Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

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6,515 Ratings

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Ratings: 6,515
Reviews: 2,829
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 295
Gots: 1,195 | FT: 49
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
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Ratings: 6,515 | Reviews: 2,829 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Lolli1315
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- A very hazy orange copper color with minimal head, but its retention is rather decent. Nice sticking lacing on the side of the glass helps to bring the look of this beer together.

S- Smacked in the face with bitter citrus and earthy hops on this one as it almost scorches the nose. Sweet caramel malt is apparent sparingly throughout the beer as a small hint of alcohol lingers in the background.

T- Wow, that is a hop punch. Strong hints of the earthy hops that were available in the smell coupled with a combination of citrus hops and grapefruit and orange flavors. The alcohol is more apparent in the taste than in the smell as it sticks around in the aftertaste. Sweet malt is detectable in moments as it jumps in and out of the taste only to be overcome by the hope bitterness each time. Back end of the beer fades into a stagnant bitter aftertaste with a trace of alcohol.

M- Medium bodied beer starting to move the thicker side, but not quite reaching an in between section. Great carbonation in the mouth that makes this quite the refreshing beer.

D- Well, this beer packs quite the punch, but the complexities of the tastes have me reaching pack to unravel more of it each time I put the glass down.

Notes: Could be the cornerstone for American Barleywines and quite enjoyable. Putting one down for a year, can't wait to see how different this one tastes as the hiding malt backbone comes to life.

Photo of Bfarr
3.08/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bigfoot is a clear but dark amber with some red highlights and a huge tan head. Aroma is mostly barley with a bit of sweetness. Taste up front is barley without too much of a bite too it, although it does increase as you finish. Good smooth feel with only a light malt coating. There's not much complexity, maybe a hint of dark fruit sweetness but mostly just an alcohol taste. It's sticky on the lips but still pretty smooth.

This barleywine reminds me more of a strong ale. It has very light barleywine characteristics and not much in the way of complexity. It's fairly easy to drink for something so high in ABV but if I'm in the mood for a barleywine, I'll reach for something else.

Photo of hosehead83
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a "stubby" 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass
Copper/amber in color, with a nice big head of fluffy off-white foam
Aroma-Subtle citrus and hop notes, faint malt
Taste-Bold,citrussy hops and malt, caramel notes-Big flavor, nicely balanced, smooth and drinkable, high ABV well-hidden.
Caution! Do not gulp!

Photo of irishking1977
3.13/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark ruby red, with a huge, frothy white head, that leaves a great deal of lacing. Nice, not your average looking barleywine.

S: Dominated by hops and a hint of caramel.

T: Woah. Okay, folks. I get it. American craft beer drinkers like their beers hoppy, regardless of style. I like some beers hoppy to a point, but I also like my beers to have some degree of balance too. I'm waiting for Bud, Miller, and Coors to start producing their macros with tons of extra hops, then they will get the American craft beer drinkers on their side. This one is another one of those beers that took me by surprise at how intensely hoppy, piney, and citrusy it is. I was expecting some degree of hops bitterness and perhaps a decent malt background, but this doesn't have a malt background. Not enough to hold off the intense hops. Dark fruits, including raisins are also detectable, but are overridden by the amount of hops. I am a bit disappointed, to be sure.

M: Fairly oily, and thick. Moreso than your average barleywine. Tries to hold up to the intensity of the hops, but still loses out. Hops bitterness lingers on the palate for practically an eternity.

D: Barleywines usually aren't session beers, and this one is no different. The style in itself seems to be hit or miss with me; sometimes I find one that is really good, (Weyerbacher's Insanity) and there are some that miss the mark for me (this one, Blithering Idiot). I can understand the appeal to a degree, since this one looked really good on the pour, but otherwise, not enough of a balance, and it screams "Hello, I am a typical suped up hoppy beer from an American brewery, trying to add more hops bitterness because that's what the majority of our drinkers want." Too bad, because this one could have been pretty good with more of a balanced flavor.

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

2010 12 oz. poured into a snifter

A - Dark brown with bits of red; very nice yellowish head and lacing

S - Grapefruit, floral hops, and a touch of honey

T - Sweet malts are coupled with hops from the get go, but it's a bit too sugary up front. As it warms, I taste caramel, oak, and some undetermined spice. More time passes -- the hops grow in strength and work to balance this multifaceted, slow-sipping gem. The bitter finish is amazing.

M - Very good structure; not sticky, well carbonated; creamy, yet abrasive

D - Quite drinkable for a fresh barleywine. I'm loving this now and will be intermittently over the next few years.

This is an annual favorite, and it always delivers. If you're into barleywines (or simply hops, for that matter), you've likely already had this; if not, pick some up ASAP. Drink a couple of bottles now and cellar the rest for the coming months and years.

Photo of levifunk
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had at Madison, WI BA Tasting #2

This is an '05 bottle, so aged 5 years.

appearance - golden, but cloudy
smell - citrus hops still there, candied fruit.
taste - booze is definitely mellowed, but still there.
mouthfeel - very dense.
overall - very good! the guy who brought it says 5 years is about the max he thinks it should be ages and is drinking his '05 bottles this year.

Photo of claminat420
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 on cap

A- poured a light brown almost yellowish head with a medium to heavy lacing behind.

S- caramel malt blended nicely with some light citrus. alcohol is hidden nicely.

T- same as smell.

M- medium to heavy bodied. nice carbonation.

D- three out of the six and you're good!

Overall- for being a hophead this american style barleywine is a thumbs up. my definition of a lumberjack's sort of brew. if you come across this definitely pick it up. the best thing to come out of sierra nevada since their anniversary ale.

Photo of BrianOhio
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An aggressive pour is definitely not needed with this one, but will produce a thick 2-3 finger head. Color is a clear, deep mahogany...looks great in the glass.

Nice aroma, loaded with hops...not overwhelming citrus, but still smells great.

Taste is right up my alley...nicely bitter, but smooth and not overwhelming. Really good finish that leaves you wanting more.

I had this recently at a Beerfest, and this is immediately my favorite Sierra Nevada "flavor." Just a great beer.

Photo of misinformed
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Poured with a very impressive 3-4 finger head that was off-white bordering on a very pale orange-brown. The head settled down to less than a finger pretty quickly. Thick curtain-type lacing. Nice columns of carbonation with a bit of sediment floating around. Beer itself was clear reddish-brown.

S- Malt and roasted grain. Dark roasted coffee. Citrusy hops.

T- Wow. Sweetness and malts upfront. Some spice followed by citrus and a nice lingering hop finish. Balance definitely leans towards the tart, bitter citrus and hops. I could not taste any trace of alcohol like some reviewers noted.

M- Medium bodied and creamy. Not really syrupy in my opinion. Good bit of fine bubbled carbonation. Surprisingly smooth and crisp. Dominated by the long hop finish which coats the mouth.

D- I was ready for a second bottle before I finished the first. Really good. Like previously noted I could not detect the alcohol at all which was a surprise. I will definitely enjoy the 6 pack I bought now and I look forward to trying it again next year.

Photo of TCgoalie
3.25/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Notes from 4/30

This brew has a dark ruby red color with a snow like covering of off white head. Lacing on the glass is a map of where the initial head pour was.

I'm picking up a lot of lemony pine hops and some caramel malts when taking a big whiff. It is difficult to pick up the subtle notes since I am in a bar.

This tastes like pine tree juice. I can hardly believe this is a barleywine, it tastes like a double IPA. There is a lemony characteristic in the hops with some malt trying to show its face in the beginning, but the pine forest flavor takes over. The aftertaste shows some booze, evidence of its ABV.

I would say this is medium full in regards to its mouthfeel. It is smooth considering the hop bite, but I cannot get over the I just ate a handful of grass and pine needles.

This isn't the most drinkable beer nor is it the best barleywine I've had.

Photo of Axic10
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 Expedition. Poured from bottle into a Maudite snifter.

Appearance: Pours a nice dark brown/ruby/amber color with nice half finger of fluffy foam.

Smell: Alcohol, hops and malt. Sugar, toffee and fruit.

Taste: Bitter at first then the malt back bone hits and balances things out. Caramel from the malt, toffee, brown sugar. Very tasty. I can't wait to see what age does to this.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and chewy.

Drinkability: Definitely a beer that you won't drink more than 1 or 2 in a sitting, but a pleasant treat to enjoy for sure.

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

2010 Vintage

In the words of Ron Burgandy, "rich mahogany" comes to mind with this one along with a finger of head that leaves lots of lacing

Almost sherry-like aroma, like sherry with a definite hop presence. Sweet alcohol is definitely the front runner.

Sweet cherry upfront that changes to hop bitterness then seemingly to oxidation, with is acceptable, but the oxidation seems too much. We'll see how it mellows.

Sticky, coating, medium carbonation.

A great beer fresh or for aging.

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

2010 vintage
Apperance: opaque mahogany, Medium head with lots of sticky lace.
Smell: fresh bread, citrusy hops, some fruit esthers are present as well.
Taste: good hop kick with a residual bitterness. Bread like yeast qualities is present. The alcohol burn is noticable.
Mouthfeel: crisp good carbonation.
Drinkabilty: slighty too much alcohol presence in the fresh Bigfoot. Can definatly use some time in the cellar.

Photo of larryi86
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter

A- A very nice amber color with a tan 2 finger head.

S- WOW, very fruity in a good way. I picked up hints grape, cherry and citrus.

T- It has nice hoppy bitter taste up front followed by a smooth hint of the fruit notes in the smell. After it warms up a little it give away the 9.6% ABV with a warming feeling as it goes down.

M- Smooth and fairly refreshing. Only down falls are the bitterness lingers and the alcohol is not hidden.

D- This is a good barleywine and very enjoyable. It does not always leave me wanting a second, but it is good to have extras in the fridge. The one think that stops me from grabbing another is the alcohol because I have had other barkeywines with higher ABV that hide it better.

Photo of curasowa
3.35/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly cloudy copper color with a big, thick tan head that hangs around a while. Hugh floral nose with a strong medicinal background. A big smack of bitterness right from the get go, and then things get more complex. A bit of sweetness mixes with a earthy/grainy taste and more bitterness. Body is full and the finish is super astringent and lingering with a slightly harsh bitterness. I would characterize drinkability as challenging.

This is my first Barleywine experience, so a rerate may be in order once I get a few more under my belt.

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

Wow. A huge barley that has an enourmous amount of character and flavor. Poured into my standard pint glass. Man, I need some new glassware.

A: deep dark brown with a tinge of orage/ruddiness to it. nice two finger head when poured with vigor, settling into a disk of 1/8" creamy white head. minimal lacing. Medium legs, impressive for a ~10% brew.

S: As it warms, very stong caramel malts are presented on sniff with balancing Cascade hops. A lot of bittering scents are present. Semi sweet caramel infused with grapefruit or other sour citrus, that's the best description I can give.

T: Slightly boozy. Thick with citrus, sour citrus.

M: Bitterness lingers a long time then into slight malt. Carbonation is less than lacing and head say should be here. Very warming mid-glass. Aftertaste develops into a blissful semi-dry sensation.

D: A drinkable concotion. A single is drinkable enough, not really something I'd want more than one every few months.

Photo of animalchin
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Props to my buddy Dan for giving me two FREE bottles of the 2010 series. He said he didn't like the taste of "this shit." I love benefiting from other people's ignorance.

A - Translucent burnt orange/red body. A fluffy and condensed tan head. A LOT of lacing in the glass - I've never seen so much.,

S - Strong herbal hops and pungent floral notes. The alcohol is a bit much to follow. Also picking up some pine cones and grassy earth-like tones.

T - Hops are very pungent yet sweeter in the taste. The alcohol is definitely there as well. Some brassy and/or grainy tones to follow. The earth-like tones are still there, which are citrus in nature.

M - Modest carbonation - actually feels creamy.

D - Well, it is a barleywine. Just one and you're done. Drink this baby slow.

A beautifully crafted beer. Sierra Nevada continues to set the standard. Well done.

Photo of herman77
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep copper orange/amber. Slight haze to it. Thick fluffy light tan head. Great retention. Nice sticky, level lacing.

S: A mix of pine and grapefruit hops with notes of carmel and toffee malt.

T: Intense PUNGENT earthy/pine hops right of the bat, then the rich toffee malt comes in. Ends with a very long herbal bitterness with a almost hot alcohol finish. It kind of reminds me of a strong DIPA.

M/D: Medium to full, smooth consistency. Carbonation is lower, but its definitely there. For being so intense and strong, the drinkability is decent. The abv is not really hidden at all, but that doesn't really matter with this one.

Not much experience with Barleywines, but I would like to try more after having this.

Photo of jjh19
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clean, coppery with a tan head, and noticeably impressive lacing.

Smell: I got a really nice balance of roasty and hoppiness.

Taste: Some malts and sweetnesss, but mostly hops. Quite piney.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, with a very even-handed carbonation.

Drinkability: Solid. Not too heavy, with a memorable bite in the aftertaste. Pleasant, I could easily recommend this to a friend.

Photo of brewdub17
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Nice dark orange hue with an exceptional amount a creamy beige head.

Smell: Strong smell of crisp hops, as well as a hint of the alcohol.

Taste: Powerful amount of hops, making it nicely bitter. The taste of alcohol seems to come through strongly as well.

Mouthfeel: Higher gravity than most, but it is expected for a barleywine. Feels good and strong.

Drinkability: Too powerful to session with, but good for a sitting.

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Corned Beef & Co. shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a translucent reddish-brown color. Has a thick, foamy head that dissipates slowly and leaves considerable lacing.

Smell: Incredibly hoppy smelling. Strong notes of grapefruit and pine come out here. A slight malty smell comes out but it is subtle.

Taste: Hits you hard up front with incredibly bitter, grassy hops. Develops a bit of sweet malty flavor as it goes along. Finishes yeasty and slightly fruity. Very complex and very tasty.

Mouthfeel: A little thin but overall very good. Leaves a crisp, clean aftertaste.

Drinkability: This is definitely a sipping beer. Man, does it pack a wallop. I'd be interested in aging this one a bit to see if it mellows out. Regardless, it is truly a beer lover's beer and one that I'll be trying again, I'm sure.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into 20oz Brooklyn Brewery tulip pint glass.

Appearance: Pours bright amber color with a very large slightly orange head that dissipates pretty slowly and leaves heavy lace.

Smell: Strong sweet malt backbone with some nutty and phenolic aromas coming through.

Taste: Bready beginning, with a bitter herbal finish that has hints of alcohol and sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with light carbonation and a dry finish. Warming alcohol.

Drinkability: Definitely a sipper that holds a strong flavor. Defintely a good beer and a beer I would definitely drink again.

Photo of HerrBob
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I first had this brew 3 years ago before legal in AL. Drove to Ga @ bought a six. Kept the last bottle around 6 months or longer just because. Found it today in AL & bought all they had - 2 cases. This defines beer. I am an IPA guy & a hophead but like this even more. It defines what is good about beer. My favorite beer in the worl is Sweetwater IPA but I hve been flirting. This brew can make me unfaithful - to IPA!!!

Photo of mulder1010
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip. Thanks to JBowers56 for hooking me up with this.

A-- Poured a dark brown with tints of Carmel through the entire beer. Shows medium carbonation and the light brown head calmed down to a half finger head. Some thick lacing left on the sides of the glass and good head retention.

S-- Sweet and bready nose with dark fruits. Alcohol is noticeable and grows larger with more warmth. Smells more like a Belgian style dark ale.

T-- Sweet and alcohol. Fairly hot tasting. Very good condition for it being shipped to Australia. A lot of dark fruits in the taste as well.

M-- Medium carbonation and sweet and hoppy at the same time. Finished dry and hot. Got more bitter/ hoppy as I worked my way through the beer. Alcohol is very dominant in the mouthfeel.

D-- One is enough. Much bigger than the 9.6% says. Fairly hot beer and great for winter. Liked how the hops kicked in more and more as I went through the beer, Just a bit syrupy and hot.
Good beer but I think it needs time to mellow out a bit and hide the ABV a little more. Very warming beer and may just be too warm right now. Will cellar the other one for about 6 months.

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

2010 vintage. Pours brown with a slight ruby tone. Tan head falls to a very small one. Decent lace.

Nice sweet malt aroma with obvious hops and alcohol present.

Bold flavor. Awesome malts and a sweetness that gives way to hops and bitterness. Ends with alcohol.

Medium bodied with low carbonation and an alcohol bite.

Nice barleywine. Bold and delicious and a great sipping beer.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,515 ratings.