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

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

6,582 Ratings

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Ratings: 6,582
Reviews: 2,851
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 312
Gots: 1,243 | FT: 52
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

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

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,582 | Reviews: 2,851 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of smanders
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Beautiful redhead color with a thick head. Chunky lacing.

Smell - The familiar smell of hops with a note of toffee/caramel/prune sweetness.

Taste - The sweetness of the malt blends well with the crispness of the hops. Oh, then there's the warming of the high alcohol content. That's gonna stay around for awhile!

Mouthfeel - Thick and oily.

Drinkability - A definite sipper. Excellent barleywine example that will also satisfy hopheads. Not too many ales you can say that about.

Photo of hoplover82
4.51/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Pours a clear deep amber color with a huge creamy off white head that stays forever and leaves outstanding lacing. Very beautiful sight for sore eyes.

S-Strong aroma of roasty toasy and caramel malts. With pine and floral hops in the back.

T-Very strong caramel malts and roasted barley with resinous hops in the back. Very hoppy, but malts shine brighter. With a solid chunky bitterness, but not harsh, imo. Pungent in every way.

M-Huge bodied and very creamy and very smooth for a beer so big. Chunky bitterness and sticky sweet.

D-Too drinkable, I could have three pints if I drank it fast enough. I wouldn't want to though. That would get me drunk, which is not a good thing. A very excellent brew.

Photo of WilliamD
3.87/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer, in my pilsner glass, looks just fine. It's an attractive, deep amber hue with many little bubbles rising up to a nice, eighth-inch mother of pearl-colored head.
Smells much like an IPA- a distinct aroma of hops and pine, with some earthiness.
Taste as well is very much akin to an IPA- a distinct hoppiness and a very sharp bitterness.
Mouthfeel is crisp and agreeable. My mouth likes it. Better than cigarette butts.
I myself find it quite drinkable. Alcohol perception is just right-only hinting slighly to an arm-burn idea that could taint a re-election.
Quite good, but thank God for my perceived pain threshold.

Photo of Grabbin2nd
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From Notes: 1/25/09
2009 Vintage

Appearance= Dark, yet not opaque, creamy looking head. Really good looking brew.

Smell=Fantastic smell, when it warms a bit and "spun," in your glass. Almost astringent smelling, yet not in a bad way.

Taste= Very tasty! Fabulous, good mix of flavors. Rich, ripe for a big beer like this. Some like it "hot," others prefer this beer with a little bit of age on it. Hops smack you in the grill.

Mouth feel= Good for a B-wine. One of my fav's. Medium thickness, good carbonation.

Drinkablity= Not high considering the style and subsequent ABV. Don't get me wrong this is a very tasty brew. I'm looking at my notes and it appears I was too drunk to finish writing them. Hah. I had 3 of them and savored each sip.


Photo of Bung
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fairly transparent amber pour, white bubbles that disappeared fairly quickly. A lot of hop, pine, citrus and a little booze in the aroma. Surprisingly large amount of piney citrus hop flavor, malt is secondary. Quite lively mouthfeel. A little too bitey for me and a tad bit hot. Finish very clean. OK, I just prefer a malt inclined barleywine.

Photo of BARFLYB
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a philadelphia flyers pint glass. 2009 version. 1st time having this.

A- Bigfoot has a deep dark amber with a mixture of orange and red spots in places. A semi aggressive pour yields one inch of off white foam that sticks to the glass. Slow rising bubbles lead me to believe this is thick.

S- A nice aroma coming from this as i'm getting a nice hop punch up front resembling piney scents, some citrus as well. Malts giving off some caramel. A bit of honey.

T- A big focus on the hops in this b-wine, perhaps the most hopped in this style that i've had to date. They give off a rather bitter appeal. Backed by some malts that drown out the hops although they never fully leave. A bit of caramel/toffee. some alcohol as well.

M- Medium to semi full bodied with a very slick feel as it glides down the tounge. A nice bitterness to start but smooths out. A bit of alcohol here as well.

D- A slow sipper for sure, i took about two hours with 12oz. A bit of hotness and the thick appeal makes for small sips. Only one bottle a night for me. This is a great example of the style and will try in a year or so.

Photo of jkbusman
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage from a 12 oz bottle

A - a dark reddish amber with a two finger head that has some staying power

S - a strong piny hop aroma with notes of citrus

T - a hop assault from the outset, undertones of citrus and a bit of sweetness before a hoppy-bitter finish

M - a surprisingly full body for the amount of hoppy bitterness

D - with an ABV of almost ten percent, you only going to be able to properly taste two or three of these babies; a genuinely unique experience for me as my first barleywine and still one of my favorites

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

2009 bottle in to 22oz snifter.

Pours a deep murky red with a thin cap for a head which went away quickly and left a thin ring around the side of the glass. Leaves a little sticky lacing but not much.

Nose is mainly dark fruits and brown sugar, a little tiny bit of alcohol but hardly noticeable. The brown sugar is what sticks out most.

Up front is deep dark sugars and a medium brown sugar sweetness followed by some hop bite as it goes down. My opinion is that the hops are slightly too strong but that was as expected for this one.

Medium body with sharp carbonation, makes it go down easy but I prefer less in the style.

Some age will do this one good.

Photo of grayburn
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

16oz Pint at Mellow Mushroom, for an overpriced...wait for it....
3 bucks.

This is not my first time trying this beer, I've had this year's vintage in bottles as well, and enjoyed equally.

Dark copper, excellent clarity, I wish the bartendress would have given me a little more head..literally. thin foam with heavy, heavy lacing.

Happily hoppy, overly hoppy, I love American Barleywines, take a good thing, and overhop the heck out of it to make it great.

I love the way this beer develops as it warms, it is as complex as any beer or wine or scotch or any other libation I have had the pleasure to sample. Taste is excellent, my favorite example of my favorite style.

This beer is big, chewy, and delicious, upon seeing the beautiful tap of loveliness, I left my slice of pizza in the dust, BIGFOOT is a meal in and of itself.

For the style, this beer is extremely, dangerously, super-extraordinarily, easy to drink. Be careful, don't mess with this beer. Don't say I didn't warn you, it will kick your ass.

Thank you SN for another hoppy example of why I love American Beer.

Photo of Jwale73
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage served in my new New Belgium goblet courtesy of Mauerhan. Poured a translucent, but slightly hazy, mahogany with a dense, half inch, off-white head; bands of lacing were revealed as it slowly receded. The glass must have a nucleation point etched in it, because a spiral of tiny bubbles gently swirled up to the underside of the cap. Potent nose - could smell it from eight inches away. Aromas suggest hops, dark fruit and maybe some toffee or caramel in the mix. Hops hits you right in the face on the first sip before revealing the characteristics implied by the nose and then finishing with a lingering, medicinal bitterness between quaffs. Mouthfeel was slightly more than medium-bodied, with a mild viscosity and a subtle, but consistent background effervescence that adds a liveliness to the brew. Also detected a little alcohol heat, but it wasn't clearly revealed in the flavor profile. Wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this brew. I really enjoyed it very much, but it is definitely a sipper and I really couldn't drink more than one in a sitting.

Photo of dougfir
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours an amber color with little head. Looks very appealing.

Smell - Hoppy is about it, with a slight ale yeast smell. The smell doesn't give much of a hint about how good this beer is.

Taste - Sweet maltiness at first, followed by a strong hoppiness that lingers for quite a while. This is a hoppy barleywine!

Mouthfeel - Feels slightly too carbonated for my tastes, but excellent nonetheless. Leaves a nice warm alcoholic finish.

Drinkability - Good for a 9.6abv barleywine! I don't think I could take more than a couple of bottles due to the very hoppy aftertaste.

Overall this is a great barleywine, and very reasonable for a 6-pack. I tasted the 2009 edition. It's definitely more hoppiness than I'm used to in my barleywines though, as well as more carbonation. Excellent overall though!

Photo of brewintheLou
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber with a thin head that leaves thin lacing down the glass.

Smell has some caramel and a sweet candied aroma.

Taste is a little of the caramel and an earthy flavor. Good body to this one and one to seek if searching for a barlywine.

Photo of user0317
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

My first beer review for beer advocate:

Look: Dark red-amber with 3 fingers of tan head. Leaves behind a trace of lacing on the glass

Smell: Great combination of strong malt and citrus-hops.

Taste: Bitter hops build on the back of the tongue. A fairly strong alcohol taste up front, but not dominating. Less sweet than other barleywines that I've had.

Feel: I love the mouthfeel on this one. Slick on the way down and perfect carbonation

Drinkability: Fairly drinkable for a 9.6% abv beer. Barleywines are not my favorite category of beers, but I enjoyed this one.

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

2008 vintage, bought it in Dublin

Pours light hazy dark amber, ruby, almost no head, just a thin tan layer on the top. Aroma is very malty with citrusy hops, hints of fruit. Taste is very intense malt with strong hops, medium sweet upfront, followed by agressive bitterness and light bready malt, bittery aftertaste.

Medium-full body, chevy, distinct and long-lasting warming sensation. Overall - quite drinkable, but very, very intense, feels quite dangerous.

Photo of beachbum1975
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage - thanks DrewOSU!

Pours a slightly cloudy reddish brown with a gorgeous light tan head with amazing, photographic-quality lacing along the sides of my cab glass.

Smells are big hops and malts all over the place...

There's an immediate bitterness on the tongue when you drink this, due to the hops. In fact, the hops dominate on this one. Granted it's young and hot for it being a 2009, but wow - this is a big beer for SN. Medium bodied with medium to full flavor profile. If blind-folded, I would guess this is an American Double IPA all day long. Floral and grassy hops all day long... Good bittering and dryness, as well. Very drinkable.

Slight waxiness or dry sensation on the finish, likely due to the hops.

Very nice, BIG beer from Sierra Nevada! My favorite from them to date!

Photo of TStandley13
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured a very dark copper color but was crystal clear when held to the light. Produced a nice white head which dissipated but left some nice lacing.

S- Sweet honey and caramel with a citrus element. Also detected some piny hoppiness.

T- Starts off sweet, ends with a bitter hop kick. Definite honey presence and maybe some dark fruits.

M- Syrupy in feel, which is nice and refreshing.

D- very good!

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

12oz. bottle poured into tulip
Appearance: Clear dark orange with ruby hues and a beautiful frothy two inch cream colored head, great retention, and tremendous lacing.

Smell: Lots and lots of juicy hops. Very citrus like but with a sweet berry and caramel background. This is such a great complex aroma, spicy and sweet at the same time. Spicy in the sense that it's very herbal and earthy and the sweetness comes from all the wonderful malt in there.

Taste: The first thing I taste is a sweet dark cherry with caramel notes, THEN the citrus hops come through, which is kind of nice that you're not hit over the head with them right away. After that some herbal comes through, pine and grass, and finally finishes off with a full amount of bitter and some slight alcohol heat. Delicious.

Mouthfeel: Coats the tongue and the throat on the way down but somehow remains at a good point with its viscosity. A delight to sip.

Drinkability: High alcohol and a medium to heavy body makes this not the most drinkable brew but I honestly could have more than I should in a row.

Overall: I love barleywines, and this is one of my favorites. It's got everything a barleywine should have and then some. If you haven't had the experience of Bigfoot I highly suggest you get out there and grab it, because as we all know, Bigfoot is quite elusive.

Photo of Beernoisseur
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. What an amazing beer.

A - Reddish, oxidized copper. Perfect clarity. The most amazing head/retention/lacing I have ever seen.

S - Big herbal with a touch of citrus, and some moderate pine. The hops win the battle on the nose.

T - The very first flavor that I get is salty, but that only lasts like one half a second. Then the floodgates open. Carmel, toasted malt, coffee, smoky tones, subtle fruity notes. The hops are spectacular. Sharp, cirtusy, very herbal. Amazing.

M - Great texture. Medium to heavy mouthfeel. Really "soft" carbonation. Excellent.

D - I would like to drink 100 of these. Unfortunately, I would die. But, what a way to go.

Photo of brandoneast
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Amber waves of grain adorn the engaging ruby hued brew with a crown of tan foam. Sugar cookie, caramel, bitter lemon and grapefruit, with intense pine oil hop profile blankets the nose. The taste is very strong of malt the slips into a lip-smacking juicy hoppiness, with citrus rind and a medium dry feel on the palate. When it warms, there is some rum, fruit cake, raisins, and honey in the aroma. After a few sips, the sticky lace clings to the glass beautifully. Bigfoot could age beautifully for 2-5 years, but why wait - grab it now and save a couple for later. I really love this beer!

Photo of Florida9
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Walnut color

Fruity nose. Huge, foamy head, that took a good two minutes to dissipate so I could actual take a taste.

Taste is quite fruity. I swear I can taste blueberries. Alcohol is ever present, but it is balance by a sweet maltiness.

Would definitely enjoy another 2 or 3 of these. A fine beer indeed.

Photo of rebelthrower
3.4/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Reddish, light brown, scotch in color. Barely any head, but a light brown in color.

S- Smell of sweet fruity hops. A bit of caramel.

T- Can taste the hops right off the bat. Then has a malty after taste. Hops also linger on the tongue well after the sipping.

M- Light and smooth. Light on the carbonation.

D- Very drinkable. Sits well in the stomach.

Photo of dhd1491
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one instantly makes my top ten list.

I've not had a barleywine-style ale since visiting England several years ago. My wife's grandfather foisted a barleywine on me that was like fermented motor oil. I've avoided the genre ever since.

My eyes have been opened. This brew assaults the senses with bitter and sweet, malty and alcoholy (new word). All is in perfect, delicate balance. BIG BIG BIG flavor. More hops than can be believed. Dripping with caramel and butter. Thick and chewy. Alcohol heat. Sip or be buzzed.

Wow. Can't wait to try some of the other barleywines recommended by my fellow BA's.

Photo of br3wmeister
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Good head that is very sticky. good retention and great lacing. The beer is a dark red color that looks very pretty when held up to a light.

S- Lots of sweetness up front, caramel and honey, also some roasted almonds. Good citrus hops some grapefruit and lemons. Also some alcohol meets the nose.

T- Lots of dry piney hops, that hit your tongue first. This beer starts out very bitter but then has some good malty balance. Lots of sweet and malty notes. Some honey, caramel and ginger meet the tongue. In the end you are left with a dry bitterness.

M- Full bodied that ends up being a little oily. This is a mouth coating beer, with great balance and good hoppiness.

Overall- Though this is not the best barley wine I have ever had, it is a great one. Great complexity and good flavor.

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

2009 bottle.

A-Is a clear, dark ruby with a shortish head that falls to a cover leaving good lacing.

S-Is a grapefruit & pine scent. A deep breath of it finds just a bit of malt sweetness at the end. Some alcohol appears as it warms.

T-A lot happens in a short time. First there is the initial hops, then an alcohol hit, then some sweet malt and finally a solid dose of bitterness.

M-Is nice and thick.

D-Sure, you bet, it's good. The ABV is pretty well hidden and even when noticed seems to fit.

Photo of RodBurg
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear deep copper/amber. huge, fluffy, off-white head with outstanding retention and lacing.

Loads of hoppy grapefruit coming from the nose. There's also a thick, caramel malt scent hiding in the background, but its easily overpowered by the hops.

Perfectly balanced. Intense grapefruit hop flavors on top of the syrupy malt backbone. Very bitter finish. Is this a DIPA or a barleywine?

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,582 ratings.