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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.

6,048 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,048
Reviews: 2,804
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 243
Gots: 1,043 | 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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,048 | Reviews: 2,804 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of johnmichael712

North Carolina

4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is the fourth Bigfoot that I've had from the 2009 vintage, and I decided that it's high time I review this absolutely beastly barley wine.

Appearance: Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into a nonic glass. This beer pours a beautiful mix of orange, copper, amber, and red and is exceptionally clear. The head is a dark khaki/sand color with a stiff, sticky appearance and it leaves an absolutely huge amount of lace behind on the glass. So much lace, in fact, that my glass is barely translucent by the time I finish.

Smell: The nose of this beer has a very rich and overwhelming maltiness that resonates with strong notes of caramel and sweet malts. There is also a strong citrusy hop aroma in the nose, and the C-hops (Cascade, Chinook, and Centennial in this particular beer) are definitely on display in this one. There are also faint hints of mustiness and earthiness, and this is one fabulous smelling barley wine.

Taste: Bigfoot has a flavor as big as his footprint, and this beer is well balanced with intense hop bitterness and equally intense, yet rich, malt flavor. The malts are what start this beer out, with a sweet and syrupy taste that has very strong notes of caramel and toasted malt. After that, however, this beer is all about the hops, and the C-hops that I mentioned earlier come rushing in with much ado. The flavor moves to an intense leafy bitterness with strong notes of lemongrass, grapefruit, tangerine, and bitter orange peel, and this insane hoppiness leads to a finish that is obstinately long and has a prominent alcohol taste along with a hoppy bitterness that leaves me swearing I can taste the hop leaves.

Mouthfeel: This beer is exceptionally full-bodied and chewy, and it has a luscious, velvety texture that is hard not to love. The alcohol is there, but it doesn't reach a solventy or hot mouthfeel. There is also a very light amount of carbonation, and this beer has one incredible mouthfeel.

Drinkability: This beer is definitely a nightcap, and not something I ever see myself beginning a night of drinking with. The high ABV combined with the exceptionally long finish make this beer a definite sipper, and the hoppyness makes this beer a definite palate-destroyer. Regardless, this is one highly smooth and delicious beer, and I've had no problem finishes the 12 ounces of this sample.

Notes: Michael Jackson called this beer "perhaps the world's hoppiest barley wine", and although I haven't tried very many barleywines I am inclined to agree. This is definitely not a beer for the faint of heart or the faint of palate, and if you haven't gotten your palate accustomed to the deliciousness that lies within intensely hoppy beers this probably isn't a good starting point. To those that are ready, however, Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot is a rich, thick, and exceptionally flavorful and full-bodied barley wine that is hard not to love. A real ass-kicker of a beer, Bigfoot is something to be sipped and savored.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2009 18:22:22 | More by johnmichael712
Photo of Brenden


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

The color is a very deep brown that shines copper in the light. Maybe it's just my particular bottle, but once the head had gotten to about one finger of thick foam, it never dissipated. Sticky lacing is left everywhere in its wake. The smell is complex. Great, pure hops are the first thing on my nose. Grapefruit and pine with a pure fruit presence and lightly sweet malt. The taste is every bit as complex. Hops bitterness is strong but the flavors it brings out are glorious. Underlying is the malt, adding a bit of caramel sweetness. There's a certain earthiness to this brew as well, and light biscuit toastiness with some subtle fruit flavors round it out. One of the most balanced brews I've ever tasted. I can't stress the purity of the hops; I'm picturing raw, young, green buds right off the plant. By the by, this claims 9.6% ABV and I can barely tell as an aftertaste. Impressive. There's nothing remotely astringent about this brew. Drink this now and live.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2009 15:42:16 | More by Brenden
Photo of Lambstrong


4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark amber, almost mahogany in color. Yellow head that quickly dissipates.

Aroma: Nice floral aroma. With barley wines I'm used to an upfront sweet smell mixes with phenol notes. I like this already.

Taste: Right away I got the sweet barley wines taste. However, the bold hops used meshed beautifully with this ale. I really enjoyed the intermingling of the sweet and bitterness. Two big thumbs up!

Mouthfeel: Not over carbonated which is appropriate for this style.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2009 03:26:22 | More by Lambstrong
Photo of cdkrenz


4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My good friend Rob Hamilton, aka drizzam, gave me a 2001 edition. He offered it up back in September 2008. He had it stored in his fridge since he bought it way back when. I kept it at about 58 degrees since I inherited it.

Today, with the birthday of the late Michael Jackson (The Beer Hunter) I was informed that a world-wide toast was taking place. Whom was it that informed me? Well, it was drizzam. He also informed me that the Beer Hunter was a big fan of the Bigfoot. He suggested I pop the top on the 2001, so I did. I am amazed!

I didn't think this brew could actually get better. My only wish is that I had 3 more of this Bigfoot's brothers to share... with myself. (CK, March 27, 2009)

$7.99/Six Pack
JR Liquor
Stevens Point, Wisconsin

Appearance - An excellent pour with fast action and multiple shades of auburn. The hazy auburn turns light inside out offering a golden glow. The frothy white 1.5 inch head lingers temptingly. As the head thins it leaves a trail of white lace along the glass. This is a beautiful beer!

Smell - The fruity aroma was instantly noticeable as I poured the beer even a foot from nose. It has a deep ripened fruity scent that it very nice. The hoppy smell is also very noticeable and the two fragrances compliment one another very well.

Taste - A taste of fall. There is a fruity beginning and then a bitter finish. The one or two seconds of sweet fruit flow into the hops but the hoppiness really overwhelms the beer at the end. If it finished with a little less bite, it would be better than good.

Mouthfeel - This beer is smooth as silk. I'm so impressed with the way this beer feels, I wanna sleep with it.

~ This ale was made for the most pure enjoyment that anyone can have with a beer. If you wanna sit back and relax with an excellent Sierra Nevada I suggest you invite the Sasquatch. And for $7.99/sixer, you can't go wrong.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2009 23:40:02 | More by cdkrenz
Photo of projectflam86


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

A- 2009 poured slowly into a snifter. I had refrigerated initially but allowed to warm for a half hour before pouring. One of the most beautiful brews I have ever seen. Deep scarlet/amber color with dancing bubbles that look so inviting. A nice creamy tan head appears thick and stays around for the entire experience.

S- Almost too complex to pinpoint. The nose starts out with earthy hops and piney fruit scents (mostly grapefruit and apple?) Malt and some alcohol smells can be detected as well.

T- This one has a bit of a kick! Strong initial hops give way to a wonderful cascade of earth and fruit flavors. The alcohol is very detectable but isn't bothersome. The malt gives a nice sweet balance but the hops know who is boss. Ester and citric flavors are more pronounced as the beer warms.

M- Incredibly smooth full body with a nice amount of carbonation.

D- I have to admit, this is my first barleywine, but now I know what all of the fuss is about. Bigfoot is a must try. This brew demands respectful sips and the high ABV will make you pay if you don't.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2009 01:31:43 | More by projectflam86
Photo of Bobo77


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

Suprised to see this around here but Friar Tuck's had it. Poured a thick dark brown body with a light brown lumpy head. We are off to a good start.

Smell- I am very surprised, though I shouldn't be because it comes from Sierra Nevada the purveyors of ultra-hoppy West Coast beers, but this Barleywine smells citrusy!

Taste-After having tried a few different Barleywines several years ago, one being Brooklyn's Monster Ale, I had decided that it was a style best avoided as it just seemed to me to be a syrupy malty mess. But back then I also didn't like hops and since my tastes have since changed, and also since I discovered food pairings such as cheese with beer, I thought that I would go ahead and give this style another chance as well. Hops come out way in front, they are the first thing and last thing you will take note of in this beer. Malt is there but is subordinated by the citrusy West Coast hop domination. Don't get me wrong, you do taste the malt but much in the same way that Wasabi comes through when eating sushi (at least when the Wasabi is fresh) the hops come through. This makes this beer much more interesting. As I finish another sip, my lips are sticking together from the oily hops.

As for pairing this with food my brother and I knocked back a couple of these with some Stilton that I picked up at Global Foods in Kirkwood and the two complimented each other very well (Gorgonzola would work too.) Just remember, strong beer = strong cheese.

Something else I noticed, after knocking back a couple of these, you will feel a nice buzz as Bigfoot packs a mighty 8+% ABV.

Mouthfeel is rich and thick, this is without a doubt a sipping beer and definately not for the novice beer drinker. It may be one that a beer drinker has to work their way up to like I have.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2009 23:16:17 | More by Bobo77
Photo of rwdkosak


3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle at cellar temp produced a short-lived head but exceptional color. Dark amber, clear and very much wine-like when light shining through the glass.

Smell is average, some floral and malt detected but nothing huge on the nose but still pleasant and certainly no hint of 9+% ABV.

Taste is better up front and on the finish though something about the bitterness in the middle distracts me though not at all a deal breaker; this is a very drinkable beer.

Overall a great example of the style. Especially given it's available in most local stores, served up in six-packs.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2009 00:21:06 | More by rwdkosak
Photo of BirdFlu

New Jersey

4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark amber with thick, foamy white head and ruby highlights when light passes through the glass.. Smells strongly of hops, floral, piney and with some candy-like sweetness just behind it. The flavor follows the smell in that the hops are at the forefront in a big way, to the extent even of an IPA on the first few sips. But there is a sweetness behind it which grows as the beer opens up a bit and settles towards room temperature.. This isnt so much a malty sweetness but sugary and a bit fruity. Its very complex but its sort of a journey (like searching for a sasquatch) in that you have to search for it a bit. The mouth is moderate with sort of a full body and prominent, crisp carbonation. Its refreshing though it almost approaches syrup-like quality in the sweetness. This brings down its drinkability a bit. Overall its great, but its very "big" in a lot of ways.. the floral aspect is really out at the forefront and I could stand the hop character brought down a pinch, but it becomes much more complex as you get through it.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2009 03:27:07 | More by BirdFlu
Photo of ThePeskyDingo


4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 2009 version into a standard pint glass. 1.5 finger light tan head. Dark amber red color with some carbonation. Nice lacing on the glass

Smells Malty, with hops in the background.

Tastes hoppy and malty, with citrus flavors. Alcohol is hidden pretty well.

Medium to low carbonation, leaves my mouth dry and clean.

Easy to drink for me, but i love hoppy beers. It goes down easy, and the taste lingers for a while which is nice.

The 2008 version tasted side by side with the 2009 version there is a big difference.

The '08 is hazier than the '09.

the smell has less hops in it, and more malt.

The taste is also less hoppy, and more malty. the -08 has less citrus flavors as well.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2009 02:38:57 | More by ThePeskyDingo
Photo of beerorRIP

New Jersey

4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 bottle - poured into a clear pint glass, yields a 1 finger head which hangs for a while and dissipates to a constant thin head. a real nice amber color, with a fairly clear body and small bubbles racing to the top to maintain that head. nice lacing.

the smell is of hops, malt, and a bit of esters / alcohol. get a whiff of those hops, even after a year they haven't gone away completely. a bit of the caramel malts, and then some fruity esters mixed with a bit of alcohol. when it's fresher, the hops are really dominant.

this is the american barleywine that i hold as the standard. even after a year, the hop character is still very front and center, although now it's not nearly as over-the-top. now i can catch more of the subtle fruitiness, and a bit of the alcohol taste.

full bodied for certain. and with good reason, this guy is full of flavor and character.

this is a beer that i can't really justify drinking more than one of in a night. it better be the last, or near last one since it's soooo potent and all that hoppiness is like sandpapering your tongue - you won't taste much afterward. it's still easy drinking if you like the hops big.

great barleywine. bigfoot season is always a good one!

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2009 23:54:29 | More by beerorRIP
Photo of patobandito

New Mexico

4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've just recently been introduced the the Barleywine style, as this is only my second offering.

Pours a wonderful brown color with red tinges. Good foamy head. Smells of citrus and sugars. Taste is indescribable. So sweet, but bitter enough to balance it. The hops are citrusy, yet the malt is candylike. Its just amazing, and it goes down oh so smooth. A truly wonderful offering from SN.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2009 21:27:14 | More by patobandito
Photo of Sleepisforthewik


3.4/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bought a six pack of this over the weekend @ Six Pack House of Beer in Erie, Pa.

Appearance- Beautiful lacing down the sides of my glass; a deep amber color in appearance.

Smell- Upfront smell that of sugars and malt; a second whif with nose and mouth picks up hops. The hops smell dominates on a third sniff.

Taste - Initial sweet upfront flavor transitions to a hoppy bite; settles back to a sweet flavor with mild citrus notes as swallowing. While a fan of hops; I prefer my beers more malty and European in style. The hops I feel are just a tad overwhelming.

Mouth - Thick and smooth; it is seems velvety.

Drinkability- I would enjoy one of these from time to time; while this is my first barleywine, the hops seem to dominate the beer a tid bit too much for my tastes to drink consistently.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2009 02:56:12 | More by Sleepisforthewik
Photo of LordAdmNelson


3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured from a 12-oz. bottle into a goblet. About an inch of frothy, off-white head. Medium lacing... beautiful dark amber-red color. I love the way this looks.

S- Hops up front... sweet and citrusy. Piney hops too. Refreshing. Finishes slightly fruity. Bit of caramel malt in there too.

T- Piney hops up front with a bite. Stronger malty flavor than apparent in the nose, slightly roasty. I get a little fruit in there too, darker fruits, but not quite sure what they are. Finishes dry. Slightly boozy, not a bad BW, though there are better BWs out there.

M- Creamy, medium-to-light carbonation. Medium body.

D- A little tough. The strong piney hops and the ABV make this one probably a one-a-night brew.

I like it. Definitely a good value. Good work from SN. Interested to see what some age does to this.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2009 04:24:53 | More by LordAdmNelson
Photo of BarrelO


3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a goblet. After my experiment with warming up Stone IRS ended up such a smashing success, I've decided to do the same with other highly regarded beers I've found too harsh in the past. So after 40 minutes on the counter, here we go.

A: Pours a gorgeous ruby red color. A two finger head eventually withers away to nothing. A decent amount of lacing.

S: A wave of hops, like walking through a pine forest. Malts linger meekly in the background.

T: Well, so much for warming it up causing it to mellow out. The hops are just as overwhelming as ever. The caramel malt makes a valiant effort to make itself heard, but it doesn't stand a chance against the hop blitzkrieg. After a while, though, it starts to grow on you. I can't really explain it, but it does reach a nice equilibrium on the palate. Not great, but pretty good.

M: Thick enough to keep you from quaffing too enthusiastically, but not so much so as to be intimidating.

D: Honestly, I think it's a bit too raw when fresh, albeit not undrinkably so. Sometime last year, I had a 2007 Bigfoot, and I remember it being a bit more balanced. What it comes down to, though, is that I have a problem with the idea of a beer that has to be laid down before it's any good. Why not just make a beer that's good fresh? Or alternatively, why not age the beer before you release it?

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2009 08:37:25 | More by BarrelO
Photo of rowew


4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz short bottle, typical Sierra Nevada style label in blue, with someone examing footprints. Large 2009 on the neck. Cryptic date code, ABV is on the side.

Appearance: Clear dark amber color with a good sized tan colored head, great retention and lacing.

Smell: Hops dominate, with grassy aromas, and then a bit of malt sweetness and some dark fruit in the background. Definitely hops up front, though.

Taste: A nice mix of hop flavors (sticky resinous flavors) along with some peppery spice, plenty of malt. Some vinous flavors in there too - like a good dark wine.

Overall impression: Probably the classic American barleywine. Some age mellows the flavors and rounds out the edges a bit, but I prefer it fresh. Definitely pick up at least one six pack every time it comes out.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2009 23:52:55 | More by rowew
Photo of Rainne


4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the one that I was introduced to barley wines with and boy was that the way to go. I've had this enough times and made some revisions to an original review.

A- Awesome. Deep reddish brown in color with a thick fat head and sticky lacing.

S- Mmm. Grapefruit citrus and piney hops right away. Fruit alcohol and sweet malt finishes it up.

T- Just what I expected from the smell. Maybe a tad fruitier than in the nose and a little stronger on the alcohol but not too much. Great balance.

M- Nice and thick and smooth. Good full body.

D- The first and best barley wine I ever had. Drink and enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2009 23:42:23 | More by Rainne
Photo of KevinBrewer


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

A: Beautiful dark amber in color with yellow hues around the edges. 1/2 inch off-white head that dissipates to a fine layer of foam. Plenty of lacing all the way down.

N: Wow! A beautiful floral bouquet of hops fills the nostrils. A moderate melon fruitiness and honey blend perfectly with the hops, and the perfect touch of biscuity malt supports it all. I get a stinging touch of alcohol when I swirl the glass vigorously before smelling.

T: Bitter and floral hops up front with a light sweet maltiness underneath. Melon in the background with a touch of orange blossom honey. The bitterness lasts throughout and is the dominating flavor. Bitterness is a little harsh, but not bad. This is a great barleywine, but I can tell it will get much better with age.

M: Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, and a bone-dry finish.

D: At 9.6% ABV, one is the perfect amount. Very enjoyable. Drinkability is appropriate for the style.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2009 01:22:11 | More by KevinBrewer
Photo of bbeerman


4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A..Beautiful dark honey brown color. Decent head retention and very nice lace throughout the glass.

S..A good scent. Much like other Barleywines I have enjoyed; nothing exceptionally unique, but inviting nonetheless.

T..Wow -- this is easily the best barleywine I have had yet. Complex malt and hops flavors with hints of roasted nuts perhaps? Deliciously sweet.

M..Considering the 9.6% ABV, this beer is not at all drying. Full bodied on the mouth with a slight warming quality.

D..Easy enough to drink that I could consider this a session beer, albeit a somewhat short session at nearly 10%. Smooth and refreshing I must say. I am very impressed with this barleywine and I look forward to my next six pack.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2009 01:00:32 | More by bbeerman
Photo of WeymouthMike


3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sample is from a 2006 bottle. Apearance is a cloudy tea like brown with a toffee head that retains over the time. Smell is somewhat bland and doughlike. Taste is sweet and follows with a alcohol bitterness. Initial moutfeel is loaded with carbonation with a bit of malty smoothness. I received this one in a trade and enjoyed it but I believe it may improve with time.

I haven't journied into the barleywine style since I first started drinking craft brew about 3-4 years ago and I have just discovered I was missing a wonderful style. I just happened to pickup a single 08' that was available at the local while on a hunt for torpedo.

A- Similar to that of many a DIPA I've enjoyed. A cloudy dark amber with a very generous head which leaves a heavy coating of lacing

S- Very tropical with a strong alcohol presence

T- Rasberry with a bitter lemon finish and a bit of harsh alcohol

D- One pint over a few hours was very nice. A six pack would last me a while and I can understand why many cellar the

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2009 23:59:41 | More by WeymouthMike
Photo of drxandy


4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'09 edition, 12oz to standard pint, pours a deep golden reddish copper, cream colored head fades to nice lacing

smells of delicious hop resins, heavy syrupy malts, mmm!

taste is of sweet heavy biscuit caramel malts, bam hop punch, awesome blend of hops, bitter grassy grapefruity citric, creamy malt, dry and resiny aftertaste, smoothly balanced but leaning toward the hop end until their flavors die out with aging, one of my favorite american barleywines and required to keep in the cellar even though it's so good fresh.

mouthfeel is thick and delicious, love the hops fresh and zesty, resinous on the aftertaste, citrus hangs in there, creamy malty sweetness, sessionable? not so much unless you expect to get drunk but the flavors are so good its hard to not want another.

Can't wait to see my vertical build :D

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2009 05:22:22 | More by drxandy
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 Vintage - 25th Anniversary Edition - sampled 18/03/09

Luscious raspberry puree with a bit of cantaloupe polish near the bottom end - if I worked in the cosmetic industry I'd be sure to have a lipstick made in this colour. The beer has such a healthy glow when held up to the light, the rosy brilliance is striking. The scantiness of head manages to provide outline but largely denies the beer of contrast.

The bitterness of the beer can be sensed from the smell at first instance. Pungent, earthy hops bombard the nasal passage with a cannonball of grassy vines, bitter serum and crushed up tree bark. This is much less the zest of citrus than it is the piths. There is something very inelegant about this scent that I don't remember noting in the best smelling Barleywines. (Note: I've revisited and upped the marks, this is delicious!)

The flavour is dominated by a very harshly roasted malt bill. It tastes as though the grains and their husks are still in tact. Notes of burnt toffee, dark chocolate and dried fruits unfold. Given the richness in the colour I'm surprised the beer isn't more sweet (I know from experience the sweeter caramel malts will come forth more once the hops begin to fade).

Speaking of those little lupullin pellets, they impart a discernibly earthy character as well as a grapefruit pith so bitter it will cause your cheeks to suck in (this wouldn't be a classic West Coast staple if it didn't have a little citrus!) American Barleywines age well but also drink wonderfully young when the copious level of hoping is on full display.

But on that note, I think I personally prefer this Barleywine aged. Like the creature after whom it's named, I find the beer a little beastly and brute at a young age. Unlike him, however, the alcohol can often be seen in plain sight. Not to say it doesn't have some camouflage (caramel drizzle and candied fruits) but I was hoping not to have spotted it.

Having sampled previous vintages and older bottles, I can be fairly assured that all my qualms with this batch should fade as it matures over time. The fact that the beer is still this tempestuous at age 1 tells me it'll be fine to hold up over the long haul. Indeed, I always look forward to revisiting this beer and have never finished the glass anything but satisfied.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2009 00:12:12 | More by biegaman
Photo of kkosmoski

New York

3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The new 2009 vintage served into a snifter glass. A very nice looking ale in the glass - clear light red color with a dense cream colored head on top. A very pungent, raw hop aroma comes off of this. Grass, pine, lemon, toast and caramel are all in the nose. The flavor starts out fruity with hints of orange and sugary dried fruits. After the initial fruity sweetness, a firm, citrusy bitterness grabs ahold. Some toast and maybe a bit of light roast try to budge in toward the finish, but they are squashed down pretty quickly by the crushing bitterness. A sticky citrus bitterness remains in the aftertaste and really doesn't go anywhere between sips. Feel in the mouth is thick with a moderate carbonation. I feel like the fresher this beer is, the harder it is to drink, not to say that I don't like it, just from a drinkability standpoint.

The bigfoot is an increadibly complex and intriguing ale. While the hop aromas are very nice fresh, I think that the bitterness is a little too raw and brash. It is alot better drinking around 6-12 months in my opinion. The rest of the sixer will be resting in the cellar for a while.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2009 01:34:36 | More by kkosmoski
Photo of Liverpool08


3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My first venture into Barley wine styles. Pours a dep ruby red with beige foamy head. Nice lacing that hangs around. First odor is hops and a little pine. Taste of hops, pine, definately alcohol, and a little bit of honey. Coats the mouth with a slick oily feel. Very drinkible for this high of a ABV. Also get a little bitterness thats left in the mouth after several sips.
Overall an interesting beer. I think I will hold on to the others and see how it ages.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2009 19:26:38 | More by Liverpool08
Photo of mralphabet


2.98/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Wonderful dark ruby red color, about a fingers worth of head, nice lacing that sticks around.

S: I'm catching a great deal of hops, some faint hints of something wine like and some pine and malt.

T: Boy this is more hoppy than I thought it might be.... it really kicks you in the face.. Hops, Malt, dry bitterness.... and alcohol. Not my up of tea!!

M: Full bodied with a creamyness, very filling.... little to no carbonation.

D: This one is a one beer type for me.. The high ABV is right there and being full bodied makes it very filling. This is one of my first Barleywine beers and it is really not for me.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2009 04:06:47 | More by mralphabet
Photo of ThirdLap


4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium to deep reddish-brown with a finger-thick short-lasting darkish tan head. Looks like lots of lacing will stick around.

Nose is sweet malts, hops, spices, and a touch of alcohol.

On the tongue I get caramel, vanilla, spices, and hops, with hints of chocolate and pine on the finish. The hop presence is very smooth and well-balanced, almost like its pre-aged. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is full-bodied... very thick and creamy, with carbonation right in the middle. Finish is sweet and piney. It's a big beer, so while a sipper, it's one that you will want to keep sipping.

Tonight Bigfoot joins Celebration as one of my favorite Sierra Nevada beers. This is great.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2009 07:17:02 | More by ThirdLap
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,048 ratings.