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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

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,924
Hads: 7,014
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.63%
Wants: 363
Gots: 1,546 | 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: 7,014
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 (370 characters)

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. (495 characters)

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. (572 characters)

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. (943 characters)

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. (980 characters)

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! (1,345 characters)

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. (383 characters)

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 (631 characters)

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. (154 characters)

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)
40/50 (485 characters)

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. (439 characters)

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. (411 characters)

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.
Outstanding (378 characters)

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. (645 characters)

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. (164 characters)

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! (332 characters)

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. (462 characters)

Photo of zookerman182
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance is dark brown with a light brown head.
Aroma is complex for sure. Nutty, dark fruits, caramel and toffee, roasty.
Taste is the same but with a hop punch. More nutty and pretty hoppy.
This is an introductory barleywine for hop heads I feel.
Mouthfeel is medium to thin with some lingering bitterness.
I see why people love this. I liked it but I've had way better barleywines.
I don't really love the hop inclusion. (425 characters)

Photo of doktorhops
4.34/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Today I will be reviewing the mythical Bigfoot, a brown hair covered beast that roams the Pacific Northwest woodlands attracting attention from the occasional camper with a video camera... Wait a sec. I'm actually reviewing the Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale or Initialised (as always in my Sierra Nevada reviews) as SNBBSA. What more can be said about Sierra Nevada, they rule the roost when it comes to the West-Coast craft scene, and I imagine they are all-round nice guys/girls as well. Note: This is the 2014 batch, and also my first US style Barleywine.

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: A deep hazy cooper body with a ring of beige lace awaits the next lucky drinker (i.e. me).

S: An intriguing mix of dark fruits (fig, raisin, dates), pine and citrus hops. Also noted is a caramel malt and a hint of bread yeast that lingers around. There is a great synergy going on between these aromas, it's as if a fruity Belgian Quadrupel got in bed with an aggressive hop forward American IPA and the two had a passionate love-making session.

T: Then the flavour hits you, nay punches you right in the tongue. Elements of the above aromas swirl about taking a dump right on my palate. There is however a sharp forward hop bitterness that is a tad distracting, it's like an ultra concentration of pine and grapefruit. Shame when everything else within the taste of this fine Ale hits the right spot.

M: Dense and syrupy - it has the consistency of a delicious beer-flavoured treacle.

D: I guess I knew what I was in for when I cracked open SNBBSA but boy oh man oh girl oh woman it really smacks you around. Although the hop bitterness is a smidge over the top, the flavour and texture of this beer is indeed akin to a big hairy manbeast roaming the giant redwood forests of Oregon. Perhaps the only thing holding it back from being as great as a similar ABV Belgian Quad would be finesse - the Belgians nail finesse, whilst the Americans bring complexity to the table it will only take you so far, then you need finesse.

Food match: The heavy body of this beer really makes it more of an after-dinner brew, however if you were going to attempt it with food then you need a bold spicy cuisine like a Thai with a light body to counteract any bloat, such as a green Papaya salad with chopped red chilli. (2,335 characters)

Photo of GinjaSlice
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark reddish brown with a decent light tan head and good lacing.
S: Good smell lots of dark fruits coming through with a malt/caramel backing.
T: Nice dark fruit sweetness at first with some malty mid then finishes with a slightly bitter hoppy end, and a nice hint of alcohol burn. only complaint is the aftertaste.
M: a little too carbonated for me but nice and smooth and not sticky

O: very good beer. this is a re review with an aged bottle for a couple months d (469 characters)

Photo of MemphisSooner
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Orange/Amber with solid off-white head. Nice appearance.

Smell: Caramel maltiness, raisins, hops

Taste: Nice spicy hop presence! Raisins, figs, and caramel malts, with a good barleywine alcohol burn. Really solid flavors.

Mouthfeel: A bit heavy, but pretty typical barleywine.

Overall: Solid barleywine! Definitely one of the better brews I have had in this style. (380 characters)

Photo of PaulyB83
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip glass. 2013 vintage.

A- Poured carefully so as not to rouse the yeast. Pours a bright medium garnet with a high degree of clarity. Two finger slight toffee head that dissipates slowly.

S- Lovely rum raisin forward notes. Hop aroma is definitely more subdued than when fresh. Now I get more of a backing note of earthy pine and spice.

T- Here is where the hops come through more. Even with over a year on it, the hops are surprisingly apparent. Mostly getting a piney syrup aspect to it with a good amount of spicy hops. Wish it tasted more like the aroma.

M- I'd say on the lighter side of heavy. A pretty high level of carbonation for the style.

O- Prefer this aged version than the fresh one but will see what the other 2013 I have tastes like in a year. I hope some of those rum raisin notes come out in the flavor. That said this a very good American barleywine that is easy to find and cheap. 2014 version is out and I'm still able to find 4-packs of 2013. (1,011 characters)

Photo of patpbr
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Poured a deep copper with a small head.
S - Lots of hops and carmel.
T - Strong with a fruit and rich flavor. Grapefruit and pine with plenty bitterness. A sweet and bitter combination.
M - Heavy body with a present alcohol finish.
O - Lots to like with this palate buster. (281 characters)

Photo of Jacobob10
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2014 Bigfoot.

Cult classic beers are fun to review, and even more fun to drink! Such is the case for Sierra Nevada Bigfoot. This is the kind of beer that I would describe as "in your face." It takes your palate for a ride and makes you question whether you can handle all 12 ounces of it. Everything about it is big. Big malt, big hops, big body, big flavor. But it takes a quality brewer to reel in all of these characteristics and create something that is enjoyable to drink.

Deep amber/copper color with ruby highlights and a creamy light tan head. Heavy pepper spice from the hops with even heavier caramel, raisin, and toffee from the malt. Massive sweetness, full bodied, thick textured, and long lasting flavor. Bitter finish.

This is the third bottle of the four pack that I have had (not all tonight) and each one has kicked my ass. This is a beer to sip and savor, for sure. The quality in the entire lineup of Sierra Nevada beers, not just this one, is impressive. I can't remember the last time I had something by them that I did not enjoy. Can you handle it? (1,074 characters)

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

This one poured out with a solid head which fought hard to such around. Eventually reducing to a thin top cover with pretty good lacing. Heavy malts with caramel and a bit of floral notes after several tastes. Not bad but nothing special to me. We'll see how it cellars. (273 characters)

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