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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.

6,281 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,281
Reviews: 2,813
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 265
Gots: 1,108 | FT: 40
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: 6,281 | Reviews: 2,813 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KBoudreau66
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Has a dark amber with a reddish tint. Pours a tan head that eventually dissipates and leaves a great lacing on the glass.

S- Has a strong alcohol smell up front but you can also smell an earthy/hoppy aroma along with citrus.

T- The first wave is strong alcohol but it has an excellent hoppyness as well. The malt flavor comes along nicely mixed with citrus notes.

M- Heavy bodied

D- This is a very drinkable Barleywine. It has a strong alcohol flavor but it isn't brutally overpowering like other Barleywine's that I've tried before.

KBoudreau66, Feb 11, 2009
Photo of slayer3604
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a- "HOOOOHHH!" is pretty much the reaction to this beer. Huge filthy tan head on top of a blood red body! HELL YEAH! And that head is there to stay. dont count on it peace'ing out anytime soon!

s- citric, with a bold alcoholic fist made of uncooked dough and has a strange ALMOST nutty arrangement to it.

t- vanilla, almond, a storm of alcohol (09 vintage, brand new beer), and waves of nice mellow malt comes in! very diverse.

m- thick, chunky, voluptuous and deep.

d- would have given it a five if it had a more enjoyable nose. i had to search to find most of the things mentioned and nose has everything to do with how i drink the beer!

slayer3604, Feb 10, 2009
Photo of bum732
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice ruby red, very nice head with fantastic lacing. Smells of strong pine and earthy hops, bold bready malt, faint alcohol. Grapefruit and pine up front with a very nice fresh baked bread maltness. Tastes of bitter piney hops up front followed by a prominant bready malt finishing with more grapefruit bitterness with some alcohol. Huge hop profile with an equal huge sweet maltness. Finishes quite sweet with very strong hop twing to remind you how powerful this beer is.

A huge beer, tons of top aroma and flavor that is relatively balanced by the enormous sweet bread malt backbone. The quintessential american barleywine, can't wait to see how the flavors develop over after cellaring.

bum732, Feb 10, 2009
Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12oz pop top brown bottle with cool label...this is the 2009 bottling.

Appearance: Beautiful deep red/amber beer with medium, continuous carbonation and a sticky tan cap with good retention.

Smell: This one's all about the hops...sharp, prickly piney and citrus-like hops predominate; they're deliciously fresh and aromatic, yet so strong they really overpower everything else.

Taste: There are big alcohol notes up front (which are subdued slightly as the brew comes up to cellar temperature); there are subtle dark fruit notes and a touch of toffee as well. There is a STRONG hop bitterness and a medium resiny/floral hop flavors...this brew softens just slightly over all and opens a bit as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Rich, thick, a touch prickly

Drinkability: 1 and done

Conclusion: This is pretty sharp and just a tad unbalanced with the aggressiveness of the alcohol and the hops...however, I also realize that this was JUST released, some time in the bottle ought to mellow this out nicely...that being said, this is a pretty tasty, if aggressively hoppy, barleywine.

BedetheVenerable, Feb 10, 2009
Photo of SFLpunk
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown glass. 2009 vintage. First vintage available in Vermont!

Appearance: Thin off-white head. Deep deep mahogany (reddish-brown).

Nose: Boozy nose. Dried leaves, banana leaves, dark brown sugar, palm sugar, golden raisins, new leather. Earthy and sweet smelling.

Palate: Prickly, sweet and bitter all up front. Medium bodied with lots of texture. Lots of bitterness all the way through sweeps up the initial sweetness of the malt. It goes back and forth between this deep malty raisin-y character and bright, dusty hop flowers. It's almost resin-y and dusty at the same time.

Notes: Lots of ageing potential. The hops will fall away (with some luck!) and that will balance the beer out between bitter and sweet over the next year or two. After that, I suspect the malt will play more of a role. This beer might live for 10 years or so given proper cellaring. Drinkability score suffered due to unbalance in hops...but it's those very hops that will allow this beer to age for a long time, so a tough call on the scoring.

SFLpunk, Feb 10, 2009
Photo of CMW
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a dark copper color with a reddish tint. It is almost entirely translucent with some small groups of bubbles floating to the top of the glass. A thin, one-finger khaki colored head forms and soon dissipates into nothing more than some light lacing. This is really a nice looking beer.

Floral and citrus hop-filled notes come to the front immediately and dominate the aroma. Upon further inspection, I can pick up some malt tones. There is also an underlying sweetness present that begs of caramel.

The first thing I notice is the citrus taste, reminiscent of grapefruit or sour oranges. The hops also provide a piney and slightly sticky taste. You can tell the malt is there also, but it is tough to pick out as the hops are some dominant. The finish is quite bitter and the heavy hops presence brings a tingling to my tongue and throat. The alcohol is well hidden and provides little warming in the finish. I wouldn't have guessed this was 9.6% abv.

CMW, Feb 09, 2009
Photo of TMB0424
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

into a snifter.

Pours a nice blood orange, ruby brown body with a creamy half inch off-white head. Tons of web-like lacing left as the head recedes.

Smell is a blast of hops - grapefruit, lemon rind - mixed with some sweet caramel malts and alcohol. Hints of raisins, rum, florals. Very nice.

Taste is mostly pine and citrus, again the grapefruit and lemons, with a great sweet barley backbone. Hints of caramel malts mixed with punches of alcohol warmth. Very 'earthy' - the hops have that 'raw' feeling.

Mouthfeel is somewhat heavy with a syrupy aspect to it. Warming from the alcohol. It goes down smooth but it also has a serious kick to it. Great sipper, as the alcohol doesn't overpower. Top notch barleywine.

TMB0424, Feb 09, 2009
Photo of darklordlager
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber-mahogany, with a nice tinted-red 1/2" head that sits well.

Smell is of caramel and specialty malts, big spicy grassy hops sitting in the background.

Taste is a huge wave of grapefruity hops that doesn't recede. Biscuit lingers and a hop bite continues long after each sip.

Mouthfeel is syrupy, but kept lively by the carbonation.

Drinkability is limited to one (at least for me). This is an intense beer.

darklordlager, Feb 09, 2009
Photo of firkinhophead
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage, poured into a snifter.

Pours a rusty orange-brown with virtually no head. Swirling produces a few tiny bubbles around the edge.

Aroma is of caramel, toffee, and brandied fruit. Very little hop aroma save a hint of pie spice. Apricot brandy and whiskey-ish notes at it warms.

Burnt caramel of the malt in the taste is immediately tempered by a solid grapefruit pith and piney resin bitterness. Toffee sweetness persists well into the finish, with coffee bitterness, grapefruit, and alcohol drying it out in the end.

Mouthfeel is juicy and sticky at the same time, with a lingering hotness on the tongue. Surprisingly sharp after 2 years in the cellar. I was expecting something a bit rounder. Carbonation is light, but the bitterness keeps it bright and clean.

Drinkability is good; ultimately balanced, although the hops and alcohol challenge the palate. More like a DIPA than a barleywine even after aging, which is not necessarily bad.

firkinhophead, Feb 09, 2009
Photo of Frosty80
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color: pours light brown. sits a slightly dark amber with some sediment. nice creamy head with good retention

Smell: rich maltiness including caramel. hops are assertive contributing piney and very spicy notes

Taste: sweet caramelly and slightly bready maltiness. hops are spicy and piney and bitterness is assertive. noticable alcohol presence. finish is medium dry with a slight lingering bitterness

Mouthfeel: smooth and chewy full body with moderate carbonation

Notes: well-hopped barleywine. good maltiness with a dominating hop presence. great example of an american barleywine.

compared the 2011 to the 2010 and it definitely benefits from a year of aging. the malt comes through so much better and has a better balance with the hops

Frosty80, Feb 09, 2009
Photo of jwinship83
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


A- beautiful. dark amber, almost ruby colored body with a finger of khaki colored head that stays around a while. solid ring of lacing left on the sides of the glass after each sip

S- lots and lots of hops. strong blast of citrus as soon as the beer reaches my nose. lots of caramel malt as well.

T- very hoppy. lots of pine and citrus. some sweet malt sneaks through at the end. little to no taste from the large amount of booze in this one.

M- full bodied and semi-syrupy. a little warming from the alcohol as it enters my stomach.

D- a little too strong to be sessionable, but very pleasant. at this stage in its life, it reminds me of a DIPA. i cant wait to see how it develops over time. check this one out.

jwinship83, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of bigeyedfish
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 12 ounce bottle purchased at the Foodery for [if memory serves correctly] an exorbitant price, poured into a Bulldog pint-glass-night pint glass.

Two fingers of dirty white head recedes slowly but consistently until there is a lather-like coating on-top of the beer with a finger-and-a-half of lacing coating the sides with some small bubbles throughout, but for the most part, the lacing is consistent. The beer is light-burnt-red in color and, surprisingly for the color, resistant to light penetration.

This is one of the hoppier barleywines, even after a year, but it's a really subtle, pleasing hopping. Fresh it's almost offensively hoppy, now the hopps are deep, the smell sweet pine and not overpowering at all.

Tastes really good initially; the hops that are on the nose are there in the palate, but at the same time is a hint of an almost-bittersweet chocolate. The finish is strong, the most powerful part. There's some strong, west coast, dry, piney hops on the finish. The beginning is, at least in comparison to the finish, disappointing; it's a more physical sensation than a taste one. There isn't a lot of the syrup-y ness of most barleywines; this is a lot closer to an IPA than most other barleywines.

The mouthfeel is, like the taste and smell, deep and refined. There is some tingling beginning in the mid-palate; this quickly fades away, leaving a strong coating of pine-y hops on the top of the palate once the sip is finished. The beers IPA-like qualities, previously alluded to, lend it to having a decided lack of palate coating, making it rather a beer with some noticeable carbonation (specifically on the mid-palate) and a long-lingering tinge of bitterness.

This beer, despite its high-alcohol, is remarkably drinkable. Unlike any other Barleywine, it drinks, at least after one year of mellowing, like a strong IPA, with the bitter hoppiness being reserved for the later parts of the palate (a good opposite representation is presented in Brooklyn's East India IPA, if memory serves correctly). Seems to be surprisingly all-seasonable- drinking this in front of a woodstove monitored with too much vigilance has left me with a distinct annoyance with the heat, and this beer is borderline thirst-quenching, probably the last thing any barleywine ever could say it was. Where this beer goes from here is anyone's guess; but I for one look forward to seeing.

bigeyedfish, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of Riccymon
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My first Bigfoot ever, 2009 vintage.

Pours a dark purply-red with a finger and a half of light brown head that gradually dissipates. Smell is of a hoppy SN concoction with... alcohol. This is going to be a big beer.

First sip is extremely piney, but it finishes with citrus, particularly the grapefuit flavor I've come to expect from SN. The alcohol definitely makes itself known, leaving my mouth tingling. Drinkability? Average for a barleywine, I suppose.

Riccymon, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of mjurney
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 edition.

A: Deep dark amber color with light tan color head.
S: Citrus/fruity, floral, spice, sweet caramel, hint of maple. Very nice aroma.
T: Ooh very hoppy. Strong citrus and floral flavor from the hops, sweet caramel and hint of brown sugar from the malts.
M: Medium-heavy bodied. Nice oily mouthfeel. Dry and fruity finish.

mjurney, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of mirish72
4.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My brother in law dropped off 3 bottles of Bigfoot from last weekend and I am impressed with myself that they lasted until last night.

I think this is one of the best beers I have ever tasted. From the initial pour the hops are overpowering and the taste is full bodied and amazing. It literally made my mouth water thinking about the next sip.

I hadn't has a Bigfoot for several years, but this brew is amazing. I don't have any way to compare it to previous vintages, but I am now hooked and will be buying it every spring.

While it is high in ABV it is amazingly drinkable and after 2 in a row I could definitely feel it. I save the last one for last night and am planning on picking up a case
to hide away in the basement.

mirish72, Feb 07, 2009
Photo of beertunes
3.23/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into 12oz glass. Poured with a solid, medium tan head. Lots of thick, sticky lacing. A gorgeous medium/deep amber color. A nice hop presence in the nose, but not as strong as most SN brews. A solid malt foundation supports those hops. Body is slightly thin for a barleywine, with the hops having the usual SN boldness. This is very drinkable for the style, but should a Barleywine be an easy beer to drink? I think Barleywines should be maltier, not as hoppy, and not smoothly drinkable. I also think SN overhops all the beers they make. That said, I like this beer a lot, maybe it belongs in a different category?

beertunes, Feb 07, 2009
Photo of johnnnniee
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had this many times, many diff vintages and I can't believe I haven't reviewed this yet. This is a fresh bottle of the 2009 Edition.

Pours a clear deep copper color with a fluffy off white head that laces most of the glass on the way down. Smells of grapefruit pine and resin. If I squint and close my eyes I smell a tiny bit of caramel malt deep in the background. Taste initially hits with the hops, grapefruit and pine eat my palette. There is a malt backbone here that caramels its way through some of the hops before being beaten down by the bitterness. Resinous aftertaste begs for another sip. Alcohol is very well hidden. Body is thick, mouthfeel is syrupy and resinous, carbonation is low but ample. This is one of my favorite beers. Barleywine or DIPA who knows. I don't care I'm going to drink this every year!

johnnnniee, Feb 07, 2009
Photo of taylor714914
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- This barleywine pours a nice dark orangeish red. 2 Fingers of head quickly calm down to about a half a finger which leave some lacing as I drank the beer.

S- Hoppy floral notes with some citrus and alcohol come through in the nose.

T- First thing I notice about this barleywine is the upfront hoppiness and bitterness. A faint bit of floral, bitterness, and dried fruits come though. It's a taste that vaguely reminds me of a sweeter blended scotch. Some alcohol also comes through, which is expected from such a young barleywine.The finish is hoppy and bitter which lingers for minutes.

M- Great carbonation with tiny little bubbles that aren't overly excited. A slightly thin and ever so light coating feeling are present, which I feel comes from the hoppy bitterness which hangs around for minutes after a sip.

D- Easy to drink 2 or 3 of these, but watch out as the alcohol content is quite strong.

I've got a few cellared which I will be interested to try over the next year or so to see how they improve.

taylor714914, Feb 06, 2009
Photo of Augustiner719
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: This is the first barleywine i have had so given that I cannot accurately judge its appearance based on the style but only in my own opinions as a beer itself. Poured a nice reddish brown color. Very dark, translucent still, but dark with brown and red hues comming through.Nice 1 finger thick beige head with nice lacing.

Smell: This beer smells very strong on the hops. Its got the same characteristics as many double ipas ive had before on the nose. Sweet, sticky, piney, citrusy, malty, and delicious.

Taste: For 9.60% abv this beer has the depth and quality to hold it very well. The bite is evident, but hidden extremely well. Its got a tremendous dose of hops that is toned down by rich malty flavors. Its like a huge hop bomb without the hop bite or sting. Certainly unique in my experiences.

Mouthfeel: On the shorter side of the carbonated beers, but true to its style i would assume. Its coats the palate well and leaves a nice after taste.

Drinkability: Funny thing about this beer is that I want a lot more of it. The high abv makes you wonder how many you could drink, but its a great great beer. Being slightly intimidated by this style I went in with a closed mind that it was going to be boozy and needed to age in order to lose the bite. I was wrong. Its so drinkable and the hops taste fresher than ever. I can see where cellaring would help dissapate the hops and the alcohol bite. A definate try if you hvent had any or little experience with barleywines!!

Augustiner719, Feb 06, 2009
Photo of HopEnthusiast
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Incredible brew. Buy a case every year. This one looks great, huge fluffy off-white head. Dark brown in color. It's not your typical English Style barley wine though, much rougher in nature, much more emphasis on hops rather than malt and yeast. Massive dry hop aroma and a small amount of flowery hop notes. The taste is also heavy in hop bitterness, it does boast a good amount of rich sweet maltiness. Raw, brutal and so damn satisfying. One of my all-time favorite brews.

HopEnthusiast, Feb 06, 2009
Photo of Colt4540
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint mug. 2009 Edition.

A- Pours a clear garnett color with a huge light tan head the hangs around for ever finally ending in a one finger head that stays for the entire beer. Leaves great lacing. It's just a very pretty beer.

S- First thing is the citrusy floral hops. It has suttle fruity sugary notes. You can smell the barley malts really well. It's very complex and I'm sure I'm leaving some smells out.

T- Nice bitterness that mixes with a burnt sugar taste that sticks to your lips. It finishes with a malty kind of fruity taste. It all blends well with the hop sticky bitterness causing all the flavors to stick around for a long time. Just like the smell it's very complex and hard to point everything out.

M- It tingles when it hits your lips from all the alcohol. It's crisp from all the hop bitterness which causes it to be fairly thick and extremely sticky. If held in your mouth it almost feels like a shot of liquor in you mouth, but it isn't unpleasant like you would think.

D- It is an easy drinking beer but would probably make you loose your mind if you drink too many of them.

Overall this is an awesome beer and I'm going to struggle storing some of it to drink at a later date.

Colt4540, Feb 05, 2009
Photo of SShelly
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 fresh from the store.

Smells of light malt, citrus hops, very distinct alcohol aroma.

flavor is a burst of light malt upfront that immediately gets covered by a bitter bite, upfortunately way to out of balance for my taste. Strong alcohols and lots of warming come at the end of the mouthful.

Feels decent in the mouth, not chewy or thick but definetly not thin either.

Im hoping the hops will fade back a little as time passes and let the malt show up more. Hope to be able to improve this review with an aged bottle in a year or so.

SShelly, Feb 05, 2009
Photo of nasty15108
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle (2009) into a snifter.

A - Poured a deep copper color. The pour produced a thin head of off-white foam that subsided into a thick bubbly film.

S - Big aroma of citrus (grapefruit) and pine. The warming smell of alcohol also detected.

T - Up front this ale had a slightly sweet malty taste that quickly gets overpowered (not in a bad way) of the bitter flavor of grapefruit and some pine needles. Finshes off slightly dry with a bit of bitter hop bite.

MF&D - Oily, sticky and wonderful to drink (sip). Medium bodied, but with a thick, slightly creamy mouthfeel. Although it is a definite sipper, this ale went down exceptionally well. I would love one with a nice cigar.

nasty15108, Feb 04, 2009
Photo of tjsprague
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is for the 2009 Bigfoot:

This is another wonderful Bigfoot from Sierra Nevada. The beer pours with minimal head and a nice dark copper color. The carbonation is minimal as it should be with this style beer. It has a slightly sweet smell when first poured.

The beer almost sticks to your mouth. It is not as heavy as it is thick and syrupy. Not overwhelmingly malty or hoppy but well balanced with both. The aftertaste is just slightly bitter. This is a beer that stays with you.

An excellent balance of sweet malt and bitterness from the alcohol. This really is just one of the best beers out there right now. And at a heavy 9.6% it warms you up for the cold winter.

tjsprague, Feb 04, 2009
Photo of cnjohn19
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Absolute delight of a beer...not expecting this much enjoyment from this beer...

A - dark amber and red tones when held up to the light...thick white head which laces and streams perfectly against the glass...clear, refreshing look

S - controlled by hops with some sort of sweetness which i can not make out

T - like the smell, hops rule...very bitter and almost tart...has floral and citrus tastes from the hops, but a definite malty finish...outstanding...

M - the bitterness travels perfectly through your mouth and throat...soft but tough at the same time...

Great surprise from this barelywine ale...

cnjohn19, Feb 04, 2009
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,281 ratings.