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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.

6,677 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,677
Reviews: 2,883
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 321
Gots: 1,318 | FT: 55
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: 6,677 | Reviews: 2,883 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of musicforairports
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottle into a snifter.

Pours ruby, with an off-white head that leaves some lacing. Very clear.

Smells is a pretty dense bouquet of thick, sweet pine and citrus hops and some alcohol.

Taste is dense--very hoppy, and almost like a DIPA if there weren't so much caramel malt behind it. The malt flavor hits first, sweet and smooth, but then it's a big kick of hops the rest of the way. The finish is long and bitter. Alcohol is pretty decently hidden for the ABV. I'm very curious how this will taste a year or three from now.

Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy, but what you'd expect from a beer like this.

This is easier to drink than I expected given the level of sweetness and the ABV. I could have a few.

Photo of smakawhat
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter vintage 2011.

Pours gold from the bottle giving a nice cream colored head. Lots of leg action and stickiness with pocked marks. Head is very resilient with staying power. Burnt orange to very dark amber body in appearance, but seems a little hazy also.

The first thing I got off the bouquet was strangely supermarket red grapes.. citrus faintness but with hop character. Interesting. Some fresh cut lawn grass sense as well. Some little tight visible carbonation from the bottom of the glass.

Hop character and bitterness shows through in a tolerable way, but missing hinted at fruit character off nose in the taste. Alcohol is masked a little, with double imperial American pale ale feel. Strange grassy feel (literally lawn cut grass) to this that doesn't translate into lingering aftertastes. Fairly alright but sort of a letdown. Palate seems to be focused on the front for me than the entire region tasting this beer.

Does this need to age perhaps? Well can't say, I don't have a time machine. Tolerable drink. Would I chose this over other recent barleywines that I have of this style the answer is no.

Photo of rijanyoung
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drinking the 2011 Bigfoot Barley Wine

A: This beer pours dark red with a thick head. A very appropriate color for this beer style.

S: I get a toasty aroma from this beer, I smell some hops from this beer. It is a 2011 so that is not at all uprising. I also get some dried fruit (prune) form the smell.

T: Caramel, burnt sugar and some dried raisin flavors accompanied by some dried fruit and toffee. It has a toasty backbone. I am a bit disappointed with the hops of this beer, very one dimensional in my opinion. The hop bitterness is very forward, would like to see how this beer matures with some time on it. I think the hops would blend nicely.

M: It has a nice mouth feel, carbonation is not bad but I would have done less, the body is medium.

D: It is a very drinkable beer giving its age. It is still very obvious that it is a young barley wine and with some time I think this beer will benefit greatly and increased drinkability will be observed.

Over all this is a tasty beer. Not my favorite barley wine but a great beer none the less and one that i enjoy drinking.

Photo of n2185
3.53/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Doing a tasting of a 2010 and 2011 bottle side by side. The overall score will go to the better of the two:

A: Both pour a dark burgundy-brown with about two fingers of beige head. Both are quite clear, though the 2010 is slightly hazier. The head recedes into a ring with some decent lacing.

S: The 2010 smells of lots of sticky sweet caramel malts up front followed by a light piny hop aroma with some alcohol notes.
The 2011 is similar, but the malt is much more toned down and the hops much more pronounced. Caramel malt up front followed by a big blast of piny hops.

T: The 2010's flavors start out with lots of sticky sweet malt up front, but the hops are still packing a punch even after a year. There's a good kick of piny hops and a bitterness that coats your mouth with the heavy malt bill. There's still a noticeable alcohol burn to the beer as well.
The 2011 has a bit of the sweet malt in the flavor up front, but the hops follow closely behind and wipe out any memory of the malt. Lots of resiny pine flavors with a slight alcohol burn and the aftertaste is very bitter.

M: The 2010 has a thick body with light-medium carbonation, this beer has an oily feel to it that coats your mouth long after the last sip.
The 2011 has a lighter body again with light-medium carbonation. The oily feel is still there, but the finish is much lighter. The bitterness hangs around for much longer, though.

D: The 2010 is fairly drinkable considering how big a beer it is, but the coating it leaves in my mouth almost numbs my palate.
The 2011 has a lighter body and doesn't seem to coat my mouth with malt as much, so it goes down slightly more easily.

Overall, I think I prefer the 2010. The fresh 2011 is a bit one-dimensional as a huge hop bomb that leaves a bitterness in my mouth that doesn't seem to ever go away. The 2010 has a nicer balance between the malt and hops, though the thick body and combination of sticky malt and bitter hops leave me wanting to brush my teeth afterward.

Photo of LuthersMug
3.87/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Muted brown with some reddish tones noted. Beer was already poured for me, a little bit of head. Lacing was good.

S - Strong earthy notes, the malts are big and you can smell caramel sweetness, also hints of citrus and pine.

T - This beer hints you in the face, immediate huge malts, very flavourful. As the beer progresses there is a strong hop presence that lingers, maybe even a bit too long.

M - I'm torn here, I loved the creamy malty goodness up front, the hops were a little too fresh and bitter for me and they lingered a bit long. The beer leaves a bitter metallic medicine taste, but then you have another drink and get huge malts.

D - One was good with the high alcohol content and lingering hops.

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Clear orange bronze color, small head, nice lacing.
S- Very hoppy aroma with caramel undertones. Very surprised by the hoppy aroma, smelled a lot like DIPA.
T- Great Balance, very tasty, a lot of hoppy flavors that stand out. Sweet malty flavors as well, again surprised by the hoppiness.
M- Nice warm feeling, well balanced smooth feeling on the palate. Well carbonated, with a bitter finish.
D- Was surprised by this beer. Hops really stood out. Really enjoyable beer that is easy to drink. Alcohol level is very hidden especially for 9.6 abv. Very enjoyable.

Photo of AdamBear
4.49/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A-a nice reddish amber that is transparent. has a nice and thick light tan head. it really looks beautiful. has nice lacing.

S-mmm this isn't what i expected. i've had some barley wines but so far, this is the hoppiest i've smelled yet, and it is much to my liking. it smells like good robust hops and some barley. The more i smell it, the more caramel undertones i can pick up. its a fairly strong scent. definitely a nice scent of vanilla

T-it comes in with strong and possibly over-sweetened caramel and then transforms in to an extreme bitterness. I mean this is a mouth puckering, head turning bitterness. the after-taste is of caramel and hops, it sorta reminds me of syrup. this is quite unlike any barley wine i've had. it seems to be somewhere between a barley wine and double IPA. It is sort of a let down from what i was expecting.

M-has an okay creamy, medium carbonation with a very bitter finish.

D-the more i drink this, i think the more i begin to understand it. at first the tastes seem to be over bearing, but they eventually fade out and the bitterness is whats left. although i'm not a huge fan of the taste, the more i drink this, the more i seem to want another one and think that i could possible have a few of these in night...this might be the type of beer that grows on you.

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

Had some 2011 vintage on 2011.02.20.

I am surprised a bit by how hop-forward this tastes. Were it not for the malty backbone, I might push this into DIPA category. Alas I am content to call it merely a big, complex, dark amber barleywine. I'm a big fan of Barleywines, and this, though in some ways unexpected, is very satisfying. As mentioned above, this knocks me back with piney. slightly woody hop bitterness. I would not call this a balanced beer, but there is a caramelly, malty sweetness to the backside that adds to the complexity and satisfaction.
The look and smell of this beer is great. A bit fruity mixed with alcohol, and a great cark copper tone with a big fizzy head that dies off to a thin lacey layer. I can see why there is a lot of chatter about aging this one.

Photo of metaltec15
4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage Very Good for being fresh will be better aged. Very hoppy and a little hot tasting. A really piney resinous aroma and a little citrus. A dark ruby pour into a tulip glass. Not very much head on the bottle I poured. This is my first bigfoot and I am very impressed.

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

On tap at my Harrika's Brew Haus. 3rd year of drinking this one - first time reviewing

A: orange/amber, lots of carbonation that settled. thin off white head, minimal

S: tons of hops but with a nice sweet malt presence as well

T: mostly tastes of piney hops but does bring a sweetness that I like about this beer. The sweet, light roasted malt comes through in the taste much more than the nose. However, the alcohol burn is too much on the finish

M: medium body. Carbonation is supringly on point - expecting more after seeing the way it poured. Finishes light with lingering sweetness

D: not a favorite style of mine which clouds my ability to call these beers "drinkable." That plus the alcohol presence takes this one down to just an average beer experience for me. A beer a will continue to try each year, but nothing I go back for seconds on

Photo of gregshead
3.53/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasted on 2/9/11. Reviewed from notes:

A: Reddish copper cloudy color little head surfaces but dissipates quickly

S: Light on the nose but there are some toffee smells

T: Lots of dark toffee flavor with a spicy end and after taste

M: Chewy and syrupy with some interesting tinle. Lots of burn/aftertaste

D: More drinkable as it warms up but I could taste/feel the alcohol burn on this one a lot.

Photo of ChugginOil
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one was from the 2010 batch.

Pours a clear golden-brown color with a fingers worth of off white head that dissipates quickly. The nose brings scents of pine/resinous hops with a sweet malty backbone. The alcohol is well hidden here. The taste is bold a rich. The bitter hop taste is still present very much so in this 2010 batch. The sweet malts are nicely blended with the hops to create an untamed beast of a brew. The mouthfeel is thick with a bit of a dry finish. The drinkability is pretty good due to a well hidden ABV and a good blend of flavors.

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

One of my favorite go-to barleywines! 2011 Vintage. Pours a very hazy reddish amber color with a somewhat large brownish white head that disappears eventually. Scent is HOPPY! Tons of piney notes and very little malt. It literally smells like a pine tree. Taste is where the hops and malts mesh a bit more, although it remains predominantly hop forward. Tons of pine flavors with some very sweet candied malt flavors. Finish has just a tad bit of alcohol with bittering hop finish. Mouthfeel is a bit syrupy, but refreshing and full bodied. Drinkability is high, as I find it to be one of the more drinkable barleywines. I could probably drink about 3 of these in one sitting. Overall, I love this beer...for the price of a six pack(9.99 at local grocery store), it cannot be beat. I've had this beer with a couple years on it though, and I prefer the older vintage. I think this is a beer that ages VERY well, and although delicious fresh, I'd take it aged any day.

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

My first Bigfoot of all time. 2011 vintage poured from the bottle into my Russian River glass.

A dark copper, amber color. A moderate pour gives a pretty weak head but a stronger pour gives a small head that leaves lacing down the entire glass.

The piney hops are definitely there but the sweet malts are also much more pronounced than I thought they would be. It smells very nice.

Most of what I have read about this is that it is a hop bomb (which is right). What I did not expect is how much of a malt backbone I would taste. The malts backing up the hops on this brew are incredibly sweet and delicious. This is awesome. Other BW's I have had were much less balanced than this, even so young. Well done.

Medium bodied Barleywine and very smooth.

As a Barleywine goes, this is up there with the best I have had (many of which have not been posted yet). Drinks as easy as the style can in my humble opinion. I would go on about this forever but I need to go buy a case...

Photo of thagr81us
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage! Served from tap into an imperial pint. Poured red-orange with a one and a half finger off-white head that subsided to one finger slowly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, pine resin, big pine hops, and subtle alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, big pine, big pine hops, and sweet alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this brew was quite excellent. I know this one gets hyped up a lot about older vintages and such, and now I can see why... Even fresh this brew is excellent. I can see it really coming to life after a few years. For right now the alcohol was a bit intrusive on the palate during the followthrough. If you like pine notes, this is for you fresh. The pine aspect in this one was HUGE. A definite must try, aged or fresh, for sure.

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

(2011) Poured from a 12oz bottle to a snifter glass.

A- Deep reddish plum with a thick white two finger head that sticks and slimes to the sides of the glass.

S- Smells of nice citrus hops, malts and alcohol. There are alot of scents going on in this glass, no of which are offensive but very complex and hard to pick out whats going on. All works together great.

T- Roasted caramel, bitter bitter hops, and sweet sweet malts.

M- Nice full bodied, bitter lips and tongue on the end.

D- Nice drinkability for 1 or 2 for my tastes, firmly enjoyed this beer. Cannot wait to try this batch in a year from now.

Photo of mcgwire756
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage poured into a Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary tulip.

So let me preface this by saying I highly recommend this beer with at least 2 years of age on it. I have had it super fresh and it was way too harsh. This review is based on one 3 years old now.

It pours a deep dark red color with a fluffy 1 finger white head that does not disappear for a long time. The smell with age on it is so perfect with the smell of sweet candy and sugar. Simply perfect. The taste is a little maltier than the smell with more molasses but still a ton of candy sugar in the taste. God this beer is delicious. The mouthfeel is so much smoother than a young Bigfoot, but still not a super smooth Barleywine like a 2010 Nemesis is. It is drinkable, but in slow sips so that you enjoy it and don't overpower your palate. My 2nd favorite barleywine next to 2010 Nemesis that I have had. I am looking forward to trying 3 Floyds Behometh and seeing how it compares to my top 2 thus far.

Photo of larsenju
3.05/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2011 Vintage, poured at about 60 degrees.

A-Reddish amber body with a very tall off white head, decent retention but little lacing.

S-Alcohol, some floral/fruity hops with a strong caramel malty backbone. The alcohol really takes away from the rest of the beer.

T-Very smooth caramel right when it hits picking up some lemon, and from there the hops really start to move forward leaving a pine/citrus resin flavor that comes to a point and leaves a very bitter finish. There is kind of a caramel and chocolate undertone, but the hops dominate.

M-So hot it almost stings a little bit, sugary slick with a little tingling carbonation.

D-I recently had an 09 vintage of this beer, it really needs a little age on it. Even the 09 wasn't as good as it could be, but it just is not ready to drink when fresh. Its just to hoppy and hot and the malt character is a little boring, but it develops very nicely in the bottle. That said, its certainly not what I would call a bad beer fresh, its just no where near its potential. I will re-review when I crack one of the 2010 in my cellar in a year or two.

Photo of julian
3.51/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this many times, finally getting around to reviewing it.

A: Nice crimson amber color, great clarity, head a bit weak but with a modified more aggressive pour it comes to life and sticks around, leaving a nice layer of thick off white head on the surface. Very nice lacing all around the glass.

S: heavy malt, nice hop backbone, some fruity hop aromas, almost DIPA/IIPA like but enough malt to push this back into the barley wine realm.

T: BAM! bitterness hits you right in the face, then coats your tongue with it's hoppy/resiny blanket of love and slowly yields way to some hidden malty goodness. Not as complex as other barley wines and not my favorite but still representative of the style.

M: Medium high carbonation. Slightly bitter aftertaste, but otherwise, good mouthfeel.

D: ABV will limit drinkability, taste is just above average. Average drinkability.

Note: I need to definitely try some of this aged. I'm wondering how my 1998 bottle is holding up. I should probably crack it soon.

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

Appearance: A hazy amber with some copper. one-finger tan head with great lacing...thick foam.

Smell: Very piny and citrusy. Particularly lemon and some grapefruit. Really smells like a DIPA.

Taste: At first I get a sweet lemon flavor with pine, then comes the barley and grapefruit. Has a caramel/ faint toffee malt. Maybe some rye in there too. The flavor really grows on you. Its good to drink this both cold and room temp...you get more out of it IMO.

Feel: Its a bit too carbonated for a barleywine, but the sticky, oily remains make up for it.

Drink: This is probably the easiest drinking Barleywine I have had. Its much more on par with a DIPA.

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

This was a 2011 bottle

This is a good beer that may be best left alone for a few years. It's a little hot, but is still a pretty solid barleywine. It pours nice with a big head and good lacing. The smell is of malt, hops, and alcohol.

Not an excellent Barleywine, but a solid beer to sip on every year about this time. I had a 2010 that was 9 months old and thought is was a better beer than a fresh 2011.

I really like that Sierra Nevada releases this every year. Kudos to them!!

Photo of ncketchum
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed in a Chimay goblet, slightly chilled

A = Pours a dark orangeish brown with a lot of carbonation and two fingers of head with a good amount of foamy lacing, lots of retention

S = sweet hops, not to overpowering with malt at the end.

T = Taste is all hops. Very clean with bitterness that lingers at the end.

M = Mouthfeel is thicker than their celebration ale am. Maybe a bit more alcohol at the end is well.

D = Drinkability is is high for the style. A little thicker than the celebration ale but it matches the style well.

Photo of jsdunlop
4.01/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a monstrous, fluffy, cloudlike head that sits on top of a light-amber colored brew. Insane retention and lacing on this one.
Smells of hops. pine, citrus, grapefruit, pineapple with some floral aroma mixed in there.
The taste starts out with resiny pine, followed by a heaping amount of malt sweetness, giving this beer one hell of a body to start out with. While the hops dominate on the taste, the malts bring about caramel and brown sugar notes to the table. Alcohol makes its presence after the initial barrage of pine, letting you know that this brew is serious. Citrus and pineapple notes blend together at random points throughout the sip, mingling with the booze and sweetness nicely. Pretty serious alcohol burn on the back of the throat with this one.
Mouthfeel is heavy and syrupy. Slick feeling after each sip, resiny hops make their presence known. Carbonation is minimal, allowing you to take in the full flavor of this one.
Overall, this is a sipper for sure. Hell, I could split one of these and be content. Nicely balanced for such a complex beer.

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

Pours a red amber color, thick 2 finger head. lacing for days
Smell - citrus,pine, malt
taste- more hops than I expected. Citrus/caramel/biscuity with a nice warming finish on the back of the tongue.
mouthfeel - creamy, good carbonation, smooth
as I write this I realize how complex this beer is.
Drinkability is high for the style.

Photo of Miketwolf21
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle...In the world of ever increasing double IPA's its nice to see a 10 buck a six pack everyday barleywine, defeat the likes of Hopslam without hesitation.
The pour gave a more than generous sandy colored head. The smell is all candied hops. Nice mix of american hops, some piney, some grapefruit, some tangerine, with a nice peppery note it seems that hides the alcohol. Malts take the backseat here.
The taste is were the malts make their quick but distinguished appearance. Upfront you are greeted by a wallop of hops. These hops however know when they have extended their stay and quickly fade to a very velvety malt base. Complex with tastes of rye and even a touch of toffee are amid the voluminous and delicious malts. Fig sweetness with a touch of dried dates. This welcome relief midway through the mouth is met with a bitter ending. The hops once again take a narrow lead in the aftertaste. Thankfully narrow. This is a very balanced brew. I know this is the cliche barleywine but it constantly surprises me. The 2009 tastes more lemony and of over ripe strawberries, not that great of a mix, while the 2010 version tastes distinctly of tangerines, raspberries, and apricots. This 2011 version seems to have a more intense malt base.
Mouthfeel is excellent, no extreme syrup body here. Just a brew that makes you proud of American breweries.
I highly enjoy a beer that evolves on its way to the back of your throat, and this beer has some of the best transitions out of any sixer-barlywine. This is right on par with Third Coast, just hoppier. I think as a fresh brew this is better than a fresh Old Foghorn, but that really really really should be aged (2008 is drinking brilliantly right now). It destroys Old Horizontal and brown shugga. The definition of American Barelywine. Every year gives you a different story of the same thing.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,677 ratings.