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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.

6,452 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,452
Reviews: 2,822
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 285
Gots: 1,169 | FT: 46
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: 6,452 | Reviews: 2,822 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Blanco
3.38/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage

Pours a ruby red color with *huge* tan head that sticks for a while. Strong lacing. Very inviting and good-looking beer. Hops in the aroma and mop water smell in the background. taste is hoppy up front, with a big malt bill. Different than any other beer. Strong bitterness. I've heard this beer compared to an DIPA oftentimes, but that's not what I'm tasting. Mouthfeel is thick, with basically no carbonation. I like this beer and probably should have bought more as I'm interested in seeing what this would turn into over time.

Blanco, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of GarthDanielson
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 batch. I've never had this brew, so I'm trying some fresh and planning to age the rest.

The beer pours a crystal clear amber-copper coloring that starts with a thin, dense, yellowish, half-inch foamy head that quickly disappears, leaving only a slight film across the top of the brew. The nose has a surprisingly strong undertone of hops which does a decent job to balance the caramel malty smells. The flavor is complex, and honestly feels like it changes as it swims through my mouth. Wow. The first thing I got was a blast of flavor, both hoppy and caramel sweet, but that went by quickly. The next thing I tasted was a littly boozey and a little peppery. The quickly transitioned to a smokey flavor so strong I thought my uvula had been set on fire. Subsequent drinks give similar kaleidescopic flavors, and I also start to pick up some slight sour notes and the steadiness of the hops bitter throughout the taste, although sometimes stronger than others. Very complex. Every once in a while I get a flash of some grapefruit type flavors, too...a little tart and a little sweet. All of these flavors ride a creamy and smooth body that transitions to crisp right at the end. The beer leaves a slightly bitter and puckered feel after swallow, and that feeling lingers a while along side the slightly sour and spiced aftertaste. This beer begs to be consumed. Shockingly easy to drink despite the slightly elevated ABV and the robust catalog of flavors. Now the test will be of my will power to keep from drinking the rest of this and actually age some of it.

GarthDanielson, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of djaeon
3.33/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear but dark amber/red color with a thin to moderate heat made up of larger bubbles. Has little head retention and only leaves a little lacing.

S: Hops are evident, along with a caramel malt aroma. The aroma seems pretty well balanced.

T: The flavor of this one brings my mind towards the discussion of how American barleywines are becoming more and more like DIPA's. This to me seems like a cross between a DIPA and a Imperial Red. Big hops flavor, with a mild caramel malt as an afterthought.

M: Mild smooth mouthfeel with decent carbonation. Leaves a lot of bitterness in the aftertaste.

D: Average drinkablility. Hopefully after aging this will mellow out and become more balanced.

This is the first beer that I'm really hoping to age. I bought a 6er. Put two in the fridge to drink, and hope to save 4 and have another two in a year and 2 in two years. We'll see how that works out;)

djaeon, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of Bogforce
2.95/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Heard people say this years batch drank like a DIPA but I didn't get that at all..

A: Pours with a big creamy head, the color is a dark brown with a some almost ruby red but not quite.

S: Smells of big hops, getting more hops in the nose than malt

T: Get some refreshing hops but the malt and hops don't meld well together

M: Leaves a bad malty taste in my mouth, don't like this at all

D: Don't think I could have more than one of these

Overall this thing seems overhyped to me, maybe I got a bad batch or something

Bogforce, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of ngeunit1
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


A - Pours a fairly clear amber-red color with a finger of off-white/tan frothy head. The head has decent retention, reducing down to a ring leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Lots of lightly roasted sweet caramel malts. Also, some nice grassy/pine hop flavor with a touch of citrus. Some dark fruit (raisin) elements are also noticeable in the nose.

T - Starts off with a mix of sweet roasted malt flavor and some citrus hops. There is also a touch of the dark fruit flavor in the background that comes through. Through the middle, more of the grassy/floral hops come through with some nice bitterness. The finish has a mix of the bitterness from the hops, some dark fruit flavors (lots of plum and raisin), and some nice sweet malt, which lingers nicely. There is also just a touch of booze flavor.

M - Medium-full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. A bit on the thick side, but still slick and smooth. Very bold finish wit ha slight resin feel.

D - Very drinkable. Very nice hop and malt balance here, especially for a barleywine. Definitely a bit different. There is also a decent amount of sweetness, but again, it is overall nicely balanced and very enjoyable.

ngeunit1, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of Jaycase
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2011 bottle

a: dark amber color with decent lacing.

s: bit of citrusy hops and some caramel

t: Incredible taste. A great balance of blissful hoppiness and heavenly maltiness.

m: medium carbonation - just the right amount. Bitterness lingers in a delectable manner.

d: very drinkable. The bitterness wants me coming back for more...and more

I thoroughly enjoy this beer. Thankfully it is not as elusive as Sasquatch as I will never tire of the beautiful bitter kiss it so generously offers.

Jaycase, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of AJacob81
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 Vintage, served in a New Belgium globelet.

A - Deep amber w/ reddish highlights. A finger of off-white soapy head retains decently, leaving spotty lacing.

S - Equal amounts of stone fruit/slightly sweet malt and bitter, earthy hops. A second whiff brings out a piney, slightly floral hops aroma.

T - The balance from the nose continues. Plums, slightly tart berries, and sweet fresh-baked bread tango with green, citrusy hops. Finish is sticky hops resin, not as sweet as the front end, and a little dry. The hopping brings to mind a big DIPA, but the complex malt bill identifies this as a textbook barleywine.

M and D - Oily, medium to thick body, moderate carbonation. Drinks slowly, the presence of the hops becomes a bit overpowering by the end. I hear this ages well as the hops fade, but I really enjoy it fresh.

AJacob81, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of Sachsenfreude
3.2/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

appearance; clear, deep amber, light tan head, excellent rention and beautiful lacing. About as perfect as it can be.

smell; barley sweetness and resiny hops, rather dull and weak. Some golden raisins and white rum aromas, all a little premature, aging definitely needed.

taste; really good sweet barley and plums with rum. Then extreemely bitter hops blast the palate. Unbalanced, definitely the hoppyest version of the style I have tried.

mouthfeel; creamy with a heavy finish. Somewhat thick. The alcohol burns lightly in the finish as tight and fizzy carbonation, assaults the palate and numbs the tongue.

drinkability; the alcohol is no joke and the hops are a little over the top, I would like to age this a year or two and see if my review is more generous.

Sachsenfreude, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of VelvetExtract
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(3/7/11) Why have I not tried this yet. I love Sierra Nevada. Finally.

A-Pours a dark amber color. Deep brownish hue. An off-white cap sits on top and slowly begins to recede leaving some respectable lacing.

S-Deep sugary maltiness and some pretty well defined hops. Piney and grassy hoppiness. Definately smells a bit woody. Rich caramel is present too. A decent whiff of booze is detected but it isn't a detractor.

T-Resinous and piney hops along with a large dose of malt sweetness. The hop profile is powerful and complex. The beer is strong yet well balanced. A bit grainy and bready too. Alcohol adds depth and is not too bold.

M-Fuller bodied. Not overly carbonated. Slick and resinous as well.

D-Like all Sierra Nevada brews, this one is more drinkable than it probably should be. Very bold, but very delicious. Gonna age a few see how those treat me next year.

Overall: Around a 4.15
(3/4/12)Review of the 2010 bottle side-by side with the 2012.

A-Pours dark amber. Large beige head. Indistinguishable from the 2012.

S-Very sweet and well blended. Hops have faded. Aroma is much less coarse. Still very aromatic and deep. Ultra-rich caramel. Slight but still noticeable hop bitterness. Smells hot.

T-Wow. The flavors have meshed so well together. Less resinous than the 2012. I miss the super-oily hop presence found in the 2012, but overall, I think I enjoy the 2010's overall flavor better. So incredibly smooth.

M-Less resinous. Carbonation is a bit faded but it adds to the rich velvety feel. Still pretty bitter.

O/D-Overall, the 2 years of age has molded this brew into a balanced, smooth, rich and creamy brew. Much different than the fresh one. Hard to say which I enjoy more.

Overall: Around a 4.25

A-Indistinguishable from the 2012.

S-Much, much hoppier. Resinous hops. Aromatic bitterness. Sweetness only attempts to balance out the sappy pine oils. My preferred aroma.

T-Pine and citrus. Booze is evident. Rich malt. Much hoppier of course. I forgot how hoppy this barleywine is when imbibed fresh.

M-More resinous than the 2010 but less sugary richness and creaminess. More carbonation too. Partial to the 2010's feel.

O/D- Amazing what the age will do to this beer. I love the hops here and the bitterness. Tough to say who wins.

Overall: Around a 4.25

VelvetExtract, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of pburland23
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage poured into a snifter.

Beer pours a deep, dark burgundy-ish brown with thick khaki head with decent retention.

Aroma was of citrusy fruit esters. I couldn't pick out any specific fruits. There is some piney hops aroma as well.

Taste starts out as grainy and malty, but them the 90 IBUs kick in with some intense but not overpowering hops bitterness which rounds out the taste. This was a complex tasting beer with a depth of substance that I wasn't expecting.

The mouthfeel is thick and chewy, well carbonated and very, very pleasing. As for drinkability, it's pretty good. I've laid a few bottles down in my cellar to see how this one changes over time.

pburland23, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of lnashsig
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage, poured on 3-5-11 into my dogfish head snifter. Pours a transparent dark amber color- a frothy head fills to the top of the glass, and slowly receeds, leaving crazy lacing on the glass. 30 minutes after the pour, there is still a puff of foam floating in the middle of the glass. Taste- sugar malty greatness, big hops backbone- Bigfoot is such an awesome hoppy American Barleywine. The age has done this one well, but I bet it can probably really improve with more time.

lnashsig, Mar 06, 2011
Photo of stonermouse
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage. Bought a single at Vinnin Square in Swampscott, MA last week- this aged at the package store, presumably in the back.

Poured into a Sam Adams glass.

Pours a nice copper color, same throughout, with a fair amount of cloudiness. The head is super thick and dense. I had to slow down and sip a bit before finishing the pour.

Smells a bit spicy, with lightly-fruited malts. Warm booze hits the nose, but it's not overpowering.

The flavor is potent and complex. Granted, this is not my favorite style, but I can certainly appreciate what's happening here. The hops have faded, with only a bit of a dry, sticky aftertaste remaining. The flavor now is nearly-rotted fruit (in the good barleywine way), and has a solid boozy, rye-like bite. It's pretty sweet as well; combined with the spiciness and dense flavor, it's almost like a modern mince pie flavor palette.

Mouthfeel is nice. Solid, dense body with a dry finish.

Drinkability is great here. I'd love to sit with a couple of these in a night. Better yet, I'd love to do a 3 or 4-year vertical, with a chance to have a freshie that still has some hop flavor. A must-try, even if you never crack another one.

stonermouse, Mar 06, 2011
Photo of BeerEngineer89
3.4/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 bottle

So this might be more like a double IPA

A- I tried to get head, but Only got a thin film that dissipated quickly,but it is a nice dark red color

S- Citrus hops, some malt (caramel) and thats it. Very little going on here. Still pleasant.

T- YUP, it tastes like a double ipa. Damn hoppy, with much more pine than the nose suggested. If I were rating as a double IPA, this is way to dark, and as a barley wine, it is way to light. Definitely should have waited or something.

M- Ill give it a good score for being crisp and leaving my mouth quickly

D- I dont even know how to rate this. I could drink it easily, but I wouldnt enjoy it as is. I know I should have waited to drink it, but Sierra Nevada could have held on to it longer too.

BeerEngineer89, Mar 05, 2011
Photo of rarbring
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is hazy dark amber, with a tan head leaving good lacing. Some curtains.

Vinous smells, Madeira, sweet dried fruits, nuts and cereal.

An upfront sweetness, dark bread, dried fruits, some bitter notes.

Medium low carbonation, complex body, a dry finish.

This was the 2008 vintage which were much better than the 2009 bottled one I tried last year. Less hops, more mature. Proves that ageing improves these beers. Sampled at a beer tasting at De Klomp, Linköping, Sweden.

rarbring, Mar 05, 2011
Photo of Aiptasia
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Finally, we got some 2011 Bigfoot Barleywine in our area. Found in six pack 12 oz. bottles at grassroots in Riverside, Jacksonville.

A: Pours a deep ruby cola red with a conservative biscuit brown head. Decent clingy lacing down the sides of the glass.

S: Smell was good, resinous with pine and burnt sugar notes. Reminds you of a pine forest still in the back country.

T: Big bite of bitter from the hops. Very hops bitter assertive with plenty of grapefruit rind and cedar bark. Citrus notes in the middle with a lingering bitter finish. Alcohol is masked successfully but way too bitter for my tastes.

M: Pretty good mouth feel. Full bodied brew with ultra micro carbonation. Some minor sting on the backend from the alcohol level but not bad. Dry finish.

D: This one coats the tongue with grapefruity-woody-piny hops. Pairing with a good heavy beef dish, chili or heavy tomato italian suggested.

Aiptasia, Mar 05, 2011
Photo of portia99
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle (2011 vintage - bottled 1/20/11) poured into a Brooklyn snifter.

A - Pours a super clear ruby tinted dark amber. A finger of dense and foamy head forms and lingers for several minutes eventually leavings behind some sticky lacing on the glass. Pretty impressive for a 9.6% beer.

S - Lots of fruity esters up front, some alcohol, pungent citrusy and grassy hops. Some nice caramelly and lightly sugary malt and a bit of hoppy spiciness too.

T - Full hoppy bitterness up front - grassy mainly, a bit spicy too. Malt is full and rich - caramel, brown sugar, sweet - but still falls behind the hops in the balance. The slightest hint of booziness. Fruity and somewhat estery. This bottle doesn't seem as hop forward as I remember in previous vintages when fresh. Still very good, but seems like it isn't up to previous years (at least in my mind).

M - Only medium in body...probably technically a bit thin for a barley wine. Carbonation is medium as well. Hop bitterness can be found from start to finish and carries this beer. There is enough complexity from the malt in the way of esters, and various sugary sweet flavors tho.

D - I love this barley wine, especially when fresh. Some beers in this style are overpoweringly sweet in their balance, which is good in small and slow doses, but really hurt drinkability for me. This is crisp, bitter and pretty cleanly fermented making a bottle of this disappear quickly...too quickly most times. If you like a hoppy barley wine, it is pretty tough to beat this one.

portia99, Mar 05, 2011
Photo of BuxMontBeerLover
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased a 6pk at Wegmans in Warrington, PA.
price: $12.99
Bottling date: 016 11

Poured and enjoyed in a DFH Signature Glass.

A - Pours a deep reddish, amber color. Translucent. Poured to a two to three finger creamy, beige colored head. The head lasted a good five minutes until settling to a half finger to thinnish head during the sampling. Carbonation bubbles rise from the laser etching on the bottom of the DFH glass through most of the tasting. Great lacing left on the sides of the glass after drinking.

S - Great combination of grapefruit, hops and caramel-like sweetness.

T - Fantastic taste. Very reminiscent of a high-quality IPA with a mix of grapefruit & hops dominating the flavors with a great malty, sweet backbone. The alcohol is noticeable and although not overwhelming, does show up during each sip.

M - A rather heavy beer. Not overly carbonated but there is a slight bite to the palette after each sip.

D - This is a great beer. At over 9% ABV, the beer doesn't lend itself to drinking quickly nor does it lend itself to having more than one or two at a sitting due to it's heaviness. However, the beer is simply delicious and they do go down rather easy.

Overall: My first experience with a Barleywine and I think I picked a good one to try for my first. Very similar in taste to a high-quality DIPA, Bigfoot is a definite treat and worthy of all the praise it receives. Highly recommended!


BuxMontBeerLover, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of Vdubb86
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter

This beer poured a wonderful deep golden orange color topped by a creamy cream head. The aromatics smelled strongly of cascade hops. There was probably some caramel notes in the background but the hops were pretty strong on the nose. The body was a nice balance of hops and malts. The caramel taste worked well with the cascade hops. There was a decent hop bitterness to the body. I believe that I actually tasted a clove note in the finish of this beer which made it all the more better. This body was a solid medium and not overly carbonated. The drinkability of this beer was unparalleled by most American Barleywine standards. This was an enjoyable beer.

Vdubb86, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of deaconoflove
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ap. Bright coppery golden brown, fine tan head, short life span.
Sm. Ruby Red grapefruit, citris, mild.
Ta. Red grapefruit and a brief malty caramel hint, followed by more grapefruit. Strong bitter finish.
Mf. strong carbonation and lingering tartness.
Dr. A good sippy beer for the colder months.

deaconoflove, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of dizknee24
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2010. poured very coppersh. I didnt notice as much head as others are claiming but it stuck around for a decent amount of time. Smell wasnt much in my opinion. normal malty and hoppy notes. Taste was great. very IPA like meaning hops hops hops. but a bit resiny. Mouthfeel....decent nice and thin. i like it. I have a whole case to enjoy for months to come. and whats this. 2011 just arrived. Review to come.

dizknee24, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of mastodonj
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A deep copper color with a thick head and very nice lacing.

Not much to smell but bitterness; expected.

Very bitter, nice mouthfeel, slight maltiness(?).

Drinkability is pretty average to low. The bitterness without
any complexity has caused me to allow a six pack of this to

My reference barleywine style is Avery's Hog Heaven and this
really doesn't come close to that.

mastodonj, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of brew3crew
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle

A-nice reddish brown color with almost no head
S-sweet maltiness and nice hops
T-alot like an Ipa. Tons of hops. I can see why people say that barlywines are the new Ipas. Nice amount of hops all the way throughout
M-medium bodied and so smooth
D-dangerously drinkable.

brew3crew, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of gskitt
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aged for a year, then on tap. Firstly, I am not the biggest barley-wine fan, that said, this was great. Having it age a year just mellowed all the elements of this beer out and made it a really drinkable brew. Poured a only so hazy pale gold. Smells of hops and some more hops. Tasted of oily hops up front and some fruity sweetness came into play. Had a bit of a grainy mouthfeel. Drink with caution as it is a 9% brew. I'll have to give barley wines another shot.

gskitt, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of flannelman808
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Its a beaut... Amber and clear with many carbonation bubbles zipping up from the bottom of my pint. White cheddar colored head with pretty good retention and good lacing.

S: Fruity notes, orange and I dare suggest strawberry on the nose. Caramel sweetness follows through as well.

T: Rich thick flavors. A slab of bitter pine followed with orange rind and muffin top. Flavors explore from all angles but leave one feeling pretty dry. Love this stuff LOVE the price.

M: frothy sticky

D: medium to high for the abv... chicks dig it.

flannelman808, Mar 02, 2011
Photo of begforme4484
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep reddish brown. Looks like it will be tasty.

Decent amount of wood and malt on the nose. Definite hints of some nice pine hop notes.

Subtle and smooth malt, nice bitter hops and very warming.

Fuller bodied, with medium carbonation.

It's a great sipper. It's dangerously tasty at 9.6%.

begforme4484, Mar 02, 2011
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,452 ratings.