up.

Overall: I bought this beer for its cellar strength. I can definitely see how this would improve over the next few years. I have 7 more and will update this in a few months.

2016 vintage served in a teku
Very pronounced hop character, bitter grapefruit, dank and delicious. More like a strong DIPA than a Barleywine. Hot and a bit boozy this year. Very taste paired with grilled vegetables and pork marinated in Lewis' family sauce.

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Photo of arvidkoval
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2015 release

L- Deep amber color, with a white head.

S- Sweet apple, caramel malts, fruity hops

T- Caramel malty sweetness, fruity, piney hops.

F- Medium body, fairly carbonated.

O- Nice and hoppy, can't wait to see it with some age!

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Photo of Urk1127
4.31/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

An amazing beer. Mahogany in color. One finger head. Sweet malty and subtle boozy smell. Taste is subtle hops at first then sweet malt and alcohol heat but not intense. Served at almost room temperature. This was a very good beer and my first barleywine.

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Photo of Trooper92292
4.64/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2013- smooth and excellent taste. Bitter level very balanced and acceptable. My favorite year.
2014 - hops not overpowering and taste lasts on palate.
2015 - Strong on the hops, a great taste but aging would definitely help it. As aging this beers always does. This has the darkest color for some reason out of the three.

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Photo of Shade1951
3.64/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Wow! How things change. A couple years ago, I thought this beer was the "bees knees." Now, though I still feel this is a very good beer, I'm not quite so in love with it. Here's why.

For me, this has way too much of a hop presence for a barleywine. I generally LOVE hops in things like IPA's. But for me, a barleywine should be minimally hoppy and its focus should be on flavors like sherry and bourbon and fruit. This particular beer is hop-infused throughout. As such, it tastes to me more like an IPA. A GOOD IPA - but an IPA nonetheless.

I don't know if the formula for this beer has changed, or if it's my taste buds. I suspect the latter.

This is a very good IPA. But, to my taste buds, it's really not a barleywine.

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Photo of tMoney721
4.74/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I've had 2015 on draft and it wasn't as good as this 2014 bottle! Very sweet malt up front with a piney hop boozy back end. Just an awesome American style barleywine!

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.52/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a nice white and bubbly head that dissipates but still leaves a nice film on the head and inside of the glass. The beer itself is a beautiful reddish deep amber that is very clear. The look is pretty gorgeous.

The beer smell is fairly fruity and hoppy with a bit of sweetness to it. The hops are more a light pine and citrus smell than anything. The malt smell is fairly sweet and fruity.

The beer taste is strongly hopped. The hops are mainly pine with a bit of citrus to it. The malt is strongly overshadowed by the ops but still manages to squeeze a tea and fruity flavor from it.

The mouthfeel is heavy but on the lighter side. The beer goes down smoothly. The beer is lightly carbonated and gives a nice tingling feel on the tongue.

Overall, a very good barleywine despite how hopped it is. Even though the ops are strong, the taste is not bad and the strong malts do help take the edge off little.

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Photo of priwen
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep orange/red appearance. Thick, tan head. Aroma of piney hops and rich malts. Malty sweet flavor with some really nice bitterness from the hops. Nothing too complex, but what is there is excellent. Full, oily mouthfeel. Sweet finish. Overall, a terrific beer! A great one to sip on while relaxing and enjoying some time alone.

12 oz bottle
PKGD: 12/11/14 (2015 Vintage)
Served in an Oversized Wine glass

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Photo of Kerfluffel
4.39/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Rich clear mahogany with a creamy beige head that persists long with gorgeous lacing.

Ar: Strong caramel and fruity malts provide a fantastic foundation for massive northwest style hopping trending towards citrus and pine.

T: The nose gives a preview into the taste of the brew. This beer is big in flavor. Malt is complex yet in the background of resin, citrus, and bitterness that lasts into the next sip. Notes of toffee, toast, golden dried figs, and blood orange.

Mf: Medium body, medium level carbonation.

O: A big beer, full of flavor and everything that makes this brew one of the quintessential American Style Barleywines. Fantastic pricing and availability too.

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Photo of Czequershuus
3.13/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I've been getting more into Barleywine's lately. It never used to be a style I enjoyed, but my palate has evolved to enjoy them much more. This one, however, did not leave me particularly impressed. Mostly sweet, but not with any real flavor behind it. Everything blended into an amalgam that rather than being balanced was simply dull. I can more easily forgive a beer being outright bad than I can dull.

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Photo of hoagzzz
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big and boozy. More subtle than English barley wine, in my limited experience with this style. Overall not bad. I got two of these, gonna cellar the other.

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Photo of mchegash
3.79/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - 4/5
Deep red in color, with a hint of brown. Clear. About a finger of very light tan head. A nice amount of carbonation can be seen rising up the beer.

Smell - 3.75/5
A lot of resinous hops with some pine as well. A little bit of darker malt sugars. This is a barleywine-style ale, but it smells a little too hoppy from other instances of the style I've tried.

Taste - 3.75/5
Some major resin and pine flavors come in full force the first sip. Yet there is little bitterness. Rather, a mellowed out version of the flavor, very smooth. The malts are more discernable in the taste than they were in the smell. Still, I feel that the hop flavors are definitely dominant in the beer. Not exactly what I'm looking for in a barleywine, but I guess the hops is to be expected, given Sierra Nevada. It's not bad, just tastes more like a DIPA than a barleywine.

Mouthfeel - 4/5
This beer definitely drinkes super smooth, which is nice. Medium bodied, with a lighter amount of light-medium intensity carbonation.

Overall - 3.75/5
Overall, not a bad beer, just more hoppy than I like my barleywines.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 3,002 ratings.