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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.

6,207 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,207
Reviews: 2,808
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 257
Gots: 1,080 | FT: 38
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 02-06-1998)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,207 | Reviews: 2,808 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DrunkMcDermott


4.08/5  rDev -1.7%

2004 Edition: Sampled 11/6/04. Still has the hallmarks of a very young barley wine. Pours a rather lighter brown than one would expect. Looks is very inviting, like a soda, but once you taste... I get impressions of brown sugar and maple syrup, but not too much. No complex aged components yet, but it still carried a good bit of IPA hops. Much more drinkable to the beginner (like my brothers and father who tried it for the first time) than one would expect of a big beer.

09-22-2005 15:58:32 | More by DrunkMcDermott
Photo of ALESwhatCURESya


3.6/5  rDev -13.3%

2005 Vintage

Awesome Ruby body that is remarkable clear for a big barlewine. Obviously filtered, which some may like or dislike. The sticky, air-filled head looked wonderful in my Trois Pistoles chalice. The aroma was filled with a west coast cascade hop punch. This was like a IIPA nose. The taste was very reminent of a strong IPA with the hop bitterness shining through. I would have liked a little more of malt presence to balance out the hops with some sweetness. The mouthfeel is decent, but a little rough so far. This beer is much better after laying down for a couple of years. I will probably give a review from an older vintage, seeing as they are much more balanced as the hop bitterness smooths out. Still awesome beer that is one of the best buys out there!

09-22-2005 00:25:36 | More by ALESwhatCURESya
Photo of orfeu

New Mexico

4.45/5  rDev +7.2%

2004 bottling.

Appearance: This pours a gorgeous brown-amber color with a thick and massive head that doesn't look like it's going anywhere anytime soon.

Aroma: hops with an assertive malty sweetness; toffee, rum raisin, fruity vanilla.

Taste: delivers on what the smell offers. Sweetish malts are extremely well balanced by a snappy bitter finish provided by the hop content.

Mouthfeel: really full and chewy; the bitter hoppy finish is somewhat oily. Pleasantly so. Wow, like nothing i've ever had before.

Drinkability: This beer has a fantastic taste, mouthfeel, aroma, etc. It's a biggun, though. So although I'll have no problem finishing this one, not to mention looking forward to my next, I don't know that this would be an everyday beverage. Depends on what is meant by "drinkability" I s'pose.

Overall: this one broke my barleywine cherry. I'm liking it quite a lot so far. I've got a couple bombers of Old Ruffian in the cellar, so i'll have to compare since that one is so highly regarded by BAs.

09-18-2005 00:04:11 | More by orfeu
Photo of jakester


4.38/5  rDev +5.5%

I had this on tap at Union Jack's on the Manatawny. It was served in a cognac glass. I have had this in bottles before, but it was really good on draft.

Arrives a very hazy dark reddish/amber with a one finger head of beige colored foam. The head drops to islands and a ring, with splotches of lacing on the glass.

The aroma is huge, fruity chocolate and dark rum soaked raisins, with lemony citrus hops just behind. Alcohol is there also, but it's muted pretty well.

Flavor is really huge chocolate and black malts with a huge hop bitterness in there as well. Very fruity, with notes of dried plums, currants, and licorice. I'm also getting citrus fruits like lemons and oranges. The aftertaste is fruity, spicy, and warm from alcohol.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, yet bitter and lip-smacking sweet. Finish is huge, long sweetness and bitterness. Yummy!

I don't know how "drinkable" this beer is, but it sure is delicious. It's huge, but not cloying in any way. You gotta try this on draft!

09-13-2005 13:17:52 | More by jakester
Photo of Gritsak

West Virginia

4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

2005 edition. i tried to keep it for a year but i couldnt wait so im drinking 1 of my 2 i saved.

A- deep brown with reddish hue. fluffy, thick offwhite head. retention is awsome.

S- strong hop, alcohol and malt aroma.

T- wow this has really calmed down a bit since last winter. hops are present but dont nearly have the presence of when its fresh. alcohol is still there but also not as potent. malt shines through a little more and makes it much more balanced.

M- thick and chewy. about as syrup-like of a beer as ive ever had. mild to little carbonation.

D- for what it is, i would consider this better then average drinkability. especially after mellowing out for the past 10 months,

overall- im very impressed by the outcome of setting this back. flavors have calmed down and overall its much more balanced. im looking forward to picking up some fresh and storing more then 2 this time.

09-07-2005 03:59:07 | More by Gritsak
Photo of horshack7


4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Presentation: 12oz bottle funny label with an old prospector looking at bigfoot foot prints tugging on his mule and the mule tugging back complete with the bigfoot hiding behind some trees a nice touch.

Appearnce: Pours a great amber red with a light frothy head.

Smell: Fruit notes slight caramel notes lots of hops and slight hints of malt.

Taste: Remarkably bitter this one packs a great punch. Slight hints of cherries and hints of maltiness.

Mouthfeel: This has a great bite but a smooth mouthfeel.

Notes: This one is big and bad down right tasty great hop bitterness. An incredible barley wine top notch.

09-06-2005 02:06:46 | More by horshack7
Photo of chorizoandeggs


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

As the beer was poured, I became curious of this beer. There was a slight chill haze through the copper colored beer. At first i was disappointed by the head retention but my second beer had much more retention. I'm assuming that my first glass wasn't the cleanest.

As far as smell goes, uh....there wasn't much to mention. I could smell some hop fragrance but it really didn't stand out as exceptional to me. But my sniffer goes wacky after surfing so that may have played a part in it. .

Taste was where I was impressed. This beer was delicious. I was amazed at how flavorful it was and even more amazed at how my damn tongue went numb in 1 minute. The balance worked nicely with the amount of alcohol.

Mouthfull was really light for what I'm assuming was a very high initial gravity. It went down easy and definitely played a role in this beers drinkability, along with taste.

The only downfall is that I had way too many of these in a short amount of time. This is not something you can drink 5 of and mow the lawn. Well, I guess you can but the lawn isn't going to come out too good.

08-30-2005 05:04:09 | More by chorizoandeggs
Photo of RedHaze


4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

2005 edition.

Pours a very dark cherry color with a two finger head that disipates slowly to a thin cap, with really nice lacing.

Smell is slightly sweet, piney, rich malts and citrucy hops. This smells great.

Taste is big on the hops, malts, alcohol, with dark fruits and citrus on the finish. You can feel the alochol as much as taste it, but it works well with the big flavor of the beer.

This is not a beer you will sit down and have a six pack of. This is definitely a sipping kind of beer.

08-30-2005 04:37:23 | More by RedHaze
Photo of chOAKbarrell


3.58/5  rDev -13.7%

Not really sure what to say about this one... I like it, but I am not very familiar with the barleywine style. I wouldnt be sure what to compare it to, as I've had so few barleywines.

Well, I suppose the most noticeable thing is the trademark Sierra Nevada hoppiness. This is definitely a hop-filled beer. And it is strong, and sweet. But not syrupy-so. A pleasant sweetness. I would say the mouthfeel is the highlight of this beer. It feels very full-bodied with tons of character.

The beer is an attractive deep amber hue. Very nice to look at. "But how does it taste?" you're asking. In addition to the strong hop character, there are the expected wheat & wine tones. A sweet finish awaits you to round things up.

I would assuredly purchase this beer again. I dont know if I'd want a whole six-pack, but another single at the very least would be nice.

08-26-2005 23:14:39 | More by chOAKbarrell
Photo of tjthresh


3.63/5  rDev -12.5%

Pours garnet with a low forming off white head. Big citrus hops and malty sweet aroma. A drink freatures mostly hop flavor. Very little malt makes it through. Pretty bitter. This barleywine is more like a big IPA. I still look forward to my yearly sixer..

08-26-2005 13:29:50 | More by tjthresh
Photo of Krovtar

New York

4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

vintage 2002 care of Malto opened August 2005
I'm a huge fan of barley wines and this has become a favorite.
Pours a beautiful cherry/mahogany reminds me a bit of the color on my Piano with a creamy sand colored head, when left undisturbed disapates and forms a small barrier to the nectare.
A sweet aroma with a hint of malt and wonderful supply of hops.
It's taste is sweet at first then the malt and hops combine and an air of pine before the door slams .
The beer has a fine body and is quite drinkable, though be wary I have had more than two of these in a sitting and this is no session beer. Bigfoot is simply a fantastic barleywine and I buy a case whenever I see it and can afford it.

08-25-2005 19:03:20 | More by Krovtar
Photo of sopor


3.88/5  rDev -6.5%

Beatiful translucent dark mohogany. Thick tan head takes about ten minutes to die toa film, leaves nice lace. Syrupy sweetness and slight bitter smells.

Syrupy sweet flavor is uqckly joined by a hop bitterness, and a hint of mintyness perhaps? Next the sweetness dies away and is replaced with roasted malt flavor accompanied by growing bitterness that lasts long after you swallow.

Moderately heavy body and light carbonation. Not highly drinkable, but a very tatsy brew that I will drink again!

08-25-2005 17:43:19 | More by sopor
Photo of Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

3.35/5  rDev -19.3%

Vintage 2002, openned August 2005.

A: Dark ruby, garnet coloured. Very little head, lacing is more like the legs of a sweet wine.

S: Pacific Northwest citrous & pine.

T: Bittersweet. The initial hit is actually fairly well balanced, with sherry-like flavours, but the crystal malt sweetness fades to an overpowering bitterness in the end. This bitterness is relatively smooth though, providing your taste-buds with plenty of excitement. Surprisingly, the bitterness even covers the potency of this brew! It's a 'hop bomb'.

M: Mouthfeel is moderately heavy, similar to a sherry, but with a bitter backbone!

D: To maintain the bitter-sweet balance, you need to keep sipping!


08-23-2005 11:52:48 | More by Derek
Photo of mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -3.6%

A - Pours a gorgeous clear ruby/mahogany with a half finger head that leaves tiny scattered patches of lacing.

S - Strong caramel malt, potent pine hops and a slight vanilla underneath. Very, very nice.

T - A strong molasses malt flavor meshed with a less prominent hoppy taste that turns into a powerfully bitter hoppy finish. It is pretty good, a little too strong on the syrupy malt though.

M - Medium viscosity, low carbonation and very refreshing for a barleywine.

D - This goes down easily for a barleywine. It isn't drying and it wasn't hard to find the bottom of my snifter. Food pairing would be difficult. I would have again though.

08-21-2005 12:02:02 | More by mrasskicktastic
Photo of gbontrag


3.73/5  rDev -10.1%

the color of peach brandy jam. It's a little hazy with peach fuzz for a head.
It smells like apricot jam, homemade fruit wine, wildflower honey, orange.

I've been fooled into thinking this will have some sweetness. Once you bite through the grapefruit peels the alcohol hooks you through a piece of rum soaked fur. I feel like a fish biting a fly: It looks so good, smells good >OUCH< I'm hooked! Ouch. It kinda bites back, but there's a touch of brown sugar frosting that makes it a decent sip.

08-17-2005 21:51:23 | More by gbontrag
Photo of Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

2005 edition. Pours a hazy reddish brown, iced tea colour, big off white head and plenty of lace. Smell is deep rich malts, caramel, citrus and floral hops. Taste is caramel sweetness up front, coffee/chocolate middle and a florally hop bitter finish. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, smooth, no rough edges, very excellent beer.

08-14-2005 17:00:39 | More by Viggo
Photo of tavernjef


4.6/5  rDev +10.8%

1998 - opened August 2005: Still pours with voracity after 7 years of sitting. Color sits an opaque looking chestnut brown with a deep reddish glow. Finger high head of heavy yellow stained froth that sits for a pertinent duration. A thin collar keeps and the lacing is somewhat glaring and spotty with a small ink blob curtain sticking closer to the liquids' edge.

Aroma is nothin' but smoothed out pine soaked hop oily heat with a medley of tender roasted malts and grains that inlay a bordline scotch-like girth.

Taste is wonderfully smoothed over. The hops still play the main host as a load of pine oils and resin soaked leaves sit among a toasted molasses and roasted edge of malts. Heat is perfectly intertwined as the roasty stuff drys off the end leaving lots of oily hop residue, slight tobacco spice, and plenty of other spicy alcoholic nuances floating across the palate with weight as it finishes.

Feel is fairly rich, quite warm, both in the throat and belly, more so in the throat. Body is still fairly thick and heavy with a hop sided realm of oily heat and resins. Smooth but a bit rough edged; even still? Warmth is f*ckin' awesome to behold. Its perfect.

Drinkability is through the the roof on this aged wonderment. Even with its warmth its just lovely to sip and sip and sip and sip. This didn't last long in the snifter. A could see myself drinking a few more before bedtime no prob.
Bigfoot is always a pleasure a good time after its release. This was no different and stays true to the Barleywine nature of aging. Especially when done this well.

08-12-2005 02:28:09 | More by tavernjef
Photo of canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

4.38/5  rDev +5.5%

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.

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

North Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

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.

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

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

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.

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


3.28/5  rDev -21%

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.

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


4.72/5  rDev +13.7%

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.

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


4.47/5  rDev +7.7%

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.

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

New Jersey

4.6/5  rDev +10.8%

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.

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


4.43/5  rDev +6.7%

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.

07-13-2005 05:47:10 | More by mentor
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,207 ratings.