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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

6,792 Ratings

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Ratings: 6,792
Reviews: 2,914
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.33%
Wants: 338
Gots: 1,394 | FT: 56
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: 6,792 | Reviews: 2,914
Photo of Biscuit033
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear orange-brown With nice one finger light tan head and good lacing.

S: Caramel, toffee, citrus, and some grassy notes.

T: Piney, citrussy hops with a huge background of malty caramel and butterscotch.

M: medium to full body with a nice creaminess and a alcoholo induced dryness.

D: Great example ofthe style. I could have a few servings of it now and I am guessing based on the past two years store afew bottles for down the road.

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

Pours with a cream, five-finger head, fades very slowly and leaves a good lace. Light-medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Clear amber color. Nose is mostly hoppy. Flavor is sweet almost syrupy but hops take over and aftertaste is a tart grapefruit. High ABV is hidden. $1.50 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits, Acton, MA

Photo of Pudge43
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Vintage poured into a pint glass

A - Ruby coloring with a thin head that faded slowly. Laced well.

S - Hops, Hops and more hops. Enticing.

T - Sweet but not overbearing. The abv smacks you with the first taste. Some fruit connotations but mostly hops.

M - Full bodied with not much carbonation.

D - Tasty and I am going to head out for another couple of sixers soon. I may store a few away and see how they taste in 6-8 months or so.

I would highly recommend this for the price.

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

12 oz. bottle 2008 vintage served in brandy snifter.
Pours a clear amber with a tall fine bubbled white head.
Huge piney fresh hop aroma. Some caramel malt as well.
Medium to full bodied with some initial malt sweetness followed up with an aggressive hop bitterness. Hops have a slightly soapy taste. Mouth puckering dryness. Alcohol is warming.

This was tasted fresh. I prefer Bigfoot with at least a year of age on it. The flavors seem to round out more for me. It's still a classic either way.

Photo of PhageLab
3.67/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hmm, first Barleywine for me, the name has always turned me off, which, I realize, is ignorant. 2008 edition. Poured into the Duvel Tulip.

A - Ruby/brown coloration, thin bit of head that faded into a ring of froth. Clung to the edge of the glass and laced well.

S - Big, big hop nose, not much of anything else can compete with it's potency. Very enticing.

T - Extremely sweet, almost unbearably so. The abv is right up front and it actually smacks the palate, the first sip almost made me choke. Some fruit notes manage to shine through a bit but are mostly drowned out by pine hops.

M - Full bodied, sharp on the tongue, low carbonation level.

D - Tasty, yes, but this is probably too much for me. I'm not sure I'd rush out for another anytime soon, but I am curious to see how this would age after a year or so. If you like sweet brews, this will be for you.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.26/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage. Sampled 1-16-15. Thick and chewy malts on this one. Pinch of sweetness going on. Only mildly rough around the edges. Could use a bit more time, I think. Still a nice, classic brew. Will go pick up some more to lay down.

2005. Sampled 9-23-2007. I believe it has been in cold storage all this time. I also have three more now that will lay for a while.

Pours a clouded brown with reddish hues. Raisin nose. Touch of alcohol. Still going strong on the nose. Flavor is hoppy, with raisins, minor alcohol, and...prunes? That is what I want to say. But I can't say I am a regular prune consumer. Feel has a smooth carbonation to it and the liquid is good too. Overall very drinkable still. I am sure this could have aged in a better fashion, but it is still going strong as if it never missed a beat. I will probably go back to the store I found this and buy the other bottles. (posted scores reflect this vintage)

2008. Sampled 3-9-2008. What? No more camping Bigfoot under the cap anymore? Lame. Pours beautifully. Nice darker amber with a thick creme head leaving a lot of lace. Nose is strong piney hops. Later on I get very noticeable grass that has a distinct minty edge. Flavor is smooth with a nice bitter bite to it. Robust and full. Feel has a great carbonation to it and the liquid is nice. Very, very nice. This is extremely good. I really doubt I could have the patience to let this age. Why bother anyways when it is this nice. Overall score - 4.5

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

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

12oz bottle into a large tulip

Pours a dark, somewhat hazy rust color. A nice creamy 1/2" head leaves plenty of lace.

Nose has rich complex caramel smooth malt with some spicy piny hops beneath. Slightly sweet and gummy, there are many more subtle smells of spice, licorice, and grass. Alcohol definitely holds a presence.

Taste has smooth caramel and round malt in the front with a hint of sweetness, filling quickly with a lightly resinous and piny hop taste that rises in bitterness to the finish. Grainy at the end alongside the bitterness. Nice balance of flavors.

Feel is bold, mouth-coating slick/sticky character that dries up at the finish. Good firm body with plenty of carbonation to balance.

Considering all things, especially abv, this is a fairly drinkable beer. The flavor is a great balance of big hops and malt. Extremely enjoyable, it really embodies what I love in a great barleywine.

Photo of ryrust5301
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a brown 12oz. bottle with sierra nevada 25th expedition logo. 2008 vintage poured into a pint glass. This one will taste young, but great none the less.

Appearance - Pours a reddish brown with a slick half finger tight white head. After the head subsided a layer of misty white bubbles floated on the top of the brew.

Smell - Strong piney hops is the first scent that hits you in the face. Great hop presence! Followed by a sweet caramel malt to balance out the nose.

Taste & Mouthfeel - A piney bitter hop taste consumes everything the moment the first drop hits your tongue. Then a beautiful caramel sweetness coats the mouth relieving the bitter taste. A little spice on the back of the tongue right before the finish. Alcohol warms the mouth on the end of the taste.

Drinkability - Damn fine barley wine. So good that I made sure to buy 2 cases of the 08 to go along with my 2 six packs of 07. This one will age beautifully after it's laid down for a few years. A treat to taste before maturing. Bigfoot is a legendary barleywine, and one that deserves it's reputation.

Photo of bloberglawp
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I got a 3 bottles of this from a couple of generous traders... thanks guys!! Reviewing the 20008 edition.

Pours a generous whysky cooper, thick head that thins down quicky and leave wonderful lace. Huge aroma of chinnok and c hops. I could smell this glass all night, loving it. Also present is a aromatic malty-sweet smell... very inviting.

Flavor is huge on hops, rich and floral, also nutty and butternut malt flavors. Straightfoward and also very complex. Delicious as it descends. Chinooks make you want another sip. Slow warming feeling lets you know the alcohol is present.

Wow, I need to brew myself a american barleywine soon!

Photo of soundhole
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 6-pack, 25th expedition brown bottle w/ what appears to be a kind of date stamp, but damn if I know how to read it.

Poured into a wine goblet, produced a nice 1 inch white head, stuck around for a minute or so, reduced to a thin film w/ minimal lacing. Color was a deep amber-brown, real deep and intense.

HOPS!!! Flowers in the nose for sure, a light carmel maltiness lingers in the background, piney, seems that alcohol may be present as well.

Tastes sweet on the tounge, hops seriously make a statement. A little fruity, raisins, a mystery flavor, alcohol for sure. The hops just keep coming while the alcohol warms everything up. I imagine cellaring for a year might help mellow it out a bit.

Carbonation was medium/high, can't say that it hurt it though. It had a nice overall mouthfeel.

good beer

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

2008 bottle.

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass. Pours a reddish-brown color with no head and a little lacing.

Smells is very alcoholic with some fruit. The taste reflects the smell. This is a punch in the face with alcohol falled with some very hoppy bitterness.

Overall, a pretty solid barleywine. I've had better though, but this is definitely not bad.

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

2008 Bottle

A - Medium amber color with a khaki 1.5 finger head. Lacing. No real complaints.

S - Citrus hops with a sweet caramel undertone. Lots of hops! Grassy at times throughout the glass.

T - Bitter hops up front with a bready finish. Very green and fresh. Alcohol is mildly present but well-hidden. Sweet on some sips. Surprisingly complex, not for a barleywine, but for such an inexpensive beer. This is a hopheads dream come true. :)

M - Creamy, smooth, and crisp. Medium-high carbonation and wonderful hop oils on the finish.

D - This is as good as it gets for the price. It's a big beer, so it's not particularly sessionable... but I can see drinking about 2 in a sitting.

A wonderful offering from Sierra Nevada... pick some up for now and later. I see what all the hub bub is about. My only real complaint is that the hops really hide some of the subtle complexities... age would do this beer wonders.

Photo of bassmantin
3.87/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fairly transparent orange/red/brown color into a pilsener glass with a moderate fine white/tan head.

Smell is very grassy and fragrant. Taste is a nice intense hoppy flavor. Perhaps a bit unbalanced, but I'm a hophead, so I don't mind. The finish is a bit too bitter, but again, I think hopheads will like it.

FYI, I'm tasting this one blind. Before I reveal the identity, I'm going to guess that it is the Bigfoot '07. Ok, it turns out it was the Bigfoot '08. Not bad.

Photo of jeremy13586
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice dark copper with a big off-white head that stuck around forever. Hops overwhelmed the nose, but then leveled off with a nice sweet finish. A sweet start with some spiciness quickly to follow. The bitterness of the Chinooks came in full tilt before i knew it. It finished nice and clean with some warmth of the alochol. A VERY enjoyable brew. I need to grab a case beore it goes out of season

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

This is a fresh '08 bottle - the 25th anniversary Bigfoot release.

Appearance - Dark reddish-amber, not quite opaque but close to it. The creamy tan-colored head retains surprisingly well for a beer this big, leaving behind sheets of lace as the glass empties.

Smell - Caramel and toffee, fresh resiny hops and plainly noticeable alcohol.

Taste/mouthfeel - Flavors of caramel, biscuit, lemon peel and pine are most prevalent. Very balanced; the rich, syrupy malts are kept in check by an equally massive hop character. Bitter hops and bitter alcohol in the finish; somewhat rough. Warming as it settles in your stomach. Good stuff, and surprisingly easy to drink.

Photo of MrMonkey
4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an oversized snifter.

Poured a cloudy reddish-brown with a 1/4" off-white creamy head that disappeared quickly but left a small cap floating in the middle. Very little lacing.

Nose is really strong floral, citrusy hops right up front. There are some fruity esters with some caramel notes as well. There's also a slight, but definite,alcohol presence.

Taste is very malty up front: some sweet caramel malts and biscuits, with a real noticeable alcohol bite that warms you instantly. The hops bombard you in the finish, which is very long, bitter and dry. Almost too much.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and for the most part pretty smooth.

It is drinkable, but with the high ABV burn and hop bite combined, it will definitely be a bit more drinkable with some aging.

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

Pours a dark reddish-brown with a medium tan head. Smells of pine trees and vanilla. Taste is very malty, rich, with a perfume like hop flavor. Mouthfeel is very rich, smooth carbonation. For the alcohol content, this is quite drinkable. A very good barleywine, one of my favorites. Almost reminds me of a celebration ale on steriods, without as much hop flavor. SN has an excellent ale here.

Photo of LeftonJackman
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Enjoyed as part of the WToB at the Winking Lizard.

A: Reddish/brown with lacey head
S: Very hoppy, floral
T: Sweet malts are present and balance the hops pertty well. I have a hard time comparing this to other barley wines.
M: Whispery smooth, polite.
D: Meh.

Photo of argock
3.81/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2008 vintage poured from 12oz brown bottle into an oversized wine glass

A: Stunning ruby-brown with healthy off-white head and tons of lace for a barleywine

S: Earthy and citrusy hops odors dominate up front, but there is a cloying sweetness of caramel and toasted malts there too

T: Tastes like an amped-up version of SN Harvest Ale with lots of spicy, grassy hops bitterness and bit smaller contribution of the sweet maltiness than you'd expect from the aroma. Still very enjoyable, but I bet this will be better in a couple of years.

M: The bitterness really hurts in this category as its level of hoppiness is very high to the point of feeling a little acrid and gritty.

D: A very drinkable barleywine, although it still feels like a bigger version of Harvest Ale or Celebration Ale to me.

2009 Vintage -- sampled on 2/8/10. Very much smoothed out after 1 year with barely any alcohol presence. Hops have faded but still provide a woody, earthy, floral bitterness which works well with the intense maltiness. The malts are robust without being harsh and finish with a delayed blast of toffee and chocolate that goes well with the tobaccoish hops. Excellent and makes me wish I'd bought more.

2010 Vintage -- sampled side-by-side with 2009 on 2/8/10. No comparison on which is better -- the 2009 is far and away more drinkable and way less alcoholic than the 2010. Very boozy with hops overwhelming and masking malts in a big way. I bought 12 and am definitely going to set the other 11 back for a while. I didn't enjoy this as much as other vintages fresh, but maybe my tasters were a little blunted after the 09.

Photo of SixpointJMH
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 Edition:

Pours a deep ruby-brown colour with a huge pillowy head that hangs out for a while before dissolving to a mid-sized lace. Stickiness is simply incredible: walls of residue are left on the glass.

The aroma is far hoppier than any barleywine I've ever sampled: a bit of pine and a touch of citrus. There's definitely a general sweet fruit aroma here as well, along with some caramel and a hint of alcohol way in the back.

The flavour is a touch harsher than the aroma would lead on, but to me that put it closer to a true barleywine. Citrus is still present toward the back of each sip, with an earthier, slightly toasted malt flavour coming through much more so than anticipated from the aroma. Alcohol is also well hidden, being barely to non-noticeable. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and perhaps could have been a bit slicker but was still right for the style.

For some reason, I don't drink this one often, but I think I may change that a bit. Aside from a (very nice) hop burst that dominates the aroma, this one has a nice balance even with the bigger than average hop profile to it. It's got a nice West Coast twist to it that's not distracting and makes for an easier drinking barleywine. A classic that has to be tried.

Photo of morimech
3.46/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2008 edition pours a dark red with an one-fingered off-white head that has good retention. Moderate amounts of lacing left on the glass surface.

The smell is dominated by the hops. A heavy dose of citrus hops covers up the malt. A faint whiff of alcohol is also detected.

Taste wise this is the most hopped up barleywine I have had to date. Heavy dose of citrus covers up the malt. Not very well balanced in my opinion. Alcohol is about the only thing that cuts through the hops. Has a nice medium body and maybe a little over carbonated as it tingles and almost burns the tongue. I like the hops but I can see how people who are not hopheads would have a problem with this interpretation of a barleywine. Expense, ABV, and tastebud burnout hurt drinkability.

Photo of botham
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2008 version 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. pours a deep caramel color with garnet highlights and a sizable light tan head that remains for a few minutes. moderate lacings.

aroma is hoppy, with an alcoholic presence and an underlying fruity base. not too much on the malt side, except some caramel that is overpowered by the aromatic hops.

taste is sweet up front, with craramel malts and fruit notes of grape and a hint of apple, alongside a coniferous character from the hops which commands the back of the palate and contributes to a dry and bitter finish.

mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, with an alcoholic bite and a dry finish.

drinkability is decent. in short, this brew has a lot of everything, and lacks a key focus to derive a specific character from the brew. all over the place with no where to call home. that being said, there is a complexity and a boldness here that is seldom achieved in an american barleywine.

Photo of pattyhopp
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

just started drinking barleywine...I must say that this is great for the cold weather in boston...just enough hops and great malty sweetness...great fruit flavors as well...drinking this one out of a snifter....definitely going to be buying more of this!!

Photo of clayrock81
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured this into a nonic pint glass and received that extra head boost; two-finger head. This rested on top of a dark, ruby/auburn shade of brown that barely had any light penetration. There was a vast hoppy aroma in my glass, with good traces of different type malts (i.e. chocolate, coffee in 2nd) and for a second I thought I had found a bourbon cask bottle on the cheap. There were some roasted malt flavorings, or at least some chocolate, coffee and hazelnut mixed in with caramel and/or honey on top of hops, so this beer had an extremely noticeable hop bite but was very tastey and very smooth. The only thing that limited its drinkability was the ABV being over session beer limit. I mean, this was a damn smooth beer, syrupy even, with malts all over the place that went down fine and it is inexpensive. On top of the hops and malts there were hints of citric fruit w/ other minimal flavors and I wish I would've bought more.

Photo of Hoppington
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Notes: 2008 Bigfoot 25th Expedition

Pours a dark amber - almost as dark as the bottle itself unless you shine some light through it. Surprisingly nice hop malt balance for something that calls itself a barleywine.

Mouthfeel is rich and slightly syrupy with carmelized agave notes to the taste. I taste the malts first, followed by hops bitterness, but then a sweet finish.

I have had this on tap and like it, and it is good in the bottle too. Many would cellar this young of a barleywine, but I couldn't wait to try it. I bought two bottles, so maybe I will let the other age.

Good stuff and enough hops to please a DIPA drinker.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,792 ratings.