Dismiss Notice

Site Performance Updates: We're aware of the nightly site outage, and working on resolving the issue.

Follow our progress ...

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

3,015 Reviews
For Trade:
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 3,015 | Ratings: 7,362
Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed a single 12 oz bottle as part of a mixed pack at my local Stein's Liquor. This one was packaged about six months ago. Poured at cellar temperature into my tulip glass.

L: Pours a deep burnt sienna with about two inches of dense tan head that persists for a good long while and leaves very nice lacing on the glass. Moderate visible carbonation at the edges where the light shines through.

S: Caramel and toasted malts are front and center. There are also nice notes of raisin, stone fruit, citrus rind, and pine. Just a little clear alcohol coming through. Very nice, if not especially assertive, bouquet.

T: Caramel and toasted malts provide a sweet initial flavor. The hops introduce themselves quite early, providing grapefruit rind and pine notes to complement the malts. In the middle there's also a development of some nice fruit flavors, including raisin, dried stone fruit, and pineapple. The back end is characterized by resinous hop flavor--grapefruit rind and pine. These bring a ton of bitter to the back end, though there is enough of the malts to keep them somewhat in check. Just a touch of clear alcohol at the close.

F: Medium-bodied, though perhaps not quite as heavy as would be expected from the style. Creamy and bright in turns. This one definitely has a bit of stick to it, but it's not overtly syrupy. Lots of lingering bitter on the palate from this one.

O: Having had a few very good barleywines, I was surprised to find this one as hop-forward as it is. Being a big fan of hops, I don't have much of a complaint, but I just don't think this one is quite well-representative of the style. That being said, it's delicious and well-worth a try.

 1,681 characters

Photo of Bone53
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Rich clear mahogony color with a finger or two light beige head

Smell: The caramel, subtle dark fruits and breadiness from the malts balance great with the floral and citrus hops

Taste: Caramel malt sweetness upfront with a floral and citrus hop finish

Mouthfeel: Heavy medium to light heavy body; Goes down fairly easy for nearly 10%, but the bitterness is excessive for a barleywine

Overall: Bigfoot is hard for me to rate. It's very hoppy for a barleywine and doesnt hold up to the best beers in the style today. However, i have to put into consideration that this was first brewed in 1983. As others have mentioned, this reminds me more of an imperial red ale. If labeled as such, id easily give this a 4.5. As a barleywine, its closer to a solid 4. Very enjoyable nonetheless

 797 characters

Photo of drmeto
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

-pours a clear dark red with a big,creamy,off-white head
-medium-high carbonation visible
-caramel,toffee,raisins,plums,pine resin,grapefruit
-medium carbonation,medium body
-alcohol well hidden
Overall a great Beer,but i missed that mouth-coating sweetness usually present in Barleywines.
To me this was more akin to an imperial red ale.
It also lacked a bit of body.

 440 characters

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

12 oz bottle, 2013 vintage, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, deep, dark, mahogany color, with a quarter of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Strong, complex and delicious aromas of toasted malt, candied sugar, dried stone fruit such as apricots, plumbs and nectarines, as well as honey, spices of black pepper, saffron, coriander and a touch of ginger. There is also a touch of floral, piney, hops.

Taste: With two years age on it, it tastes very nice and complex! Tons of roasted malt and candied sugar up front, followed by the aforementioned spices of black pepper, saffron, coriander, ginger, as well as touches of nutmeg and all-spice. There is also quite a bit of the aforementioned dried stone fruit such as apricots, plumbs and nectarines, and finally, the beer finishes with some piney, floral, slightly resin-like, slightly bitter hops, but nothing out of balance or too assertive to muddle the other flavors. It’s a beautifully balanced beer!

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy and pretty smooth as there is just a touch of carbonation. With an ABV of 9.6%, there is just a touch of an alcohol warmth on the palate, otherwise the alcohol is very well masked.

Overall: This was drunk with two years age on it, and it’s a very nice, very good American-style barley wine. Great flavors, nicely balanced hops. Great quaff!

 1,487 characters

Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz. bottle. (2015 vintage)

A: Pours a rusty amber with a thick creamy beige head. Excellent retention the head lingers for quite awhile. Lacing is intense and beautiful on the glass.

S: Raisin, pine, caramel, and floral earthy hops.

T: Sweet malts, white pepper, molasses, raisins, apricot, with some nice earthy hop bitterness on the back end.

M: Medium bodied, lightly carbonated, smooth, peppery and bitter.

O: While not mind blowing this a great and classic example of an american barleywine. I pick up a few four packs each year and gradually enjoy them when I want a solid barleywine.

 611 characters

Photo of frozyn
4.04/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 12/18/14; 2015 cap. Poured 6/14/15.

L -- Pours finger-thick head in an oversized snifter, dissipates quickly. Ruby red color at first gives way to a caramel/amber color.

S -- Raisin is the first scent I got, followed by floral hops. Nothing strong or overwhelmingly awesome, but pleasant nonetheless.

T -- Peppery malts and baked fruit. The hop flavor comes through strong, especially towards the end of the sip, as it warms. Got a bit of resin flavor on the tongue occasionally.

F -- Smooth, a bit of zing on the tongue from the peppery flavor.

O -- Great to drink, but nothing that blew my socks off.

 619 characters

Photo of jclark42796
2.75/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This is my first barley wine so wasn't sure what to expect. Color and smell reminded me of a Dogfish head Red and White (not sure why that is classified as witbier), which I really like. Love the smell, but this beer is way too bitter for me. Someone mentioned a DFH 120min, probably would agree with that.

 309 characters

Photo of PatrickCT
4.31/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip.

a: Opaque. Rusty cider colored body. Light around the edges presents a golden raisin color linings. Thick and even beige head. Very beautiful, very earthy looking beer.

s: Wow. Raisin and bruised stone fruit followed by a compost like pine scent. Floral and musky hops follow.

t: Malty with lots of molasses and cooked fruit like apricots and plums. Brandy soaked raisins. Spicy peppery hop finish.

mf: Smooth malts. Peppery hops that can be a bit racy.

o: This 2013 will be terrific in 2017. Very well done but right now a little raw throughout.

 588 characters

Photo of Gregaroo
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've got to go 3.5. I was hoping for more. On tap at The Long Room (a great spot) in NYC. This is my 400th rated beer and I waited for what I hoped would be a spectacular one. A nice beer, just not an over the top barley wine from SN.

 234 characters

Photo of craftbeersweden
3.62/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark copper color. Yellow foam that leaves lacing on the glass.

Nose: Orange marmalade, grape, soil, vanilla, dried fruit and fudge.
Taste: Dried fruit, grapefruit peel, caramel malt, brown sugar and blood orange with a great bitterness.
Body: Full body with a heavy bitterness. Medium carbonation.

I was not blown away as the first time - Still very good though!

 369 characters

Photo of CNoj012
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours a transparent amber brown with a one finger creamy colored head. Retention is solid and there are hanging sheets of sticky lacing everywhere. Smell is hop forward. Pine needles, grapefruit and lemon dominate with some sweet caramel and bready malts as well. Also a bit of sweet dark fruit. Very complex. Taste is similar, starts off sweet with a bitter finish. Feel is full side of medium and resinous. Overall a great beer. Certainly not my first choice of style, but this is an excellent barleywine.

 517 characters

Photo of kkleu357
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Did a side by side with 2015 and 2014. Rating reflects 2015 since I liked it more. This is a big hoppy barley wine. The 2015 reminded me of 120 Minute IPA. The 2014 version was much less hoppy and sweeter. The 2015 is a fairly fruity barley wine. Not used to that since I like the sweeter maltier barleywines.

 309 characters

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

2015: Fresh:Much hoppier than I recall the barrel aged version being.
Update (June): a few months of age on this brew has done it some good. The hops have mellowed and the flavors have evened out and blended more smoothly. Looking forward to seeing the changes in the coming months...

 286 characters

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.

 380 characters

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.

 341 characters

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.

05/02/15 Review:

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.

05/02/16 Review:

May 2016: Served just over 60°, using same snifter. Copper with peach tones, semi-clear but hazy, thick, and dark with fine suspended particles. Beige, rocky, but even and creamy head of moderate retention. Alright lacing. Resin, raisin, pleasant perfume, spicy dankness, pepper, hot alcohol. Hops seem to have deteriorated somewhat, not a bad thing as long as booze, malt, and carbonation do their jobs. Pine, perfume, raisin, apricots to palate. Caramel with dark fruity, spirity sweetness and mild tea/leaf/leather-like bitterness throughout, with the addition of cloves and peppercorn come the finish. Medium-bodied, too well-carbonated to be syrupy, fine and tingly then creamy-smooth, plenty warming, and yet not as hot as expected. Looking forward to trying the 2015 again in another year (and 5 more after that, started with 8). Missed the 2016 so far this year, but I could still get lucky. Not as good as it was before (going by memory and past description) due to hop deterioration, but perhaps in another year or so that won’t be as much of an issue. Though I will keep my first score, for the sake of discussion, I would re-score this at 4.75, 4, 4.25, 4.5, 4.25. Improvement only in mouthfeel, with hop flavors and aromas deteriorating slightly as they would in an IPA or IIPA. Still plenty of room for improvement, as malt and yeast qualities age on alcohol in the years to come.

 2,661 characters

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.

 643 characters

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.

 159 characters

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.

 367 characters

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.

 867 characters

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

 182 characters

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

 468 characters

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 off....so many good reviews here. However.....it's just plain terrible. Maybe I got a bad 4-pack:(

 345 characters

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.

 349 characters

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.

 655 characters

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 3,015 ratings.