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

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,775 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5775
Reviews: 2782
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%

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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,775 | Reviews: 2,782 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Badger6


4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. 2014 vintage, 11 Feb 14.

A: A deep brown, with reddish hue in the light. Builds a nice head on the pour, recedes to a thick layer on the surface. Really nice lacing with good retention.

S: Hoppy. Some spice. Caramel maltiness. The alcohol is noticeable.

T: Opens with a fleeting taste of sweet caramel and malts. Immediately becomes intensely spicy and the bitterness from the hops kick in to carry the flavor almost to the end. As it finishes, the sweetness returns. Boozy in the finish.

M: Robust mouthfeel, medium carbonation. Not syrupy, but certainly thick.

O: Not your typical barley wine, this is very hoppy and spicy. Some purists would scoff at this because these elements mask the malty sweetness you might expect, but it makes it different and interesting. Might benefit from cellaring for some time.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2014 01:43:11 | More by Badger6
Photo of jhawth


3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a snifter. Pours a deep orange-red with a one finger head of fine foam.

Aroma: Big piney hops, rich candied fruits, slight vanilla.

Taste: Hopp bitterness up front, gives way to sweet, fruity malt notes, finishes slightly sweet with vanilla overtones.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, lively carbonation. Perhaps a bit too carbonated for my preferences; I prefer my barleywines smooth and almost viscous.

Overall: Delicious, excellent, a standard, etc. Very much looking forward to seeing how this ages.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2014 00:01:53 | More by jhawth
Photo of reebtaerG


4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Batch poured 12oz bottle into New Belguim globe

A-Pours a clear medium brown color w/ slight reddish hues and a creamy one finger tan head.

S-Aroma is malty, with dark fruit notes and english yeast.

T-Flavor has a heavy caramel malt and an english yeast predominance

M-Medium carbonation with a big, bitter, sticky mouthfeel

O-Overall this beer is great first time having a barleywine. Going to store the rest for years to come.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2014 04:17:32 | More by reebtaerG
Photo of Chiefy770


4.69/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 batch. Poured from a 12 fluid ounce bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: A very hazy brown body with an amber glow is topped off with a beige bubbly head. The head collapse and leaves wads of sticky lacing throughout.

Smell: Incredibly rich aromas of caramel, toffee and bread make up the base. Astringent notes of citrus, particularly orange, stand out as well.

Taste: Bold sweet malts hit the tongue first. Caramel, brown sugar, and burnt toast. The hops explode on impact and turn the sweet notes into very bitter notes. Part of this bitterness is from the alcohol. Floral notes from the hops. A surprisingly dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Full body. Medium carbonation. More carbonation than I would expect from a barleywine... perhaps this is why the hops maintain their flavor so well.

Overall: This is my first time trying Bigfoot. Definitely contains a lot more hops than I anticipated... not that it's a bad thing though. The flavor is superb by my preference. The only problem I had was with the balance. The malts did not linger around long enough for me to taste their full essence. Perhaps that is something that will fix itself in the cellar.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2014 23:39:41 | More by Chiefy770
Photo of JMScowcroft


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

Sierra Nevada - Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale, poured into a wine goblet.

Look - Filtered deep amber ruby with good sized soapy head. Abundance of lacing.

Smell - Citrus and pine dank hops intertwined with amber/red malts. Aroma is strong and full.

Taste - Rich malts with definitely alcohol taste (slightly off putting), finishes bitter pine hop blast.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied with medium carbonation. Sticky coating from malts. Definite boozy kicker. Sipper.

Overall - This is one heck of a mean brew. the pine hop bitter mixed with definite alcohol creates almost a solvent-like taste but you acclimate to it as you drink it. Watch out for hangovers with this one!

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2014 23:23:08 | More by JMScowcroft
Photo of BuddyLove714


4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance- poured into a snifter, great light ruby/copper color, nice off white head that dies but leaves a good lacing.

Smell- Salted Toffee and Creamy malts with a Nutty Peppery Hops

Taste- Just like it smells, starts sweet upfront, then you immediately get hit by the peppery hops. This years is quite well rounded, and not overhopped IMO.

Mouthfeel- Slightly Viscous and velvety like a good BW should be. The carbonation helps clear the palette for the next sip.

Overall- A great American BW standard

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2014 18:10:53 | More by BuddyLove714
Photo of Vogey77


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

A- Poured into a Sam Adams glass. Pours with a very small head, body is caramel brown in color.

S- Overwhelming smell of hops. Also slight smell of fruit and caramel.

T- Came in still a little hot (was a 2013). Taste was overwhelmed with the hops, slightly bitter. Was just about what I was expecting in a barley wine with not much age on it.

M- Good amount of carbonation, nothing really wrong with the mouthfeel.

O- Overall enjoyed this beer by Sierra Nevada. Very interested in cellaring a few to see how time changes them.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2014 21:40:01 | More by Vogey77
Photo of microbrewlover


4.76/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This brew pours an amber color which turns ruby-red when held up to the light. There is a nice tan two finger head which lasts for a long time, remnants stick around until the end and there is strong lacing on the glass until the end. Lots of bubbles due to the heavy carbonation.

The smell is strong with grapefruit and floral hops. Some orange peel as well. One can also smell the thick caramel hop backbone. The hop smell increases once the beer warms up a bit.

The taste follows the nose, strong caramel malts and grapefruit hops hit at once. There is some brown sugar and syrup taste as well followed by more hops. The rich malt and hop backbone are well balanced and seem to take turns on the palate. The alcohol taste is well hidden, for a Barleywine.

The mouthfeel is thick and chewy with hop resin left on the tongue after swallowing. There is also strong carbonation.

Overall this is a great, well balanced brew. I was never a big fan of the Barleywine style, they are usually to sweet and boozy, but this is one Barleywine I will drink again.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2014 19:16:31 | More by microbrewlover
Photo of Bryanjpg


4.89/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2010 bottle opened in 2014 (aged 4 years)

A- Nice medium brown and great head retention

S- Amazing aroma of caramelized sugars, maple, malt, brown sugar, that is well balanced with a nice floral character.

T - Dried plums and currants, low hop comes through just enough to balance the malts, the finish is focused on the caramelized sugars brown sugar and maple. Heat is noticeable but pleasant.

M- heavier bodied but not syrupy, moderate effervescence

O- Overall great beer. the malty maple nose is balanced in a very unique way with the floral hops. The taste is complex and layered. Definitely going to invest in this years for some ageing.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2014 04:36:02 | More by Bryanjpg
Photo of SoupKitchenBeerSnob


1.9/5  rDev -54.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I told myself I'd never drink another Sierra Nevada beer, but saw this and thought, ok, they're doing a barley wine-- maybe this one will be different. Nope. Just more hops than ever before. I mean really... Sierra Nevada takes the IPA model and makes every damn thing they brew taste like just another version of an IPA. Did I happen to mention that I detest IPA's? Cramming a brew full of hops does not equal a great brew-- it just shows a profound lack of imagination. But for all you hop-heads out there, you'll love this stuff. Personally, I'll pass, and thank you very little.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2014 01:49:44 | More by SoupKitchenBeerSnob
Photo of Jstewart6


2.91/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not a bad beer, just not my cup of tea. The bitterness for me was overwhelming and there wasnt really anything else to the flavor for me. The smell was deceiving. It smells like heavenly fruit but has about the opposite taste. The color and lacing are all accurate as to what the other reviewers said.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2014 01:48:05 | More by Jstewart6
Photo of BastardKing24


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

One of my favorite barleywines I've had so far, as are alot of SN's beers. 2013 edition.

Dark red in color with a hefty off white head that holds for a bit. Plenty of lacing stays behind.

Smell is alot of hops, tons of them. Floral and bitter hops, pine, malty goodness, dark fruits, citrus, wonderful.

Taste is similar to smell with huge hop presence, citrus and pine, and a big malty backbone that blends well with everything. Caramel sweetness is very forward throughout the sip, with the hop character changing along the way, finishes clean with a bitter aftertaste.

Feel is fully carbonated and a slick taste bud experience. Lacing sticks around to keep it looking and feeling great.

Overall i think it's my favorite SN beer and I always look forward to trying it. I have had this aged for 3 years and it somehow still remains hoppy but at the same time delivers a nice blended aged flavor profile that makes it slightly better.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2013 02:17:55 | More by BastardKing24
Photo of bball208

New Jersey

4.86/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I love this beer.

Very very malt forward. Has a bitter pinch at the end that I could actually do without, but the flavor of the beer is so incredible that I just kept drinking more to forget about the bitter aftertaste. Has some nice hops, very subtle however. What makes this beer so incredible? It's a sweet malty beer with incredible mouthfeel, and nice finish with high abv. what more could you ask for? This was my first barleywine ale and I must say I am a fan if they all reflect beers like this one. I gota 4 pack, drank 3, and will let that last one sit for as long as I possibly can! Definitely worth picking up. I recommend getting two 4 packs at least, drink one pack, let the other one age for at least a few years.

2014 update: Tastes even better. I did a side-by-side with Old Foghorn, the first american barleywine. Had similar notes, but Bigfoot crushes it with balance. It is so well-balanced and doesn't invade your tastebuds in anyway. This year's edition seemed less bitter, which is exactly what I wished this beer would be. Sierra Nevada has improved on a world-class classic. Bravo!

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2013 19:46:11 | More by bball208
Photo of NeedBeerHere


4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle: Pours out a real nice dark red/more maroon in color with a nice, white, one-finger head that lays down some nice lacing. Smell is pretty malty -- really sweet as one would assume from the style. Smells really nice but I could use a tiny bit of hops but nothing to take away from this beer. Taste is VERY malt forward with less sweetness in the mouth. I can definitely taste some hops at the end that really make this beer taste incredible as the piny hops seem to really balance out the malts. The mouthfeel is quite thick as one would expect. Overall I REALLY need to get some more of this stuff and age it. It's a great beer. hard to not drink it.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2013 05:26:27 | More by NeedBeerHere
Photo of jdb288

New Jersey

3.1/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

2010 bottle opened late 2013. Red/brown with thin head. Sweet smell...pineapple, orange, rose. Taste is sweet malt, bitter hops, slightly sour. The heat from the alcohol was a little much for me. Maybe this one needed to sit a few more years? I want to do a vertical for some comparison.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2013 12:56:28 | More by jdb288
Photo of Matt1553


4.64/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Served this beer at a holiday party, and it was a big hit. A perfect warming beer for a cold evening. Hops predominate the flavor profile, which I appreciate. A few extra months of aging, however, may help this beer to mellow out. Highly recommended.

Rating: 9.3

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2013 14:08:46 | More by Matt1553
Photo of voraciousalky


2.05/5  rDev -50.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

I just bought a four-pack of 2013 Bigfoot at a nearby beer shop. I tried this ale several years ago and didn't really like it. I thought maybe I would appreciate it a little more now that I'm older and more experienced. I was wrong.

This beer doesn't taste good, and taking a big swig is a wholly unpleasant experience. Some folks pick up the taste of fruit; I pick up the flavor of OTC cough syrup. I know good and bad are subjective when it comes to beer, but I can't figure out why everyone thinks Bigfoot is worthy of a score in the nineties. Am I just unsophisticated? Maybe. But then again, there might be a lot of groupthink supporting Bigfoot's high average rating. For the record, Busch, Budweiser, Miller High-Life, etc. are all better than this beer. (Yes, I said it.)

Now that all that's out of the way...

This is certainly an interesting brew, despite the off-putting taste. A lot of reviewers note the strong bitterness and hop aroma, but I was surprised that a beer with an IBU of 90 was so well-balanced. When I drink Bigfoot, I'm not overwhelmed at all by the smell or bitter taste of the hops at all. It is truly well-balanced.

Then there's the alcohol. Bigfoot does a far better job of masking the taste of alcohol than other brews, such as Hoptimum, with similar ABVs. I don't know how they did it, but I've had beers with substantially lower levels of alcohol that were far more "boozy" tasting than Bigfoot.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 15:45:07 | More by voraciousalky
Photo of nickapalooza86


3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Reviewing the 2011 with about 3 years on it

Pours a murky brownish amber, not much head just a very light layer, a little sediment but that is to be expected with 3 years...

Smell is earthy hop, toffee, figs, raisons, caramel, plum

Taste is a lot of caramel, toffee, a little heat, earthy hop flavor and bitterness, raison, bitterness is a bit excessive, figs...

Mouthfeel is medium full, low carbonation, dry finish, slight heat

Well I am not gonna fault the beer for the excessive bitterness it is just not as good as I know it could be... If you got any 2011s around I would let them sit for a couple more years, with that said I think I need to start drinking my 2012s!

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2013 00:23:15 | More by nickapalooza86
Photo of dbrese


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

After collecting this beer for the past five years hoping to see just how good it would get with time, I just don't think it is as good as memory may serve for most of us. There are many better barleywines being made than this one. The main issue I have is that in creating an American version of this style they made the bitterness so intense that after two years of cellaring it is still too bitter and too unbalanced for my palette. 70 IBUs with something other than Chinook or Centennial would help to make the malt more prominent along with less sulfate in the water. Otherwise it is just overly simple for the style. It would be better dry-hopped to make a triple IPA like Founders Devil Dancer. That should be the target for Bigfoot. At least that beer improves with age and is good fresh. The 1990s are gone and we should all expect more from a great American brewery that helped to buck the status quo.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2013 18:16:52 | More by dbrese
Photo of Jjski

New York

4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Full disclosure- I am 1/2 Sasquatch and 1/2Welsh and 1/2 Irish. This was once my favorite beer. We Sasquatch receive no financial compensation for promoting a beer with our name on the label.

Vintage 2012 Cellar pull. Age on this beer is beautiful
A- hazy dark amber, not transparent.
S-Carmel, toast, citrus hops
T- Carmel. orange rind or grapefruit
M- perfectly slick, smooth, thick and bubbly
O- immense beer, one that actually makes me sip. There are not many that do.
Warm Carmel yet astringent. My taste has shifted to English Barleywines, but in the American style: this is a champion. Hops omnipresent yet balanced by huge grain profile. As I'm typing this, the last sips was over 5 minutes ago and my palate is still locked on to the flavor and sending positive signals to the taste center in my battered cerebral cortex.

Straight up, no barrel aging, all guns blazing, hellion of a BW.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2013 03:38:42 | More by Jjski
Photo of JohnnyHopps


4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - The beer, poured into a snifter, was a deep copper color. It possessed a nice white fluffy head that left lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell - I smell hops. The aroma leans on the grassier side of hops, but there is some degree of citrus. There is also a hint of earthiness to the aroma.

Taste - In the initial taste, I sense sweet malt, caramel, and perhaps a hint of cinnamon. Then the hops take over. The grassy, citrus hops begin the burn of hop assault that warms the back of the throat almost instantaneously. To a modest degree, candy-like sweetness carries throughout the taste.

Mouthfeel - The staying power on this one is pretty special. The thickness allows a lingering of the tongue bruising hops. Nicely done.

Overall - This might be my favorite offering from Sierra Nevada. It is well balanced, and has nuisance that go beyond being a hop bomb.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2013 02:09:24 | More by JohnnyHopps
Photo of SteelSaw


4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Pours with a nice one finger white head that dissipates to a thin film. It pours a dark amber color with perhaps slight ruby-ish tints when held to light. Not much light passes through.

Smell- My nose is still in training. It has a very stong hop smell.

Taste- Has a nice sweetness up front towards then tip of my tongue. Middle has a good ale taste slightly reminiscent of Arrogant Bastard. Then a semi strong hit of bitterness near the middle/back of my tongue. For a 9% it really does not taste boozy, and drinks quite smooth.

Mouthfeel- Quite nice. Gets a creamy, medium bodied texture as it passes over the tongue.

Overall- This is a great beer. I am not a huge fan of bitter beers. However this one is nicely balanced and I recommend trying it if you can find it.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2013 02:31:11 | More by SteelSaw
Photo of Das_Reh


1.6/5  rDev -61.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 1.75

2013 bottle poured into a snifter.

Aggressive pour produces minimal head, about a half finger thick, before dissipating into a thin white film. The beer is a striking mahogany color and looks wonderful in the glass.

Oh my... BIG hop presence on the nose, very potent and piney. I've had IPA's that didn't smell this hoppy. I'm worried... I've never had the barleywine style before, but I was assuming it would have the dark fruit/caramel/brown sugar aromas of other dark, high alcohol beers.

Holy crap, that's hoppy! Big smack of pine resin and grapefruit rind to the face, a bitterness that dominates and completely overpowers the bourbon-like sweetness that is barely discernible in this brew. There is a bit of warming heat from the alcohol, but again, hops overshadow everything. Each sip makes me grimace; this is far from drinkable...

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and slick, with oily hop bitterness coating your tongue.

After a few sips, I had to pour this down the sink, much to my dismay. This is the last time I base my beer purchases on reviews from BA, as my past 4-5 purchases have left me disappointed and wishing I had my money back. This beer was all bitterness and no flavor, a hop bomb. They should have called this a DIPA instead of a barleywine. I've heard that you can mellow this thing out by cellaring it for a year or so, but this is the last Bigfoot I will ever have.

NOTE: Although I stand by my review scores and consider this undrinkable, I should have realized it actually does fit within the style of being very hoppy, as it is an American styled barleywine. American styled barleywines have a more aggressive hop profile than their English counterparts, and I failed to realize that at the time.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2013 00:00:39 | More by Das_Reh
Photo of scotorum


4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into an Alchemist shaker pint.

a: Clear deep ruby amber, inch tall offwhite head receded slowly to heavy rocky surface foam and patterned lacing.

s: Vaguely of caramel malt and citrus.

t: Caramel malt with a sharp pine hop balance. Lingering caramel on the tongue, like someone was painting butterscotch on it. Burning throat on swallow.

m: Moderate to heavy. Great body.

o: Like a high octane real ale. Which is to say, really good, but tastes a little dangerous too. Really enjoying what seems to me more like a very Brit style take on a barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2013 05:35:48 | More by scotorum
Photo of dav12cnen


4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is good stuff boys , not your lankey cor-piarets swill . no this is a barley wine with smooth taste and good aroma . i always drink from the bottle so cant say as to the pour but im sure she does well a bit sweet and chocolaty good for breakfast goes well with toast and jam .as for the drunkability well its hard to drink many as its so filling you drink two and your full of it ,so i dont buzz of this stuff its for the connoisseur .but a good drink to say the least .

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2013 04:45:51 | More by dav12cnen
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 5,775 ratings.