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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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6,704 Ratings

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Ratings: 6,704
Reviews: 2,891
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 325
Gots: 1,333 | FT: 55
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: 6,704 | Reviews: 2,891 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Morey
3.91/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a 2008....Poured a deep redddish-brown and produced a healthy head of 3/4 of an inch. Faint smells of alcohol, hops, and bready malts in the nose. The malts were the first to hit the palate, and then the hops come in and finish this one off with a sharp bitter bite that lingers just long enough.

Morey's Bottom Line: Somewhat similar in taste to Old Horizontal, but with more of a hoppy taste. Very satisfying barleywine to say the least. I have a few in the basement for next year.

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

Another uber-hopped Barlywine, this one even outshines the 2008 Stone Old Guardian.

Pours a clear dark amber/orange. Nice carbonation. Good chewy mouthfeel.

Smell is overwhelmingly piney and hoppy. Taste is similar. Little to no sweet fruit content, just a bit of balancing malt. I'm not saying this is a bad beer, in fact it's a pretty good one. While not what I typically expect from a barleywine, I do enjoy it quite a bit.

Photo of Patrick999
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours into my snifter that definitive American Barleywine amber-brown. Not much sediment if any - is this not bottle-conditioned? Thick and long-lasting head for a b-wine. Some lacing and a thin coating hangs around.

S - It smells plenty hoppy. along with some caramel-like whisky. A little acetone, smells a tad hot. Nose not lacking, though, that's for sure.

T - Alcohol doesn't seem to be quite as present as in the smell. Big bitter hit of Cascades, nicely balanced by thick, sweet malt. Nothing too outlandish, just a great drinker.

F - Has that thick hop-oily feel I recognize from many Imperial IPAs. Full bodied, but not quite as thick and syrupy as many other barleywines.

D - For a barleywine, this is great drinking, not just sipping. I could conceivably have a couple of these. I couldn't do that with an Old Ruffian, Olde School, or too many other barleywines, no way.

25 years....it's yet another style definitive for Sierra Nevada. I'm not sure it's my absolute favorite barleywine, but it's up there. Factor in the ridiculously low price for a 6-pack, and you see why Bigfoot is such an anticipated beer. Here we reap the benefits of Sierra Nevada being a "bigger" craft brewer and thus enjoying greater economies of scale; few others give us this kind of value.

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

Appearance- Pours a medium amber-brown color. Very little head although there is a think coating of off white froth.

Smell- Very warm smell from the alcohol, hints of caramel and other syrupy things.

Taste- Medium sweetness, alcohol is noticeable on the palate but not over powering. Very smooth taste, very syrpuy, reminds me of slightly diluted maple syrup.

Mouthfeel- Excellent palate coverage, really covers the entire tongue.

Drinkability- A great beer to sit back with, sip, and enjoy. Lots to appreciate here.

Photo of katan
3.69/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Second SN review of the night.

Bigfoot 12 oz bottle, 2008

A - Pours a dark golden amber color. Looks thick, although there is no haze. The head is about a cm high, and is well retained.

S - Very weak smell - not much there. I smell maybe a little bit of specialized malts in there. Surprisingly missing.

T - Ahhh the big beer - oh how I miss thee. This thing rolls with malts on the tongue. Nice and sweet - its dominant Finishes with a similar earthy hops flavor similar to the celebration I just had. I must admit however that I thought there would be more maltyness to this style of ale.

M - Very very thick. The carbonation also sticks with you. This thing sits on you hard.

D - As far as drinkability - I can't drink these fast. For some reason, that can be a good thing for me. So I'd say all and all its moderate.

Interesting beer - I'll have to let the rest of the 6er age for a while.

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

2008 vinatge poured into my Sierra Nevada tulip glass.

A- This beer pours a deep reddish-brown color with a thick off-white head that sticks around and leaves some nice lacing on the glass. Very pretty to look at.

S- Very boozy. The strong, resiny hop aroma is piney and citrusy with some malt sweetness behind it. There are aromas of dark fruits, toffee, and burnt caramel.

T- A big hop punch gives way to some sweet and fruity malts, with toffee and caramel flavors on the finish. The bitterness kicks in on the back of the tongue and lingers there long after each sip. Really complex and delicious.

M- Velvety smooth. The perfect amount of carbonation for the style. This coats the inside of the mouth. Awesome.

D- The high ABV prevents this from being sessionable, but other than that, this goes down very easy.

This doesn't have the same tobacco juice bitterness as the '07 edition, but this year's offering is incredibly mellow and smooth. Highly recommended.

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

Pours a dark red amber color from the bottle with a short but thick tan colored head that laces the sides fo the glass. Nice earthy hop aroma with hints of fruit and maltyness underneath. The taste is bold. Malted barely with layers of fruit underneath an earthy hop flavor that balances the beer out very well. The mouthfeel is good. Very crisp and complex with a dry finish. The drinkability is OK because of its intense flavor. Definately worth it.

Photo of ChrisBuster
1.9/5  rDev -54.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

07' Bigfoot

So I think I must have stumbled on a bottle that had somehow soured in one way or another. The color was excellent however a nice amber red, bright yet opaque. But a very small head that dissipated in an instant. Smell was hard to explain yet very pleasing...everything else was just bad. Strong alcohol taste that gave me no room to even really taste anything else...in all honesty tasted like cheep booze to me. Also everyone is raging about the hops yet i didn't smell or taste even a hint.Something had to be wrong with this brew...

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

My first bottle of the 2008 batch, poured into a Stone Old Guardian tulip.

Pours a rather dark amber with quite a bit of red when held to the light and extremely clear. About a two finger head with wonderful retention and lacing.

Smell is very hoppy, west coast style. Smells of sweet malt too, like a thick already converted mash.

Taste is a fantastic blend of west coast style hops, sweet malt and biscuit flavors with a nice alcohol bite. No fusels, clean and well balanced. Caramel and toffee with maybe a bit of a floral character but it's definitely massively hoppy.

The mouthfeel on this is very full bodied. Almost syrupy but it's creamy smooth at the same time and is a real delight.

I went a little lower on the drinkability because I would probably only have one of these, as it's a big wonderful sipping beer. I'm content with the same 12 oz pour from half an hour ago, because the flavors linger very well on your tastebuds.

Always look forward to this seasonal offering. I missed out on it last year as I was out of commission so this year is even more exciting.

Photo of elmore
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter. Dark amber with a half-finger, off-white head that receded into a ring and left moderate lace.

Fragrant, piney hops with some malt sweetness and alcohol.

Bitter hops predominate. I haven't had a Barleywine in a while and this is bitter, very bitter. Strong, piney, grapefruit hops prescence. A good malt backbone holds it together. Carmelized malt, toffee, brown sugar sweetness. Alcohol is not that detectable - I think it is masked by the bitterness, but there is a definite warming sensation in the mouth and throat.

Viscous, chewy texture from the malt with an oily slickness imparted by the hops. I enjoy the bitterness of this beer, but it makes it a slow sipper for me.

If you like big hoppy beers this is for you. A very enjoyable Barleywine - one of the better ones I've had.

Photo of baos
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 on cap
12 oz into my newly bought from the flea market Falstaff goblet.

A: Looks nice, reddish brown with 1 finger ecru head. Nice lacing. Head dissipates to a nice collar with a thin film in the middle.

S: Hops. Smells like their pale ale but a bit more. There are some caramelly malts behind the hops but there are so many hops notes the caramel music gets drowned out.

T: Awesome hops, but almost a bit too bitter. Its been a time since I've had a hoppy beer. This beer is fucking hoppy as all get out. Some malts in there but the hop bite and bitterness kinda takes the whole shebang. Ends biter bitter. Not really like any barley wine style that I've had.

M: Nice creamy and bubbly. Bitter back of the tongue feel.

D: Maybe a bit too bitter for me today, but i usually really love hoppy brews. Everything is behind the hops in this one. I'd like it more balanced. Maybe after several years it'll balance out.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.73/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On-tap at Hollingshead's in Orange, CA, 2007 edition, aged for about a year,

A: Pours a very dark amber out of the tap, with a small white head, but leaves nice, thick, sticky lacing down the glass.

S: Thick brunt of hop character, very piney.

T: At the first taste, you can feel it's more subdued in character than the '07 fresh, which I truly enjoyed, the maltiness comes out in a toasted biscuit and caramel/toffee character, but later on I felt the hops had regained their stronghold, a thick, resin filled pine came through, even at it's power, I felt it complemented the malt perfectly, it didn't go crazy into an unappetizing bitterness, like many ABA's can do. Restrained at times, but still a hop bomb, absolutely delicious.

M: Thick and resiny, with a full carbonation that conveys that image to every corner of your mouth, the aftertaste will stay with you forever, if you want it to.

D: An absolutely dynamite barleywine, possibly my favourite made in America, I can't wait for the '08 to come to town, definitely Sierra Nevada's finest creation.

Photo of MisterClean
4.71/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle, bought from the SN brewery

A - Gorgeous, deep auburn to light brown in body, tan head, nice legs, dissipates slow and evenly.

S - Brown sugar, cloves, and candied plums.

T - Amazing. Plums, light earthy hops, slight ester, and a faint bit of pine hops.

M - Smooth, with a light bitterness. I could not taste any alcohol, we sure it is a 9.6?

D - Friggin great, wish the ABV wasn't so high, but it comes with the barleywine territory.

Photo of NitroGen
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: 2008 Bigfoot 12 oz. bottle.

P: Pours brilliant dark brown amber with 2 fingers of intense light tan foam that very slowly settles with huge lacing.

S: Grapefruit pith dominates with subtle spices and slight alcohol fumes.

T: Sweet roasted grains, floral, dried plums quickly get overtaken by grapefruit pith that lasts until the finish with minimal spiciness and alcohol at the palate.

M: Slightly thick, but hops dominate so much of the taste.

D: Would have one at a time.

Photo of ColForbinBC
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz 2008 25th Anniversary Bottle poured into a pint

Poured a crystal clear cherry-amber color with a big two finger, slightly off white head. Head was big and rocky, like an IPA and had some nice staying power.

Big hop smell dominates the nose. Smells of pure hop oil, flowers, caramel malts, and a whiskey backbone.

Not really what I was expecting in a barleywine. Very piney, citrus flavor with a sweet maltiness. The alcohol is very present, but not overly dominant. A hop-forward barleywine.

Light and crisp, probably because of all the cascades used, with a lingering alcohol warmth.

I can't remember this beer being this hoppy; it's been about 2 years since I had it last. Not quite what you would expect from a Barleywine. I stashed a few of these away and will break them out over the next few years. Hopefully the hops mellow out and that big barleywine flavor comes to the forefront.

Photo of dsa7783
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Special thanks to the Gary's in Madison crew for this one... Bigfoot's 25th anniversary expedition sample... Pours a dark purple, mahogany color with immense frothy, foamy, bubbly head with some staying power... smell is very intricate with a strong combination of dark-fruit, malty, caramel notes... flavor is loaded with dark, brown sugars, figs, prunes, malts, caramel, and dark-fruits... very thick, complex, and rich flavor with decent mouthfeel and average drinkability occuring to the strong combination of powerful flavors... wonderful dichotomy of hops and malts present behind a syrupy blend of sweet, sugared goodness... good stuff from Sierra Nevada, and although I am not a particularly huge fan of barleywines, this was an overall pleasing, satisfying brew that could be enjoyed over a long period of time... Recommended...

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2007 vintage.

Pours a cloudy orange/brown color with a thin head.

Smell is dominated by a piney/citrus hop aroma with a caramel malt presence, quite floral.

Taste is also overtaken by the bitterness of the hops but has some malty sweetness to cut the edge, unfortunately I can taste the alcohol very easily in this beer and detracts from the potential flavors, just way way too strong and probably needed some time to mellow out and help meld the hops with the caramel malt better.

Might just be the year I had, will try again in the future to see how new/older vintages stand up.

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

Served on tap at Yia Yia's

A- Ever so slightly cloudy dark amber. Beautiful cream colored head, and incredibly sticky as I had expected.

S- Wow, it's officially hop time. Floral and sweet.

T- Bitter hops at first. Malty sweetness comes next, maybe honey. Very complex. Definitely can taste the alcohol. Incredibly balanced.

M- Thick, super thick and coating.

D- As much as I love barleywine, moderation. This was a real treat.

Photo of bcm119
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 25th anny edition. Ruby with a very thin whitish head. Sweet candied ripe citrus aroma with hints of alcohol. Citric hops are prominent and pervade the palate quickly on a thick, somewhat sweet black fruit malt base. Hops are forward and barely allow the sticky malt presence to be felt, but the aftertaste is slightly sweet. As the beer warms these flavors begin to integrate nicely and some black cherry flavors show up. Hop aftertaste is all yellow grapefruit pith, and almost dries the malt out completely. Great, complex barleywine, in small quantities.

Photo of bigsilky
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gorgeous antique cherry wood color with a very healthy tan froth. Hop nose starts off citrusy and sharp and moves to deep green, forest floor bitterness. Rich malt lends caramelized sugar and biscuits with a slight orange marmalade. Very well balanced, certainly built for the cellar. Very, Very tough to stay away from this beer as I have had one a night since buying the sixer.

Photo of tpd975
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 version hit the shelves in Tampa today.

A: Pours a beautiful ruby red with a nice rocky head. The head dies to a collar which left two little lines of lace.

S: This is one malty monster. Tons of sweet brown sugar malts with hints of vanilla at the start. As the malts fade you are smacked across the face with the aroma of pine and fresh acidic citrus.

T: Nicely balanced. Tons of malt right up front. Biscuit malt which turns somewhat sweet at the start. Tons of toffee with hints of spice is quickly overcome by tons of pine with a hint of lemon peel. I like it.

M: Medium bodied for a Barley wine.

D: Not bad at all. Glad it's a 12 oz bottle most brewers have gone away from this on their big bold beers which is a shame as I rarely share.

Overall: Very nice beer. The last I had was the 2006 version which I didn't really remember. I purchased plenty of this one so I can compare it to next years, and to complete a nice vertical somewhere down the line. SN did it right with this one. Drink up boys!

Photo of atrus138
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap and served in a Bavarian pilsner. Deep red/amber color with a somewhat thin and flat head. Lacing like crazy. Looked like cobwebs were stuck all over my glass with even more cobwebs layered on top of them. Amazing. Smell was a huge smack of hops. Citrus and piney. Very aggressive, which is to be expected from a beer of this caliber fresh on tap with no time to mellow out. Taste is very fruity. The hops and the malts are both in abundance, yet balance each other out, making for a flavor bomb. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy so that the flavor sticks around for a while.

Treat this beer with the respect it deserves. This is a MONSTER beer. I followed this up with another huge mythical creature, the Yeti, and was done for the night. I can't wait till the bottles hit the shelves so I can let a few Bigfeet hibernate in my cellar for a few years.

Photo of srroos
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A 12oz bottle dated 2007 picked up recently from Lone Hill Liquor. Tasted in a Duvel tulip glass.

A: Poured a cloudy amber color with a one finger tan head.

S: Lots and lots of piney hops!

T: Lots of bitterness from the hops, giving way to sweetness.

MF: Well carbonated, but slightly syrupy. In this case, the mouth coating syrupy sweetness is part of what keeps me coming back for me.

D: The sweet finish keeps me coming back for more despite the bitter bite. Very drinkable, could have many in one session!

Overall, an excellent brew, and now a staple of my cellar. I bought lots more of this to age alongside Anchor Old Foghorn. Should be interesting as time goes on.

Photo of hardy008
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review done over on 3/31/2012.

2012 vintage. Pours a dark caramel color with a 2 finger off white head with good retention and lacing. Just beautiful looking in the glass. The aroma has loads of caramel, citrus, and pine.

The taste is sweet from the caramel, with a little bitterness for balance from the hop and the pine. There is also toffee, and a little bit of citrus zest.

Medium to full bodied, chewy, sweet, with a bittersweet aftertaste, and average carbonation. I have drank this beer before, and not liked it, but can't help but think the previous bottles were bad, or maybe the batch was. This years Bigfoot is very good. If the beer normally tastes like this, no wonder it is so popular.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 bottle from the cellar preparing for the coming '08 release.

3finger head poured into my New Belgium goblet... perfect cascading lace.. clear deep amber with beautiful red highlites... after a while the head recedes and looks like a dollop of whipped cream atop a glass of cold black tea.

Fairly thick pine and citrus hops with deep caramel malts dominate the nose... quite a bit of fruitiness.

Hop palate rips most of the other flavors to threads.. pine is dominant, but grapefruit is definately a soldier in the fight. Malt sugars are there but are still on the backburner.. caramel and chocolate only come into play after the IBU's die down.. even then, the fruitiness and tongue slaying hops make for a very long finish.

I think of Bigfoot as the perfect body for an ABW.. thick without being cloying.. firm while still enough carbonation to keep the palate moving... very tasty for sure, but it will mellow with some time in the bottle.

The '07 still is pretty raw, I had my last '05 a couple months back, thinking it would be ready.. I was wrong.. Bigfoot can settle down for at least 3 years... I have an '02 and'03 in the cellar; but now have to score another 4 and 5 to complete a 6 year vertical.. I must do it soon... If you can help, beermail me.... I'll make it worth your while.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,704 ratings.