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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.

6,207 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,207
Reviews: 2,808
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 257
Gots: 1,079 | FT: 38
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: 6,207 | Reviews: 2,808 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Philabeerphia


4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

1999 vintage on tap at Monks! So lucky to stumble on this, which has been stored in their basement for 9yrs apparently.
I know the vintage doesn't necessarily translate, but...
Poured into a tulip.
Appearance was opaque coppery reddish brown with a creamy 2finger crandberry off-white head that quickly settled. not much lacing, everything is creamy and wants to settle back in the glass.
S: Tart and sweet, acidic and alcoholy. Sweet malts, dulce de leche candy.
T: my goodness. the very first sensation on the tongue is tart, sour. quickly turns to deep woody malt. Sweetens up quite a bit in the middle - all about the malt as described on the beer list - buttressed by plenty of dried fruit, apricots and prunes, mixed with caramel candy, floral, but pinned down. Vaporous & breathy alcohol apparent throughout without being cloying. Swirling in the mouth brings out the sourness (sour red ale), still pinned down and going many complex directions. At this point I was hit with the realization that I was tasting something unbelievable. The tartness told me that this beer was pushing some limit, aged to the point that it had become a totally different beast. I'm elated. The Aftertaste is woody and tart. As this warmed a bit, it just became all the more pronounced and complex.
MF: creamy, milky forgiving. The ultimate mouthfeel for this style and probably for any beer
D: no pints? I need to run errands tonight? How did I leave this at one glass? I could have an adventure all night with this one.
Thanks Monk's!

02-27-2008 02:13:13 | More by Philabeerphia
Photo of biggmike


4.38/5  rDev +5.5%

This poured a reddish-brown color that was attractive with little head that dissipated pretty quickly. The aroma is fruity hoppiness. The flavor is a beautiful balance of maltiness and hoppiness. This is an extremely smooth drinker that I can't believe is 9.6% abv. Drinkability is great for a barleywine

02-26-2008 06:35:13 | More by biggmike
Photo of timbro81


4.45/5  rDev +7.2%

Pours a deep reddish brown topped with a small dense head that fades quickly. Smells wonderful, high alpha acid floral hops, booze, and a hint of caramel malts. Greeted with that wonderful hoppy goodness right away accompanied by some booziness. In the end there is a noticable amount of biscuit/ caramel malt. Aftertaste is boozey with a nice warming sensation. Really well balanced considering what it is. I enjoyed this one more than the 07' (not that it was bad by any means!) I think this one will benefit alot with some age on it. My only gripe besides the weak head is that I miss the campfire scene underneath the bottlecap, it is so charming.

2007 Bigfoot after 1 year in the cellar:
A=4 S=4 T=4.5 M=4 D=4.5
Pours a nice hazy amber/orange with a decent off white head that lingers around for a while. Smells much less hoppy than when it was fresh, much more malt-forward with some hops on the back burner, little to no alcohol presence discernable. Taste is awesome! Very complex and balanced. Malty upfront that transitions to a toasted malty caramel goodness. Ends with nice hops and some alcohol heat that says, "I'm still here!" A little more viscous in the mouth than than I remembered. A superbly aged beer and a great barleywine!!

02-26-2008 04:47:16 | More by timbro81
Photo of riboflavin88


4.15/5  rDev 0%

2008 batch:
Poured this one in a brandy snifter, which highlighted its beautiful deep brownish-red color. It poured with a nice ivory head with thin lacing all the way down. The alcohol was definitely present in its nose along with aromas of plum and pine. Taste is sweetness up front with moderate malt flavor, and then its high alcohol sneaks up at the end providing a nice warming sensation on its way down. This beer had a nice mouthfeel, complex and full bodied, nice after a good dinner.

I saved one bottle to open next year or the year after, I will post again when I open it up!

02-26-2008 04:18:13 | More by riboflavin88
Photo of tapman


3.8/5  rDev -8.4%

Dark amber, brown/red. Head is a medium eggshell that starts 3/4 finger to 1 1/2 finger. Head retention looks excellent as it took so long to escape is what did it for me.

Hops smell grassy, earthy, sweet fresh paprika, floral, and spicy. Malts smell sweet and caramel, so I'm guessing lots of caramel malts with some dark crystal to round'em out. No alcohol is present and the smell is so sweet, unlike many barleywines that I have tried.

Grass and lemon seeds hit me right away. Alcohol is close behind. As it warms the sweet caramel comes out and the hops mellow a bit. Stronger than I anticipated, from the nose, by a lot. Astringent roasted barley taste, though i wouldn't guess it by the looks of it. Then again, I suppose it could be...

Mouthfeel is full on the palate and tingly at the tongue tip. A little syrupy for me, but for the style it does all right.

I dig a good barleywine, and this one is fine, but an overpowering hop presence, though seeming to contain a bevy of different varieties, which is sweet that S. N. would use lots of hops to create a beer like this at a time when it would not be economically viable, but its a little spicy for my taste. Generally, I relay on a sweeter malt character to mask the alcohol, but not with this one. It's interesting enough.

02-26-2008 04:03:34 | More by tapman


4.2/5  rDev +1.2%

2008 Bottle poured into Sam Adams Glass.

Appearance is deep amber body that is primarily clear with little haze. Body is topped with a frothy white head only one to two fingers thick.

Smell is full of sweet hops, citrus, and malty goodness.

Taste has a good malty front with a balanced heavy hop pop when it rolls off the back of the tongue. Real strong bittering from the hops but a good balance with all the malt all around. The alcohol is embellished nicely within the whole taste.

Mouthfeel couldn't be heavier. Smooth flow with little carbonation "pop".

02-26-2008 00:48:33 | More by MYJELLOMISFIT
Photo of chefboy812


4.28/5  rDev +3.1%

poured glowing clear dark red with some copper. nice cremmy tan head that hangs for a bit and leaves huge lacing.

aroma is quite mild with a little alcohol and raisen with some malt.

The sip makes up for the smell, but I do have a bit of a sinus thing today. so I will not take off too much for the smell.

Huge malt chew witha big alcohol smack then they send in the boat loads of hops. the malt is very molassas and maple syrup with caramel, and coffee roast adding some nice bittering dryness. then the hops come in as grapefruit pith and pine resin(christmas fir) huge dry bitter linger.

chewy and sugary with the alcohol heat

a great barleywine, I hold in eaquil reguards with Hog Heavin, My favorite.

02-26-2008 00:43:19 | More by chefboy812
Photo of shabbtastic

New York

4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

2008 (25th expedition)

Side note - Up State NY beer prices are ALL over the place. I paid $8.99 a six pack, went back to get more and they were up to $12.99, I don't get it!

A - Poured a deep copper color with a two finger white foam head.

S - WOW, hops and malt were perfectly balanced. Piney character in the malt.

T - Sharp and mellow at the same time. Malt up front with a very hoppy finish. The finish is dry and warm due to the high ABV.

M - Medium bodied with a crisp dry finish.

D - Low score here due to the potency of this one. I switched it up to avoid becoming too inebriated, but very good and much recommended.

02-25-2008 18:11:10 | More by shabbtastic
Photo of bunnyhustle


4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

2008 edition. Pours a clear amber with two-finger rocky head. Great retention and lots of lacing. Smell is typical of a SN offering, strong hops with a piney emphasis. A bit of caramel as well, alcohol is noticable but not overpowering. Tastes is strongly hops but there is a nice malty balance. It seems a though there is a citrus presence as well. Alcohol is noticable as it goes down and it leaves behind a bitter taste. Carbonation is relatively low, has a slightly thick mouthfeel. Overall a another great SN beer. A good barleywine from a great company.

02-25-2008 04:38:53 | More by bunnyhustle
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

4.22/5  rDev +1.7%

A: Poured a dark coppery-auburn from the bottle, while in the glass appeared a deep crimson red when held to the light with a swirling haze of micro turbid matter. The capping was solid and firm, a respectable 2 fingers high, and light beige in color while leaving a sticky broken collar for a lacing. The carbonation appeared random with sparsely separated micro-bubbles rising at a steady pace. The head was extraordinary when it came to both size and retention per style.

S: The nose was beautiful and strong with fresh pine and a light flowery sense of citrus backed by a sweet residual malting. Underneath lied a toasted dry munich touch. Again a nice level of aromatic exposure especially per style.

T: The residual sweetness comes through initially though is quick to be countered by a equally balanced show of bitterness composed of citrus and pine giving this an warm wintery appeal. A dry warmth of alcohol and pine come through along with a show of dry toasted malts, perhaps munich, that soon moves in delivering a dry and slightly boozy touch. The beer rounds out with a dry pine booziness that lingers quite a bit giving you a warm wintery sense of standing in a forest of evergreen trees in the still of winter. A beautifully warming balance of malts and hops that is brought about more so drunk at the proper temperature.

M: A near full body experience of maltiness that was creamy and thick but eloquently smooth. The carbonation provides just enough of a tingle to make its presence known and appreciable without distracting from the luscious full maltiness.

D: A very nice dry toasted and piney boozy barley wine which is further heightened by drinking it at its proper temperature. I consumed this at 65F which brought about a weatlth of warmth of pine juice and dry toasted appeal that warmed me up after a long day of shoveling snow. Even at room temperature the 9.6%abv was well manageable and easy enough to handle and enjoy another one. A solid recommend to say the least and case worthy by all respect.

02-25-2008 00:57:55 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of joepais


4.22/5  rDev +1.7%

On tap at the Portsmouth brewery poured in a tulip glass

It had a wonderful dark ruby red body with a thin white head that leave some lace

Aromas of malts alcohol and a light piney hops presence

The Flavors of malts are right up front with much sweetness followed by a hoppy bitter and some alcohol warmth

Full body and smooth on the palette

A real interesting barleywine I'm going back for more

02-24-2008 18:38:27 | More by joepais
Photo of BucBasil

South Carolina

3.93/5  rDev -5.3%

Appearance: Poured from the 12oz bottle into an imperial pint. The beer is a clear brownish-red color when held to light. Head is 3 fingers thick, creamy, and offwhite to light tan. Great lacing all the way down the glass.

Smell: Hops dominate the aroma... big piney, citrusy hops to be exact. There seems to be little attempt to balance the hops out in the nose, but there is a subtle pale malt character somewhere in there.

Taste: Wow... superbly (and surprisingly) balanced, starting out with a big, smooth maltiness that was unexpected and seemed to come out of nowhere. After that brilliant introduction the resiny, fruity, sticky hops really take over, holding strong until the finish, which relieves the palate with a nice, balanced smoothness.

02-24-2008 02:49:25 | More by BucBasil
Photo of dmamiano

West Virginia

4.05/5  rDev -2.4%

pours a dark, almost drown amber with ample head and lacing.
smell is very hoppy..malty the aroma explodes in the nostrils.
taste is an asault of hops and malt. Very well balanced but its obvious its a big beer.
Slight alchohol burns as this beer is slowly enjoyed.

02-23-2008 23:00:49 | More by dmamiano
Photo of bradybeer


4.8/5  rDev +15.7%

Pours a dark burnt carmel color with a quickly diminishing head. Aroma of pine come through in the pour. Taste is a full gail force hop slam followed by malty sweetness. A little out of balance with hops slightly dominating the malt. Mouthfeel is medium-not heavy but not light. While drinkability is good-I could only drink one or two of these before my pallet is wiped out. I have a 6 pack put away and look forward to seeing how the hops mellow over time.

02-23-2008 18:46:25 | More by bradybeer
Photo of edskirk3


3.98/5  rDev -4.1%

2008 vintage, the "25th Expedition."

In a Brandy glass it pours hazy copper with a creamy yellowish head, about a finger. On closer inspection there appears to be a fine sediment suspended in the beer.

Crisp, fresh hops dominate the nose. Lightly accented with fruit and pepper.

This is an aggressively hopped barleywine. They exhibit a vapory, perhaps numbing sensation to the taste buds like a Halls lozenge. An underlying sweetness and a husky grain character are nearly obscured by all the bitter, piney hop action. Smooth and creamy in the mouth, and warming on the way down. Lingering trace of hop, of course.

This must be a good one if they've been releasing it for 25 years. Very well executed.

02-23-2008 05:12:38 | More by edskirk3
Photo of dedrinker


3.68/5  rDev -11.3%

Nearly perfect amber color with a thin off-white head. Aroma of sweet malts, pine, and some alcohol. Flavor is firstly woodsy/ resinous pine on top of caramel tasting malt. Medium-full body with a bitter resinous and alcoholic finish. I had the 2008 bottling, and it tastes noticeably different than the 2006 when I last had it fresh ('06 seemed more overtly hoppy up front with less alcohol bite and less body). This year's tastes more like I remember it tasting when I first tried it in the mid-nineties.

02-23-2008 03:36:06 | More by dedrinker
Photo of jwolfie70


3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into an oversized wine glass.

Pours a dark amber red. Smell is of piney hops with a malti sweetness coming through. The taste is dominated up front by the piney hops as well, but a warm alcoholic sweetness breaks through eventually. I have multiple years of this beer, and it always is enjoyable. I have yet to age this, and I get the feeling that it would be awesome aged.

02-23-2008 02:30:55 | More by jwolfie70
Photo of rmcnealy


4.38/5  rDev +5.5%

2008 (25th Release)

Poured a dark mohagany color. Very minimal head that quickly dissappeared. Initials smells are great. This bear has a flavorful aroma. The taste is just as good. Small hints of fruits, roasted nuts. Hops. Has a wonderful bitterness at the end. Tastes are not overwhelming, but just hit the spot. Any taste fade shortly after consumption leaving a hint of bitterness. Great beer. First Bigfoot I've tried. Glad I was able to find the newest release. Try it out!

Found at Binny's in River Grove, IL. It's one of the dinkier Binny's so I would imagine all of them would have Bigfoot.


02-23-2008 01:36:50 | More by rmcnealy
Photo of ChainGangGuy


4.15/5  rDev 0%

2005 Vintage (on-tap, no less).

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark red body with a small, dense white head.

Smell: Sweetish, malty aroma with a bit of citurs and a marked woody character that grows more piney along the way.

Taste: Dark caramel with a syrupy sweetness. Touch of citrus. As with the aroma, it starts vaguely wooden, but adopts a distinct pine flavor as it warms. Medium bitterness. Drying finish with a lil' alcohol heat to it.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Fairly easy drinking for 9.6%. For me, it's the finest member of Sierra Nevada's beer line-up.

02-22-2008 19:42:04 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of NolateM


4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

'08 bottle poured into a Maudite tulip. Beautiful shimmering reddish-brown color, perfect 2-finger cream-colored head, and sticky lacing. One of the most attractive beers I've ever seen. I'm turned on now.

The aroma is MAGNIFICENT. It smells exactly like fresh Cascade hops. The smell takes me back to brewing with my friend and my brother.

This is one of the hoppiest beers I've ever tasted, and I drink hoppy beers all the time. I've had Bigfoot before, but I guess I never had it this fresh. I would second the notion that it almost tastes more like a DIPA than a barleywine. Intensely bitter, but juicy and citrusy to make the bitterness palatable. A bit of a woody, earthy tinge too.

Medium carbonation, definite alcohol heat (but, that's to be expected). It's obviously gonna be a slow sipper, but I'll enjoy every slow sip. Can't wait to try it next to some '07 Bigfoot.

If you like hops, drink it now. If you like sweetness, save it for a year or two or three. Either way, get some.

02-22-2008 18:54:04 | More by NolateM
Photo of SargeC


4.22/5  rDev +1.7%


Appearance: Deep copper colored brew with a sturdy golden brown head.

Smell: Pine, citrus and solid malt.

Taste: Great balance for a Barley Wine. Solid malt flavor, but plenty of hops balance this brew out.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Very smooth.

Drinkablity: Satisfying Barley Wine. Great flavor intensity without overpowering in a single direction. Not as boozy as some examples of the style.

02-22-2008 07:34:47 | More by SargeC
Photo of Murchmac


4/5  rDev -3.6%

2008 version.

In the woods of the sierra, a beer is spotted, seldom photographed, but often drank. It pours a beautiful copper/ruby/red. excellent color with some hairy white head that disapates into lacing.

Smells of cherry, sweet malts, I dont really smell the hops. But the musk smell of sasquatch make me want more.

Excellent mellow taste, some alcohol, dark fruits, hops up front that fade into sweet malty goodness.

Nice finish, a little hot, this one will age b-u-t-fully.

2007 Version

When you pour this beer you can smell it. Nice.

Pours a beautiful mahogony color, not much of a head.

Smells of sweet malts, dried fruits, toffee. Excellence.

Tastes amazing. This will continue to get better. Tastes like a really good powdered chocolate donut.

Lingering good aftertaste. Get it now.

02-22-2008 05:22:19 | More by Murchmac
Photo of JDV


3.23/5  rDev -22.2%

Re-rate: '08 on tap and '07 bottle side by side, courtesy of chadspivey. Pours a semi muddled caramel color to me with light offwhite head. Smell is hoppy moreso than malty by far with almost a minty fresh alcohol presence. Some graininess as well. Hoppy beginning with a sharp hop bitterness in the form of dry aspirin like medicinal bitterness. Some cherry cough drop like flavor along as well, but mildly so. I definitely prefer the 1 year aged version of this to fresh as it was more balanced, although still a hoppy barley wine, and more rounded overall, but still not one of my favorite barley wines by far.

02-22-2008 05:12:59 | More by JDV
Photo of barronkr

South Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

25th Expedition -- reviewed same year.

Pours a deep amber, copper red. Nice lacey head that quickly dissipates presumably due to the ABV.

Smell is overwhelmingly C hopped. Piney, resinous, faint hint of citrus -- definitively Sierra Nevada. A slight sweetness from the malt barely carries through.

Hoppy. The first taste is a rush of thick, sweet, resinous, all-American hoppy goodness fading to a nice bitter aftertaste that persists for a while. The malt easily balances the bitterness, first sweet and bready followed by an unexpected dry finish that lingers with the residual bitterness. As the beer warms the dryness becomes more evident, nicely contrasting the initial sweetness. The bitterness really does build in this beer, a quality that may decrease with aging -- who knows I'm not that patient.

The mouthfeel is thick, but not overly so, again nicely complemented by the clean dryness that becomes progressively evident.

Overall an EXCELLENT Barleywine, different in many ways from the malt-forward offerings of other companies. As a hophead I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

02-22-2008 03:31:37 | More by barronkr
Photo of mnstorm99


2.2/5  rDev -47%

12 oz. bottle poured into a 22 oz. globe wine glass.
Oh Boy, I hope this one ages well (I guess I have wasted $10 on worse things).
Good looking copper beer with a nice JUST off white 1 finger head that sticks well, and laces better.
Aroma is a very nice strong fruity and spicy hops, quite a bit of promise here, reminds me of something from when I was a child I just can't place it.
Taste, Ouch nice flash of hops and fruits, but before they even make much of an appearance the alchohol burn just won't go away. I was guessing this beer to be around 12%, but then I come here to see it is only 9.6% with that kind of burn, this is poor craftsmanship IMHO.
Mouthfeel is burning overly carbonated and thin. I could hardly finish one of these, not going to have another until after a few months downstairs.

02-21-2008 14:33:03 | More by mnstorm99
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,207 ratings.