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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

6,290 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,290
Reviews: 2,814
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 265
Gots: 1,109 | FT: 40
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 02-06-1998)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,290 | Reviews: 2,814 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of whatthehull
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bigfoot 2011

Tasted June 3rd 2011 (from notes)

Poured into a la Chouffe tulip

A - blood orange almost opaque, one and a half finger tan head and slight lacing

S - pungent, sweet, sour, boozy, hoppy, sweet yeast, dark fruits, wine barrels, soil, slightly citrus, lots of malt, maybe a wheat note, plums and maybe some tropical fruits

T - alcohol, very sweet and hoppy up front. Such a nice bitter and then sweet. A tad sour in the middle. Dark red fruits, super malty, oak, earth, some citrus, cherries and sweet yeast

M - big, full bodied, chewy, medium to high acidity, very long finish and well balanced

D - if you love boozy, sweet and hoppy and almost 10%, this beer drinks like water. Well balanced and very drinkable

Final thought - expensive, high alcohol, once a year release and being from sierra nevada. You have to have this one and maybe age it!

whatthehull, Jul 05, 2011
Photo of Klym
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A translucent red beer that goes into brown shades in its deeper parts. Head is small, off white, and leaves plentiful lacing. Hops and the oh-so familiar raisin, fig, date-ish smells in the nose. The taste is much of what the nose is though more well blended-- while in many beers the dark fruits and hops are simply concurrent, in this beer they are fused together into one taste that is interesting and make both more delicious. Despite the fusion, hops definitely take the forefront with the dark fruits taking the undertone. Mouthfeel has some alcohol burn on the top of the throat, but the bitter sensations in the mouth are pleasant. Solid barleywine overall, but mostly just a more well-crafted version of generic flavors and sensations.

Klym, Jul 05, 2011
Photo of Sideswipe
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 batch. 12oz bottle

Bigfoot pours a deep red coppery color. A two finger head of off-white foam floats on top for a moment, then recedes leaving a delicate lattice of lacing on the sides of the glass. The nose is hops and sweet malt, emphasis on the hops. Taste starts out with citrusy hop flavors. Exquisite bitterness is momentarily balanced by a very nice malt backbone, then careens back into hoppy goodness. Finish is dry with an excellent lingering bitterness. Feel is thick and viscous with a lower level of carbonation that serves to enhance the bitter character of this big barleywine. Alcohol is masterfully disguised by the interplay of hops and malt rendering an extremely drinkable beer. Overall this a wonderful take on the style by Sierra Nevada, a supremely bitter, satisfyingly malty brew that is a joy to savor. A yearly favorite!

Sideswipe, Jul 04, 2011
Photo of jamespub
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured at 45* into a newcastle glass

A- Dark amber with a reddish hue. Pours with a creamy, one-finger head that slowly fades and leaves copious lacing. a mesmerizing brew.

S- Pine hops and malt. The smell is nice, but doesn't do the flavor justification.

T- Huge beer. This is one of the most flavor-packed beers I have ever drank. Lots of malt that is smacked down by a huge hop bitterness. There are few beers that rival the bitterness of fresh Bigfoot in my book. Pine hops and a sweet berry-like malt flavor round out the taste. The bitterness lingers.

M- smooth and refreshing. alcohol is faint, hop bite is dry and sticks to the back of the tongue.

O- just a great beer all around. it has become a staple in the fridge (during release times) and can be drank during hot or cold weather, which makes it particularly appealing in the state of Missouri...where you never know what weather will hit you. But keep in mind, this isn't for the faint of heart. If you have never had a barleywine, don't let the name fool you. This beer will kick you in the Fallopian tubes.

jamespub, Jul 02, 2011
Photo of mikul93
2.73/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Poured a dark reddish brown with a healthy head.

S- A lot of hops with hints of caramel.

T- I taste the fruit at the beginning and then the hops just kick your ass. I love hops, but this is a bit overwhelming. I really enjoy the initial flavors I get, but then the hops just leave this bitter taste in your mouth and it lingers.

M- Actually very light with good carbonation. Surprised.

O- Not a fan of this barley wine. Maybe if it was aged for a year or so, the hops would mellow out, but Bigfoot fresh is not for me. I have another one that I will age and review again next year.

mikul93, Jul 02, 2011
Photo of midworken
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 Batch-
Poured a thick, leathery head with good head retention and lacing.
Smelled of citrus, primarily grapefruit. Very bright and vibrant aroma. Faint smell of soapiness.
Taste mirrored the aroma. The first time I take a sip of this brew it always kicks me in the mouth, the flavor profile comes right away. Citrus is at the front, with the piney and woody flavors coming near the end. Flavor retention is dismal, yet still very complex.
Although flavor is bright, the body is thick and malty. Alcohol is very present and astringent.

midworken, Jul 01, 2011
Photo of juhl31
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

*Stockton reviewers before me...stick some '11's in your cellar for a year or 2 and then open em. it is insane how much better the beer develops. most of the bitterness goes away and the other flavors come out and meld together amazingly

Did a 5 year vert with a couple BA friends ('11-'07). i will review the beer overall and also give some notes to the changes at the end

-a reddish, copper tone to the body with a tall, tight light caramel colored head. the lacing and head retention on this beer is quite spectacular

-fresh, it is mostly piney hops. you can also get some caramel and butterscotch malt notes in there as well

-again, fresh...this beer is chest hair growingly hoppy. what also comes in though is a very nice malt background of caramel, butterscotch and a hint of nuttiness to it. some caramelized sugar in there as well

-i enjoy this beers thickness, especially with some age. this is a type of beer that will make part of your brain hurt in the morning if you drink too much. it is very smooth and rich too. and not very hot considering

-i really enjoy this beer. this beer was the 1st time i realized back when, what the wonders of aging could do to a beer because 1 year or older bigfoot blows my mind. for such an old recipe (28 years worth) it was way ahead of its time

vertical notes - every other year, the beer switched between a darkish brown/crimson color to a lighter caramel color which was interesting. again the aging brings out such pleasant malt notes. vintages i especially enjoyed were the '08 and '10. the warmth started to make its presence felt with the '07

juhl31, Jun 30, 2011
Photo of Devi0us
2.38/5  rDev -42.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

2011 vintage

A- Poured a deep copper color with a thick 2 finger off-white head that had a prolonged stay.

S- Massive hop aroma, somewhat piney. Nothing else going on here.

T- This badboy is bitter as fuck. All I can taste is hoppy bitterness with a bitter beer face. Taste more like an IPA  with 300 IBU than a Barley Wine to me.

M- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O- This was hyped up big time by a friend of mine. I should smack him silly. This was a rather unpleasant experience that I wish to NOT ever experience again.

Devi0us, Jun 25, 2011
Photo of rowingbrewer
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beer pours a copper color with a decent off white head. the aroma is very hoppy and floral. the flavor is a little harsh, there is not a lot of malt sweetness, just malt backbone with booze and hops up front. the mouthfeel is fairly full and overall its not bad, just not near the top of the list of barleywines i have had

rowingbrewer, Jun 25, 2011
Photo of fields336
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle poured into my SN snifter.

reviewed on 6/17/11

A: Dark amber, brown color with creamy one finger head dissipates slowly, leaving rings of lacing.

S: Dark fruits amidst a hoppy blast. Almost DIPA-like. Can smell the alcohol behind it

T: wow, extremely hoppy. West coast style, piney and citrus hops present. Blasted with hops, behind that is a dark fruity almost winey taste including alcoholy undertone.

M:Creamy, almost chewy, then hops and carbonation blast it away, making you forget about anything else.

O: Just an excellent beer. I'm not well versed in barleywines admittedly, but this is one of the best. This is almost DIPA-like, and i love it.

fields336, Jun 24, 2011
Photo of EnJeiBee
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a coppery brown color with an off white 1-finger head that had great retention and lacing

S - Very piney hop aroma combined with a large caramel malt backbone, neither of the scents seemed to dominate the other

T - Piney citrus flavors alongside toasty caramel malts. The alcohol didn't make it's presence known in my opinion, but I had a few others give it a taste and that was what they noticed right off of the bat

M - It had a much lighter mouthfeel than I would've expected from the style. It was lightly carbonated and finished pretty cleanly

O - I feel like this would be a great beer to introduce people to the barleywine style. The ABV makes it a sipper, but I could definitely spend a night drinking this.

EnJeiBee, Jun 23, 2011
Photo of RodneyX
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a hazy orange brown color with an offwhite head that left some pretty good lace on the sides. It smells of rich and burnt caramel, toasted malts, and a bit of booze. The bottle was from 2009 so I'm guessing it's mellowed a little bit and I like how the booze cuts through the sweetness a little bit. It tastes really good as well, great caramel and hops with a chewy consistency. I highly recommend this as it was a very enjoyable experience for something that is not a super rare whale.

RodneyX, Jun 21, 2011
Photo of PhillyStyle
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Carolina Ale House, Greenville, SC, May 2011:

The beer appeared a deep copper color, but clear and with a thin, white head that dissipated too quickly. I would probably lie some of the blame on the bartender who poured the beer. The beer had a big pine hops aroma, with some hints of some citrus and some malt. The taste is rich and heavy on the pine hops, but also with some nice hints of the malts as well. The beer had a heavy feel to it, dense and almost chewy with a heavy bitter aftertaste. Overall, the beer lacks some drinkability due to the high ABV, but that is not to say that the beer is not drinkable. If I was able, I would have had a couple. A very good beer and one that I will most certainly try again.

PhillyStyle, Jun 20, 2011
Photo of beerman21
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Edition Bottle

Pours as deep copper color big carbonation not overly active. Foamy off white head that dissipates to a fairly thin lace. You can tell this is a big high gravity beer just by looking at it.

Smell- Pine, deep sugary grapefruit, has kind of a deep forest pine smell. lil rummy with butterscotch flavor odors peak through the pine scents. Good by not great smelling brew.

T-Brown sugar, pine, grapefruit, hops really come through and have a nice bright bitterness.

M- coats the mouth well has a good balance of sweetness and huge bitter hop bite.

o- love this beer has become a northern Ca classic and one that i look forward to every spring. Highly recommend it to someone who wants a different take on barley wines.

beerman21, Jun 19, 2011
Photo of therica
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage.

A= clean copper with a very hefty foaming active beige head about 3 fingers, had to let it settle to finish pouring into a pint glass. Day #2- more settled from 36 hours refrigeration I suppose, less foamy head but still great lacing.

S= centuries of Americans have used this at holidays to pine-scent entire buildings... just kidding. Huge pine pine pine! But with some citrus too so it's not just nostril-burning pine. After about a minute or less as the head starts to settle, very nice rich malts join in. Magical. Day #2- more quickly balanced from settling in the fridge, less pine and a more complex and beautiful bouquet of a nose.

T= definitely pine, with citrus hops and also a slightly thick creamy feeling with very rich sweet caramel roasted malts. Adequate carbonation. Day #2- almost chewy on the malts this time, and even more complex in flavor. The barleywine traits are much more apparent.

M= despite the hops overload the mouth feel mellows out into a very rich malts and hops bitters combination. Day #2- ditto.

O= at 9.6%ABV it's a sit and sip beer but very drinkable at that. Maybe good with roasted red meats or smoked turkey. Day #2- Going okay with Wasabi peanuts, sorta.

therica, Jun 18, 2011
Photo of Rifugium
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: cask conditioned at Ebenezer's Pub, Lovell, ME

This was a 2002 batch, cellared for 9 years, and served on tap at Ebenezer's. It definitely picked up some interesting flavors in the cellaring process that made it distinct from the fresh batch I had the day before.

Poured a dark maroon-amber with more haze than its younger brother, to the point where it was pretty much opaque. Still sweet with rich malts, with rich coffee tones appearing, pine resin, dark fruits, a very woody quality, and a definite alcohol burn. Heavy mouthfeel, but not quite full-bodied. Strong, but drinkable...though perhaps one serving is enough.

Rifugium, Jun 18, 2011
Photo of d4114
4.93/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 bottle 6-13-11

A- Deep red body, perfectly clear; big light tan head; Really nice looking beer

S- Big hop aroma with a equally big caramel aroma. Very rich inviting smell.

T- Followed nose closely but is more complex; Big malt flavor that has a burnt caramel to it, backed up by a huge hop presence.

M- Medium-heavy; Thick and heavy but light and smooth enough for you to want to keep drinking it.

O- Awesome beer; Really drinkable bigger beer. One of the best in the style I have had.

d4114, Jun 17, 2011
Photo of rfgetz
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage...

Pours a clear orange amber color, quick poof of off-white head, gone wuickly leaving splotchy bubbles and some sticky spots on the side of the galss. Scent is dominated by piney hops, moderate amounts of citrus (orange) and herbal hops, some astringent qualities before the malt even arrives. Malt scent is very sweet and syrupy. Taste is as the scent would have predicted... hop forward, warm burn of alcohol and a big syrupy like sweetness. Full bodied, heavy on the palate, lingering astringency and warmth. While a very nice beer - this pupy definitely needs some age - overly hoppy and boozy, will hunt out a vintage bottle or age the next recent one i see for comparison.

rfgetz, Jun 16, 2011
Photo of cavedave
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage

Pours a clear dark amber with red hghlights, topped by an immense and thick dark beige head. Plenty of clingy lace slathers the glass.

Smell has plenty of piney and citrus hop, with some caramel/toffee/breadiness, floral, herbaly tart, and wee hints of alcohol spice rounding it into a dynamite aroma.

It is a high strength taste, starting with sweet caramel/toffee and light alcohol and bread, quickly grabbing some piney and herbal bitter. Citrus kicks in, some bitter orange peel and tangerine to go with the bitter pith. This carries the sip into an ending of sweet spicy alcohol and piney citrus bitter. More pithy-bitter than most barleywines I have tasted. Nice.

Quite light in mouth for such a full flavor, viscous but less than seems possible, perhaps a bit less than optimal, and low carb. despite its look. Fine finish worthy of an IPA, and on par with the hoppiest modern American BW's.

This is a fine BW, highly recommended, and a definite candidate for the cellar, though with a year on it it is in my wheelhouse right now.

cavedave, Jun 15, 2011
Photo of marqoid
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 12oz bottle poured into tulip glass

This is a beer that really need some age. I had a bottle a few weeks ago from 2008, it was smooth and beautiful.

Today I had a 2011 bottle, it was bitter and harsh.
A: Dark brown with minimal head
S: Toffee, caramel, hops
T: Hop bitterness and some burnt sugars in the background
M: Minimal carbonation, moderately think feel
O: As a young barleywine the hops are over powering and put this out of balance, but knowing Bigfoot, it will mellow and come around to a great beer with time. This is a beer that certainly has depth and complexity, but at this point I can't find it behind the hops.

marqoid, Jun 14, 2011
Photo of seand
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Side by side 2011 and 2007 release. Review scores are for the fresh stuff, but I will note differences in each area.

A: Pours a dark translucent reddish amber, with a fair amount of foamy eggshell white head. Retains well, and leaves a fair amount of lacing. Quite a lot of head for a barleywine. The 2007 is darker and closer to opaque, more an inky brown than red. It's also got much less head, and just clumps stick around on the surface and around the edge of the glass.

S: Malty, almost candy-like sweetness, so concentrated it's almost pungent. Hops are present, but somewhat buried. 2007 is tamer in its sweetness, but deeper and more complex. The aged version is much nicer.

T: Similar concentrated sweetness, but not quite so overpowering, as the hops offer more to balance things out. Nothing subtle about the flavors here. The 2007 is again much more layered; less of a huge sweet kick in the tongue, and less hoppy, though there's still a fair sized bitter note towards the finish.

M: Full body, medium prickly carbonation. The 2007 is still full body but a bit smoother overall.

Overall the young version is good, but the aged version is very good. Both are very big beers, but time softens many of the less subtle notes into something more layered and cohesive.

seand, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of cuttsjp
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from a six-pack poured into a snifter

A: beautiful amber color, slight haze, with a nice head that dissipates to thin lacing

S: sweet figs, honey, and some really nice tropical fruit brightness...a little bit of mango, pineapple, and well defined citrus

T: mmm...wonderful sweetness (but not cloying), a really nice pronounced bitterness, sweet and smooth fig flavor, notes of honey, and bright citrus notes on the finish

M: smooth and silky with medium carbonation, no complaints here and perfect for the style

O: wonderful American-style barleywine, nice hoppiness with just the right amount of sweetness, definitely a sipper but nicely complex and not overwhelming...really excellent

cuttsjp, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of BeerMaverick
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 poured into a snifter.

A - Dark red/mahogany-colored with a half inch of beige head. Retention that lasts throughout the session and a good amount of lacing.

S - Raisins and grapes dominate the fruity aspect of this beer. Bitter hops are prevalent as well and it possesses a strong malt backbone. Some alcohol is present here.

T - This beer is on the sweeter side and the raisins really come through here. The hop bitterness is present in the aftertaste, but it lets the alcohol filter through. Some spicy notes as well such as cinnamon and brown sugar.

M - Definitely a full-bodied brew that does not hide the alcohol well. The hoppy character lingers on the aftertaste as is with most SN beers.

O - Definitely a dessert beer. Overall a fantastic beer and representation of the style...my favorite barleywine at the time of purchase and to age as well. I had it at a SN beer dinner at the Willamantic Brewing Company paired with Bigfoot infused ice cream!

BeerMaverick, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of RankRefugee88
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A - Deep amber color, glaring through the lamp. White frothy head that doesn't retain for too long, but leaves heavy lacing.

S - Very strong and bitter up front. Caramel is present. Very alcoholic smell. Citrusy and piney.

T - Very strong taste. Extremely bitter, but in a good way. This barleywine really makes your taste buds stand on end. Also very hoppy, with sweet malty goodness towards the end. Very boozy, but relaxing and warming.

M - Smooth and carbonated, almost perfect carbonation for this style. Sticky and chewy, yummy. I can only take very small sips of this beer, it's the way that it's meant to be.

O - Overall I love it. So sweet and malty. After a few of these I feel really good. Such a nice beer. One of the most powerful tasting beers I've ever had.

RankRefugee88, Jun 11, 2011
Photo of iDrinknewglarus
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Note: I am reviewing the 2011 bottle, it is at least 3-4 months old kept in the fridge.

A: Reddish-brown. Nice creamy looking head that dies down to form a thin cap over the beer. For a beer of this ABV, it even laces pretty well. Not hazy at all.

S: Huge notes of pine and grapefruit. I even get some sweet, caramel almost sugary malty notes. Maybe just the faintest note of cranberry. It smells quite dry from the alcohol.

T: The initial taste confirms the copious amounts of hops used. There is a slightly sweet malt flavor in the background throughout, but it is really dominated by the hop flavor and bitterness. It leaves my mouth and lips sticky. The aftertaste lingers forever with a bitter, charred wood/burnt coffee kind of taste. Alcohol is well masked.

M: Not a whole lot of carbonation; but still has a medium-heavy mouthfeel.

This is my third bottle out of the six pack, and I must say I really like the way this beer is done. I'm a hop head so I really dig the hop forward taste of this barleywine. Oh yeah, and it can't be beat for the price. I'm going to age the rest of the three and taste them a year apart and see how the profile changes.

iDrinknewglarus, Jun 10, 2011
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,290 ratings.