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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

6,234 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,234
Reviews: 2,808
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 263
Gots: 1,096 | FT: 38
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: 6,234 | Reviews: 2,808 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Optimat0r
Optimat0r

Texas

4.05/5  rDev -2.4%

appearance - dark copper, deep red. no foam thank god.

taste - what do u imagine bigfoot, the pacific northwest woods, the trees, the air, the undergrowth, the weather, the atmosphere, and big foot himself to taste like? thats what it tastes like. a very good woodsy, hoppy taste. not as bitter hoppy sa a strong ipa, but much smoother. every now and then get a old penny copper meatallic taste but mostly its just really smooth and good.

drinkability - extremely good for its abv. its really smooth and the penny taste only occurs every now and then. it is an excellent follow up to a dark malty beer.

03-05-2006 06:29:41 | More by Optimat0r
Photo of unclederby
unclederby

Oregon

4.47/5  rDev +7.7%

a really attractive beer, amber in color a nice foamy cap. highly fragrant, i could take in it's bouquet from arm's length. sweet, caramel malt awaits followed by a nice dose of piney and citrusy hops. plenty of carbonated activity especially with the pour. just freakin' LOOKS tasty. full-bodied and creamy, leaves little to desire in the mouthfeel dept.

a nice generous blast of hops serves to counter it's early malt sweetness, and the two meld very well here. big grapefruit flavors add a tangy bitterness.

this is the eleventh BF '06 i've had and one of the great things about this beer is i'm constantly getting something new out of it. no two bottles seem exactly the same. one will seem a little on the malty side, and still another on the hoppy side...

damn, this is a great beer.

03-04-2006 23:42:56 | More by unclederby
Photo of NClifestyle
NClifestyle

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev -6%

2006 - what a punch in the mouth. An overwhelming barley wine, with more hops than most I have had. However, and I'm nothing of a hop head, I really like the beer. Just let it warm up. Too cold and you might regret it. Can't drink much of this, but i really like the one that I had. DAMN.

1994 - also had a 12 year old to compare with the '06 and I could not have had a different beer. The '94 had just a little foam around the edges, was dark ruby and cloudy, smelled sweet and fruity, tasted like chocolate with rum soaked raisins and a hint of mint in the back, although some earthy hops showed up later in the glass. A really amazing beer for the time it's been in a bottle.

cheers...

03-03-2006 18:10:35 | More by NClifestyle
Photo of kgotcher
kgotcher

Colorado

4.38/5  rDev +5.5%

12 oz 2006 bottle.

Poured into brandy snifter, dark amber with offwhite head.

Aroma is earthy piney hops overpowering a hidden sweet malt base. Full body with a fair amount of carbonation that helps hide some of the alcohol warming. Spicy on the tongue with a bitter finish and a nice level of alchohol warming. Taste is super hoppy, mostly earthy piney hop flavor, some malt flavor but hard to find through all the hops. Reminded me a bit of a Double IPA. Still very drinkable for the style, should age well so may update my review. Anyway a good start.

03-02-2006 06:43:39 | More by kgotcher
Photo of JasonCoop
JasonCoop

Massachusetts

4.65/5  rDev +12%

2006. my first barley wine.
poured into a snifter, pours basically a dark brown/red. pretty hazy. good offwhite foam to it.

smells extremely hoppy. slightly citrusy, slightly fruity but mainly smells like an alcoholic hop juice. which i like.

taste is huge. huge hops, a little bit citrusy(mainly grapefruit). a little bit piney on the finish, but totally dominated by pure hops. the hoppiness almost effectively masks the alcohol content, but the alcohol comes through with warmth.
in a nutshell: dominating grapefruitish hops, subtle piney/earthiness. subtle malt sweetness tries to balance it but fails. ripe, hoppy, alcoholic, delicious, and intense.

mouthfeel is somewhat creamy with a cottony hop kick. very full and alcoholic. this beer truly is a monster, and because of this it isn't the most drinkable ale. but it is to be savoured in moderation and enjoyed for what it is, slowly and with caution. great brew.

03-02-2006 05:15:06 | More by JasonCoop
Photo of alexgash
alexgash

Connecticut

4.4/5  rDev +6%

2004 bottle (cellared for 2 years).

Glowing dark amber with a slathering head of light khaki. The head is trying to crawl out of the glass. Nose is full of caramel and butterscotch maltiness. Light wood and oxidized notes throughout. Hops are still prominent, but a bit smoother than fresh samples. The malt and hop flavors melt into each other better than I remember. The oxidized notes are most noticeable in the long, bitter finish and they give the malt more of a Scotch whiskey character. I'd still call this a very hoppy barleywine, but the aging has taken some of the edge off.

03-02-2006 03:51:28 | More by alexgash
Photo of Tupperwolf
Tupperwolf

Washington

4.22/5  rDev +1.7%

Pours out a slightly hazy, rich dark amber with a thin yellowish head; It leaves minimal lacing behind and fades after a minute or two.

The smell is rather IPAish when cold, but the rich, complex malts come out as the beer warms.

Warm alcohol fades as it warms, but never dissappears, instead blending in with the rich, toasty malts and piney hops for a full taste.

Slight warming from the alcohol and oily bite from the hops combine with smooth fullness; Minimal carbonation.

Sorry I don't have much to say about this beer at the moment. I'd rather enjoy it than document every thought!

03-02-2006 02:23:28 | More by Tupperwolf
Photo of lordofthewiens
lordofthewiens

Maine

4.22/5  rDev +1.7%

These guys make pretty good beer. I wish we got more of it here in the east. This beer, recently bought, was an amber color with a thick tan head and some nice lacing. It had a caramel/malt smell, and a sweet grainy taste with some impressive hops. Smooth and robust in the mouth, quite drinkable.

03-02-2006 00:34:19 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of lpayette
lpayette

Vermont

3.55/5  rDev -14.5%

2006 Offering

Pours a very nice dark copper. Large head for a barleywine.

Smells of tart apples and hops.

Tasts of tart apples, malts and hops. Lots of hops at the end result in a bitter finish. Slightly salty- not a fan of that.

Great mouthfeel. Moderately drinkable.

Overall a very good beer, but for me was forgetable in a field of so many other outstanding beers in this style. Maybe this just needs time to age.

02-28-2006 06:45:25 | More by lpayette
Photo of clabaugh
clabaugh

Pennsylvania

3.65/5  rDev -12%

Appearance: Pours an opaque mahogany with a crawling, bubbly, cream-colored head. Displays fine retention, and lacing is vigorous.

Smell: Quite hoppy. Biting pine scents accented by roasted caramel. Not overwhelmingly malty in the nose.

Taste: Good balance. Bitterly hoppy with a noticeable alcohol presence. Rich, cakey malts. Sweet and sticky, and the bitterness is really quite intense. A persistent aftertaste that is a bit too much.

Mouthfeel: Relatively medium-bodied, with a certain smoothness. Sticky and warming in the mouth.

Drinkability: Take it slow! The alcohol is definitely pronounced, warming, inhibiting, while also relaxing. Overpowering flavor and an everpresent aftertaste limit the number one can drink in a sitting.

02-25-2006 16:41:20 | More by clabaugh
Photo of cdondera
cdondera

Ohio

3.95/5  rDev -4.8%

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle...2006 vintage, poured into a snifter. Served at cellar temperature.

Appearance: A gorgeous amber color with a dense one-finger off-white head that dissapates quickly. When the glass is tilted, a small amount of lacing is welded to the side.

Smell: I'm surprised that I don't get a bit more here, but what I do get is a hint of fruity sweetness, a preview of the hops that are sure to follow in the first drink and just a bit of caramel.

Taste: Wow...my nose didn't fail me, there is the hop bitterness right up front, but it is complemented later on by the malt character that follows. The fruitiness and caramel that I detected makes its presence known in the middle (along with a bit of citrus) and the finish is where the alcohol comes to the forefront.

Mouthfeel: This beer is smooth and a little syrupy (like a good barleywine should be). As it warms, it just keeps getting better and better.

Drinkability: I'm thinking that I could probably do a full six pack, as long as I steered clear of cars and heavy machinery! Like a good imperial IPA, these go down easy and hide the higher ABV. But let's not kid ourselves...this is no session beer.

Verdict: A great beer, but a bit young and brash. This one could use a year of cellaring to mellow out if you have the willpower. Will revisit in '07 if it lasts...

02-25-2006 05:44:20 | More by cdondera
Photo of leadguit1
leadguit1

California

3.93/5  rDev -5.3%

Great looking reddish brown, but still , transparent.
head was thick for 5 seconds.
clear surup sticks to glass when tilted (neat feature).

I was a little suprised at the lack of smell, but, what was there,was almost sweet like bannana....

Hits every part of the mouth with a different flavor, like good food would.

Hops are in the recipe, but alcohol is what delivers the complex tastes.
It is alcohol that ends up at the top of the pallet.

Very satisfying feel.
Thickness is here. "surupy" is what comes to mind, but when it's down, you forget the thickness. You are instantly ready for another swallow.

I can personally enjoy this brew for five or six, bottles in an evening, but I must warn even experienced Ale drinkers, to; beware of it's charms.
At 9.6 ABV it tastes so good that you may consume more than you had planned.

02-24-2006 05:54:02 | More by leadguit1
Photo of beermanbrian
beermanbrian

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev -1.2%

Nice clear bronze amber color. Thin off white head that drops quickly. Not much in the way of lacing. The smell is just a bomb of piney hops. First taste is all bitterness. After a few sips you can start to get the candy like sweetness up front. The dominating mouthfeel is the hops piney resin taste puckering your cheeks. A huge beer that won't appeal to everyone but hop heads should enjoy this. Like most barley wines, it is more of a sipping beer that is good for one at a time.

02-24-2006 01:36:37 | More by beermanbrian
Photo of Prufrock
Prufrock

Massachusetts

3.33/5  rDev -19.8%

12 oz. bottle into a pilsner.

crystal clear reddish amber with bubbles dotting the sides of the glass. half inch of white head falls quickly.

bitter citrus-rind and pine hops with caramel.

tons of hop bitterness in the flavor. touch of alcohol sweetness, with a bitter aftertaste. ridiculously hoppy for a 9.6% barleywine. fairly enjoyable, but i prefer a touch more malt balance.

02-24-2006 00:57:30 | More by Prufrock
Photo of MurphyMacManus
MurphyMacManus

Pennsylvania

3.83/5  rDev -7.7%

12-ounce brown bottle (dated 2006) into snifter.

Appearance: red-brown with a big head that stays and sticks to the sides of the glass. I looked at the beer in my glass, turned to my roommate and said "I want to make out with this beer."

Smell: Spicy and bitter hops, with more of the malt base coming through as it warms, though the hops definitely dominate. A bit of alcohol in the aroma as well.

Taste: Very highly hopped. That's the first thing I noticed; spicy and bitter hop flavours are the most obvious, with mild alcohol coming through. Slight malty sweetness makes an appearance as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy, with carbonation that tickles the tongue.

Drinkability: NOT A SESSION BEER! Very tasty and an excellent effort on the part of Sierra Nevada, but more than one of these would not only pummel my tastebuds with hop bitterness, but I'd be on my way to drunk too.

02-23-2006 06:15:22 | More by MurphyMacManus
Photo of Manosbeeroffate
Manosbeeroffate

Maine

4.88/5  rDev +17.6%

Another find at the Co-op in Belfast, $9.49 for a six pack, 2006 batch. Pours a beautiful dark caramel gold colorsmell is malt and hops. Taste? Well, hops. All hops though I think they may have added some pine sap too But Jesus H. Christ this is damn good and addicting. Also detect a little bit of alcohol but hops extremely dominate here. Who cares I love it!! Mouthfeel is very nice. Drinkability, well not a session beer, one to work on slowly and no more than a couple a night. Naw I changed my mind, I can have several of these a night but due to limited availability here, I will work on these slowly. Must get more!!!!

2007 Edition:

Local fish store a 5 minute walk from my place still has this in stock, still pours a nice dark amber brown, smells piney and tastes really piney hops, extremly dominates, my ratings don't change. Someday they will brew a malt free version which will be fermented hop oil. I love this stuff and will freak out once it's gone. I may do a beer trade by giving away my oldest son for this stuff (OK not really) This is for hopheads and looneys like me.

2008 Edition:

Fears of this beer being a bit pussified have been stomped on like a dead bug. Dark amber color pour, smells oh so hoppy and malty. Taste, oh yeah a perfect balance of sweet malts and tons of hops, a bit subdued i would say but definetly a winner for us hopheads. I still have a case waiting in Waldoboro for me (thanks to Todd the beerman) Life is good again!!

2009 Edition

From Todd the beerman again (thanks) Dark amber color, smells of hops hops hops and a bit of sweet malt. Taste? Big hops up front, more hops awith a bit of sweet malt thrown in the background with more hops. Overall, hell yeah. I wish it was brewed year round and was as common as the pale ale. This is my beer!!

02-23-2006 01:41:54 | More by Manosbeeroffate
Photo of SaCkErZ9
SaCkErZ9

Florida

2.88/5  rDev -30.6%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an imperial pint glass. A nice tan head forms on top of a dark bronze colored beer. Not much carbonation action to speak of.

Smell is citrusy hops. Grapefruits and pine needles abound. Freshly cut hay as well.

Very hoppy profile with this one. More hops than other barleywines I have sampled. Alcohol is very subdued with this one. Mostly fresh hop taste and bitterness and well as lemon and very tart grapefruit. This is a hop lovers dream. I was looking for a little more hop/malt balance to this one.

Bitter mouthfeel with a nice warming quality. Hop bitterness stays with you for quite awhile. The hops are about the only thing to this beer. Not balanced enough for a BW. Tastes like DIPA with all of the hops in this one. I think I will look for something with a little more balance.

As a BW this is way off. As a DIPA, pretty good.

02-22-2006 20:57:57 | More by SaCkErZ9
Photo of Oxymoron
Oxymoron

Colorado

4.9/5  rDev +18.1%

A 2005 version that I have been sitting on for some time. The color is a auburn brown hue with good foam with small sized bubbles. The head does creep to edges of the glass but never dissipates altogether. The lacing was good as well.

The smell is very noticeable. Quite hoppy for a barelywine with some bubblegum hops and grapefruit essence. A touch of pine and citrus around the edges as well. A good malt around rounds out the background but hops are most noticeable.

The taste has a great hop presence. The malt is much more noticeable then the smell would indicate but still the hops are more dominate. (I;m thinking if aged the malt would become more balanced). The malt is basic flavor with some sweet grain taste. A touch of caramel but mostly sweet malt. The hops are well balanced in themselves. The bittering is noticeable with piney tastes that give a good bite that isn't overwhelming. It finishes well with a sticky grapefruit taste that gives it the bubblegum taste.

The body is good. The phenol is a little strong but I think more aging would help give it more balance. Overall a spectacular beer that over time I could see becoming well balanced and fantastic.

02-22-2006 19:59:34 | More by Oxymoron
Photo of benito
benito

Oregon

4.15/5  rDev 0%

Meditations on the 2006 expedition. A genre-bender of a beer.

Bigfoot, a self-proclaimed barleywine, explores that grey area between that distinguishes barleywines from strong IPAs, both by keeping the ABV rather low and by upping the hop ante for a barleywine.
This brew is a clear amber that shows hints of tangerine when held to direct light. The head clumps and lingers throughout a pint.

The bouquet shouts hoppiness: a citrus-filled cornucopia of aromas--lemon and grass being the most distinct odors. Similarly, the flavor itself is dominated by citrus upfront and then followed by a bitter smack on the back of the tongue. The lingering aftertaste is
dry and bitter. This is a heavy-bodied brew with lots of strength across the palate, and not surprisingly is a sipper. Though, for a barleywine I suppose the citrus adds a refreshing drinkability that is often absent in the style. Overall, truly a hop lover's dream come true.

But Bigfoot, beyond its own characteristics, asks larger questions about fidelity to style and those hazy boundaries between say a Double IPA and a barleywine. Should I think about Bigfoot relative to other barleywines? By claiming barleywine on the label, do I have a right (or maybe even obligation) to expect a certain style of beverage? Or, on the other hand is the ultimate worth of Bigfoot measured simply by how enjoyable it is in its own right? Should my review reflect Bigfoot-as-a-barleywine? Would labeling it a "Double IPA" make any difference whatsoever? Do these sorts of postmodern musings matter to anyone but the critic?

In any case, this beer--whatever it is--is one to remember and savor.

02-22-2006 17:57:50 | More by benito
Photo of DogFood11
DogFood11

California

4.68/5  rDev +12.8%

What a huge fresh fresh brew. Pours copper, thin perfect tan head stays throughout and provides ample uniform lacing.

Brutaly hopped, Ressinous as hell, Grapefruit citrus. Damn this is not for the feint of heart. Double bastard comes to mind as far as the over the top aggressive flavor. Where the beers become completely differnent is the Bigfoot has a somewhat sweet caramel presence that tames it enough to keep it interesting. Alcohol serves as a spiced up finish with intense and linger aftertaste.

This is one of the bigger beers I've had to date. Not in abv% but in the massiveness of the flavours. Its a beer you'll never forget. Aging seems like it would be good for this brew.

02-22-2006 04:21:37 | More by DogFood11
Photo of hustlemuscle
hustlemuscle

Ohio

4.05/5  rDev -2.4%

The first thing I thought when I tried the 2006 Bigfoot was that this one will be spectacular after a year or so to cool down. As is though, it is pretty damn good.

Pours a pleasant clear amber, with golden highlights. Decent head, which results in some thick lacing. Smells lovely, fresh wet hops, candy, piney. The sugery candy is intriguing. A hint of what might be to come after time.

I let this one warm a hair more than I would have. But warming it really brought out some flavors slightly overshadowed in the cooler version I had the first time around.

Big big hops, but only a passing attempt at balance. The sugery candy comes out, but only after a full frontal attack on the tastebuds by a team of piney hops and grassy hops.

Oily and a bit hot. I suspect time will ease off the alchohol a bit, and produce a real winner. For those that think that aging beer is foolish, I think in a year this bottle could convert thee.

Overall, a good beer, but falls short of greatness. But lest I hammer home my ideas on aging this one, I think greatness is just over the horizon.

02-22-2006 02:14:43 | More by hustlemuscle
Photo of doctorjoeyboey
doctorjoeyboey

Indiana

4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

The appearance is a dark ruby red with more head than I would have expected although still fairly minimal. I had never had a barleywine before so I didn't know what to expect. The smell is very fruity like an IPA, yet more solid. The taste is bitter like an IPA but has a much nicer taste on the back palatte than most IPAs that I have had. The mouthfeel is pretty good for a bitter beer. Considering the price, taste, and alcohol content of this beer, I would consider buying it again and possibly drinking several in a night.

02-22-2006 01:31:56 | More by doctorjoeyboey
Photo of Phatz
Phatz

Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev -2.4%

This beer pours a complex coppery caramel amber with an off white head.

Smell: BIG! This is a big beer and it lets you know it from the start. Flamboyant floral hops lead in the nose. They are paralleled by a sugary sweet deep dark malt base, mmm.

Taste: The taste is as big as the smell. I would not consider this a balanced beer although it has a balance of flavors. It has an extreme sweet toasty malt, brown sugar and dark fruit characteristic. It also has an extreme grapefruit citrus tart and piney hop bitter. They do run parallel but not blended. The nose and the beginning of this beer seems dominated by the former, that is the sweet malt and as it passes through the middle it move to the latter that is a yeasty hop citrus pine bitter. I must admit I am not a big fan of the pine aftertaste in my beers but this does not go to extreme and I can enjoy it. I do prefer this beer with cheese as a chaser to help neutralize the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: This is a medium thick beer that is smooth through the middle and has a dry finish.

Drinkability: This is a tasty beer but for me the hop bitterness is a bit much to consider it highly drinkable. It goes down enjoyable but with some effort.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

02-21-2006 06:01:33 | More by Phatz
Photo of hoffman
hoffman

Nebraska

4.47/5  rDev +7.7%

This is a damn fine brew. 2006 edition is my first bout with bigfoot and it came through big time. Pours from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass with a nice, slow-to-rise two and a half finger head of both big and small air pockets The head fills a pint glass perfectly and about 1/2 and inch still remains even 10 minutes later, lacing all the way down. THe color is rich red with golden hues throughout. The smell is phenomenal, honey, citrus, BIG floral hops, spice, and some piney notes. If you hold this one out in front of you as you walk you can catch faint hints of the aroma in the air it is that pronounced. The taste is right on with the smell, some might say the hops are overpowering, and definately they are present, but there is a depth to this beer like none I have had before. The hops are just gravy. There is great flavor from citrus notes, sweet malt, organic grains and even some subdued dark fruits. An exceptional taste from this brew. The mouthfeel is nice with a tingling carbonation and smooth texture. Not everyone will like this one. But you have to admit, if you have tried it, there are so many things happening here that it cannot go without comment.

Cheers to SN on this one. Thanks.

02-21-2006 01:01:25 | More by hoffman
Photo of Enola
Enola

North Carolina

4/5  rDev -3.6%

This is a exceptional barlywine. I had it on-tap last night at the Olde Hickory Taproom.

The beer was served in a Chimay glass. It had little head. The color was a deep mahogony. There was really not much smell that I could pick up on. The taste was very good. It reminded me a little bit of 90 min. only better. There was a pretty big fruit taste. The mouthfeel had no bite at all. The smoothest high ABV beer I have had. The alcohol was there but just not too overpowering. I will drink these again and again. This beer affected my ability to keep a bowling ball between the gutters.

02-19-2006 17:46:12 | More by Enola
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,234 ratings.