Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 6,226 | Reviews: 2,808 | Display Reviews Only:
4.13/5 rDev -0.5%
STRONG...that is the operative word here. Appearance, smell, taste, mouthfeel, ABV, it is all strong here. Beer poured from the bottle, nice reddish tint, deep in color. Gave a good head, which at times just kept coming and coming until it flowed over the glass. Head had excellent retention and lacing. Smell was very strong, some hops, some malt, some molasses, fruit. Taste equally strong and diverse. Mouthfeel heavy, almost syrupy, but not too much. Very drinkable, but take your time and enjoy it, not to be drunk too quickly that is for sure.
08-12-2006 22:12:56 | More by xzqrut
4.55/5 rDev +9.6%
Well, I may not like the bottle, but it's a must have on tap.
a - deep brown opaque - mysterious and inviting
s - fuzzy, they poured to cool to eval and I was impatient
t - super huge hops but AMAZINGLY BALANCED
m - plenty of complexity, chewy, and aftertaste wasn't devistating
d - cuz I had to have another,
it was the hands down winner over the esteemed St. Bernardus that night.
08-09-2006 15:39:00 | More by snilsen13
4.25/5 rDev +2.4%
This beer pours a deep reddish brown with a tan head that leaves some good lacing on my glass.
The aroma is of sweet maris otter-like malt with hints of molasses and raisins and there is also a hop presence that gives it a tiny amount of citrus trying to come through. It isn't an up front citrus but it is faintly there.
The flavor is of raisins, sweet malt, followed by a hop cleansing that gives you a hint of citrus again. The small citrus presence is quickly killed by the malt sweetness and the alcohol warming in the finish. This is a great tasting beer. I wanted to age this out for a while but I only had the one bottle. This is a perfect beer for aging.
The mouthfeel is full bodied with medium/moderate carbonation.
Though this is a strong beer I would say its drinkability is fairly high. At least for people with the taste for big beers.
08-09-2006 03:42:50 | More by Brian700
4.6/5 rDev +10.8%
Poured the darkest brown imaginable with tints of amber. Nice half finger head despite it being over 4 years old. Even with the age, the hop aroma leapt from the bottle like a caged tiger. Lowering my nose to the glass I can smell syrupy caramel, meek cherry, sweet grapefruit and pine. In the taste dept, the caramel syrup and bare chocolate take center stage but are definitely competing with powerful hoppy pine and grapefruit. Finish is pleasingly bitter. The age has really smoothed this one out. I'm glad because I really like the malt on this one. Mouth is as thick and chewy as ever. I'm glad to know I can get Bigfoot this old almost whenever I want. In all likelihood I'll want it all the time.
08-05-2006 22:32:14 | More by TheBungyo
4.1/5 rDev -1.2%
Apperance - poured a reddish dark amber color
smell - citrus-spice little orangey alcohol is very present
taste - the bitterness over comes the sweet in the end but right as it hits the tounge there is an immidiate sweetness. alcohol is present in the after taste
07-31-2006 02:44:25 | More by depechemode1983
4/5 rDev -3.6%
Appearance: Deep red, good sized head and nice lacing while drinking.
Smell: Mostly citrus hops with some alcohol and rich fruit detected.
Taste: Citrusy bitterness throughout, with a little sweetness for balance.
Mouthfeel: Pretty thick, long bitter aftertaste.
Drinkability: Too strong to drink fast, but a hop-head's dream.
Took this out of my "cellar" for a treat, was still as bitter as I remembered. Pretty strong stuff but tasty!
07-30-2006 19:50:33 | More by Mdog
4.58/5 rDev +10.4%
1995 bottle (sorry none left). just one of those nights, figured, WFT. fluffy deep tan bubbly head. Not your typical English Style barley wine though, much rougher in nature (no matter the age), much more emphasis on hops rather than malt/yeast. Deep woody taste, could have been the age. have had preety much every year since.Massive dry hop aroma. The taste is also heavy in hop bitterness, it does boast a good amount of rich sweet maltiness. Raw, brutal and so damn intriguing/satisfying. on to the 06's
07-29-2006 04:05:31 | More by onsite416
United Kingdom (England)
3.65/5 rDev -12%
Appearance: Clear, bright, nectarine skin-colored body, very warm and bold. Head is a dusty yellow-tan affair with fair retention.
Smell: An incredible, snappy, spicy, citric, piney, peppery, herbal hop aroma, really fresh-smelling, like a freshly-picked hop cone. Hops are definitely in charge here. Interesting fruity notes of apricot and lemon along with unusual clove and cinnamon-like spice. Alcohol is well-hidden by a strong, sweet, caramel malt character. Hints of vanilla are noticeable as well. Overall, very reminiscent of Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice tea.
Taste: What the hell? Simultaneous false heat and false coolness - my tongue does not know what to do with this beer. Wintergreen freshness at first, soon upstaged by piney, woody hops and hot alcohol. Predominantly acrid but lightly sweet underneath it all, with a soft pomme-ish fruitiness. Massive hop bitterness clings to the sides of your tongue and tonsils with white knuckles. Yeast adds a noticeable tang. Very dry, long-lasting finish. An extreme and potent beer, to say the least.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and very syrupy. Far from refreshing, but that isn't really the point, now is it?
Drinkability: Call me a wuss, but I think these American barleywines are brutal, angry beers. One is more than enough.
07-28-2006 05:39:21 | More by soulgrowl
4/5 rDev -3.6%
Round 2 of an 8 round American Barley Wine-Off with expatsteve. Starting with one classic (Old Foghorn) we move on to another West-Coast standard. This is a fresh Vintage '06.
Pour: dark amber/garnet/mahogany with a web of fine, silty sediment in suspension under a bit of tan cream that melts to a skim.
Nose: herbal/tobacco hops, mint tea and light grain in the finish. Gets piney and fruitier as it warms.
Taste: Very bitter pine hops, hint of bubblegum/candy, sweet caramel malt. Amost astringent in the finish due to the agressive hopping. Again fruitier as it warms with notes of orange peel and booze.
Feel: syrupy thick and viscous, medium carbonation tickles the tongue.
Drinkability/Overall: Definitely a hopped up, SIerra Nevada'ed barleywine. Would have like to see more toffee/malt development in the mid-palate, but still an American classic. Isn't quite as drinkable as some others in the style however.
07-23-2006 14:45:24 | More by Golden2wenty1
3.65/5 rDev -12%
Split with Golden2wenty1 during a barley-wine session.
Appearance: Orange copper brown with tan highlights - exceptional color under light. Mild foggy haze. A brief 1.4 inch head, with medium suds cover. Medium viscosity.
Aroma: Grapefruit and mint hops burst. Not much malt in the smell, with just a few hints of caramel.
Taste: Grapefruit and pine resin hops - abrasive, with a dry middle palate and finish. Sweet golden syrup malts form a subtle undercurrent; some orange notes and a little light caramel as it warms.
Mouthfeel: Dry finish, lots of pine in the aftertaste. Low carbonation. Smoothness balances the hops bristle.
Drinkability: This will win over fans of more hoppy American barleywines. Not my favorite, and a little harsh to drink a lot of. However, this is exactly what you'd expect a Sierra Nevada barleywine to taste like, and I can appreciate their take on the style. I feel like it doesn't achieve the balance of other SN beers, and doesn't have quite enough of the deep malt development that I find so appealing in other barleywines.
07-22-2006 02:00:12 | More by expatsteve
3.23/5 rDev -22.2%
Pours a rich redish brown with a head that slowly develops. Bits of lacing on the glass, hardly any carbonation showing. The smell is very inviting, sweet with traces of fruits, heavy alcohol, some hops and malt. The taste is strong, with almost a pine taste with a heavy dose of bitter. The finish is long with bitter and some of the fruit notes showing through. The mouthfeel is a bit rough, medium body, no carbonation, lots of alcohol which is expected. I have been checking out different barley wines but didn't like this one as much as others I have had. I love sierra nevada brews, but I would check out other selections by them unless you are a huge barley wine fan. Cheers.
07-20-2006 05:17:49 | More by wingman14
4.25/5 rDev +2.4%
A - Bigfoot just looks beautiful when you pour it out. A nice deep deep ruby red syrupy liquid sloshes into the glass. An off-white head with a reddish tint forms slowly and holds at about one finger. However, the head isn't long lasting and there's little lacing.
S - The smells are perhaps the best part, well at least there are for me. It's a nice balance of malts and hops with sweetness, caramel, grapes, citrusy fruits all blending together.
T - Many of the same scents I smelt were also present in the taste. As it should be, that wine flavor is quite strong. The alcohol is a little much for me, but that's to be expected from the style.
M - Full. The flavors roll around the tongue and linger a good long while afterward.
D - If you like barleywines, you should really like this one. If that's the case, you'll find this absolutely drinkable.
07-19-2006 01:12:20 | More by JayTheFinn
3.38/5 rDev -18.6%
Bigfoot pours a deep dark amber, with a medium tan head that recedes to fill the center of the glass.
Smell: typical barleywine - sweet, hoppy, sugary, alcoholic. Lots of hops. Bit rough.
Taste: Fierce bitterness tamed by syrupy sweetness, very "young" tasting. Delivers mouthwatering, sharp, immediate flavors. Lots of resiny, piney hops and a real sugary and syrupy sweetness. Very bitter and very sweet. Not subtle in the least. Leaves a hoppy residue in the mouth and bitterness on the back of the tongue. One to sip over a long evening.
This is a very strong, un-mellow barleywine, and while tasty, there are better ones to be had. (Old Ruffian comes to mind.) Bigfoot isn't all that drinkable, due to the extreme flavors and high sweetness. It's not a bad barleywine, surely, but I prefer mine a bit more relaxed and tame.
Note: I've recently tried the 2003 and 2004 years and they were much improved by aging. Buy and lay some down and you'll be nicely surprised.
2002 bottle drunk in 2008:
Subdued hops, not totally gone yet. Boozy. Big caramel, no sherry yet. Long finish, sweet burnt sugar. Probably past prime.
1998 bottle drunk in 2008:
Flat. Oxidized, ancient @ 10 years out! Very rich sherry notes, earthy coffee, deep. Everything about this beer screams old. Very long finish, syrupy and lingering, JW Lee's comes to mind. Still ok, nearly great. I'm lucky to try it!
07-11-2006 19:34:33 | More by kkipple
4.22/5 rDev +1.7%
A: Deep dark reddish brown...somewhat cloudy and mysterious. Frothy light beige head leaving fantastic lace as a wake of destruction.
S: Little bit of pinesap, toasted toffee, smidgeon grapefruit, alcohol in the highnotes
T: Like fruity pebbles off the get go. Various sweet fruits pranced across the tongue including grapefruit, strawberries, cherries, orange and mango. Superb malty backbone shifts fluently as the flavors bank from fruit to a more resinous profile. Pine then works with the bitterness to create a substantial wave that crescendos as a strong bitter wake at the back roof of the mouth. The alcohol vapors then become prevalent and warming. Aftertaste is hoppy bitterness and pungent maltiness.
M: Full and a bit syrupy.
D: This beer is young, it would be best to sit on for atlest two years. But its still darn good at an early age as well. One of the best barleywines in the world and thats saying a lot.
07-04-2006 06:30:42 | More by Westsidethreat
4.35/5 rDev +4.8%
Purchased for me from Green's in Atlanta by UncleFlip. 2006 release.
A: Deep amber slightly hazy body, off-white (almost cocoa) foamy head. Leaves significant lacing on glass. Quite nice.
S: Strong notes of fruit, apples and vaguely "amber" aromas, with strong crisp hops underneath. As the beer warms, it becomes slightly maltier in aroma. Good.
T: Hops, hops, hops. Strongly bitter hop flavor, but with that same malt backbone I mentioned earlier. Crisp, awakening, refreshing. Lovely. Fruit becomes more prominent as the beer soaks into the palate.
M: Thick, chewy, malty. Nice texture.
D: Overall, a very good beer, possibly my favorite Sierra Nevada. I haven't had an aged bottle, but I'll bet as this one ages it mellows nicely. If I can stand it, I'll hang on to one of the last two 2006 bottles and drink them in a year or two.
07-01-2006 23:51:14 | More by danielharper
4/5 rDev -3.6%
I poured this ale into a glass and several things are immediately apparent. First, the aromatic smell knocks you out. I dunno...strawberrys, cherrys, hops, honey...there is a sweet sugary wine smell that is blessed. Second, the head lingers and lingers. There is great lacing but the head just hangs there...and the color of the head is a rich coffee-cream color with a swirl of ruby red in it. I swear, it is beautiful in the glass. You like hops? You like kick-ass hops? It would be impossible to impregnate this brew with any more hops. The bite grabs your buds and tonsils and tears at them. BUT it leaves the palette clean and clear. Whoa. Alc: 9.6 means only one or two at a time but this stuff is so overwhelming one or two will more than suffice...thanks Sierra Nevada.
07-01-2006 21:02:13 | More by spaceranger
4.03/5 rDev -2.9%
This is my first Barley Wine beer. Impressed and pleased with the experience. Amber colored deep orange when held up to light. Good head with lace that remained until the end. It smelled very rich and aromatic. Good mouth feel. Taste was much better than expected. I expected to be knocked down with the alcohol content. The alcohol was very well masked with a well-balanced beer. Quite hoppy and bitter but a little sweet to balance.
Generally I am not a fan of very hoppy/ bitter beer. I have been expanding my palette and am much more pleased with a bitter/hop beer. It is definitely a sipping beer. With the high alcohol content and intense bitterness this is very enjoyable but one is enough for the day.
06-30-2006 02:27:37 | More by Rickery
4.22/5 rDev +1.7%
12oz. stubby bottle with a really cool and funny label. The label has a great and funny picture of an old miner looking down (probably at some gold he found) and with his donkey trying to pull him away because right before him in the woods is Bigfoot himself! That miner doesn't know what he's in for! Bigfoot is going to come out of the woods tear the miner limb from limb and eat his donkey for dessert. It's too bad they don't have a back label showing the aftermath of Bigfoot's rampage. Of course this is all just speculation. The other stuff on the label is the usual US stuff and with I believe is a batch number above the barcode on the right side. The year that it was made is on the cap and with mine being the 2006 version. This was capped with a twist off cap.
Appearance: When poured into a Snifter, the beer was a really nice dark ruby almost light brown color with a 1 finger of white foam. The head of foam had good retention leaving behind plenty of white foamy rings and lots of white sticky lace in it's tracks.
Smell: When poured into the glass the aroma was simple with some citrus fruits, bitter hops and little malt. But what separated this one was the fact that when I swirled it around, the aroma was slightly different. The citrus fruits turned into juicy fruits and the malts were sweetened. The only thing that remained the same was the bitter hops. Very nice and unusual smell.
Taste: It tasted like the first half of the aroma, but rearranged in a way. The first taste was that of strong citrus fruits and bitter hops. Then comes a little sweetness and some malt. If that wasn't enough, those bitter citrus hops show up again at the very end. Even though this beer clocks in at 9.6% ABV, there wasn't a trace of it in the taste.
Mouthfeel: Even thought this is at 9.6%ABV, I found it to be medium bodied instead of full bodied. Even in the mouthfeel, I still didn't taste or feel any strong amount of alcohol in this. I think the strong bitter citrus hops covered it all up. I guess you can say that the alcohol was hidden, much like the Bigfoot hiding in the woods on the label.
Drinkability: Overall an Excellent American Barley Wine that everybody should try for themselves, if you haven't just yet. As for me, I wouldn't mind having another one or aging a couple of these.
Edit: After writing this I found out what had happened with that miner and Bigfoot. Under the bottle cap there is a picture and it appears that Bigfoot sat down with the miner and a friend in front of a campfire and drinking a couple of these beers. I guess the Bigfoot didn't rip the miner limb from limb! It didn't show the donkey, but I'm sure the Bigfoot didn't eat him. :-)
06-29-2006 18:36:59 | More by AltBock
4.13/5 rDev -0.5%
2005 Vintage. Pours brown with a little dark copper and red and an off white head, bottle conditioned cloudiness. Smells rich and sweet, prunes and apricots, malty, some dry red wine and alcohol. The sweet maltiness hits the palate for a brief moment before the harsh but pleasant, peppery and piney hop bitterness kicks in. A nice large dry alcohol finish. Chose the 05 to review as I thought it would be truer to the beer's nature, but definitely enjoy it more after approx five as the hops mellow and let the flavors establish themselves better. An over the top american barleywine/malty dipa this one breaks some style barriers, a classic.
06-28-2006 01:30:16 | More by hoppymeal
4/5 rDev -3.6%
I was surprised by this beer. I went into it without any idea as to what I was having. It wasn't until after I opened and had a sip that I noticed the "Barleywine Style" on the label. From the moment beer hit glass I could smell the fragrance of the beer. Sweet and acidic, it proved to taste similarly. There's a sharpness to the taste and an acidity that I find appealing, but still, I really thought I tasted something along the lines of a chocolate flavor. There was a sweetness that didn't seem citric but leaned more towards something more subtle. In any respect, even from a bottle it poured with a nice head and had good lacing.
I really liked this beer very much, and gave it solid 4's across the board. I always enjoy Sierra Nevada's work, and I'm looking forward to giving this another try soon.
06-24-2006 05:13:07 | More by Abita45
4.05/5 rDev -2.4%
Simultaneous tasting of 2000, 2003, and 2006 vintages in midwinter of 2006.
Appearance: The 06 and 03 are fairly equal in terms of carbonation and head. 00 is lacking. All three are semi-cloudy, light orange/ruby brown. 00 lacks some life in color and body.
Aroma: The 06 reminds me more of an IPA than a Barley Wine. Im still getting used to American Barley Wines so this is a learning experience as much as anything. Pine sap is oozing out of the 06. I think I could smell it clear across the room just checked I could. Strong alcoholic caramel notes are also present but really covered by the hops. Citrus and floral spice are strong as well. Everything hops are supposed to be and more can be found within these confines. As expected, the 03 is less blistering but still heavily hopped actually to a degree considerably greater than I would have expected. One can tell that SN really loads the hops into this one. After three years, a lot of hop oils must have broken down yet the 03 barley wine still ranks with the hoppier of American Barley Wines that Ive tasted. Its pretty cool. Also as expected, the 00 has really lost most of its hops. This isnt exactly a bad thing. I prefer English Barley Wine and I find the 00 to be just delicious. The caramel is a alive as ever. Its deeply earthy and subtle dark fruit flavors that go entirely missed in the younger vintages are present here. I think I pick up cherries and plums.
Taste: Following aroma, the 06 is largely hops with some minimal caramel content. Hop lingering in the finish is up there with perhaps the 5 hoppiest beers Ive had. One sip leaves a hop oil residue for a good two minutes. Intensity is exceptional. The 03 is a step down but once again surprises with some pretty discombobulating hops. Caramel flavors are more pronounced but only slightly. Some wood and sweet grains are present. The 00 vintage on the other hand is loaded with sweet caramel, earth, dates, and Japanese plum wine.
Mouthfeel: Obviously, the 06 is dry as Antarctica and blisteringly bitter. Beyond that the sweet alcohol plays a large roll as does lively biting carbonation. 03 compares as in the aroma and flavor same as the 06 but smaller, although bitterness in the finish is considerably lessened here. The 00, despite its many fine qualities, has lost a lot of its zing here. Carbonation levels are below where they should be. A lot of the bite is gone. All that remains is a burn from the alcohol but even that seems mellow in comparison to the ass kicking tongue attack of the 06 and 03. Body is too flat and lifeless compared to following years.
Drinkability: The combination of high ABV and crazy hops in the younger vintages is a problem for me when it comes to drinkability. My taste buds simply arent that mature (read old and dead) yet, maybe if I started smoking At any rate, its not a knock on the beer, just personal preferences coming into play. The 00 would be more drinkable for me because of the hop mellowing but the lack of vitality in the body becomes a problem.
Overall: Impressive beer that ages well and changes drastically, although not necessarily for the worse, over time. I am pleased by all three vintages and curious to try others. Peak seems to be sometime before the beer hits three years.
06-19-2006 15:01:42 | More by DaPeculierDane
4.03/5 rDev -2.9%
Many thanks to BA Trep for this bottle. I got two '06s in a trade with him a couple of weeks back; the other bottle is being laid in for a loooong rest. Probably a year or more.
Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Deep amber, thick, thick head. Not a great amount of lacing. Glows beautifully with a candle behind it.
Sweet malt up front with hint of charcoal in the nose; mild hops linger in the background with the alcohol.
Tastes...good, but not finished. It seems like a work in progress. The hint of charcoal in the aroma is much more obvious in the flavor. The hops come through in a "harder" bitterness on the back of the tongue. The malt has a very scotch-like character.
Initial harshness on the palate, but smooths out. Later sips are much more easy. As this beer warms from about 40 degrees to (let me check) to 50-55, it gets better. The alcohol is present at all times and lingers in the sinuses after each sip.
Drinkability: The brew starts out harsh, smooths out. A fine drinking experience once it warms up. However, you don't want more than one
Like I said earlier, its a work in progress. I've had better barleywines, and some worse. I look forward to revisiting this in a year or two.
06-18-2006 00:41:04 | More by rabsten
3.13/5 rDev -24.6%
Pours darkish caramel brown translucent, rather carbonated but not a lot of head. Not much lacing. Nose is filled with dried fruits, light florals, and a bit of alcohol. Smells a bit strong. Taste is also a bit strong, of course it's a barleywine but the balance is not quite there. Strength of alcohol is rather evident, quite raisiny as well. Would have liked something else to balance it out and make it more full, though. Maybe I needed to let it sit longer, not sure. A big fan of barleywines, but this one is low on my list.
06-15-2006 01:08:41 | More by aquatonex
4.43/5 rDev +6.7%
2006 version, from SN's signature short 12 oz. bottle.
A - molten caramel in color, with a rich, creamy, rocky off-white head that lingers the whole way leaving only a trace of lacing.
S - mixture of citrus hops and sugary, candy apple smelling malt. Can definitely smell the alcohol. Hints of ripe, dark fruit, mixed with grapefruit, cotton candy.
T - tart citrus hop flavor and bitterness balanced out well by a sweet, but not overly so, malt backbone. Firm hop flavor, definitely an American style barleywine. Followed by a sweet, tangy, caramel and toffee tinged malt flavor that counteracts the strong bitterness very well. Tastes of higher alcohols, very warming. Well balanced barleywine.
M - surprisingly dry for a beer with so much malt content, mainly due to the big, ctirusy hop content. Body is medium-thick and slightly chewy. Warming from the alcohol. Carbonation is low to moderate.
D - despite alcohol content and rich, full body, this beer is surprisingly drinkable and I could easily knock back a couple of these. Far more drinkable and well-balanced than a lot of the syrupy 'double' IPA's one finds on the shelves these days. 2006 version is very similar to most other years I have enjoyed.
06-14-2006 14:00:21 | More by gbarron
3.83/5 rDev -7.7%
A: Pours a mahogany color with one finger width tannish head that stuck around for quite a while.
S: Typical barleywine smell, pretty sweet caramelly. You can pick up on the alcohol as well.
T: Taste is quite strong, the first thing I tasted was like the bitterness of espresso/coffee beans. Strong hop flavor. You can really taste the alcohol on this one.
M: Heavy bodied, dry finish.
D: Very good beer. Couldn't do more than one of these at a time, really warms you up good.
06-10-2006 09:44:42 | More by loren01
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,226 ratings.