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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
92
outstanding
3,002 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
3,002
Ratings:
7,307
Avg:
4.14
pDev:
17.63%
 
 
Wants:
393
Gots:
1,730
For Trade:
79
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale
BEER INFO

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: 3,002 | Ratings: 7,307
Photo of xforce
4.52/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. 2004 bottling.
nice 1/2 inch bone head, slowly dissipates, although never goes away. nice brilliant hop nose, mixed with grapes, dates. aroma gradually mellows out to a nice woody aroma and a fresh leaf hop. the flavor is wonderful, with a nice full, yet low carbonated mouthfeel. a bit of a cookielike flavor added to a nice malty foreward and a wonderful hop finish. slight chocolate notes, along with a fruity datelike taste in the middle. an awesome beer, a little too strong to have as many as i would like, but its an incredible beer.

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Photo of NEhophead
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle.

2004 expedition.

Creamy 1" lightly tan head with very good retention. This leads to a thin, whispy sheet that remains until the last sip. Layered and condensed lacing with solid strength. A murky light garnet in color; noticeable sediment throughout.

Strong ripe fruity-esters with a big hop nose. A light caramel malt sweetness along with a faint chocolate aroma. The main aromatics are driven by cherry, plum, and apple hints.

Very complex in flavor! At first, the fruit: apple, grape, and cherry flavors are very evident along with a toffee, high malt sweetness. This is followed by a big hop bitterness with plenty of alcohol flavors. The aftertaste contains a touch of chocolate as well.

Full bodied; heavy and a bit grainy on the palate.

What a great barleywine! The 9.6% abv makes this one tough to drink as a session beer, but it is certainly a treat for the winter months. Probably my favorite Sierra Nevada offering and one of my favorite versions of the style.

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Photo of ken3c
4.52/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2004.

Cloudy medium brown. Decent head resolves to a thin ring.

Smells Very malty and very hoppy with a slight sense of alcohol.

Taste is very strong malt and very strong hops. There is a pleasant grapefruit finish. This will age well.

Mouthfeel is thick, bubbly, and dry, everything I could possible expect in a barleywine.

Drinkability is DANGEROUS. I could easilty drink myself into oblivion with this one.

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Photo of twelvsies
4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2004 batch. This beer pours a very hazy dark reddish brown. About a half inch of bubbly head on top, though it doesn't leave much lacing to speak of. Quite aromatic... hops up front but also a big presence of ripe fruits like apircots and pears. Bigfoot is certainly an appropriate name for this brew. Big all-around flavorful taste. A grapey sweetness hits the palate first, folowed by more fuity malts and finished with a piney hop bitterness. A lot of beers seem to put the hop taste out front, but I like that bitterness as sort of an afterthought in this beer. This beer is a perfect example of a well balanced beer. It's not too over the top in any particular feature, but it's extremely flavorful and has a wide variety of complex tastes to be sought out by the drinker. Exellecent smooth and full mouthfeel. Although a lot of people generally give these bigger beers a fairly low drinkability score I think this is a very drinkable beer, as long as you can handle the %10 ABV. Personally, I feel up to the challenge!

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Photo of newyawker
3.87/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Brown in the glass, a bit hazy with a tan head. Smell is sweet and hoppy. Also a bit like biscuits baking in an oven. Frontal hop assault! Yeah! Not too bad, althougth a bit hard to drink a lot of. It tastes good, yet harsh on my tounge. I have to take drinkablity points away because I am only having a bit of this one. All in all, I can't say I recommend it, yet its got something going on.

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

Bottled vintage 1998, thanks mat. Pretty tasty stuff. My memories are pretty vague, and a remember spilling about a quarter or so of the contents of the bottle (sorry everyone). Just really tasty. mapley,hoppy, the length of flavour is great. Great to have such a an old beer, great experience. Sorry for spilling some of it guys :(

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 Expedition:

After a long wait I finally get to try the Bigfoot...the only bottled SN brew I've yet to try and my first barleywine as well! This pours a beautiful deep mahogany amber red with a small half inch head. Looks great in my SN snifter glass. The smell has some lovely caramel malt notes with a huge hop presence. Some candied fruit tones come through...plums..raisins. The alcohol is there as well...very complex smell that keeps my nose going back for more.

The first sip is massive!! The rich caramel malts intertwine magically with the wonderfully piney, citrusy hops. The fruit tones come through on the palate as well. Sweet and bitter play a tug of war and it seems like it ends up a tie...everyone wins. If there is a nectar of life then this may very well be it. A very complex brew that is best sipped. I love the biterness on the back of the palate. I just can't believe I haven't tried this sooner!

Mouthfeel is excellent. Not too thin, not too syrupy....this goes down smooth...almost too smooth for 9.6%abv. Carbonation is just right. As for drinkability...I'd imagine I could have a few of these on a cold night...probably no more than two..but overall it's a damn tasty brew that does not dissapoint. SN has been one of my faves before ever trying Bigfoot...and now after trying it they've just gone up another notch in my book. I got a few more in the cellar...let's see what happens...

Thanks to Ninjaworm for the opportunity to sample this fine brew.

2005 Expedition - 3-29-05:

Hops are more upfront in the nose than the 2004...citric and piney with the same strong malty background. Nice creamy two finger head. First sip brings a rush of bitter hoppy goodness...definetly "green"...but in a good way, especially for the hopheads. A nice caramel nut chewy malt background. Just a tasty, enjoyable brew again this year. Good full mouthfeel and quite drinkable. I have a sixer saved for when I go camping this summer...can't wait for that!

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Photo of diablo14
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

the name bigfoot is well earned for sure. its not hairy but its massive and certainly gave me a kick i wont be forgetting in a hurry. not convinced its a barley wine compared to others ive tried, but whatever it is its still a marvellous brew in anyones language.

delightful rich, deep ruby color with mahogany panes, and a dense but not huge white head which held forth till i was done. the smell alone is enuff to sit you on your ass. mammoth piney hops and caramel malt aromas erupt from the bottle the second its opened. on decanting it also exudes some lovely citrus and dried fruit notes and a hint of chocolate. extremly rich in body, it has big ticket characters, caramel, chocolate, fruit, and something a little smokey in there. all backed with some mindblowing sprucey hops, the bitterness of which fair popped the shoes right off my feet. not usually big on hops of this magnitude, but the beers different elements called for it. i suppose having said all this it was quite complex, like a fine wine, and could cellar well for several years. perhaps ive just talked myself into this being a barley wine without question haha.

no matter, big foot is a dead set ripper of a brew that i just didnt get to have enuff of. one of the best ive had the pleasure of consuming this year. thanks to malto for the sample (and recommendation)

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Photo of beerceller99
4.87/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2002 bottling from Nov.' 03 notes.
Pours a dark brown reddish hue with a slight head that leaves a decent lace. Still a big floral alcohol smell though not as pronounced as a " fresh " bottle.The taste is huge and chewy; caramel dark raison sweetness with a big hop and alcohol presence.
The huge hop intensity and raw alcohol taste has refined since this was bottled some 22 months ago. This makes it a much more drinkable brew. One of the best Bigfoots of any age or bottling.

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Photo of sutcliff
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Barley wine, in a word, yum. I can only handle a few of these full-bodied brews. The alcohol is noticeable in the aroma and on the tongue. The color is a warm brown with a hue of red. The malts and hops are well balanced and can only improve with age. In all, Bigfoot is a personal favorite.

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Photo of brewer27513
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 2004 vintage sample of this great barleywine.

Appearance is a clear brown with reddish tints.

Aroma is a mix of malt and hops...showing its great balance.

Taste is wonderfully balanced -- the rich and intense malt content is balanced with the high hops. Aftertaste is a hop bitterness.

Overall, this is a very well balanced barleywine...flavor is leaning towards the hops with a complex maltiness to balance it out.

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Photo of SeanChouffe
3.89/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2004
Mahogany red with orange highlights. The head is a beige/yellow with low retention and sticky lace. The aroma is hoppy and fruity with caramel. Full bodied, syrupy and creamy with a biting finish. Flavor starts very hoppy with a sweet middle and a heavy hop finish.
IMHO: Heavy and hoppy. Could be a little green. Better over 60f.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a light dark beer with a huge head with excellent retention. Aroma is comprised of sweet plums and some nice malt. Taste is quite wonderful with again the plums/raisins sweetness being noticeable. It ends with a wonderful warm feeling. Overall, this is a very good barley wine and would like to taste this again on a warm winter night.

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Photo of MrNuggets
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1999

5 years and this baby still pours with a nice tan head. Sticks around longer than I expected. Sweet smelling, I can tell now this beer is big on flavor. Sure enough, the malt stands up and smacks me right across the face. Do they dip nuts in carmel? Bitterness is much more subdued than in the fresher samples I have enjoyed. Piney, taste turns piney after the initial blast of sweetness.

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Photo of oxmasterscream
4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed 2004 12oz bottle in mid August 2004. Poured into a big wine goblet (it's wine, right?!), the tan head quickly diminished into the beautiful hazy reddish-copper liquid below. I couldn't stop taking whiffs of this beer. It smelled divine. All of the following were detected by my mere novice nose: sweet caramel malts, sour and dark fruits like raisins and cherries, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, honey, pepper and spices, bourbon and with a big enough sniff, straight up alcohol (how's that for a bouquet?). I dove right into it to find extremely complex tastes... it seemed that right off the bat, my taste buds experienced a candy-like sweetness that was almost immediately punched in the face by a powerhouse of spicy, bitter hops. It's a pretty amazing taste experience. The finish is so, so bitter but eventually I warmed right up to it (literally). Tastes included raisins, tangy and sour fruits, toffee and grapefruit (typical of Sierra Nevada). The mouthfeel is absolutely incredible... extremely smooth but thick and chewy with just enough carbonation to keep your taste buds from falling asleep. Drinkability... well, I'd definitely have another but not in the same session. This is an amazing beer that allegedly gets better with a little age. Apparently, its hoppiness mellows out over time and for someone like me, that's a good thing.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This 12 oz. 2004 vintage bottle was provided to me as an undeserved bonus by a fellow Georgian BA, Southernbrew. The hazy copper red appearance with a steady carbonation that fed a generous head that left oodles of lacing while dissipating made this is one beautiful looking beer. The initial aroma was a wave on piney cascade hops that nearly singed my nostrils. Deeper sniffs revealed layers of caramel malt, vinous and spicy alcohol, and ripe tropical fruit. The taste was sweet plums, raisins, chestnuts, caramelized sugar, and grapefruit that softened up the palette up front for an unrelenting assault of hop bitterness and peppery alcohol zing that lingered long after each sip. Surprisingly, the finish on the beer was again quite sweet, with a toffee like aftertaste. The mouthfeel was thick and chewy and quite soothing despite the dance of flavors going on in the mouth. This is one marvelous brew that should improve tremendously with age. Although I did not have the patience to save the one bottle I acquired this year, come 2005, I will surely be jumping all over this one when I see it. Thank you Southernbrew.

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Photo of beertaster13
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice dark mahogany red with a thick cream off white head that is gorgeous. The smell is a blast of citrusy pine hops with hints of spices and sweet caramel malts. The taste is strong up front with citrus pine hops, blends well with the apple crumb center and the thick syrup ending. The spiced malts perfectly blend with the bitterness, wow really gives the tatebuds a kick. Medium to full bodied and will call you back for more, damn good.

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Photo of twilight
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 vintage. Sampled 7/30/04

Pours a deep, deep garnet with a thick head that disappears almost instangly, but leaves the beautiful lacing upon it. Aroma is of big malt with some hops. It smells rich, to tell the truth; it prepares you for the big flavors of... Thick intitial malt taste with the hint of hops finishing with a mouthful of hop bitterness aftertaste and the malt peeking through the spaces between your tongue. Yum yum to the hop aftertaste. It's thick and wonderful. I'm not a huge fan of the barleywine style, but this one is pretty damn amazing. Mouthfeel is thick and coating. It goes down well, but excessive hop burn detracts from the drinkability. So what about the high ABV. Let this one be your nightcap before you pass out into the luxe of your bed...

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Photo of WetCoaster
4.92/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One year:
Probably the best beer I've ever had at this point. Absolutely sublime flavor. Magnificent.

Six months:
Well, it's about six months later--let's see what's happening. In celebration of Lance's sixth TdF victory, I thought I'd pop one out of the cellar.

Appearance: Wonderful golden cherry color with fine and surprisingly active carbonation. Short lived tan head with no lacing, but thick legs on the glasswall.

Smell: Incredible. It now has a unique honeyed sweetness, a rich, smooth, balanced blend of malt, cherry, citrus, caramel, brandy, with a much more muted spruce/pine hops scent lingering in the background. There is a slight alcohol sharpness as well.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Wow. Deeply malted, slightly buttery with cherry and whiskey notes. There's still a spicy hop bitterness, particularly at the finish, but the balance is now much better. There's a slight smokiness in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is creamy and dense.

Drinkability: It's gone from undrinkable to so drinkable it's scary--it's delicious.

I am amazed that a beer could undergo such a metamorphosis in only six months. It's so much better than when it was fresh it's hard to believe it's the same beer. Should be absolutely fantastic in a year--I can hardly wait.
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(Original review: 3.65)
Ah, the 2004 has arrived. I’ve put the rest away, but let’s try one “freshy” and see what happens.

Appearance: The beer is beautiful to look at; it pours an extremely deep, clear amber with ruby undertones. It has very little head, and what’s there is gone quickly. It leaves thick lacing and legs on the glass throughout.

Scent: The scent is surprisingly subdued, some green apple yeast ethers, pronounced hops, but none of the booming malt, dark fruits and spice you might expect from a big barleywine.

Flavor/Mouthfeel: As has been mentioned before, the taste can be described in one word: RAW. Right off the bat, you get huge, spicy fresh hops, pine/spruce flavors, and thick, viscous hop oils; you can almost cut it with a knife. However, that’s just about all there is. There’s a faint black cherry malt sweetness in the background, and the expected Irish whisky alcohol heat in the finish, but the balance is tilted WAY over to the hop camp.

Drinkability: As it stands now, the drinkability isn’t great; it’s a bit too rough, unbalanced and heavy for me. One is more than enough.

This is a serious, well-made beer but, in its current state, anyway, it’s not a good barleywine. With its huge green hop flavor and almost non-existent malt/black fruit/spice flavor points, this is far more convincing as an Imperial IPA.

It’s just way too fresh. If you pick some of this up, cellar it, forget about for six months or so and come back to it when the hops mellow out. It should kick ass.

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Photo of claytri
3.38/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bigfoot (2004) pours a deep brassy gold with hints of purple. The aroma is of malt and alcohol. The look and smell hold the promise of a hardhitting beer. The taste is a little surprising. Being pretty bitter with a lot of malt in the background. It's feel is very oily and leaves a lot of caramel on your tounge. I don't find this to be a very drinkable beer. The only times I've found it to be satisfactory is when I wanted a large volume of alcohol or on the end of large volume of beer. As it warms the bitterness becomes overpowering. After trying Young's Old Nick, I purchased a six of this expecting a real treat. That was in January, I am drinking the fourth now in July. A move towards the balance you see in Young's Old Nick would be welcome.

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Photo of Crotor
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one helluva beer.

And that's one helluvan understatement.

Just drank a bottle of the 2004 vintage, and I must say that it gave me chills... It's only a couple of months old right now, but the hop bitterness already seems much more subdued than it did in the 2003 Bigfoot. The hop aromas, however, are amazingly strong. The treacle-malt flavor is more noticable for me than in previously encounters with Bigfoot, and this pleases me; it adds a good deal of sophistication to what would otherwise be a simplistic hop-monster beer.

Drink this big, hairy, NW barleywine slowly, perhaps alternating sips with bites from a slice of extra-sharp cheddar cheese, and you may very well have a religious experience.

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

2004 Edition

Appearance: Pours a deep dark copper color with amber and ruby hues. A nick thick plush head about an inch high shows off this beers beauty. Perfect lace.

Smell: Strong notes of big malts and piney citrusy hop nose. As usual this beer smells rediculus, and has a final alcohol aromas which lets ya know that this is a big beer.

Taste: This beer initial shows off its big malt profile, with flavors of dark fruits, caramels, and toasted sweetness. The hops follow up right behind giving a piney and bitter flavor. Also this beer has some juiciness to it, making my pallate go nuts. So many flavors, so complex. This beer finishes with yet more hop bitterness and flavor with compliments its big size!

Mouthfeel: Smooth rich and creamy I don't know how much more I can expect from a barleywine.

Drinkability: This beer is almost as drinkable as a session beer. Smooth flavors hide the alcohol till the very end.

Overall: Another great job by Sierra Nevada. Thank god I have 10 of these in my cellar aging!

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

[2004 edition tasted 2-15-04]

What better way to celebrate my birthday and the snow falling outside than with a fresh bottle of the Bigfoot?!

Appearance: This year's 'foot pours a rich-looking brandy color with a lovely-looking off-white head that died quickly away to a wispy, ever-changing swirl atop the beer. Very nice lacing of the glass.

Smell: Blasting notes of floral hops mixed with medicinal alcohol physically slap your nostrils into submission. Lagging along behind is a bit of malty sweetness that does nothing to tame tame the tempest raging in your nostrils.

Taste: Hmmm....things are somewhat amiss here. This is one brash and raw beer. Titanic dose of leafy hops entrench themselves onto your palate and only grudgingly move when the medicinal alcohol arrives on the scene. There is some token caramel sweetness that drifts across the palate after the fiery and bitter rawness dies away. Finishes with a long-lasting bitterness that is only magnified by the oily resin on the lips.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: A big beer, to be sure. Medium-high body with smooth carbonation. Despite the aggressive and raw hoppiness of this beer, it still shines as a creamy palate-coater. Drinkability takes a hit due to the harshness of this one.

Notes: It's everything I've some to expect from the Bigfoot. However, this is a beer that is certainly in need of some aging. It's extremely hoppy and, for lack of a better word, unbalanced. Despite the flavor profile, I am 100% certain that, given some time, this will mellow into an incredible symphony of flavors. I've had a 4-year old version and it was amazing. There's no reason to doubt that this one will age into a classic. I've got 11 bottles left and that should make for a great ride starting next winter.

Edit: Revisited this vintage (6-30-04) and it has certainly mellowed. The brash bite to the flavor has been attenuated by almost 5 months of conditioning. The result? Silky smooth on the palate and wonderfully balanced. A more pronounced cocoa-smoky flavor is evident. Hops have faded considerably, allowing more time for the array of malty sweetness to stand center-stage.

Original review: 4.5/4.5/3.5/4/3.5

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Photo of euskera
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 Expedition...

Poured a dark orange-brown with a small bubbly head that had good staying power. Smell is distinctly hoppy with some alcohol overtones and a slight hint of caramel. Taste is superb, with the hops as the vanguard. The sweet malt hangs in the air, with a piney nutty feel that I just can't pin down tantalizing the taste buds before they are overwhelmed by the hop thunder. Mouthfeel is divine; my tastebuds are almost not worthy of the Yeti in this mysterious brown bottle.

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Photo of Globetrotter
4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Procured at Bottleworks in Seattle, my bottlecap states "2004 Expedition." The brown 12oz bottle sports a label depicting an encounter between some old bearded prospector type and the Bigfoot himself. No ingredient info on the label. I opened it on 6/26/04.

Pours a slightly murky orange hue under a voluminous (what? at that ABV?) 3 finger beige head with great body, and lots of lace as it slowly settle and drops down the glass. Sweet, syrupy malt nose typical of a barley wine. Very thick mouth, with high carbonation. Lots of flavors here, from caramel and barley to pine and floral hops. The blend is smooth, but the components are also easy to pick out, with the malt surfacing early, then yielding to a substantial dry bite. The aftertaste mirrors the experience, with an almost honey sweetness competing against coffee ground bitterness. This is a truly exceptional product.

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