1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

6,141 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,141
Reviews: 2,806
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 247
Gots: 1,058 | FT: 36
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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,141 | Reviews: 2,806 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of riversider76

New York

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

Pours brown, with a thin tan head.This was vintage 2006. Smell is of citrus, hops,and alchol. Body is medium. Taste is big, almost sweet at the start, but finishes with a big hop kick. The citrus and alchol really come through. have a few of these,and say goodnight!

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2006 22:03:18 | More by riversider76
Photo of adam42381


4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle

Poured a dark brown with minimal creamy head. Faint lacing all the way down.

Smell is strong with hops and a faint bit of citrus, mainly lemon.

Taste is excellent. Very large, strong taste with a hint of citrus at the beginning. Finishes with a nice amount of bitterness. You can taste the difference in the higher ABV.

Mouthfeel is above average, not too thick but not light either. A bit sticky on the palate. Very nice.

Drinkability is quite high. Despite it's higher ABV, you could easily down a few of these.

Overall, this is an excellent product once again from Sierra Nevada. This is my personal favorite beer, at least for tonight!

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2006 03:48:42 | More by adam42381
Photo of Bitterbill


4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle(2006-room temp) a dark red with a medium sized head of foam that dissipated quickly.

The smell is a nice mix of hoppiness and a caramel malt.

The taste is big, huge, citrusy hoppy goodness up front that gets my palate's attention and almost puts a stranglehold on it. ;^) Mid way through, there's a good malt presence that stays right through to the finish though, right at the very end, the hops return just to let you know "who" is in command. Absolutely delicious!

Bottom line: I've had the Bigfoot many times and it never fails to satisfy. Highly recommended!!!

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2006 00:12:42 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of Bones54


4.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serving: Bottle
Appearance: A very enticing brown
Smell: Damn- smell those hops!! Mix in a hint of pine and fruit aroma.
Taste: Holy hoppiness!!! I think my palate is actually having a hop attack- I'll take that any day... I swear this is a Double IPA...
Drinkability: Proceed with caution.... This beer is very drinkable, especially with its IPA characteristics- but this sucker is high in ABV and should be handled as such

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2006 18:38:17 | More by Bones54
Photo of daliandragon

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is another beer I've heard a great deal about and have been eager to try. I've had a mixed track record with barley wines so far but I'm trying harder to appreciate them and this is suppossed to be one of the best.
Pours a cloudy ruby color into my goblet with no real head but a thin skullcap remains. Cloudy and very tranquil in appearance, with zero visible carbonation. Nose has the delicious waft of chocolate malt and is ringed with alcohol, unsurprising considering the abv.
I have to admit, I like this beer in spite of what it is. Too much alcohol on the tongue for me but a late kick of hops saves it from high abv hell and gives it some much needed balance and character. Texture is obviously thick and round enough under the circumstances.
I still wouldn't choose one for extended session work but this is a high quality brew. I'll definitely be looking for more of these next winter and have to admit with this one, the hype is legit.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2006 08:35:22 | More by daliandragon
Photo of bashiba


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

2006 bottling
Poured a nice dark red with lots of carbonation, when poured aggressively this led to about 4 inches of thick creamy and sticky head.

Smell is a nice mix of juniper hop odor with bits of bready toasty malts.

Wow is this a hop bomb. There are some underlying malt flavors, but it still dominated by great piney and grapefruity hop flavors.

Mouthfeel has a thick oilyness that really cotes the tongue and lingers.

Overall and enjoyable and tasty treat for hopheads.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2006 00:02:50 | More by bashiba
Photo of ReDave


4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2005 Bottling.. Wish i had kept at least two bottles (or better yet a 6-pak) of each year as i bought them... I will try with this batch this time. I’m not sure how long they age this, but it is VERY right now! Aging will mellow and smooth out the few (very) rough edges it has now. Very rich, not really overpowering in any area. Sure it’s a litle strong, but its A Barley Wine. Much more drinkable than some others i’ve had that are too sweet (cloying?) or not nearly as balanced. Great!

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2006 05:41:55 | More by ReDave
Photo of Avagadro

New Jersey

3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into a clear glass (looked like a lowball) because no good beer glasses were available. I was able to get a good foamy head out of it, but cleared away after a short amount of time (maybe a tulip glass would have helped?) Great aroma upon agitating the beer. Nice crisp hoppy smell. The flavor followed the same trend with the hoppiness. Hoppy to begin and a slight dry after-taste. Had a great reddish-brown color when held up to the light. I suggest this to a person who likes a hoppier barley wine. This is a great beer to start out the night, but weighing in at 9.60 abv, drink with caution.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2006 04:59:47 | More by Avagadro
Photo of mcallister


3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

What a great frothy head and substantial lacing. Cloudy penny copper with slight browning at the edges. Smells of sweet barley and hops with molasses. Slightly hoppy. Mouthfeel leaves something to be desired. Almost to tannic. Otherwise a very good barley wine. Definitely not my favorite though. By the way it's an '05

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2006 00:04:08 | More by mcallister
Photo of tattooedtolley


4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 edition. 12oz bottle with cool little image of bigfoot and some campers drinking under the cap.

Appearance: Deep amber/red in color with a big head that stays for a while, long enough to let it sit and warm up a bit. Great looking in every glass I have put it in.

Smell: Super hoppy, pine aroma takes complete command of my ability to smell.

Taste: You can't miss the hops in this one. I was certainly suprised by the first tasting of this year's Bigfoot, I had no guess there would be this much hop kick. That is certainly something that I think adds to the taste of this barleywine. The piney and slightly fruity hops are great and the maltiness in the back helps add to the body and let's you know that you are still drinking a barleywine.

Mouthfeel: The body is big enough for a barleywine, not overly chewy, just about right for my tastes.

Drinkablitly: The first night I had this I opened one after already having a few others and it straight knocked me on my ass. Ever since that night I stop at just one and save the rest for another night. The beer is still extremely drinkable but you must be on your toes not to over do it.

Overall I think this is one of the best barleywines I have ever had. I love hops so the hoppiness of this one is more than welcome to my tastes but others will certainly want to cellar this one for a while. I doubt seriously if I will be able to cellar mine very long.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2006 15:30:00 | More by tattooedtolley
Photo of amicar


4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 edition. Funny... a twist off cap. Pours reddish tinged copper with off white head, decent sized. Smell is mostly citrus hops Taste is very nice. A little coarse, but nice.. those citrus hops again. A bit of bite and burn, but very satisfying. Not too sweet- just the right touch. Also a good malty brew with nice mouthfeel. I was going to try to cellar a bit of this, but it's wishful thinking that I can save any.. no wonder this is a clasic.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2006 04:38:40 | More by amicar
Photo of superdavex


4.93/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ok, let me preface this review by saying I have a Bigfoot in my hand and have had one consistently in my belly after work for a good month now. Why I've only gotten around to reviewing it now I won't try to explain. On with the review.

As I twist the top off and pour the liquid into my pint glass I immediately notice the DIPA like copper hue. I continue to pour and a very thick body is noticed by the lack of surface movement. As I finish the pour a very slight head developes.

I take a deep quaff and intense hops are inhaled along with a sweet alcohol smell. Wow, is this inviting!

The taste is beyond compare in my experience of barley wines. A slightly sweet malt-like entrance into your mouth followed by an INTENSE hoppy flavour. This is by far the hoppiest barly wine I've had and this is a VERY good thing.

A slightly heavy mouthfeel somehow offset by the intense hoppyness. This thing is so hoppy that it cut through the thickness.

Drinkability is outstanding as I could easily have three or four of these 10% suckers but I'd certainly be regrettin it. I'm gonna limit myself against my will and stop right now after this sip. I'd better stop typing about it too to keep it out of mind.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2006 01:25:57 | More by superdavex
Photo of Bleedingshrimp


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

2006 edition. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into my Hobgoblin pint glass. Nice hard pour gave me a decent finger and a half of head. Amber colored with brilliant ruby highlights. As I inhaled deeply I was teased by dark fruit, and tons of fresh hops. Taste is sweet and fruity before a tidal wave of strong alpha hops crashes into my taste buds. Huge hop taste and finish with just a touch of biscuity malt in the beginning and end....which the hops just laugh at and step all over. Alcohol warmth present but nowhere neer overwhelming. Mouthfeel is just short of chewy. Big, complex mother of a beer. Definitely would try over and over again. Shows why a company like Sierra Nevada has such staying power in the market. Best Barleywine i've tasted.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2006 20:32:45 | More by Bleedingshrimp
Photo of ommegangpbr

New York

3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From the 2005 expedition.
Looks, smells and tastes like an American barley wine!
Go figure.
Not super duper as far as barley wines go but it gets the job done.
One decided, unique aspect about this one that I don't think I've noticed in other barley wines is a distinct note of licorice.
Intense, hoppy bitter, malty sweet, sweetened coffee...
Big Beer.
Not for children.
It might frighten them off.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2006 07:29:33 | More by ommegangpbr
Photo of beveragecaptain

New Jersey

4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Bigfoot pours out a deep amber color with a large, dense head. Each sip of this beer seems to leave a new ring of lacing on the side of my glass. The aroma is a blast of grapefruity hops. The hop aroma becomes slightly more tame as the beer warms, but there is no doubt on which side the balance lies in this beer. Pungent hop flavor with lots of sweet caramel maltiness too. Although the sweetness is there, the taste left behind in the mouth is very bitter. The hoppiness is green, but I can't imagine this beer any other way. Smooth mouthfeel. Alcohol is present but doesn't interfere. I must admit, I had forgotten how great this beer is, a mistake I won't be making again.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2006 03:13:37 | More by beveragecaptain
Photo of jaluria


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

Grabbed a single at my local store and was excited to try it even though the weather outside seemed more like late May than early March.

Poured a dark, ruby color with hues of orange & copper at the bottom and throughout. An off-white head developed with thick bubbles on the surface; soap-like. Aromas of plums, roasted malt, honey, caramel, and alcohol. The taste was smooth and rich with malt flavors upfront and a hop finish. Really complex and flavorful; nothing too overpowering. Thick and chewy in my mouth. Slightly sour taste in the back of my throat with a mild alcohol warming sensation.
Overall, this is one of the best barley wines I've had so far. Smooth and rich without overkill on any one flavor.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2006 15:27:44 | More by jaluria
Photo of Crosling


4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pure, fresh, barleywine. Perfect deep burgundy in color with a large, creamy and dense head of light tan foam. Nose of hops mainly (resin, grapefruit, pine, flowers) with a touch of caramel and dried fruits. Rich, chewy malts and a gigantic hop explosion. Pretty much exactly what I want in a barleywine. Big honey covered fruit flavors, caramel and hops, hops, hops. Quite honestly, this is pretty much a session beer for me when it is around, especially when it is 10 bucks a 6’er. Each yeah is consistently great and it ages superbly as well.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2006 15:14:03 | More by Crosling
Photo of pjwilson


4.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

'06 sampled fresh

appearance: nice red color with a phat head. sheets of lacing as the glass is emptied. one the few beers that feels equally at home in pint glass, as it does in a wine glass or tulip. this particular one is in a wine glass. pretty hard to beat this one.

smell: nice reisny pine smell. more subdued than some pale ales, but here in full effect. the malts are nowhere to be found at this point.

taste: about perfect, although it can be argued that their is so much hop flavor that it sort of pushes the limit on the barlelywine style. I love the malty barleywines alot too (which this beer itself will become in a year's time), but this beer just has the perfect mix of grapefruit, pine and malt backing to make it work. Samples from a month ago had even more grapefruit, the flavors in this beer really change month to month it's the damnest thing. doesn't seem to bitter at all, although it is bitter, no doubt.

mouthfeel: light as one could reasonalbly expect a barlelywine to be, and they don't even use sugar to thin the body,(not that i care, it's just impressive from a brewing standpoint). sure, it's got some heft to it, but you want that in barlelywine i would assume.

drinkablitly: so drinkable for a bw it's scary. Old Gaurdian is a chore for me to finish, not this. Yeah, you want to savor it, but it just keeps going down.

Probably the first Barlelywine many of us had, and yet reminds hard to be topped.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2006 01:54:46 | More by pjwilson
Photo of dem

New York

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

I first had the 2006 Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale a few nights ago on tap at MacGregor’s in Rochester, NY. At the time, it was not a proper (sober) environment to do an accurate review. Well, I unexpectedly found a six pack of it an hour ago at a dinky beverage center. The following is my impromptu review.

Pours out of the 12 oz bottle deep amber. Looks like warm malt extract. Very thin sharp head vanishes quickly. Carbonation just slightly flatter then when I had it on tap. I notice a BIG difference in the lacing. It was poured into identical chalices both at the bar and home. From the bottle there was almost zero lacing. On tap at the bar, the lacing was so thick it stayed on the glass throughout, leading me to scoop it off with my finger to savor it one last time. Too many variables to tell if it was a reaction to something on the glassware (soap) or if there’s more lace from the kegged version. I will continue my tests.

A glorious American hop aroma. Hoppy, fruity, citrusy, and sweet. Nice strong bouquet here.

I am not a fan of fruity beverages. Hell, I thought I didn’t like barleywines, but this one does it just right. Fruity, malty and sweet for juuust long enough before the hop bite kicks in and makes you feel like a man again. A great sharp bitterness in the aftertaste. Grapefruit comes to mind. Nice and complex.

Mouthfeel from the bottle seems syrupy after having it on tap, but that feeling goes away quickly. It could all be my imagination. When I had it on tap, it was FAR from being my first beverage of the night. That may have influenced my memory of this ale. Hehehehe.

Bigfoot is quite drinkable for me, but I REALLY like big beers. I do think I’d save this for a nightcap. A slow sipping setting seems appropriate here. Although, having 2 or 3 of them from the tap on a night out sounds like a real good time.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2006 21:31:23 | More by dem
Photo of Dicahomebrewing

New York

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

On tap, poured a redish tint, with a nice white head. The smell of hops and alcohol present, with complex citrus notes. Taste of hops and heavy malt with a sweet but bitter taste. Mouthfeel is smooth, with a tingling affect of the alcohol. Great beer Overall! Im a big fan...

Serving type: on-tap

03-12-2006 03:26:18 | More by Dicahomebrewing
Photo of fingolfin72

North Carolina

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

On tap at the Sawmill Taproom.

Appearance- deep, clear copper with a creamy, persistent, palomino-colored head.

Nose- toast and sugar, but hard to tell in a smoky bar.

Palate- Big and instantly gratifying with brown sugar, piney hops, toffee, generous alcohol and bracing carbonation. Nice, rich mouthfeel, especially with swished around a bit.


Serving type: on-tap

03-12-2006 02:04:07 | More by fingolfin72
Photo of LPorter33


3.43/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2

Single bottle of 2006 batch purchased from Martignetti's

Appearance = Exceptional looking deep, dark cherry reddish/brown. Thick and delicious looking with good creamy head and excellent lacing. Tiny bubbles rise up creating a very impressive appearance.

Smell = Not particularly strong in the nose but what's there is pleasant. Very hoppy but with a lot of sweetness too, like sugar candy This smells like it's going to be a very complex brew.

Taste = Not as sweet as I remember it when I sampled a bottle in 2005. The alcohol and bitterness makes much more of a dominating presence. The flavor underneath is still pretty darn good though. Lots of hops that are quickly washed away by a very syrupy, bitter-sweetness. Alcohol is just a bit too much in your face. Still for being so high in alcohol, this is a tasty brew. Alcohol dominance just ruins it.

Mouthfeel = like liquid satin. Thick, soothing, comforting.. Really an incredibly experience inside the mouth.

Overall = a fairly good barley wine from Sierra Nevada although I think I liked the 2005 version a bit more.Not impressed with the drinkability on this one. I couldn't finish the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2006 06:34:15 | More by LPorter33
Photo of jslot38


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

Presentation: 12 oz Stubby Bottle from '06 Spring

Appearance: Deep, hardly transparent amber. Cherry wood body covered by an eggshell head, and a large one at that after a moderatly hard pour. Never disappears, and the lacing just sticks off of it.

Smell: Pine, earth, grassy hop aromas. Slight touch of grapefruit.

Taste: Upfront pine hop blast - other earth tones intermixed throughout. Very sweet, certainly one to slowly intake. Touch of toasted biscuit at the end rounds it off.

Mouthfeel: The moderately abbrasive nature of the hops is balanced by the great slick oily feel and mid range level of carbonation.

Drinkability: At 9.6% this is a strong beer. And with this hop profile and sweetness its one to take slowly. But I don't take that as a bad thing, I like to savour my beers. For a big beer its highly drinkable.

Notes: Tasted a little green, can see why people love to lay these down for a few years. A great barleywine none the less, backs up my already strong feelings that Sierra Nevada has a great ability to implement a strong but great hop profile in their beers. Although I feel this one may use just a little too much pine inducing hops.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2006 05:48:45 | More by jslot38
Photo of Rezzin


4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Born on date of Jan 06, 2006. Poured into a pint glass.

A - Deep reddish brown with a creamy 1" tan head that sits around for a while. As I drink the lacing covers my pint glass beautifully.

S - Malty and sweet. Very malty and sweet with a big hop nose as well. This smells like a rich rich beer. Fruity and earthy hop aroma.

T - Sweet brown sugar maltiness up front.. piny, resiny, fruity hop bitterness on the back with an alcoholic bite that's not all that bad which kinda surprises me. It really reminds me of SNCA which is one of my favorite IPA's.

M - Creamy and smooth. Slight dry alcohol aftertaste but not overly so for a barleywine.

D - This is the first time I've tried the Bigfoot barleywines from SN and plan on stocking each year's offerings. This is an excellent beer. I can't wait to try it again in a year or two.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2006 03:14:52 | More by Rezzin
Photo of Byeast


4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My bottle of Bigfoot barleywine style Ale is a 2006.

Appearance: Poured out a viscous , deep , hazed reddish-auburn. Creamy , off-white head of about a half inch. Carbonation slowy struggling to the top.

Smell: Fresh and fierce ,piney and slightly fruity hop aromas , some alcohol

Taste: dense , rich maltiness ,strong, earthy , green , slightly floral, and bittersweet chinook hoppyness. Lingering bitter aftertaste and alcohol.

Mouthfeel: viscous and chewy

Drinkability and stuff: Damn fine barleywine. Awsome use of hops especially. Very drinkable and delicious.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2006 21:19:05 | More by Byeast
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,141 ratings.