1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

6,367 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,367
Reviews: 2,817
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 270
Gots: 1,139 | FT: 48
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: 6,367 | Reviews: 2,817 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of GallowsThief
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a 12 oz. bottle marked 2011 into my Duvel tulip.

A – Poured an amber color with a orangish tan two finger head frothy head

S – Good hopy smell with some nice pine mixed in. Touch of citrus sweetness,

T – A malty, roasty flavor to start. Piney resin flavor follows with some mellow bitterness. Citrus flavors. Touch of sweetness at the close with a nice boozy flavor that warms you up.

M – Medium to heavy bodied. Medium carbonation. Alcohol again leaves a nice warm clean feel in your mouth.

O – Good barley wine indeed. I could have a couple but a few would sit you down in a hurry.

GallowsThief, Jun 09, 2011
Photo of eric5bellies
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage

A - Pours a deep clear copper colour with a two fingered off White fluffy head that retains well and laces.

S - Slightly subdued piney aromas, also some burnt sugars.

T - Has some nice bitterness to a dominant Grapefruit flavour. The booze kicks in and the malts don't really turn up on this one.

M - Medium body and low carbonation

O - The bitterness is a little too intense and the beer is a little one dimensional in that respect. Having said that, this still represents a decent ABW

eric5bellies, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of doughanson78
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Re-reviewed on 9-18-2011. Original review was C+ (3.2).

A: Deep copper. Nice hints of red. One+ finger, fluffy yellowish head. Big bubbles in head. Great lacing. Head really never goes away.

S: Big piney hops. Little ashy. Some citrus hops, grapefruit mainly. Some caramel malts fighting to get through. A touch of spices.

T: Big caramel sweetness upfront. It comes through much more than the smell did. Towards the finish a big piney bitterness comes through.

M: Medium-bodied. Medium to high carbonation. Very creamy. Slightly dry finish. A light alcohol warming.

O: Very good Barleywine for how available and how cheap it is. First time I had it the hops overwhelmed me. Granted that was early on in my craft beer endeavor. I've got a 6-pack of 2011 and 2010 to age.

doughanson78, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of jgagne
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Deep mahogany color with large white creamy head. Really nice

S-Really intense smell of barley and hops. Really prominent and robust

T-Really strong, robust great taste. Very bitter in a good way. Nice blend of spices as well

M-Since in your mouth pretty heavy. Nice spice and medium carbonation

O-Very good beer. Only my second barelywine so i am not up to date on what it should taste like but happy to be expanding my palate for this style. Very fun beer to drink

jgagne, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of JayAre46
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle love it fresh love it aged
A - poured down the middle into a maudite tulip, shows a deep ruby mahogany transparent color with a 2 finger fluffy off white head that immediately shows great lacing.

A - big sweet notes of citrus, dark fruits and sugared candy, molasses with good hop presence infused, caramel malt stance, this aroma is not huge but it is very precise and not messy at all extremely grasping

T - follows the nose with a much bigger hop presence, a burnt caramel flavor, dark fruit covered with molasses, smooth transition into the hoppy bitterness, a caramelized sugar is present with a pecan dryness do they call those pralines? one over my favorite barley-wines especially with the huge hop profile.

M - medium to full body, the moderate carbonation level is perfect, the time gives it much more of creamy feel that this one doesn't possess yet but is still great.

O - again one of my favorite barley-wines, will consume and purchase this upon every release. im not sure if i like this one aged more or fresh they are both great to me maybe 5 years is the best but i wouldn't know. drink it

JayAre46, Jun 07, 2011
Photo of Arbitrationer
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a golden to amber/copper. Good head retention and a very nice lace in the glass.

Smell - Smells of citrus and hops with a lingering honey smell in the back.

Taste - Starts bitter, very hop forward and citrusy followed by a delicious sweet malty finish. The finish is a light malt tasting similar to cereal.

Mouthfeel - Slightly creamy, nice light carbonation.

Overall - Very impressed. Nice and hoppy with a delicious malty finish. Exactly what a barlywine should be.

Arbitrationer, Jun 07, 2011
Photo of IronLover
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 bottle that poured with a respectable, dense beigish-orange head that very slowy reduced to a wispy cap. Thick sheets of sticky lacings coat the glass. Color is a combination deep amber and dark orange with a very heavy, viscous haze....almost like carbonation bubbles frozen in suspension. Heavy but smooth with a light resinous, yet creamy feel. Aromas are not as intense as I expected, but a nice balance of citrus orange and sugary sweet caramel malt with a hint of pine and biscuit. Intense citrus and pine hop flavors in the front. Citrus flavors slowly fade as the pine hop bitterness intensifies through the finish. The hop flavors ride an intensely sweet malty backbone from beginning to end. Long lasting pine bitter hoppiness with alcoholic heat clearly showing at the finish. Depsite the intense sweet and bitter flavors, the feel and slowly evolving flavors provide a mellowness to this brew.

IronLover, Jun 07, 2011
Photo of 1Adam12
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle. Pours a reddish orange. Nice 1 inch head, lasted the entire glass. Nose smells sweet. I can smell malt and citrus, oranges maybe. Tastes just like it smells, sweet followed by malt. Very refreshing. A sipper because of the sweetness. Moderately creamy mouthfeel. Nicely balanced hops. Medium carbonation. This is the first Sierra Nevada brew i've had beside SNPA and their porter, and this has made me change my opinion of the brewery. I put 2 bottles in the cellar to see what happens. I can only see this getting better with a year or 2 on it.

1Adam12, Jun 05, 2011
Photo of doverhills
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage 12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada Imperial Pint Glass at slightly less than room temperature. Initial opening attempt with toe-nail clippers leaves my thumb slightly bloody and I make an excuse to head upstairs for the bottle opener.

A- Pours an appealing mahogany that is fairly consistent and pleasant to gaze upon. Head fades quickly but the lacing that remains is lasting and satisfying. A faint layer of bubbles provides carbonated promise.

S- Several huffs provide my admittedly untrained nose with the scent of citrusy sweetness, largely pine and caramel. Very enjoyable. Definitely makes one want to move on to the tasting portion of the sample.

T- Very similar to the nose and only slightly less satisfying. Begins with a crisp (muted by alcohol) hoppiness that quickly becomes malty sweetness. The ending sensation is one of hop bitterness with a bit of alcohol heat.

M- It's medium to thick-bodied, while still going down easy. Carbonation is close to perfect. The alcohol is still present, I think time will be beneficial.

O- For the content and the style, very drinkable. This years is still slightly hot, and I'm looking forward to aging a few bottles, but there's a reason I had to buy another six-pack tonight, very drinkable fresh. I can only imagine it'll improve with some additional time.

doverhills, Jun 04, 2011
Photo of blackcompg
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving this one pretty cold, nice colorful label, gently inverted the bottle and loosened the sediment in the bottom of the bottle, incorporated it into the rest of the beer, turned the bottle straight up, and slowly pryed off the cap, poured into my 12oz beer glass and...

Appearance - Pours a finger of fluffy, beige cumulus clouds..wow, great hills and valleys in the head now, receding slightly after the first minute - lots of tiny bubbles, and a few big ones. Color is a gorgeous deep copper, slight haziness and constant tiny bubbles rising within the ale, looks really good. *3/4 finger of cumulus clouds after 5 minutes...great retention! Sips leave huge, thick lacing! **I wish I could show you a pic of this, my glass is nearly empty, and it almost looks like I've coated the inside of my glass with beige shaving cream - I've never seen thick, robust lacing like this before, Awesome! Raising my appearance to a 4.5 as a result...

Smell - Dark fruits, prunes, molasses, slight touch of alcohol and rye bread. Slight floral hops, no grapefruit or pine smell at all. Smells nice - website says 90 IBU's, surprised how sweet this smells, smells very good though.

Taste - In a word, Delicious. The taste really follows the nose - The dark fruits and molasses are all there front and mid-sip, then a touch of licorice, then slowly take a back seat to the hops. Ahhh, there it is...the hops are way long in this ale, and really assert themselves after the sip. Now I'm really getting the grapefruit peel, the pine, minerals and some sticky lip-smacking resin, and a little alcohol warmth. Then some dryness and hops pucker, time for the next sip. At 9.6 ABV, the booze is really masked nicely. Alcohol presence increases slightly as the ale warms.

Mouthfeel - Nice mouthfeel, some creaminess, some good carbonation tingle, then a nice, bitter dry finish. Little pieces of dried, bitter grapfruit peel in the corners of my mouth - and some alcohol warmth.

Overall - This is my 2nd bottle of this beer, had my first the night before. I really wasn't crazy about the first bottle, but I've changed my mind. This really is a well done american barleywine, and is a tasty, full-flavored beer. I would easily recommend this beer. *I added the last 1/4 of the bottle to my glass near the end of this review, got 2 more fingers of head, and now that the beer is gone, I still have over a finger of head in the bottom of my glass - loving that. As this is a "Special Release", get a sixer if it is available, I think you'll be glad you did.

blackcompg, Jun 04, 2011
Photo of Treebs
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Pours a nice deep amber with some light orange hues around the edge. Light peach colored head, about 1 finger, that leaves quickly leaving a nice lace.

S: Picking up some nice ripened fruits, slight alcohol and a nice oaky undertone that cuts through some of the burn.

T: The taste comes through pretty bitter with a roasty wood note. Sweet fruit esters are present which compliment the very slight burn at the end.

M: Medium bodied with a smooth and creamy feel. Leaves a nice sweet taste on the palate.

O: I like the mouth on this but feel like the tastes weren't pronounced as in some other barleywines. Good, but not spectacular. Hopefully with some age it will enhance some of the things I was missing.

Treebs, Jun 01, 2011
Photo of russwbeck
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear amber pour with a cream colored head. Hardly any retention, but what does stick around laces nicely.

S: Caramel malts balance nicely with some citrus hops to release a wonderfully balanced smell. Perhaps a hint of alcohol.

T: The caramel maltiness starts off the taste. Citrus and piney hops follow. It finishes sweet with some alcohol mixed in.

MF: A little more than medium bodied, without any over the top carbonation. Alcohol is noted throughout.

O: Pretty much the standard of a good barleywine. Not my favorite personally, but pretty above average overall.

russwbeck, Jun 01, 2011
Photo of MacQ32
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Version

A - pours a nice deep amber with a nice cream colored inch of head with excellent retention

S - Hoppy and citrusy (grapefruit/lemon), also some resinous aromas. A nice mild note of toasty malts to balance out the nose. Alcohol very much present

T - Abundance of piney resin flavored hops at the start with a strong toffee malt presence. Flavor develops to much more bitter and citrust flavors than the sweet maltyness of the initial taste. Nice dry bitter finish at the end. Warm alchohol presence

M - Nice medium to semi heavy body, well carbonated to make the pronounced flavors and alcohol very drinkable.

O - Flavor filled, alcohol strong and still very drinkable. Awesomely bold and balanced

MacQ32, Jun 01, 2011
Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Taken from notes on 3.9.11

2008 vintage at Bailey's Tap Room.

10oz pour into a snifter.

A - Deep, carmel brown in color with a huge egg shell, creamy head. Serious lacing and retention.

S - Boozy and spices.

T - Booze, spices, fruit, slight nutty.

D - Much smoother than the 2011 I had the day before. Not nearly as hot.

O - Great beer, that is why several are aging in my cellar.

HuskyinPDX, May 30, 2011
Photo of plfahey
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle (2011 vintage) poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Amber to mahogany with fantastic clarity and a giant, yellow-cream colored head with great lacing and retention. Looks awesome and truly imposing. When swirled about the glass, you can get a sense for how viscous it is.

Aroma-Bright burst of hops up front-pine, citrus, grapefruit, lemon, and a hint of resin. Underneath is a foundation of rich toffee, dark caramel, and molasses. Just a whiff of alcohol. Some orange as well, though I'm not quite sure where that's coming from.

Flavor-Huge flavor on the palate. Starts out with assault of piney hops, followed by rich depth of toffee malt with molasses and dark caramel-almost raisiny at times. After the malt shows in the mid-palate, assertive hop bitterness and flavor kick in. The hop bitterness and high alcohol dry out the palate, while piney, grapefruit hops soar through the long aftertaste. Rich, powerful, and awesome.

Mouthfeel-Medium full body and moderate carbonation make this almost chewy, but it just falls short of that mark-I wish it were just a bit fuller. High hop bitterness leaves the mouth buzzing, while the high alcohol warms from within.

This beer is truly definitive of the style-this is an American barleywine through and through, and a damn tasty one at that. I'm not sure what more needs to be said. I don't think this one holds up to age as well as some other barleywines do, but within the first few years (or even fresh), this beer kicks some serious ass.

plfahey, May 29, 2011
Photo of notchucknorris
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Pizza Port Carlsbad

A: Has a deep reddish color with a nice cream colored head and brilliant lacing.

S: Big citrus hop aromas. Grapefruit pith and a bit of malt there as well.

T: I get a big layer of malt upfront, followed by some pretty big notes of grapefruit and hop resin. The finish is big and bitter. Pretty solid.

notchucknorris, May 29, 2011
Photo of claytong
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

appearance - crimson

smell - its definitely an american barleywine, lots of hops, pine, citrus, honey.

taste - bitterness is not to my liking but i shouldve expected though some american barleywines are using significantly less hops, brown sugar

mouthfeel - goes down easy, surprisingly it doesn't leave my mouth dry.

a bit boring, but im gonna age 4 or so and see what some years do for them. i think it will only do them good, we'll see. the price is right on them anyhow. i might pick up more to age.

claytong, May 29, 2011
Photo of Alieniloquium
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep amber body that's pretty clear topped with an off-white head. Good legs and great lacing. I like to swirl it in the glass to make myself look sophisticated.

Smell - Pungent hops. Piney and citrusy aromas that are quickly overwhelmed by caramel. It also smells boozy, but I generally don't hold that against a beer unless it's offensive. The only thing that prevents me from rating it higher is the lack of malt complexity. Still smells awesome.

Taste - The flavor follows the aroma exactly. Piney hop flavor up front, sweet caramel midrange, and a great hop bitterness in the finish. Again, it's not complicated, it's just good.

Mouthfeel - Heavy side of medium-bodied. Viscous enough to coat the tongue and let the flavors linger. Not such intense carbonation, which makes it feel creamy. This is how I like barleywines to feel.

Overall - The only thing it lacks is complexity. A variety of flavors and it would be spot-on. As it is, there not a thing you can complain about in this beer. I started with a case and I'm down to 12. We'll see how long they last me.

Alieniloquium, May 27, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Thanks to Crabbicuss for this bottle!

2011 Vintage. I can't believe it's taken me this long to try the classic T-Bird of barleywines. It pours an ever-so-slightly hazy amber-garnet topped by a finger or so of off-white foam. The nose comprises grapefruit, toffee, orange peel, light pine, very light mint, and a touch of cantaloupe. The taste is as though a mountain of citrusy hops (grapefruit, pineapple, cantaloupe, and then some pine as well) was thoroughly drizzled with thick, sweet caramel. A nice balance, with a sizable, though not o'erwhelming, amount of booziness. The body is a hefty medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a lightly creamy feel. Overall, a very nice b-wine, one that is more than deserving of its status.

TMoney2591, May 27, 2011
Photo of zrab11
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a nice browish red color with 2 finger white head

S- Has a stron aroma of hops and malts. Also can smell the alcohol

T- Taste of sweet mlts upfront then has a bitter hops taste in the middle and finish's with an alcohol flavor

M-Medium bodied with great carbonation

D-Overall ive heard great things about this beer. But it just wasn't doing itfor me tonight. I will visit this again. But felt it was too bitter to enjoy. Especially as it got warmer.

zrab11, May 27, 2011
Photo of punkrkr27
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Bottle. Poured a deep ruby amber color with a dense, thin but lasting off white head. Aroma is grapefruit and caramel malts. Warm and sweet malt flavor with grapefruit. Strong hop bitterness in the finish, but well balanced with just a hint of the alcohol. Body is medium with moderate carbonation.

punkrkr27, May 26, 2011
Photo of mdaschaf
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes. Broke out a mini vertical after brewing on 5-21-11, including bottles from 2007-2011. Review is of 2011 vintage.

A: Poured a slightly hazy ruby/brown color with a foamy off-white head with nice retention and thick, sticky lacing left on the glass.

S: I was not prepared for the hops on the aroma, tons of both citrus and pine with a solid caramel backbone. Some tropical fruits including grapefruit and pineapple.

T: Again, surprisingly hoppy. A combination of both citrus/tropical and pine flavors with more of the former - some grapefruit and pineapple. The is a sizeable malt backbone giving a sweetness as well as a slight nutty/toasty characteristic.

M: Very smooth (the aged bottles were smoother), medium bodied, slightly filling, with moderate carbonation.

O: Very good! Typically I am not a huge fan of American Barleywines, finding them to be a bit harsh, but this one wasn't at all. Now..to resist cracking the others I have left so I can age them..

mdaschaf, May 25, 2011
Photo of mattjv
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a dark amber color with copper highlights around the edges. 1.5 fingers of foamy head with good retention considering 9.6% ABV.

S-Rich, sticky caramel malt sweetness comes out strong. Lots of hop presence as expected, big resinous pine and orange citric character. Alcohol is definitely present on the aroma but kept in check.

T-Rich caramel malt presence starts it on a sweet note, bitterness comes in quick and strong. loads of piny hop flavors reminiscent of chewing on a mouthful of needles. Lemon and orange flavors provide a citrus complement to the hop backbone, did I mention bitterness? Comes in very strong and lasts long into the finish with a mildly soapy component. As with the aroma, some alcohol spice and heat are present but it doesn't run amok.

M- Full bodied, moderate carbonation pleasantly prickles on the tongue without overwhelming any of the taste.

0-A great brew with tremendous flavor and bitterness. Steer very clear if bitter beers aren't your thing, otherwise give it a try.

mattjv, May 25, 2011
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,367 ratings.