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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

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6,578 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,578
Reviews: 2,850
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 312
Gots: 1,241 | FT: 51
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: 6,578 | Reviews: 2,850 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of begforme4484
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
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%.

Photo of godfathermg57
3.6/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap

a: nice deep red with well formed white head

s: malts, hops, and definitely alcohol

t: sweet malt and bust of hops and pine. hops bitterness was more present than I would prefer from the style however.

m: probably the weakest part of the ale as it seemed to linger around for a while afterwards, particularly the bitterness

d: made mostly for sipping, it was fairly drinkable. the mouthfeel took it down a notch however.

Photo of CampbellKe11
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep amber color to it. Its appearance to me even suggests lots of flavor.

S: Great smell and lots of it to me. I can get the nice aroma even as I am pouring a couple feet away from myself.

T: Great taste, very strong flavors. If you like strong beers in terms of lots of flavors, this is a good beer for you.

M: This one will stay with you for a while after you are done drinking it, and I do mean.. a while.

D: I really likes drinking it, but it is difficult for me personally to have more than two.

Photo of Brianjames16
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a nice mahogany color with some bubbles rising to the top. Lacing sticks to the glass and sticks around. Head is two finger off white that dissipates after a while. Very attractive beer overall.

S- From the aroma I get big malt and woody notes right away. I can smell a faint pine/grassy aroma from the hops in the backround.

T- I get a strong taste of malts and a hint of bitter hops initially. In the finish is where you get the high alcohol in this one. It warms the whole throat and chest on the way down. Very nice on a cold day.

M- This is a full bodied ale with somewhat of a slick mouthfeel. I get some carbonation on the tongue ass well.

D- Extremely good sipping beer. Nice warming one a night drinker for me.

Photo of Bonis
3.79/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark amber with lots of sticky foam. Great lacing. Looks like a superb beer.

S - Not what I anticipated. Lots and lots of booze along with some sweet malt characteristics. Either my nose is off or I get very little hops. The hops I do smell are only a tad floral. Not gonna lie, I get notes of barf in this one for some reason.

T - As much as I wanted to throw this one away after smelling it, I took one drink and it was amazing. A huge beer, malty and bready and hoppy and piney and fruity at the same time. The finish is bitter and dry but sticks around for the right amount of time. Just extremely complex and well balanced at the same time. I feel like it's a bit hoppy for the style, but it works for me overall.

M - An extremely thick full bodied beer. Carbonation is high, booze is noticeable and warming, but not too much.

D - Good for what it is. I wouldn't want to drink more than 3 in a night, but it is nearly 10% abv in the end.

Photo of MaxSpang
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had the 2010 bottle. This is certainly the hoppiest barleywine that I've ever had!

Great fruity flavor with lots of hops packed in, with also a light sweet licorice flavor. Lots of citrus from the hops balanced with lots of sweetness from the big body this beer has.

Exceptional beer - I loved it!

Photo of dgugliuzza
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 bottle poured into a tulip

A- Pours a burnt orange with frothy tan head. Fantastic head retention. Moderate to light carbonation.

S- Smells of floral hops and molasses. Plenty of sweet malt. Hint of toastiness at the tail end.

T- A flavor explosion of floral hoppy bitterness. The estery alcohol bite that ensues is quite pungent. Finishes with sticky sweet molasses and toasty malt.

M- Smooth and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation. The hop bitterness becomes less intense with each sip. Still very strong, however.

D- At 9.6% abv this drinks like a dream. Between the floral hops, sweet malts and toastiness, there are multiple glorious sensations on the palate. I would love to try one of these with a few years of age as I would expect the estery alcohol to mellow out some.

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

2011 bottle into a snifter

A: clear brown with a thin head.

S: Hoppy aroma upfront. Caramel malt and alcohol.

T: Strong caramel malt and hop flavor/bitterness. A bitter orange/citrus note which must come from american hops. Fruity esters. alcohol warmth that lingers in the throat

M: Full mouth feel and heavy.

D: good beer with solid/flavorful taste, but I wouldn't have two in a session because of its high intensity profile.

Photo of JednoPivoProsim
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2011. Poured 12 fl oz bottle into a rounded old fashioned. Re: the label artwork - my kids think that's Chewbacca hiding amidst the pine trees.

Appearance: Dark amber hue with a sticky thin head.

Smell: Wow! I smelled the booze before I even got the cap all the way off. Booze and sweet caramel.

Taste: Booze and piney resin. A bit of grapefruit in the background. A good balance between the bitter and the sweet, but far from bittersweet!

Mouthfeel: It's sticky and leaves a nice, warming aftertaste.

Drinkability: I don't want to overdo it, as I'm on number two, but they're going down smooth enough!

Overall: This bad boy is one boozy SOB, but unlike most alcohol-laden beers, I really like this. I guess I have to pick up a couple extras to age!

Photo of HopHead84
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


2011 batch on tap at Stone.

A: An attractive crimson amber with a frothy off white head. Adequate retention and lots of lacing.

S: Caramel malt with evident alcohol. Hops are aggressive, imparting heavy pine notes. Grapefruit flesh and lots of rind accompanies a decided floral and earthen character. Lightly sweet, though dry on the whole. Malt is more complex and evident with warming.

T: Bready and caramel malt with big pine and grapefruit rind notes. Hops are aggressive, imparting an upper moderate bitterness with evident astringency. Booze is unabashed in the flavor. The finish is dry, bitter, boozy, abrasive, and slightly astringent.

M: Upper medium in body with moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is sticky, astringent, and dry, with lots of warming.

Overall: Aggressive when fresh, and I see the value in aging this for a time, but I found it enjoyable.

Photo of CuttDeez
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep amber reds and some copper, Nice head on this beer that sticks.

S - Hops hops hops and more hops

T & M - BOOM So much hop hits you. Big and bold and it doesn't fade. Very crisp. There is some nice sweetness on the tounge on the front end as well that comes from the malt. Very good beer.

D - this one kicks with a high abv. This is a beer you want to sip and enjoy every min. of.

I got my hands on a good amount of this stuff and can't wait to age some to watch how the flavors develop.

Photo of ggilman
2.74/5  rDev -34%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2011 bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A - An inch of dense cream-colored foam sits atop a beautiful ruby colored ale.

S - Sweet caramel malt.

T - Heavy malt flavor. Almost cough syrup-like. Bitter finish, with a burnt sugar aftertaste.

M & D - Syrupy, decent carbonation.

I'm not a huge fan of Barleywines, but have come across a few that I like a lot. This isn't one of them.

Photo of jayhawk73
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bigfoot- 2011 edition.
Pours a dark crimson/brown w/ a off white 2 finger head. Smells fantastic- Sweetness, malt, and floral smells come to the forefront. The taste is fantastic, hops, malt, sweetness w/ a little floral mixed in as well. This is a great tasting beer! I imagine this one would age pretty well too, I just don't know if I'll be able to keep my hands off of them long enough to let that happen. Mouthfeel is nice, very smooth, but the hops take over on the aftertaste- and it lasts forever. Drinkability is great, but at 9.6% ABV, a couple is all you'll need. Really glad I got to finally try this beer, and I believe it lives up to the hype. I'll definitely be on the lookout for it in the future.

Photo of drinkiusmaximus
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 version

A-pours a deep amber tinted reddish..3 fingers width head wich leaves loads of sticky lacing.
S-smells of sweetness with a bitter twinge/slight roastedness from the barley.
T- Nice hop twinge across the front with a lingering sweetness, there is a nice grainy backbone that balances across the palate.
M- nice and smooth mouthfeel

D- +1 on this one everything is spot on across the board and when this warms it takes on a whole new dimension.. I suggest letting this warm for a few you will thank yourself later.


Photo of nboris827
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bigfoot 2011:

A: Pours a beautiful copper with lots of crisp tiny bubbles.

S: Citrus right up front. Very reminiscent of an IPA.

T: Hoppy upfront, but it fades to citrus.

M: Smooth, very smooth.

D: Very high! As long as the hops don't bother you, it is a very good and dangerous beer.

I am looking forward to trying the 2010 and 2009 next!

Photo of nickd717
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review transcribed from February 2009 notes on the 2009 vintage of this beer. 12oz bottle from BevMo Mountain View.

Dark reddish-copper color with a thick yellowish beige head.

Sweet malts and lots of citrusy grapefruity west coast hops on the aroma.

Starts off with big-time fruity hops and sweet malts, and finishes with warmth, bitterness, and a slight alcohol kick.

Very full-bodied and makes you feel the 9.6% ABV.

This is a really solid west coast barleywine that is not for jokers. Not recommended for beirut or flippy cup.

Photo of zoso1967
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 Bigfoot pours a stunning ruby tinged deep amber. It is surprisingly clear as I watch the bubbles trail up to the light tan head. The foam lingers on top of the liquid almost indefinitely and it leaves sheaths of lace on the sides of the glass.

The aroma is a wondrous blend of sweet malts, citrusy hops and a slight earthy pepperyness. The malt seems to be predominantly caramel like with some toffee and is given a slight fruitiness by the citrusy hops.

The fruity character of this beer is even more evident as I take the first sip. The hops are definitely present in the flavor and lend a significant amount of bitterness. Caramel, toffee and cherry flavors dance on my tongue along with grapefruit and dried apricot. The bitter end of the flavor is pretty harsh, but it also keeps things from getting too sweet. In fact, the closer I get to the end of this glass, the more I wish it was a bit sweeter.

The mouthfeel is on the fuller side of medium with a smooth quality to it. It must be noted that the smoothness disappears in the finish which is very bitter. It leaves some hoppy flavors on my tongue after swallowing.

I would say that this is a decently drinkable barleywine due to the dryness, but it is not exactly my favorite. Whilst I am all about the nice hoppy character and how it accentuates the malt, this is just a bit too bitter for me in comparison to style. Still, this is a well crafted beer and one that I will make it a point to pick up a bottle of every year.

Photo of bs870621345
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage, bought today, now I have a vertical from 08.

Pours ruby with a half inch of head that fades to a collar. Leaves a little bit of lacing down the glass.

Smell is caramel malts, a little bit of roast, citrus and pine are in there.

Taste is of caramel, citrus and pine, and alcohol on the end. Leaves a warming feeling throughout the body.

Mouthfeel is full and nicely carbonated.

Drinkability is good, alcohol is a little too much at this point.

For a barleywine, this is very fresh. Needs a few months and I'm interested in doing a vertical very soon.

Photo of sjverla
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nose: Raisins and molasses. Alcohol tartness. Big, earthy (and spicy) hops. It smells massive.

Appearance: A vigorous pour kicks up about an inch of off-white head that sticks like crazy. Deep ruby-amber almost the color of maple syrup shines clearly.

Taste: Big and aggressive. Dark malts and fistfuls of hops. Ends hot and makes you squint. Incredibly complex. Initial taste of golden raisin is quickly pummeled away under bitter and herbal hop gardens. Chewy and satisfying.

Overall: Aptly named. This beer is a beast.

Photo of grittybrews
4.41/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle opened 02/2011 (into the cellar with the rest of 'em).

Poured a bronze-amber into a tulip with excellent clarity and a quick-receding film of eggshell head. Citrus-dominated aroma with biscuit and caramel notes underneath.

Moderate carbonation and a full, ulta-creamy mouthfeel. Again, big blast of grapefruit and pine up front followed by toasty toffee sweetness, a little bit of dark fruit, and an even more astringent pine bitterness on the finish.

Alcohol was well-masked and this was an easy-drinkin' pleasure to consume fresh. Good balance between the sweeter elements and that biting, hoppy finish. So far I can only compare this bottle to one with a year of age, and the biggest difference I noticed was the presence of the hops up front, whereas the 2010 bottle had an initial toffee/vanilla/woody sweetness before the bitterness took over.

Photo of VMWhelan
2.38/5  rDev -42.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

2011 12oz bottle into Sierra Nevada tumbler.

Pours a reddish copper with a two finger off white head.

Smell is very floral with some piney hops and just a bit of malt sweetness. Getting a potpourri of sorts.

Taste is very bitter. Getting a lot of the same potpourri that I got in the scent, as well as some very piney hops. Alcohol is very noticeable.

Mouthfeel is medium with high carbonation.

Drinkability is low. This may be better with age, but it's way too harsh fresh. I'm going to age the other one that I bought for a year or two before I try this one again.

Photo of hdofu
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don't think Sierra Nevada brew anything that isn't hop-slovsive which is a good thing. This beer pours copper with a huge beige head. It smells like a hoppy beer. In its first taste is a noticable spicyness that has a finishing flavor of hoppy bitter bliss. Its remarkeble given it's almost 10% ABV there is no noticeable burn (which is interesting in a beer like this, the ones in the 20 range that don't burn are frightening). I could down a couple of these no problem, in fact I did last night.

Photo of AleWatcher
4.06/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This beer was opened and tasted without any knowledge of what it was-- as per the Blind Beers BIF...

Ok-- first blind beer from Nlmartin. Thanks man!
Poured into New Belgium Globe glass

Poured from a stubby little founders-like bottle... Immediately I'm thinking Nackwoods Bastard. A rustic, murky, muddy red. Very small head. Very little lacing. The aroma of booziness is wafting up-- I'm definitely thinking this was barrel aged...

This smells so familiar. I swear I've had this before. There is a big sweetness-- burnt sugar, caramel, raisins?, boozy sweetness that reminds me of red wine?, toffee... Wow, a complex bouquet with tons going on...

The taste has some of everything i got in the nose plus sweetness and a port/sherry quality. There is a ruby red grapefruit bite towards the finish. Just a hint of something I can't quite put my finger on, perhaps... Wet paper? If it is, it is a VERY slight hint of oxidation...

This must be a Barleywine... And a good one at that. Judging by the bottle, I'm guessing this is a Bigfoot... But it isn't fresh. It must be aged.
Just miraculously good. I have this in my snifter and I am enjoying it quite a bit as I watch "Taken" on HBO.

The body is slightly less carbonated than I like, but it isn't unpleasant-- it sips like a brandy.

--reveals bottle to be 2006 Bigfoot!
Very nice!
I don't know why, but I could only think Founders the whole way... At least until I was sure it was a barleywine!
A -3
S -4.5
T -4
M -3
D -4.5
Thanks a lot for a great start (to a BIF I'm not officially not in!).

Photo of vkv822
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle into tulip glass.

A - Great amber orange with a light trail of carbonation and a foamy, billowy toffee colored head with great retention and nice lacing.

S - Resiny pine malts at first, with some malty caramel notes as well.

T - More resiny hops, with some light citric backing. The malts are again of caramel and biscuity malts.

M - Full bodied and active, yet smooth carbonation.

D - Very drinkable and enjoyable, I can't wait to see what a few years of age does to this to really balance it out.

Photo of JimLetson
3.81/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - I love the colour of this beer. The red copper sits underneath a billowy, delicate off-white head. Two fingers thick, it recedes fairly quickly, leaving lacing in rings.

Smell - a combination of wine smells, malt sweetness, and a fairly strong piny resinous odour. The alcohol comes through in a good whiff, too.

Taste - the very first thing is caramel. Not a caramel-like taste, but as if I had just put a chewy caramel on the tip of my tongue. That moves quickly into a roasty bitterness, but this is overdone, and it goes from there to a burnt taste as I swish it around a bit. The hops come on strong with the burn, and linger long after the mouthful is gone. The alcohol doesn't come through as strongly as I thought it would, but the burnt taste is off-putting, and not quite what I expected. There's some sweetness, too, but again, it isn't as pronounced as I expected it would be. It's mainly hops and the burnt taste, though the latter does fade a bit as you continue to drink it.

Mouthfeel - there is a lot of bubble to this beer. The prickly feel lends itself strongly to the burnt and pine flavours, and I think that it would seem like a rounder beer if it were dialed down a little. There's not a real drying out of the mouth while you drink it, but it doesn't coat the tongue and cheeks, either. From that perspective, it finds a good middle ground. Medium body.

Drinkability - not bad. I could have another one. The fact that my mouth doesn't feel coated with it after the swallow is nice.

The hops are overwhelming, at this point, but I think it has potential if you let it sit a while. It's probably a good one to hold onto and drink in a year or two.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,578 ratings.