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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.

6,140 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,140
Reviews: 2,806
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 246
Gots: 1,059 | FT: 36
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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,140 | Reviews: 2,806 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

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

This was a 2001 bottle. The beer pours a tawny red/brown colour with a minimal head. What grabbed me was the awesome old hop nose. It was dignified yet once redolent of huge hops. The taste was refined and complex with hops still in the mix but new notes of old fruit and tobacco taking its place. I have had fresh Bigfoot with all the huge hop notes but this was amazingly sophisticated due to the age.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2005 04:27:47 | More by canucklehead
Photo of mcclurmc

North Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Has a brown/amber color, slightly cloudy. The head is a very light tan. Unfortunately it didn't have as much of a head as I would have liked. It is a very appealing beer, though.

Very appealing smell. I can tell that this will be a fairly hoppy beer; I also smell some fruitiness and maybe a little alcohol.

The taste blew me a away. I was a little apprehensive about barelywines at first because I knew that they are one of the strongest beers, but this one is incredible. This is what I've been looking for in a beer that I haven't been able to find in an IPA. Great hop flavor, but not overpowering. This is perfectly complemented with a slight sweetness that makes the beer incredibly smooth do drink. Even as it warms up I can't yet taste the alcohol. As it warms the beer feels maltier and the alcohol begins to show its head, though just enough to give me a warm sensation.

Very lightly carbonated, this beer leaves an oily, sticky feeling in my mouth and on my lips, which I'm told is from the hops. Gives me a warm feeling as I drink it.

As I said before, this is a really smooth beer dispite it's strength. If it hadn't been for all the things I've read about barleywines telling me to sip it slowly, I think I would have finished this beer in 15 minutes.

A delicious beer. I do believe that I'll have to change my BeerAdvocate profile say that Barleywine is my favorite style. I can't wait to try more Barleywines and hopefully start brewing them.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2005 03:17:21 | More by mcclurmc
Photo of yelterdow

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 edition, cellared for 6 months.

Pours a medium reddish brown with a terrific, 2+ inch head in my brandy snifter. Retention lasts well into the third minute, and we have some sticky ass lacing here.

Smell- It's awesome how this beer has matured in the six months I've been keeping it. What began as a West Coast hop porno has become a malty, dense, superb balance of aromas. Sharp but elegant is the best way I can describe it.

Taste- Easy and soft at first, then the malts and kamikaze hops unleash their relentless bitterness. This beer literally attacks the sides and back of the tongue so that you will not ever forget its footprints. So well done though, it exhibits what a barleywine should showcase better than any other I've had the pleasure of drinking. Harsh, then mellow, and fading into the big hop monster we crave as a nightcap.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- This plays a huge part in the overall allure of this beer. You've had high alcohol brews that literally hurt the esophogus after the first two swallows. You know what it's like to say "that's enough" because the beer is kicking your ass faster than you might have expected. The Bigfoot Barleywine 2005 has achieved the beloved status of "must have bedtime brew" of all time. Hand me a book, give me the remote. This one's for winding down.

I've been enjoying this 2005 batch over the last several months, and my advice is to hang the hell on to your stash. Bigger, maltier, more balanced is what you should expect. Let me know if you agree.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2005 04:25:05 | More by yelterdow
Photo of jamesclark


3.28/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer is medium-dark amber in color, murky, and comes with a moderate head of slightly-dark cream bubbles which slowly reduce to a pervasive final layer of bubbles.

The aroma is quite hoppy - floral and malty, with noticeable alcohol.

The flavor is puckeringly bitter, with lots of hops. There is a creamy feel, semi-sweet, with an alcoholic kick. The lingering finish is also quite bitter - spicy hops, black pepper, citrus.

The carbonation produces quite a few bubbles by the time I swallow, which almost get in the way.

This is a fine strong beer, but this one is a bit unbalanced. Though I love bitter beers, the hops are a little distracting and there isn't quite enough complexity to the flavor. That said, I have no trouble finishing the glass and would certainly have another.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2005 00:54:44 | More by jamesclark
Photo of palliko


4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is of a thick creamy foam with nicely retentive lacing; and a dark burgundy color. Aroma consists of citrus hops and spruce. Banana, brown sugar and malt chime in. Initial taste has bitter hops that bite back, followed by sweet malt and crackers; there is yeast and cookie dough, settling down to a dry finish. Very complex and very well crafted. Wonderful.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2005 13:24:27 | More by palliko
Photo of JackStraw22


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

2005 Version

Appearance: Slightly hazy, dark amber body. Tan head, stuck around a little bit.

Smell: Very sweet and malty. Much less hoppy than when I tried it this winter/spring. Hops are still there, but not as citrusy and in your face. I liked it better before I think, but it's still good.

Taste/feel: Smooth and balanced. Hops toned down from the winter, but more balanced. Really nice taste. Alcohol is present, but it fits. Syrupy and slick, really coats the mouth. Amazing how much it's changed in just 6 months.

Just a great barleywine. Grab a sixer or two and spread them out over a couple months.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2005 01:55:48 | More by JackStraw22
Photo of TongoRad

New Jersey

4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2005- not too fresh, not too old? Let's pop the cap and check it out...

It pours a mostly clear rich yet vivid brownish copper color with a dense tannish two-finger head.

Aroma is big- huge hops (resiny, citrusy) dominate but they are backed up by lots of caramel malt. I also pick up a blackberry-and-cream quality, hints of cocoa and, of course, alcohol.

Flavor is powerful- tons of malt and caramel at first, but the cocoa, berries and some nuts come right on afterwards. There is a gigantic bitterness cutting right through it all and there is a lingering finish of orange peel and alcohol.

I'm loving this beer right now- some of its abrasiveness of youth is gone and that lets some more complex characteristics come through, yet there is still some fire there as well.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2005 01:35:24 | More by TongoRad
Photo of mentor


4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Belgian tulip glass served at BJ's in Boulder in July 2005. Presented a murky dark brown with a ragged light brown head clinging to itself in some places and spilling down the glass in other places. Smells dark and citrusy. Almost grapefruit pith, but not quite...perhaps a hint of pineapple mixed in there? Sweet is less noticable than the hops and consists of caramel and some brown sugar/molasses. Taste starts sweet (momentarily), but then comes the hops, bolstered by an playful alcohol. Citrus hop bitter rises above the caramel and rock candy sweetness to become almost edgy. Low co-humulone is good, because it keeps this one from going over the edge. The finish is hop citrusy, complimented by the bitter and alcohol to leave my mouth dry. Hop flavor is mostly grapefruit pith, some tangerine and also a touch of sour (not quite plum-skin sour, and certainly not cherry sour). Thick bodied and mildy carbonated. I was concerned that, fresh, the hops would be a bit too much and the malt a bit unrefined. Instead, the malt played a nice supporint role to the dominant hop bitter and flavor to make a multi-dimensional beer with complimenting tastes.

Serving type: on-tap

07-13-2005 05:47:10 | More by mentor
Photo of Sixpoint

New York

4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Undoubtedly, and without question, AN AMERICAN CLASSIC. I have such a tremendous amount of respect for this brewery.

My sample poured a deep amber - almost copper color - with a small amount of lacing.

The aroma was a mixture of piney, citrusy, and almost grassy/herbal qualities from the hops; alcohol; and a massive malt backbone.

The taste? Fuggedaboutit. Outstanding. A massive beer that has found a perfect balance between a high amount of hops, the perfect body and mouthfeel, and a warming alcohol effect.

Overall, a very drinkable (dare I say sippable) beer, and I'm enjoying every sip of it. Bravo.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2005 01:58:07 | More by Sixpoint
Photo of phishgator


4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2004, 12/25/04

I've given this about a year to age. It is near maturity. The hops are so ever present. The sticky mouthfeel and the sweet malty back bone make this a full bodied sipping brew. The alcohol is warming after the first half a glass. The appearance is a deep ruby with highlights of copper. Nice foamy head in a snifter, that dissipates quickly. Not a brew to start the evening with unless that is all your going to drink.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2005 13:57:06 | More by phishgator
Photo of CAMRAhardliner

Ontario (Canada)

4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a bright amber, surprisingly red. The head is big and fluffy with incredible retention for a strong beer. The aroma is packed with hops, very perfumey, piney, fruity and bitter... very intense. The taste is surprisingly hoppy with an initial smack of high alpha bitterness which leads into wonderful herbal, citrus, eucalyptus flavors. The hops are very leafy and fresh tasting. Malt is always evident in the background and it becomes more prevelant as the beer warms. A really bready flavor emerges with time.

The finish is decidedly hoppy with a mouthpuckering bitterness that lingers and lingers. Alcohol is nice and warming but very well hidden. The mouthfeel is quite light with perfectly textured carbonation from good bottle conditioning. I love bottle conditioned beers. I love this brewery. I love this beer. I love beer.

Id say this is the my favorite barleywine so far. Thanks to Cafe Volo for carrying it (and a lot of other great beers).

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2005 23:13:15 | More by CAMRAhardliner
Photo of edmundfitzoil


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 2005 stubby bottle:

Appearance: A good finger of thick head that didn't leave for a few minutes and left little lacing. A beautiful dark copper color.
Smell: Citrus and hops.
Taste: Hops. Smooth. A little alcohol. A perfect bitterness: strong, but nothing overly so, although probably more than a lot of people would be used to.
Drinkability: Spectacular. As the beer got warmer I the taste improved with it. A great brew and something that if the weather and the mood hits I can't wait to take the rest out one by one from the cellar.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2005 16:55:20 | More by edmundfitzoil
Photo of PatandDavid


4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a bottle from 2002, cracked open today. Chestnut in the glass, no real head to ooh and aah over. On the other hand who cares, as I have a few other senses to engage. The aroma is full of delightful things like molasses, pine cones, even some dried hay in there, plus alcohol on top. Mouthfeel is full but incredibly smooth. I am picking up some serious, almost chewy (al dente?) malt, with some prickly piney hops. Good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2005 20:21:03 | More by PatandDavid
Photo of board45

New Jersey

4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 bottle:

It pours a cloudy amber w/ a fluffy head that is just off white. As i took a sniff it smelled of pine sap, and citrus. WOW!!! I just took a sip and got glued to the glass by all the pine! Loads of sticky sap for a barleywine. Hops heaven. Tons of caramel flavors, with a hint of espresso in the background. The sweetness isnt here like other barleywines but still has that touch of citrus. I just took another sip, WOW this beer stays in your mouth. The flavor keeps flowing. I dont want this to end. This is one of my favorites. Though i feel as though it is a bit more on the Double IPA side. Well it is border line. Im going out right now to purchace more...

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2005 21:58:40 | More by board45
Photo of cubedbee


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

Pours a deep orange with hues of ruby read and a big two finger off-white head and decent lacing. Smell is excellent strong piney resinous hops with a little hint of alcohol. Taste is wonderful as well---very strong bitter pine hops balanced with a medicinally sweet fruity background. Very intense flavors on both ends of the spectrum. Medium bodied with a very smooth creamy feel, the alcohol is somewhat noticable as a warming in the back of the throat. It's been years since I first tried this---wasn't a craft drinker then, and hated it. Now that I can appreciate the intense flavors, this is a masterful beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2005 21:53:31 | More by cubedbee
Photo of Luigi

North Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A rich deep ruby color and a thin sticky tan head. Aroma is dominated by fruity hops and alcohol sweetness. I detect some sweet plumbs. The taste is hoppy bitterness right from the start. Sweet fruits, alcohol, and some pine like hops. Sweet dry hoppy finish. Full bodied almost syrupy. A kick to the taste buds I must say. Damn good (2005 Batch)

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2005 03:56:16 | More by Luigi
Photo of LarryV


4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a review of Bigfoot 2004, now about 1.5 yrs old. Pours with a fluffy tan head that dissipates fairly quickly. Nose is hoppy, somewhat subdued. Mouthfeel is creamy with an almost sherry like texture. Extensive lacing is left behind by this deep copper, opaque nectar. The alchohol is very present in the taste making no attempt to hide itself. The balance of hoppiness and maltiness is outstanding after aging. The hops grab your attention first, followed by the maltiness, then finally the bitterness of the hops asserts itself again. This is a huge beer that I cannot drink quickly. I like to savor each taste, it reminds me a lot of a fine sherry. In summary, excellent.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2005 21:17:47 | More by LarryV
Photo of BeerandBlues2


4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tap. Pours nut brown with a somewhat reddish mahagoney hue and a thin tan foamy head. Fragrant floral hop and sweet nut aromas, a little roasty on the nose. Nutty and caramel malt flavors, a quite hoppy finish. Warm and fizzy full-bodied palate, very drinkable. I did not want to put this brew down.

Serving type: on-tap

05-27-2005 17:42:42 | More by BeerandBlues2
Photo of baiser


4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2005 version. First beer I bought from a small liquor store at 11 pm after just moving to California for a year from Toronto, and it didn't disappoint. Pours a deep, golden orange, with a dense white head, excellent retention. A blast of hops, grapefruit and twang in the nose. The taste was intoxicating. Tremendous bitterness, fruitiness, and some hints of caramel and malt character. But other than that, just intense hop flavours that attack your palate. Finishes dry and bitter. Packed with flavour.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2005 18:15:06 | More by baiser
Photo of mjohn27603


3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2002 vintage. Aged for 3 years. pours reddish brown in color with a 3 finger high head. Taste is quite sweet but much more rounded with age. Higher bitterness is gone with aging. A little of a musty taste perhaps from the condition of cellaring. Still packs a big whallop. Aged beer is a bit flatter without much carbonation. Not very acidic. Kind of a cardboard taste I know this is a fault. Numbing alcohol on the tongue. A smoother more drinkable beer after having aged for 3 years. Any grapefruit flavor or hoppy bitterness is gone. 5-20-05

2002 Vintage. Revising review. Taste is much better perhaps I'm serving a little colder. All the edge is gone off this beer now. A slight hops bitterness resides in the undertones. Very thick in mouthfeel. Packs a whollop. Definitely a beer that improves with age. I'm changing the taste from 3.5 to 4.0 and also the mouthfeel. Definitely one for a cold night. The opposite of a lawnmower beer. 12-8-05

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2005 03:23:21 | More by mjohn27603
Photo of beersarang


4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice dark copper with pretty good clarity but the impressive part is the beefy head that leaves considerable lace down the glass. Loving it.

Smells like grapefruit, lemons, pine, caramel and toffee. Aroma is sweet and wonderful.

Enters the palate with a good solid chewy consistency. Smooth overall, citrucy oily hop bitterness is dominant over the sweet malt profile, but still finishes a touch dextrinous in the exhale. Hop character is well defined and prominent. Alcohol is quite noticable, especially as it warms.

Carbonation is kept low, drinkability suffers from the intense hop character coupled with the huge alcohol.

Overall Sierra makes a damn good beer, if I may say so myself.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2005 06:48:45 | More by beersarang
Photo of meathookjones


4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one I always look forward to each year. 2005 Bottle. Dark amber in color with a half inch of light tan head that leaves thick rings of lace all around the glass. Good staying power as the head sticks along for the ride. Big hop aroma with floral and pine notes galore. As it warms a bit some of the sweet malt and alcohol peak through that massive hoppiness. The flavor starts with a bit of sweet malt before the huge dose of hops comes through. Citric and earthy hops provide a good amount of bitterness though notably less than previous years. Some alcohol notes but very light. A little bit of sticky fruit sweetness. Bitter aftertaste finishes this. Excellent. Mouthfeel is full and creamy while giving your tongue a light hop raking. Very drinkable this year as well. Also an well priced beer for the style. This is definitely blurring the lines between Double IPA and Barley Wine. I like mine fresh but it is still great after several years. Either way its one awesome brew I will be getting plenty of each year.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2005 13:04:25 | More by meathookjones
Photo of donnebaby

North Carolina

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

Gust of cascades puffs out as the seal is broken. Pours a deep and dark red, opaque. A large, creamy and tight head rises and remains over the body, with lots of large islands of haze and lacing. Lots more head than I'm used to for a barleywine. Combo of aromas is somewhat muddled and mellow, fitting for a barleywine methought. Thick medium sweet malts and alcohol and alot of hops in the background.

Tangy with lots of vinegar on the intake, which continues through in the mouth mixed with alcohol. Notes of figs, apricots, and some wintergreen, with a layer of light, juicy orange juice. Mouthfeel is thick and bready, not chewy but with lots of body and texture. Bittering hops do the job well, stopping the taste in a wall of bodiful bitterness, relatively cleanly.

Great barleywine here, to remind me that I just might like barleywines.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2005 06:03:18 | More by donnebaby
Photo of Buildscharacter


3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: It pours the color of dark caramel. Head doesn't stay long at all. While it's there it's off-white and full of tiny tiny evenly distributed bubbles...it's a beer head, what did you expect? It dissapates into a nice lace.

Smell: Hops. Strong hop aroma. Not much else there. Wasn't particularly impressed by the smell.

Taste: Comes on strong with the hops in the front. Bittering in the middle, leaving with a woody sweet character. Perfume comes to mind but in a good way.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, typical of a barley wine. Thicker than most not as thick as some. Carbonation is strong and really covers your tounge when you take the first sip.

Drinkability: Unless you are a fan of the strong hops flavors found in IPA's I wouldn't suggest this beer. The overwhealming flavor, unlike some other barleywine's is hops. Everything about it from the start to finish leaves you with a mouthfull of that hop flavor. Enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2005 00:39:56 | More by Buildscharacter
Photo of BeerFink


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

2005 Edition....

Pours a very attractive ruddy amber color with a smooth off-white head. Aroma is surprinsingly hoppy, lots of crisp citrous in the nose. Also some sweet malty caramel. This is one smooth ass barleywine. And well balanced to boot. Lots of smooth, sweet malty character with caramel notes. Hops are more prevalant than I would have guessed for a barleywine, almost like a double IPA. The incredible balance between hops and malt cover up the alcohol for the most part. Very full mouthfeel drives this brew home. Finish is resinous with hop oils, slightly dry, and sweet at the same time. Devilishly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2005 03:14:35 | More by BeerFink
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,140 ratings.