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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.

6,210 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,210
Reviews: 2,807
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 259
Gots: 1,081 | FT: 37
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: 6,210 | Reviews: 2,807 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BEERMILER12


4.38/5  rDev +5.5%

Bottled on the 71st day of 2011, so only a little over a month old

A: Pours a reddish mahogany color with a fingers worth of head that dies down fairly quickly

S: Malty with a nice dose of piney, earthy hops. Can't help but to compare it to a sweeter, maltier, slightly less hoppy version of Celebration

T: An almost wild mix of bittersweet malts and nice, bitter hops that attack from start to finish, even beyond. Some slight peppery alcohol that is balanced nicely by the malts and hops

M: A nice, big beer with a perfect amount of carbonation

D/O: I know the calorie count on this one is huge, but it definitely can't stop me from drinking a few of these. Can't wait to put 1-2 away to see how they age, but the other ones won't last very long

04-30-2011 02:34:08 | More by BEERMILER12
Photo of nickfl


4.33/5  rDev +4.3%

A - The beer fills the glass and forms a half a finger of off-white foam on top of the very clear, light brown body. The head settles out quite quickly and leaves just a film of lace on the glass in its wake.

S - The classic American barleywine aroma of spicy hops and earthy caramel malt. Notes of pepper, mustard, and pine.

T - Spicy hops and thick toffee malt up front with some distinct pine notes. More pine hops in the middle with sweet, sugary elements of brown sugar and caramel. Things finish up with more mustardy, spicy hop flavors and strong, somewhat harsh hop bitterness to balance the rich malt profile.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a fairly dry finish.

D - This is a tough beer to review, it is such an achetypical classic of its particular style that it is hard to give it an objective examination. Still, like a Beatles album, there is a reason it has become a classic that is a standard bearer for all that followed. The spicy hop character is brimming with pine and more subtle, darker character that is both influenced by and harmonizes with the deep, sugary malt. This is a timeless and complex beer that is all the more notable in that it doesn't require extensive aging to become drinkable the way that some other classic American barleywines do.

04-28-2011 00:14:52 | More by nickfl
Photo of aval89


4.1/5  rDev -1.2%

A: pours a rich mahogany color with a 2 finger off white/egg shell head.. leaves some nice alcohol legs.. light spectrums make way for ruby red lighting..

S: big whiff of pine! Deep in the nose malt sweetness does lie.. along with lingering alcoholic fumes..

T: malts upfront (caramel/toffee sweetness).. then as the beer moves to the back of my mouth I get hit with a TON of pine.. the bitterness is high on this one.. reminds me of fresh Celebration.. finish warm with some alcohol fumes pulling through..

Mf: thick, syrupy, & sticky.. just right.

O: finally got to try this beast.. very well hopped fresh.. can't wait to see what a year or 2 does to this.

04-27-2011 08:51:39 | More by aval89
Photo of Avantyawn

New York

4.18/5  rDev +0.7%

2011 , 12 ounce our into He'Brew tumbler paired with pretzels and dijon mustard and aged cheddar, a few hours after dinner...

A: Oh sh#t! The head on this is GIGANTIC. I gave it a pretty tame pour and the head is shooting out the top of the glass. Rich thick frothy head, Nice ruby translucent colored ale. Heck, this looks wonderful.

S: Sweet cherries, grapefruit and strawberries, slightly medicinal, hoppy fruits, a touch of sour. Sweet fruit finish.

T: Syrupy hop attack, intense for sure. This is an excellent tasting barleywine. A very nice balance between the astringent hops and the syrupy thick barleywine body. Surprisingly, not much heat from the 9.6 APV.

M: Wonderful syrupy mouthfeel. Sharp hop tingle and some rather aggressive almost muted champagne like carbonation.

O: Overall, this tastes like the quintessential American Barleywine. It manages to be hoppy , syrupy desert-like, drinkable, and balanced all in one. Much better than most Barleywine's I've tried. Would love to try this on tap or cellared for a year +. This is not an everyday beer, but a treat for the right moment. I will certainly be tempted to pick up a few more bottles of this next time I see this.

04-27-2011 05:37:22 | More by Avantyawn
Photo of Nerudamann


4.22/5  rDev +1.7%

Poured from a bottle into a snifter glass.

Look - a lovely, almost ruby red color, murky, with about a finger's worth of deep khaiki-colored foam that dissipates slowly.

Smell - hop presence is evident, perhaps some Cascade hops.

Taste and Mouthfeel - hop presence is even more prevalent in the taste. Bitterness is there at the very beginning and lasts throughout the taste and into the aftertaste, but not too strong in the aftertaste. It's an almost pulsing feeling as the bitterness hits and then fades away. There's a slight hint of a muskiness just before the bitterness hits. Texture is very well-balanced.

Overall - way too bitter for my own choice, but seems to be very true to the style, which is something I can very much appreciate. Good brew and great if you love bitters.

04-27-2011 03:24:51 | More by Nerudamann
Photo of bmo56


4.28/5  rDev +3.1%

The first time I ever tried a Sierra Nevada, let alone Bigfoot, I was not impressed(I think i was because at that time i was pounding PBR, Mickey's and High Life.) But as the seasons changed, I slowly became the beer geeks that I am today. Bigfoot's color is a deep, cloudy red with a pale orange 2 inch head. It has a creamy mouthfeel at the beginning then i got a toasty feeling towards and at the end. Though the taste is a liitle strong for me, I point out that a) I'm drinking it at room temp out of my favorite laser etched pint glass, and b) I can only assume that because of my general lack of drinking any Sierra Nevada styles it make me a noob to this good beer. I plan on buying another bottle and cellaring it.

04-26-2011 02:54:14 | More by bmo56
Photo of mikechance


4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

There are a lot of good Barleywine style beers, but Bigfoot still sets the standard. From the unique color to the wonderful smells to the very Sierra Nevada interpretation of Barleywine flavor this beer does it all! It's strong, bold and yet remains a delicate treat to be savored again and again. The best thing about the beer is the recipe has slight modifications every year yet remains consistently interesting and awesome. This is for the true craft beer fan!

04-26-2011 01:39:29 | More by mikechance
Photo of Spadoof


4.47/5  rDev +7.7%

Purchased from: Williams IGA (Vienna, Ohio)
Origin: 12 oz Bottle
Bottled on: 2011
Tasted on: 04-24-11
Glassware: Ephermere Tulip Glass
Serving Temperature: 55 F

Notes: Picked this up at a local grocery store fresh off the truck. This is the first Barley Wine I am going to review.

Appearance: Pours a ridiculously fluffy white-tan head (About 2 fingers high). This might have been my fault due to a slightly vigorous pour. The retention on this is ridiculous! Its like a giant white cloud that sticks around and leaves a beautiful sticky lacing down the sides of the glass. The body is a "slightly" cloudy orange/red/copper sunset color. A great start.

Smell: Its like a kick in the face! Plenty of hops right of the bat followed by malts and bright alcohol notes. As this warms slightly, I pick up faint hints of chocolate, caramel & dark fruits. These are still dominated by the ridiculous amount of hops & alcohol. This has me pretty intimidated.

Taste: WOW! This pretty well matches the nose. Big, Hoppy, Malty Goodness. Starts off, with a slight sweetness of the malts which is quickly side swiped by the hops and finally falls down the back of my tongue and throat leaving a trail of alcohol heat. The finish is dry like a liquor, but leaves a little of sugary malts behind to clean up this tornado of flavors. This is a pretty unique beer. I found it to be quite interesting and pleasurable.

Mouthfeel: Thick and slightly syrupy, but overall very well balanced. The carbination seems pretty high, but then again this is a really young beer.

Drinkability: Its a sipper for sure. But is a great choice for an after meal beverage.

Concluding thoughts: Great beer. I feel I can not really give it an accurate review until I has time to mature. The flavors are bold and in your face, but after a year or two of proper cellaring, I'm sure the flavors will come together in a more balanced way.

Hop Level (1-5): 4
Malt Level (1-5): 4

04-25-2011 02:09:19 | More by Spadoof
Photo of wnh


4.47/5  rDev +7.7%

2009 vintage. 12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a deep, clear, bright mahogany with less than a finger of very light tan head. Simple and straightforward, and really beckons me to drink.

Citrus hoppiness on the nose. Sweet biscuity malt backbone, stronger, it seems, even with a month's worth of age. There's a nice vinous alcohol character toward the end of the glass.

Taste is hops up front, almost in-your-face with the first few bottles. Citrus first, then earthy, and bitter throughout. Lots of malt to bring things into balance, but young Bigfoot definitely walks on the hoppy side. Medium-bodied, leaning toward heavy, with a good mouth coating effect. Minor carbonation, but enough to cleanse the palate.

Overall a fantastic beer. Now I see what all the fuss is about.


Update. 2006 vintage, reviewed 1/21/2011.

Pours clear golden copper, turning murky as I empty the contents of the bottle. Limp, soft tan head with little staying power.

Nose is incredibly dense and rich; toffee and caramel, toasted bread, candied citrus, candied pecans. A nice berry fruitiness adds complexity. Not terribly hoppy, but the hops aren't absent either.

The palate is quite different than I remember. Initial wave of rich malty goodness, but that soon washes past as a spicy, earthy, juniper-cedar evergreen note steps in, lingering a while. Actually tastes like my mental image of the Pacific northwest. A bit rainy and damp, perhaps, earthy, mossy, generally green. Malt is full and deep and rich and more than holds up the evergreen (aged hop?) notes.

Full bodied and firm, but approachable. I think I might keep all my Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) back 5 years from now on.

04-24-2011 19:14:01 | More by wnh
Photo of UCLABrewN84


4.1/5  rDev -1.2%

2010 vintage.

Pours a murky dark iced tea color with a small 1 inch khaki head that fades to a film on the top of the beer. Nice rings of lace lin the glass on the drink down. Smells of biscuits, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and citrus zest. Taste is very similar but in the reverse order of the smells: citrus zest hops, brown sugar/caramel/toffee, with the biscuit like malt coming through at the end. Medium hop bitterness on the palate after each sip. Thick and chewy in the mouth with each sip. Slight alcohol burn in the throat. Overall, this is a good barleywine that packs a hop punch. One of the hoppiest of the style that I have tried.

04-24-2011 03:23:50 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of DAllspaw


4.4/5  rDev +6%

Finally tried this, 2011 version. Allowed to come to room temp for 15 mins then poured into tulip.

Solid off-white head, pretty dense and thick with great lacing. Taste is certainly hoppy and dry tannin but the first and last thing I notice is the malt.

Alcohol comes in late, with a slight warming in the stomach, some aging will likely smooth but am pleasantly surprised, didn't think I would enjoy as much as I do.

04-23-2011 00:06:06 | More by DAllspaw
Photo of Dodo2step


4.28/5  rDev +3.1%

P- Al's of hampden

A- chestnut amber color with a frothy peak head. not clear but not hazy.

S- alcohol and toffee malts. simple yet splendid

T- sweet toffee malts and pine hops.

M-full bodied and lasting aftertaste that isnt bad for this beer.

D- heavy on the abv so its sipper. Dont be bonging these.

04-22-2011 23:15:07 | More by Dodo2step
Photo of nickthegun12


4.35/5  rDev +4.8%

omg!!!....2010 bigfoot barley wine ale i received from myself....thank you self...

the appearance is absolutely fabulous...fluffy white head...not much sticking to the glass....

the smell is malted barley...almost tea like

taste is full bodied...full taste....and does not disappoint...you can feel the alcohol running through your blood stream in this one baby!!!

the feel is dry....right on with the style

overall this is probably one of the best barley wines ive ever had...and i mean that!

04-22-2011 02:40:43 | More by nickthegun12
Photo of coachdonovan

Rhode Island

3.93/5  rDev -5.3%

One of the all-timers, I'm psyched to give this an official look, especially since I'm a latecomer to the barleywine party. This one has been sitting around a while, the 2010 vintage bottled in mid-December 2009.

Poured into an snifter-ish mug, this looks phenomenal. On the table the beer appears a rusty chestnut, but when held up to the late-afternoon sun it takes on the color of blood orange flesh. The frothy foam rides high and brings to mind the top of a root beer float.

Citrusy and woody hops hit the nose first, almost like a juicy fresh harvest ale. Caramel and spicy alcohol are clearly detectable as well. Taste is much sweeter than the nose and it starts out syrupy before the bitterness dries out the finish. I must admit, the bitterness and alcohol burning is a little more than I'd like. Mouthfeel is good and certainly holds up to the rest of the flavors, but I may hang on to one of these for a few years to let the harsh finish mellow out.

04-20-2011 22:27:07 | More by coachdonovan
Photo of scubazook


4.22/5  rDev +1.7%

Poured into a The Bruery tulip

Appearance: Beautiful dark copper with ruby red highlights, a bit hazy. Large fluffy light-tan head leaves some legs.

Smell: Rich caramel malty yet piney a bit citrucy hop aroma with a hint of oak. A slight alcohol warmth.

Taste: Strong hop citrucy piney bitterness up front. Rich caramely toasty malty flavors, sweet brown sugar.

Mouthfeel: Medium full body. high carbonation.

Notes: Delicious West Coast Super hoppy Barleywine. High ABV but the hop bitterness wipe off the alcohol warmth. Dangerously delicious.

04-20-2011 02:03:49 | More by scubazook
Photo of Chaney

District of Columbia

4.43/5  rDev +6.7%

Vintage 2011... but I've had all the others since 2006.

I vividly remember going over to a friend's house about 6-7 years ago and not know much about craft beer. I knew SN Pale Ale tasted better than the average bear, but that's about it. I sample this one and my palate was jammed with taste, but I was totally blow away at that point. Apocalyptic!

Poured into a small tulip.

A: Dark amber, with a dangerously cloudy proposition. The beige head stuck to the glass and then some...

S: Hop, hop, hop... caramel, barley, citrus, butterscotch, flowers, yeast, and a nice malt backbone (surprising that there was still room for that).

T: A sipper for sure... It seems that I noticed the back-bite first, so I'll start with that. Bitter, bitter, hoppy... There was a nice caramel-like presence to the brew in general, but make no mistake: This was a dense brew! Roasted pineapple? (weird, I know).

M: Thick... you'll need a knife to cut it. The bitterness lingered, but it was just flat out candy for craft beer geeks!

O: Still on of my favorite Barleywines, and I see why so many people have embraced it. *This was totally my bridge beer into craft beer.*

04-19-2011 03:58:00 | More by Chaney
Photo of OhYesILoveBeer


4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, Still on tap @ Taco Mac served into tulip. Pours an awesome dark ruby red, with a small 1/2" head that stick some sweet lace onto the sides. Smells of caramel malts, a hint of brown sugar, and a tad bit of roasted malt. Hops shine in the American Barleywine raging through with pine and grass type hops. Taste is ridiculous crazy, so many malt notes bundled up in one beer compiled with the immense amount of hopping should be illegal, just to make it more fun to partake! This beer is a wicked treat. I remember when I was getting into English Barleys, and picked up one of these monsters, I was flabbergasted! I had no idea what was going on in my mouth other than an explosion of flavors! Overall, this is one heavy monstrous brew, and should be handled with care. Yes we all know it tastes so delectably good that you'll want to have a few, but trust me my friends, do yourself a favor and try not to get too hammered on this potent poison. You'll thank me tomorrow! Cheers!

04-18-2011 20:23:26 | More by OhYesILoveBeer
Photo of Knapp85


3.63/5  rDev -12.5%

This beer is pretty freaking intense, Had a new bottle of this back in 2008 and it was really potent to me. The appearance of the beer was a muddy golden color with some brown in there. The head was white and had some good retention. The aroma of the beer was really hoppy for a barley wine. The other aromas if any where difficult to pick out. The flavor was big and bitey. There was a lot of complexity in here there were hops and malts colliding, there was some dark fruits in the aftertaste lingering around it was pretty different from anything I had tried prior to this. It's an impressive brew, wish I would have aged one from years ago to see if it mellows out over time.

04-18-2011 04:41:09 | More by Knapp85
Photo of jethrodium


3.6/5  rDev -13.3%

12 oz bottle. 2011 version. Pours a dark reddish amber with a two finger white head that has very good retention and decent lacing. Aroma is caramel malt, a strong breadiness, and some pine hops as well as a little bit of orange. The initial taste is sweet with caramel that goes into some light pine and a bit of breadiness. The finish is pretty bitter with some alcohol heat. Medium body. Medium-low carbonation. An enjoyable beer, but I wasn't blown away by it.

04-17-2011 22:46:31 | More by jethrodium
Photo of TheCommonwealth


3.15/5  rDev -24.1%

I picked this barleywine up not expecting a drinkable beer. I had heard from some friends that it was the "King of Hops." But, when I saw it at my local beer store, I decided to try it anyways.

I purchased a single bottle and poured it into a tulip glass. Man, what a beautiful color it is. It pours a beautiful deep amberish color. For what it's worth, it maintained a nice 1.5 finger head but I suspect some of that is due to the tulip glass I poured it in.

It smelled like the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company had gathered several bushels of hops and somehow, in defiance of the laws of gravity, packed them into a 12 ounce bottle. Honestly, it has one of the strongest hop aromas I've ever encountered in a beer.

Luckily, it doesn't taste nearly as strong as it smells. In fact, compared to some IPAs I've had, it's relatively mild. Obviously, the overwhelming flavor is a a nice hop note, but there are other flavors present as well. Chiefly, I picked up a rather strong grapefruit taste and a more subtle, but still present, caramel flavor. This is a very, very complex beer. There are numerous other flavors that you can pick up. These other flavors, as in most beers, become easier to detect as the beer warms.

The most unfortunate aspect of this beer, and the main reason for the 3/5 rating, is the aftertaste. Wow. I drank this beer at ~9pm before I went to sleep, and I still had the aftertaste when I woke up the next morning.

Overall, I think that this beer has caught a bad reputation for being a "hop bomb." Really, once you get past the aroma, it isn't all that hoppy. It isn't a great beer, but it can be enjoyable. I wouldn't mind trying another, if only to investigate what other subtle flavors are present. Of course, I'll make sure to have a bottle of water ready to rid my mouth of the aftertaste.

04-17-2011 22:05:17 | More by TheCommonwealth
Photo of JayS2629


4/5  rDev -3.6%

Looks like this one has lots of fans, but I have to be honest and not follow the crowd. I don't think the big flavors integrated well together. There was a lot going on in many directions and it seemed muddled up. the beer was almost amber with great clarity, a small tan head, fast fading retention and little lace. The smell was amazing! Tons of hops! Citrus, pine, floral and grassy, lemon and grapefruit, pear and green apple, with a nice sweet caramel and honey in the back. The taste just didn't come together right for me. It was hard to finish. The alcohol was well hidden behind the hop bomb, but the hops was all over the place. Bitter grapefruit with lemon notes, resiny pine and green apple were fighting. Hints of pear, caramel and honey just didn't make a smooth mix. Hints of butterscotch, and a slight burn of alcohol. Light fruity characters. Just too much going on. Oily and slick. Overall, was hard to finish for me. Too over the top for my taste buds.

04-17-2011 03:52:22 | More by JayS2629
Photo of CASK1


4.53/5  rDev +9.2%

2011 batch, poured into a tulip glass. Nice medium amber color with very good clarity for a beer of this strength and bitterness. Fluffy light tan head fades fairly quickly.

Aroma is hops, hops, and more hops. Citrusy and piney, with some floral notes thrown in for good measure. There is a light, sweet, caramelly malt aroma that just balances the hops, and becomes more prominent as the beer warms. There are some yeast esters that show as a light fruitiness, but specifics are difficult to define through all the hops.

Intense flavor! Tons of hops, as both flavor and bitterness. High bitterness, supported by a substantial malty sweetness. Very well balanced when considering the style. High hop flavor shows as citrus, pine, woody, and floral. Lots of fruity esters add to the complexity.

Medium-high body is perhaps a little lower than expected, and makes this a dangerously drinkable beer. Medium carbonation. Surprisingly dry finish thanks to the hops.

This beer sets the standard for American barley wines.

04-17-2011 02:56:15 | More by CASK1
Photo of foogerd

New York

4/5  rDev -3.6%

A- Dark amber not quite clear body with a caramel colored head.

S- Hops are right upfront, piny, sharp and citrusy. Malts backbone appear in a bready caramel form.

T- Very strong bitter grapefruit hops dominate the palette. There are caramel brown sugared malts here, but the hops just make a palette assault and beat down the malts to the point of them not being able to do much here.

M- Oily slick feel.

O- This beer is hopped to the point I cant seem to make a differentiation between a DIPA and an American Barleywine. Notwithstanding that fact it still makes a great powerful brew that will knock you out.

04-15-2011 17:59:50 | More by foogerd
Photo of pmarlowe

District of Columbia

3.23/5  rDev -22.2%

2011 vintage (reviewed about 4 months after release). Sprecher tasting glass.

A: Pours a light amber with several fingers of head, which dissipates to a still-solid cap of foam. Lots of nice lacing.

S: Slight citrus and green apple, honey, some caramely sweetness and breadiness.

T: Caramel and breadiness, but not much complexity. Some spice (cinnamon?). Lots of hop bitterness on the finish which lingers considerably.

M: Medium bodied with medium-low carbonation.

D: This one doesn't really come together very well. Some of the flavors are nice but not particularly well integrated, and I think the hops are a little overpowering.
2007 vintage (5 years old at time of review, 03/27/12). Thanks to seeswo for this gem. Tulip glass.

Pours with very little head or lacing, appearing cloudy and kind of like dark apple cider. Smell is a lot of red and dark dried fruit and rich caramel. Taste is mostly caramel and decadent toffee; surprisingly, there's still a dose of bitterness which sits strong on the back of the tongue. Finishes incredibly dry which accentuates the bitterness... and I think that is one of the main things I don't like about Bigfoot. Overall, this is a big improvement (IMHO) over fresh or year-old Bigfoot, but still only an average barleywine.

04-14-2011 03:58:35 | More by pmarlowe
Photo of BelgiumBill


4/5  rDev -3.6%

Poured the 2011 vintage into a tulip glass. Poured a translucent amber caramel colored extra thick foamy beige head.

Smelled of a malty barley with some spice.

First sip was hops up front and some caramel sweetness and spices. After it warmed, the last few sips had some more buttery, butterscotch notes trying to poke though the hops. I'd guess about 65 IBUs?

The alcohol at 9.6% was concealed well but produced a little warmth in the back of the throat. Drinkable and pleasant in the mouth.

04-13-2011 00:10:41 | More by BelgiumBill
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,210 ratings.