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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6,513 Ratings

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Ratings: 6,513
Reviews: 2,828
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 295
Gots: 1,195 | FT: 49
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
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Ratings: 6,513 | Reviews: 2,828 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bsp77
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Bigfoot

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Red. Depending on the light, it can range from an almost pinkish-maroon to dark ruby. Very thin head but nice lacing.

Smell: Dark fruits (plum) and some alcohol. Grapefruit is also evident but the smell is really not too overpowering in the hop department, despite the upcoming assault on my taste buds.

Taste: Begins with expected Barleywine profile (fruit, toffee, caramel) before being quickly overtaken by a strong spicy and grapefruit bitterness, which lasts long after taking a sip.

Feel: Somewhat thick and chewy, with moderate carbonation. Slightly warming.

Drinkability: Tastes great, but very alcoholic and unbelievably bitter. Slow sipper and I really don't want more than one.

I am excited to try this again after sitting in my basement for a year. Note: Now that I have tried it with some age, I bumped the drinkability score.

Photo of beerbully
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a tulip glass
appearance-1/2 inch head with good lacing
smell-similar too a DIPA sweet smelling somewhat citrusy
taste-somewhat hoppy with some citrus notes and sweetness on the back end
feel- slick
drinkability-good despite the 9.6 ABV

solid barleywine that I'll be visiting time again

Photo of naterock
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass with a off-white head and a Deep reddish amber color. Thick lacing and a nice rocky head.

smell is chinook hops and a deep barley so much quantity of scent here.

Tastes hugely of domestic hops and a rich almost ridiculous barley backbone. There is a lot to deal with here and I can't say that I can even do it justice but I get chinook hops and a array of different malt characters.

Mouth is on the heavy end of medium with a big carbonation and an oily and viscous mouthfinish. Drinks suprisingly fast for this large beer.

Photo of slk22
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Color is garnet with a cream head that quickly dissipated. Medium lacing on glass. The aroma of this beer is huge. Fruit is very noticeable up front with white and red grapes and plum. Caramel malt is present as well as a hint of alcohol. My limited nose is probably not doing this beer justice as it seems quite complex. The flavor of this thing is also huge beginning with plum, ruby grapefruit, caramel malt. A hint of alcohol provides a nice warming sensation. The bitterness of the hops comes through in the end having a grapefruit citrus flavor. The taste is well balanced, although bitterness lingers a bit on the finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. This beer was very enjoyable although the high ABV (9.6%) makes it hard to have more than one or two.

Photo of PatronWizard
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It seems my first Bigfoot will be a fresh 2009. Grabbed a sixer from a shoddy little liquor store.

Pours a very nice copper on fire shade of burgundy. Big fat head of cream and bubbles. Crazy retention. Looks pretty frickin good people.

Smells like a delicious IPA. Moderately strong hop presence on top of something else. Something buried deep under that head.

Big bitter hop burn in the bite. Yep. Good flavor but seems rather one dimensional at this point. Time for an aging experiment.

Medium to full body, smooth. Very likable. I think I'll try to cellar one of these. But 'twas not to be - all six have gone the way of Burgie.

Overall: big, good, want more

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

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass. 2009 bottle.

A: Pours dark amber with about a finger and half of light yellow head. I can slightly see my fingers through the glass on the other side so it is pretty opaque.

S: There is a strong smell of hops. I get a smell of oranges, it just has a overall citrusy smell. Smells similar to their Pale Ale to me.

T: It starts out kind of nutty. followed by the bitterness of orange and pine flavored hops. Alcohol is easily noticed throughout the sip. Finishes with a nice touch of maltyness and a nice smooth burn of alcohol. The taste is somewhat surprising to me from the original smell, I got a lot more flavors tasting it compared to smelling it.

Overall: Pretty darn good. And for 9.99 a sixer it will definitely be in the regular rotation.

Photo of IMincedTheKing
3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A random guy at the liqour store recommended this but said it was out of season. A little bit later, however, I saw a make-your-own-sixer hidden behind a six-pack of Brooklyn and noticed the word "Bigfoot" on the neck. I think someone was trying to hide the last few of these, but I snagged one. 2009 vintage.

It pours chestnut with an off-white head. Sticky walls of lacing.

The aroma is dominated by hops. Sweet malts back up the hops.

Citric hops on the palate with strange fruit undertones. Sweet malts try to balance out the bitterness, but the hops overpower everything. Because of the malts that do shine through, I find it both too sweet and too bitter that the same time.

The high ABV definitely cuts into the drinkability score for this one.

Photo of drumrboy22
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 bottle. Poured into Dogfish Head snifter. Copper color with a one-finger, thick, tan head. Heavy lacing around the glass.

Aroma was heavy citrus hops, nuts and toffee.

Taste was bitter hops mixed with a sweet, malty backbone. Long bitter finish.

Let this one warm up to get all of the different flavors. Great fresh, but definitely changes over time. Enjoy now or later.

Photo of patmcd
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 Vintage.

Head is sweet, dried fruits and caramel. I detect just a hint of pine and hops. Poured a murky, dark reddish brown with a small, cream-colored head, that left nice lacing.

Aroma is dominated by hops, sweet fruits and citrus.

Flavor is complex, a tug-o-war between the hops and the sweetness of malts. I first notice the hops, and flavors of grapefruit rine, pine, and earthy spices. Strangely, enough I notice some chalk dust on the transition. The malt comes through extremely sweet on the end and into the aftertaste, and caramel presence.

Has a fairly heavy mouth feel, but extremely low carbonation.

Drinkability is decent, considering it's extremely high ABV but I don't think I could do more than two bottles in a session.

Photo of teejay76
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Dark ambers pour with decent head retention.

Smell - Hops, caramel maybe (?), a little citrus, and alcohol.

Taste - Full-bodied heavy malt flavor with hops finish. Great aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Very surprisingly smooth considering the ABV.

Drinkability - This will enter the rotation as a permanent staple.

Photo of HalfFull
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a large wine glass after 15 minutes of warming from fridge temp. Pours a light and clear mahogany red in color with a half inch of porous light tan head. Retention is a bit short, succumbing to a surface film, yet yielding lots of spotty lacing and an easily regenerated thin head as desired.

Notes of alcohol on the nose with nuts, winter spices and fresh fir/spruce notes. Some citrus/pine hops when idled for a while and a bit of dark chocolate. Not as malty on the nose as expected, well balanced.

Hops initiate on the flavor with a touch of bitterness to follow. Malt structure is there in the finish and lingers well. Slightly chewy but not overpowering and with a bit of citrus hop on the close, along with some dark cherry/chocolate. Offers a light yet steady carbonation that fits the beer quite well, maintaining a surface cap yet not being unduly fizzy.

A nice, classic example of the style that isn't pushing boundaries yet respects the boundaries within which it resides. Note: 2009 version consumed fresh.

Photo of colts9016
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this beer into a pint glass at 50 degrees.

Appearance: A copper color with reddish hues. There is a one finger head that is foamy bubbly and ivory in color. There is effervescence in the beer. The clarity of the beer is clear but not brilliant. There a lot of lacing clinging to the glass.

Nose: A nice pine, floral and citrus nose. Next the malt with a subtle sweetness and some caramel notes. There is also a phenol/alcohol hint.

Taste: A very nice pine, floral, and fruity esters. The malt gives this beer a very nice backbone. There is a caramel like sweetness but is light. I can also taste the alcohol.

Overall: The mouth feel is astringent and carbonated. The body of the beer is medium thick, and the finish is bitter. This a very good barely wine. It is so balanced and so very easy to drink. I could drink a couple more bottles.

Photo of skrib09
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

mahogany brown color, almost clear, with a rocky light tan head.

smell is spicy hops and strong malt. pine and citrus dominate the front and a touch of bread gets the back.

taste is piney with a hint of mild dough. a bit of the forest comes along for the ride with a touch of grass or greenery.

mouthfeel is hearty and this is a sipping beer.

Photo of Mistofminn
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. 2009 on the cap.

Pours a clear mahogany color. Pour produces a tan two finger head, which sticks around for about five minutes, then dissipates to a small layer. Impressive lacing from this one. Decent amount of carbonation, but nothing too over the top.

The aroma is not as hoppy as I originally assumed it would be. Granted, there is a large hop portion of the aroma, but there is so much more. Dark fruits, and I also get some citrus fruits, mostly Grapefruit. Also a light caramel scent. The slightest bit of alcohol is present, but not in the least bit intrusive.

The taste is pretty surprising to me. I was under the impression that this was an overly hoppy beer, but that assumption is very wrong. I find this beer very well balanced, and very very smooth. Excellent taste. I don't get much fruit here, and no alcohol. Bitter aftertaste is expected.

Again, this is one smooth brew. Almost creamy smooth. Medium bodied paired with a light carbonation.

Very drinkable. This one is almost dangerous. With an ABV approaching 10, and no sign of it anywhere, I could easily go overboard with this one. Very smooth and enjoyable, keeps me coming back for more.

I am curious to see if this brew is the cellar stud that it is claimed to be. Only time will tell.

Photo of dotsonjamesg
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in my favorite pint cup that reads "My pint gives troops a fighting chance" I received when I donated blood to the Red Cross for persons to receive overseas.

Appearance: This lovely brewed poured a deep amber/copper color with a low density, two-finger, light brown head. Some good retention is present along with some pretty lacing.

Smell: The brew has some fruity esters and a rich scent of hops. The brew also had a little pear scent and toasted malts in the background.

Taste: The flavor hits you like a ton of bricks all at once. Alcohol is very present with the initial taste then moves in to a nice malty body backed up with a rich hoppy bite. The flavor then subsides and moves in to a deep bitterness that lingers through to the end and then some. A nice alcohol warming is present through much of the end. Its been about two minutes since my last sip and still I can taste the rich hoppy bitterness that is Big Foot Ale.

Mouthfeel: Thick like a milk-shake and with a nice level of carbonation.

Drinkability: The brew is surprisingly drinkable if its your speed of brews. I know it is entirely too hoppy for many amateurs so beware, if you dare!

This brew is definitely a god among beers. That's all I have to say.



Photo of choyhosoi
3.35/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a glass
A-Nice color to this one. Dark brown/red with awhite/brown head.

S-Grapes,plums,sweet scents that just give this an inviting aroma.

T-Not what I was expecting. A smooth drink that gives a solid kick in the end.

M/D This one is not my cup of tea it isnt bad but just not my style. It has a pretty high abv so be careful.

Photo of DrinkinBoy
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Big Foot appears a tranparent dark brown color, with a slightly off white head. The head has great retention.

It has a light fruity smell, but a lack of hoppiness which is suprising.

The taste immediately hits with a suprisngly smooth blow. It is very well balanced with a sweet taste to balance off the hops. On the mid palate it transitions into the hops and fruit taste similar to the nose. It finish a with a little hottness of alcohol and a whole lot of hops. In fact I am not sure how long the finish is because it hasn't stopped. I feel like I chewed on hops instead of drinking a beer, but that is expected with barley wine and any of Sierra Nevada's specialty beers.

Its mouthfeel if full, but consider the ABV it pretty smooth.

Overall, I felt that Big Foot was a really good version of the style. It was everything I expected of the hopped up American version, with a suprising balance. Definitely worth a try, but you probably just want one.

Photo of Dodt
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

picked up a case during my lunch break . finally cracked open a bottle after work .
decide to pour it warm from the bottle to a wine glass.
appearance : its deep amber in color.
smell :the aroma of this beer makes my mouth water .
taste : its a bit bitter for me . but still enjoyable.
mouth feel:a very pleasant taste.
its been a good while since i've had a barelywine , this beer was a good reintroduction for me to this style .

Photo of SmithwicksNut
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: a nice deep copper color with a tan head with tight lacing.

S; the hops jumps up at you which I did not expect from a barleywine. Then came the alcohol smell followed by sweet malt aroma.

T: Everything that one gets with the aroma you get with the taste but in a different order. I got the subtle sweet maltiness first followed by the alcohol warming. The hops bitterness is last.

M: Very pleasant on the tongue...smooth with medium carbonation.

D: For a big beer this is outstanding. I found it easy to drink but with the big ABV got to be careful. I found myself wanting more!

Photo of donteatpoop
3.6/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My dad didn't care for his so I ended up drinking two (don't mind if I do)

Just a beautiful beer, a carmel amber hue with a nice thick cap of yellow-white head.

Smells like woodsy hops and a nice sweet bready malts.

The taste was predominantly a hop bite up front with the sweet malts sort of fading in as an after effect.

Nice mouthfeel, not too dry; a little thick and oily as an after taste.

Not a bad beer, drank two on an empty stomach and got pretty messed up (9% ABV?)

Photo of barnzy78
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. 2009. Had 2008 version about month ago. This was better.

Poured chestnut brown in color with a fantastic pillow of beige head that held great retention and also left a sticky lacing on the glass. Aromas are full - malty, caramel, toffee, sweet brown sugar, citrus and floral hops with a hint of pine to fill the nose. Mouth-feel is medium and somewhat thick and oily on the palate. Great initial flavors, although alcohol is definitely present - caramel, brown sugar, some earthy tones with a slight hint of maple...hops then take over - citrus and pine, but very well balanced. It has a strong bitterness, but the huge malt backbone keeps it in check. I initially served this at about 60º, but as it warmed, it got even better. Alcohol was present, but more warming rather than being overly present. Wow. This was fantastic. I had read somewhere that fresh Bigfoot was out of this world. I am a believer. No need to age this one.

Photo of rodney45
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Bigfoot has a lacey, cream colored head that doesnt stick around all too long. The beer itself is dark amber, with not too overwhelming an amount of carbonation. It smells like ether, and floral aromatic hops. In fact it smells much more alcoholic then it tastes, the hop characteristics hide the 9.6% alcohol by volume. This is an interesting take on a barlywine style, because not only is this beer different than a classic barlywine, its an Ale, and well hopped and balanced as well. Its got a nice smooth mouthfeel but drinkability is a question. Actually, this beer is a punch of hops straight to the mouth, but I think this beer was made to be savored with some food pairing way beyond my cognitive capacity or palate. Well done Sierra, I have not disliked a single beer from them...

Photo of ltjska04
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from the 12 oz. bottle, this beer is a deep redish brown and very pleasant looking. The rocky head quickly subsided to a film on top that left some lacing down the glass.

S: To me this smells very reminiscent of SNPA but with more malt. Smells tasty!

T: ...And it is! I'm not getting any burn from the 9.6% and this is very nice. The hops and malt work very well together and neither is overpowering. I can taste this down in my esophagus, that's kinda different

M: Smooth and pleasant.

D: Goes down a little too easy for the high abv. I could drink this as I would SNPA but probably couldn't stand up afterwards.

This is a good, solid A.

Photo of Andreji
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A quick taste of the beers from the folks over in california was part of my NYC beer experience.

I had waited years to get to this SN because it has such an intriguing name, and the beer itself is quite complex.

pour is brown-coffee toned, very dark and poorly translucid, very mysterious site to see. smell was reminiscent of the 120 or the 90min, because of the complex hop-alcohol spicy interplay.

taste isn't as complex as the smell, though it does have a vegetable, botanic feel to it with a strong dominance of the bitterness. it isn't as sweet as other barleywines nor is there so much alcohol- it is quite well hidden for all it's worth. full bodied.

all-in-all another success for the sierra nevada crowd.

Photo of turamarth
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into NewBelgium Globe.

Appearance: Pours a nice dark, dark amber color. Lots of orange-cream colored head that leaves lots of lacing. The head it's self is rather fluffy and nommy looking.

Smell: A very nice malty base in the nose. Lots of nice piney hops. Some caramel too i believe.

Taste: A very nice balance i think between the hops and malts. While neither really trumps the other, they are both present in their own way. The hops are, like in the nose, very piney. Some nice sweet candied malts. Some toasty, buiscuity malts. This actually tastes like it could be a wine (the other barley wine i've had was just more of a hop bomb). The alcohol is there as well.

Mouth: Has a very bright carbonation, may be a little too much for my palate, but isn't overtly bad. Leaves the mouth with a slight thickness, but in a good way. Pretty good.

Drink: Despite being quite the sipper with the carbonation and alcohol content, this for me is very drinkable. I love this beer, if it weren't 11$ a sixer, it would be a goto. yum!

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,513 ratings.