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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
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Ratings: 6,290 | Reviews: 2,814 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of thagr81us
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage! Served from tap into an imperial pint. Poured red-orange with a one and a half finger off-white head that subsided to one finger slowly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, pine resin, big pine hops, and subtle alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, big pine, big pine hops, and sweet alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this brew was quite excellent. I know this one gets hyped up a lot about older vintages and such, and now I can see why... Even fresh this brew is excellent. I can see it really coming to life after a few years. For right now the alcohol was a bit intrusive on the palate during the followthrough. If you like pine notes, this is for you fresh. The pine aspect in this one was HUGE. A definite must try, aged or fresh, for sure.

thagr81us, Feb 17, 2011
Photo of gabedivision
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(2011) Poured from a 12oz bottle to a snifter glass.

A- Deep reddish plum with a thick white two finger head that sticks and slimes to the sides of the glass.

S- Smells of nice citrus hops, malts and alcohol. There are alot of scents going on in this glass, no of which are offensive but very complex and hard to pick out whats going on. All works together great.

T- Roasted caramel, bitter bitter hops, and sweet sweet malts.

M- Nice full bodied, bitter lips and tongue on the end.

D- Nice drinkability for 1 or 2 for my tastes, firmly enjoyed this beer. Cannot wait to try this batch in a year from now.

gabedivision, Feb 17, 2011
Photo of mcgwire756
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage poured into a Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary tulip.

So let me preface this by saying I highly recommend this beer with at least 2 years of age on it. I have had it super fresh and it was way too harsh. This review is based on one 3 years old now.

It pours a deep dark red color with a fluffy 1 finger white head that does not disappear for a long time. The smell with age on it is so perfect with the smell of sweet candy and sugar. Simply perfect. The taste is a little maltier than the smell with more molasses but still a ton of candy sugar in the taste. God this beer is delicious. The mouthfeel is so much smoother than a young Bigfoot, but still not a super smooth Barleywine like a 2010 Nemesis is. It is drinkable, but in slow sips so that you enjoy it and don't overpower your palate. My 2nd favorite barleywine next to 2010 Nemesis that I have had. I am looking forward to trying 3 Floyds Behometh and seeing how it compares to my top 2 thus far.

mcgwire756, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of larsenju
3.05/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2011 Vintage, poured at about 60 degrees.

A-Reddish amber body with a very tall off white head, decent retention but little lacing.

S-Alcohol, some floral/fruity hops with a strong caramel malty backbone. The alcohol really takes away from the rest of the beer.

T-Very smooth caramel right when it hits picking up some lemon, and from there the hops really start to move forward leaving a pine/citrus resin flavor that comes to a point and leaves a very bitter finish. There is kind of a caramel and chocolate undertone, but the hops dominate.

M-So hot it almost stings a little bit, sugary slick with a little tingling carbonation.

D-I recently had an 09 vintage of this beer, it really needs a little age on it. Even the 09 wasn't as good as it could be, but it just is not ready to drink when fresh. Its just to hoppy and hot and the malt character is a little boring, but it develops very nicely in the bottle. That said, its certainly not what I would call a bad beer fresh, its just no where near its potential. I will re-review when I crack one of the 2010 in my cellar in a year or two.

larsenju, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of julian
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this many times, finally getting around to reviewing it.

A: Nice crimson amber color, great clarity, head a bit weak but with a modified more aggressive pour it comes to life and sticks around, leaving a nice layer of thick off white head on the surface. Very nice lacing all around the glass.

S: heavy malt, nice hop backbone, some fruity hop aromas, almost DIPA/IIPA like but enough malt to push this back into the barley wine realm.

T: BAM! bitterness hits you right in the face, then coats your tongue with it's hoppy/resiny blanket of love and slowly yields way to some hidden malty goodness. Not as complex as other barley wines and not my favorite but still representative of the style.

M: Medium high carbonation. Slightly bitter aftertaste, but otherwise, good mouthfeel.

D: ABV will limit drinkability, taste is just above average. Average drinkability.

Note: I need to definitely try some of this aged. I'm wondering how my 1998 bottle is holding up. I should probably crack it soon.

julian, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of Zundo
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A hazy amber with some copper. one-finger tan head with great lacing...thick foam.

Smell: Very piny and citrusy. Particularly lemon and some grapefruit. Really smells like a DIPA.

Taste: At first I get a sweet lemon flavor with pine, then comes the barley and grapefruit. Has a caramel/ faint toffee malt. Maybe some rye in there too. The flavor really grows on you. Its good to drink this both cold and room temp...you get more out of it IMO.

Feel: Its a bit too carbonated for a barleywine, but the sticky, oily remains make up for it.

Drink: This is probably the easiest drinking Barleywine I have had. Its much more on par with a DIPA.

Zundo, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of JDizzle
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a 2011 bottle

This is a good beer that may be best left alone for a few years. It's a little hot, but is still a pretty solid barleywine. It pours nice with a big head and good lacing. The smell is of malt, hops, and alcohol.

Not an excellent Barleywine, but a solid beer to sip on every year about this time. I had a 2010 that was 9 months old and thought is was a better beer than a fresh 2011.

I really like that Sierra Nevada releases this every year. Kudos to them!!

JDizzle, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of ncketchum
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed in a Chimay goblet, slightly chilled

A = Pours a dark orangeish brown with a lot of carbonation and two fingers of head with a good amount of foamy lacing, lots of retention

S = sweet hops, not to overpowering with malt at the end.

T = Taste is all hops. Very clean with bitterness that lingers at the end.

M = Mouthfeel is thicker than their celebration ale am. Maybe a bit more alcohol at the end is well.

D = Drinkability is is high for the style. A little thicker than the celebration ale but it matches the style well.

ncketchum, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of jsdunlop
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a monstrous, fluffy, cloudlike head that sits on top of a light-amber colored brew. Insane retention and lacing on this one.
Smells of hops. pine, citrus, grapefruit, pineapple with some floral aroma mixed in there.
The taste starts out with resiny pine, followed by a heaping amount of malt sweetness, giving this beer one hell of a body to start out with. While the hops dominate on the taste, the malts bring about caramel and brown sugar notes to the table. Alcohol makes its presence after the initial barrage of pine, letting you know that this brew is serious. Citrus and pineapple notes blend together at random points throughout the sip, mingling with the booze and sweetness nicely. Pretty serious alcohol burn on the back of the throat with this one.
Mouthfeel is heavy and syrupy. Slick feeling after each sip, resiny hops make their presence known. Carbonation is minimal, allowing you to take in the full flavor of this one.
Overall, this is a sipper for sure. Hell, I could split one of these and be content. Nicely balanced for such a complex beer.

jsdunlop, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of HopDiggityDawg
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a red amber color, thick 2 finger head. lacing for days
Smell - citrus,pine, malt
taste- more hops than I expected. Citrus/caramel/biscuity with a nice warming finish on the back of the tongue.
mouthfeel - creamy, good carbonation, smooth
as I write this I realize how complex this beer is.
Drinkability is high for the style.

HopDiggityDawg, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of Miketwolf21
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle...In the world of ever increasing double IPA's its nice to see a 10 buck a six pack everyday barleywine, defeat the likes of Hopslam without hesitation.
The pour gave a more than generous sandy colored head. The smell is all candied hops. Nice mix of american hops, some piney, some grapefruit, some tangerine, with a nice peppery note it seems that hides the alcohol. Malts take the backseat here.
The taste is were the malts make their quick but distinguished appearance. Upfront you are greeted by a wallop of hops. These hops however know when they have extended their stay and quickly fade to a very velvety malt base. Complex with tastes of rye and even a touch of toffee are amid the voluminous and delicious malts. Fig sweetness with a touch of dried dates. This welcome relief midway through the mouth is met with a bitter ending. The hops once again take a narrow lead in the aftertaste. Thankfully narrow. This is a very balanced brew. I know this is the cliche barleywine but it constantly surprises me. The 2009 tastes more lemony and of over ripe strawberries, not that great of a mix, while the 2010 version tastes distinctly of tangerines, raspberries, and apricots. This 2011 version seems to have a more intense malt base.
Mouthfeel is excellent, no extreme syrup body here. Just a brew that makes you proud of American breweries.
I highly enjoy a beer that evolves on its way to the back of your throat, and this beer has some of the best transitions out of any sixer-barlywine. This is right on par with Third Coast, just hoppier. I think as a fresh brew this is better than a fresh Old Foghorn, but that really really really should be aged (2008 is drinking brilliantly right now). It destroys Old Horizontal and brown shugga. The definition of American Barelywine. Every year gives you a different story of the same thing.

Miketwolf21, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a beautiful amber with a garnet hue into my tulip glass, just under two fingers of off white head that has really nice retention and sticky lacing.

S - Hops are very present as this is fresh, grapefruit and pine, caramel malts are coming out in the background.

T - Hop bite are bitterness are at the forefront of this barleywine. Very piney and earthy, with some citrus notes as well. As it washes over the palate the caramel malt sweetness comes out as well as some dark fruit tones, with a delightful bitterness that really lingers on the palate.

M - Smooth and creamy, very lively on the palate.

D - Very drinkable, great readily available barleywine.

StoneBrewFanatic, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of megahurts4
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barley-wine Ale
On-tap at The Avenue Pub, New Orleans, LA

Appearance: red, medium head, and some good lacing.

Smell: fruit and barley.

Taste: hops, fruits, and malts.

Mouthfeel: medium and smooth.

This is very well balanced and smooth. It has a nice amount of flavor.

megahurts4, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of weizenbob
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up at Ladd's & Co in Muskegon. Bottled 1/12/11. Poured into a goblet. The pour yields an awesome 3 finger foamy off-white head with fantastic retention. Spotty lacing is touch and go down the glass. The brew is darkly walnut colored but not too dark to see some yeast hanging out in suspension.

The nose is indicating malt-bomb. Caramel hints are short and sweet bleeding into a strong black licorice aroma. The tail end is alcoholic.

The flavor follows the aroma. The malts are earthy without being dirty or gritty. There's more caramel and licorice in the mouth. This is a pretty fresh bottle and the 9.6% ABV is still pretty hot, but not overwhelmingly so. It does tickle the nose hairs upon exhaling as the alcohol lines the throat. Hoppy bitterness manifests in the finish, reminding me that this brew weighs in at a healthy 90 IBUs. It's a testament to the massive malt base of this barleywine that the bitterness is so restrained until the finish, especially for such a fresh bottle.

In the mouth, this brew is heavy-bodied. It's thick and boozy, but the alcohol aids in the wonderfully smooth quality as this brew travels down the hatch. Yes, it has a high alcohol content, and yes, it does have a fairly high IBU count. Still, the potential harshness is kept to a minimum. As such this is as drinkable a barleywine as they come. Of course a couple of these in succession could knock you off your barstool, but finishing off this bottle is no problem. I picked up a 6-pack and very much look forward to seeing what a year in the cellar will do to this beer.


The Two-Schlitz Scale™: (see my profile for an explanation)
I give a Schlitz for Bigfoot. It's actually quite a good value in the barleywine department.

weizenbob, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of BrewCrew2010
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A nice garnet body capped with a creamy off-white head that leaves a decent amount of lacing and sticks around throughout the drink.

S: A thick aroma of citrus hops, pine, and sweet malts.

T: Much hoppier then expected. A balanced palate of bitter citrus hops, caramel malts, biscuity, and slight warming from the high ABV.

M: Medium-full body, lively carbonation, and creamy & smooth texture.

D: I thought this was really good. My husband who hates barleywines, however, really enjoyed this one. I am looking forward to ageing this a bit and re-reviewing it in a year or two. Very easy to drink and easy to find.

BrewCrew2010, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of BayouBengal1537
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Bigfoot poured into Snifter

Pours a dark ruby color with a nice 1 finger thick head that stays around and leaves some layered lacing.
the smell is fantastically hoppy with some fruit, citrus, some sweet malts
Taste is very much hoppy. Balanced well with the caramel malts, alcohol is present. Huge hop presence, pretty damn complex

Mouthfeel is pretty full with moderate carbonation

Drinkability is def a sipper. find this one very boozy. the 9.6% is very present.

Overall, this was my first Barleywine, but seems that this is one of the best of it's style. I enjoyed this beer for its bitterness, but would like to find out what one taste like after cellaring for at least a year. great brew

BayouBengal1537, Feb 14, 2011
Photo of McNealc31
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A metallic red hue and the aroma of hops and melon come from Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot Barleywine. Fruity, sweet malt, with some aggressive hops at the end. The flavor is full and layered. Quite well balanced, with a finish similar to big IPAs.

There's a fun scene on the label, too.

McNealc31, Feb 14, 2011
Photo of aranheaney
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Edition, poured into a DFH Snifter:

A-deep ruby with one finger of head and lacing that holds on

S-TREMENDOUS, maybe the greatest aroma I've ever experienced, deep hoppiness, pine, a touch of citrus

T-Equally great, everything in the nose and a different finish, some of the ABV comes through at the end

M-excellent, just the right balance with a great finish

D-high, given the ABV, you may want to be careful with this one...

aranheaney, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of HOPPYKC
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this on tap at the flying saucer. A great seasonal that is Definatly hard to find.

A- a nice amber and brown color. Almost transparent but has a little bit of a full look to it. Nice tan head that goes quickly. Shows hood signs of carbonation.

S- almond and roasted malts. Now hops. Bitter and complex. Fruity and composed.

T- bitter up from but well composed. Toasted malts and fruit maybe pineapple and grapefruit.

M&D- great drink and full flavor. Complex and wanted. Could drinkthis all day long.

HOPPYKC, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of vapodge
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A - deep, dark red-tinged amber; clear, nice thin head, solid lacing

S - alcohol and citrusy hops, but predominantly boozy alcohol

T - lotsa hops and malts fighting it out -- quite bitter -- bitterness overrides the sweetness; alcohol announces itself

M - thin, astringent, mildly carbonated

D - respect this one -- packs a punch with each sip -- no gulps here; too bitter for my tastes, have heard aging is popular for this brew -- bet it makes it super-interesting and mellows the bitterness

vapodge, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of welldigger888
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage keg!!!!Poured from growler in to imp. pint glass, nice off white head with excellant lacing. This brew is a nice copper colored orange hue.
Huge malt bill here, caramel & grainy goodness. Some hops, but this is a vintage 2009 so the strong hop is gone.
Creamy smooth caramel and golden brown biscuit with a dry boozey smooth finish. Alot is going on here,I am not refined enough to pull it all out.
Huge creamy chunky mouthfeel with good carbonation.
The booze holds this back a bit, but a huge big drink. Worthy of having more than one, Drink up! As for the 2 yr age, well I like the hop profile in the younger version but still love this!!! Thank you Wes & Joseph for aging this.

welldigger888, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of Metuo
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 Vintage poured into tulip glass.

A: Deep ruby color that glows when held up to the light. Creamy off-white head that billows up with a moderately hard pour. Lacing is excellent.

S: Piney and citrus hops. Grapefruit and orange, with sweet notes as well.

T: Ton of hops. Pine, citrus, and a very bitter twang at the end. The malt comes through a bit as well, tastes slightly biscuity and contrasts the intense hops well.

M: Moderately carbonated and sifts nicely around the mouth.

D: High ABV on this one, but that doesn't hinder the drinkability. This is a very bitter beer, but I would not mind having another one at all.

Metuo, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of gwguest
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage poured from a 12oz stubby bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint.

Pours a nearly brilliant amber with a small amount of cream colored foam. As the foam dies, it leaves very nice sticky lacing. A thin layer of foam remains indefinitely.

Aromas of sweet malt blend perfectly with classic west coast hops. Grassy, grapefruit and herbal aromas burst from the glass. There no need to stick my nose into the glass, I can get it all from several feet away. Fantastic.

The taste of Bigfoot is everything that I want in an American Barleywine. Strong bitterness with a great malt backbone that supports the flavor, bitterness and aroma of the huge hop presence. Wonderful hop flavors mingle with a clean malty body. Deep caramel malts that really are well rounded and not sharply sweet.

Mouthfeel is full, but the carbonation does a nice job of keeping the palate scrubbed and not letting big foot get too heavy in the mouth. The finish is firm and bitter and leaves me ready for the next pull.

Drinkability is great for s barleywine. Slightly warming, but not heavy in the belly. I could drink this all day. Probably not, but it would be fun to try.

Big foot is one of my favorites. The only thing id love more would be a oaked version. Superb.

gwguest, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of AllFineThings
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a coca cola glass-haha! The head is very thick and leaves a ton of lacing as you drink. a very dark transluscent red.

Smells of heavy citrus, hoppy and bitter.

Tastes like a bitter barly wine, with huge amounts of citrus--almost somewhere between an imperial red and a barly wine with some definite double IPA notes and some fruit. The alcohol presence makes itself known in the beginning, but smooths as it warms up.

Mouth feel is good, but boozy yet very tasty.

Smooths as it warms, but it is a beer you should not take lightly at a 9.6% ABV.

AllFineThings, Feb 10, 2011
Photo of mafiasentinel21
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is beautiful, amber. The head is is like a big english muffin sitting on top and the lacing grabs the glass firmly as it settles. Marvelous!

Smells strongly of fruit, it's quite a flowery smell too. Apple.

The smell is very much like the taste, except you realize how hopped it is. I personally love hopped barleywines- not as sweet. That's not to say you can't taste the malty fruitiness that couples amazingly with the alcohol esters.

As expected, the mouthfeel is thick (as the bros say, chewy). It really enhances the taste of this beer if you literally try to chew it.

I am not a barleywine kind of fella, in fact I don't recall liking SN's 2009 effort. But this beer is slowly becoming one of my favorites that I've had. It knocks your damn palate around so miraculously. I curse the seasonal nature of it!!!

mafiasentinel21, Feb 10, 2011
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,290 ratings.