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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

6,574 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,574
Reviews: 2,850
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 312
Gots: 1,238 | FT: 51
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: 6,574 | Reviews: 2,850 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of shabbtastic
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

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

Photo of beerthulhu
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of joepais
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of BucBasil
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

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

Photo of bradybeer
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of edskirk3
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of dedrinker
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Photo of jwolfie70
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of rmcnealy
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.


Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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

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


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.

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

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.

Photo of JDV
3.27/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of barronkr
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of mnstorm99
2.28/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

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.

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

Pours amber brown and there's hardly any head. There is a very sweet smell, fruity and hops.

Taste is likewise fruity, hoppy. There is a definite "tingle" in the mouth. Considering the higher abv, this ale is very drinkable and refreshing. Very good barley style.

Photo of NCBeernut
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep mahogany glow is gorgeous. Off white, bone colored, one finger head. Creamy looking at first, then more bubbly as it settles to a thin layer, leaving tons of lacing. This is a GREAT looking beer.

Smell is hop-dominant for sure, yet more complex than an in a IPA/DIPA; very floral and earthy. Apples and sweet raisin maltiness. Spicy.

Spicy, bitter, pine, earthy, woody hops, with a fruity touch (raisin and faint apple) and cannabis. The malt character blends in, and isn't immediately noticeable. Alcohol is a bit hot when very fresh but begins to mellow in just a few months. This is a BIG, bitter beer, and delicious if you are ready for it. It bites, but leaves you satisfied. This will mellow out nicely with some age though. A defining American Barleywine.

I went out and bought more after the first bottle.

2007 Vintage (Reviewed Aug 2008)

Not much sound when I opened the bottle, but there is still decent carbonation. Not much head formation - maybe half to a full finger, dissolving away to nothing in a couple minutes. Same color of course, but very opaque and cloudy. Aroma is full of dark fruits and still very earthy. Hops have dropped off a little bit causing a much sweeter aroma. Man the insane hoppiness of the fresh version has started to tame, but there is still plenty to go around. Defintely more balanced though. Not a whole lot of difference yet, but I can begin to see where the aging process might take this.

Photo of Bubba83
4.04/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 edition purchased in a six pack from Whole Foods in Cupertino, CA. Poured into a Samuel Adams tumbler at around 50 degrees.

Appearance - A nice deep amber/ruby hue with a surprisingly clean bright white head. 3 fingers of head after a semi-vigorous pour.

Smell - Perhaps the most impressive aroma of any beer I've had to date. I smell strong caramel, highlights of citrus and pine, and faint alcohol in the background.

Taste - Jesus! Is this a DIPA or a Barleywine? I have to be careful not to swish it to the back of my tongue or all I get is bitterness. Hops are mostly of a spicy character, with a little pine mixed in. The malt flavor may be hard to get to, but it's there and actually quite nice. The hops are pretty killer up front but almost cloyingly bitter on the swallow. It really is almost more of a DIPA right now though, will have to see how this one is a couple years down the line.

Mouthfeel - It's nice. It could be a little more syrupy for a smoother feel but overall it's good.

Drinkability - The alcohol presence is never really known in the taste, probably because it is well hidden from the extremely hoppy presence right now. As long as you don't let it sit on the back of your tongue very long the drinkability doesn't suffer too much from the high bitterness.

Overall - If this was a DIPA, I might be giving it a 4.5, but it's a barleywine, so where's the barley? A little out of balance, but good nonetheless and should improve down the road.

Photo of jamie2dope
1.82/5  rDev -56.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

From what I understand, this years vintage has received a large amount of criticism and praise at the same time. Lets see how it turns out. Poured in to my Westmalle chalice a nice looking cherry color. Besides the color, it looks slightly dull, with not much head save for a tiny ring around the glass. Aroma is a slight improvement, with some great berry and cream characters backed by a heavy perfume of booze. Taste begins with a huge assault of hops, a bit of juicy dark fruit, then leaves on an intensely bitter note that reminds me of cheap tobacco. Aftertaste is rather unpleasant. Reminds me of the taste in my mouth after a harsh night of drinking mixed with bad cigarettes. Mouthfeel is heavy on the palate, and drinkability is lessened quite a bit by the rough aftertaste. Quite a disappointment in my book, as other years of this brew have been very enjoyable. I suspected maybe I had a poor bottle, but found the same flaws present in the second bottle I cracked open. I don't think I will be drinking the rest of my six pack at this point, so maybe I will lay a few down to see if they mature well. Simply a mess of a beer IMO. Avoid.

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

Poured the 2008 into my crystal snifter.

A - Color is a dark ruby which has the notes of both plum and also there is a light orange glow that seems to emanate from the bottom. The head poured big and then dissolved into a nice, thin layer of bubbly carbonation that sat right on top of the beer. Left some nice lacing as well.

S - the biggest smell that initially hits me is a ton of hops, which go smell like the normal piney hops that SN loves so much. also gets some sweeter fruit flavors that all seem to mix together such as candied dates, plums and even a bit of mango. There is also a big whiff of alcohol that hits the nose and seems a bit much given the ABV of this one.

T - hmm now the taste was much milder than the nose would make me think it was. first the most overpowering taste that first came over me was a sweet, almost maple syrupy, malt flavor that slowly sweep in on you. There is also a bit of the candied dates in there. As the beer warms up to near room temp, the sweeter malts and fruits flavors seem to becoming even more prevalent. Only after taking most of the sip do the hops and their contrasting bitterness come in to balance out the sweetness. After these two flavors hit you, the aftertaste is actually a very light hops presence that just hangs around for a while. I was surprised by how light the hops presence actually was.

MF - has a nice body for a BW as it is thick without being syrupy thick. i felt as if the body actually made the beer have the sweeter malt flavors dominate first instead of the hops. Idk if this is true or I'm crazy but i think if this beer was highly carbonated, the hops would hit ya hard and it would be more like a DIPA than a BW.

D - overall a very drinkable BW. This is one that doesn't really force you to slow down and enjoy it because it is not overly thick and sticky in the mouth. This is good and solid and an interesting twist given the hops presence that we always expect from SN. It is worth picking up a 6er for sure and enjoying on a quiet evening but don't expect this one to blow you away either.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage from 12 oz. bottle into BMS mug. Good 3-finger head dissipates a little quickly. Nice light red-brick color. Enticing stuff.

Very strong floral hop aroma is a little soapy at first blush but otherwise very powerful and pleasant.

Deep hop backbone - more like a DIPA than a barley wine in a way. Malt and alcohol are in the background. Very very hoppy for a BW but well-balanced.

After a while the malt opens up nicely, but this is a "pucker" on the mouth from the big hop profile.

The extra-abundant hop presence makes this a bit for drinkable for a barley wine. Solid stuff.

Photo of Traquairlover
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12-oz bottle poured into a snifter,

A = Red tinted dark amber, large foamy off white head, medium lacing on glass, medium carbonation with small bubbles.

S = Strong hops notes of grapefruit and pine, sweet grapefruit juice smells also show up with a malt undertone. Nice and complex.

T = Great bitters on the sides of the tongue and in the finish, grapefruit rinds, citrus hops are very upfront, but the malt backbone is also there with a good creamy mid-palate bread taste.

M = Medium to heavy bodied, perfect amount of foaming carbonation on swish, great mouthcoating.

D = A good drinking beer. Maybe a little hop-forward for the style, but still very, very good.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,574 ratings.