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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 bbothen
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage.

A - Pretty redish/orange amber color with a FLUFFY two finger head that has some serious staying power. Super sticky lace clings to glass. Picture perfect.

S - Citrus & orange peel. Malty caramel & brown sugar.

T - Malty sweetness followed by dry piney hop finish. Alochol hotness. Taste lingers. Nice.

M - Smooth & creamy. Even with the carbonation & alcohol finish.

D - I consider this a most drinkable barleywine. Could handle 2-3 in a session. Pace youself.

Bigfoot is an American classic IMO. It was my gateway into "specialty releases" in the mid 90s. This year's release didn't dissapoint. I bought 3 six packs, but don't think they'll last through early summer. I'll probably never know how it tastes 1-2 years old. Why wait? It's great now.

bbothen, Mar 22, 2008
Photo of Greggy
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

*2008 vintage

Appearance- Pours a massive head into a pint glass with little sign of receding.

Smell- The cascade and centennial hops are pretty evident here but some light caramel notes also are available.

Taste- Syrupy sweet with notes of belgian candy, caramel, and figs. The hops are also pretty obvious in the taste.

Mouthfeel- little to no carbonation, smooth and creamy.

Drinkability- A slow sipper for me @ 9.6%, but I imagine myself revisiting this a few times a year.

Greggy, Mar 20, 2008
Photo of corey0212
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've had hit or miss experiences with barleywines thus far, and actually tried Bigfoot several years ago, and was unprepared and shocked by the flavor. I'd like to think my palate is expanding, because I'm loving the '08. The color is stunning....deep ruby-red, nice tan head and lacing. Wonderful hoppy and fruity aroma....oh, man. Hops just explode on the tongue. Perfectly bitter....this is as flavorful a beer as I've had in a long time. Nice warming alcohol...I wish I had been drinking this all winter.

corey0212, Mar 20, 2008
Photo of HowellVillage
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

this is the fourth year in a row that i've had the pleasure of having this barlywine, and i might say that this 25th annversary of their barlywine was released a little too early. the beer has a great bouqet and wonderful mouthfeel, but it lacks that aged mature taste that we all seek in a good barlywine. this one needs to sit for at least a year or two, but will definatly be worth the wait.

HowellVillage, Mar 19, 2008
Photo of MirkoCroCough
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a very nice amberish colour from the bottle with a nice head and good lacing. Very tart and hoppy with an almost Riesling tang like finish. More than a sixer might be pushing it, but like all Sierra stuff, a quality product. Buy a six pack and see what you think. Good stuff.

MirkoCroCough, Mar 19, 2008
Photo of SIRIUS2
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured form a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.
Label says Bigfoot 2008.

A: Dark coppery color, clear. Very thin head - more of a light layer of uneven off-white bubbles. Lacing all the way through the experience. Attractive looking beer overall.

S: Seems to be a rather strong citrus hop aroma on top of a medium sweet malt smell. Not sure what the taste will bring as the label describes this as a 'barleywine'. I would expect a softer malt nose. The aroma of this reminds me more of an IPA.

T: Quite malty but truly balanced with hops, by which I mean there is a lot of both that assault the palate at once. I definitely get a clear presence of alcohol as well but only after the initial flavors go by. Rather warming on its way down. The finish is a little different as it seems like the hop bitterness is battling the malt sweetness for position on the linger, with the bitterness winning the fight.

M&D: Very heavy but not thick; leaves an almost oily feel in the mouth. Not sure if it's from all the hops or from the ABV. Not unpleasant either way but worth noting. The carbonation is relatively light but stayed persistent throughout the glass. Fairly tasty if you are a hop head but I don't know that I would recommend it to my hop-challenged buddies. I liked though. Recommended.

SIRIUS2, Mar 15, 2008
Photo of jettjon
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 12 oz bottle with no visible freshness date, though marked 2008/25th Expedition. Into a pint glass, it's a slightly hazed reddish brown with good clarity and a few random precipitating bubbles. Thick, foamy head of brown-tan that fades slowly leaving lots of clingy lace and patches hanging around atop the body all the way to the bottom of the glass. Nose of firm hops, citrusy and grapefruit. Sweet malt up front immediately balanced with crisp, citrus hops. Warming alcohol. Hints of caramel and lemon juice. Nice dry, piney hoppy finish. Mouth is viscous and smooth with middle-of-the road carbonation. Drinkability is good though definitely a bit "extreme" with 9.6% ABV warmly asserting itself and plenty of hops to keep thing interesting.

Overall: Is this a barleywine? I'm not entirely sure, as it's a bit more hoppy and less malty than most examples I've tried. Still, it was tasty and enjoyable, and definitely worth a revisit.

jettjon, Mar 14, 2008
Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a beautiful looking deep ruby red, think of the flesh of a grapefruit then think about coving it in wood stain, does not really sound all that appetizing but really is the best way I can describe the color of this beer, beautiful color I almost don't want to drink it. The one inch head is a rich and creamy beige fades into a cap in a few minutes. There is some decent amount of lacing which is nice because I wasn't expecting all that much. Really though the color on this beer is what gets me.

S: Wonderful but not in anyway overpowering floral hop aroma greets and teases the nose that hides a delicate malty sweetness, I'm thinking of rum or brandy and caramel covered cherries with a delicate syrupy sweetness, wonderfully balanced and delicate while still conveying a powerful aroma.

T/MF: There is a nice woodiness that I can detect here coupled with the strong hop profile in this beer. This gives way to a sort of dusty sugary maltiness that I can really only just barely detect because the hop profile on this beer is so strong as well as the alcohol heat that backs this beer up so effectively. The mouthfeel is also dominate by an intense hop bitterness that leaves the tongue and the back of the throat feeling rather dry, no one can argue that this beer is being lazy in the mouth. As the beer warms the malts are better perceived and balanced is restored to the beer. There is a light carbonation that, coupled with the prickly hops really makes this beer snap on the palate and now I'm beginning to pick up some buttery notes on the back end of this beer and I'm falling ever more in love with this little guy. And if I didn't mention this before there is this kind of dusty grainy texture I'm picking up here that really fills out the mouthfeel on this guy, you are definitely drinking a beer when you are drinking a bigfoot.

D: Really I have very little to complain about in this beer, it is not easy drinker in any sense of the word and really makes you work in trying to decipher everything hidden inside it's lusty profile. That being said this is one of the finest examples of the American barleywine style I've ever encountered.

bluemoonswoon, Mar 14, 2008
Photo of yzer
4.9/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale. Bottling code (on bottle) was 7349 making it a mid-December 2007 bottling. Purchased fresh from a well-stocked store today with three months of bottle conditioning.

My only criticism is a slightly soapy aromatic noticable from the head. No biggie.

Poured a dark amber (I'd call it Chris-Craft red) with burnished gold highlights. The look in a glass stein is clear with all of the head you could possibly want and curtains of lacing.

I think this 2008 Bigfoot is one of the best West Coast brews available right now and is not to be missed. First taste will hit you with a SN hops smackdown that will weed the men from the boys. About halfway through the glass your staggering tastebuds will relay the sublime balance of hops and powerfully rich malts. Caramelized sweetness, tartness, and floral accents are all in abundance is spite of constant whacking from iron strength hops. If you like steroid level hops and want to taste malt that stands up to it ... Bigfoot is the name.

Surprising good drinkability, just be prepared to ride or weave your way home after two.

The body of this barleywine-style is big. But the look will fool you: you're gonna walk away with sticky lips. Dang.

Thank you Sierra Nevada. Bigfoot is real.

yzer, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of soupyman10
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had the 2008 version of this monster, and it just blew my mind. Appearance is an amber-brown color with a thin layer of off-white head on top. Leaves pretty nice lacing as it drains, only issue was the initial foam levels. Nose is excellent: incredibly sweet, candy and dried fruit of all kinds. Taste is likewise. A perfect mix of dried fruit, sweet caramel, working right into excellent hops that just kick you square in the balls. Absolutely ludicrous, delicious flavor. Feel was thick and almost syrupy, although still working well with the style, and with smooth carbonation that didn't overwhelm the brew. This one was really excellent.

soupyman10, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of marcobrau
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Another winter spent looking forward to Bigfoot and I'm not disappointed. This is the 25th anniversary edition bottle with the new art. I miss the old art; maybe it'll change back next year, who knows, but it's what's in the bottle that counts.

I poured my Bigfoot into an eight-ounce pilsner bow-tie glass for sampling. It's bedtime and I've already had a couple other hoppy ales so I'm splitting the bottle. It doesn't suffer any: it's still beautiful. It looks great with a dense off-white head which leaves thick lace work down the sides of the glass and it smells...well, awesome! Candied fruit and piney, yet complex and flowery hops burst out of the little glass. This huge aroma dissipates and I get kind of sad, but then my first hoppy sip puts a smile back on my face. Ah, the piney hops mixed with the thick caramel malts and then that intensely bitter and dry finish. Bigfoot is never a cloying barleywine, that's for sure. It's drinkability is quite good for the style.

I eagerly await doing a flight of Bigfoot with fellow BA RedBaron; I love how this beer ages, We plan to take a stroll down memory lane sampling the last four or five years of 'Foot. I don't know why I love this beer so; hoppier and more bitter ales have come forth since its inception, but it's still a favorite -- perhaps it's just nostalgia, or maybe it's just good, it certainly has stood the test of time.

marcobrau, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of hiikeeba
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours up dark amber/brown with ruby highlights and a thick tan head.

S - Smells of sweet malt, with some raisin accents. Very subtle.

T - First thing I tasted was hops, which was replaced with an alcohol kick. It finishes with a roasty malt and caramel malt flavor. Nice. But I'm going to regret drinking this so late in the evening.

M - Full mouthfeel with some carbonation to accent it. Very nice

D - Despite being a member of this site, I'm not a big beer fan. I don't get my jollies from beers above 10% abv. This is a nice beer, but one at a time is sufficient, thanks very much. Heck! I have some braggot I brewed for the millennium still in the fridge. I'm afraid to try it.

hiikeeba, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of Bobikel
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a wine glass.

Appearance - A crystal clear copper/red with quite a bit more carbonation than I expected, little bubbles fighting their way to the smallish off white head. Gobs of lace are left behind as the foam ebbs.

Smell - Deep and slightly musty malt sugarieness envelopes the nose with a citrus backdrop that eases into a slight alchohol burn.

Taste - Very hoppy from the outset with strong east coast ties. Drinks like a DAIPA but with a touch more complexity on the malt side. Alchohol brings in peppery notes well after the swallow. Pine and citrus dominate the palate. Malt just barely hints of sweetness. This is the way I like my barley wines. Balance is for other beers: give me malt, or give me hops :)

Mouthfeel - Very smooth across the palate. The aformentioned high carbonation is non-appearant across the tongue, although still present in the glass it's self. A little thick with a slick oilyness.

Drinkability - Alchohol is quite well hidden, with all the other aspects touching nicely on what is a fantastic sipper.

Bobikel, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of Biscuit033
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear orange-brown With nice one finger light tan head and good lacing.

S: Caramel, toffee, citrus, and some grassy notes.

T: Piney, citrussy hops with a huge background of malty caramel and butterscotch.

M: medium to full body with a nice creaminess and a alcoholo induced dryness.

D: Great example ofthe style. I could have a few servings of it now and I am guessing based on the past two years store afew bottles for down the road.

Biscuit033, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of jdhilt
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a cream, five-finger head, fades very slowly and leaves a good lace. Light-medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Clear amber color. Nose is mostly hoppy. Flavor is sweet almost syrupy but hops take over and aftertaste is a tart grapefruit. High ABV is hidden. $1.50 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits, Acton, MA

jdhilt, Mar 11, 2008
Photo of Pudge43
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Vintage poured into a pint glass

A - Ruby coloring with a thin head that faded slowly. Laced well.

S - Hops, Hops and more hops. Enticing.

T - Sweet but not overbearing. The abv smacks you with the first taste. Some fruit connotations but mostly hops.

M - Full bodied with not much carbonation.

D - Tasty and I am going to head out for another couple of sixers soon. I may store a few away and see how they taste in 6-8 months or so.

I would highly recommend this for the price.

Pudge43, Mar 11, 2008
Photo of homebrewhawk
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle 2008 vintage served in brandy snifter.
Pours a clear amber with a tall fine bubbled white head.
Huge piney fresh hop aroma. Some caramel malt as well.
Medium to full bodied with some initial malt sweetness followed up with an aggressive hop bitterness. Hops have a slightly soapy taste. Mouth puckering dryness. Alcohol is warming.

This was tasted fresh. I prefer Bigfoot with at least a year of age on it. The flavors seem to round out more for me. It's still a classic either way.

homebrewhawk, Mar 10, 2008
Photo of PhageLab
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hmm, first Barleywine for me, the name has always turned me off, which, I realize, is ignorant. 2008 edition. Poured into the Duvel Tulip.

A - Ruby/brown coloration, thin bit of head that faded into a ring of froth. Clung to the edge of the glass and laced well.

S - Big, big hop nose, not much of anything else can compete with it's potency. Very enticing.

T - Extremely sweet, almost unbearably so. The abv is right up front and it actually smacks the palate, the first sip almost made me choke. Some fruit notes manage to shine through a bit but are mostly drowned out by pine hops.

M - Full bodied, sharp on the tongue, low carbonation level.

D - Tasty, yes, but this is probably too much for me. I'm not sure I'd rush out for another anytime soon, but I am curious to see how this would age after a year or so. If you like sweet brews, this will be for you.

PhageLab, Mar 10, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005. Sampled 9-23-2007. I believe it has been in cold storage all this time. I also have three more now that will lay for a while.

Pours a clouded brown with reddish hues. Raisin nose. Touch of alcohol. Still going strong on the nose. Flavor is hoppy, with raisins, minor alcohol, and...prunes? That is what I want to say. But I can't say I am a regular prune consumer. Feel has a smooth carbonation to it and the liquid is good too. Overall very drinkable still. I am sure this could have aged in a better fashion, but it is still going strong as if it never missed a beat. I will probably go back to the store I found this and buy the other bottles. (posted scores reflect this vintage)

2008. Sampled 3-9-2008. What? No more camping Bigfoot under the cap anymore? Lame. Pours beautifully. Nice darker amber with a thick creme head leaving a lot of lace. Nose is strong piney hops. Later on I get very noticeable grass that has a distinct minty edge. Flavor is smooth with a nice bitter bite to it. Robust and full. Feel has a great carbonation to it and the liquid is nice. Very, very nice. This is extremely good. I really doubt I could have the patience to let this age. Why bother anyways when it is this nice. Overall score - 4.5

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

RblWthACoz, Mar 10, 2008
Photo of lightindarkness
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a large tulip

Pours a dark, somewhat hazy rust color. A nice creamy 1/2" head leaves plenty of lace.

Nose has rich complex caramel smooth malt with some spicy piny hops beneath. Slightly sweet and gummy, there are many more subtle smells of spice, licorice, and grass. Alcohol definitely holds a presence.

Taste has smooth caramel and round malt in the front with a hint of sweetness, filling quickly with a lightly resinous and piny hop taste that rises in bitterness to the finish. Grainy at the end alongside the bitterness. Nice balance of flavors.

Feel is bold, mouth-coating slick/sticky character that dries up at the finish. Good firm body with plenty of carbonation to balance.

Considering all things, especially abv, this is a fairly drinkable beer. The flavor is a great balance of big hops and malt. Extremely enjoyable, it really embodies what I love in a great barleywine.

lightindarkness, Mar 09, 2008
Photo of ryrust5301
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a brown 12oz. bottle with sierra nevada 25th expedition logo. 2008 vintage poured into a pint glass. This one will taste young, but great none the less.

Appearance - Pours a reddish brown with a slick half finger tight white head. After the head subsided a layer of misty white bubbles floated on the top of the brew.

Smell - Strong piney hops is the first scent that hits you in the face. Great hop presence! Followed by a sweet caramel malt to balance out the nose.

Taste & Mouthfeel - A piney bitter hop taste consumes everything the moment the first drop hits your tongue. Then a beautiful caramel sweetness coats the mouth relieving the bitter taste. A little spice on the back of the tongue right before the finish. Alcohol warms the mouth on the end of the taste.

Drinkability - Damn fine barley wine. So good that I made sure to buy 2 cases of the 08 to go along with my 2 six packs of 07. This one will age beautifully after it's laid down for a few years. A treat to taste before maturing. Bigfoot is a legendary barleywine, and one that deserves it's reputation.

ryrust5301, Mar 09, 2008
Photo of bloberglawp
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I got a 3 bottles of this from a couple of generous traders... thanks guys!! Reviewing the 20008 edition.

Pours a generous whysky cooper, thick head that thins down quicky and leave wonderful lace. Huge aroma of chinnok and c hops. I could smell this glass all night, loving it. Also present is a aromatic malty-sweet smell... very inviting.

Flavor is huge on hops, rich and floral, also nutty and butternut malt flavors. Straightfoward and also very complex. Delicious as it descends. Chinooks make you want another sip. Slow warming feeling lets you know the alcohol is present.

Wow, I need to brew myself a american barleywine soon!

bloberglawp, Mar 08, 2008
Photo of soundhole
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 6-pack, 25th expedition brown bottle w/ what appears to be a kind of date stamp, but damn if I know how to read it.

Poured into a wine goblet, produced a nice 1 inch white head, stuck around for a minute or so, reduced to a thin film w/ minimal lacing. Color was a deep amber-brown, real deep and intense.

HOPS!!! Flowers in the nose for sure, a light carmel maltiness lingers in the background, piney, seems that alcohol may be present as well.

Tastes sweet on the tounge, hops seriously make a statement. A little fruity, raisins, a mystery flavor, alcohol for sure. The hops just keep coming while the alcohol warms everything up. I imagine cellaring for a year might help mellow it out a bit.

Carbonation was medium/high, can't say that it hurt it though. It had a nice overall mouthfeel.

good beer

soundhole, Mar 08, 2008
Photo of jdubjacket
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 bottle.

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass. Pours a reddish-brown color with no head and a little lacing.

Smells is very alcoholic with some fruit. The taste reflects the smell. This is a punch in the face with alcohol falled with some very hoppy bitterness.

Overall, a pretty solid barleywine. I've had better though, but this is definitely not bad.

jdubjacket, Mar 07, 2008
Photo of SaucyA
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 Bottle

A - Medium amber color with a khaki 1.5 finger head. Lacing. No real complaints.

S - Citrus hops with a sweet caramel undertone. Lots of hops! Grassy at times throughout the glass.

T - Bitter hops up front with a bready finish. Very green and fresh. Alcohol is mildly present but well-hidden. Sweet on some sips. Surprisingly complex, not for a barleywine, but for such an inexpensive beer. This is a hopheads dream come true. :)

M - Creamy, smooth, and crisp. Medium-high carbonation and wonderful hop oils on the finish.

D - This is as good as it gets for the price. It's a big beer, so it's not particularly sessionable... but I can see drinking about 2 in a sitting.

A wonderful offering from Sierra Nevada... pick some up for now and later. I see what all the hub bub is about. My only real complaint is that the hops really hide some of the subtle complexities... age would do this beer wonders.

SaucyA, Mar 07, 2008
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,281 ratings.