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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

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6,573 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,573
Reviews: 2,850
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 312
Gots: 1,238 | FT: 51
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 02-06-1998

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,573 | Reviews: 2,850 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nas5755
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010, reviewed in September 2010
This is a world class American Barleywine, the benchmark for the style and one my all time favorite beers. The pour reveals a reddish-amber beer with a fantastic head and lacing that seems to bind onto the glass. The nose of this beer is wonderful. It is full of astringent piney hops blended with citrus overtones, big malts layered with raisins and caramel with a very faint layer of alcohol. The taste is full of hops, citrus oils, pine and a big malt spine loaded with raisins, some caramel and a touch of honey. Really fantastic. A great mouthfeel, so smooth and easy to drink for a beer that has a massive harshness in its first few months. The carbonation levels are on the medium to medium low levels. A faint alcohol tinge is noticeable, but this beer is one of the few that can make the tinge pleasant. This is a great beer, one that I look forward to drinking again and again, whether fresh or aged.

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

A - Very nice colour, a dark reddish-brown. The cream coloured head sits nicely on top, with a straight pour it produced about a finger of head that lingers behind. What really completes the beer's appearance is the excellent lacing.

S - Pine and hops are predominant with the malts close behind. I have a cold so my smell is a little lacking.

T - The malt and hops are balanced very nicely. One doesn't overpower the other, they are both present for the entirety of the taste which is good. The malts taste slightly burnt but are still sweet, the two characteristics play nicely off of each other. The hops are a bright and crisp pine taste that balances the sweet malts very nicely. You can tell that the alcohol is there, but you never taste it outright thanks to the balance.

M - Quite smooth, I like the mouthfeel of this beer. The bites from the hops and the overall smoothness makes it a nice drink to enjoy.

D - Not bad at all. It's not too sweet, not too bitter, not too heavy. All around it's a strong tasting beer without being too formidable to finish. If they were readily available, I would easily have a few of these.

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

12oz bottle pours a hazy, dark brown with a big head on it. Lots of lacing throughout. Great aroma. Smells of pine and hops. A bit of malts and a floral aroma as well. Great taste of hops mixed with some malts and bitterness. Not too harsh of a barleywine but still a good mix of booziness and hops. Damn fine hoppy barleywine.

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

A- Almost a cherry copper color with a solid head and medium carbonation. Slight bits of yeast float around inside this one. Very formidable lacing.

S- Heavy malts, predominantly roasted, and it's share of hops as well. Pine is the dominant aroma from the hops and it balances the malty sweet aroma well.

T- Sweet caramel comes at you first, and then it seems to veer into roasted malts just after. It leaves you with a bit of a burnt aftertaste and is somewhat smoky. The hops balance the sweetness quite well and are quite substantial, and work hard so you never get overwhelmed by it. It never tastes of alcohol, but I did noticed a sliver of alcohol heat in my nose as I exhaled after drinking. It gets sweeter as it warms up, and that's how I prefer it. The flavor seems to be smoother.

M- Full and fairly smooth. Carbonation and dryness hold it back a bit. Goes down smooth in sips, but hard if you take too much. A bit too much dry stickiness for me.

D- Very easy to down. I know from experience that you have to watch yourself with this brew. It hides the 9.6 where nobody can find it. However the strong taste, fullness, and dryness certainly slows you down. Also, a hell of a deal, as it's about the price of a normal SN 6pk. The only thing I didn't really like was the dry finish. Otherwise it was a solid solid beer.

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

2010 version, poured from the bottle.

A- Dark golden brown in color. Thick head upon pouring, lacing remains around the edges.

S- Lots of hops, picking up some floral accents, pleasent to the nose.

T- Very bold flavor, immediately taste the kick from the hops and it lasts all the way to the back end. Taste remains long after the drink. Not too much alcohol taste for it being nearly 10%. Very impressive.

M- One of the bect I've had. Turns into a silky foam upon msving through the mouth with good body.

D- This is definitely a sipping beer as the flavors are very intense. Overall a very good beer.

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

Dark brownish red/ unfiltered.
This was the first barley wine I tried and was really surprised by it. It a beautifully balanced between the malt, hops, and alcohol. The taste of this beer is supported by an excellent aroma. This is a great fall/winter brew, but you have to be careful with this one. It is very tasty, but almost 10% ABV can catch up with you quick.

Photo of gmfessen
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First time I've seen Bigfoot in stores, had to pick it up. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, 2010 Bigfoot is a clear, copper-orange color with a thick, foamy, amber-tan colored hop head (no pun intended). Bubbles rise through the glass like Champagne. The nose, to no great surprise is mostly all west coast hops like grapefruit, pineapple, heavy pine resin and floral but there are also some grainy sweet and toasty notes to boot. Hop lover's bouquet! The flavor (to no surprise again) leans towards the hop side as well with the hop flavors previously mentioned, piney and resinous more than fruity. The malt does its best to balance but this one definitely leaves a bitter aftertaste. There is a slight alcohol burn, but nothing out of line for 9.6%. Mouthfeel is full in body with a minimal but chewy carbonation and semi-dry finish. Overall, drinkable beer yes but this is definitely no quaffer.

Photo of velosuds
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage: 2012. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter. Purchased from LifeSource Natural Foods for $2.09. Two years ago bought a 2010 for $1.99. Wish gasoline had a similar price increase.

A-Pours a deep amber with a two finger, creamy tan foamy and bubbly head with good retention that leaves a generous lacing.

S-Wow, what a difference a couple years can make. This is a hop bomb. Cascade and Centennial hops are redolent against a malty sweet backbone almost reminiscent of a DIPA. Hmm, I wonder how this vintage will age. Nicely, I suspect.

T-Hoppier than I expected. But, hell, that is what make this an American Barleywine, eh Brits?. There is sufficient malt sweetness that makes me believe this is one to cellar for years to come. I hope the Mayans were mistaken about a 12/21/2012 end to the calendar.

M-Full bodied, but quite smooth.

O-This is a phenomenal value compared to other barleywines. I think this will cellar well, and need to buy me some more.

Original review was 4.18

Vintage: 2010. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a clear pint glass. Purchased from John's Market for $1.99.

A-Pours a deep amber with a two + finger, creamy tan foamy and bubbly head with good retention that leaves a modest lacing.

S-Malt for certain. Fruity, especially plums and raisins, and maybe apricots. Sweet smelling too, like English toffee.

T-Very pleasantly sweet yet balanced. At 9.6% ABV, the alcohol is very well masked.

M-Full bodied, but quite smooth.

D-This is a phenomenal value compared to other barleywines. At $1.99 a 12 oz. single it is almost too good to be true. I have paid over twice this amount for other 12 oz. barleywines, not normally available in this size, and the price per oz. of bombers is usually much higher.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle. 2010 version.

A- Pours a light brown/amber color. Two finger tan head shows fantastic retention. Chunky lacing left on the glass as I drank this one down.

S- Good floral and pine like hops in the nose. A sweet caramel and toffee malt makes up the backbone of the beer. Some light brown sugar notes with a strong alcohol backend.

T- Sweet caramel malts in the front of this. A nice piney hop jumps out there along for the ride in front. There is a strong alcohol taste in the middle which I found to be interesting as I expected it to be more in the ending. Light darker fruits and a sweet brown sugar and caramel taste collide with a light citrus hops in the backend. Overall a good taste for this beer.

M- Medium-heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Big malts left on the palate with a warming alcohol and darker fruits left long in the aftertaste. Flavors were well put together which made for a nice drinking beer. Medium drying on the palate though from the alcohol.

D- This was a very drinkable barleywine. Although, this didn't taste like most barleywines I'm used to. I would have put it in a DIPA area. Fantastic beer from Sierra Nevada.

Photo of milkbaby9
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle (date code 2010 day036) into Duvel tulip (8-29-2010). A clear deep red amber with 2 1/2 finger off white to very light tan head that reduces to about 1/2 cm cap with big patchy lacing. Awesome lacing left as the liquid was quaffed down.

Aroma initially sweet, grapefruit rind and pine, with malt poking through. Taste of grapefruit soda with bitterness popping up as the initial carbonation fades off the tongue accompanied with a nice sweet maltiness. French bread rides on the tongue while grapefruit rind/peel and piney bitterness coats the back of the roof of my mouth and lasts through the aftertaste. Alcohol pokes through only late during the swallow.

A little light bodied versus what I expected. Not exactly what I expected of this beer because it was hoppy but the maltiness is there and really hits back against the hops blow for blow during the super long finish.

Probably too high of an ABV to drink a lot of, and as it warms up the alcohol expresses itself too much. Also, the high hops would probably wear on me too much eventually. The beer burp was pure grapefruit! However, this is a pretty nice beer that I enjoyed and would definitely drink again!

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

2010 bottle poured into large snifter glass.

A - Pours a hazy auburn with orange and copper hues. A creamy, one finger high, off-white head retains nicely with layers of lacing littered across the glass.

S - Crispy dark malts, caramel, and a bit of warming alcohol.

T - Surprisingly bitter and juicy hops on the front end, mixing with citrus such as grapefruit. A beefy malt backbone lies underneath with caramel and toasted grain. There's a touch of fruit sweetness hidden in between everything along with a bit of astringency, which might be capable of turning people off. Finally, a flair of alcohol heat warms up the palate during the finish.

M - Medium to full body, somewhat chewy, yet ultimately smooth.

D - Between the biting hops and boozy touch, this is definitely more of a sipper, but for 9.6% everything is masked well.

This is hands down one of my favorite Sierra Nevada beers by a longshot. I'd really like to try some more vintages and see how much this mellows out over a longer period (5-10 years).


12oz bottle poured into snifter - 2011 vintage

Pours dark cherry auburn with a decent beige head which fades to nicely retained film with assorted patches and spots of lacing.

Strong pine resin and hops in the nose with some scents of fruity esters followed by malty sweetness.

Intense hop presence up front with sticky pine. Malted sweetness with caramel, burnt brown sugar and bready tones. Softer fruit notes and cherry hidden in between the more aggressive hop profile. Thick malted backbone laden with some warm alcohol presence. Smack of sticky pine hops, dryness and boozy warmth in the finish.

Full medium body, higher carbonation, a bit creamy and sticky. This is probably the freshest Bigfoot I've ever had, and it's definitely a different animal than the aged variety. This almost resembles a complex DIPA, but still remains super tasty and drinkable, although ultimately I enjoy it better with age.

Photo of montecristo2
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 2010 ale served from a bottle into a snifter.

Two fingered thick head. Smells piney and of caramel.

Same flavors persist in the taste-a nice caramel flavor and a great balance between hops and malts.

Awesome lacing on the glass as it slowly disappears into my mouth...

Nice to let this one warm a bit before drinking. Leave it out on the shelf for a few minutes before you drink straight from the fridge.

I've had vintages of this as old as 2005, which is AMAZING. Imagine the flavors present in this ale only much more smooth and pronounced.

Highly recommended. Buy a few to lay down for a couple of years!


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

12 bottle into snifter. 2010 vintage.
A: Pours a thick foamy head that grabs onto glass and leaves full lacing on the glass. Body is light amber in color and the head is a light tan. The haze in the body is a rich and non-transparent.
S: An aroma of rich, sweet caramel dominates. A classic barley aroma that is only a treat for what is to come. Slight notes of roses are present.
T/M: A strong and sweet balance is presented by this classic barley wine. A subtle spice is present thought the entire experience. A great malt back bone is layered with a nice balance of hops. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy, with great lingering tastes.
D: This is a great brew, that is very drinkable, in regards to style. Good balance of flavors make this my goto barley wine. A brew that can be drank anytime of year with a character that has you coming back for more.

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

Poured into my SN XXX glass, this brew pours an almost perfect amber orange with an impressively frothy tan head. Lacing is left all the way down the glass

S: The aroma is lacking power and complexity, but is full of toasty malt and pinny hops. After months in my closet, this brew is still a hoped up slice of heaven.

T: The flavor is sweet caramel, with hoppy bitterness increasing over time. Overtime, this brew has maintained it's hop presence like no other.

MF/D: mouthfeel is still full, and drinkability is still superior.

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

Bigfoot pours a rich, chestnut colour with a big, fluffy, light tan head. Great head retention. The beer is a touch hazy.

The aroma is citrussy and resinous and very reminiscent of a solid DIPA. There's plenty of alcohol too and a hit of toasty malt. Not overly malty.

This is actually a bit of a surprise. It's nowhere near as full on as something like Green Flash Barleywine and the hops are definitely forward presenting as a moderately-high bitterness and mild citrus character. The malt is sweet but not cloying with toasty, chocolate character which is good.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Very good.

I like this though it is somewhat laid back compared to other American Barleywines (Green Flash and Rogue come to mind).

Photo of Reaper16
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage served on-tap at Mellow Mushroom, Tuscaloosa, AL

How is this beer still on-tap in September? I was worried about the tap lines but I had a sample and everything was OK, so I ordered this twice.

Pours a luscious rufous color, like liquid rust. Dark enough that you can't see through it but it is not cloudy in the slightest bit. A dense two fingers of buff leather colored head sits like a heavy crown. Add to it spindly lacing and you have an impressive looking draught beer.

Pungent, toasted sourdough bread and some caramel provide the initial aromas. This is mostly malt, which is expected given the nine months of age on this keg. Raisin, drunken fig, maybe a small trace of Werther's Original candy. The hops provide a astringent quality to the nose; the citrus fruit is pretty much missing at this point. This is still good though it will get even better.

The taste mostly follows the nose. Lots of bready flavors. The hops are felt more prominently on the tongue; pine and a touch of tangerine are well-integrated into the malty body. Dark fruits and toffee. Booze for sure. A smidge of diacetyl, unfortunately; I taste a bit of butterscotch here and there.

This pour of Bigfoot was pleasantly toothsome in terms of mouthfeel but not so viscous that you couldn't drink the thing. The alcohol makes this a sipper, especially on your second glass that you shouldn't have but get anyway. No less drinkable than what the style calls for though.

Bigfoot is in its awkward in-between stage - some of you who have long hair will remember the awkward in-between stage of short and long when you were growing your hair - where the hops have started lose their fresh impact but the malt character hasn't developed enough to compensate. This stage occurs between 7 months and 14 months old in my experience. It's Bigfoot though - it is always going to be good. I was just stoked to see it on-tap here in AL.

Photo of korguy123
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into my snifter. 2010 bottle.
Special thanks to my brother nwfodder for grabbing these for me.

A- Dark amber/brown/crimson pour. Carbonation just bouncing around the glass like a presentation of swan lake. Two finger off white/meringue head. Fantastic lacing.

S- Sweet malts, pine, strawberries, mango, peach and faint jolly rancher smells.

T- Toasted malts, brown sugar, vanilla, piny hops. Very balanced for 90ibu. Sweet candy taste, roasted coffee beans. The alcohol is expertly hidden in this taste.

M- Sticky on the lips, creamy and silky. Slight juicy finish from the hops.

Outstanding beer. This is my second ever barley wine, last one I had reminded me more of an ice wine than anything. This is the epitome of superb. If it wasn't 9.6% and only be available in the states I'd drink one a night.

Photo of IPAescotch
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reasonable color, thick lacing. Dark pale amber. More dark than pale, but not a deep dark, a light dark if im making any sense.

smells of grapefruit and hops. Esters are strong in this one. Citrusy hops

tastes same as smell. Bitter with a fruity aftertaste and a smooth malt finish. At first i didn't think much of this one, but i like the way the taste develops through the sip.

Very drinkable and refreshing.

My favorite thing about this beer is licking the drops out of my moustach after a superbly satisfying sip. im a beer slob, its a guilty pleasure, but it makes it taste better.

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

A - Dark cloudy brown, amazingly dark. This one didn't have much of a head but it's leaving nice lacing.

S - Caramel malts and the scent of pungent hops, I am guessing it's mostly Cascade because it smells so much like other SN brews.

T - That very same caramel maltiness but now with a blast of bitterness from the hops, I bet this stuff mellows out to be amazing (never had an aged one, really only on tap). But tastes pretty well balanced as it is, maybe it's the 6 months or so the 2010 has had on it.

M - Slick hops and sticky malts cover your mouth and linger for quite some time, very nice, epic even.

D - As a barleywine it suffers generally with the big D, but this one does pretty good. I really don't want to woof these down but I could easily finish several in a night, and that's saying something when I can't usually have more than a couple really flavorful beers in a sitting. Probably my favorite from Sierra Nevada.

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

A nice, dark amber colour with a tan, sticky head.

A real warm scent of caramel malts and interesting floral hoppiness. There is also a hint of alcohol, but that's hardly a surprise.

Taste is true to the smell. The hops come quickly and balances the sweet malt with the alcohol complementing it nicely.

The body is surprisingly light and it's quite easy to drink. It's balanced by two different explosions of a) roasted malts and b) floral hops. You could definitely sip this for a while - it's interesting enough to concentrate on for some time - although I think I drank it a bit quickly.

Photo of jsprain1
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark copper, rather opaque. A big head settles into a thin foam with good lacing.
S- Smell is of intense hops, grapefruit and pine, with a lightly roasted malt background aroma along with a bit of alcohol.
T- Super aggressive hop opening transitions into a nice malt flavor. Finishes with a bit of alcohol warmth.
M- Rather astringent and mouth-whacking if you will. Dry finish from the alcohol. Medium body and low carbonation, yet this plays into the beer pretty well.
D- A darn good beer, solid in almost every regard. A very good beer, even if it doesn't fit the barleywine mold. But then again, SN was made to be outside the mold.

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

A: Poured an aged 2009 Bigfoot into my new Duck Rabbit snifter. It's a dark amber color with a two finger off white head. Nice lacing down the side of the glass that hangs around for a while.

S: Floral/hoppy notes are the first and most prominent scent I noticed. Slight fruity scent is evident as well.

T: The higher ABV hits you right off the bat, followed with some serious hops. Much smoother than I can remember before it was aged. Letting this beer sit for a while seems to help in the taste category.

M: Medium bodied with not much carbonation. Not sure if this is due to the aging process or not.

D: Very smooth and hoppy. The aging process will definitely give this beer a nice smooth taste, I have a 2010 that I will be drinking soon to compare, still aged but not quite as long.

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

A: Murky orange/amber color; like a light copper. Poured a 1 finger creamy tan head with good retention. Sheets of sticky lacing.

S: Roasted caramel malts. Piney floral hops. Alcohol. Lots going on.

T: Sweet roasted malt up front. Big floral hop flavor quqickly follows; more like an explosion. Fruity alcohol finish. For as sharp as all the flavors all, balance is good

M: Light body. Moderate carbonation. Sharp, dry and hot.

D: Flavorful. Balanced in an odd way. definitely a sipper.

Photo of jmarvin4189
3.94/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a bottle into a glass, 2010 Bigfoot Ale

Appearance - this is a unique looking beer its a dark brown but almost looks purple with off white head that leaves a nice lacing

Smell - has an alcohol smell along with some sweet fruit undertones

Taste/Mouthfeel - I don't know how to describe this taste, its very unique, this is my first barleywine. Right off the bat you get slammed in the face with the high abv which creates a very nice warming feeling all the way down. the taste is very complex its sweet but at the same time it isn't, i really can't describe this beer. its just tasty

Drinkability - not something i could slug back but it is definitely a joy to be drinking it

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

Poured into a large wine glass. The vintage I'm reviewing now is 2010, so this is virtually unaged.

Appearance - Tan and a good couple fingers thick. It settles down, but remains coating the top.

Smell - The hops stick out, but with a certain alcohol presence and some very sweet flavors. There's some lemon and grapefruit here, and a tone of pine. The only thing it loses points on is it's slightly solventy, too.

Taste - Very nice. It is on the bitter side of the scale, but there are nice malt sugar tastes really makng a good balancing act. Also treacle, and an almost plum like fruitiness. Did I mention the hops? Lots of depth here.

Feel - Sits very well. It is heavy but also quite silky. The underplayed carbonation a big plus here, too.

Drinkability - I wondered if it should be this drinkable. It really warms you up, and it's hard to out down, but the alcohol and heft make this a little hard to finish a second (though I usually keep it to one)q

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,573 ratings.