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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.

6,210 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,210
Reviews: 2,807
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 259
Gots: 1,081 | FT: 37
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: 6,210 | Reviews: 2,807 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jrallen34


4.08/5  rDev -1.7%

I drank this 1994 verion into a tasting glass at EBF.

The beer pours light brown with a nice tan head, retention and lacing down.

The aroma is medium in strength with some nice balanced complexity. There is some caramel, tea, dark fruits, and a nice hoppy finish.

The taste is much stronger than the aroma, and a little off base to me. Its is much more bitterer than you think it would be and that really dominates. There is a little sweetness but it doesn't come off balanced enough.

02-22-2010 23:15:32 | More by jrallen34
Photo of kiddynamite920


4.22/5  rDev +1.7%

2010 Bottle, figured it's better to review fresh. Have one put away for a year or so. Poured into a snifter.

A: A very dark, brownish copper. Big billowy head. A bit of lacing already happening. Has all the looks of an nice English Barleywine. Would think this would be a malt forward BW, but we all know that is not the case.

S: Big hop hit right off the bat. Good citrus zest aroma. Late on the nose comes the malts and some brown sugar. Very nice change of pace. Alcohol is still present, but nowhere near overwhelming. Could imagine this dying off very nicely with age. Very surprising floral hop aroma. Well balanced.

T: Hops bitter the malts perfectly. The hop use is is for mostly aroma in this beer I suppose. The slight bitterness brings out all the sweet characteristics of this beer. Vanilla and caramel come forward. The malts make their appearance. Caramel and roasty malts. Just sweet enough, not a cloying malt bomb like some other barleywines. Bitterness comes in the form of some citrus peel and some piney hops. Floral hops stay with you after each sip. Very delicate balance between the hops and malts for this BW.

M: Feels like it's going to be syrupy as it hits the tip of the tongue, but it rushes around the mouth as you sip. Hits each and every tastebud and hangs around with its hop bitterness that has your mouth feeling almost like you've had a very tannin rich wine.

D: Very easy sipping for a barleywine. Usually they take me 30 minutes to an hour to consume. This one may be going down a bit too fast. I'll let it warm for a bit. Fantastic barleywine! Can't wait to try an aged one.

02-22-2010 04:46:53 | More by kiddynamite920
Photo of farrago

New Jersey

3.4/5  rDev -18.1%

Close to three finger head with a moderately aggressive pour, light tan in color, more lacey foam with larger bubbles interspersed here and there, very slow to dissolve, very sticky lacing, wants to be the last man standing at the party. Mildly cloudy amber red in color the burnt orange hues more apparent along the rims and beer glass bottom. Honey and cane sugar in the nose, a touch boozy, candied orange peels, uncommonly grainy for the beer style, floral as well, suggestion of apricot or peach fruit. Full-bodied, however, the foaminess of the carbonation only increases its density, to the verge of becoming ponderous. The orange, grapefruit citrus more edgy here and the herbaceousness rises quite a bit. For a barleywine, this is a total hopfest, any caramel or honey accents way in the background. The apricot, nectarine fruit also recedes. Hence, what the hell is sweet here? The weight and viscosity is there, I'm just repeating myself in saying that this lacks the flavor profile of the vast majority of barleywine beers I have had in the past.

02-22-2010 02:51:02 | More by farrago
Photo of ppoitras


4.4/5  rDev +6%

Growler obtained via Growling at the Moon from khiasmus. 2007 Vintage. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" dense beige head over the clear orangey brown brew. Head recedes very slowly, with heavy coating lace. Aroma is sweet, with ample piney hops. Taste starts sweet, but quickly cedes the conn to the overpowering pine hops. Hops character powers on through to the close, with ample bitterness and a warming close. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both great.
Excellent brew, and really hasn't lost a single step in the cellaring of the keg for the past two years.

3/29/04 - 4/4/4.5/4/4
German-style refillable growler filled at Oliver's Beverage, Albany, NY on 3/27/04, begun to enjoy on 3/29/04. (I have a feeling this will not be a one-session growler...)

First imperial pint glass pours with a HUGE 3+" head, which was very dense, and probably all my fault for using the hard pour that most growlers seem to require. Head shrunk down to a manageable 1/2" level after a few minutes, leaving lace, lace, everywhere, all the way up to the tippy top of the glass. Deep copper in hue. Very strong aroma of hops, and alcohol isn't hiding very well in there, either. Taste is upfront barleywine, mostly malt and alcohol, with the aftertaste of the ample hops that were smelled originally. This brew has an interesting symphony of flavors working here, and is to me quite a show of craftmanship. A bit overpowering to me, the combination of large amounts of hops and alcohol, but I can certainly appreciate their efforts.

02-22-2010 02:12:50 | More by ppoitras
Photo of stoutfiend27

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

2010 poured into a snifter

a-deep ruby colored with a huge three finger off white head..when it fell it left nice chunky lacing everywhere...carbonation is more bubbly than i remember on this one..

s-bitter piny hops step up front on this and assault the nose....a little harsh up front...the caramel malt creeps in the middle...this years finishes a little more bitter than years past..the citrus hops step in near the end... the hop boquet is wonderful on this one...

t-starts off with some crisp citrus hops...then a caramel and toffee note come to play....theres something about sierra nevadas yeast strain the always seems to play a part in the middle of their brews that makes the hops or something a tad astringent....but anyway...this one finishes on a bitter piny hop ride

m-a tad thin for the style and i remember last years being a bit more full bodied...but it is acceptable..the low level of carbonation is nice...the resiny hop oils stick around for a while...

d-could have a couple in a sitting and enjoy it...the bitterness would get tiresome after that....

look forward to it every year...the best from sn imo...

02-22-2010 01:49:02 | More by stoutfiend27
Photo of zdk9


4.1/5  rDev -1.2%

which subsides into beautiful strong meshes of lacing on the glass.

S- Good amounts of alcohol. Nice caramel notes. And then lots of hops- piney and touches of lemon.

T- Way more hops on the tongue than the nose. A really good amount of flavor overall- caramel, pine, very pithy grapefruit.

M- Bitter but the perfect amount for this beer. I'm not disliking the bitterness at all.

D- I could definitely drink more of these- is that a good measure of drinkability? I'm aging one for future deliciousness, but I'll be purchasing this beer again I'm sure.

02-22-2010 01:48:57 | More by zdk9
Photo of Alf7247


4.45/5  rDev +7.2%

2010 Served in a 22oz snifter.

A- Dark, brown/red/copper, 1 finger tan/off-white head that went away quickly leaving a center cluster of bubbles and an outline around the glass, thin to no lacing.

S- lots o hops! Alcohol well hidden, a little bready, light malt, after some warming a hint of fruits came through.

T- Awesome bitter hops! Some sweetness shows, but more bitter on the finish, some very light spice, very long finish with a bit of raisiny/molasses.

M- Very thin compared to other barleywines such as Mirror Mirror or Old Numbskull.

D- Very drinkable with some good warming.

Loved it! I could not leave it alone.

02-21-2010 10:40:22 | More by Alf7247
Photo of jeffthecheff


4.33/5  rDev +4.3%

From a bottle into a tulip glass. Bottled on the 351st day of 2009.

Bigfoot pours with a beautiful brownish red color and great clarity. The head is a solid 2 fingers at first and has a slightly tan color. It has a solid consistency and when it finally recedes it still has a thick cap and fantastic lacing.

The aroma is hoppier than I remember it. It has a sharp and raw aroma of pine, bitter grapefruit, and some wood. I thought "gritty" was a good term to describe it. There is also a touch of caramel malt and booze. This is all coming in with great strength.

This might be the most bitter beer I've ever had, and I've had some of the hoppiest from the west coast. That is the biggest character here. It's raw and a bit harsh, reminding me of the peel of grapefruit. There is some slight caramel coating, and a very big, smooth sweetness that is similar to rock candy. A real dessert type of flavor.

The mouthfeel is incredibly creamy, especially on the sips with the head. It manages to keep a big but creamy and smooth mouthfeel with a slight burn on the finish.

Very tasty and surprisingly easy to drink. It went down a bit quick and made me a bit sleepy. And I'm not talking about just your typical weekend nap.

2007 vintage: At 3 years, the aroma has a slightly herbal hop note, wood, cigar, and slightly sour dark fruit. The taste is super sweet and syrupy with a mouth coating, caramelly finish. It's still very rough and very rich in character.

02-21-2010 04:19:02 | More by jeffthecheff
Photo of jpro

South Carolina

4/5  rDev -3.6%

This big ol' barleywine (2010) pours a deep amber with a nice and rocky off white head that leaves lots of sticky, webby lace. Aroma is super-hoppy with about equal amounts pine and citrus - there is also a nice caramel malt sweetness. Taste is a blast to the palate - initial caramel sweetness followed by the hop plethora, which seems to be more piney, but the grapefruit bitterness is also in there - finishes with a touch of alcohol. Full-bodied with a zingy mouthfeel. Quite enjoyable - interested in trying one with some age on it.

02-21-2010 03:00:18 | More by jpro
Photo of jmerloni


4.33/5  rDev +4.3%

A - Clear beautiful rich and bold orange amber with huge head, with good lacing, and ridiculous retention.

S - Just awesome. Honey malt with lemon rind, earthy grass, and maybe some dark fruits.

T - Phenomenal. One of the greatest tastes I've ever experienced. Follows the nose pretty close, the head coats each sip very nicely. It has one of the GREATEST all time bitter aftertastes I've ever tasted. It lingers in your throat and it's quite invigorating. Extremely resinous.

M - Nice and balanced. Not too full but not thin at all. Kind of weirdly inconsistent however.

D - With the ABV, you can probably only have 2 or 3 responsibly. But it would also be a desecration to this beer to ever have more than that. This shit is just fantastic. Maybe the best beer I've ever had.

02-20-2010 04:09:30 | More by jmerloni
Photo of dismal


4.22/5  rDev +1.7%

My first Bigfoot, actually my first Barleywine so I'm kinda excited. Pours a dark red, copperish color with a small white head that disappears but not entirely. Leaves some ok lacing down the glass. The smell is slightly hoppy, malty, and kind of fruity with a hint of caramel. Not as hoppy in the smell as I was expecting but those piney hops are there. Taste wise it's pretty good. The piney hops stick out more to me in the taste than the smell, I was able to pick up the hoppier taste of the fresh Bigfoot I've heard a lot about. Other than that there is a sweet malt flavor and in the end it bites with some alcohol but it's barely apparent. As it's my first Barelywine I wasn't quite sure what to expect so maybe I'm still trying to figure it out. Overall though I like it. I can taste the alcohol but it isn't a problem at all. I'll probably pick up another sixer just to drink and then age the rest I have. Can't wait to see what this is like with some age on them.

02-19-2010 07:17:02 | More by dismal
Photo of pyrohsmok


4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

I'll amend this review to be more professional but never have I been so compelled to rate a beer since Ruination IPA. This beer is a credit to the style. I was never impressed with Sierra Nevada until now. SLIGHTLY sweet malty thick canvas sets the stage for GLORIOUS resinous hops to paint a picture of grapefruits and pine. A feast for the nose as well as the palate. I would drink this over any DIPA/IPA any day. This is just amazing for a "Barleywine style Ale". I'm.. I'm just blown away. I tried to objectively taste an American Pale Ale after a palate cleansing but I can't. This beer might stick with me for days like Ruination or Stone IPA.

Bottom Line. Pick one up at least. Try it. Be amazed.

02-19-2010 06:18:51 | More by pyrohsmok
Photo of techfed87


3.8/5  rDev -8.4%

Pours a big, semi-golden head.

Colors range from dark ambers to shades of gold around the edges of the glass.

Smell is heavy on the hops. Smells strongly like a bitter citric fruit, almost like a grapefruit I should say.

First sip is definitely hoppy. The bitter grapefruit that came off in its scent is present and up front on the pallet. There is a subtle sweetness to this, however, unlike other barleywines, this is far from sweet. It's got a certain sharpness to it that isn't usually present in barleywines. It almost tastes more IPA-like than anything else.

This beer is certainly an interesting one; and while it didn't turn out to be what I was expecting it to, I can definitely appreciate it for what it did.

02-19-2010 03:59:44 | More by techfed87
Photo of TheJollyHop


4.4/5  rDev +6%

2009 Vintage poured into a tulip glass.

Dark brown mahogany with a thick, tan head (two fingers). Well laced and with good retention.

Aroma of sweet grain, burnt raisins, caramel, rum soaked fruits, and a very light pine scent. Faint alcohol; fruity, sweet, and syrupy.

Heavy sweetness with a taste that mimics the nose quite well. Building hop bitterness idles and meshes with the sweet finish and alcohol heat at the swallow. Sweet, but mot cloyingly so. Smooth and not boozy.

Medium/high carbonated and full bodied. Syrupy and thick on the tongue; just enough weight. Very drinkable, albeit dangerously so, but intense malt character is a limiting factor,

02-18-2010 15:43:56 | More by TheJollyHop
Photo of AdamGarcia


4.35/5  rDev +4.8%

2010 vintage

A: Pours a deep copper with a nice fluffy head. Super sticky lace holding on for dear life as the pillowy head dissipates.

S: Wow. I could smell the resiny hop aroma as soon as I cracked the bottle. In a blind scent test I would have difficulty distinguishing Bigfoot from an EastCoast syle 2X IPA. Once the beer hits the glass a wonderful smell fills the air. Very aromatic beer.

T: Outstanding. Opens up with a nice strong dose of bitter and that is quickly balanced by huge malty backbone. Loads of pine in this one...the combination of pine/juniper and a little heat screams gin to me and that's just fine 'cause I love gin. Very herbal and medicinal.

M: Good carbonation level. I'm very surprised at how dry this finishes. Not much aftertaste.

D: About as drinkable as a Barleywine should or could be. I could definitely drink another one of these.

Very impressed. Loads of hops in this BW and I'm diggin it. I have another bottle that I'm going to hold on to until next year, I'm anxious to observe the changes. I can't think of a better beer to serve as a nightcap on a snowy evening.

02-18-2010 04:31:36 | More by AdamGarcia
Photo of thedindaniel


3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

2010 vintage poured into a tulip

Beer looks wonderful, pours a dark amber not quite clear but not very hazy. Head is a slight yellowish color that recedes but leaves beautiful lacing throughout the drinking of this beer.

Smells sweet like caramel and the hop aroma is present as well but what really jumps out is the scent of alcohol, its almost intimidating.

I love hoppy barley-wines but this might be a bit too bitter on the front of the tongue and follows through all the way to the end of each sip. The beer feels to lack complexity at the moment. It isn't bad at all but I actually seem to miss the sweetness found in many other barleywines. I like the cleanliness and carbonation, as many other barleywines come off as being a bit flat and too syrupy.

Beer is a bit of a chore to work through. Would like to try it again after letting it age for a few months.

02-18-2010 04:04:06 | More by thedindaniel
Photo of mdfb79

New York

4.05/5  rDev -2.4%

From notes, drank on 2/16/10. Year 2010.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Poured a dark amber color with about 1 finger of white foam and a little carbonation. Looks great.

s - Lots of fruity hops, as well as some pine. Some orange is evident.

t - Again tastes of some fruity hops and pine. Alcohol is definitely evident, especially in the after taste.

m - Full bodied but goes down easier than you'd expect. A little hot.

d - Pretty good barleywine but gotta drink this one slow. Alcohol is definitely evident, but still a great smell and taste. Got one bottle of 2010 left so I think I'm going to cellar it and see what happens.


EDIT on 09/27/12: I've had this many times over the last 3 years and actually just had the 2010 vintage on tap tonigh at the Pony Bar in NYC on the UES. It was drinking great. I've found this is a great beer with 2-3 years on it to let the alcohol fade a tiny bit. Bumping up my ratings.

02-18-2010 03:51:12 | More by mdfb79
Photo of JordanEllwanger


4.28/5  rDev +3.1%

Dark copper amber color. A lacy cream white head and sediment that seems suspended in the glass like fruit in a jello mold. Smells grainy and hopy. A very grainy upfront taste with a bitter hop after swell. There is a punch there with the hops, a very dry punch. A nice barley wine, not too over bearing but still present.

02-18-2010 03:40:51 | More by JordanEllwanger
Photo of PBoegel

New York

4.38/5  rDev +5.5%

2010 Bottle poured on February 16, 2010.

Here I am reviewing a beer that I first had at the Waterfront Alehouse in 1997.

I find the appearance of Bigfoot to be nothing short of perfect, deep amber with brilliant clarity and a light tan dense head.

The aromas are pine, brown sugar, baked apple pie, light notes of chocolate and shortbread.

The taste is well balanced with a tangy bitterness but ample sweet malt and alcohol to blend into a perfect finish.

The mouthfeel can at times be a bit big if not cloying, but for a barleywine this is a minor drawback.

I find the beer drinkable, but I score this on the basis of how much you can take in an evening. More than one bigfoot in a session is not appealing to my palate.

Still to me this is the standard for an American Barleywine, with balance and a nod to a hop kick when young.

02-18-2010 00:10:31 | More by PBoegel
Photo of hopsbreath


3.95/5  rDev -4.8%

Big, complex, extremely viscous almost syrupy. I tasted dark fruit and rounded malts. A little hoppy for the style...but I liked it! The booze was pretty evident. Slightly astringent alcohol burn should become more muted with age. The Today Show says its bad for your gut but I don't care! Higly reccomended.

02-17-2010 23:50:19 | More by hopsbreath
Photo of StoutHouse


4.22/5  rDev +1.7%

Besides the price in my area this beer is one of the best barley wines I had. It has a very rich smell without the harsh alcohol taste. Texture of the beer is slightly heavy and almost perfect. Best taste at room temperature(73 degrees) in a snifter 3/4 filled with a medium head. Would definitely be my choice for a first timer.

02-17-2010 20:53:38 | More by StoutHouse
Photo of AgentZero


3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

A - My familiarity with Barleywine's is not very good, but this poured much darker than I would have imagined. Bubbled up with a small head (this bottle was a 2003 so the carbonation was somewhat diminished) and still managed to leave a bit of lacing on the sides.

S - Very strong pine notes, more what I would expect from an IPA, but it had an interesting malty backbone.

T - Creamy with nice hops, a little caramel comes in to give an interesting mix. The hops are just slightly too piney for me, but not bad.

M - Light bodied, could use more carbonation but guessing because this was an old bottle it was reduced.

D - Not super drinkable, but could do more than one.

02-17-2010 20:19:18 | More by AgentZero
Photo of JEdmund


4.6/5  rDev +10.8%

Dark garnet. So dark it's hard to tell the clarity. Pleasing color though looks formidable. Good head cap sits complacently and leaves nice lacing along the way.

Fruity, juicy hops make up most of the aroma. They're not as pronounced as I expected; not up to the level of Celebration Ale. Some doughy, biscuity malts are faintly detectable. Orange, cranberry, strawberry, raspberry notes coming out.

Taste & Body
Initial sip surprises me by how melded and behaved the flavors are. I remember this before as being assertively hopped and it's not striking me that way. The finish reveals the weight of this beer as a slight sting tickles my nose. Silky oily texture and full-bodied with a lower level of carbonation than lower strength beers. There's a sharp bitterness that cuts through at the end and fights on my tongue for dominance over the doughy sweet malts.

An extremely drinkable young barley wine. Maybe this year's is even more balanced as I remember it being extremely hoppy in years passed. Wonderful stuff.

02-17-2010 16:26:37 | More by JEdmund
Photo of Duff27


4.05/5  rDev -2.4%

2010 bottle

A- Pours an amber/brownish-red color with a two-fingered light-brown head. The lacing left behind is incredible.

S- Very piney.

T- A sippin' brew for sure. Drink this one over a 45 minute to an hour period. Tastes really come out as it warms. More pine/citrus hops with some fruitiness.

M- Full bodied. Alcoholic warmth. Goes down fairly easy.

D/O- Call it good after one of these. Probably the easiest barleywine style beer to find and that's a good thing folks. Going to leave 3 out of the 6 pack to age at least a few years. Also aging a 2009 bottle.

02-17-2010 03:33:39 | More by Duff27
Photo of matty


3.4/5  rDev -18.1%

Amber colored beer with a very slowly fading head.Aroma is mainly hoppy.Taste is hops,grapefruit,caramel,toffee and alcohol.A pretty decent beer that goes down relatively smooth.This is something that is nice to try at least once.I beleive I would purchase this again.

02-16-2010 11:49:44 | More by matty
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,210 ratings.