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

3,008 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: 3,008 | Ratings: 7,330
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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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...

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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.

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.

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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 off....so many good reviews here. However.....it'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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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 3,008 ratings.