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

3,002 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: 3,002 | Ratings: 7,307
Photo of pwlong19
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2016 pkgd 12/31/16. Poured into snifter. 1 inch of foam with good lacing left after a minute of settling. Color is dark amber with slight haze. Smell is fruity and floral notes. Flavor is boozy (my first barleywine) with hoppy bitterness and malt sweetness hitting first then boozy. Will be getting more to age for summer enjoyment.

 332 characters

Photo of dleigh
4.77/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Beautiful amber color. Smells like hops and rain, with a tinge of sweetness to it. Tastes dank and fresh--sweet and bitter at the same time. A little like honey as it warms up and oxidizes. This is a little like a floral double IPA, but with more maltiness to it. Very little malt char--just sweetness. 2016 vintage.

 316 characters

Photo of ezra_shroomer
4.84/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Delicious. My first barleywine brew to experience. Taste is perfect. From a bottled dated 12/11/15. Poured into a pilsner glass from bottle. Aroma, sweet floral notes, heavy malt. While my nose and palate are young and i have much to learn, this is a complex flavor and scent. I enjoyed this very much. Will probably by my local pub out and try to cellar a few. (If i can abstain from indulging in this powerful and delicious beer.) I havent had a beer from Sierra Nevada that has dissapointed and this is the cream of the crop. Beer Noob opinion, will buy again (: love it!

 574 characters

Photo of GreatStoutman
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2016 Bottle...

Look has a dark, hazy copper body and khaki head that drops to a fat-rimmed film, leaving Jackson Pollock on the way down.

Smell is sweet dark fruits, candy caramel and piney hops.

Taste is candied fruits, malts and hoppy finish. Really complex, layered flavors that I can't really pin down, but it works really well.

Feel is full, sticky and lingering. Bitterness shows up late, but hangs on for a while.

Overall, this is easy to drink and a nice sweet treat to end the night. This is not something to session, and patience will payoff as it really opens up as it warms.

 591 characters

Photo of shaneerickson
3.61/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On draft in a glass

L - a really nice amber hue. the reds and oranges gives off a beautiful glow. very little foam head, light lacing around the glass. a little bit of haziness in beer

S - lots of sweet caramel smells. kind of reminds me of walking into a pastry bakery. bread malts and sugary glazes

T - i can definitely taste the alcohol on my tongue. the bitterness of the hops stick to my palate long after i've a drink. the malt gives the impression of pie crust. sweet but still very attenuated

F - mildly syrupy and oily. there is almost no carbonation that i noticed. relatively thin for a barley wine

O - quite delicious!! pretty drinkable at 9.5%. all the characteristics of a barley wine are present. Sierra Nevada did a good job of creating a big bad barley wine thats not only palatable to people who don't normally drink this style but also keeping it at an affordable always. good stuff

 919 characters

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

2016 vintage 12oz bottle poured into a Dogfish Head snifter L: dark ruby and slightly opaque, finger of thick pillowy head that slowly receded, and decent lacing A: dark fruits, caramel, and hops T: sweet malts, dark fruits, and a strong bitter hops finish M: incredibly creamy O: I love this beer, and at $10 for a four pack I have a hard time not buying it every time I see it.

 379 characters

Photo of Myotus
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 bottle
Poured at 48°F from a 12oz bottle into a snifter. Allowed to warm up to 50°F before consuming.
LOOK: Pours with a fingers worth of khaki foam that dissipates into a quarter fingers worth of off-white foam within 45 seconds. Ruby in color with a hint of cloudiness. Rising bubbles are medium in size and scarce in quantity. Lacing is thin and subtle.
SMELL: Strong aromas of piney hops, mangos, papaya, apricots, and peaches entangle with subtle caramel and plum aromas.
TASTE: The initial taste is a simultaneous bombardment of all the aromas, but as strong flavors. Unexpected and nearly overpowering, but my taste buds love it. Strong flavors of brown sugar (weren't detected in the smell) and mild flavors of bitter hops enter act 2 as mango, papaya, apricot, and peach flavors grow slightly stronger.
FEEL: Full-bodied and moderately carbonated. Goes down somewhat smooth while clinging to the back of the throat like syrup. Finishes horribly dry.

 967 characters

Photo of nbbyrd
5/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For my first official Beer Advocate beer review, I’ve pulled out a special beer for a special occasion. This is the last 2013 Bigfoot Barleywine that I have been holding on to as my first attempt at cellaring/aging a beer. Thinking back to 2013 when I first bad this beer, I remember the strong and biting bitterness of the hops and warmth from the alcohol that overwhelmed my palate at the time. As time and experience with other beers have developed my palate, I am really looking forward to what time has done to this cornerstone of a beer for me. So here we go!
Look: 12 oz bottle poured semi-aggressively into a tulip glass, a beautiful rich mahogany red with two fingers of a light tan head, a few floaties that have settled from aging. Tight and pillowy at first, the head dissipates to a half inch of larger soapy bubbles in the center and creamy froth around the rim after about five minutes, leaving wonderful lacing.
Smell: Immediately caramel hits the nose, with very ripe dark fruits following. Hints of sweet raisins and port wine. Hardly any traces of citrus or piney hops. A completely different creature after 3 years.
Taste: Caramel, cream, vanilla, leather, dark candied fruits. Maybe a nice mild aromatic pipe tobacco? The booze is nowhere to be found in such a big beer compared to its younger self. Only slightly resinous with a hint of mature pine. Really a lovely sweetness like a fresh warm fruitcake. The perfect amount of sweetness and balanced bitterness.
Feel: So very smooth and creamy. Perfectly balanced and still a great medium carbonation. Such a soft and subtle bitterness that lingers on the middle and back of my tongue before disappearing like a dream. It coats the mouth and leaves a delicate bitterness aftertaste reminiscent of citrus, like subtle grapefruit pith.
Overall: One of the most lovely beers I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy. The harsh bitterness and sharp edges from 2013 have smoothed and mellowed over time, making this a treat to enjoy on a stormy February evening. It is amazing what time can do to a beer. Being my first (and only at the moment) beer to have aged, I can’t wait to grab a few more bottles of various others to store away for another few years. While I would rate the young and raw version of this beer a 3.43, the 3 year aged version has blown me away beyond my expectations 5/5.

 2,386 characters

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

First of this year's release. Pours dark red with an off-white head. Great lacing. Hops up front, then opens up with some....damn this is a good beer!

 150 characters

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

Just happened to have my computer while I was drinking a glass of this, so call it fate. Here goes my first official BeerAdvocate review.

Look: Gorgeous just barely off-white and silky head sits atop. About an inch of head and isn't going anywhere soon. The liquid a deep ruby with brown tones. This is a beautiful beer!

Smell: Some alcohol phenols and hops on the first sniff. Delve a little deeper and some dark fruits and maltiness pop up. Sweet and enticing aroma.

Taste: A complex one on the tastebuds. First hit is that fresh-hop bite. As it moves over the palate the sweetness opens up and dark fruits (raisins, plums, figs) come to mind. After-taste has it giving way to how big this beer is, although well-hidden, as it warms your body.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, just right for this beer. The mouthfeel is silky and smooth and dangerously drinkable for almost being 10%

Overall: Couldn't be happier having this beer as my first official BA-review. Just a lovely offering on the style, and you can't ask for much more with how available it is. Sierra Nevada after all these years is still making some excellent stuff. Happy to store a few bottles each year to see how they age and develop.

 1,206 characters

Photo of Wer34truh
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Has a moderately light brown color, with a almost non-existent head.

Smells of sweet malts, subtle tones of citra, and dried fruits.

Taste is surprisingly subtle. There are clear notes of pine, grainy sweetness, dried fruit, and grapefruit. But for the most part, this is an incredibly drinkable barleywine. Almost intimating so for being 9.6%. Mouthfeel is surprisingly light and it has a distinctly creamy body.

I have to admit that this is very much still a style I'm growing accustomed to. Yet, every sip of this makes me long for more. This is an absolutely incredible beer, which combines the malty characteristics of most American strong ales, with the nuance and sweetness of a juicy harvest IPA. This is cool.

 723 characters

Photo of Bruno74200
4.74/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is my first barleywine ever, and well... It wans't what I was expecting at all!! It's insanely hoppy, I thought it would be more and toffee and malt forward but it's really hop forward!

Amazing stuff!!

 207 characters

Photo of geodonnokepyo
3.89/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

bottled 12/31/14

look: hazy amber/brown, frothy head, good retention
smell: caramel, pine, citrus
taste: caramel, wood, slight fruitiness
feel: fullish body, finishes really bitter

 181 characters

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

Bottled on 12/11/15
LOOKS: Poured into a snifter, gets a bout a half inch of tan foamy head that dissipates quickly. Very dark amber to almost mahogany in a appearance. Great carbonation when you rock the glass from side to side. Leaves alcohol legs down the glass. Spotty lacing.
AROMA: Floral, alcohol, sherry, port wine like. Brown sugar, a little citrus, dark dried fruit, and some bready malts.
TASTE: Sherry like. Dried fruits, and fruitcake. Bitter citrus rind. Very wine like. Good blend of sweet and bitter.
MOUTHFEEL: Very dry all the way through the sip. Very good carbonation, not overkill.
OVERALL: A very nice sipper. Has a very pleasant taste that reminds me of sipping a fine sherry or dessert wine, but that carbonation really helps bring out the flavors.

 787 characters

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

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale. 9.6% ABV. 12oz bottle into a snifter. 2015 edition.

Look: Body is a rich amber hue, with a two finger tan head from an aggressive pour.

Smell: Floral hops balanced by sweet malts, with some tones of caramel, sour fruits, and molasses.

Feel: Medium bodied with a lot of carbonation, while still being pretty smooth.

Taste: Sweet malts and sour fruits up front, but soon drowned out by bitter hops and caramel, which all blend into the aftertaste. Some minor alcohol taste is present, without being boozy, and without burning.

Overall: This is my first Barleywine style of beer, without being barrel aged. Pretty enjoyable, with a great balance of bitter hops and sweet malts. The ABV of this beer is concealed pretty well, although still noticeable.

 811 characters

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

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

L: Pours a clear deep ruby mahogany color. Thick creamy off-white head with delicate lacing.

S: Brown sugar and molasses mingling with piney hops.

T/F: Malty and smooth... caramel, brown sugar, and raisins. Strong hop presence so fits right in with the West Coast barleywine's. Evergreen and mild citrus. Creamy on the mouthfeel and warming. High ABV and it shows... but enough balance to keep it tasteful.

O: A big west coast barleywine that stacks up with the best of them. Great for a cold winter night and looking forward to seeing what a year in the cellar does for this guy. Great beer from a top-notch brewery.

 671 characters

Photo of Dragginballs76
4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours deep red caramel color with thick tan head that lasts forever excellent lacing.

Smell - Big hop notes some sweet malts I get a little grapefruit as well.

Taste - good hop flavors the alcohol is well hidden malts show through as well also getting the pine bitter a little.

Feel - medium bodied little dry very smooth little burn from the alcohol and bitterness but in a good way.

Overall an amazing beer I will have many more times.

 441 characters

Photo of tekstr1der
4.16/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy, ruddy brown with thin tan head. Aroma is fantastic - malty with booze and a touch of piney hop. Flavor has a more pronounced bitter that takes the forefront, with slight malt sweetness almost balancing. I find this just a little rough on the palette between the bitter and the booze, but the liquid is very smooth, low carbonation, and slightly cloying - all of which I enjoy.

 392 characters

Photo of oldn00b
4.44/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours ruby red with a thick, 4" frothy cream colored head. Incredible lacing and great retention.

Nose is hop, malt, caramel, vanilla, and booze.

Flavor is just a spot on america barleywine. That perfect balance of huge bitter with massive sweetness - warming boozy note works perfectly.

Feel is fantastic - carbonation level doesn't add too much bitterness, appropriately lifts this dense brew off the palate. Finish is long on the bitter which just makes the next sip happen faster.

This is a fantastic beer - for the price and availability it's nearly impossible to beat. Those aspects factor into the high marks but it truly is a world class brew.

 663 characters

Photo of Beaconheath
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2015 "vintage," bottled 12/31/14, tasted January 2016, in a Libbey tulip glass, 45–50°F.
Clear dark amber with a one-finger head that dissipated in a few minutes but regenerated with each swirl. Potent fragrance filled the air around the glass at once to a radius of several feet.
Flavor dominated by the piney element in the Chinook hops, which floated over the malt base without integrating with it. Will appeal to those who appreciate prominent Pacific northwest hops.
Weighty mouthfeel, beverage coated the throat.
Overpowered the homemade burrito I paired it with, but it was nice with a dessert of Medjool dates. Sweetness of the dates took some edge off the hoppiness and brought out the malt.

 703 characters

Photo of josanguapo
5/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From Uvinum. In Teku glass. Watching Sons of Anarchy 5x01. Amazing aroma. Great taste. A bit alcoholic but with a nice touch of bitterness that compensates it.

 159 characters

Photo of AppaZappa
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.4.2014 bottle poured into a tulip; pours rich ruby malt color with generous and lingering head. Smell is bread, malt, caramel, toffee, hops. Taste is sweet, malt, rich bread and then to hops and slightly bitter finish and feint abv bite. The hops have held on surprisingly well after 13 months of cellaring; it'll be fun to see how much they hold on after a while longer. The mouth is fantastic--smooth, creamy, very nicely carbonated.

 438 characters

Photo of car2052
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle packaged on 12/4/14 to snifter.

A: Pours a cloudy muddy red, with ample carbonation and a tan head that sticks around.
S: Bran, grape juice, cream, and spiced bread.
T: Toffee and caramel cream flavors open up to a cherry and grape fruitiness. Ends with some hop bitterness even after a year in the bottle.
M: Medium-full.
O: Nice. Hop flavor still preserved, but great malt flavors as well.

 419 characters

Photo of Ahypercube
4.61/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow, SN never ceases to amaze me.

L: Pours a rich, dark reddish caramel color, like coca cola. Two-fingers of thick, luscious, toasted cream-colored head, which builds slowly and lasts well, leaving rather attractive cocoa-colored lacing. A beautiful brew.

S: Molasses, caramel, alcohol, candied dark fruit (Plum, raspberry, cherry, etc), toasted rye bread, and a nutty whole-grain scent; a little hint of piney hops, and a clean grapefruit rind presence.

T: Those bitter hoppy flavors are much more noticeable, with the avalanche of malty, caramelly, toasty sweetness cascading over the bitter skeleton, fleshed out with a sugary blackberry-jam-on-toast flavor. Almost just like a stout, but missing the coffee and chocolate. Definitely something I enjoyed immensely. I would pair with any pastry, or a rich stew, or simply cheese and crackers.

F: Someone commented that the mouthfeel was a little thin. I'm rather blown away by this comment, as it seems as thick as could be possibly expected for the ABV. A lot like Torpedo IPA, but thicker and bitterer.

O: Excellent. If this is any sort of example, I'd say barleywines are definitely a thing I enjoy. Glad to encounter this magnificent brew and I hope to find more of its kind in the future!

 1,252 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear mahogany color with brownish head. Aroma has nice caramel malts but also some earthy and resiny hops. Taste starts slightly sweet with caramel and dark bread notes and gets hoppy and bitter towards the finish. Aftertaste is quite bitter and dry. Really classic, american style barleywine taste profile.

 308 characters

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