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

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

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6,592 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,592
Reviews: 2,854
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 312
Gots: 1,248 | FT: 52
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 02-06-1998

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,592 | Reviews: 2,854 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of FoodBlog
4.06/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a 2008 bottle. A bit hoppy for the style, in my opinion, but overall a valiant effort at producing the true "champagne of beers".

Aromas of freshly cooked waffles hit you before your first sip. The miniscule bubbles do not do much in the glass, but they blanket the tongue in an effervescent welcome. Definitely sweet, but balanced (perhaps overly) with an abundant dose of hops. The subtle fruitiness I like in Barley Wine (at least the ones I make) is diminished in the hoppiness. Still, flavors of caramel and maderized fruit make their way into the flavor profile.

This beer would definitely be the one to have with a nice after dinner cigar, and perhaps some lamb stew or beef with blue cheese. I used it to braise some Honey Mustard Spare Ribs, and it was perfect for that. Some might consider it a waste of great beer, but all cooks I know like to use good wine and spirits when cooking, and good beer should be given the same honor. I bet this would be a perfect way to cook some corned beef and cabbage.

Overall, I will definitely return to this beer over time, since it is so unique.

Photo of MeisterBurger
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 bottle.

Pours a dark, lightly chill-hazed rusty color topped by a substantial, creamy light beige head. Laces and retains amazingly.

If, like me, you have an unquestioning love of beers dry-hopped with citrusy west coast c-hops then this is the barleywine for you. Simply awesome. And yet underneath this lurks some wonderfully rich caramel notes with hints of chocolate.

The taste is a deep, richly sweet caramel malt quickly met by a massive punch of grapefruit pith and piney bitterness. This is beyond full flavored. Licorice notes and pepper are present at well. Definitely far more bitter than any barleywine I have ever had. Alcohol is present and warming but not in the least bit overpowering and well hidden by the tongue-slapping bitterness.

Mouthfeel is slick, chewy and a little syrupy but a goodly amount of carbonation helps lift that from the palate.

This is far more bitter than I anticipated, which makes it a very intense and interesting experience, but this isn't one I could drink more than a bottle of in any one sitting.

I picked up a sixer of this and I'll lay down at least three. I'd like to see how this is once the bitterness fades and the flavors meld. To be honest I can't even begin to fathom what will happen in a couple years time. Not in the least.

Photo of elgiacomo
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 bottle, rated Sep 2, 2007. My first barleywine so nothing to compare it to. A unique brew, quite complex...I may not be quite ready for this but here goes.

Pours a dark amber, very murky. Tiny head that is gone in a blink of an eye. No lacing.

Aroma of some fruit (pear), piney hops, caramel and some molasses.

Flavor is quite strong, more hops, malt, caramel, molasses, some chocolate. Rather sweet. I'm sure there is more here, too.

Initially was moderately carbonated, but as I get further into the glass, there is not really any carbonation left at all. Syrupy mouthfeel, but not quite chewy. You taste some alcohol, but it is not overbearing.

There is a lot going on with this brew, and I will definitely have to try some other barleywines.

Aroma 3/5, Appearance 3/5, Taste 3.5/5, Palate 4/5, Drinkability 3.5/5


2010 bottled 12/30/2009, reviewed Feb 5, 2010. My first Bigfoot since my original review 2.5 years ago, although I've had a number of barleywines since then. Pours copper/red in a nonic with a large 3+ finger fluffy and rocky very light beige head which maintains a foamy cap and leaves clumps of sticky lacing. Sure doesn't look like a normal barleywine.

Aroma is sweet, fruity, cherry, citrus and earthy hops, caramel malts.

Flavor is predominantly sweet, cherry and other dark fruits, caramel malts, earthy resinous hops that bring some bitterness, also a bit of a Robitussin character, ahhh yes, the alcohol, you taste and smell it but it doesn't burn.

Mouthfeel is full, rich, rather carbonated. The big foamy head threw me off at first, but I understand this is quite fresh, and will save most of these for a year or more. Even fresh, 2010 Bigfoot is very enjoyable, I'll have to enjoy at least one more soon.

Aroma 3.5/5, Appearance 3.5/5, Taste 4/5, Palate 4/5, Drinkability 4/5

Photo of SLeffler27
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bigfoot is hazy with the dark copper of an old penny and orange highlights. A modest, creamy almond head quickly turns rocky as it leaves pronounced rings of lace on the Hoegaarden snifter.

Strong, dried figs and sweet molasses are accompanied by spruce, floral hops and some grapefruit. This one reveals raisins and brandy as it warms.

After nearly three years in the bottle, Bigfoot still puts forth a strong bitter and alcohol profile. Primarily spicy, including pepper, this one has a long, pulsating bitter finish.

A warming, medium-bodied beer with a dry, oily texture and hint of metallic notes.

As expected, this is a sure sipper with a sharp alcohol bite. The hops are aggressive, never allowing the palate to rest. This is a one-shot classic, definitely worthy of the experience but hard to consume none-the-less.

Photo of ChadQuest
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

09 bottle, right at one year old,into a pint glass.

dark amber color, nice big head, very sticky retention.

Piney resin, woody, hoppy.

Piney Hops are first in line, but not far behind is that malt sweetness holding this in check, keeping it pretty balanced,
But the Hops are still winning the battle a bit. A bit of alcohol flavor from the 9.6%. damp earthy-ness.

sticky, creamy, sticky, burn, coating. Bold.

A good beer, and one of the best Barleywine values, but not one that knocks me to off my feet. That said, i always want to buy a case, to age and explore. worth the price any day, any week.

Photo of SurferJ
4.16/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bigfoot Barley Wine
It's 2009 but no date stamp

Nice brown red color. garnet and ruby. A little cloudy in the middle, but lively cherry colors around the edges. Head retains a light brown color with islands floating as it breaks up. Leaves lacing around the sides.

Pretty simple here, little complexity. Like taking a big whiff of a jar of honey. Deeper down a bit of roasted malt aroma. Some floral hops and a bit of pine.

Hops and dark fruit and a little alcohol heat. Like a candied fruit cake soaked in booze. Then bitter comes through with a bit of pine, giving way to sweet and sticky honey pot. Finishes with a lingering bitterness and a bit of a medicine and dark fruit taste.

A little heavy and chewy. Light carbonation.

Very drinkable for a 9.6%. Especially now I'm almost at the end of it, I have a little buzz but not feeling overwhelmed. The bitterness clears the pallet nicely.

Photo of sophisticated
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is only my 2nd Bigfoot, brewed in 2009 probably close to 8 months old. Poured into a pint glass.

A) Nice reddish-amber, thick off-white head with tons of lacing

S) caramel, hops, fruit, floral, pineapple -- really nice.

T and M) Mild, smooth, chewey. Dark fruits stand out at first, but there is a large hops presence as well. Some pine, floral, and citrus. There is a bit of a harsh bite at first, but as it sits it mellows out. A hoppy barleywine. The dark fruit taste is present but not as strong as some others. Mellow. Balanced. Yum.

D) Good. 1 bottle is enough, especially at almost 10% ABV. But a nice tasty treat, one to seek out. Maybe next time I'll have the willpower to let it age even longer.

Photo of manahansf
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear and light brown color with highlights of copper. The head is creamy and thick with an off white color which gives off a bold aroma of sweet grains and a hint of earthy hops. The body is as big and bold as the aroma with low levels of carbonation. The semi-viscous body of the beer is sweet and malty with a comfortable background of hop flavors. The finish is also malty and sweet but the bitterness becomes more pronounced as the brew ends with a touch of alcohol flavor.

Photo of marksweiner
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

cracked open a 2009 Barleywine after I had a John Barleycorn to compare to. had a couple left over in the fridge from a sixer I bought back in February. By far by favorite and my baseline for judging all American Barleywines. look forward to having the 2010 along with my remaining 2009.

Photo of SiepJones
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bigfoot 2009

Sierra Nevada was the brewery that got me into craft beer, Bigfoot 07 was my introduction to "big" beers late in 2008. I looked forward to sampling 2009 while it was fresh, and then keeping some to drink in the future. Served in a red wine glass Bigfoot has a dark copper color with a half inch head that leaves a nice pasting on the sides of the glass. The scent of the beer provides a strong nose of carmel malts and citrusy hops. Bigfoots flavor is a complex mix of malty/citrus with a crisp hops finish. The beers body has a chewy mouthfeel with good carbonation. Bigfoot is a very drinkable barleywine at 9.6%, it tastes great and warms the stomach on those cold winter nights.

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

This is my first voyage into the world of Barleywines.

Sierra Nevada 2009 Bigfoot Ale, poured into my Moretti Chalice.

The appearance is a cherry amber color with very little head.

The smell is very pleasant, pine, citrus and slight caramel/toffe dominates this one

Taste - the taste I would describe as a double IPA on steroids, great hops & malt balance, with slight pine flavor and an aftertaste of sweet caramel

This one is emminently drinkable even at 9.6% ABV, goes down rather smooth - big bodied, the alcohol is hidden rather well, a nice brew for those cold winer days.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A stubby 12 ounce bottle of 2006 Expedition poured into my Sierra Nevada shaker glass. The ale appears a cloudy crimson chestnut color with barely an inch of light rust colored foam. Nose and flavor consist of molasses, raisins, caramelized malts, quite bitter to say the least, floral perfume-y hops, still a bit of alcohol heat, resinous pine. Medium bodied with ample carbonation with a lingering bittersweet finish. A great hoppy (understatement) Amer. Barleywine.

Photo of jsh420
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 edition

pours murky amber orange with a 1+ finger head that sticks around

smell - still the hops take center stage after a year

taste is good - upfront hops pine ane citrus - it has plenty of malt but it will take a few more years to balance out

mouthfeel is medium to heavy kinda sticky

drinkability - well if you can handle dipa's you will love this beer in the winter

Photo of cschepers
3.45/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(January) 2009 edition.

A - Pours a beautiful ruby red, nice thick cream head. Very pretty looking beer.

S - Nose is banana bread and fruit (cherries, plums, oranges). A little bit of booziness in the background. Hmm.. sounds like a good fruitcake, doesn't it?

T - Haven't drank one of these in a few years, now I remember why. As always, the hops completely overrun this beer. It's like a triple IPA with slightly darker malt. Giant citrus hops upfront, then a bit of caramel malt and heavy booze, then orange pith and pine tree air freshener hangs around for a long time.

M - Nice carbonation, mouthfeel is a bit thinner than I think I'd expect.. but not bad.

D - For me, fairly low. I could split a 12-oz.'er with someone else and not be terribly upset. Alcohol isn't too bad for a barleywine I suppose.

I know its sacrilege to not like a Sierra Nevada beer, but this one's never done it for me. Just too heavy on the hops and the booze. I have a 3-year-old bottle in the cellar, I think I'll give it another three or four years and see if the hops have died down by then.

Photo of shanecb
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Sort of a reddish/orange/burnt sienna color. Head a nice light tan head that was fairly predominant when poured, but did not stick around very long. Not too much lacing, but some early on when the head was around.

S - Sort of malty at first, which was ore predominant when swirled. Hints of sweetness, orange, and honey (mead) were present, but not predominant. It seemd that after a little while an alcohol aroma was very predominant. It was actually a little off-putting, unfortunately. It was sort of like vodka, and a little sweet. Maybe like triple sec or blue curacoa.

T - Very nice flavor. The bittering hops are pretty predominant in the finish. There's also a slightly roasted coffee flavor in the aftertaste. A little alcoholic flavor to it, but nothing too bad. There's some malty sweetness to it near the beginning. Slight notes of a dark cherry and maybe some other dark fruits are present.

M - Very nice! It's smooth and creamy and feels great

D - Honestly.. amazing drinkability. It's smooth, has a flavor that doesn't overpower but is enough to keep you interested. I really could drink a few of these with no problem.

Photo of BlackBearForge
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Bigfoot: Bottle code 9013 (bottled on Jan. 13, 2009)

Bigfoot pours a deep cloudy umber with a warm reddish glow. A nice tan head fades quickly to cratered bubbly froth with a creamy ring around the edges. Lacing is thick at first and then sheets back down the sides of the glass.

The nose is a big surprise! This nearly year old beer has a strong citrusy/pine hop aroma to it still backed up by a strong malty caramel with hints of chocolate licquer.

Flavor is certainly big and still rather raw for a nearly year old beer. I find the flavors a bit hard to track down. An initial sharp pungent taste fades to a thick somewhat sweet caramel malt. Hop flavor abounds and is of citrus, muted grapefruit and resin. Also noted are brandied fruit (raisins, apricots, pears) along with vague hints of chocolate noted in the after taste. Alcohol fills the mouth with warmth but does not eclipse the other bold flavors. With warming the alcohol blends nicely into the other flavors.

Mouthfeel is big, thick and chewy with a slightly creamy very smooth finish.

Bigfoot always has an initial kick in the mouth that takes me half a beer or so to really begin appreciating, after that though it just gets better and better as it warms. I've never had two in a row but I suspect No. 2 would be very good indeed. I think another six months of age would do wonders for an already very good beer.

Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shit man, I rolled into my local 7/11 and saw this crazy thing in the corner. A 2009 barley whoozit? hells yes. It pours with a creamy head, colored like the thighs of those fine ladies who tan too much. Tastes like eating a grapefruit while walking down by the pine barrens. Breads and camel flow out too, like a party on my tongue and all the ladies say hell yeah!

It's a Bigfoot, it's fine like Beyonce. Jay-Z is a lucky man for that, and I am a lucky man to have five more of these guys in the cellar.

Photo of CharlatanSin
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ah, Sierra Nevada. You've never let me down. Ever since your Pale Ale took me by the hand and gently guided me down the path of craft beer, I've been in your debt. After a while of searching, I finally located a bottle of the Bigfoot at New Beer Distributors. Just like old times, I poured Sierra's gift from a 12 oz bottle into my legendary Hold Steady pint glass.

Appearance: A nice dark cherry soda color, with a decent straw colored head that laces nicely.

Smell: Malty and sweet. Toasted caramel. Also some pine hops.

Taste: As I expected, this being a Sierra beer, it tastes more like an extremely well-balanced strong IPA than what I think of as a barleywine. That being said, it's delicious. The hops are strong and earthy. That earthy bitterness is nicely balanced by the malt sweetness. I'm picking up freshly baked bread, some of the caramel from the nose, and maybe a hint of bitter chocolate?

Mouthfeel: Goes down smooth. A little more thin than I'd have expected.

Drinkability: I could have a couple of these in a sitting, but it's not as deceptive as some other similar beers in terms of alcohol content. You can definitely taste the booze in this one. This is not a bad thing at all, by the way. Another extremely solid beer from Sierra Nevada, my first beer love.

Photo of chickencoop
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think when you see barleywine, most people will be turned off, or expect some odd-ball brew that is just intended to get you hammered, this is not. When I first strated drinking this I was reminded of a big IPA, but sweeter. The brew is very smooth and complicated, and considering the high ABV, this is very drinkable. This in my opinion was what the DIPA are trying to be, but then again this is a barley-wine so maybe i'm off. Good stuff, must have from one of our great California breweries.

Photo of tang3nt
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a 2008 6 pack of this at local liquor store.
Pours a deep hazy amber brown color with a large white head that dissipates rather quickly.
The nose is super hoppy and definitely a strong alcohol smell to it.
Sweet rich malt flavor with dark fruit flavors maybe plum followed by a long somewhat dry finish.
This beer has tons of hop flavors for a barleywine, but overall a complex well balanced body and seems it would do even better with a few more years.

Photo of MrDanno96
3.3/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2008 "25th Expedition"

A: Pours a cloudy reddish brown with just a thin ring of off white head around the edges of the glass.

S: Sweet malt, barely, caramel, pine, and some dark sweet fruits.

T: Very complex. Sweet malts and barely up front, similar to the nose. I also taste some distinct caramel and toffee and maybe just a hint of burnt coffee or chocolate. This all adds up to a good amount of sweetness initially. This sweetness, however, gives way to a harsh bitter hop finish. Alcohol is also very apparent, perhaps just a little too much so.

M: Full bodied, moderate carbonation, and a biting bitter feel from the hops.

D: Definitely a sipper. Lots of complex flavors that I enjoyed experiencing. That being said, I would probably only drink one of these at a time. It has a high abv and I can definitely tell that it's there. Also, I don't necessarily object to bitter hops finishes, but I wasn't too big a fan of the way the hops balances with the other flavors in this one. I wouldn't say this is bad, but I'm not sure I agree with all the hype.

Photo of happy4hoppybeer
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance= poured out of bottle straightforward into tulip glass without tilting a dark amber/red topped off with amazing head that lasts for minutes(probably more than five or ten) that leaves behind amazing lacing that sticks around long after consumed.

Aroma= Sweet barley malt, caramel, pine, fruit even some cocoa

Tastes of sweet hops which then turn to bitter hops, but a little subdued since this is aged. This is the vintage 2009 version.

Palate is medium a little thin therefore more drinkable. And dangerously so, considering the ABV and incredible flavors present throughout.

Another outstanding seasonal from SN, just as great as the previous years. Probably the best or at least one of the best BWs. Cannot wait for the 2010 version.

Photo of BevMoAndrew
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted the 2008 bottle.
Served into a Bruery tulip at 45 degrees.

Pours an orangish-copper in the glass with a quarter inch thick white froth...very good lacing. (It's an aged beer, so I don't expect it to be carbonated like a fresh brew. Also, the beer isn't exactly clear...I think there might be a little bit of chill shock going on.) The nose is pronounced, sweet, & syrupy thick with aromas of caramel, toffee, a fresh hop green leaf, a hop spiciness, wild flowers, orange, subtle grapefruit, sweet-sweet alcohol, prunes/figs, green apple peel, and a little baked biscuit. There is a red jolly rancher flavor on the palate that I think it very interesting accompanied by a smooth hop bitterness, sweet alcohol warmth, syrupy malt texture, and a long finish. All the characteristics found on the nose are present in flavor. Very smooth and easy to drink. Overall, I would definitely put this in my "dangerous beer" category because it's smooth, complex, flavorful, and 9.6%! I could easily see myself happily drinking 3 or 4 of these and then the next thing I know it's morning, I'm on the couch with a half eaten meat lovers pizza, and over an hour late for work!

Photo of Jettanbass9
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

mutter the words, american barleywine and i most likely will think you said bigfoot.

A - ruby red with chestnut highlights, creamy persistant tight knit head and crystal clear... what else could you want??

S - rich malts ooze of dark caramel, toffee, figs, raisins and fresh dough mingle between resiny, citrusy hop aromas. citrus peel marries the sharp heat of the alcohol all while reaffirming the strength of this brew.

T - sweet toffee and dark rich caramel are balanced by resiny, cedar like hop flavor. Figs and raisins linger in the background while that sweet warmth of the alcohol blends back into toffee. wonderful rich flavors bleeds complexity.

M - full bodied with a firm bitterness that balances any sweetness this beer has.

D - easy to put back, while just as easy to slowly sip. this am. barleywine is THE classic.

Photo of bret27
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle. I admit this is a review of a fairly new '09 bottle, but I can only sit and look at a 6 pack for so long.

A: The deepest reddest amber I've ever seen on any beer. medium-low carbonation, just slightly off-white.

S: Piney citrusey spicy, good ol' PNW American hops. Also get some sweetness like berries. And some earthy graininess.

T: Now hops and malt are fighting it out. Tastes like something Lagunitas would make. Same smells as above but now w/a bitter bite. Malt holding the middle w/a strong presence as well. Pretty strong booziness and bite at the end.

M: Fairly thick and syrupy. Good for style.

D: Average to good. I'm sure older bottles would be totally different and will update review accordingly. I liked it, but the hop bite and alcohol presence do mess with the drinkability at this point.

Overall: Solid. Aside from about half of Lagunitas lineup, reminds me a bit of Old Ruffian from GD, but I liked Old Ruffian a wee bit more. Only time shall tell how they change for me.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,592 ratings.