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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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

6,281 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(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 AChamberlain
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great hoppy American barleywine. An all time favorite you can look forward to each year. Ruby orange with an offwhite soft head. Really beautiful. Good resiny hop aroma, smells like hop juice! Same in the flavor, but better. Deliciously sweet malt finish. A bit fizzy, with a medium to full body. Great to sip or to take some healthy swigs of.

AChamberlain, Jan 26, 2009
Photo of SaintArnold
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I don't really care for Barley wines but decided to try it based on the scores from BA. The pub where this was offered was fortunate to have the 2007 vintage that the distributor had held onto for them.

-A The color was Reddish amber with a one finger head that had excellent lacing.

-B Sweet Malty aroma with a hint of hops.

-T Sweetness at first followed by an explosion of hops. It was intense to say the least.

-M Lingers on the palate. The bitterness hangs on the sides of your tongue.

-D Very nice, was pleasantly surprised. However, I can't imagine drinking more than one per sitting.

SaintArnold, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of cowens22
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2009 poured into snifter. Color is deep copper colored brown with little head. Delightful aroma of hops and a little sweetness buried underneath the hopiness. Taste of sweeter hops and a little tartness after the initial hop character. Mouth feel is a little thick that as weird as it sounds, that goes away fairly fast off of the palate. A little malty, very little, in the after taste along with the hops. This beer is the definition of an American Barleywine in my opinion. Highly recommended by this guy to any barleywine fan or someone wanting to get into them. Cheers

cowens22, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of Tone
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color. An inch and a half of head that's more of a pale yellow than an off-white. Good retention and good lacing. Smells strongly of hops (of course its a Sierra Nevada :). I can pick up a slight fruitiness as well as some distinguished sweetness. I'm not really picking up any malt characteristics, at least in the aroma. As far as I've read this fits the styleof an American Barleywine. So far this beer is wetting my palate and I'm really hoping not to be let down. Mouth feel is really smooth and crisp, with an associated dryness of higher alcohol content. There's a low carbonation level. The first taste is the alcohol, then the hops hits, and then some tartness is present in the aftertaste along with a little sweetness. Wow, this is like no other beer I've had, but I'm really liking it. The aftertaste is quite strong. Overall, this is a great beer, but I definitely would not be able to drink more than a couple - wow.

Tone, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of Soneast
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

*EDIT* (1-29-09) Well I reviewed this a few days ago, but I think my tastes may have been a little off, because I'm drinking one right now and I gotta say this seems much more balanced then I initially believed and the more it warms the more sweetness and caramel flavors come through in the beer. I'm really diggin' this atm! Consequently I gots to bump the taste up a notch.

Pours just shy of mahogany in color with some definite copper tones. Has a huge, rocky, cream colored head that got away from me. Really good retention with a lot of pillowy suds left on the glass.

Aroma consists of a strong hop profile. Predominately pine aromas with a floral kick. Also a nice sweet toasted malt aroma hidden behind all the hoppiness.

Flavor is also heavy on the hop side with a lot of floral and piney character with a sort of spiciness in the background, and just a hint of sweet caramel right towards the end. Has a bitter finish and a bit of booze burn as well.

Heavy bodied, medium carbonation. A thick creamy beer that coats your mouth with a delicious slick of yumminess! I think this will really benefit with age though, as the hop profile really is a bit much in it's present state. Not that I don't love hops, but I also love a well balanced Barleywine.

Soneast, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of deereless
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Thick frothy head which clings to the side of the glass as it drops, a deep copper color with a touch of amber - 4.50, S: Lots of fusel alcohol, what I perceive as brandied cherries, a significant amount of caramel and toffee - 4.25, T: Sizeable hop bite balanced with a solid malt base, Christmas fruit cake, candied sugars - 4.00, M: A very smooth and creamy mouth feel - 4.50, D: Barleywines are not generally my style but Bigfoot pushes me closer to becoming a believer, a nice late night sipper, though hops play a role I would have loved even more - 3.75

deereless, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of desertbronze
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours reddish amber with an off-white head. Head fades over time with a little left at the edges of the glass. Smells of hops and alcohol. Sweet malt flavors with a hoppy, bitter finish. Mouthfeel seems perfect for the style - stays with you but it's not overbearing. Drinkability is good and I'm sure this will be better with some age.

desertbronze, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of FrndthDuvel
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

mmmm,now I know what all the talk of this beer is all about. It has been sad living in San Diego County for over 30 years ,loving SNPA and Celebration but never trying this beer. Ok, well not really too sad. Thanks BA for the knowledge.

Pinkie sized light tan head sat upon a clear amber color with ruby highlights. Lacing at the beginning, giving way to some sheeting,but still a ring of frothy goodness to the end. The expected west coast hop influence is floral in the nose. Along with the presence of caramel malt goodness. The same profile hits the palate. First the expected West Coast bitternes, but followed quickly with a balancing caramel malt footprint. Alcohol tries to poke through. Very drinkable now, smooth, sweet but not syrupy. Bitter finish. Just another solid Sierra Nevada value. I have never had an older Bigfoot but plan on putting a few down for sure. Being from San Diego County I love the smack of hops sitting upon the barleywine style.

FrndthDuvel, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of wapack
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just picked up a sixer of the 2009 batch at Kappy's in Leominster...

12 oz. poured into a pint glass...

A- Nice copper reddish hue. Head dissipates after sitting a couple of minutes, lacing looks good.

S- Incredible! Malts, hint of molasses, hops hanging around to bring it full circle.

T- The flavor is all barley wine, nice to see Sierra Nevada continue to get it right. Nice and malty with the hops to finish well. also, some hints of pepper, graptefruit, maybe raisin? This is a young beer still, I am hoping with age it will be unREAL.

M- Great feeling on the palate. Some off flavors do sort of hang out after it goes down, but really they are great flavors, and it will surely change over time.

D- Excellent. I tend to sip on my barley wines like most folks I know...I could probably drink these all night (but at 9.6% would likely end up in a dark alley somewhere sleeping after too long).

Great beer! A must try for 2009.

wapack, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of philipquarles
3.13/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2009 vintage. Pours a nice burnt amber with a huge buttermilk-colored head. The foam is fairly resilient, only dying down after a couple of minutes and leaving a light coating and some brilliant lacing. Smells more akin to an IPA than a barleywine; floral cascade hops dominate, giving it that signature SN bouquet. As it warms, sweet malt with hints of molasses and raisins peaks through. Sharply hoppy upon first tasting, with quite a bit of grapefruit coming through. Sweet, boozy malt is faintly evident after the palate gets acclimatized. Bitter, warming finish. Mouthfeel is nice and thick, though verging on syrupy. Not terribly drinkable, at least for me; the hops are overpowering and the alcohol is pretty noticeable. With a couple of years on it to dull the hops and tone down the alcohol, this could be great.

philipquarles, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of Jablonski
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 bottle

I picked up an individual bottle today and decided to try it before purchasing an entire six pack. It poured an amber color with a large head and decent lacing. The smell of piney hops hit me real quick, but I could later detect some spices and malts. Quite a complex smell, but unbalanced toward the hops. Despite the aroma, I was still a bit surprised on my first sip. It seemed to taste more like an IPA rather than a barleywine as the beer was more bitter than Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (not that it's a bad thing). Once my palate was used to the hops shock, I was able to taste much more of the beer. The beer is initially chocolaty and malty and the hops slowly take over the taste. There is a warming feeling as you drink this beer that gives me the sense that I'm drinking whiskey. However, I cannot taste any alcohol in the taste. The beer is carbonated nicely and appears to be near the perfect thickness. This beer is also very drinkable, but I prefer to have no more than one at a time. It just seems you are missing out on the beer if you follow up with multiples. Overall a decent barleywine, and I'm glad I got my hands on this beer.

Jablonski, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of HeyItsChili
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours clear amber with a white head on the thin side of medium.

S - Hopslosion all up in mah nostrils. Piney, citrusy, with a very fine malt underpinning.

T - The taste is composed of flavors of grapefruity hops, pepper, malt, and angel tears. Okay, well maybe not angel tears, but something like them. It is hoppy without being overpoweringly so, I wouldn't call it a balanced mix, but there are

M - Sort of oily, viscous, medium bodied.

Notes - Really hoppy, spicy, tasty beer.

HeyItsChili, Jan 21, 2009
Photo of xhcadamx
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a transparent ruby to brown color. Nice tan head which is darker than I expected. Not a whole lot of lacing.

S - This is the best smelling beers that I have come across. Boatloads of hops - citrus and pine. Intense sweet fruit aroma to follow. Very complex.

T - WHOAH! I have tried several barleywines and have never liked one. This is amazing. Tons of hop flavors and complex malt. I can not believe I am enjoying this beer.

M - Nice and chewy

D - Highly drinkable - have to be careful at 9.6

xhcadamx, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of bowersdm
4.95/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A - beautiful red/brown, copper-like color with a thick, nearly 3cm head.

S - floral hops, fruit, caramel malt and alcohol. maybe a hint of yeast too

T - at first a caramel malt sweetness and some fruit flavor, together with some hops, then a big hop finish and alcohol. the alcohol isn't as strong as I thought it would be a nearly 10% ABV beer.

M - i tend to like my barleywines on the undercarbonated side, so I took 0.5 off for what i perceived as over carbonation in this beer. it would be normal carbonation in any other beer, but in a barleywine, i didn't quite enjoy it.

D - it's a ~10% ABV barleywine, you're probably not going to put a few of these down. It's very filling, but it just tastes amazing. Without a doubt, it's the best barleywine I've ever had.

bowersdm, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of bigdonniebrasco
4.78/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2007 vintage poured into a snifter

A: Cloudy dark amber in color with a tight tan colored head that leaves a sticky lacing as it fades.

S: Sweet malty notes are dominant on the nose. Dark fruits and doughy aromas as well with notes of yeast as from warm bread dough.

T: Sweet maltiness hits the palate at first. A bitter hop bite and some warm alcohol hits during and after the swallow. A bitterness lingers on the tongue, but not like you might think from this one.

M: VERY nice. Almost chewy. Gets smoother as it warms The term VELVETY came to mind, and I actually spent quite a while just sliding it to all areas of my mouth before swallowing.

D: One is plenty, as with most barleywines. This is a fine example and I will definitely try again as I have one more in my cellar.

Serving type: bottle

bigdonniebrasco, Jan 16, 2009
Photo of brewbucker
4.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 bottle.

Opened with a small (pfsst). Poured a dark copper with a small but lasting head and seems to still have nice carbonation. Lacing is very thick and sticky. Aroma is nice fermented fruits, plum, medicinal notes, caramel malt. Flavor still has a nice hop sharpness to it along with rich boozy fruits, oak hints, caramel malt. Mouthfeel is dry and quite bitter and absolutely divine. I cannot really find any hints of oxidation at all. This is drinking damn near perfect right now. I am almost speechless. I'm glad I have another bottle of this.

brewbucker, Jan 16, 2009
Photo of JayNH
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 bottle

A- Pours a hazy dirty light brown color with almost no head.

S- An extremely boozy, slightly spicy, sweet citric hoppiness.

T- This stuff tastes like hoppy vodka. Somewhat sweet and spicy.

M- Thick and heavy, lightly carbonated.

D- This stuff will put hair on your chest. One is enough for me.

JayNH, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of jjanega08
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2008 bottle thanks to kadonny!
A= copper color with a fantastic head on it leaving nice lacing
S= pine hops and booze come through first then chocolaty malt to follow. Interesting because both are verey distinct in the smell.
T= big chocolate malty flavor with hops biting the tip of the tounge and trying to pull through. Alcohol finish
M= smooth and creamy
D= high but the booze really warms you up fast. Great beer! I got a 2007 vintage from kadonny as well I can't wait to try.

jjanega08, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of thain709
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 bottle

A - A very nice dark copper body...a big white head that fades into a cap...great lacing

S - Balanced between sweet malts and floral/piney hops

T - The hops smack you in the face with some bitterness...the malts are there to take the edge off a little...it's a great flavor balance between the two

M - Creamy and smooth

D - This was an awesome beer...I enjoyed it on a cold night watching a movie and it was perfect...will be picking up some more before they are all gone

thain709, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of CityBoy1986
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle dated 2008 poured into a pint glass

The pour is a deep orangish-red. A very nice head recedes after a few minutes and leaves nice lacing.

The nose is of sweet malts and floral hops. Some citrus is in there as well.

The hops are dominant when first tasting the beer. A flavour of pine really stands out. Some sweetness comes out on the finish, but the bitterness is still there as well. There is a nice balance of the malts and the hops.

The mouthfeel is syrupy with a good amount of carbonation.

The brew is very drinkable for the style, but the alcoholic content means that even if I did have more than one bottle, I wouldn't have more than two or three in a night.

CityBoy1986, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of abecall98
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pulled out a 2008 Vintage Bottle, my friend had purchased me a 6 pack for christmas. Thank you Ebingen.

A - Very Very dark amber color. Barely able to see through it. The head poured a nice 1/4 inch, and lacing is very good.

S - Hops, slight malt, and almost a forest pine aroma.

T - First few tastes are rough. Very Very hoppy. As I continue to drink it, it becomes easier to drink. The hops become enjoyable as you drink.

M - Very rough. Slight carbonation. Mouthfeel, along with rough drinkability lowers the score, as well as the amount you can sip on in one gulp.

D - The lowest aspect in my opinion. Definately not more than one a night, and very hard to drink quickly. Every sip does not instantly make me want more, like my other favorite beers.

If they 2009 version is easier to drink, I will be very pleased with this beer overall.

abecall98, Jan 06, 2009
Photo of mdcrouser
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Welcome to HopFest - your host, Sierra Nevada. Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale 2008.

Originally enjoyed 03/21/08, updated 02/05/09 with a cellared bottle. This beer is captured within a brilliant red-brown cylinder, topped by a lasting creamy white head. With lacing around the edges of the glass, this is an attractive beer.

It quickly unveils a fully uplifting blast of fat, chewy hops that rolls smoothly over the tongue like a velvet carpet unfurling across a room. Holding it on the tongue is like slow-smoking a marshmallow, allowing it to melt in your mouth. Once it moves to the back of the throat, a mild fruitiness takes over, pushing against the inside of your mouth, big enough that it's seemingly searching for a way out. That escape comes upon first exhale and return inhale.

Impressively good. Cellaring one for a later enjoyment.

In the past year, it has mellowed, with the fruitiness completely mellowed, becoming even more velvety smooth. Stewing in its own juices has done good things for this beer. Not sure that I like it any better than last year, but it's at least as good.

03/21/12
2012 version, with a six pack purchased to enjoy one per year over the next five years. This is my only one of 2012.

Big head upon the pour, settling down only after a few minutes. That's a long wait to finish pouring. Once complete, the head is sturdy and tan, leaving thick rings, with a glowing orange/red beer beneath.

Fresh with hops and a malty backbone - the nose is big, but still seems very "new."

While smooth, creamy and incredibly enjoyable, there is a sharpness coming from the hops that comes through spicy and very forward. It then closes sticky and a bit smokey.

Really enjoyable and I'm looking forward to learning how it develops in the coming years.

02/22/13
2012 version, pulled from the fridge the day after the biggest snowstorm to hit KC in our lifetime dumped 12" on us, I'm worn from shoveling and this sounded like as good of a cure as any.

The head holds fast at about an inch, capping that beautiful glow.

The nose seems to have mellowed a bit - less pungent, but still every bit as big.

The spiciness noted last year leveled out some too, more smoothly ascending into the mildly spicy hops and smoked maltiness.

Such a lovely drinker - warming, fulfilling, bridging the gap between winter and spring.

mdcrouser, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of ncstateplaya
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This review is for a 2007 bottle, I decided to let a couple rest for a year, unfortunately one of the bottles went bad.

Appearance: Deep amber with a nice finger thick, creamy colored, sudsy head. The head quickly dissipates into a foam sheen (too thin to be a sheet) across the surface. Tons of extremely fine particulates in suspension.

Smell: The smell seemed dark and dangerous. There is a sudden rush of alcohol and esters. I would say malts were the second most abundant...actually pretty sweet smelling. And there was a subtle aroma of hops...just enough to let you know they were there. There was a faint smell of raisins.

Taste: This beverage is truely rich and loaded with toffee like flavors and dark brown sugars. It was a little more bitter than I had expected based my perception of the hoppy aroma. I thought the finish was caramel like and that the alcohol was very well hidden.

Mouthfeel: It was very smooth with just enough carbonation to notice. I would say a medium bodied drink with an almost mouth turning bitter finish, however it left my cheeks and the roof of my mouth feeling oily.

Drinkability: As barleywines go, I was a virgin and didn't know what to expect. I can see this as a sipper on a cool fall evening, but its not exactly what I look for in a brew. I will keep my mind open on the barleywine, and for drinkability I will turn to the masses. I do know that everything mellows out and is quite enjoyable at @ 50 or so.

ncstateplaya, Dec 31, 2008
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 2/21/08. 2008 bottle. Pours dark red with a very small head. Lots of hops in the initial taste, but then the malt takes over in the finish, leaving a sweet taste in your mouth. Very good, very drinkable even for a 9.6%.

Update 5/28/08: 2006 edition found randomly at CBM! I'm not sure how well this bottle was stored because it may have shown some signs of oxidation. Aroma of dark fruits and raisin. Initial flavor of alcohol, dark fruits, and a bitter finish. The hops and malt don't mesh well here. Some malt goodness I noted in the 2008 came out at the very end of the glass. So to sum- not sure if this particular bottle was stored well or if that's how aged Bigfoot is supposed to taste, but I didn't really care for the 2006. I didn't change my original rating though.

Update 8/15/08: Had another 2006 vintage. Lots of apple skins, sweet malt, with a slightly bitter finish. I have concluded now, after having had other aged barleywines, that this bottle has been stored properly and that this is how aged Bigfoot is supposed to taste. Therefore, I conclude that I am not much of a fan of aged barleywines. Fresh only, please!

Original rating: 8/4/8/4/16 (4.0/5)

Update 2/12/09. 2009 bottle. Aroma is quite hoppy (citrus) with some caramel and cracker malt in the background. Flavor is largely caramel malt with sweet fruits. A touch of floral hops in the finish. Heavy palate but drinkable.

LilBeerDoctor, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of schroederm
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

served in a tulip, labeled as 2006 and drank in late 2008, making it 2 or 3 years old.

a - pretty murky ruby color. nice head that held a lot better in a standard glass than the tulip i poured it in.

s - wow. this hits like a train. i took points off because it was so strong i got lost in the aromas. definite honey, fruity, quite sweet.

t - striking. wonderful (and perhaps overwhelming) sweetness at the start that took me a while to figure out: i believe it's currant. finished with a pleasant bitterness reminiscent of grapefruit.

mf - rich! creamy, interesting. not very carbonated, but it doesn't matter too much.

d - this is not the kind of beer i could drink a lot of. finishing the bottle to myself would have been difficult, to be honest.

schroederm, Dec 27, 2008
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,281 ratings.