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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.

6,365 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,365
Reviews: 2,817
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 270
Gots: 1,139 | FT: 48
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: 6,365 | Reviews: 2,817 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of haz77
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A – 2007. Pours a bright, clear chestnut, with an inch of creamy light tan head. This falls to a fluffy finger-thick cap. Medium carbonation.

S – Pine, citrus, tropical fruit, peppery phenols.

T – Sweetness fills the mouth, with the tropical fruit emerging initially. Peppery spice pushes through and the first alcohol notes move forward. Finish is herbal, with the alcohol warmth increasing. Long, lingering, citrusy, bitter aftertaste.

M – Rich, coating mouthfeel. Very smooth and creamy. Soft carbonation works well.

D – Lovely easy sipper. Alcohol is there, but not unpleasantly so. Highly recommended.

haz77, Mar 18, 2007
Photo of JayQue
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Bigfoot. Still a great beer. Dark amber color, nice off-white/tan head, huge lacing and great taste remain the same as 2005 and 2006. The aroma did not appear to be quite as pronounced as previous. I thought this years batch was a bit sweeter and more malty than 2005 / 2006. Still a huge citrus and pine taste but I wouldn't describe it as much as a hops blast as previously. Noticed a slightly oily aftertaste and mouthfeel. The mouthfeel is still incredibly rich. Two of these would render me as operating at less than half speed, but I would still have to give it high marks for drinkability.

JayQue, Mar 17, 2007
Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a ruby orange-brown with a nice light tan head. Talk about lacing there isn't an inch of glass not covered.

Smells - Hops, orange rind, grapefruit, and caramel malts.

Taste - The caramel sneaks in at the beginning but the grapefruit/oranges and then the piney hops take control and dominate your palate. This is wonderfully balanced.

Mouthfeel - Dry and crisp due to the hopiness and carbonation but also substantial.

Drinkability - This is definitely one of my favorite barley wines. Delicious!

stereosforgeeks, Mar 17, 2007
Photo of fank2788
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass
2007 vintage
I was finally able to find some bigfoot and I'm really excited about giving this a try so here it goes.
This beer pours out a deep red/brown copper color, a moderate pour yields a nice foamy head about two fingers thick that will dissipate slowly and lace a bit on the way down. The smell is all hops up front. A lot of grassy and resinous hop aroma is experienced, the hop aroma is so thick you can almost taste it. The taste itself is also very full of hops. The copious hop flavors hit first along with a strong bitterness. Then a touch of sweetness comes through followed by a bit of alcohol and the warmth associated with the alcohol. For a beer with a bitterness this high it is surprisingly well balanced. The mouthfeel is very full this beer tastes thick and coats the mouth well. Like many big beers drinkability is only good you need to take it slow with this one or the bitterness will just tear your mouth apart. I'm probably more a fan of English style barleywines but this isn't bad I'd definitely like to see how this one ages if my willpower proves strong enough to let a few sit for a while.

fank2788, Mar 16, 2007
Photo of John_M
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As barleywines go, this is just about as good as it gets. For me it's something of a mood thing; sometimes I prefer the sweeter style, sometimes the hoppier style. This is decidedly the latter and is just fabulous. This was listed at Max's as the 2006, which I would assume means that it is now one year old. No matter, this beer was very fresh tasting with a faulous hop profile. I find this beer to be very complex with all kinds of things going on. The first thing you notice is the sweetness, followed almost immediately by the blast of hops. Then you start to notice the alcohol and sweetness again, but the flavor profile finishes with a blast of hops. Incredible. This could almost be an imperial IPA it's so hoppy, but it's got the kind of maltiness and sweetness you just don't encounter in most DIPA's. The beer is a beautiful copper color, I don't believe I've seen anything else quite like it. The beer pours with a perfect creamy head that dissipates slowly. A beer to sip and enjoy. A consistent winner from Sierra Nevada.

Note: Recently had occasion to try two aged versions of this beer. On 5/9/09 I was fortunate enough to sample the 2002 and 1999 at Max's. Both versions had held up superbly well, with 2002 showing a bit more hoppy bitterness, coupled with ablack, bittersweet chocolate flavor. The 1999 was nearly still, with more of a soft, creamy milk chocolate flavor, but still with some noticeable hoppy bitterness on the finish. Both bottles were absolutely superb!

John_M, Mar 15, 2007
Photo of Windigstadt
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Hazy amber with a generous creamy head that slowly dissipated.
S- Spicy, grass-like hop notes initially hit your nose, earthy to the point of almost having a skunky edge (note I said almost); as hop notes fade an underlying honey-like sweetness sets in.
T- Sweet up front, with hints of honey, brown sugar, slight caramel. Low esters; slight alcohol burn. Sweetness gives way to slight grassy/herbal notes, which further give way to citrus zest. Finishes with an assertive bitterness that lingers in the back of your mouth.
M- Full but not heavy; appropriate for style.
D- It's a big beer and it drinks like one.

Overall: good example of American barleywine style, but not exceptional. I had a chance to sample 2001 vintage recently which had more well-rounded character. The '07 may benefit from cellaring as well.

Windigstadt, Mar 15, 2007
Photo of brentk56
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 Vintage

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with a modest head that leaves good lacing

Smell: Spruce pine aroma with a bit of wood and alcohol esters

Taste: Starts out with a toasty caramel flavor that is quickly stepped on by the piney hops; after the swallow, the bitter pine flavors overwhelm everything else and cruise to the finish , where it is joined by a touch of sweetness on the tip of the tongue

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with modest carbonation

Drinkability: Like all Bigfoots, this is a bit raw when young; give it a few years to mellow out

brentk56, Mar 15, 2007
Photo of xav33
4.78/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
12 oz bottle
Released 2007, demystified 02/07
Medium pour in an English pint.

Poured a clear amber red with a large off-white or beige mostly lasting head with good lacing.

Smelt of strong to harsh tangy grapefruit and pineapple with light toasted bread, spruce and caramel.

Taste was upfront strong sweet barley sugar candy and caramel with moderate bitter roasted grain and spruce hops followed by a strong to harsh spruce bitterness and moderate caramel sweetness and dried autumn leaves on a long bitter finish.

Palate was softly carbonated, medium bodied, oily to creamy, strongly astringent and lightly alcoholic.

Overall, as a young barleywine style ale, it is very meticulously crafted, with an excellent balance of sweet and bitter barley taste on the palate. Still has a young feel to it, but nonetheless the paragon of a barleywine style ale.

xav33, Mar 14, 2007
Photo of jwc215
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


Pours deep ruby with a one-finger head creamy head. Decent head retention for the style.

The smell is a fragrant bouquet. Caramel, citrus, peppery spice.

The taste is of rich caramelish sweetness with underlying citrus and pine. The citric/piney hops soon catch up to, and edge over, the malt. Very hoppy for the style. Assertive, slightly raw, though not necessarily sharp, alcohol is present that will probably mellow with aging.

The body is full, rich and creamy.

A nice slow-sipper. A nice malt profile supported by a stong hop character. A unique, tasty, barleywine!

jwc215, Mar 13, 2007
Photo of BradBLR
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This review is for the 2007 Bigfoot.

The beer was poured a slightly reddish brown with an off white head. The head was thin, a little less than a 1/4 inch thick but stayed that way almost the entire beer with great lacing. The aroma was a sweet malty smell with a hint of cherries and a nice floral hop smell.

The taste was a sweetly bitter flavor with a good amount of hops on the back end. You could taste cherries, a sweet malt flavor, a little hint of spice, and possibly a very slight hint of orange. The mouthfeel was good, with the beer being very thick. My only slight complaint would be that the CO2 was a little too strong.

Another great edition of bigfoot, if you get a chance to have this on tap I very highly suggest you give it a try. You won't be disappointed.

BradBLR, Mar 12, 2007
Photo of copasetic
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Bigfoot. I've had this one before, so I gave it a rather aggressive pour into my pint glass. This yielded a slight head that was rather coarse. The ale itself is a dark amber, approaching brown, with very little carbonation, evidenced by just a few small bubbles slowly rising to the surface. The aroma is sharp and uniformly hoppy. The malt shines through only minimally. On the first taste and all subsequent, this beer tastes very much like a double IPA. The malt character is certainly there, but it's huge counterbalance of hops takes it away from the sweetish thick maltiness that I've come to expect from barleywines. Still, it's quite good. Heavy body, but not so heavy as to force it into the "one pint per session" category.

Overall, Bigfoot is a barleywine that I appreciate. In the days of beer that pushes the limits toward thicker, heavier, and more alcoholic flavors, this remains drinkable and an entirely reasonable barleywine. I will drink this again. In fact, I'm going out to get a six pack.

copasetic, Mar 10, 2007
Photo of ccrida
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 and 2005 vertical, 4 oz drafts, at the Lucky Labrador Barelywine fest.
I had only had this as a fresh bottle, and was not impresed. I am not a fan of bitter bombs, and the fresh bottle just obliterated my palate. I cut it some slack in my review because I figured it was made to be laid down for a few years, and after these vintage versions, I can see I was right, they were MUCH better.
Bigfoot poured slightly murky amber with a thin white surface skim of head.
The smell was all rich malt but not particularly sweet.
The taste was also rich and malty, sweeter then the smell and a bit vinous, but fades to a very hoppy bitterness. The alcohol is well hidden.
The mouthfeel was good, medium bodied.
The drinkability of this was pretty good, particularly for the 04, which was much more subtle and balanced and not as bitter, really awesome.

ccrida, Mar 10, 2007
Photo of goochpunch
3.15/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

From a bottle of the 2007.

I really have to give it to Bigfoot. This is a really beautiful beer. Rusty brown body with cascading bubbles, and off-white, nearly khaki head, and raised lacing patterns on the glass. Not many high abv beers can be described as such. In the nose I get a wealth of pine and citrus, with notes of vanilla and toasted malt. Alcohol sits in the background. When I first had Bigfoot about a year and a half ago, I thought it was over-the-top bitter, which it still kind of is, but now I can taste more than just an assault of hops. What I thought was once disgusting because of the hop character now just seems kind of all over the place with toasted malts, pine resin, and a finish that's both oily and overly sweet with a bitter that doesn't really balance out the sweet, so much as it conflicts with it. The beer is decent, for sure, but it's nothing I could get worked up over. Mouthfeel is full and mellow, but a bit slick for me. I don't have much interest in drinking this. I'd much rather an Old Foghorn or Old Ruffian for a better example of an American styled barleywine.

goochpunch, Mar 10, 2007
Photo of MCDuhamel
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003. Poured into a snifter at cellar temperature.

A: Very dark amber, almost brown. No head to speak of, and what there is retreats to a ring around the snifter immediately. Some lacing, though. The beer appears a bit murky. There's nothing unappealing about it, but nothing extraordinary either.

S: American hop aroma is the first thing to meet the nose, followed by ripe fruit and raisin. As it warms, there is a slight spiciness to the nose probably contributed by the alcohol but adding a nice layer of complexity. Very, very nice.

T: The nose might suggest a strong hop flavor, but the tongue instead meets fig, raisin, ripe fruit and malt. As that slowly fades, it yields to a nice driness butressed by bittering hops that manage to highlight the sweet maltiness of the first taste. Absolutely fantastic.

M: The mouthfeel is full and fairly heavy, but moderated by more carbonation than in most English versions of the style. The result is a very pleasant sensation on the tongue.

D: This is a sipper, and one is plenty. At the same time, I reach the bottom of the snifter with regret and wish I had sipped yet more slowly.

Overall: This may be the quintessential American barleywine, and it developed really nicely after 4 years in my cellar. I will drink my remaining 2003 next year, at 5 years old. This is a great American beer.

MCDuhamel, Mar 10, 2007
Photo of shroompod
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 , pours a red copper color. Not much of head

Smell is very citrusy,hoppy, and some sweet caramel.

Taste is again very citrusy , almost with a grapefruit bite. Any malt stays in the background.

Drinkability suffers slightly from the high ABV and high hops rates, but I expect this beer ages great.

shroompod, Mar 09, 2007
Photo of ragekage23
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: very rich amber color with a frothy one inch head.

S: probably one of the best smelling beers: very hoppy, very fruity.

T: starts with hoppy, bitter taste, follows with a nice citrus, and end with one of the most prominent berry flavors i've tasted in a long time. the alcohol is very prominent.

M: more of a medium body mouthfeel, i think.

D: Ok, I'll be honest, this is my first barley wine, but if this is a forecast of things to come then this beer is one of the finest i've tasted.

ragekage23, Mar 08, 2007
Photo of atsprings
3.53/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served a DEEP amber with a thin head that left some spotty lacing on the glass. The aroma was a deep blend of malts and dried fruits balanced by earthy hops. The taste was a very complex blend of malts and hops, but not exactly the best taste in the world. The beer was very heavy on the palate and the alcohol was very present. The beer was slightly abrasive on the palate. This is a sipper, harder to drink than many other barley wines.

atsprings, Mar 07, 2007
Photo of Damian
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank from a 12 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Cambridge Wine & Spirits, Cambridge, MA

Poured a deep, slightly hazy, orange-copper with no head (just a ring of frothy bubbles).

Aroma was big and very fragrant. Super hoppy with piney and citrusy notes. In the background lay a stiff malty backbone with some sweet fruitiness. As the beer warmed, some alcohol also became noticeable.

Taste was similar to smell, except even more hoppy and biting. A touch of malty creaminess was noticeable on the front of the palate before the hops took over. Hoppy from start to finish with the strong, fruity, juicy and piney hop notes intensifying as they moved along the palate. The long finish was very dry, puckering, piney and resiny with a distinct, bitter grapefruit quality. This beer was a true palate shredder.

Mouthfeel was super rich, creamy and frothy. It almost felt fluffy on my tongue.

Drinkability was moderate. While this beer was quite flavorful and the 9.6% ABV was well masked, the intense hop bitterness was rather difficult to handle.

Overall, this was a good barley wine, but I would have preferred a more balanced offering.

Damian, Mar 06, 2007
Photo of DaggerEyes
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage, got it for a measly $1.25 at the local corner store :)

Pours a ruby-reddish brown with a soapy small head, crazy sticky against the side of the glass

Wonderful smell, the only thing holding it back from a straight up 5 is that it is slightly too astringant, something that will surely mellow with a bit of age. Strong notes of berries, mostly strawberrys, a bit of rasberry, caramel, a nice subtle hoppy tinge, maybe a little bit of pine in there but just a little bit, great smell...

the taste was a bit of a let down after the nose it had on it...pretty blunt and mono chromatic, not as sweet as one would believe by the nose. Very Bitter and the hops that were faintly present on the nose come out in full force on the tongue. It's pretty young and the alchohol is very present. I'd be interested to see how this does with a few years in a cellar.

smooth, fairly round with just a hint of carbonation, Very dry on the finish, you might want to keep a glass of water near by.

Given the higher achohol content I can't imagine drinking to much of this but it's fairly drinkable as barley wines go.

I am tempted to put a few of these aside...I'm anxious to see how this matures it could really be a knock out in a few years time

DaggerEyes, Mar 06, 2007
Photo of kelticblood
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2003 bottle

Being 4 years old it lost alot of it's head and carbonation. I've had this in my fridge for along time. The color is a Red/Brown and looks to be cloudy when held up to the light. Almost exceptional complex aroma with a great cherry and fuit smell. True to the style of a Barley Wine. It has mellowed out sitting in my fridge that long and the ABV is well-hidden . Lingering dry bitterness on the finish. The mouthfeel lacks a crisp carbonated bite. Full-bodied and creamy with no signs of a watery texture. Due to the high ABV I cannot see myself drinking more than one of these before wanting to switch. Goes down remarkably smooth with no alcohol bite.

kelticblood, Mar 05, 2007
Photo of kajerm
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2007 bottle, I've been wanting to try this one for a while.

Pours pale reddish-brown, a little bit hazy, and basically headless-- but it looks pretty nice. Slight notes of roasted malt, a little dark fruit, and somehting spicy-- cloves maybe? Oh, and booze. Definitely booze.

OK, tasting it-- shit, this is hoppy. I did not smell that one coming. Alpha acid bitterness and alcoholic spiciness are definitely the dominant notes here, with a shade of malt mid-palate that's gone as quickly as it appears. Lingering bitterness on the finish; not bad, not bad at all.

The palate is heavy, but if you buy a 9.6%ABV barleywine, I hope you saw that one coming. It's heavy, slick, and pretty chewy. The mouthfeel complements the aroma and flavor nicely.

This is a tasty beer, but one is enough for me. Drinkability is about what I'd expect at ten points of ethanol. That said, you need to get at least halfway into this one to really get it-- after habituating to the hops, this beer really starts to reveal itself and the balance and complexity are phenomenal.

rerate: Must have been a lousy pour, I got a nice head this time with about average retention and significant lingering lace. The nose is completely devoid of hops (it smells spicy and malty.) It's still hoppy as hell in the front and back, but it's pretty complex mid-palate-- some malt and lots of esters. Much more warming and alcoholic than I remember, but not in an off-putting way-- in this context, the booze is adding flavor and character. I wouldn't change any of the ratings, but I like it much better this time. It seems like Bigfoot is a different experience every time; I might have to try aging a few bottles.

kajerm, Mar 04, 2007
Photo of sacfly
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz, 2007 expedition on cap
Pours a clear reddish color with a huge head (especially for a barleywine) of off white/tan bubbles. Strong aroma of pine and grapefruit hops. Taste is nearly in the hop bomb category. Very hoppy and bitter, but enough malt to add bit of caramel sweetness to the mix. Sweet in the way a grapefruit can be sweet. And the taste is primarily grapefruit. Bitter, but not overpowering in the aftertaste. The grapefruit lingers on the tongue. Great creamy mouthfeel. I loved it, but I also love grapefruit. They seemed to of amped up the hops this year. I’m digging this one more than past editions. IIPA lovers will go nuts over this one!

sacfly, Mar 04, 2007
Photo of Cresant
3/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a becker glass. 2006 vintage. Cloudy/chill hazed (cleared later) golden brown body with a pillowy manilla folder colored head.

Smell was strong. Sweet malts, fresh grains. Baked brown bread.

Taste was alcohol, sugar, and mellow hoppiness. Hops were very present but they were far from being harsh. Barleywines are not my favorite style but I enjoyed this one. I believe I would like a fresh sample better due to my hop-headedness.

Mouthfeel was smooth and somewhat oily. Mildly carbonated.

Cresant, Mar 04, 2007
Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle - 2007 edition

Pours a clear deep amber with a reddish hue. A small tan head forms and recedes. Mild lacing on the glass.

Aroma is dominated by citrusy / grapefruit smelling hops. However, there is a rich smell of caramel malt that comes through - especially as it warms. Quite a nice blend of aromas.

Citrusy hops pounce from the start and bring with them a potent bitter bite. As the bitterness fades toward the finish, some of the caramel maltiness starts to come through. Even as it warms, the malt taste doesn't really come through as I would like. Full of flavor, lacking in balance.

Huge body, mild carbonation.

While I do love the blend of hops, I would have liked to see a little more malt flavor to balance it out.. Still, enjoyable to drink - but definitely no more than one in a sitting.

MaltyGoodness, Mar 03, 2007
Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is the 2007 vintage, poured into a goblet. A nice dark copper color with a fluffy looking white head that was big on the lacing. This thing clung to the glass the whole way around, lacing was almost solid.

I can smell the malty goodness of an American Barleywine in there, but it is simply overpowered by a big citrus hoppy aroma that almost makes my eyes water. Not really, but wow! A heavy bitter grapefruit aroma that goes on and on. I'd personally like this to be a little more balanced but it is a fresh one and I expect the hops would mellow with some age.

The taste is a giant mix of malts, alcohol, citrusy hop flavor and severe bitterness, pretty much in that order. This is a good sipper indeed as it takes several seconds for a single sip to fade away. The finish is long and harsh and wonderful.

Full bodied with noticeable carbonation, this is a highly sippable Barleywine. Glad to finally get to try it.

ZimZamZoom, Mar 03, 2007
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,365 ratings.