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

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

6,368 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,368
Reviews: 2,817
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 270
Gots: 1,139 | FT: 48
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 02-06-1998)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,368 | Reviews: 2,817 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of chrhowe
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 12oz bottle poured into a Chimay chalice.

A very dark, cloudy, reddish appearance with a little, 1/2 fingered head dissapearing fast but the lacing for some reason was stellar!
Lovely malt presence, dark fruits, and a hop flavor thats quite subtle.
The taste folows the aroma of malt, dark fruit, adds a little spice, and has a great hoppy bitterness at the finish.
What a creamy, smooth beer! A great full bodied beer, not too hot with the alcohol. And the carbonation is controlled very nicely.
I really like this beer. Great balance, tolerable alcohol presence. Be careful, too much too quick and you're jacked. But a great, great beverage.

chrhowe, Jul 18, 2009
Photo of Nibbley
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 2008 25th Expedition release.
Pours a lovely reddish-brown with a good 2 finger head that lasts the entire glass.Good lacing down the glass.
Smells of dark fruit and fresh baked rye bread.
First taste bring a wallop of hoppy bitterness that mellows into a nice malty backround. Warming alcohol is nice but not overpowering.
Exceptional example of the style.

Nibbley, Jul 17, 2009
Photo of superdedooperboy
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2009 batch poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter. Served at cellar temperature, 50 degrees F.

Pours a beautiful clear, deep reddish hue with a full, creamy light tan head that fades to a thick bubbly cap that casts a few splotches of lace on the walls of the glass as the glass drains. Displays some legs as the glass is swirled.

Aroma is rife with rich malt and fruity estery goodness, along with a mighty hop kick. Luscious notes of figs and prunes meld delicately with a hint of caramel and bright, floral, citrusy hops. Each noseful is a delight.

Quite full-bodied though certainly far from syrupy, with just a mild carbonation that provides just the faintest prickle on the tongue. The palate is mostly hop-forward, with a definite citrusy hoppiness that screams DIPA; but then, this is an American Barleywine, and the line between it and the venerable DIPA is a thin one. The barleywine nature shows through in the rich maltiness that undercuts the hops, though it is quickly forgotten thanks to the dry bitterness that is accentuated by the alcohol that shows through in the middle, carrying over well into the finish, seemingly soaking all moisture from the palate and leaving a bone-dry, grapefruity hoppiness that lingers long after.

Delicious but, naturally, the high alcohol content hinders drinkability. Certainly an excellent American barleywine, but one that deserves a bit of mellowing to tone down the hop level and bring out the malts and delicious fruitiness. Ken Grossman has stated that this one is at its best after a year of age; I may certainly have to test out his judgment.

superdedooperboy, Jul 14, 2009
Photo of johntangus
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a lovely deep amber with a thick frothy head that dissapates slowly leaving some killer lacing.

The smell is a rather boozy dark fruit - very big beer smell.

It doesn't taste nearly as boozy as it smells. Great hop presence up front with a delicious malt back end.

It has a wonderful medium mouthfeel and if i weren't tipsy after one, i could see myself drinking a few of these in a sitting.

This is probably the most impressed that i've been with Sierra Nevada. And at $10.99 a sixer, i shoulda stocked up.

johntangus, Jul 14, 2009
Photo of ClevoPiwo
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter

this beer pours a nice deep chestnut or a rich burnt sienna. the head is moderate, about a finger width, and leaves a bit of lacing on the glass. after the initial head dissipates you are left with some spotty foam and a thin rim around the edge of the surface of the beer.

the hops are right up front in the smell and very distinct; you can pick them out without any trouble or confusion. in addition to the bitter and pine-y aromatic assault from the hops there are some overtones of sweetness from the malts and a bit of alcohol ester.

the taste is really big on the hops. the malt is present briefly once the beer hits the palate but the sweet and caramely flavor of the malt is quickly overtaken by the hops which linger into the finish. would have personally liked to see a fairer balance between the malts and hops, but that isn't to say this isn't a skillfully crafted beer. the alcohol is present as well in the taste, fitting somewhere between the malt and the hops.

overall a good beer. if you like hops, this one is for you!

ClevoPiwo, Jul 13, 2009
Photo of sholland119
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage courtesy of Mauerhan. Thanks, Topher!

A-Opaque honeyed amber with a thin coating of off white head and some decent lacing.

S-Caramel, hops and a bit of booze.

T-Lots of malty, caramel sweetness in the front, with a very solid citrus hop kick in the finish. A bit of warming alcohol at the very end. Delicious.

M-Medium bodied, just a bit heavy.

D-Excellent. A great end to a great weekend.


sholland119, Jul 13, 2009
Photo of brownbeer
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage poured into a new belgium snifter.

Appearance- deep ruby with a substantial dirty white head.

Nose- Burnt carmel, piney hops, a touch of oak, and a whiff of alcohol.

Mouthfeel- reveals a slighty syrupy medium body.

Taste- Up front is a malt bomb all the way with toffee and citrus showing. The finish ends dry with aggressive hops(a little more than I was hoping for considering three years age) and a touch of warming alcohol.

Overall, this beer needs more time to develop into what I want from an aged bigfoot but shows great change and I can't wait to revisit in about three more years.

brownbeer, Jul 05, 2009
Photo of Lerxst
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a nice amber color with a frothy head that leaves nice lacing.

S-Citrusy/Piney hops but a big malt presence too. Smells great.

T-A nice maltiness with a decent citrusy hop kick. This is very good.

M-Medium to full bodied, rich and malty. Nice carb level.

D-For a big beer, this is highly drinkable. I could easily put away a few of these in one sitting.

Nice job from SN. If you're a Barleywine fan, its worth picking up a sixer of these.

Lerxst, Jul 05, 2009
Photo of DookDrinkyCrow
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I bought the 2009 6 pack from the local liquor store for 12.99. It has a great color, very rich clear brown hue and smells like citrus and spice. It has a good taste, very hoppy and malty with a bitter aftertaste. A decent Barleywine and i like the graphics on the bottle.

DookDrinkyCrow, Jul 04, 2009
Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A rather splendid burnished copper colour, with a thick and frothy head of yellow-beige bubbles. Lacing is phenomenal. Clarity is excellent. This is a damn hell yes looking beer. Just gorgeous.

Oh my and goodness. What a truly lovely American-hopped nose. Full of citrus, fruit and pine, delicious with resin and deliciously good. Oh, this smell always takes me back to San Francisco, a very pleasant place to be, surrounded by delicious beer. If I'm being picky, it's probably not as sharp or pungent as the best highly-hopped American ales, but it does have a pleasant sweetness sitting around that adds some character. Still - this is very, very nice indeed.

Creamy and silky on the mouth, a very fine and slick feel is noticeable from the first sip. Amazingly, it's not as bitter as I would have imagined from the aroma - and for a barleywine, that's excellent. There's a rich sweetness lolling over the tongue, feeling rich, heavy and gorgeous, and the hoppy notes just dance around over the top, never proclaiming their dominance. The beuatiful coupling of the flecks of bitterness and the creamy, sweet backbone make this a really, really excellent beer.

This is an exceptionally good barleywine, in my opinion. The hops remind you of its origin, but the palate is so full, rich and heavy with malt sweetness that you can't mistake this for a DIPA, which is how I feel a lot of barleywines end up. Extremely drinkable, and thoroughly enjoyable. Sierra Nevada, I take my hat off.

lacqueredmouse, Jul 01, 2009
Photo of laituegonflable
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich amber colour with frothy cream head that has disappeared, leaving some nice spots of lace around the glass. Little bubbles are formed with tilting, but no other visible carbonation. Looks very nice.

Nose is very hoppy with a tangy citrus character rebounding off some very aromatic floral hops, underlying buttery note and a hint of a watermelon Jolly Rancher element. Very nice indeed. I'm a fan.

Taste is a bit insane. Deep raisiny, treacley sweetness on the front, very thick and full malt, then a quite quick, but increasingly intense, fanfare of hops that start out quite floral and get increasingly bitter and phenolic towards the end, with a roasted, burnt kind of flavour as well. Leaves a very sharp astringency in my mouth, probably killing my palate. Quite a puckering mouthfeel overall.

For all that though, it's very nice, a good complex journey from start to finish. I just think it leans too heavily on the hops, leaves on a very bitter note, like my slut of an ex-wife.

laituegonflable, Jul 01, 2009
Photo of oldpinecone
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank from a pint glass. This beer pours a wonderful copperish color with a thin light tan head and subpar lacing. It smells of malt and nature with a mild alcohol presence. Tastes like a well hopped barelywine with a strong alcohol after-taste. Bigfoot coated the mouth during sip but quickly left nothing to be desired. To strong for a session beer but extrodinary flavor.

oldpinecone, Jun 30, 2009
Photo of womencantsail
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage Tasted on 6/24/09

A: Dark amber in color with lots of red highlights and minimal head.

S: Lots of sweet malt, with still a fair bit of hops/bitterness despite being two years old. Dark fruits are very present in the nose as well.

T: Like any barleywine, the sweet caramel and toffee are the stars. But again, a very noticeable bitterness is still present.

M: Full bodied, smooth, and moderate carbonation.

D: Sort of the quintessential barleywine. This stuff seems to have an infinite shelf-life, and I'm glad I've got several vintages of this sitting around.

womencantsail, Jun 26, 2009
Photo of NewGeneric
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drinking this one right now. Pours a hazy, reddish copper color with light beige head that leaves nice lacing. Smells of earthy hops, big malts, caramel and grass. Taste dominated by earthy hops up front, followed by slightly sweet maltiness, finishing with a very light nutty roastiness. Quite smooth, but leaves some bitterness on the tongue. Overall, an easy drink for such a big beverage.

NewGeneric, Jun 22, 2009
Photo of ricke
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving date: 2009-04-10. Vintage 2008. Cellared for about 1 year.

A: Hazy dark amber with a quite big pale beige head that slowly settles into some lacings.

S: Rich aromas of both malts and hops. Pleasant fruity aromas (gooseberries, red grapefruit, lemon peel) blend with a large amount of sweet chocolate. Hints of raisin and vanilla. A very sturdy malty backbone. All in all, the smell is very powerful, rich and dense. Very complex and very pleasant.

T: Big caramel flavor, sweet fudge and chocolate. Sweet and ripe fruit - citric notes, grapefruit, cherries. Notes of almonds. Vanilla and licorice in the middle. The finish is very bitter with notes of grassy hops and raisins. A well integrated taste of alcohol delivers a spicy layer on top of the sweetness. Very nice!

M: Full bodied, smooth and soft mouthfeel with a slightly chewy finish. Medium carbonation.

D: A very good beer. Complex and well balanced. One year of cellaring is really suitable for this one.


2005 vintage. Serving date: 2009-04-10. Cellared for about 4 years, parallel tasted with the 2008 vintage.

A: Much darker than the 2008 vintage, and with a smaller head that dissipates faster.

S: Not as impressive as the 2008 vintage, but still good. Not as powerful and not as complex. A similar fruitiness, but with a slightly tart edge and it is harder to pinpoint exact components. A big malty backbone, but not as sturdy as the 2008 vintage. Still plenty of chocolate and raisins. One of two funky notes and a prominent aged character.

T: A prominent taste of dusty cellar, somewhat sweet but mostly funky - not unpleasantly funky though. Sweet fruits (currants, grapefruit and some cherries). Hints of wood. The flavors have in general a very mature character. More sweetness in the form of chocolate and some vanilla. The finish is not as bitter as the 2008 vintage. The hops have faded significantly. The alcohol is not as prominent as in the 2008 vintage, and it is very well integrated. All in all, the flavors in the 2005 vintage are a little edgier than in the 2008, and it is not as complex. The 2005 vintage has some notes resembling sherry, and I did not pick that out in the 2008 vintage.

M: Basically the same as the 2008 vintage.

D: This is still a very good beer, but I think the 2008 vintage was better on almost all accounts (except for the well integrated alcohol and some of the mature notes in the 2005 vintage).

Grades: A: 4, S: 4, T: 4, M: 4,5, D: 4, Total: 4,05 (A-).


2009 vintage. Serving date: 2009-08-04. Cellared about 7 months.

A: Reddish amber, slightly hazy. Pale beige head that leaves some lacings.

S: Lots of grapefruit and hop resins. Notes of pine-needles. A hint of vanilla. The malty caramel background is noticeable, but muted by the powerful hops. Compared to the cellared 08 vintage, this one is clearly more hoppy and not as balanced.

T: Lots of grapefruit and tropical fruits. Hints of vanilla and toffee. Juicy caramel malts in the background, but clearly overpowered by the hops. Rather sweet. The finish is massively bitter, really aggressive, with lots of piny and spicy hops and sweet and spicy alcohol.

M: Same as the other vintages.

D: A bottle this young is much more hop forward than older ones. The beer is quite different when it's young compared to when it's cellared. The sweet and chewy vinous character of a barleywine is considerably held back in favor of the hoppy flavors. Not as well-balanced as especially the cellared 08 vintage. I enjoyed the latter more than this one.

Grades: A: 4, S: 4, T: 3,5, M: 4, D: 4, Total: 3,8 (B+).

ricke, Jun 21, 2009
Photo of ruckus232
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 Ounce brown bottle (2009)

Appearance: Dark brown/red cloudy coloring with light tan head.

Smell: Very nice aroma of fruits and florals. The hops are already present in the smell.

Taste: Strong but pleasant bitter hop flavor. The floral smells appear in the taste as well.

This is actually my first Barleywine and I am still not a huge strong hop fan but this is a really good tasting beer that I would definitely recommend.

Note: Accidentally put this in the wrong beer review, this is the correct one now.

ruckus232, Jun 20, 2009
Photo of wyattshotmaker
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 bottle,pours a dark red with a nice head that leaves some lacing.smell is of dark fruit and malty sweetness,mild herbal hop aroma,slight nuttiness in the nose.

taste has alot of dark fruit esters,mild herbal hop flavor and slight alcohol burn.a year has done this beer well.

mouthfeel is slight carbonation,fitting for this style.a bit thicker than most barleywines.drinkability is high,especially after a year.

i tucked away three of these bottles,gonna have one on my birthday in october and maybe one on new years eve.

wyattshotmaker, Jun 19, 2009
Photo of Lexluthor33
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Medium brown with a nice head and great lacing.
The aroma of hops,malts and fruit.
The taste starts off bitter with grapefruit flavor. A good malt backbone and a swift kick of hops.
The brew feels well balanced with a full body,medium carbonation and a smooth feel.

Notes: One particular day the shop was all out of Double IPA's and I asked the stock girl what would be close to the Double and she recommended Big Foot. I really appreciate her suggestion.

Lexluthor33, Jun 18, 2009
Photo of BenJames1984
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2009 Release poured into a pint glass.

Appearance- awesome deep ruby color with mahogany tone. This left a nice, thick beige head, leaving a LOT of lacing.

Smell- Hoppy. But not in a traditional bitter sense, but rather in a sweet way.

Taste- a complexity of malts, hops, barely, sweetness, and bitterness. A bit boozy, however.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- This beer is great, don't get me wrong. However, it's a bit aggressive. I could only drink one of these in a session. MAYBE two.

BenJames1984, Jun 17, 2009
Photo of animal69
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- 2009 vintage, pours a clear deep reddish-copper color w/ a thick slightly tanned head which lasts a good while before settling into a geometric form that leaves a nice lacing in my goblet
S- smell is mostly piney citrus hops with some subtle hints of nuts and whole wheat bread intertwined w/ a bit of a sherry-like booze as it warms
T- at first the bitter grapefruity hops poke their head out before quickly succumbing to the sweet, powerfully complex malt body of this beer, nutty pumpernickel bread, notes of raison & licorice, then finishes w/ a bittersweet slightly alcoholic, though not unpleasant, finish
M- a rich, full mouthfeel with a decent level of co2
D- an extremely drinkable brew, hard to believe it's almost 10% ABV, an outstanding example of the Am. barleywine style, i can't get enough of it...

animal69, Jun 16, 2009
Photo of jackofclubs
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

had this one at the clark street ale house in a snifter. i didn't think to check the year i would guess 2009.

A- amber slightly hazy with a thin tan head

S- malty with a good amount of hops caramel

T- i love malt so this beer did it for me. the hops were just right

M- great. thick and marming

D- a sipper but damned good

great beer for a cold chicago early afternoon

jackofclubs, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of Gilgemesh
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage
Pours a clear, blood amber. A thick lightly colored head. Aromas permeating with malt and hops. Reminds me of walking the woods around Tahoe. Full of wet pine, sweet fruityness, alcohol, and a slight cirus hint. The flavor is hops. This beer is built to last. Big front hops with a smooth middle and a deep bitter finish. Good strong malt perhaps a bot biscuity, but it is hard to pick up with all of the fresh hops. I can't wait to try this after a few years of aging.

Gilgemesh, Jun 10, 2009
Photo of JAStheAce
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2009 Vintage

A- Deep violet, crimson red just a beautiful awe-inspiring color and massive towering head that seems to be independent of the beer and an entity all onto itself. There are gobs of this stuff that just seem to form all on their own every time I move my glass.

S - Smells like a thick pine forest. Woodsy. Very oakey and like mother nature herself.

T - Very hoppy and bitter but with a sweet fruit wine explosion in the back. Rich, hearty, and yeasty.

M - Think and very viscous. The taste languishes in my mouth for a long time after there is anything there. This is definitely a complex brew with serious power.

D - Not for the weak or faint of heart. This is a serious beer with some serious punch but delicious and amazing to me.

Overall - Truth be told, I did not know what a Barley Wine was until this beer but now I do and this one definitely sets the bar extremely high and I wonder if it can be topped? An inspirational and uplifting beer that should be shared in large amounts with friends and good times.

JAStheAce, Jun 06, 2009
Photo of TheBierBand
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12 oz. brown stubby bottle into my pint glass to form... oops a 2+" head... (perhaps a bit aggressive on the pour). The head slowly dissipated but remained at about 1/4" throughout... nice lacing and the head is a beige color. The beer is a dark amber and pretty clear.

Nose?... What nose?... very slight.... just a hint of toasted malt and kind of a musty scent.... not in a bad way.... just a little musty.

Taste: Wow!.... nailed me good, right up front! Very well balanced between sweet malt and bitter hops... neither one dominates. The taste is very robust and the alcohol is well-hidden... only becomes aparent at the finish.

MF: Rich, robust and somewhat creamy.... not as creamy as some of the other American Barleywines I have had.... but on the good side.

Drinkability: Good for an American Barleywine. NO, you're probably not going to have more than one of these.... but hey... it's not meant to be a lawn mower beer. It's good for what it is!

TheBierBand, Jun 04, 2009
Photo of snpub540
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2009 Vintage

Poured a caramel color that was mostly copper, with an eggshell colored foam that was very clingy and left nice lacing the whole session. Nice amount of carbonation.

Smells were yeasty, caramel sweetness, and floral hops. A nice balanced aroma that was very enticing.

Taste was a slight let down compared to the aromas that it gave off. Upfront was a toasted nuttiness, that was slightly sweet, followed by a grassy hop bitterness. There was a slight harshness in the finish that makes me believe this beer will do better with some age. Very dry almost chalky finish, that had a slight peppery taste.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied. Alcohol made itself apparent very early. I believe this beer needs some age. I will put a few down and see how they mellow and blend.

snpub540, Jun 04, 2009
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,368 ratings.