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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

6,579 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,579
Reviews: 2,850
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 312
Gots: 1,241 | FT: 52
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 02-06-1998

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,579 | Reviews: 2,850 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of alexkeil
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brilliant ruby red with a fluffy tan head. The aroma is a knock your socks off intense hoppiness. The flavor starts with some sweetness, ripe fruit, plum, apricot. The middle is boozy with some hoppy bite. The finish is dry with some bitter coffee aftertaste that lingers for some time. The alcohol is there...you can taste it and you can feel it, but it doesn't take away from the drinkability.

Photo of beals
3.33/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

[i really like Bigfoot as a beer, even though this review is a little negative. i really wish BA would break this out by year -- i have a number of Bigfoots aging in the cellar, and each year has a different review. this review is biased in the negative because it's such a fresh batch.]

2011 vintage, 12oz bottle, served in a DFH signature glass.

A: 3 fingers of off-white head, deep reddish-brown color

S: grassy hops, alcohol, and of course malt. not sure what else to say here. the aroma hasn't really had time to get complex because it's such a young barleywine.

T: starts bitter, hoppy... malty, boozy middle with hops astringency carrying over from the start. i can't put my finger on it, but there's a bit of an earthy "dirty" taste.

M: burns from a combo of the alcohol and a higher than average level of carbonation. chewy body, as you'd expect.

D: wouldn't have another right now -- needs more time.

overall: definitely still raw, needs to age. i've got the rest of the 6-pack in the cellar, so i'll be back in a year or two to review again.

[and in the meantime, BA -- please break this out into years! same with Brooklyn's Monster and other yearly barleywines.]

Photo of tykees88
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- rich red brown color. it had a small head, and good lacing.

S- it's hoppy. I really only smell hops. It's just overall really wierd to me.

T- malt flavor to start. Then the hops take over again for me. I just don't taste much to this thing. I would like this to an IPA or something of the sort before a barleywine.

M- Nice lighter to medium bodied brew. making it...

O- an easy drinker at such a high abv. Someday again.

Photo of Jimmys
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2011 Bigfoot

A: deep, rich red/copper. thick, fluffy off-white/light tan head. small carbonation bubbles going nuts from the bottom of the glass.

S: faint cupcake. oak. egg salad? sticky hop resins. definitely getting more of a woody aspect, rather than sweet, with the hoppiness.

T: sweet, sticky bubble gum. hop characteristics dig deep into the earth and then come to a piney resinous crescendo. definitely much more on the bitter side than the sweet side. little bit of warming alcohol factor that im sure some age would take care of. as it warms, more sweet malt comes back into play. still getting a slight woody/oak aspect on my palate. licorice.

M: maybe this is too young, but i found the carbonation to be a little fizzy more than creamy. definitely a full-bodied beer.

D: this is my first go at reviewing an american barleywine, and to be honest it wasnt easy. i see a lot more resemblance to an AIPA or DIPA than a barleywine. maybe i drank/reviewing too many english barleywines before this, but i expect more malt complexity rather than big hop flavors. im sure ill have another go at one of these in the near future, so perhaps ill change my mind.

Photo of cbutova
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage. Not sure how I don't have a review on this one yet.

A- Into a snifter with a very dark red body. The head forms nicely to a big two fingers and retains. A very nice coat of lace coating the glass.

S- A barleywine with a lot of hops... Hops are citrus, pine and floral in nature and compliment the caramel malt body pretty well. A bit of dark fruit/raisin in there as well.

T- A lot of hops once again. A decent caramel, bread and dark fruit backdrop supports a blast of pine, floral and earthy hops. Very large bitterness. Almost soapy from the floral aspect. Grassy.

MF- Very creamy and substantial, probably my favorite part of the beer. Almost foamy but very smooth. Huge bitter finish.

OV- This beer certainly has a very unique flavor. It is also a palate destroyer. I can't say that I don't like it but I can say that I was never a huge fan of this one. It seems to get better with each sip but a little too bitter and floral for my taste (unbalanced).

Photo of nickshep7
3.08/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Looks like a big beer in the glass. Nice mahagony base color with 2.5 finger off white head. Initial smell is all hops with some alcohol breaking through. Wow this beer is bitter.. A ton of hops on the palate. This is my first barley win and i gotta say, I am not a fan of this style. Bought a 6th so I'll age and revisit in a few months.

Photo of bobhits
2.33/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Pours a decent head given the abv and the style but it quickly dissipates. The body is a deep ruby color with a huge amount of clarity. There is still enough density here to remind me that yes it is a deep big barely wine.

The nose is a blast of hops, biting the nose and quickly mellowing to a huge thick powerful caramel malt. The best barely wines I've had carried tone more complexity and depth. This reminds me of a slightly higher malt double IPA.

Alcohol, and some kind of dying funk to finish this one off. Amazingly dry and lacking any real sweetness that the nose indicates should be here. Finishes with a huge amount of dry bitterness. As I'm drinking this that finishes that put me off earlier has dissipated a great deal, but still this is absurdly over powering without the flavor to back it.

My mouth has been dried out, burned, and overwhelmed by intense flavors, yet not in the way I'm used to seeing.

Will this age? Certainly! That said this is just awful for a fresh barely wine from anywhere. I haven't had any since 08 and before that 06 and I recall both being a good bit better. That said I never have and certainly don't know understand the hype surrounding this beer. Completely unbalanced and underwhelming.

Photo of josefnewsong
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I just typed up a very thorough and elaborate review on my droid that was completely deleted. just as i was finishing up. i didnt want to have all my efforts be in vain, but also wasnt about to attempt to retype it all...so i will say this: this beer is big, hoppy, malty, resinous, piney, boozy, ruby red with beige head, and everyone knows its great. stick it in the cellar for as long as you want, or drink it fresh. a great barleywine.

Photo of Rutager
4.31/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance. Deep clear copper with a finger of sticky looking, off white head. Impressive, for sure.

Smell. Big floral fruity hops. Some sweet caramel malt coming through.

Taste. Wow! Intense, thick piney hops. Intense thick sweet caramel malt. More intense pine and citrus. Lasting bitter grapefruit rind finish. Really good stuff.

Mouthfeel. Full, full bodied. Nice medium carbonation. Some alcohol warming.

Drink. Considering the abv, the intense flavour, and probably 10 000 calories /bottle, it goes back pretty nicely. Could drink at least one more. Maybe two!

Photo of Homebrew35
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a small one finger head of medium bubbles, off white. Nice clear deep reddish amber body. Smells a bit of earthy, piney hops, alcohol is there but not overwhelming. Taste is somewhat sweet, some carmel, tobacco notes, piney piney hops, resinous, some sweet honey quality, lemony. Mouthfeel is very coating, oily, sticky, light carbonation. Quite a bit of lingering bitterness. Overall this is a sipper, somewhat complex in the taste. This is in no way boring to drink, the lingering bitterness is a bit much but that's ok the high ABV encourages me to take my time. I'd like a bit more hop aroma, this bottle is about three months old, dated "0 364".
I'm going to cellar the rest. $12 a sixer. I'd pick this up next year depending on the quality of the rest of these over that time.

Photo of robbrandes
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from 12oz bottle, 2011 vintage.

I finally got around to taking the plunge on bigfoot, and I was most impressed.

pours a deep copper, almost red, color. nice carbonation, dissapated fairly quickly to a thin film, but stayed for the remainder of the glass.

tons of malt backbone and alcohol on the nose of this beast. slightly 'hot' smell, but with the toasted over-tones of the malt, not annoyingly so.

taste - flavor explosion. this beer is unrelentingly powerful. love the spicy-floral pop, the malt is toasted to the point of almost tasting charred, without crossing the line. the dry finish leaves you immediately wanting another pull. if you like stone ruination, this is a must drink.

as drinkable as a beer this big can be!

Photo of Snow81
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dated: 2011

Appearance: Very clean red body

Smell: Big Citric, small amount of a malty sweetness

Head: Thick tan head that last the life of the beer

Taste: Malty hits first then comes a heavy dark citric, some heat hits next then the palate is covered in hoppyness and stickiness

Weight: Medium to heavy on the palate with high carbonation

Finish: Sticky hops with a bit of heat then hops seem to last forever or at least till my next sip

Photo of veinless
4.41/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage: 2011

Pours a brilliant deep burnt orange and is very clear. Head is two-fingers, off-white, retains at the right rate, and laces excellently. This beer is beautiful in every way and is exactly what I'm looking for in the appearance of a beer.

Nose is incredibly fragrant, with a grapefruit punch followed by some caramel and pineapple. This is a fresh bottle, so that explains the DIPA aroma, but the malt definitely stands up for itself here with sugary caramel and toffee leading the charge.

Taste brings out a LOT more of the malt and DAMN is it heavenly - a barrage of burnt and roasted notes to go with luscious toffee and caramel, all while citrus and tropical fruit are exploding all over the place. Grapefruit and mango go incredibly well with the malt in all facets, as the roasted portions push the fruit to the background, while the sweeter sections bring it back to the fore, creating a candy-like taste. Booze is not noticeable at all until the end where it creates a bit of warmth, and the finish is sweet from the malt and bitter from the hops - a great combo, and a nice way to keep a beer this strongly flavored drinkable. A bit of bubblegum taste comes out as the beer warms too, adding yet another layer of depth.

Mouthfeel is full, heavy, and creamy at times, the way it should be. Drinkability is great, as the finish is nicely balanced and the abv is hidden very well. I could see myself having 3 or 4 of these at a time no problem, and enjoying them equally from start to finish.

Photo of OttoPeeWee
3.08/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Wow. Hop-bomb. It tastes like spruce needle tea more than beer. I can't imaging drinking this now. I'm wondering if it will be better in a few years when the hops level gets to a more balanced state. I'm not really tasting/smelling much else than the hops, maybe some chocolate. Rather disappointing considering I bought twelve.

Photo of JCaweinstein
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 Vintage poured into a snifter

A: creamy white one finger head, deep amber in color with a small amount of carbonation. Lacing left all the way down the glass.

S: piny, resinous hops

T: hops first, bready malts then a big hop smack in the mouth. this one lingers and I will be tasting this for the remainder of the evening. If you plan on drinking anything after this better clense the pallet or you won't taste it.

F: This is a medium to full bodied beer, the powerful taste of this beer stays with me long after it's gone.

D: This is an extremely drinkable beer. Very strong taste yet goes down so easy. If you're drinking Big Foot amongst others it should be toward the end of the line up because there is a good chance you won't taste much after you drink it.

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe. 2011 vintage.

A: Clear red-brown with a huge off-white head that doesn't budge. Thick lacing is left caked onto the glass.

S: Very hop forward with lots of citrus and pine and some floral scents. Sweet malt scents of caramel underneath. Light whiff of spicy alcohol and some young fruity esters. Hop levels far exceed anything I have ever encountered within the style.

T: Tons of hop bitterness up front. Really akin to a big DIPA. Pine resin, hop oils, and lots of citrus. Extremely bitter. Malt tastes of caramel and a bit of toasted bread are masked by the hops. Esters are young and green. Finishes with lots of resiny, bitter hop oils and some toasted malts.

M: The body is thick but not viscous. Full and creamy in the mouth with just a bit of a syrupy mouthfeel toward the finish. Warmth from the alcohol is barely there.

D: A hop-bomb.

Notes: Not really what I look for in a Barleywine, but still a good beer. This is extremely hoppy for the style. In fact, it is one of the most bitter beers I've ever had. I would like to see the malt take more of a central role. but then again, extended aging should mellow it out a lot. I can see how it would have some exceptionally great aging potential. I plan to let the rest of this sixer sit for a few years.

Photo of TommyW
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage, poured into a snifter.

A- Golden body with a red tint, darkened by the patchy, white head blocking the light.

S- Smell of fruity hops (lots of citrus and ripe fruits) along with a faint bready, malt aroma.

T- Begins by following the nose quite well with lots of citrus and fruit flavors from the hops. This transitions into some bready flavors from the malts. The malts don't shine through for long (but there presence creates a great mouthfeel). Alcohol comes in towards the end and mixes with some fairly intense hop bitterness.

M- Nice full feel and a medium carbonation.

D- Kind of what I expected from such a fresh American barleywine, a pretty big hop presence and a hot alcohol profile. I'm cellaring the rest of my 6-er, as I'm sure this beer will become tremendous with some age.

Photo of AwYeh
4.41/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage, poured into snifter.

A: Pours a cloudy golden-amber-copper color with two fingers of thick, dense, foamy head, accompanied by great retention and lacing. Outstanding appearance.

S: Strong caramel malt backbone here, alongside just as strong pine and floral hops- likely due to the beer's young age, and I would like to see how this changes over time, but quite enjoyable right now.

T: Sweet caramel malts and bitter piny, floral, citrusy (grapefruit) hops in perfect harmony here- every sip contains a huge amount of both bitter and sweet. Long, lingering instances of both are felt on the finish too.

M: Medium-thick bodied with moderate carbonation, this beer is smooth on the way down with a sticky finish that really sticks the flavor to the palate- little room for improvement here.

D: Even discounting this beer's rather "undrinkable" style, I've had a hard time keeping myself away from my glass of this. The high ABV is totally hidden, and I'm having a hard time restraining myself from cracking open another bottle of this right now.

Photo of lionchow
2.76/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours an attractive, mildly hazy light amber with a thin white head.

Aroma is of a medicinal plasticy, alcohol with an herbal hoppiness.

Flavor is immediately unappealing. Alcohol and hops dominate and meld together in a not particularly enjoyable way. Hops are herbal, menthol, and very bitter. Malt is low to none, with a very slight caramel sweetness.

Mouthfeel is dry which, when combined with the hops and alcohol make it seem muddled.

Overall not enjoyable at all.

Photo of DaveHS
3.3/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2011 vintage.

A-Pours clear amber with nearly 2 inches of pale khaki head. Leaves stringy lacing that marks each sip.

S-Piney, grassy hops dominate the nose, with a thin line of rock candy sweetness.

T/M-Bracingly bitter and dry, with palate assaulting flavors of orange skin, dry leaves and pulped pine needles.The malt sweetness is barely perceptible beneath multiple layers of dry bitter hops and booze.

D-This drinks beautifully with a few years on it. I would easily give it a much better rating were it a vintage bottle. But it just isn't very drinkable fresh.

Photo of beachscrat
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2011 Bigfoot

Cellar temp, bottle to pint tumbler.

Nice clingy head, better than most barley-wine. Deep amber, with near brilliant clarity.

I smell yeast byproduct at first pour, reminds me of bock yeast. Quickly turns into citrus candy and sweet malt.

Initial sip is bitter spruce tea, mixed with a bit of spearmint. Just a hint of sweetness but balance definitely leans toward bitter.

Year after year, it amazes me the quality of this barley-wine on such a grandiose scale. The one against which all else are measured.

Photo of feylure
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Saw this at the store. Haven't been disappointed by Seirra Nevada yet!

Appearance is a slightly dark, clear amber.

Smell is a nice mix of sweet barley and hops. I didn't expect the hops, but I'm a IPA fan, so it's a pleasant surprise.

Taste is interesting and great. I saw barley wine, so I expected more of a sweet flavor. In reality, it's a great blend of spicy hops and sweetness. At first, sweetness hits with notes of sugar and caramel malt, then the hops hit and are amplified up nicely with the carbonation. The tail is a great, sharp hop flavor that lingers.

Mouthfeel is all around full.

I find this beer to be incredibly drinkable, but I wouldn't recommend it if you don't like IPAs or spicy food.


Photo of chefhatt
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this beer into a perfect pint glass. It has a nice rich brown color body with a creamy tan head that is about 2" thick and that hangs around for a little bit. This beer has a nice bitter hop aroma and i sense some citrus too. The taste of malts hits the front of the tongue then on the back of the tongue i get a bitter hop taste.> It has a decent mouth feel, and is drinkable.

Photo of 05Harley
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2011

Purchased @ Somersworth Village Market, Somersworth, NH

Price $11.49/6-pack

Appearance: Amber in color with a creamy half inch head. This beer is fairly clear showing just a slight amount of sediment. Leaves behind a good amount of lacing and the long lasting suds just holler freshness.

Smell: A faint aroma of pine and fruit from the hops, sort of disappointing. For me this is the area that could use the most improvement.

Taste: Big blast of bittering hops, much more pronounced in this version of the style. Blind folded I would have chosen this as a double ipa for sure. Flavor is sweet malt quickly followed by pine.

Mouthfeel: A medium feel with a whole lot of hop bitterness. Ends dry as you would expect.

Drinkability: Definitely a huge beer and one for someone who can appreciate hops. No overwhelming sweetness here. Could improve the balance with a little more malt or age which does mellow it out. A solid beer overall.

Photo of Kelly88
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into my Kentucky Bourbon barrel ale snifter. 2011 vintage.

A- a very dark mahogany. A beige one finger head sits On top the leathery brew for a hot minute before it turns into sporadic islands of wispy lace.

S- my first thoughts were citrus! Very grapefruit forward and then you start to get caramel covered hops. As the brew warms more of the sweet malts are appearing.

T- best way I can describe this is hoppy caramel covered toffee. Alcohol is present and makes the finish semi hot and boozy, I guess that is why it ages so well. Sweet and bitter at the same time really Nice.

M- semi thick so medium bodied. Spot on carbonation. Doesn't way on Your palate like many heavy duty barley wines.

D- alcohol is a little harsh when fresh and it is not shy in showing It. But for a almost ten percent beer its about right, a supper for sure but the taste makes You want to sip often.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,579 ratings.