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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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6,704 Ratings

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Ratings: 6,704
Reviews: 2,891
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 325
Gots: 1,333 | FT: 55
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: 6,704 | Reviews: 2,891 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of shohog
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opened a bottle a couple hours after dinner and what a spectacular appearance right before my eyes. When held up to light it was similiar to trying to describe a beautiful sunset. Is it more red or orange? Clear with a thick 2 finger head and although dissipating was retained through the end.

Detected a hint of pine, some citrus like tones and floral. One of the better smelling beers I have tasted.

This was my first barleywine style ale and it was very shocking how a beer can be so sweet, syrupy and bitter all at once. It was an even battle between sweet or bitter. A perfect match to taste the malt flavor and hops.

This beer will really warm your esophagus down to your tummy. All the times sneaking up on you with a suprising high alcohol content. I could not drink more than a couple of these before it was becoming too over whelming with the strong taste. I will buy again but this sixer I bought is going to last me several days. A must try for all beer drinkers!

I'll be bock for another purchase of this one!

Photo of TheEremite
3.38/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

What a beautiful beer. Served in a 6 oz glass filled to the brim with an off white head spilling out the top. The beer is a gorgeous ruby red and crystal clear. Stunning. The aroma is a little disappointing though. I couldn't get much except some floral hops. It tastes very crisp for the style. It's not sweet, but fairly ballanced. It gets to be a bit much after a little ways through the glass. This isn't an extreme california beer, just a good barleywine.

Photo of QuentinCompson
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into pint glass

A - Nice tall head, easing into a good malty film, malty thick continental lacing; pretty brown brew

S - Strawberry, grapefruit, raspberry, hops, bubble gum, chocolate

T-M - Malty intro, serious hops with an orange tasting explosion to the buds, potpourri, tangy, almost too much after a few sips; big alcohol aftertaste

D - Enjoyable, but like other Sierra Nevada brews I've had, I probably couldnt drink more than two of these in a row due to the overwhelming flavor

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

12oz bottle, 2008 edition, purchased from Bauer Wines in Boston. Pours a ruby gold with big head. Strong hop aroma. The first sip is big and bold. A lot of sensations at once. Starts with a tiny bit of sweetness, with maltiness in the middle, followed by a strong hop and malt aftertaste. The aftertaste is heavy and warms the throat. Flavourful stuff that makes you take notice. Different from what I think is a typical barleywine. I'm enjoying this more and more, the more I have it.

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

I really like strong beers, but the irony here is I've had limited experience with barleywines. Here's a mainstream one which seems highly respected. Poured into an Old Guardian glass, on to the beer:

Deep reddish copper with a compact frothy head on top. Some clumps of yeast splash into the beer during the pour, but I'm not surprised. Big hop aroma with some burnt sugar and caramel notes. The taste is exploding with hops, but the balance is pretty good for what it is. Citric and piney at first, dextrin and fruity esters then take over the ride, then a burst of passionfruit and pine bury the palate in the aftertaste. Thick and smooth like syrup.

Great success. Here's to the last day of April 2008!

Photo of marcpal
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2008 Bigfoot.

A: Ruby red. Decent puff of head that went down to almost nothing as was the lacing.

S: Fruity and sweet. Mild burn in the aroma. Rum covered raisins come to mind first. Not as hoppy as I wouldve thought.

T: Tasty indeed, a whack of caramel up front but left in the back with nothing virtually but hops and a good chewy flavor. This is a really nice 'barleywine style ale'. All of these attributes come together ideally. As the beer warmed a bit, took a bit of a different order: whack of hops, awesome maltiness, then the hop coating. Taste the alcohol in a good way.

M: Syrupy as it should be. Nice and chewy texture. Comforting to the throat- strong characteristics.

D: One of the most drinkable of the style. A bit more than a sipper and I like the mild burn. When I think non-over the top European barleywine without being over the top, this is the definition.

I recommend highly, another good job by Sierra Nevada.

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

I tried the 2008 offering this weekend. I was not very familiar with the Barleywine style, so I didn't know exactly what to expect.
The first sip hit me hard with a lof of flavor. This offering is very hoppy and sweet. I get a lot of fruit in there and some earthy flavors as well.
As I drank it out of the bottle, I could not get a good feel for the head, but it wasn't foaming much in the bottle.
I could taste the alcohol (9+%) but it wasn't at all overpowering and felt pretty well balanced. Great mouthfeel (you know it's there).
I would, and have, recommended this offering and am going back for more this weekend.

Photo of drperm
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This review is for the 2006 release.
One of the stupider food-and-beverage labeling laws in the U.S. is the one that prevents barleywine from being marketed as such; the oh-so-lame "Barleywine-style Ale" being the result. It's enough to make a socialist into a libertarian.

Because, at the end of the day, there IS a difference between "Barleywine" and "Barleywine-style-ale." Barleywine is a very old, traditional, revered style of strong ale hailing from the UK. Any number of American variations and interlopers on the style exist, taking liberties and experimenting with the brew.

Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot is a tremendous offering in the classic English vein, a true "Barley Wine." It exhibits robust hopping and strong malty tones, with a whopping 9.6% ABV. Sip slowly and enjoy.

They don't come much better than this, especially this side of the pond.

Photo of Portertime
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have had a few different year releases of the Big Foot and they have all had a good unique taste. I am review the 2008 release. I enjoyed it chilled in a snifter. Poured a nice thick amber color with a mighty, creamy head. Smell of fruityness, hint of chocolate, a little piney. Taste of dried and slightly sour fruits, good hop balance. Pretty slick on the tongue.

Photo of TeeCee
3.36/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Quick review - much hoppier than I expected it to be. I think I like English Barleywines more.

Edited after my fourth bottle.

I poured it in a standard American pint glass as that's the type I keep in rotation. The color was red/brown with a creamy head that stuck around and thicker than just left lacing as I drank.

It smelled very strongly of hops.

The taste revealed that the beer was as hoppy as the smell led me to believe with a strong bitter character as well. The maltyness is what led me to edit my review. I find that it tastes much better to me when enjoyed rather cold which is to say as it warms and develops into its true self, I like it less. As it warmed, it almost tasted salty.

The mouthfeel was medium thick and went down well, thinning as it warmed.

I am not a hops lover and the hops quality of this beer would prevent me from having it often much less having several.

Photo of TroyS
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot 2008 Barleywine Style Ale is a really nice brew that'll warm you up. I purchased some of this fine offering at the state store in Provo, Utah. I bought 12oz. bottles.

It's suprising that all Utah liquor laws aren't a pain in the ars; I live in Idaho and Utah, but buy more regular brews out of the state liquor store because they offer a great price even though it is government and they don't pick the great ones like they do at my favorite shops in Idaho.

Anyhow...Bigfoot 08' is simple, warm and nice. I use the nice word because it is not an offensive barleywine at all. It pours with a real big head; the head pours lighter than most barleywines that I've had, but still carries color and a bit O' head is good for everyone and will linger until your last sip unlike so many barleywines what loose any sign of head after a couple of minutes.

The color is beautiful. An amber glowing almost showing like a dark apricot color. It's a real beauty of a brew; the first moments that it's in your mouth you'll taste a hint of sweet nectar flavor. So, the apricot is there in appearance and hiding in there to surprise your taste buds if you look for it.

The nose on this one seems a tad light and skunky; the skunk aisn't an old beer skunk, but more of a bitter dry skunk that's appreciated rather than shunned; keep in mind that the skunk ain't always bunk;)

So...this one drinks really smooth. I love a great looking beer! The appearance plays into the rest of the picture as does aftertastes. If it tastes like ars then the sweat aftertaste is stinky ars and nobody likes a stinky one....right? Well....this one is a bit heavy in the mouth, but not too syrupy or not too much alcohol either. This is a smooth and pleasant brew that I'd recommend especially for those that haven't tried too many stronger alcohol/hopped offerings.

Cheers to Sierra Nevada. This is a great main stream offering. Hip Hip Horray!!!

The only thing that could make this one tastier is with a stack of Doctor Grandma's Whole Grain Pancakes; those suckers go down smooth with nearly every style of brew;) Thanks Sierra Nevada and keep up the great work! As always...please throw in a few extra hops for me.

Oh....didn't mention the hop presence of this Bigfoot which was subtle and balanced. This is one if the defining characteristics of this particular Bigfoot. I'd personally call it slickfoot since it's not too incredibly "big," but won't go unnoticed, so in that manor it most certainly is big. I like em' hoppy and Sierra Nevada delivered this one as a barleywine should be with a moderately strong introduction and a smooth and bitter finish with a hint of booze. This barleywine is quite smooth with out the stab that I've gotten from most other barleywines. 4 outa 5 I'd say. ENJOY!!!

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

Pours a very dark golden honey color with dense foamy head.

Great hop and citrus nose.

Orange zest and malt with great hoppy finish.

Nice smooth mouthfeel. Very velvety.

This is an exceptional barleywine. I just wish I had more than a case of this nectar!!

Photo of DrainBamage
4.56/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours an amber color with a nice thick head. Smell is fruity and malty and has hop aromas also. This has enough hops to knock you on your ass. It's up there with Double IPA's. Goes down dry and and is a little sour in the back of the throat. This is a great beer and is definitely one to check out. Although the amount of hop flavor might be a bit for some. If you don't like bitter, stay away from this one, otherwise enjoy!

Photo of hellcatsjg
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark ruby beer with a nice finger worth of head with good retention. Good amount of lacing as you go.

Smell: Nice combo of piney and citrusy hops alongside malt and sweet dark fruits.

Taste: Very nice. Starts off with the nice piney hop flavor, then comes the malts. The sweet dark fruit flavor is right behind that. They all come together at the back end of the sip for a big warming flavor that is a great combination.

Mouthfeel: Nice thick beer with a good amount of carbonation. Leaves a nice warming feeling as it goes down.

Drinkability: Very good beer that is limited only by its high ABV and the thickness of the beer. I love this beer but could probably only have 2 in a night and be happy. One of the best American Barleywines that I have had. Highly recommended.

Photo of bkilpatr
3.19/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle in a Chimay glass. 04/20/08. 2008 version.

Pours a clear reddish brown color with an almost non-existent beige head. Aroma is toasted malt and grassy hops. Lots of hops.

Taste is sweet caramel at first along with some dark fruits. The finish is hoppy bitterness. Very intense earthy hop flavor. Very bitter. Can definitely taste the alcohol.

Very slick and oily from the hops. Still leaves a bit of stickiness on the tongue. Not very drinkable due to the high ABV (9.6%) and the intense bitterness.

Worth a try if you like barleywines, or hoppy west coast beers.

Photo of SAS
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada 12 oz 2008 Big Foot Barley Wine. Picked up a six pack at Albertsons Enjoyed out of my Pabst pint glass.

Appearance: Nice two full finger head creamy head that maintains well. Dark copper color. No haze, crystal clear.

Aroma: Good floral notes with strong hop notes. This one is a huge a American style Barley Wine. You can tell by the nose alone, this BW is not for those that don't enjoy big west coast hops.

Flavor: Malt right off the top but that quickly gives way to a very hoppy warm. I definitely get 9.6%. The hops give it a incredible citrus and floral flavor.

Mouth Feel: The hops cling to your mouth and just kick your salvia glands into overdrive. The high alcohol content gives it a distinctive warmth.

Drink ability: This is one that I will drink every once in awhile, but for the most part I look forward to drinking them down the road once the hops has mellowed out. I recommend splitting this one with a fellow BA, reviewing it.. Then do the same thing next year.

Photo of JamesS
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a great muddy brown color with hints of copper, great head, and excellent lacing. Good aroma, also, a nice deep malty scent with hints of caramel. Great taste, it has a very nice earthy tone with a lot of malty sweetness, hints of caramel and a bit of coffee. For such a high abv beer, it's wonderfully smooth. An excellent barleywine beer.

Photo of Hoopster4hire
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Recently purchased the 25th expedition edition.

Served in a pint glass at cellar temperature.

Appearance: Pours a mahogany/amber hue and with a head of about 3/8 of an inch that takes quite some time to dissipate.

Smell: Forceful aroma of hops, pine, citrus and something I can't quite describe.

Taste: Amazing. You are hit immediately with the piney taste of the hops which is quickly followed by the fantastic presence of a malty flavor with a hint of fermented fruit? Either way, deliciously overwhelming.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is present, but at the perfect level. The bubbles do not take away anything from the taste.

Drinkability: If you are just beginning to experiment with different types of beer, this is a great barleywine to start with. Loads of flavor and a good alcohol burn to boot.

I highly recommend this beer to anyone who has yet to try it.

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

Appearance: Golden dark brown color. Nice head and heavy lacing on the glass.

Smell: Strong aroma of malt and hops-has the distinct barleywine sweet smell, but you can tell its packing something more than usual.

Taste: Delicious! Heavy hitter on the hops and malt(and alcohol). First taste is of malt but then the hops and alcohol kick in and linger long after you have swallowed. very bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Has a slightly thick feeling to it-but not quite chewy, but heavier than some other barleywines in this department.

Drinkability: Very easy to drink this one. Gotta watch the alc percantage as ya knock a few of these back.

This was a 2008 release and I recommend picking some up if ya can.

Photo of jmacdaddy2008
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This an oldy but a goody.

Appearance-transparant golden brown-head is very light and dissipated quickly

Aroma-hoppy citrusy smell w/ other fruits very nice smell

Taste-good hop and bitterness w/ a slight carmel presence

Overall, a good staple in the barleywine style although little off balanced. I am aging a couple from last year to see if it helps

Photo of etaggie09
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

appearance: ruby amber with a light tan head that starts out great, and dwindles to a tiny cap that won't let go.

aroma: rich, fruity, and earthy like a spicy, sweet licorice tobbaco. fusel alcohol tells you this thing's jet fuel and i can't wait to drink it. Lovely herbacious, bready scent to the whole thing that is absolutely intoxicating all on its own.

taste: sweet and fruit at first, but like a soft breeze on desert sand, the bitterness lifts away the sweetness gently and settles itself into the tastebuds, daring you to take another sip. apple and pear with grapefruit rind. It smells and tastes like a pie. Wonderfully classic American Barleywine flavor.

mouthfeel: couldn't be better. rich, smooth, and buttery. if you're going to drink a beer, drink a thick one, damnit.

drinkability: oh this is a powerful one. One of these is enough to melt away all the tension and stress of a day and replace it with pure, blissful relaxation. Thank you Sierra Nevada

notes: a great barleywine, but I still think Old Ruffian is my favorite so far.

Photo of cvstrickland
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a seidel;

Hazy, murky, creamy, brown-orange body with a finger of fine-bubbled head that reduces a solid, sticky sheet, leaving lacing aplenty.

Smell is pure piney hops with a whiff of brown bread and caramel;

Taste is huge and stunningly hoppy; ripping good; fresh, resiny evergreen and bitter citrus, balanced (almost) by a smooth, sweet malt profile.

Nice tingly carbonation, smooth, delicious and very drinkable. Perhaps a really good double IPA in disguise, but I won't quibble over labeling details regarding this very fine "25th Expedition", whatever SN wants to call it.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint.

2008 version.

A: Pours a clear, reddish-brown color with a very creamy and bubbly light-tan head with excellent retention. Actively carbonated, at first, and with curtains of sticky lace all over the glass.

S: Huge bouquet of hops. Pine and citrus. Also noticed toasted malt, alcohol, and sweet caramel, but those aromas are playing hide-and-seek behind a wall built entirely of hops.

T: Big, bitter, piney hops accompanied by a large dose of sweet caramel malt, toasted malt, and (of course) alcohol. I also detected sweet fruity flavors of pineapple and apple and a notable black pepper hoppiness.

M: Slick and very oily. Bracing bitterness from the spicy/peppery hops and a noticable raggedyness from the alcohol help keep this from becoming a sweet malt bomb. Excellent, long lasting, peppery finish.

D: Weird as it sounds, the drinkability took a slight hit because it goes down so easy! Before I knew it the glass was almost empty and my cheeks felt scorched. Had I been able to control my pace, I might have been able to enjoy more than the one in a sitting.

Photo of BgThang
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is another favorite barleywine of mine.
It pours a deep brown/reddish color.
the nose is of candy. kinda of like the jar of hard candy grandma used to have.

There are hopps also. the head was outstanding.
lasted well in to the beer.
Definitely should let this warm up a bit to let the beer breathe and release its goodness. The back end left you questing for more. Also had this on tap and it was just as good.

Photo of rtratzlaff
4.87/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on-tap as one of my first big beers soon after NC popped the cap several years ago. I haven't tried it since. I remember enjoying it enough, but I don't think I could fully appreciate it then. So here it goes:

2008 Bigfoot on tap at Flying Saucer

Appears deep and dark with ruby edges along the edge of the glass. 1/2" creamy head that stays throughout and floats along leaving rings and lace to make any beer jealous.

Smells are dark fruit such as raisins and figs, and grapefruit citric hops.

Taste is liquid candy up front. My tongue is telling me I just filled my mouth with sugar coated fruit in liquid form. Quickly Hops come and kill the sweetness with wonderful grapefruit bitterness that stays on the tongue about as long as you'll let it.

Mouthfeel is full and luscious. Have one, sip it and savor every drop.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,704 ratings.