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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.

2,932 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,932
Hads: 7,041
Avg: 4.14
pDev: 17.63%
Wants: 367
Gots: 1,564 | FT: 71
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: 2,932 | Hads: 7,041
Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

A - Pours a two finger honey yellow head which dissipates down to a film. Extremely pretty rich ruby mahogany.
S - Mangos and peaches, hops and sweet honey, one of the most interesting aromas I've smelt from a beer.
T - One of the most complex and constantly developing tasting beers I've ever had. Immediate sweet malts, such as a strong stout, this is immediately followed by lightly sweet and syrupy peaches and mangos, this is followed by an intense hoppy bitterness, perfectly rounding off the initial sweetness. Strangely enough, after swallowing, seconds later a welcome smokiness develops.
O - One of the absolute most complex, interesting and tasty beers I've ever drank. An absolute must if you can get your hands on it.
V - Worth it at any price if you can acquire this sought after delicacy.

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2010 Vintage (12 oz bottle) poured on 01/06/2015 into a Goblet. Certainly not my first experience with this beer. I have tasted it fresh, and with 3,5, and 6 years of age. All were excellent, but I think I prefer it with 4-5 years of age. Although I would never turn down a fresh bottle.

Ruby red and crystal clear body under a thick and creamy off-white head. Impressive after almost 5 years.

The nose is full of sherry and sugar coated hops. Like warm Ponderosa sap running down the outside of the fragrant bark in summer.

The taste is a happy marriage of hops (with sturdy bitterness) and sherry/oxidized malt. Wonderful. A tiny bit of cardboard hidden under all the excellent flavors, which is very easily overlooked.

The feel is thick and moderately sweet, but is nicely balanced because of the high bitterness.

Conclusion: An excellent beer at any age from 0-5 years, and at any time of the year.

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Photo of chrisjws
3.92/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Purchased from my local liquor store as a single. Bottled date is 2/27/14. Consumed 12/30/14. Poured into a snifter glass.

A: Dark red/brown, slightly cloudy. 1-2 finger head that dissipated quickly. Lacing down the glass throughout my session. Slight bits of sediment settling on the bottom of the glass.

S: Bright, piney nose upfront. Little bit of malt sweetness with caramel, but the hops dominate. Similar to what you’d expect from a barley wine, with a bit extra on the hops, as you’d expect from an american style version. Not picking up any alcohol.

T: Strong bitterness upfront, slight bitter in the aftertaste. Hoppy and piney flavors in the middle mouth. Some sweetness in the middle mouth and resin flavors.

M: Vicious yet smooth. The carbonation is present but does not press your tongue. The carbonation bites and is sustained by hoppy bitterness that lingers

O: Nice, smooth and enjoyable. Strong pronounced flavors you’d expect from an american style barley wine

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Photo of Johnquisssssssy
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decent head, which dissipated pretty quick. Colour is a gorgeous red/brown. Smell is nicely aromatic of piney hops which I assume will fade with years. It's a nice drinkable mix of syrupy prune/plum with a hop bite. There is a dry finish and the alcohol isn't evident beyond the body, and the sweetness. It's not fair to compare this to aged/ other barley wines; some of said its a good "intro to barley wines" and I wouldn't disagree; but that should not under cut how enjoyable it is as a fine balanced beer.

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Photo of KarmicSkrambl8
4.54/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

my first real "craft beer"...at least what got me hooked in this realm...back in 2002/2003

slightly below Old Rasputin in taste and impact

excellent hoppiness...rare for a barleywine, but oh so preferred

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Photo of lilsmizzul1225
4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 release, bottled about 13 months ago and cellared since purchase in March/April. Perhaps not the best thing to try and to savor after a day of Christmas "celebrating". Great beer but nothing too special. I think I would definitely prefer the barrel aged version better; since I generally like my barleywines to be a bit on the higher gravity side.

Still, a very solid beer, always a pleasure from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of sderenne
4.59/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I have a 5 gallon keg of this in my kegerator and it is great. The head on this is really cool. The creamiest I have ever seen. High abv but mostly hidden from all the flavor.

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Photo of Geegmasta
2.69/5  rDev -35%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

2014, poured into a tulip glass

Appearance - Pours smooth with a crimson/orange body. A very small head accumulates at the top which is stark white compared to the depth of the body. Head recedes fairly quickly leaving a ring around the glass.

Smell - Mildly sweet with hints of a hoppy character. Nothing really stands out.

Taste - Consistent hop undertone hits first and remains for the duration. Roasted malt character shines through after the first second and slowly dies out. Finishes dry and the pine hops are clinging to your tongue until the next sip. There's a bit of zest in there too, from some spicing, but I can't put my finger on it. Too much hop for my liking. No real hint at the 9.6% ABV.

Mouthfeel - Smooth with little carbonation.

Overall - I was excited to see Sierra Nevada with a barleywine styled ale. Hoping it would be along the same quality as their Narwhal stout, I brought home the 4-pack. Honestly, I'm disappointed. The hop character was too obvious and strong for my liking. There was no sweetness that I tend to be used to with barleywines. Roasted malts gave me an inkling of hope but they couldn't shine through enough due to the bitterness of the hops. Oh well, ya win some ya lose some!

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Photo of pagriley
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz 2014 vintage

A - pours deep hazy orange - plenty of sediment in bottle. Thin head with good lacing
S - sweet malt with typical barleywine nose of rich malt
T - still quite bitter with hints of dried apricots and honey coming through in the sweetness
M - rich and thick

Overall a really tasty beer. I think with 2-4 years this will be awesome. Fresh is too much

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Photo of Symmes
5/5  rDev +20.8%

Consistent through the years. Beautiful deep malt, full bodied, robust and smooth. The 2014 release is nothing if not just as good as their previous editions. Sits well too, I just recently opened one of the 1999's I had in my cellar, and it was a life altering event. Bottle ages very well, flavors matured to add a nice chocolate/coffee punch, with little to no acidity to report on the finish. Enjoy a few now, but I highly recommend you set a few aside to age. Time does this beer very well.

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Photo of JJKBeerLvr
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Poured from a bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Bright amber, with nice thick and light colored head. The head lasted a very long time, and left a nice coating on the inside of the glass.

Smell: Pleasant, with a strong hops bitterness in the aroma. There are also citrus aromas, but the hops dominate.

Taste: Mix of hops and citrus flavors, that make for an interesting and complex Ale. There is a nice after-taste, that lasts for a while but not too long.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and crisp, with a medium body.

Overall: This is an interesting and complex Barleywine Ale.

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Photo of RexBanner
3.85/5  rDev -7%

Dark mahogany, somewhat hazy. 1 1/2 finger head that lasted to the last drop. Sticky lacing.
Aromatics of resiny pine, faint citrus, maple syrup and booze.
Strong hop presence on the front followed by a malty, chewy mouth feel. Finishes with a piney bite. Oily hop feel covers the tongue permeating the mouth with that familiar hop bitterness and tang. Slight sweetness from the malt battles to stay on the stage but the show was taken over by the hops. Classic American barleywine.
Overall: Although I enjoyed this brew I can't say it was enough to sway me over the pond toward preference for American barleywines. I would still choose an English style barleywine. English style barleywines are more well rounded and balanced than their American counterparts. American barleywines are more akin to malty IPA's. But hey, whatever floats your boat I suppose. I would definitely try this one again but I wouldn't go out of my way to seek it out.

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Photo of RutgersEng
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wow, what a beer. This was a 13 that has aged in my fermenter for over a year. It pours a murky deep golden brown with almost no head

Smell is of lots of malts an d sweetness along with a bit of pungency from the hops.

Taste is exquisite. The sweetness of the malts carries through from the first mouthful as it plays with the palate and suggests a beautifully blended malt bill for a barley wine. But then the surprise enters in with the hop bite taking center stage as the golden liquor makes its way to the back of the mouth. Ahhh, the pleasant blend of hops makes this a great barley wine for drinking just because. Unlike the great barley wines ex. BCBBW or Sucuba this beer isn't just pure sweet malts and barrel, but fights back with a little jab here and there of the hop counterbalance.

Needless to say I like this beer a lot. And cellaring didn't detract from it a bit. I would recommend it for a Sunday afternoon when the barrel aged would be over the top.

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.76/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2014 Vintage

September 30, 2014 – bottle was cellared for about six months

12 oz bottle, snifter

A – Dark red and mahogany to brown. This is what’s meant when you read “garnet highlights.” Very limited head that lasts probably less than a minute. Clear, malty. A bit of impression of syrupy viscosity. Gorgeous.

S – A load of malt, toffee, and caramel. Some golden raisins and other dried, but bright, fruit. A ton of malt sweetness, with an offsetting whiff of bitter hops.

T – A lot of malty sweetness, toffee, and then a ton of hops burst through, bright, piney, and somewhat resiny. Like walking in the woods on a drizzly day in Oregon. Bitterness coats the tongue, waiting for the next sip to start the process again. A slight butteriness in the malt flavors.

M – Some thickness in the body, a sense of viscosity as it fills the mouth, then taking over by the bitterness of the hops.

O – Even for an American barley wine, this is extremely hop-forward, more than can come close to mellowing in six month. I’m reading Randy Mosher’s ‘Tasting Beer’ right now, and he talks about cellaring these for at least five years; I think he’s on to something. It’s an excellent beer, with tons of great malt flavor, but I think it’s really too aggressive when fresh, even though that’s the intention!

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Photo of BeardRage
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Pours a cloudy amber with minimal off-white head.

It's a good beer for hopheads, as both the aroma and flavor are dominated by extremely piny hops. I'd prefer a little more balance, though, and the malt takes a major backseat in this brew. I started to notice an increasingly bready yeast flavor emerging as I worked my way through the glass, but the hops remained the star player.

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Photo of WAbeerfiend
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

2014 edition.
Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip on 04.10.14.

A: 3 finger head. Cloudy opaque purple/red.

S: Pine, grapefruit. There is more that I can't pick out easily. Very strong and complex.

T: Pine, malt, raisins dominate. Caramel is there too.

M: Creamy smooth.

O: This was my first barleywine and it was a confusing experience. It was like an APA or an IPA mixed with prune juice. It was bitter first, then a raisin sweetness took over with a bitter finish. There was some alcohol burn too. This one needs to be sipped for sure. I'd like to age some of this since it's so cheap and see how it changes.

Rating: B

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Photo of Sinfull
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber color , medium off-white head. Hoppy aroma with hint of caramel malt. Malt, pine , tropical fruits in taste. Long, dry and bitter aftertaste. Great.

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Photo of TimZebGir
4/5  rDev -3.4%

A: Dark amber, little bit of ruby, light foamy head (3/3)
S: Piney hops balance out a light malt profile, detect a little alcohol (9/12)
T: Really dark malt flavor fades into a grassy hop aftertaste and persistent but mild bitter hang(16/20)
F: Medium-to-full bodied with medium carbonation. A little dry on the finish, but not crazy. (4/5)
O: Pretty light for an American Strong Ale. The hops are the heroes in this one, but I would’ve liked a little more maltiness. (8/10)

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Photo of PolarBear3
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%

A - Pours a nice copper, amber colour with tanned two fingered head that retains well

S- Sweet malts, floral hops, pine nuts, candy like aromas.

T - Terrific roasted sweet malts that just burst onto the scene initially, spicy and tangy citrus hops, with a well balanced bitterness at he finish

M - Medium carbonation and medium bodied

O - Fantastic beer, really explodes in your mouth up front and I loved the nice bitter tangy finish.

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Photo of ordybill
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass.
Aroma- Has that "SN" hop aroma.
Appearance- A reddish colored brew that looks wonderful.
Taste- The hops are mixed with some pine and there is a bitter aftertaste, not bad.
Palate- This is a medium to heavy bodied brew with moderate carbonation. It is a dry finish beer with a nice hop bite.
Overall- A good beer but it doesn't taste like a traditional barleywine.

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Photo of pat61
4.95/5  rDev +19.6%

Appearance: Brilliant reddish amber with a finely bubbled light tan foam cap. Lacy.
Nose: rich malt over alcohol and hops.
Palate: big malt with a hint of sweetness backed by alcohol that quickly leads to a bold, hoppy finish.
Body: extraordinarily creamy, oily, chewy and pleasantly warming.
The malt, hops and alcohol are all big but surprisingly well balanced.

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Photo of lungboy
5/5  rDev +20.8%

Just opened a 2006 bottle (this being 2014, that makes it a little more than 8 years old.) I took notes on the first bottle of this I opened in 2006, and thought it was a lesser year; it was very astringent and overly dry. Those 8 years really added some character. Dang, the caramel flavors are much more pronounced, and the astringent flavors are all completely gone. I am so glad I didn't plow through this case and have about 9 left. I have a 2004 that was still good, but probably not as good as the previous year's tasting, so I am guessing around 8 years in the cellar is the optimal aging time for this barleywine. Your mileage may vary.

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Photo of misternebbie
4.79/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A hard style of beer to get in PA, and this is the best one get here, albeit seasonal, very complex caramel and rich fruit, great price point also for a Barleywine.

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Photo of dakotaben
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

A - hazy light copper color with about an inch of very light tan head that slowly dissipated. Can see the carbonation struggle to reach the top.

S - sweet, slightly alcoholic smell

T - Sweet, earthy, moderate alcoholic taste

M - moderate thickness with obvious carbonation and warmth from alcohol.

O - This is my favorite SN!

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Photo of mabermud
4.19/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep, clear, ruby red, body. Sticky, off-white head that disappears into a thin, filmy cover. Caramel, grapefruit and blood orange scent. The taste is an even fruity, caramel. The finish is clean The feel could use some work, but it goes well with everything else.

Overall - This is a classic. After chasing this around San Diego back in 1996, it is still as good as when we used to hunt it down. I am glad this sits around on shelves longer than most.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,932 ratings.