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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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6,576 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,576
Reviews: 2,850
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 312
Gots: 1,239 | FT: 51
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: 6,576 | Reviews: 2,850 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of barefootbrewer
4.06/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2007

This beer poured a hazy brown with a ½” tan head which quickly left. The aroma is malty and caramel. There are also some spices noticeable. The taste is hoppy and bitter with spices present. The malt does a good job of balancing the bitterness. The mouthfeel is full, but not heavy. Overall, this is a delightful beer that I’ll be happy to stash away to see how it cellars.

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

A- Pours a rich, hazy brown with one finger of thick head, that grabs tightly onto the side of the glass.

S- Nice scent... northwestern hops seemed focused on a cedar-like smell. There's a sweet maltiness beneath it and some alcohol sharpness.

T- Hops in the front are spicey and taste a lot like a an evergreen. Sharp flavor's great. The malt is well balanced. Not a grainy malt... a bit sweeter like a molasses.

M- Fairly thick, but not a chewy or grainy flavor. Barleywines are usually too heavy for me, but this is good.

D- Usually not a huge barleywine fan, but this is still an ale, in the perfect way to make things drinkable. Nice.

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

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barley Wine Style Ale pours a deep dense chill hazed hazel nut brown, from a dark brown 12 fl oz glass bottle with a twist off cap. Head went to about 2 fingers with a soft pour, before dropping to a light cap with a full ring.

Nose is a major hops with a side of damp malt and not a hint of the 9.6% ABV to come.

Palate is hops, hops, and more hops. I have chewed on hops just by them selves; Sierra Nevada Bigfoot is no different. The taste of this brew is just like chewing on a hand full of hops with a barley malt wash. The 9.6% ABV makes its entrants known with the warm glow that starts in the tummy and works its way outward, numbing everything that it touches.

One big brew for those with a big taste for hops!

Photo of Blupoet03
4.77/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I was pleasantly surprised to find a six pack of Bigfoot at our local liquor store tonight. I quickly talked myself into buying it, even though it was a good four dollars more than I was planning on spending.

It poured a clear amber with a lacy head that dissipated rapidly, but not completely. Immediately, there was the scent of hops and sweetness wafting from the pint glass.

This beer fills the mouth on contact, delivering that hop bitterness from the smell, which comes across as snappy. After the initial bitter, it is sweet and warm, with a little stickiness on the aftertaste along with the alcohol burn.

Overall exceptional beer and worth every penny of extra change.

Photo of sleazo
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Poirs a ruddy resdishe brown with a nice cmall white head. Very red when held up to the light. the head dissipates into a nice slick, correct for style. Nice webs of lacing coat the sides of the chalice.

S-This smells like Sierra Nevada pale Ale of steroids. Those same cascade hops step to the forefront with a mildy sweet malt backbone a a whiff of alcohol

T-Deifnitely more bitter than sweet as befits an American Barley wine. The bitterness remains throughout the wonderful piney essence of northwest hops. some grapefruit as well. The residual caramel/mollases sweetness exists in the follow through but that bitterness and a bit of warming from the alcohol are what you get in the end.

M-Slightly on the thick side with out being too viscous and more carbonation than the typical barley wine.

D-This is probably the second barleywine I ever had after Old Foghorn and I still like it today. the drinkability is so good for a beer of its strength that I have been known to polish off a sixer of this in my younger days. Despite the hops winning the day there is still an overall balance that is appreciated and is rare for the style.

Photo of MiguelMandingo
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was my first barleywine ever, and it made quite a nice impression on me. This is definitely my new favorite from Sierra Nevada. Thanks to BeerZack @ Wiggy's for pointing this brew out.

Poured a 12oz. bottle of 2007 into a snifter.

Appearance – It has a dark translucent garnet color. It has a small off-white head that recedes into a halo at the edges of the glass.

Smell – The smell is all over the place. I can smell hops, citrusy grapefruit, pine, alcohol, spice, and caramel malt.

Taste – Wow. There is so much going on with this brew that it is hard to pinpoint anything. It has a subdued slightly fruity caramel sweet taste to it, but Bitter hops is the flavor that sticks out the most - and there is a lot of it. I detect the sweetness first followed very quickly by the hops. All of the scents contained in the smell are also in its flavor. Highly reminiscent of a DIPA, just fruitier and lots more spice.

Mouthfeel – Slightly oily and thick without being chewy, but definitely thick. An extremely slight alcohol burn from the 9.6% ABV.

Drinkability – For as big a beer as this one is, it goes down amazingly smooth. I have sampled 6% ABV brews that don’t go down like this one. It is still a sipper at 9.6% ABV, but I could easily have another one.

Photo of TheClassical
3.41/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had one of these a while ago, but I saw the 2007 batch on the shelf and decided I needed to try one again. Too bad I only got the one, and not an entire six pack!

From a 355mL/12oz chilled bottle and into a pint glass, the pour is an incredibly rich ruby-orange. The deep copper-brown brew shimmering in the lamplight was very inviting. The head was very nice. It fizzled to a muddled foam after a while with rich veins of lacing down the glass. It makes the glass and the beer look well-enjoyed. The carbonation was steady and slow.

The nose ... how can I describe it? It was very smooth and exciting, and certainly not overpowering, something you might expect in an ale/barley wine that's 9.6% abv. It was an intensely hoppy aroma, and even though the hops are strong on the taste, there is enough malt sweetness in the nose to keep it balanced. In all, I was surprised at just how subdued and low-key the aroma was.

The taste is powerful. An initial impression of alcohol is washed away by a mouthful of hops. The alcohol taste remains, but in a way that is appropriately loud on a beer like this. There is a heady and dry finish that lends well to sipping, which is fine, because this one is too big to drink too quickly.

It's certainly drinkable, but as others have said, you need time to enjoy this beer, and you could plan an evening around a six pack of this stuff. Strong as it is, I would have loved another, so I think it's quite drinkable.

Photo of BrewSomerville
3.62/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Aroma: grassy hops, sweet malt, grapefruit... aroma is not very strong; I think that it might have something to do with the lack of effervescence.

Looks: Ruby red/orange/copper-ish colour. Almost no head, just a little around the edges of the glass.

Taste: grapefruit, spicy hops, bitter hops (chinook?), floral, piney. Sweetness from the malt is there at the begining but then steps aside for the hops to take over. Alcohol is well masked considering it is 9.6% ABV. Hops are very bitter in this Beer.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied. Fine carbonation, similar to that of a naturally conditioned mouthfeel... I don't think that it is though (naturally conditioned).

Overall, it is a good sipping Beer, do not buy this Beer if you don't intend on spending some time with it. A very big Beer in taste. I am used to barleywines with a higher malt-sweetness to hops ratio than this, but this is good too.

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

2007 edition: 12oz bottle in pint glass

A: Pours a hazy orangish color, a thin white head just lingers and leaves a nice amount of lace on the glass, more carbonation than I would expect for a barley wine
S: Not piney or citrusy, just massive bitter hops on the nose. Hints of the sweet malts come through on the nose. Smells like a huge american IPA.
T: Bitter hops on the front of the tongue, then a hint of sweetness to help balance things out. There is a hint of citrus in the back but, it is mostly just bitter.
M: More carbonation than I associate with a barley wine but, I like it. This doesn't come across as thick, just hugely malty.
D: This is probably the worlds most a**-kicking american IPA, and I mean that as a huge compliment. I haven't had many american barley wines but the level of hops seems true to style (and taste great). HIghly recommended, I can't wait to slowly drink down this six-pack.

Photo of Contra
3.18/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've reviewed this beer awhile ago, and I'm kind of surprised at the difference in my impressions about this beer. Perhaps because this is the "2007 Edition"? I don't know.

The appearance is fairly good, rosewood color, head around the rim of the glass. A quick whiff of the beer reveals a good, hearty aroma of hops & malt. Unfortunately, I'm just not tasting what I'm smelling. Bitterness is out of control and, I have to suppose, masks those hops & malt. I'm missing that sweet, malty characteristic found in Barleywines. Again, that overwhelming bitterness really takes away from the mouthfeel & drinkability. Now, Barleywines never really have a high drinkability, but in comparison to other Barleywines, the bitterness just doesn't work.

Overall, don't let my review sway you away from trying this beer. My previous review was positive, but I have to be honest in this current review. Whether they changed something in 2007, or the six pack I bought wasn't kept well, I don't know.

To be fair, I'm going to try & get a single bottle of this stuff next time I go to the distributor which allows breaking up of six-packs. I'll amend my review whether or not my impression has changed.

Photo of trill
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage, poured into an oversized wine glass.

a - poured a dark copper, with a very slight head that tends to hang around for the duration.

s - malty, but, for the style, an exceptional amount (read: a bit) of hops in the nose.

t/m - surprisingly balanced for a barleywine. enough hop presence to stand up to the big malts. this leads me to believe that this one would benefit greatly from sitting for a year or two, to let the hops calm down and the complexities of the malts expand. the mouthfeel is pretty even, with a fair amount of bite from the carbonation/alcohol.

d - overall, a highly drinkable example of the style, which seems well-prepared for cellaring. i've gone through 3 bottles of a six-pack, and i look forward to seeing how the other three age.

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

I had the 2004 Bigfoot on tap at Roman's Pub recently, and thought it to be quite good, better than fresher examples of Bigfoot I've had recently.

It was served to me in a Delirium Tremens tulip, and was an attractive hazy red with a scummy head made up of tiny bubbles with more tiny bubbles rising from the side of the glass (this beer would make Don Ho very happy).

Aroma was sweetly hoppy with some candy sugariness.

Flavor was intense but with more subtleness than fresher Bigfoot I've had, with a mellowed hop sugariness providing not so much a flavor of fresh pineapple, but the flavor of canned pineapple syrup. Good.

Mouthfeel was quite smooth and velvety.

A very good beer. Definitely recommended.

Photo of vancurly
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well....one doesn't get the opportunity to try this sort of beer in Australia. Many thanks to joecast in Tassie, who brought it back from the US.

2007 Expedition... cute little cartoon on the inside of the cap.... glad I read the Alstrom reviews and learnt what it was, otherwise I was gonna mark it down for having a dirty lid...

a: Handsome, haze-free, mahogany to copper colour. Well-set head, an inch to start, and eases nicely as the drink progresses...good start.

s: Big American hop nose... ubiquitous citrus... Grapefruit for sure, but I think the rest of the damn clan's come along also. Malty notes of toffee/honeycomb round it off. Worth throwing in a brandy balloon and savouring for the nose alone.

f: Hops again, of course... and very fresh. Reminds me of a recent hop-harvest ale from Victoria, AUS.... but more intense and sweet. The hop notes carry brambly vegetation.... pine, spice. It's robust, strong, and green.

m: Chewy, sticky, strong bitterness... slightly hot.

d: I've tried many beers that have been considered cellarable. And for the most part not understood exactly why. This beer, however, makes no mistake in shirt-fronting you with juvenile aggression. A fantastic conversation-stopper in it's youth.... likely to become a cause for much considered discussion as it matures.

Top class.

Photo of frankbro
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I only give it a 4 on drinkability because you can't chug it. At 9.6 ABV you probably wouldn't want to. Not for mowing or yardwork. Didn't I have a flower bed? Definitely a thick head, in the glass. Not much lacing in a Bass Ale glass. It's a beautiful reddish-gold, when held to the sun. Smells like HOPS, citrus, and malt. As hoppy as a double IPA. The mouthfeel, not the taste, is like biting down on homemade bread. A very satisfying "beer". Alc .096x12oz= 1.05oz pure ethanol, or 2.1oz at 100 proof. I have a case in my cellar to see what happens.

Photo of t0rin0
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have tried 06 and 07 Bigfoot both on tap and in the bottle. I heard a lot of people say that its more bitter this year but I can't notice the difference. That may be because it had been a year since I had it last.

The appearance is amazing. Its an awsome red color with a dark head. Hold it up to a light, its really a nice color.

It has an intense malt smell with a considerable hop presence. The only downside is that one can almost smell the bitterness. I am not saying that bitterness is bad, just that when it comes out in the smell it doesnt bode well for the beer.

This beer is remarkably well balanced in sweetness and bitterness. Despite my initial predictions based on the smell it is one of the best flavors ive tasted in a beer. The first sip almost hurts its so bitter but after that its really quite delicious and after 1 or 2 bottles in an evening you wont even notice the bitterness.

Bigfoot is fairly heavy bodied as it should be considering how much unfermented sugar there is in the beer. It has a low-medium carbonation but it doesnt matter because its just as good once it gets flat.

It is drinkable but it must be sipped and enjoyed. The 6 pack challenge has a become a ritual in my group of friends. If you want to "chug" a 6 pack, which still takes a few hours, be prepared to wake up the next morning in a strange place. Otherwise enjoy it with a meal or on tap somewhere.

Overall: a great beer even warm and/or flat. Well worth the cost.

Photo of Atlas1
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Well, hello Bigfoot. Please leave your imprint here.

Poured into my Delirium snifter, this 2007 Expedition Bigfoot appears a dense copper orange color, with some crazy cranberry hues that shine through when held up to the light. Good looking head, with some sticky lacy residue left behind as the beer recedes. Smells hoppy, like a lot of nice IPAs I've had before. I know the SN brewing company is known for hoppy seasonals, but I had no idea their barleywine style would be quite so complex in the hop factor too. Well played, SNBC... well played. The taste is genuinely hoppy, with a crazy strong malt character built in. Lots of fruit here too, but it's almost too heavily masked by the hop content. I love this flavor, but I think it would be just as good if it were a bit milder. Mouthfeel is hefty. I'm not sure this is a very drinkable beer for several different reasons. It appeals to a certain beer drinker, and that's just fine with me because I am that certain type of beer drinker, but it's not an accessible beer by the masses. It can't be. And that's what makes it that much better. Still, t'is a fine beer and one that will keep me running on fumes for the better part of the afternoon. Cheers, SNBC.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle (cap marked "2007 Expedition") into a pint glass.

A: Poured a medium-amber with red undertones. Nice light tan head that stayed a 1/4" thick throughout.

S: Hops hit the nose first followed by some slightly sweet malts. Surprisingly the alcohol is not detectable in the smell.

T: Damn, this is a pungent, powerful, raw and a tad bit harsh of a brew. It starts out with some bitter hops in the form of a lot of citrus and some pine. It then slides into the slightly sweet malts; caramel & toasted malts. Then the alcohol hits in a big way. Probably the biggest wallop of alcohol I've ever experienced in a beer.

M: Medium bodied, slightly syrupy yet with a good amount of carbonation.

D: Certainly not the most drinkable beer I've had due to the raw and powerful flavors from the hops and the alcohol. This was my first barley wine and I found it intriguing. I'd like to age a few of these to see if it will smooth things over and mellow it out a bit.

Photo of arizcards
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 2006 edition at Sportsmans in late September 2006 for $1.98. For some reason I have never picked this up.

Beer pours a deep copper color with a white head that is leaving decent lacing behind. The nose is very pleasant, heavily perfumed by the citrusy floral hops. Taste is a blast malts and a large amount of hops that dominate the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, an almost chewy quality. Overall drinkability is good. This is a nice respresentation of the barleywine style!

Photo of lonestar4lunch
4.67/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 edition. OUTSTANDING.
This years is a special gift. It is their traditional Bigfoot but with more hops and man do I love the hops. It has the sweetness with a touch of bitterness in the end with hops lingering on the tounge. Wonderfull. I will buy all I can find. Had right after a 2006 and quite a bit more hops. Can't say enough. This is like Bigfoot mated with Celebration and a beautiful brew was born. Will call it Celebrafoot....it's that good folks.

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

A - Bright and ruddy, clear and slightly bubbly. The head poured huge then dissipated rather quickly.
S - Grass seed, pine sap, grapefruit, dark sugar, vanilla, and moist pipe tobacco all come to mind.
T - Bottoms up! Fierce hops and smooth caramel come first, the caramal thins and disappears, leaving a hop bitterness (from out of nowhere). As this bitterness fades, I taste leather, moss, spice, and a lingering dry bitterness
M - The mouthfeel is thin but syrupy. An odd balance between barley wine and lighter styles of beer
D - Being a big ABV fan, I might dare call this a session beer on colder nights. However, June feeling as it does in NYC, it's best left for: winter (for the patient among us) or, right now (for the lushes among us).

I highly recommend it with any of the following:
dark spanish chocolate, hard cheese such as Doddington, isle of Mull cheddar, a very aged pecorino Toscano, Bresaola, gamey bbq like mutton, venison, or anything rubbed with masala, the Motorhead album "Ace of Spades," or your fifth out of seven days of work in a row.

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

This bottle is from 2006. It pours a cloudy, woody brown with a dense head that rather quickly recedes leaving a bit of lace.

The aroma is bitey with nice level of hoppiness. There are distinct characteristics that may improve with a bit more time. For instance the mellow fruity qualities could stand to be enhanced.

Again, the flavor is bitey with some tangy fruit and a bit of smoky warmness. The finish is a bit sweeter with honey and some great malt.

A good welcomed carbonation lightens up the brew and accentuates the sharpness on the tongue. Overall a very nice selection. I would like to give it another year.

Photo of dacrza1
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2007 edition of the first barleywine I ever tasted... a flourishing bouquet of thick head occupying half a snifter, dark crimson to the eye (slightly opaque)... soft hops (hint of vanilla?) come forth...hops that dig into the teeth! my whole mouth is alive when chewing, though the flavor is directly at the back of the mouth....no taste of alcohol. Congrats to the brewers on a fine creation.

Photo of baggio
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lovely copper-read color with about 1cm of lace that leaves after
half a minute leaving a nice thin lacing on top.

Smell is dominated by hops and citric notes. Just by smelling it you know this is going to be a hop-bomb.

Taste is really smooth with a butt-kicking bitterness that will leave even the most hardcore hopfanatics satisfied. My tastebuds is almost overwhelmed. There are also some notes of grapefruit and a weak presence of malt-sweetness. The high abv is well hidden by the hops.

This is a fine brew for those who can take this kind of hop-bomb. I would
prefer some more malt in there but by reading other reviews this is
is a brew that ages with diginity and get more balanced over the years.
I'll just put the other 6-pack i have in my pantry and review another one
in about a year :)

Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bigfoot 2007 Expedition...

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle in a snifter. Beautiful orange/mahogony/burnt red color. Some initial spiderweb lacing- decent head- half an inch on this one- hills and bumps. A very sweet scent eminating from my glass- detected some maple notes, raisons, even slight caramel. A side from the sweet stuff- Bigfoot is a hop bomb! These hops will stick around for a while as well leaving a great taste in the mouth right up until the next sip. The alcohol is evident- at 9.6% ABV although it is not as strong as expected with a barley wine- tastes better as it warms-

Needless to say, Bigfoot is a pleasure to sip. A true gem from this pioneering brewery.


Photo of bark
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2007.

The colour is deep red-brown; the liquid clear. The off white head is finger thick; it sinks slowly down leaving some lacing and a fine ring.

The smell is loaded with American hops; citric notes of Cascade, Challenger and perhaps some Fuggles? I found notes of grape fruits, bitter oranges, bitter herbs and some light sweetness from the malt.

The taste is very concentrated and powerful: an almost brutal bitterness. Grape fruit juice, bitter herbs, lightly roasted malt, some mild sweet notes. The aftertaste got some minerals and earthy notes, the bitterness gets a little milder and smoother. The finish is creamy, somewhat sweet with sour-bitter notes of bitter citric fruits.

The carbonation is mild; small soft bubbles. The liquid is very smooth and a bit thick.

A nice and highly hopped brew. Although I missed some complexity and maybe some more malt.

I will get back to this in a couple of years, it might develop in a very interesting way...

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,576 ratings.