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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

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6,799 Ratings

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Ratings: 6,799
Reviews: 2,915
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.33%
Wants: 341
Gots: 1,394 | FT: 57
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: 6,799 | Reviews: 2,915
Photo of jamesdantes13
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fresh 2009 Bigfoot.

Brown-reddish appearance with a thick head. The head dissipates eventually, but leaves excellent lacing.

Pine and citrus (grapefruit) smell upfront and some fruit in the back.

Bitter hop flavors and a bready medium body from the malts takes a backseat. Afterwords, there is a fruit-like taste followed by warming alcohol.

Moderate carbonation and a medium body make it drinkable...for a 9.6% ABV beer. A very hoppy barelywine that lives up to the hype. Tastes like Celebration Ale on crack.

Photo of schellsbeer
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have to say...I love the "BITE" this beer has.

Excellent. Probably the most bitter beer I have had to date. The flavor is incredible. Man!!!

The tongue and the back of the mouth just go crazy. Thanks KeefD for recommending this incredible beer. There are very few beers that I rate a "5" on taste but this one scores big....I mean huge!!! Everything else is good to better than good but holy cow....what a taste.

Deep red to brown coloring. Head....ok. Smell....yep it is there. Mouthfeel....it is in my mouth. Drinkability...like sucking on a very dry hop berry...HELLO!!!

Have I mentioned the taste???!!!???!!

Incredible. If you like a bite and love bitter, this is the beer for you. If you don't...you will hate this beer. This is your warning.

Sierra Nevada....you continue to impress me. Excellent!!!!

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

So glad to be trying this again. I remember trying this about two years ago and I hated it. I was really into belgians back then and hadn't really tried any hoppy beers. I think things will be different this time around. Poured a dark amber color with a nice off white head. Smells nice LOTS of piney hops, with sweet caramel malts, and a touch of alcohol. Lots of piney bittering hoppiness and sweet sweet malty goodness. Alcohol is quite noticeable. But man my tastbuds have definitely matured this beer is awesome. I'm diving headfirst into the world of american barleywines.

Photo of heapofaoatmeal
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

January 2009 tasted 04-06 and 09. 04 was amazing hitting its stride with richness, smooth as could be. fine as could be. 05 was a little rougher around the edges but nearly as good, better except for smoothness. more strongly flavored this was at its peak mix of flavor and drinkability. it was in perfect concert. 06 was, while nice, not nearly in the league of the other two. not as smooth as the 04 or as bright as the 05. the 09 was jaw dropingly hoppy. a real barn burner. evident alcohol, hops, and malt rough edges have not been smoothed, but it is a majestic beast all the same.

04 is the grand canyon, worn to a majesty not surpassed. 05 is yellowstone, high peaks, serene beauty, rough edges look like they belong. 09 is a volcano in eruption, violent, awesome, and downright scary.

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

Bottle poured into glass

Appearance Beer is a clear brown color with tints of red and orange. Head is offwhite theat evaporates rather quickly.

smell Sweet Malt, not much else

tasle Very strong pungent taste. A slight sweetness upfront with a bitter tangy finish. Similiar to a double bastard to me. I like strong beers like this. Taste lasts a while.

Mouthfeel Low carbonation, strong

Drinkability one or two is plenty. Drink slow and enjoy.

Photo of FreightTrain
2.39/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A- Dark, brown beer with rapidly dissipating white head.

S- Grapey smell.

T- Taste was like grape drink. Not grape juice; grape drink. Intensely so. Lots of hop bitterness, which is welcome since it cuts through the artificial grape flavor a bit.

M- Mouthfeel was thick and creamy, as you'd expect from a barleywine, nice carbonation.

D- I couldn't finish my pint. The grape/fruitloop flavor was unbearable. It was so bad that at first I thought it had to be the cold (tap) temperature, but it improved only slightly once it reached cellar and then room temperature.

Photo of sweetbrew82
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. into a snifter/ '09 version

P: Reddish-brown from the bottle, crimson-shaded plum in the glass. 2 fingered light tan head is thick and creamy with decent retention. Sticky lacing left in notches.

A: Piney & citrusy hops, biscuity malts, caramel, and some earth.

T: Oh baby, the hophead in me is jumping for joy! It starts sweet from the malts, but the hops soon crush any incling of this being a malt bomb. The hop profile consists of brown sugar-crusted grapefruits, oranges, pine sap, and a touch of herbal spice. So fresh and juicy, it flirts with entering the DIPA territory. In fact, I've had DIPA's that can't match this. Sweet malts try in vain to hold their own, but it's clear who the star of this show is. There is also a caramel sweetness in there that plays off of the bitterness quite well. Alcohol is well-hidden for this big of an ABV.

M & D: Full-bodied, luxuriously smooth, and a bit chewy. Great drinkability for this big of a beer. Although, I'm not sure how many I could drink before I find myself on the kitchen floor!

Notes: Definitely the most hop-forward barleywine I've had to date. Superb west coast hop bill that rivals DIPA's, with some sweet malts and caramel in the background to complement. I am officially blown away by this superb offering from Sierra Nevada. Highly recommended!

Photo of coldmeat23
3.38/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees

Pours a clear brown with a ruby overcast. Two-finger head of fluffy light tan foam. Retention is great. Lacing is big sticky clumps.

Bitter hops hit me first. Hints of citrus. Slight promise of caramel malts. Mild yeasty presence.

It almost, for a brief second, seemed like this was going to be a big, smooth maltbomb. Then the hops came in. The brief kiss of caramel is annihilated by the bitterness of the hops.
Slight hints of dark fruits, but they are covered in pine sap.
Bigfoot is just about the hoppiest barleywine that I know of.

Very appealing smooth and creamy body.

For me, this is way over hoppy, right now. I can't wait to taste it in two to three years, though.

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

fresh 2009 vintage poured into a goblet.

pours a brilliant dark cherry mahogany hue with a fierce head of energetic bubbles that has impressive retention, eventually fading to a collar that leaves some impressively complex and varied lacing.

aroma is very hop forward (after recently having a bottle of Torpedo, it's the first thing to spring into mind). Hoppy, caramelized sugars, and maple. A bit green, a touch herbal, and just a bit of spice.

taste is very hop forward with a definite earthy hopping that is unique and delicious. Once the hops recede, the full caramel qualities emerge, with a rich and malty depth. Up front, reminds me of an incredibly strong d/IIPA, then warms into a deep and delicious barleywine.

Nice carbonation, nice thickness without being over the top, and no overwhelming syrup of bitter notes.

There's a reason year after year this is such a solid brew. I personally really enjoy this year's fresh - the hop notes seem really well refined and balanced. I can only imagine how well this one will age. Definitely grab a few while you can.

Photo of kaseydad
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excited for this years Foot and the beer is awesome this year! Love the blue border! Keep it!

Nice foamy head on initial pour which has nice staying power.

Beautiful cherry red color! The wife said it reminded her of a sunset. Agreed! Also sort of reminded me of cough syrup but hey...it's amazing.

Sweet, syrupy taste with a nice foam inclusion on each sip. A little hoppy taste on the swallow which works very well.

Very easy drinking for a high alcohol beer. Would like to see what this tastes like in a year or four.

Excellent "Foot" this year! Without a doubt my favorite SN beer.

Photo of cdizinno
4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark cherry red/brown.

S- Typical HOP smell and taste for Sierra

T- Again, if you like HOPS, you probably like Sierra. It's my fallback beer and this is a great variation on their standard Pale Ale. Sweeter than their standard with a bit more malty taste.

M- Good feel as the maltiness cuts down on the hoppy carbonation taste associated with their regular Pale Ale.

D - Nice to drink.

Photo of jdklks
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I did a back to back tasting of the 2008 and 2009. they are very different and both very good.

A- Murky, impenetrable copper-brown body with a frothy tan head that has great retention and leaves a thick lacing.

S- Hops. sweet maltiness. citrus fruits.

T- Malts and sweet fruits up front with a bitter hop finish. however, the malts reassert themselves and dominate the aftertaste.

M- It's definitely a full bodied barleywine. perfect amount of carbonation, and smooth throughout.

D- the drinkability is pretty ddamn good considering the fullness and the abv.

A- Dark, see-through amber brown color with a small off-whitish tan head that minimally laces the glass.

S- Hops and malt.

T- Just like the smell, it's hops and malt. a great, balanced blend. more malt up front while the hops are pronounced in the finish. hardly any of the sweetness that dominated the initial flavor of the 2008. again, lots of hops, especially compared with previous years. has a less intense aftertaste as well.

M- not as carbonated as the 2008, which is surprising considering that the 2008 has a year on it. a little bit lighter body than the 2008 as well.

D- the drinkability of the 2009 is higher due to it being slightly less "full."

Overall, the 2008 is better RIGHT NOW than the 2009, if you didn't get that from the reviews. however, the 2009 definitely has promise for aging. they are both excellent.

Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2009 vintage wanted to try some fresh.

A- Dark cherry red/brown. The head is very thick and creamy. The action in the glass is very busy.

S- Hoppity hop hop hops! Smells like a hoppy barleywine for sure. I'm also getting a great caramel smell. Slight clove too.

T- The hop taste is very clean and refreshing. There is an earthyness I've never had in any other barleywine. I'm getting lots of spices that I'm having trouble putting my finger on. Although the hop taste is clean and refreshing, it still has a bit of an edgy bite. I can see why people like this after it has aged a while. That edgyness will mellow and bring out the other flavors. Its a good think I have 5 more.

M- Good feel in the mouth, the carbination helps cut the thickness that is the BW.

D- Pretty easy to drink.

Photo of Birmingham
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served in a 12 oz bottle, 9.6% ABV

Fruity with minimum alcohol

Dark amber, clear with tan head that dissipates quickly, beer clings to side of the class

Strong maltiness, sharp hop bitterness, mild winey/plum notes

Mouth feel:
Warming in the mouth, rich body, low carbonation, sharp hops/alcohol burn in the back of the mouth

Overall Impression: The mouth feel is luxurious; the sharp bitterness detracts for malty goodness. As the beer warms the maltiness comes through, this beer should be drank warn.

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

A: Translucent brownish ruby body with a thin white head with sticky lacing that covers to the side of the glass.
S: Smells of grapefruit/citrus hops and some caramel, also some sweet cream.
T: The grapefruit is the initial flavor but disappears quickly. Kind of tastes like mixing an IPA and a dubbel, but with less sweetness. Spices and some alcohol also present.
M: Creamy, heavy, not too sticky though.
D: Been having more barelywines lately. So far this is probably my favorite of those I've had recently. Could enjoy a couple--which is something I can't say for a lot of beers of the style.

Photo of HappyBivouac
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

fresh 2009 bottle.

a- beautiful clear, deep ruby red hue with a nice creamy tan head.

s- this isn't very objective, but the first thing I thought of when I put my nose up to this was "Celebration." Maybe off though as I ran out of those a while ago. Really nice grapefruit hops aroma with some faint spices and hearty biscuity malts.

t- intensely bitter citrus/pine hops right away, transitions nicely into caramel, biscuits, tart dark fruits. finish is very clean with a nice grapefruit & spice taste hanging on the back of the tongue. crisp and mouth-coating at the same time. very nice.

this is only the second barleywine I've ever had, the first being the Horn Dog. I find this to be a much more polished brew. very crisp, refreshing, decently complex. wonderful value as well. seems pretty hard to beat in terms of that alone.

Photo of avalon07
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a mahogany color and a clear consistency. There was a massive, creamy, long-lasting head and excellent lacing.

S: Smelled of bitter hops, caramel and some fruit.

T: Taste consisted of hops, caramel, roasted malt and dark fruit. The hops kind of dominated at first, then the other ingredients came out as you work your way through the glass.

M: A fairly well-carbonated beer with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: On the whole, this is a drinkable beer. I won't say it's my favorite of barleywines, though it is a solid beer.

Photo of yeastsipper
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I know, I know, I know....let this on age. Just picked up a six pack of the 2009 and want to give this a try.

Beer pours a dark mahogany brown with a small head.

Smell upfront is very sweet. For me, there is a touch of sweet caramel and maybe some prunes. Dark, fermenting stone fruit. Initially, there is a slight piney smell, which becomes more pervasive as the beer warms.

The first sip is one of strong bitterness. There is a big hop presence, one not noted on the nose. Almost IPA-like. The aftertaste is an interesting combination of bitter and sweet. Hell, I will call it bittersweet. Interesting to me, but as the beer warms, the sweetness is noted more upfront and the bitterness at the end - a reversal of my first few sips. There is some complexity here, which my novice palate notes but can't decipher.

The mouthfeel is great and the beer is almost creamy going down. Remarkable.

I reserve the right to edit in the future. I am very new to the style and have little to compare this beer to. I like the big flavors and yes, I can see how this might mellow out over time. Looking forward to getting a deeper understanding of the barleywines...

Photo of KeefD
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2009 Bottle

I've had this beer before but this is a new review. Pours a very lovely dark amber/red color with an inch-high head that falls quickly leaving behind very light lacing in the snifter. Big piney hop aroma backed up by some thick, dark caramel maltiness and light licorice. Flavor follows suit. Intense hop bitterness overpower the dark bready, caramel malts. Lots of dark rum soaked fruit with pine sap drizzled over top. This is one big beer. Alcohol can be detected throughout, from nose to throat, but it's all a part of this beer drinking experience. It's damn tasty, but I don't want more than one at a time. This is an excellent Barleywine, and probably the standard for American Barleywines. I will drink two of these and age the rest in hopes of one day doing a 10 year vertical. Very good fresh, but I can't wait to try this one aged!

Photo of AChamberlain
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,799 ratings.