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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.

6,503 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,503
Reviews: 2,824
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 293
Gots: 1,185 | FT: 49
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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,503 | Reviews: 2,824 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Neehan
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 into snifter.

The appearance is a rich, cognac like shininess and richness with a soapy, multicolored head and seeping retention. A strong, fruity nose of light citrusy fruits with apples up front. Strong alcohol presence in the nose, and more-so in the taste. The alcohol pierces through the fruit flavors and combines with the hops to cause a strong sting on the tongue. Slightly thick in the mouth with a warm and syrupy finish. Very bitter, hoppy aftertaste. A damn good sipper.

Photo of rayjay
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Fresh 2007 bottle. A bit disappointing is the appearance, which is viscous, flat, and dull. Very deep copper hues just like I remember it. The flat body also makes the mouthfeel suffer a bit, and cuts drinkability. The nose: sweet carmel malts, generally malts galore, and volitile cascade hops like a fine NW 2xIPA. The body bears a huge barleywine-style malt tribute, making for one thick beer. Sweet, and a bit sticky too. Worlds apart from the British Old Nick types; they only have the big malt body in common, but even they are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Picture a hoppy ale, then distill it once, dry hop it to smithereens...e.g. Bigfoot ale. The hoppiness is what I love about this beer; pure fruity bitterness. As big as this beer is, it actually hides the alcohol quite well. Give this to a teenager and it may scare them away from beer forever. Cheers!

Photo of vtfan77
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Great reddish-brown hue with a generous off-white head and good lacing. I love the color of a good barleywine!

S- Quite sweet-smelling. Berry fruitiness and a touch of alcohol. Hops are actually fairly subtle.

T- Surprisingly well-balanced, considering the beer's reputation as a bitter hop monster. As far as barleywines go, it's definitely on the hoppy side, but it has plenty of malt to back it up. Characteristic barleywine flavors of dark fruits (figs and dates) are evident, as is a sweet cake-like maltiness. Hops add a bit of pine to the mix but really aren't an enormous presence in the flavor. They're most noticeable with the hefty bitterness they contribute throughout the beer, and seem to be masking some of the malt flavors.

M- Very nice mouthfeel. Nice and full, smooth, creamy, just the right amount of carbonation.

D- Not bad for a barleywine, but I wouldn't want more than one in a sitting. Maybe two depending on my mood.

This is definitely a good barleywine, although it certainly would benefit from aging. Once the bitterness calms down a bit, I imagine the flavors will be amazing. I definitely plan on laying some down. Even so, it is quite drinkable right now. Recommended if you like barleywines.

Photo of MusicmanSD
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 1.5

I finally saw Barleywine at my local store and snagged it right away to try this so talked about brew. Love the Bigfoot graphics haha, alright, so I poured it into a typical pint glass and it looked fairly light compared to the hop oil I was expecting. Let me just say this has the most impressive head retention in a beer I've ever seen. Every sip left a thick ring in my glass, bravo on that Sierra Nevada! The whole glass was literally ringed! The smell was not as hoppy as some of Stone's more hoppy beers, but then you take a sip and realize thats not exactly right... The taste is overwhelming of hops and very little malt, just the way I like it! Except, not blown out of complete proportion... The mouthfeel is very thick, caused by the hop oil I'm guessing, and thats why I deem this beer a complete sipper. One of them gets ya feelin' all warm inside, but you chug this, you might be in for a lost of taste buds for the night...haha. Very well done, I must now try an English version of this style!

Photo of jaxon53
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bigfoot 2007 Expidition. Served at cellar temperature into a pint glass. Poured an almost murky , dark , reddish-orange color. Left about one finger of thin bubbly white head that had decent retention. Left a small ring of lace around the glass. Smell: Nice aromas of dark fruit, hops, and mild notes of alcohol. Taste: Taste was solid. Tons of hops (compared to past expiditions) raisins, yeast, and some well hidden alcohol. Was well balanced with sweet malt flavors. Mouth feel was full with a moderate amount of carbonation. Drinkability was great. Could drink this brew anytime. One of my favorite barley wines.

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

2006 Edition (aged one year) poured from a 12oz bottle into a New Belgium goblet at cellar temp.

A: Ruby red with a nice tan head that sticks around pretty well.

S: Still some nice hops with a bready, semi-sweet aroma.

T: Absolutely delicious. Even aged one year, hops are still on the forefront. Delicious citrusy hops with a big caramel malt backbone. Honestly, I don't think this beer is meant to be a balanced beer, and I am okay with that. It's deliciously hoppy even after a year of aging. One of my all time favorites. Sierra Nevada, being as big as they are, sure know how to make a big beer!

M: Sticky, resiny and delicious. This beer fills you up!

D: I have trouble drinking too many of these, but for what it is, it's exceptionally drinkable.

Highly recommended!

Photo of DaveFL1976
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a nice beer.
And I'm not just talking about Bigfoot in general, but my local pub had a 2005 keg on tap... aged 1+ year in the cooler.

The body still didn't clear out, and looked to be an old oaky color with a rather fluffy tan head. But, man, that head hung on forever. Smell was still hoppy. I would have expected it to smooth out over a year, but there was still plenty of hops. Taste was fantastic. Smooth, malty, hoppy. It's a beer on steroids. Mouthfeel was full and chewy. As much as I love hops, the bitterness slowed my drinkability down just a smidge -- even with a year of cellering. Now THAT's impressive!

good beer.

Photo of rickcampie
3.53/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this offering has a good copper color, left about a 1inch head that thins quickly ,but leaves decent lacing, very overpowering hop flavor,and some piny floral flavors are present. mabey this beer could use some aging, mabey store for a year to bring out the flavor. alcohol flavor is very prevalent, yoou can taste all 9%. overall not a bad beer, but wouldnt go out of my way to get it.

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

Pours a dark copper color, decent head, lacing, yada...

Aroma of cascade hops, caramel, brown sugar, oats, berries. smells terrific.

Nice, true to the west coast styling, hops are first and foremost here. All 9.6% of the abv shows up, and the finish is a bit astringent. Tastes very good, a bit sweet, and leaves a slight sugar "stickiness", Sierra Nevada has yet to dissapoint, and has delivered yet another quality brew.

Photo of BMoney575
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on 2-20-07
2007 Vintage

Pours a dark and colorful red, with a nice and fluffy off-white head.

Smells strongly of hops, piney, flowery, citrusy; most IPAs don't offer this much. Outstanding.

Taste starts with a nice maltiness but is soon brutally overpowered by the intense hop character. This is not a bad thing, as I can tell that this beer will be phenomenal in a year's time.

Mouthfeel is very good, thick, drinks almost like a DIPA. Drinkability suffers only from the tremendous hop bitterness.

Overall, a better DIPA than a barleywine, but it even does that well. As the hops die down and other flavors emerge over time, this brew will be one of the best.

Photo of bennetj17
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 Edition, 12 ounce bottle. Bright copper/amber appearance. Nearly 1/2 inch foam (tan) with immaculate retention and perfectly crusty lace. There is a pronounced west coast hoppiness in the aroma, lots of pine/grass/citrus character. The light caramel malt stays more in the background making this smell more like a Double IPA, which is fine with me.

The taste is intense, but a bit astringent perhaps, with strong hop tang, sweet caramel malt, and a slightly harsh bitterness. This thing is again very hop dominant, and a slow drinker. the mouthfeel isn't real thick, but it's kind of syrupy. the soft foamy carbonation is nice.

Solid this year, more enjoyable than the 2006 if I recall. Worth getting a few bottles. I'm not sure if I will cellar much of this, I think I would rather try to enjoy the hop freshness while it lasts...

Photo of iowaero
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 Edition

Purchased a case from John's Grocery in Iowa City, IA

I am reviewing this after I have had about 7 of these (not all at once - over about 4 days). I have sampled it in a nice wide mouth crystal glass as well as straight from the bottle. Freezing cold (put a bottle in the snow outside for about 4 hours) to a nice 65 degree temp. I must say there are many more flavors to be had at 65 degrees but is surely is very good cold as well!

Pours a nice dark amber. The taste is very strong sweet caramel and then the citrusy pine hops give you a bigfoot smack in the ass.
Truly awesome. Finishes very smooth and somewhat dry. As the temp of the ale warms the alchohol lets you know it is there.

This is a very good barley wine young. I am going to try to save 4 of these bottles for a year and see what happens. But drinking them at this stage is very, very satisfying. Very easy drinking for such a high alchohol content. Almost dangerous. I rated the taste and drinkability a "5" because compared to other fine barley wines I have tried, for the style, this one takes the cake.

This one truly impresses me. Thanks SN for a fine brew.

Photo of Graebner
4.83/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 edition. Nice looking stubby bottle. Pours a orange-brown with a finger+ of coarse white head.

Smells like loads of hops. Also citrus rind, pine pitch, and a bit of caramel. MMMM.

Taste is devastating. Tastes of sweet caramel, but only shortly, as it's quickly smacked down by hoppy goodness. Grapefruit rind comes through, as does more pine. Tremendous brew, absolutely delicious.

Mouthfeel is also fantastic. The hops and the alcohol provide a slightly oily and very smooth feel. Finishes very dry, and dries your mouth with it. Very pleasant.

Drinkability is excellent, though the high abv will get you loopy. If youre feeling really froggy, though, I expect you could drink 3 of these things before you realize what youve done. A+, Sierra Nevada has yet to let me down. Those guys can do no wrong.

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

The 2007 expedition:

has brought it all together

- Forest Pine pungent Hop berries and Rich caramel malts
- Supra-fine carbonation and syrupy consistency
- an exquisite sweet to bitter balanced mouthfeel
resting in the perfect middle of the palatte,
which pours a deep
ruby red brown
with a slight head of

A true American barleywine
with that
almost over the top bite;

but just almost
because this Bigfoot
emanates a refined
"quality and pure" ingredient aura

that has a remarkably smooth drinkability
for a barleywine
Hardly a rough edge to be found
nor a weak spot

Of course
The cursory description of flavors
don't capture the experience

(some may prefer the matured and mellowed
less "hoppy" and yeast tinged cellared ales)

Yet this
fresh 2007
tastes clean and
strong and invigorating

No aged esters or acoholics
with the malt and hop balance
just pines and caramel;
grass berries and toffee;
sweet and bitter;
in all their swirling nuances

a flavor filled
heavy effervescence
of a barleywine

Good stuff!

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

Vintage 2007.

A: Poured into an oversized wine glass. The result: a clear, coppery-red body with a 1/2-finger off-white head that disappears quickly, leaving some spots of soapy film resting on top. Very small bubbles rise to the surface. No lacing, but I find that's usually the case with this glass.

S: Very pleasant. Mild grassy, piney and citrusy hops up front with sweet dark fruit underneath -- perhaps powdered-sugar dusted berries. A slight waft of alcohol as well. There's something real inviting about the nose -- before every sip I inhaled deeply and really enjoyed it.

T: First impression: it has that Sierra Nevada taste to it. Green hops dominate the overall impression -- grass, pine and spruce. There is a bit of malty and fruity sweetness present underneath it all, however, as sweet berries and toffee-like malt tries to poke its head through the hops before being beaten down. Hoppy bitterness really lingers as a slightly minerally tang on the back and roof of the mouth. Alcohol is barely noticed early, other than a warmth in the belly, but as it warms a slightly mediciney alcohol presence is more notable.

M: Medium to full-bodied and well carbonated. There's a slight grittiness to the feel, especially at first, which I attributed to the carbonation and what seems like young, green hops.

D: Good. A little too brash right now, I suspect this hopped up barleywine could benefit from some age and be a little better balanced after some cellar time.

Notes: This is my first Bigfoot in years, as I've recently turned my attention to barleywines. The smell was just phenomenal, and all in all I enjoyed this solid offering from SN. It famously ages well, so I'm looking forward to trying more in the months and years to come.

3-22-08: 13 months later and the 2007 batch still has a strong presence of those sprucey, piney SN hops. I expected it to be more focused on the malt. It did seem to lose something in the nose, however; I seem to get more booze in the nose as well. Still solid and not all that much different from what I remember. . . .

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

Vintage 2007

A: Pours a clear, but very dark ruby red color. Frothy half finger cream colored head with big bubbles in the middle. Nice retention that doesn't move. Sticky lacing.
S: Grapefruit, orange rind, pine tar and sap hop notes are all very present. Spicy and a tad boozy. Powerful.
T/M: Thick citrus notes. Hops all the way here--they take major precedence. Spicy on the palate with a prickly nature that lasts into the dry and bitter aftertaste. Very excellent showing by the hops. Sweet malt presence, with caramel notes, takes a back seat, even though it tries to exert itself. Juicy and oily mouthfeel with pine sap that sticks to the tongue. Very hot right now.
D: A bit young, but I got a bunch of these and letting them sit will turn out to be a good decision. We'll see how it does in a couple of years. Still very tasty with the hops dominating the palate. A sipping brew for sure, but one I look forward to every year.

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

2007 Edition

Appearance: Poured from the 12 oz stubby bottle into a pint glass. The beer is a darker orangish brown. My pour produces a solid 1 inch head which linger for a while before falling to a thin cover. Some lacing is left behind as I consume the beer.

Smell: Some sweeter malts in combination with some strong piney hop aromas, along with some dark fruits. Malts have a caramel and toffee aroma to them.

Taste: Disclaimer: I often find that SN tends to make their beers on the hoppy side of things. That being said, this beer is nicely hopped (piney and citrousy), while there still is a balance of some sweeter malts (the caramel that I smell I am guessing). A surprising balance IMO for a SN beer. Good, I just don't find it exceptional.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, alcohol is noticeable for me and causes a bit of a burn in the throat and warms my belly. Low in carbonation, feels "heavier" than it should. A bit brash and could use some mellowing, but I do not age beers, I drink them now; so I dropped my score a notch.

Drinkability: OK, I am scoring this lower in drinkability for two reasons. One - While this is a tasty beer I have one and am done. I do not want another. Two - As I mentioned, this one may do well with a bit of aging, but I don't age beers, I drink them right away. Also at $10 a six (here in Nebraska) it's a bit pricey for me to purchase.

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

2005 Version.

At last...as I sample bottle 18, I find that the remnants of my case of 2005 Bigfoot have finally matured to perfection, almost two years after I acquired them, and I realize now that I should have bought at least two cases: One to test when it was ready and the other to fully savour.

I have been periodically trying a bottle to see how things were progressing, and up until this point the beer clearly had not reached that heavenly mellowness stage that I know will eventually arrive, all in its own good time.

My wife calls Bigfoot the "Ear wax" beer, and as disgusting as that description may sound, I have to agree with her that in its infancy it certainly is overwhelmingly reminiscent of that flavour. However, on offering her a blind tasting of the finished article this evening, she did correctly guess the beer and like me, was more than impressed with its remarkable transformation. As she noted, the bitterness is still there, but now there is also so much more besides.

Not such an ugly duckling after all...

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


It pours a slightly hazy and fairly carbonated orange amber, reminiscent of many DIPA's. Three fingers of frothy light tan head deconstruct quite slowly. Shams of lacing pillow the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, dense caramel toffee toasted malt joins a touch of vanilla and spicy pine and dry citrus hops. A feathery floral note tickles an airy element of alcohol.

Upon sipping, it's malt first, thickly sweet and rich with caramel, vanilla, berry, and an earthy bit of currants. The hops are heady with spicy pine needles and dry grapefruit, both of which capably crisp the grain sweetness. A swarthy alcohol presence lays a port impression down before a glimpse of biscuit signifies malt's secondary push. The finish continues to dry to a lingering and gratifying bitterness. The flavor represents a well done and well blended effort.

Pretty much full bodied, the malt is thick and the hops of an oiliness that combine and coat quite nicely.

Often the Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) need some age. Sure, some maturity might be interesting with this specimen, but the sassy, edgy nature of this youngster is a breath of fresh Sierra Nevada air. Even in its tender years there's nothing not to like. And while the ABV may be beefy, it's worked in and warming. It's serious, but it drinks with a knowing grin. So it may end up wearing some age well, but I might not let it rest long enough to really find out.

Photo of velo343
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Bottle

Appearance - Very dark crimson and brown. Fluffy beige head, lots of lacing on the glass.

Smell - A fantastic smell of pine and lemony hops with a bit of orange and grapefruit. Large malt character as well, mostly caramel, toffee, some light chocolate. Some dark fruits as well.

Taste - Wow. Lots of bitterness hits at first, but it is quickly counteracted by a very bready, caramel malt flavor. Lots of roasted flavor, then at the end of the drink, the bitterness hits again. Very thick and lightly carbonated, almost as if it was off a cask.

Drinkability - For how young this is, I found it to be a stellar barleywine already. Right from the looks, it has everything going for it. Great flavors that blended well, and I'm sure it will only get better with time. Got an extra bottle to lay down and I'm going to struggle not to open it.

Photo of david131
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Edition

A- Looks just how a barley wine should look. Dark amber, orange, red... I don't know why, maybe because its Valentines day, but I thought the color looked like juiced rose petals. The head was slightly yellow, mostly white and retains itself most of the way through the drinking of this. Leaves some great lacing.

S- Piney hops, but not overpowering. A little bit of grass. Great malt backing. Like caramel with pine needles tossed in- but in a good way.

T- Not too harsh at first. Man the hops linger. Good balance of sweetness and bitterness.

M- This does not leave your mouth. A little dry, but the alcohol is very well hidden.

D- This is a sipper for sure and the hops are a tad hot. I am going to have to revisit this... I am very anxious to see how this ages. I have my hopes up.

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

2007 Bottle poured at cellar temp into a oversized goblet. Deep mohagany and not quite clear with offwhite head that slowly recedes leaving thick lacing. It smell sweet with a blend of pine and citrius hops. Hint of alchol mixes in with the very nice aroma of this beer.

The first sip has a very nice hop punch and quickly fades into a perfectly sweet malt middle. It finishes with a familiar SN hop bitterness that continues to coat the tongue. The alcohol is present in the taste, but is very well blended and adds a nice dimension to the overall flavor. 2007 ranks at the top of my list for Bigfoot years while still fresh.

The mouthfeel is chewy and coats the tongue nicely. The overall drinkability is excellent for something at close to 10% abv. I could easily sip this beer all night. I am planning on cellaring a good bit of this year because I feel it has potential to really mature nicely. Excellent job this year SN and looking for to having this many time again.

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

2007 bottle pured into a snifter. Yes! I have been waiting for this one for awhile now. The color is nice amber-red with a short white head that needed a little coaxing. The smell was slightly piney and really awesome. I actually had to sniff the beer for a couple minutes before I took my first drink. the taste was very hoppy pine with a slight hint of bubblegum. I don't know where that comes from but I have detected it in Ruination at times. I didn't get any of the chocolate flavors that are showing up in the 06 right now. This beer was amazing fresh and it will probably only get better. I think I better buy another case before this stuff is gone!

Photo of IntriqKen
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 Vintage. Fresh
Granted, my tastes have changed over the past few years, but this one taste the best of all of the Bigfoots I've had.
Crack the top and immediately get hit with the very fresh smell of citrus and pine hops.
Pours golden amber in the glass with a half finger of off white that melts very slowly to very, very sticky lacing. A nice map traces the drink down the glass.
The tongue is hit with sweet amber malts and brown sugar with citrus hops all at once....swallow slowly and go through phases of sweet malt, brown sugar, then grapefruit peel hops....pink grapefruit....more grapefruit peel...then a nice drying with only a hint of the sugars left.
Creamy mouthfeel.
The perfect American barleywine?
Damn close.

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

2007 bottle. Poured into a pint glass. I just bought this last week, but I think it's only been out for about a month, so this is relatively fresh. Pours a nice red/amber color with a nice solid head that is not too big but leaves tremendous lacing and is really sticky on the side of the glass. Smell is extremely floral with a some pine and maybe even a bit of soapiness - I like it though. Taste is hops, hops, and more hops with some grapefruit rind in the finish (there's an initial sweetness that gets slaughtered quickly by the hoppiness). Some aging would definitely tone this down. Mouthfeel is nice, almost chewy - the carbonation lends a nice crispness. Even though this is super hoppy, it is quite drinkable as a sipping beer. This is one to be savored. Highly Recommended.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,503 ratings.