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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.

6,693 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,693
Reviews: 2,888
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 320
Gots: 1,325 | FT: 56
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: 6,693 | Reviews: 2,888 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of jmich24
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip

A: Huge four finger off white head. Rich copper with dark red hues. Crystal clear. Outstanding sticky lacing.
S: Citrus hops and carmel malt, touch of booziness. First thing that comes to mind is DFH 90 min IPA.
T: Tastes like it smells. Lots of malty goodness to start, finishes with a very bitter citrus burst.
M: Thick, creamy and smooth. Nice lingering bitterness.
D: Drinkability is very good despite the high ABV.

This was an awesome beer. I planned to cellar a few but I think I may like them better fresh.

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

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: copper orange with a one finger off white head

smell: malts, hops,

taste: sweet malts, hops, dry bitter finish

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body, bitter

drinkability: would love to try some of this aged so it can mellow out some.



Photo of Blanco
3.33/5  rDev -19.8%
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.

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.

Photo of djaeon
3.38/5  rDev -18.6%
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;)

Photo of Bogforce
3/5  rDev -27.7%
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

Photo of ngeunit1
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Photo of Jaycase
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

Photo of AJacob81
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

Photo of Sachsenfreude
3.24/5  rDev -21.9%
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.

Photo of VelvetExtract
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | 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.
(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.
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.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,693 ratings.