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

3,008 Reviews
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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.60%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 02-06-1998

User Reviews
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Reviews: 3,008 | Ratings: 7,328
Photo of Beaconheath
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2015 "vintage," bottled 12/31/14, tasted January 2016, in a Libbey tulip glass, 45–50°F.
Clear dark amber with a one-finger head that dissipated in a few minutes but regenerated with each swirl. Potent fragrance filled the air around the glass at once to a radius of several feet.
Flavor dominated by the piney element in the Chinook hops, which floated over the malt base without integrating with it. Will appeal to those who appreciate prominent Pacific northwest hops.
Weighty mouthfeel, beverage coated the throat.
Overpowered the homemade burrito I paired it with, but it was nice with a dessert of Medjool dates. Sweetness of the dates took some edge off the hoppiness and brought out the malt.

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Photo of josanguapo
5/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From Uvinum. In Teku glass. Watching Sons of Anarchy 5x01. Amazing aroma. Great taste. A bit alcoholic but with a nice touch of bitterness that compensates it.

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

12.4.2014 bottle poured into a tulip; pours rich ruby malt color with generous and lingering head. Smell is bread, malt, caramel, toffee, hops. Taste is sweet, malt, rich bread and then to hops and slightly bitter finish and feint abv bite. The hops have held on surprisingly well after 13 months of cellaring; it'll be fun to see how much they hold on after a while longer. The mouth is fantastic--smooth, creamy, very nicely carbonated.

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Photo of car2052
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle packaged on 12/4/14 to snifter.

A: Pours a cloudy muddy red, with ample carbonation and a tan head that sticks around.
S: Bran, grape juice, cream, and spiced bread.
T: Toffee and caramel cream flavors open up to a cherry and grape fruitiness. Ends with some hop bitterness even after a year in the bottle.
M: Medium-full.
O: Nice. Hop flavor still preserved, but great malt flavors as well.

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Photo of Ahypercube
4.61/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow, SN never ceases to amaze me.

L: Pours a rich, dark reddish caramel color, like coca cola. Two-fingers of thick, luscious, toasted cream-colored head, which builds slowly and lasts well, leaving rather attractive cocoa-colored lacing. A beautiful brew.

S: Molasses, caramel, alcohol, candied dark fruit (Plum, raspberry, cherry, etc), toasted rye bread, and a nutty whole-grain scent; a little hint of piney hops, and a clean grapefruit rind presence.

T: Those bitter hoppy flavors are much more noticeable, with the avalanche of malty, caramelly, toasty sweetness cascading over the bitter skeleton, fleshed out with a sugary blackberry-jam-on-toast flavor. Almost just like a stout, but missing the coffee and chocolate. Definitely something I enjoyed immensely. I would pair with any pastry, or a rich stew, or simply cheese and crackers.

F: Someone commented that the mouthfeel was a little thin. I'm rather blown away by this comment, as it seems as thick as could be possibly expected for the ABV. A lot like Torpedo IPA, but thicker and bitterer.

O: Excellent. If this is any sort of example, I'd say barleywines are definitely a thing I enjoy. Glad to encounter this magnificent brew and I hope to find more of its kind in the future!

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

Clear mahogany color with brownish head. Aroma has nice caramel malts but also some earthy and resiny hops. Taste starts slightly sweet with caramel and dark bread notes and gets hoppy and bitter towards the finish. Aftertaste is quite bitter and dry. Really classic, american style barleywine taste profile.

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Photo of havron
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle with a packaged date of 01/28/15. Sipped from a tulip by a bonfire just shy of a year later. May not have actually aged for the full year as was bought cold about a week ago, so who knows how long it actually spent out of refrigeration.

L: Pours a slightly hazy deep orange-red with yellow highlights, which transforms into an absolutely gorgeous ruby red by firelight. Active carbonation leaves a thin but persistent ring of off-white head leaving reasonably sticky lacing on par for the hoppiness and ABV.

S: Sugary caramel malts and grapefruity citrus hops are the primary aromatic notes, along with a healthy dose of pine. Alcohol is present in the nose and increases as the beer warms. I'm also detecting a bit of a burnt wood quality, but I am fairly certain that's just the bonfire...

T: Sweet and malty, as a barleywine should be. Grapefruit, lemon, pine, and a light whole-cone grassiness from the hops, and in good quantity; this is unlikely to have sat anywhere near room temperature for an appreciable time over this past year. Astringent bitterness persists throughout the taste and the alcohol is quite noticeable but not overly harsh, especially considering how relatively young this bottle is. Some fruity esters and phenolic components are detectable but kept in check. A mild barrel-like quality on the backend alongside lingering pine resin.

F: Medium-bodied and a bit on the watery side for a barleywine. Hopefully will thicken with some aging. Carbonation is solid and prickly, giving the dominant hops a good kick in the cones.

O: This is a solid barleywine and not bad for a young specimen. Looking forward to seeing what a little age will do to this beer, especially considering the relatively light mouthfeel, fairly strong alcohol presence, and boisterous hop intensity. The rest of the four pack is already put away in the "cellar", and I may just grab another quartet to join them before the imminent 2016 release.

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Photo of taters21
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep orange amber color with a 2 finger tan head that lasts, beautiful.
Smells more like an ipa, fresh pine and citrus notes dominate, slight toffee notes.
Starts with sweet malt, toffee, caramel, then dank hops grow stronger towards the finish, which is dry.
Mouthfeel is full with little carbonation, dry.
Overall good, as are all Sierra Nevada beers I've ever had but underwhelming to me, as I experienced little complexity here, however it isn't boozy at all, so points there.

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2015 - bottled 12/11/14 and i've had in my fridge for between 2-3 months.
2016- bottled 12/4/15 and i picked up 2 4packs in early Januar i think.
2014-bottled 1/12/14. bought it in March 2016 at $8.99 a 4pack. 2 in the fridge and 2 in the basement.

pours a deep mahogany with a thick head. with more age it looks much more like cider.

smell is sweet, nice balanced aroma. solid aroma, nice mix of malt and hops. not overly sweet but a nice subtle sweetness.

great taste, great balance of sweetness and bitterness. finishes bitter and dry but somehow different than an IPA finish. smooth and easy drinking.

REVIEW OF 2016 fresh Bigfoot (bottled 12/4/15 and in my fridge for a few months now, it's 3/21/16):
-certainly more bold than the 11 month old 2015, this certainly mellows with age. which is why i bought 2 4packs, 1 for now and 1 for later. also my local store was selling 2014 Bigfoot for the same price as 2016 Bigfoot so i picked it up to test out.
-the hops are much more prevalent than the aged barleywine, a nice strong ale almost Brown Shugga flavor to it.

2014: much more mellow. looks like cider. very malty yet has subtle and beautiful hop flavor. and has an amazing flavor. this is amazing with age, holy shit. i'm keeping my 2016 bottles in my cellar for a while now. slight char to it as well. really fantastic.

i am enjoying this! a great barleywine. a great balance, i enjoy the combination this beer has between sweetness and bitterness. almost has a slight barrel taste to it. a great beer, my new favorite barleywine.

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Photo of RockRuler
3.84/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. You can start smelling this beer while pouring it into the glass. Strong fruity smell. Very complex taste. Hoppy with an alcohol finish but not overpowering. Not very bitter. Glad I finally tried it but not my style. Cheers!

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Photo of Dravin
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured aggressively into a Duvel tulip. Bottle dated 12/04/14.

Look -- Three fingers of tight light khaki head reduce to a single finger that lingers. It has nice lacing and the color of the body of the beer is a slightly murky deep amber.

Smell -- Resinous hop aroma with very faint hints of grapefruit in the back. Caramel sweetness coming through and absolute no hint of booze. I'm sure the hops have faded since the beer is a year old but there is still plenty left in the tank.

Taste -- Similar to the nose, resinous hops with faint grapefruit, caramel, and lots of bitterness. The booze hides once again.

Feel -- Low carbonation, possibly partial due to the aggressive pour, and a medium body. It has heft without being cloying. It's just a delight to sip on feeling wise.

Overall -- A nice hoppy barelywine that has aged just fine. It hide the boozes like a ninja so combined with how sippable it is it could easily sneak up on you if you weren't prepared. Overall it's just a damn nice barleywine.

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Photo of Easton70
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I tasted this after a Belgian sour so I perhaps didn't get the full effect of the Big Foot. But, it has a huge flavour: sour, sweet, a bid hoppy kick and tons of alcoholic punch. A great beer.

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Photo of thepenguin
4.41/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage

L: Pours a deep amber with a creamy white head. Mostly clear, slightly murky. Superb head retention and gorgeous lacing.

S: Toasted caramel and piney, grapefruity hops. While the taste is still on point, the aroma seems a bit faded from the year in the cellar.

T: Very hop-forward with just enough malt to balance it out. Classic American C-variety hops bursting with grapefruit and pine. Long bitter finish.

F: Medium-full, creamy. Medium carbonation which adds to the creamy mouthfeel. Practically no perceptible booze.

Overall: SN Bigfoot is a beer that can never possibly get old for me – it is simply an American classic and one of my personal favorites. Frankly, this is a brew that every self-identifying beer geek needs to try at least once. Fresh, aged, Bigfoot is superb.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.57/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - beautiful copper colored beer with a white head that dissipates quick, not much lacing
S - earthy hops, caramel malts, vanilla, citrus, some oxidation (this is a year old)
T - nice caramel malts, earthy and citrus hops, vanilla, wholesomeness, great American barley wine
M - medium-heavy mouthfeel, thicker than some imperial stouts. Alcohol completely covered. Aftertaste is malty, and earthy/grapefruit hops. Leaves a coating for sure.
O - full on awesome barley wine. A year on this really pushes it over the edge to awesomeness. I'd by 10 4 packs of this at this age if I could find it. Bottled 12/11/14 drank 12/12/15.

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Photo of Schoeni
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This one looks ruby in the glass, only a half finger of head but the foam is very fine pored and strong. Really fruity on the nose!...red fruits, dark fruits, mhh some cane sugar, bubble gum, mango, very hoppy and bitter in the scent. Smells also alcoholic, but more on the sweet side..like honey, forest-herbs, and even.... like a Martini! As I drink, I definately taste all these aromes, very sweet bitter, woody, and fruity. Vermouth. Very warming in the finish, with a long lasting bitter note. Wohww. That bitter note is really special for a barleywine style beer! Very fascinating!

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Photo of badgustav
4.61/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The hop bite lasts quite long in this beer, months in even. The malt balances it out after a sip or two, but it remains less sweet than many barleywines. This adds to the (dangerous) drinkability of this beer

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Photo of HipCzech
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving: 2015 release. 12 oz bottle ("pkgd 12/11/14"), poured into a 9 oz Libbey Embassy snifter.

Appearance: Slightly hazy orange copper color with tan, bubbly head; light lacing.

Smell: Malt and deep, dark fruit together with alcohol notes (figs soaked in grappa). Citrus and earthy hops in the background.

Taste: Intense malt and hops play against each other. Big malt body with toasted grains, caramel, dried fruit and even faint cocoa notes. Balancing bitterness throughout with citrus rind and herbal hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, almost sticky, with moderate but gentle carbonation.

Overall: Big and powerful, plenty of complex matinees, while so well balanced by hops and bitterness.

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Photo of cauchonpa
4.84/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I purchased a six pack of the 2012 Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Once Upon a Vine in Richmond, Virginia, on April 6, 2012. What followed was a worthwhile test of patience. After three and a half years later, this ale is absolutely superb.

A (4.75): Poured into a tulip glass. Cloudy red amber color with a creamy white head tinged with the slightest bit of honey gold at its edges. The head dissipates quickly, leaving almost no lacing. When held to a light, the ale glows a rusty orange.

S (5.00): Incredibly complex. While pouring, the ale surprises you with a strong malty sweetness with a good bit of cherry and spice. Upon further nosing, the hops that have been subdued over the past few years become evident; mostly piney but with the ever slightest hint of citrus. Alcohol hides behind candied fruit and honey, which certainly take center stage, starting (again) with cherry and working through raspberry and raisin to a sweet almost chocolaty allspice aroma. Everything is subtle and balanced.

T (4.75): Fruit tartness is offset by a molasses sweetness. The taste is flat compared to the smell, but isn't disappointing. More candied fruit that turns into malty sweetness after warming. Molasses lingers on the tongue.

M (5): Take the first sip quickly before the head dissipates for an incredibly smooth and creamy feel that dissolves into a slight dryness. The ever slightest bit of carbonation appear on the roof the mouth but not on the tongue. After the ale settles, there's a viscosity to it that doesn't offend, like very thin syrup.

O (4.875): I wholeheartedly suggest cellaring this ale for at least 18 months. I haven't done a vertical, and I'm not sure how much longer it would have held on after 3.5 years, but it's definitely fantastic after some time to balance and mellow out.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Caramel body, cloudy, rocky head, not much lace.

S: Big sweet malt, buttery even, with more than its fair share of piney hops.

T: Warm, buttery malt, caramel. The hops are present, but restrained; just enough to keep it from being one-note/cloying. Slightly sweet, with a touch of bitterness.

M: Rich, surprisingly high carbonation.

O: Just like SN Stout (enjoyed earlier today), they use juuuust slightly more hops than normal to keep the classic flavor but add a new, tasty, challenging twist. Warm, buttery, malty, caramel, touch of hop kick. Yum.

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Photo of BrewUSA
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot

Look 8/10
Smell 17/20
Taste 35/40
Feel 8/10
Drinkability 17/20

Overall 85 /100

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Photo of JackRWatkins
2.27/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

A: clear dark ruby, persistent, creamy 1 finger head
S: weak, subtle sweetness as well as a touch of salt and caramel
T: hop bitterness up front, heavy malt presence, some caramel malts, has the toasty character of a red ale, has a filling and juicy body but not a fruity character, detected a very (incredibly so, could've imagined it) subtle touch of lychee
M: subtle dryness lent by hop character
O: would likely be enjoyable with some age on it but to me there is no real pay off here, its hop character is assertive but everything else is either pushing the hop bitterness or disappointingly subdued, would not drink it fresh again

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Photo of tmryan21
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2015 Vintage with about 7 months on it.

Look: Dark, reddish-amber colored with a white head. A nice looking beer.

Smell: Candy, pine, small amount of hops, caramel.

Taste: Was slightly disappointed in the taste based on the smell. Very good but was expecting more. Dark fruit (plums), caramel, and toffee. Maybe a hint of citrus.

Feel: Well carbonated, hides the ABV well.

Overall: A very good barleywine. Definitely the base-line for what a good barleywine should be.

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Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the 2015 vintage. I have to admit that I just don't care for the overpowering hop bitterness when it is fresh. I cellared the other 3 from my 4 pack. However I resampled this beer with almost a year of age on it and it improves significantly. The initial hop bitterness which I did not care for is still present, just in a much more subdued and muted way. The malt is allowed to come out into the forefront. Much more enjoyable. The remaining two will continue to be cellared until I revisit them later.

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Photo of BriantheBeerHound
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This was my first time with Barleywine. Poured into a snifter glass. Edit:had been sitting in the dark part of my favorite liquor store for about 8-9 months, which are decently close to cellaring conditions.
Look: Absolutely stunning color. It's a deep red amber. Fine, smallish head that leaves sticky laces on the glass as I drink. I'm not exaggerating when I say this is easily one of the most attractive beers I've ever seen. Love the presentation; the cap
Smell: Candy of some sort? Fruits. Good or bad, alcohol presence is there.
Taste: Lives up to its name. Tastes like fruit (plum?), with an aftertaste of wine. Big hop presence, but not bitter at all, and it definitely doesn't detract from the other flavors. There's a lot here in the malts. Listed as 90 IBU, which surprised me. Very rich and balanced, with both sweet and bitter flavors.
Feel: medium just on the border of heavy bodied. Sticky, clinging finish that makes you want to drink it slow. Considering the abv, this is a good thing.
Overall: I did some research, and apparently these are in a similar category to the "winter warmer", which is by far my favorite style. This lived up to my expectations of being its more bitter, stronger cousin. Definitely going to be my go-to for cold weather drinking. I'm afraid of what it will taste like fresh (too much hops?)

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Photo of jhartley
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle packaged on 12/18/14, into a Cuvee tulip
Deep orange rust colored body, thick frothy sea foam head; tons of lacing!
Aromas of caramel, brown sugar, piney hops.
Tastes pretty good. Bitter pine up front with a strong caramel sweetness on the end; burnt sugar.
Full mouth feel, long lingering bitterness overlaps the caramel toffee sweetness.
Overall, this is a great beer, now that's not to say I will be searching it out again; it's that caramel sweetness and that over-steeped tea bag flavor that old D/IPA's get. Just not a fan of that flavor profile. Not a drain pour, just not my cup of tea, no pun intended.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 3,008 ratings.