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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.

6,291 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,291
Reviews: 2,814
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 264
Gots: 1,111 | FT: 41
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: 6,291 | Reviews: 2,814 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mithrascruor
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into an oversize wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a ruby/brown. Dense but thin tan head that turns to a lace (and leaves a lacing on the glass as well).

Smell: A strong, nice, and interesting aroma of hops and pines. A hint of citrus is also present.

Taste: Strong and good! A very hoppy flavor kicks in first with a strong piney aspect and citrusy backing. There's also a milder taste of roasted malts that becomes apparent later. Though definitely on the hoppy side, I find this to be well-balanced for this type of beer. Aftertaste retains some of the bitterness, but also the slightly smoky taste of the malts. A tad bit of alcohol flavor is present, but it's far from being overwhelming.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and somewhat warm, with a nice (though very light) carbonation.

Drinkability: Obviously you'll have to drink this slowly (given the strong alcohol and taste., but the beer lends itself quite well to such drinking.

Very nice barleywine that I'd certainly get again. Certainly one of the best beers of this style that I've had -- so many try to be pretentiously strong or harsh, but this spot-on in those regards.

mithrascruor, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of Talisker
3.28/5  rDev -21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2007 edition from a 12oz bottle.

An excellent beer hiding in here - a beautiful marriage of American hops with a thick malt and old-fashioned barley wine feel. But it might not be ready for prime time.

Pours into the brandy snifter a dark red color with a medium thick head. Nice lacing throughout. Nose of unmistakably American hops - citrus, some pine - with an alcohol and sweetness saying this is not just an IPA.

Taste is certainly complex, but I find it a little harsh, with a bit of an unintegrated edge - hard to find the malt. Maybe some age will mellow it?

Finish is definitely a barley wine - there's an alcohol warmth, even bite, that can catch you by surprise. A drying astringency lingers. Obviously not intended by a session beer, but the slight edge and alcohol bite knock it down on drinkability.

Still, if you want a distinctly American take on the style, then you'll like this. No harm in letting the 2007 cellar a bit, though - it could only help.

Talisker, Feb 08, 2007
Photo of unklesyd
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Bigfoot of the new 2007 release in a Duvel tulip, served at about 50F.

Released with less carbonation than last year's, but produced a clear, rich amber brew with a great head that subsided after about a minute and left some small, temporary lacing.

Fantastic aroma of Cascade hops dried in an oast that has baking candied fruit air blown through it. Later, the notes of toffee and alcohol come through.

Slightly hot, bitter finish over a creamy, roasted crystal base and some pithy hop flavor in the middle. Somewhat coating on the tounge, but still crisp and snappy because of the bitterness on the back.

A great fresh barleywine. Love it every year!

unklesyd, Feb 08, 2007
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 served in a chalice. Pours a dark, slightly cloudy orange with a short head that mostly fades quickly but leaves some nice lacing. The smell is a little bit fainter than I'd like, but there is still a wonderful nose of fresh piney hops. The taste is amazing- this beer is definitely best fresh and unaged. An explosion of fresh and piney hops with a backnote of grapefruit and a solid dry malt background. There are also notes of bitter orange and an undefinable meaty taste as well. Delicious. The mouthfeel is substantial without being grainy or sweet. The hop levelof this barley wine keeps it dry and powerful- flirting with dipa style. Perilously drinkable!

Georgiabeer, Feb 08, 2007
Photo of kush6875
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage

poured into a chimay goblet:

appearance: creamy white 3/4 inch head that dissiapted after a few minutes. nice lacing though. nice ruby amber color with nice clarity.

smell: crisp pine, citus hops, very intense! smell grapefruit with a touch of sweetness

taste: the hops explode on the palate at first then finish with a nice malty aftertaste.

mouthfeel: is thick, chewy and very hopppy. i love it!

drinkability: this is a nice at home brew. very nice way to end your day. this beer is way too drinakble for 9.6%. respect this brew and savor it!!! ENJOY!

kush6875, Feb 07, 2007
Photo of 1whiskey
4.93/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 Vintage.

12 oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Huge billowing head (perhaps I overpoured) caps a brilliant copper color.

Smell is of fanatastic pine, resin, and pineapple notes. Reminds me of Stone 10th Anniversary Ale.

Taste is laden with huge hop flavor, but does not overwhelm me with bitterness the way a young 2006 Bigfoot did. In fact, I can cut through the bitterness to easily detect all of the elements in the nose, as well as date and raisin notes. A huge malt backbone holds it all together, enveloping all that hoppy goodness and propelling your taste buds into sweet oblivion.

Slick and oily on the palate, this has a pretty hefty body. Not much carbonation remained after my fitful pour, but just enough to dance around on my tongue.

Drinkability? AMAZING. Especially for how young this is. Young barleywines should not be this drinkable. I could get myself into trouble with this.

I don't know if my taste has changed this much in a year or if it really is that different, but I much prefer this to the 2006 version. This is incredible.

1whiskey, Feb 07, 2007
Photo of Jwaks
2.3/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Serving : 12oz bottle with 2007 on the cap, no freshness date.

Significant effort is required on the pour to squeeze a finger thick head from this vibrant orange tinted amber brew. Spirited very fine bubbles sprint up through the low viscosity body to meet a scant white frothy cap ringed by a thin sticky white lace.

Overwhelmingly pungeant, bitter hop aromas assult the nose quickly followed by odors of ripe viney fruit and strong solvents. Subtle aromas of malt and bread break free from the overpowering and dominant hoppy and solvent character.

Young, rough and raucous, this beer thrashes the palate with intense, unrelenting bitter hops and unripe vinous fruits that just won't give up even in the aftertaste. Green, leafy hops, lots of lemon zest, and a healthy dose of warming, peppery alcohol hit the tongue on the dry, long-lasting finish. Wow, this beer's bitter, vinous character hits you like a ton of bricks, it has the finesse and grace of a 40 ton truck. It is entirely unbalanced leaning heavily toward hops and bitterness, where are the malts and barely?

Very tough and chewy in the mouth, it is medium to full bodied with a great ability to coat the palate. With so much bitterness, leafy hops and slightly sour viney fruit this one is far from smooth and creamy.

Wow. This was a surprise after reading all the sterling reviews of this brew. I have a feeling this one will require at least six months to a year of cellar age to shed its youthful vibrance and begin to be drinkable.


Jwaks, Feb 06, 2007
Photo of Dubbercody
3.6/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007- Just released- Nicely big and hoppy brew. Really, Really good, I have to say I enjoyed this one more than the year old version.

2006- One year old- Amazingly different from the new release. Hops have faded away, in comparison, big malty nose and mouth feel is must maltier than new bottle. Almost too malty, I think it will be great in another year or two. With my personal taste.

Dubbercody, Feb 05, 2007
Photo of Cadyfatcat
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown beefy bullion style with a little lacey brown covering.
Smells of mirepoix, raspberries, blueberries, tea, evergreen foresty hops.
Taste is huge. Inescapable bitterness throughout. Tangy unsettling taste of a ripe barleywine. Rotten fleshy fruit - strawberry, plum, and peach. Hopping is adequate to combat initial tanginess, dry green wood type bitterness.
Breath out and the 9% + can be felt escaping your esophagus.
I've had an older vintage and remember it being better. I have another one I will sit on for a while and revisit.

Cadyfatcat, Feb 04, 2007
Photo of beerphan
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle -> pint

Pours a clear red amber, with a small finely bubbled white head that leaves behind small patches of lace. Carbonation appears fairly robust.

Nose: Citrus hops, rine qualities, alcohol, some caramel malts.

Taste: Little sweets malts are quickly overwhelmed by an intense dry pine bitterness that does a long dance on the palate. Hot alcohol also warms the belly, as well as a punch of malt and sugar after the initial burn subsides. May need a little while to calm some.

MoutH: Hot and full.

I'd say this may be much more drinkable in a few months, though i must admit i'm not very schooled on barleywine. Of the few i've tried this seems to be the most hoppy, with a few nice hoppy burps to boot.

beerphan, Feb 03, 2007
Photo of jcdiflorio
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served into a pub glass from a 12oz stubby brown bottle with a twist-off cap.

Clear,beautiful ruby red color,very creamy 2" white head with good retention and some spotty lacing.

Intense citrus aromas,very carmelly aromas,with some pine notes also. Great nose,very pleasing,very balanced for the intensity of the aromas.

Very intense citrus and honeyed carmellness.Piney,lots of hot alcohol,sugary,syrupy,oily hoppieness. A sharp grapefruity finish that lingers on the palate.

Thck,cloying mouthfeel,very juicy. Don't want to stop drinking this beer,but the alcohol and thickness will catch up. Reminds me of a DIPA.

jcdiflorio, Feb 03, 2007
Photo of Frozensoul327
3.33/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

2006 bottle

A: Murky brownish orange color with a dense head of thick, heavy auburn white foam. Some noteable lace inside the glass, and a lower level of carbonation.

S: Hops and bourbon-y malts with a strong scent of spices. A mild fermented sugar note weaves in and out. Notes of wood and caramel are noteable when sought.

T: Strong, powerful complexity. Not for the faint. Wood and bourbon flavors push the palate to near asphyxiation, with caramel malts, sweet fermented grains and rotting dark fruit flavors filling in after the inital wave of flavors. Warming alcohol effect is present and appropriate.

M: Dense. Rich. Heavy. Quite syrupy, yet not overpowering or choking. Nearly no carbonation is noted on the tongue.

D: Not a bad beer by any means, but not for me. One and done.

Frozensoul327, Feb 03, 2007
Photo of John1985
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 Edition

Ale poured a muddy brown with a white half inch head. Very well carbonated after 4 years. Head dies down to some faint lacing around the mug. Aroma is of sweet malt and pine hops. Intense taste-trademark Bigfoot of intense hoppiness and with sweet malt in the middle and a bit of sting on the aftertaste. Heavy body slowed down the drinkability. Remarkably balanced for its age. This is my last 2003, now I wish I could taste this next year but it snowed last night so what the heck.

John1985, Feb 02, 2007
Photo of BlindPig
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 edition
A- Thick creamy tan head on a clear deep ruby body.
S- Huge amount of pine and grass hops. There is also a pretty big citrus hop aroma also. Some light caramel malt behind all of it. Grapefruit and pine are the most dominate aromas though.
T- Huge pine hop flavor. Some citrus hops manage to make there way through and make sure they are known too. They come through as a big grapefruit rind flavor. The pine hops just stick to your mouth for a long time leaving a big bitterness alone with the taste of pine and grapefruit. All of this is on a big malt body. The hops do come off stronger but the malt manages to hold its own. Some hints of caramel body can be found in it. Alcohol also tickles the tongue and a very light calm warming is left afterward. I would never guess it was a 9.6% abv though.
M- Big full body that is sticky at the same time. Low carbonation.
D- This is really good. I do prefer them aged though. It is almost like two different beers. Both are very good but fit their certain moods.

BlindPig, Feb 01, 2007
Photo of cbn
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours slightly syrupy, fairly cloudy deep amber-russet. Minimal head dissipates quickly.

Sweet, dry cereal and molasses malt followed by citrus, floral and grassy hops. I strain my olfactory to discern these aromas, even as the beverage warms.

Black pepper, darkfruit (blackberries), coffee and bitter yeast follwed by cedar wood, lemon and grapefruit, an all-out assault on the taste-buds!

Rather cool and creamy, smooth and slightly oily leaving the hop on the tongue.

very enjoyable, drinkabilty is only limited by high ABV.

cbn, Jan 27, 2007
Photo of jpkoch1962
3.4/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This is from the 2006 vintage I bought a year ago. Pours a clear dark copper with a short lived brown head and lacing. The aroma was a mixture of bitter hops and alcohol fusels - remnds me of a sweet brandy. The taste matured from last spring, as the hops mellowed quite a bit, but not enough. This was like drinking a bitter brandy. Way too much alcohol up front, along with very Cascade hops(grapefruit, pine solvent bitterness) dominated the entire brew. Way out of balance. One positive thing about to say was the strong malt base. Even though it couldn't quite keep up with the hops, a sweet toffee like taste could be detected- thanks to the near perfect carbonation. While this is a hopheads dream, I find it a bit too much, if not poorly constructed. If I wish to drink grapejuice soaked pine needles, I go make it myself. Perhaps another 2 years in the cellar would have helped, but I doubt it. The overpowering bitterness is here to stay. Not intended to be a session beer. I prefer the English Barley Wines, but for hopheads, this is your thing.

jpkoch1962, Jan 23, 2007
Photo of dherling
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An '04 at Andy's, on tap. Lovely.

Poured out a reddish clear color, not much head, but strangely, lots of lacing. The nose was big, lots of hops, green and bitter, some alcohol, but not as huge as I thought it would be. The taste was pretty big, warming, with sherry, raisin, hops, pine, and a tiny bit of alcohol, more from the warmth of the mouthfeel than a particular taste. A gentle giant. Had a fairly clean mouthfeel, medium effervescence, with a long, big finish.

dherling, Jan 21, 2007
Photo of crayphish
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The Bigfoot Ale takes a close second to Celebration Ale when ranking Sierra Nevada Brews. The 2006 vintage poured to a dark brown cloudy liquid. Nominal head that did last down to the bottom of the glass. Nice fine lacing. The smell was of hoppy alcohol, and fruits. Very nice! Taste was of a great blend of strong malt and hops. Strong alcohol kicker as well. Again very nice. The brew felt thick with little carbonation. Despite the heaviness and alchohol content of this beer I found it extremely drinkable. Another solid product by SN.

crayphish, Jan 21, 2007
Photo of lackenhauser
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2000

Pours a rather muddy orange color. Seemd almost flat when opened. Very slight carbonation level but nothing worth noticing when it came to trying it. Very spruce like aroma. residual hop aroma with a deep, resin laced, slightly malty scent. Quite malty flavor. Winey, somewhat oakiness to it. Fairly bitter but none of the "fresh" hop bitterness to it that it has when new. Seems like the alcohol comes out as the years go by. Astringent,sort of dry mouthfeel to it. The standout hop character and huge malt flavor has definately subsided. The dryness an astringency knocks down the drinkability in my book. Still quite enjoyable after 6 years. Having recently tried a 1994 version I wouldnt wait much longer.

lackenhauser, Jan 18, 2007
Photo of goschool
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage: Almost a year old.

Appearance: The pour is a slightly hazy amber with a very minimal amount of head. It's starts out as a thin ring of lace and fades from there.

Smell: The nose is malty with quite a bit of fruit, citrus hops, and hint of alcohol.

Taste: The malts have caught up to, and overtaken, the hops since this first came out. The in flavor from toasty to fruity to sugary sweet and the hops bring mostly grapefruit with a touch of pine. A warming alcohol comes in near malts rangethe middle, goes away, and then comes back for the finish.

Mouthfeel: It's thick, chewy, and sticky with low carbonation, but a prickly texture.

Drinkability: This has aged nicely in 11+ months, becoming a well rounded barleywine. I've got five left and I look forward to seeing what the future will bring.

goschool, Jan 16, 2007
Photo of friendofthedevil
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent Barleywine from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Have had this many times straight out the bottle while enjoying the natural world. Very hoppy with a slightly fruity taste. Dry feeling in the mouth, likely due to the high alcohol content. Although some complain about the level of hops, I can't find anything wrong with this characteristic. Try it!

friendofthedevil, Jan 07, 2007
Photo of strangefate
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 edition.

Pours dark brown with a great cream-colored head that retains very well and laces all over the glass. Smell and taste are both very malty, lots of caramel character, and though chocolate malt is not used, the combination of malts gives a hint of it in the smell and taste. Since this is almost a year old, I guess the hops have calmed down a lot because I don't detect an amazing amount of hoppiness like others say is present when the beer hasn't aged. The malt is king in this beer. Dark grapefruit aroma and taste is also present. Very full-bodied and a very complex taste. The alcohol content is masked very well - it's a strong beer and it tastes strong, but not of strong alcohol, of strong malt. This one drinks pretty easily, you probably won't finish it as fast as other beers, but you'll be able to drink a few more of them afterwards. Especially if you're a badass like me.

strangefate, Dec 30, 2006
Photo of oakbluff
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2006
Poured into a medium sized red wine glass. Ruby coloured, with little head and quite a few little floaties (my bad for dumping in the whole bottle). Seems to have decent lacing on side of glass though. Smells like hops with a side dish of hops.
I've had this bottle aging since late winter. The first sip tells me that it still packs a mighty hop punch, which I don't mind at all! The taste is still heavy on the bitter hops, but I don't think its unbalanced at all. Has a nice oily feel on the tongue. Very different from the last barley wine I had which was an english style and much more malty. But this is from the west coast so what do you expect? I could drink two or three of these no problem. I have two more I'm saving (trying to save) for another year or so to see how it ages. A great barley wine for the hop addicts of the world.

oakbluff, Dec 29, 2006
Photo of Risser09
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2004 Vintage • 12oz bottle poured into a tasting glass

Appearance: Dark brown with some opacity. Very little head but not surprising for a 3 year old beer. Minimal lace floats atop the beer.

Smell: Very floral, bursting with aroma. Pine. Honeysuckle in the background. Other floral aromas present as well.

Taste: Explosive like a 2006 Bigfoot. No changes here. This is a hop bomb of a beer. My tastebuds are obliterated with bitterness. Pine and flowers are so explosive. Interestingly, there is a malt backbone to this beer. As I drink, I have to keep reminding myself that this is a barleywine and not a DIPA. It really does taste like a DIPA.

Mouthfeel: Bitter and full of alcohol although it's low in alcohol for a barleywine. I could see this beer being incredible after 5-10 years. It's not too harsh to drink now, but I think it would see improvement over time.

Drinkability: Not high marks here. It is hard to drink multiples of this beer. Needs to smoothe out after some cellaring. Interesting brew.

Risser09, Dec 28, 2006
Photo of mikesgroove
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006...Poured a rich hazy caramel color, with a thin head. Smell was Hop with a caramel, coffee under it with a hint of alcohol. Taste was much more complex. Caramel and rosted malts, followed by a very dry hoppy finish. Alcohol was very very well hidden. Superb taste and mouthfell make this very drinkable indeed. This was my favorite barleywine to date!

mikesgroove, Dec 24, 2006
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,291 ratings.