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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6,517 Ratings

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Ratings: 6,517
Reviews: 2,830
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 296
Gots: 1,200 | 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: 6,517 | Reviews: 2,830 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Kegatron
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into a snifter. 2010 release.

Pours a beautiful looking deep clear amber, with 2+ foamy fingers of foamy off-white head. Retention is great here, with this putting up a big frothy flareup of lacing that hangs in thick swathes down the sides of the glass. The aroma mainly consists of fresh American hops that literally blow up in the nose, being full of pine and spice and a deep smelling fresh herbal tanginess. A thick malty graininess fills the back of the nose, with most of the sweetness here appearing to come for the fruitiness and earthy nature of the hops.

Resins and spice from those fresh hops just rip the mouth, while a combo of earthy dankness and bitter citrus flavor creeps along in the background. Much like the aroma, there isn't a whole lot of sweetness present (but there's just enough), with a stiff backbone of toasted gaininess holding steady across the back of the palate. Finishes with a ton of lingering dryness, spice, and some leftover herbal tang. The mouthfeel is full and chewy with a good bit of thickness to the feel; but the overall creaminess of the carbonation helps keep this smooth in the mouth for such a big beer. Even at room temp, I'm happy to report that the alcohol here is kept in check, with only some gentle warmth in the chest and throat showing itself after each sip. Well done.

A classic any way you cut it, not only because of it's great availabilty and price each year but also because this is just a damn fine American Barleywine. I personally prefer this fresh each year but aged isn't shabby either. So loosen up thee ole' belt and enjoy one of these calorie-bombs!

Photo of steelerguy
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Very clear mahogany, can see right through it. Big and sticky off white head that has some lasting and lacing power.

S - Big malt and hop aroma. Not going to bowl you over but you can smell right away this is a barleywine. Lots of malt sweetness and citrus hops.

T - The malt and hops hit hard and early which is good, the balance lasts throughout. Bitter finish as the sweetness of the malt and then the alcohol makes itself known.

M - Rich and creamy, goes down smooth and the warmth of the alcohol finishes each sip off nicely.

D - Smooth, balanced, and dare I say safe? I can have a couple of these but I like my barleywine over the top. It is the style to go over the top and I feel like it could use a little more complexity.

Photo of jbone78
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an 09 and today is 3.8.10. Pours slightly hazy Mahogany color with a big frothy off white head. Figgy, caramel, nutty aroma with esters hidden well. Taste still has a slight hop flavor, but blends with the rich malt character. I have four left. I will hang on to them.


Photo of gromis
2.63/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours an amber color with a pretty good head considering the strength of the beer. Good lacing.

Nose is piney hops.

Taste is piney hops with slight orange.

I'm not a hophead, so I rated the taste and drinkability lower. I've had other barleywines that I have enjoyed that were not so hoppy.

Photo of Shamgar
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 bottle poured into a Guiness pint glass.

appearance- mohogany redish/brown color. Little carbonation. Nice head when first poured, but dissapates to a thin bubbly head. Looks okay, but not much lacing going on.

smell- hops are very present. Would be Sierra Nevada be Sierra Nevada without Cascade hops?? Yet there is a deep malt here as well. Seems like a yin and yang between the hops and the malt here.

taste- hops up front, malt kicks in not to long after. Malt vs. hop wrestling match with hints of sweetness and bitterness giving the palate all it can handle. The finish has has a bitter hops finish that lingers for a bit. Nice brew.

mouthfeel- Thick, syrupy, oily, but not at all offensive. I can't really pick up that 9.8 until I put one down. I feel it before I taste it. Well done!

This is my second most faovrite brew of the winter, and by far the best Barley Wine I have tasted to date. Barley Wine isn't for everyone, but if you like a big beer with complex flavor and a bit of kick then I suggest you give it a try... You just might like it.

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

A: Pours dark amber red with a large off white head. The head recedes slowly leaving great lacing.

S: Piney hops and malt sweetness.

T: Lots of bitter piney hops up front that blend into sweet caramel malt. Finishes bittersweet with some alcohol warming.

M: Pretty full bodied with quite a bit of carbonation which I really enjoy in this beer.

D: Drinkability is good even considering the high ABV. Nice flavor and good mouthfeel make this a really enjoyable barley wine.

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

12 OZ bottle 2010, Reviewed from notes

A- Deep copper color, good head, lots of lacing

S- Hops, roasted malts

T- Roasted malts, dark fruit, raisins, and piney hops

M- Chewy with just the right amount of carbonation

D- This is my favorite beer to date, I think it is the most flavourable beer I have had and I do not know if I will be able to let my last few age

Photo of scottyshades
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 variety

A: Pours a transparent rich mahogany color with a fluffy, thick eggshell color head that retains very very well. In fact, it lasted throughout the entire session, releasing all those delicious aromatics. Each sip reveals a notch in the glass- pretty awesome.

S: Very nice nose, raisin, fig, with an overall sweet dark fruit note. Hops are definitely present; piney, resinous, floral. An overall sweetness from the dark fruits and an earthy hop presence that balances nicely with the pale and caramel malts. Apparently this recipe calls for the "three C's" hop variety- cascade, centennial, and chinook and I must say that this combination works for this style.

T: Definitely a big beer. Hops are intense, bittersweet, earthy and resinous. The hops and malts are not very balanced, in fact the malts play a very small role. Again, dark fruits (raisin, fig), molasses, caramel lay beneath a massive hop-dominant profile with an overall bitter-sweet flavor. Huge underlying bitter bite...kind of takes away from the balance, and what is more surprising is that this brew has 90IBUs...I would have guessed more.

MF/D: Body is medium for the style, prickly carbonation (a little too carbonated for my liking), chewy feel, and a bittersweet hop finish and aftertaste.

Definitely characteristic of the American version of the barleywine style- lots and lots of hops, and this one seems to be less balanced than others, but still an OK drink, especially as an aperitif. I had this alongside some baked apricot brie and it was and amazing pair!!!!

I cannot really figure out what I do not like in this beer...its either not malty enough, or too hoppy and bitter, maybe both..OR maybe its too young, so I'll cellar one for a while and edit accordingly

EDIT: I figured out what I don't like...There is a distinct taste that really resembles dextrose (priming sugar) and I've noticed it in a few other of SN offerings. It almost tastes like chewing on an aspirin

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

Pours a dark amber color with an off white head.
Smells like citrusy hops typical of Sierra Nevada.
Taste like smooth malt over powered almost imediately with the hops. Small alochol taste on the back end.
This beer is very drinkable even with the alochol at the end.

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

pours a clear deep mahogany with an enormous fluffy light tan head. great lacing.

smells like a whole bunch of citrussy, piney hops, with a neat slightly caramel like malt profile.

bitter and sweet in great amounts at the same time. grapefruit like flavor with a very dry finish.

mouthfeel is very creamy with an average body and a dry finish.

the drinkability is actually fairly high even though this is such a big beer. not to heavy but a little strenuous on the palette.

another great beer from sierra nevada. i'm not the biggest fan of barleywines but this one is really something else.

Photo of johnnybgood1999
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep amber and honey color with a small to medium sized head.
S: Malt, bread, and a pleasant dose of spice.
T: Starts out sweet and pleasant, then warms with a deep pleasant spiciness rounding out the end. It is a little boozier than most barleywines, but not ovewhelmingly so.
D: What can you say, it's a barleywine. I could drink maybe two in a sitting as long as some lighter brews were mixed in.

Overall: I've heard good things abouty this and was not disappointed. Another solid brew from Sierra Nevada.

Photo of hooliganlife
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours a deep ruby brown, creamy head that lingers around. bits of lacing.

not much on the nose, light malts, touch of honey and pine

lots of bitterness. hops really steal the show. tons of pine up front and big bitter citrus through the finish. the grainy malts start appearing midway through. lots of flavors though out, such as tangerine, pine, white grapefruit, malt bitterness. little bit of booze

very full bodied, not chewy but very full. carbonation has a lot of bite but in a good way. lets you know what you are drinking. gums tingle afterwards, a bit of booze burn.

this is delicious. i can see why many age this, i had a 2008 last year and it really mellowed over a year. i loved it but i think i prefer it fresh. drinks easy but ABV is high.

Photo of chickenflea
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours a dark amber color a foamy off-white head. A lot of lacing in the glass as I suck down this wicked brew.

You can smell those Pacific coast hops. This is an unexpectedly pleasant surprise. Sweet malt also present. The alcohol smell is muted although the brew carries a hefty 9.6 a.b.v.

The taste is sweet and hoppy. Bready notes in the middle. Lingering bitterness is pleasant and makes you yearn for another sweet smooth mouthful.

Very drinkable. Can I have another please.

Photo of Arbitrator
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 vintage stubby into a glass. Purchased as a single at Whole Foods in Los Altos. Re-reviewed since the 2009 vintage was very much not to my liking.

A: Pours a murky amber color with reddish tints throughout the body when held to the light. The cap is lightly reddish brown, and recedes in sections over a few minutes before finally falling into a light film and donut on top of the brew. Lacing down the glass.

S: Reminds me a lot of a candied, caramel-ish pine branch. Some floral aromas too. Like walking through a forest.

T: Very hoppy. Lots of pine and floral flavors up front. The mid-taste brings out the malt character (although it's hard to detect with the really forward hops): caramel, toffee, and nuts. It actually reminds me of a slightly hoppier Double Bastard. Takes on a slightly metallic character as it warms.

M: Very warming. Medium-full body with low-moderate carbonation.

D: The flavors in this one are very strong; fresh, it's not a subtle beer at all. It's actually slightly hard to finish, what with the overpowering hop flavors and lack of dimensionality.

I suspect the 2009 bottle I had was bad, from reading my own review. Not oxidized, but just somehow off. The 2010 bottle is a lot better, although I still detect a metallic / mineral quality to the flavor that bugs me. It's a good barleywine, not a great one. I'm content having had the one bottle for the season.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass (March 2, 2010). Serial number on the label says "000710838" so it's bottled 8:38am PST, January 7th, 2010 on bottling line #1, (see here:

I'm intentionally drinking a very fresh 2010 vintage to compare it to older and more aged versions.

Eyes: Pours a soupy darkish red/copper. I need to pour the bottle slowly and wait as the head is so full and threatens to spill over. The off white foam is incredibly thick, and looks like the surface of the moon as it receded. Massive lacing. Gorgeous.

Nose: The hops are prominent, a sweet citrus, fruity profile. Dried fruit mix in with caramel. Smells very close to a DIPA, but not quite there.

Tongue: An extremely complex profile here. It's very thick and syrupy, with sweet malts, and bitter hops especially on the tail. All flavors are very well blended. The alcohol is fairly evident also.

Mouth: Thick, chewy and pasty, good carbonation for the weight. The savory mouthfeel seems to last for ever.

Libation: This is truly a great beer. I had heard this was a lot more hoppy than it actually was, there are enough hops to add an interesting dimension. Even trying this very fresh, I don't see how anyone could confuse this for a DIPA, but it is certainly a very tasty, very warming offering that I'll look forward to drinking and storing every year.

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

A) Pint glass. Pours an auburn caramel; very thick head with rich lacing.

S) Floral; hop and caramel notes

T) Powerful hop and malt flavor; and just like a barleywine, a big warm climactic alcohol finish. Impressive.

M & D) Crisp; very easy to drink. Very Sierra Nevada. Very good.

Photo of MrHassellYaHurd
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours into a pint glass a translucent red-orange with a light khaki cap of foam clinging to the glass.

Smells caramel-sweet with an assertively piney hop presence and notes of cherries and preserved fruits and jams.

A nice and assertively citrus and pine hop taste as well as a very sweet, syrupy taste. Roasted grains and intense concentrated fruits.

Full-bodied thick syrupy goodness, this beer is packed full of flavor and sparse on the carbonation.

Photo of Kemmerlin
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: a dark brownish red color with a thick creamy off white head.
S: has a strong caramel malt aroma with the hops coming in the back of the nose. Not overly hoppy at all.
T: a very sugary sweet taste of caramel malts with a nutty aftertaste and gentle floral hops moving in between.
M/D: it has a thick yet soft feel. The drinkability is very good due to the taste and the feel. I highly recommend.

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

This is more like a DIPA than a traditional barley wine, but these days distinctions certainly blur. It pours a nice clear deep amber color with a nice creamy and and thick off white head that retains pretty well and laces all over the glass. The nose is leafy, estery, piney and grapefruity hop. The nose is quite nice, I just wish it were a bit more assertive.

The taste is definitely full bodied. This is all about the hops, at least at first. There are juicy and leafy and slightly acerbic piney hop with some citric tanginess. The hop is very upfront, and probably a tad bit more leafy than anything else. The beer is very well balanced with its thick creamy maltiness. There are lots of crystal and pale malts, not much graininess at all, very smooth and clean. The ABV on this beer is quite evident and is rather warming and not overly boozy. The beauty of this beer is its balance. The assertive hops are held together nicely by a malty and creamy base underneath. The ABV keeps this beer strong, a bit unrestrained, and warming. The beer is ultimately a strong sipping beer with lots more maltiness than you would find in a more vinous and syrupy barleywine. My vote is to label this as a DIPA. L'Chaim.

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

pours a deep, bright amber with flapjack batter floating thick...cola type bubbles visible around the edge...lacing is more like a thick veneer/swathe that slowly slides back to the party below. beautiful.

deep rich malty hoppy yin yang sweet&sour in the olfactory department...not really intense, but solid and a hint of things to come.

yeah, it's bold, a malty hop brawl in your mouth, sasquatch is now looking for you. alcohol is present and adds to the gravity...i almost get a creamy sense that i love when drinking Nugget Nectar...but here, it's heavier, actually a bit more bitter, but very satisfying. actually a bit dry, making this not a good choice for a session brew (ha!), due to the need to immediately take another sip. or gulp. mouthfeel is as it should be, creamy but a little boost of carbonation keeps it from dragging you down to the bottom of the ocean. unless you keep chugging away...

a solid brew, loaded with flavor yet not overly complex. a great gift and one i need to cellar. something i need to start doing regularly.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Behold the great of the greats. Beautiful ruby red appearance. Immaculate.

Aroma, big and bold. Almost barks in your face. Alcohol, wood, hops. Taste, is a full frontal assault on the palate. An immense beer, big on hops, the hoppiest barleywine I've ever had. I age a bunch of these, and if you want it to taste more like a traditional barleywine, age it a few years. If you want it to be like a West Coast IPA/Barleywine, drink it fresh. Its delicious either way, but for hopheads, I say drink it fresh.

Mouthfeel is excellent as well, can become challenging, as the malt feels heavier throughout the drink. Drinkability, is great for a barleywine, cheap, but you'd be fooling yourself to think you should knock back more than 2, or that it's easy drinking unless you've got some experience under your belt.

Photo of jmfc8237
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-poured from a brown stubby bottle with a blue label, and a cap that denotes the vintage year 2010. Pored into a snifter with a lively head about 1/2 inch. Head has very fine bubbles and is a tan caramel in color. Very nice amber/ruby color in the beer with mild carbonation.

S-really vibrant oily hop aromas that are fruity with grapefruit and pine. Slight aroma of caramel malt and fig.

T-Big hop flovor with a oily presentation at first that leads into a mild malt backround. The hops are the star here, with I melow warmth of alcohol that builds stronger as you sip.

M/D- a huge winner in my book. Love the hop charachter and the mild malt backround.

Photo of cld253
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010. 12 oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A- Pours a finger and a half head, red, resiny head.

S- Citrusy, sweet, biscuit aroma. Alcohol is present, but expected.

T- Sweet malt laced with citrus and higher acid hops throughout. Strong, certainly could use a year or more to mellow out, maybe I will put a couple of these away.

F- Resiny, slightly astringent. Again,. . can't wait for it to age.

D- First one right now,.. but surprisingly easy to drink for this style.

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

2010 bottle. Pours a clear deep-ruby amber with a substantial tan head.

Smells of bitter citrus hops, slightly sweet caramel malts and hints of alcohol.

The taste upfront is bitter grapefruit that quickly lends way to sharp toasty malts. Finish is bitter and a bit hoppy. Alcohol heat comes through as it goes down.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and somewhat syrupy with low carbonation.

Drinkability is great despite the alcohol presence.

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

The color is a rich brown amber. Aroma is a fantastic wet hop aroma, not citrus, but bittering hoppiness. The taste has a major hoppy bitterness with a fruity, malty undertone. Biggest impression is bittering hops for sure. It didn't taste like the barleywines I'm used to, much smoother.

Update: How is this a barleywine? Its WAAAY too much like a double or triple IPA than a barleywine. I love it!

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,517 ratings.