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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

6,699 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,699
Reviews: 2,890
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 322
Gots: 1,328 | 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: 6,699 | Reviews: 2,890 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RidiculedDisplay
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 edition.

Poured into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: Pours with a fairly pretty butterscotch. However, this one lost points for its lack of solidity in body color - it needed a least more of a semblance of being opaque. When holding it up to the light, it looked watery and unimpressive. The lacing is like a fine sea mist, a myriad of hyper-carbonated dots canvasing the side of the glass.

Smell: Caramel sweetness, alcohol, big flowery and pine aromas. Super hoppy backbone which cradles the sweet aromas very nicely. Cinnamon. Really works very nicely for a ABW in terms of being strikingly harmonious and easy to snuff. Very well balanced aroma.

Taste: Caramel, huge pine, flowers. There's a very noticeable alcohol here that isn't very pleasant, especially given its relatively low ABV for the style. I'm not digging this as much as the aroma, but I do see how age would serve the flavor well.

Mouthfeel: A little too carbonated, perhaps, but otherwise syrupy and somewhat astringent. Nothing to bring on its downfall.

Drinkability: A very drinkable ABW that I would consider buying more of.

Photo of BeerZack
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep mahogany, cloudy with a fluffy cream colored head that hangs around awhile.

Sweet malt taste that gets devoured by the bitter finish that will leave your taste buds tingling in the afterglow of each sip. Fig, maple syrup, pine, apricot.

The mouthfeel is wonderful, has the same feel as a nitro can beer almost.

This beer seems balanced and light enough to be a double IPA, rather than a barleywine really... personally I'd rather drink this than a Hercules Double IPA or maybe even a Maharaja...

Photo of froggyfrog
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2005 vintage served snifterwise in May of 2007.

Incredibly clear ruby-colored body with a flash of white head. Aroma is caramel and full-bloom flowers. There is a peppery spice to the smell and the taste. Butterscotch notes are noticeable as well. Darkened toast with orange marmalade comes to mind.

The alcohol sticks on the tongue long after the swallow. The mouthfeel has little flesh and doesn't really hold up to the caramel notes from the nose.

This beer gets high marks for the fumes and the view but I would reach for a BW with a little more substance and sweetness as my personal preference.

Photo of abcsofbeer
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a pint glass. The color is a dark amber with tints of red and is topped by a 11/2 finger tan head. The head is very frothy and leaves heavy rings of lacing. The aroma is pretty strong citrus oil that is both flowery and fruity. The taste is pretty heavy alcohol, and has a good amount of hoppiness and malt flavors that are way up there. The mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied and very tangy. This is a good one.

Photo of Chaz
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A medium-pour into a bulb yields a two-fingered, medium-tan head. Excellent lacing. Pours a moderately-hazey copper-amber in color, with ample yeast settling to the bottom of the glass. Hops are *very* expressive on the nose, with a sort of buffet-table of bitterness and floral hop qualities. Earthy, both in the hops and malt qualities . . . almost smells 'dirty', like the roots of a plant being transplanted. Vegetal qualities are underlying the floral and citric hop notes, and there are a number of fruit notes here too: ripe plum, raisin, fig, and of course anise/licorice. Some diacetyl, but on-style. Licorice and hop bite/bitterness are al over the first sip, followed by a rounding plummy, toffee quality, and a bit of butterscotch. Even after just a sip, there's a sincere alcohol presence in this one - this brew means business! Notes of apple (red and green) in the aromatics, which play nicely with the floral hops (if I said I detect cherry blossoms here you wouldn't accuse me of floral prose, would ya?) Bitterness is very pronounced, and an aquired taste, but is on-style; very par for the course as per my Bigfoot reminiscenses. There's a lemony-citric and even minty quality to the hops on the palate, and it's worth noting that this has a rather dry characteristic as it is still rather fresh; age should smooth that out a bit. Some cherry notes in this too, but faint. Body is medium-full, and becomes a bit more round as this warms. Caramel notes sre here about midway through, and really work well with the fresh hops and fruit characteristics throughout (the caramel notes, too, should become more pronounced as this ages over the next couple of years). Full mouthfeel, with nice,crisp carbonation, but not overly carbonated. Despite a considerable heft this is indeed quite drinkable for the style. Worth picking up by the case, Bigfoot really holds up down the line.

Photo of dickieb
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a nice deep red with a 1/2 finger of head which dosent hang around to long. Has a piny citrusy smell, which seems a little less extreem then in most barlywines, altough im blessed with a diminished sense of smell. Taste up front of bitter hops and citrus, and leads to a much more subtle taste of malts and a rather apprent alcohol taste. Feels like relitivly big beer should, cirtianly not completly masking the 9.6 , but i may be able to drink two in one sitting

Photo of Tawnos
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy brownish color, its pillowy head sticks around and to the side of the glass. The permanence of the head is somewhat impressive.

Smells of hops and pine tree forests. Sweet sugars in the background smooth out the hop sharpness. Wonderful.

The barleywine hop bite is there, bitterness only slightly offset by the beer's sugars. Piney hops give it a crisp flavor, which presents a nice contrast to the almost coffeelike background - bitter sweetness.

Despite the hoppiness, there's very little tongue bite, and just the right amount of carbonation.

At 9.6% ABV, I won't be pounding back a few of these in a row anytime soon. Tasty, but definitely a sipping, and not a session beer.

Photo of jdg204
4.65/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally broke down and bought a 6'er of this bad boy after hearing all the praise and seeing it at the Beer Shop for a few months. Got a great price ($8.99) as well and it was well, well worth the wait.

Appearance - Lovely rich red/orange color with a very nice plump slightly off-white head.

Smell - Rich amber citrus smells with a very spiced undertone.

Taste - WOW, not for the faint of heart to be sure. This was almost like a Triple IPA (West Coast Style), the hops was as intense as I think you can go and still hold a reasonable balance. The sweet, rich citrus flavors were intense and though I expected a bit more maltiness, it was definetly enjoyable.

Mouthfeel - Your mouth is in for a party, and yes everyone is invited! The thick, richness of the flavor will overwhelm a bit, but it's a heck of a thrill ride. The hop intensity will definetly leave your mouth tingling for a while, but hey, you only live once.

Drinkability - I'd only had an English Barleywine before, so the American version was very unique and very awesome! The American version is very different as it is less malty but much more intensely hopped and flavored. You could definetly call this beer bittersweet, though not in the traditional sense as it was first richly sweet then a nice intensely bitter aftertaste. I can see how this one has become a classic, bringing barleywines to a much wider audience and this brew definetly brought it! The flavor and intensity did not disappoint and I definetly look forward to my other 5 (though I think I'll age some). Sierra Nevada has another winner, no surprise there.

Photo of TheSarge
3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bigfoot Barely as a very malty and hoppy presence. A bit of ginger bread and liebkuchen qualities too.

This has a light khaki tan colored head that reduces slowly to nice lacing. The body is deep dark ruby red in color, and is slightly hazy with a moderate amount of CO2 action.

Bigfoot is rich and flavorful. This gives off characteristics of darkly toasted breads, with a spicy and spruce finish.

Very rich and almost syrupy and finishes slightly warm.

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

Had on draft at Friscoe's Grille, Columbia, MD.

A- Pours a medium amber-gold color, with a thin white head.

S- Smells sweet, a little cascade hops in the nose.

T- Big sweet flavor, offset with a dry hoppy finish.

M- Noot bad, well done, medium body.

D- Too strong to have many, but a decent example of the style.

Photo of tempest
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Damn, this beer still knocks my socks off. Big estery malts with big citrus hops, rolled into an explosive barleywine. The balance aspect of this brew falters a bit from the kick making a little tough to drink. It's almost like the flavor is too big. I'm going to have to stow some bottles away in a cellar/closet and see what they can do after a couple years.

Photo of happygnome
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 version

a: a cloudy ruby color with about an eigth inch of head dissapears fast
s: hmm kinda smells like fig, the hop presenceis detectable in the aroma, hints of caramel as well
t: starts sweet, finishes with a very nice hop presence. There are fruit flavors present in after taste very enjoyable
m: medium bodied a little above average carbonation, very enjoyable

overall this was a very good beer, but i dont think i will have another tonight the abv is higher than i think ive had before for beer but i did notice that the flavor was much more complex than the beers with lower abvs

Photo of FtownThrowDown
1.46/5  rDev -64.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

I keep trying to like this beer. It’s just not going to happen.
Pours a reddish amber color with a slight head that recedes quickly. Smell is bittering hops. Strong and dominating. Taste is more the same. Can’t even tell if the underlying barleywine is any good, because the hops are all that’s there. I just don’t get the fascination with this beer. I guess it can’t be for everyone. I feel this is just a highly over-rated beer that I just can’t figure out.

Photo of hawksfan82
3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

While I don't go nuts over big hoppy beers, I do love their appearance. Nice amber/reddish pour with a nice one finger slightly off-white head. A nice small amount of good sticky lacing, and a constant soapy head that sits all the way through. Good looking brew.

The smell is like a big hoppy IPA. Sweet and leafy...maybe a little caramel sneaking in there as well.

Taste like you would think it should. Like a big IPA with a little more sweet alcohol. You get the sweet, super warming alcohol with a little syrupy caramel type flavor mixed in at the beginning, then it finishes with the hops. This beer changes dramatically as it warms up in your hand. The syrupy qualities start coming through more and it gets a little sweeter. The only thing that stays the same is the big hoppy finish, which definately lingers with its bitterness on your tongue.

Mouthfeel like I said changes as it warms up. Definately gets to a syruppy feeling about halfway through it...which I like. While it doen't taste like one, it's kind of like a good dopplebock in its consistency on the tongue.

Drinkability isn't that high though. The alcohol, which fits, is really apparent, and this one (for me at least) really lingers. There's a lot going on, and it really hits me hard as I'm not that experienced in big-bold hoppy brews yet. My limit is two of these guys. It's a good sipper just not something I'll be sitting with all night.

Photo of CharlieMopps
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single of the 2007 batch to get my beak wet.

A: Pours a hazy, deep ruby and mahogany hue with a very thin layer of bubbly head.

S: Hints of fig or date come to mind, with a nice malty depth to it and a whiff of hoppiness in there as well, undergirded by a caramel sweet scent that smells delicious.

T: A sweet and malty introduction give way to a hop bitterness that lasts well beyond the finish, leaving a lingering bittersweet taste on the palate. Some fruity notes round out the flavor, and provide a nice diversion from malt and hop presences, which are phenomenal.

M: Good amount of carbonation, still retains a sharp and crisp taste, somewhat oily and syrupy, though.. but it all seems appropriate for this beer.

D: With solid flavors from the hop and malt camps coming at you, it's hard to not reach for another one of these. After a few, the ABV might set you straight, but nevertheless, this beer's no slouch on interesting flavor characteristics.

Photo of Brewlore
3.6/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2007 brew 12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass

Pours a great looking dark red/brown color with a small light colored head that rings around the glass after it fizzles away.

On the nose, hops come to the forefront and their somewhat fruity and piney in their scent alongside some sweet malt scents.

The taste, oh man. The 9.6% ABV does not hide at all in this brew. It leaps out at you and grabs you by the throat! Beneath the alcohol is a very nice sweet (caramel?) malt flavor that jumps around the alcohol.

The mouthfeel is excellent. Very thick (somewhat syrupy) and has a mellow feel on the palate. Nice amount of carbonation.

Given the alcohol running rampant, it's still quite drinkable, but I don't think I see myself having more than one of these at a given time. I'm curious to see what this may taste like after a year of aging.

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

12oz brown bottle

2007 edition

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barlywine Style Ale was a red-brown color with a light tan head. The head had good retention and left some lacing behind. The aroma was full of hops and fruit with noticeable alcohol. The taste was lots of sweet malt with a big hop kick and a bitter, throat warming finish. It was medium-full in body with fairly light carbonation. Drinkability was good. This was a great beer that I will definately have again and again.

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

2007 version
A-Crystal clear, red brown. 3/4 inch head creamy yellow head. Great retention and fantastic lace.

S-Green hops, pine hops, carmel malts, raisons and tropical fruit.

T-Big green hops and piney hops up front. There are citrus hopsptesent also. Really big bitterness. Malt middle carries with it dried fruits both trrpoical and rasains and prunes. There is sweetness that is not over the top. Linger bitterness finish and last for a very long time.

M-Medium body, fizzy carbonation.

D-it is quite good but big ABV keeps from higher number here.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 0z 2007 bottle>snifter

The 2006 vintage I had last summer was excellent, i was suprised when the 2007 verion was even better.

AP: a lovely mahogony-amber color with medium carbonation that managed to form a small off-white head that dissipated to a few thin clumps of thin covering.

nose: wow, this one seems to have a stronger aroma than i remeber from the 2006 version with big sweet malt that is really complex with an abundance of fruity scent's like blackberry and crushed red grapes. There's a scotch-whiskey alcohol heat that tingles the nose and let's off a similar aroma.

Taste & feel: this is a bad-ass full bodied brew that feels thick and downright syruppy. the flavor is dominated by a big malt explosion, sweet and buttery, there's a very green but dry feeling bitter hop that seems to be a bit more mellow than the 2006 version, which i think impoves this tremenously. The 9.6% alcohol feels more like 20 %, reminds me of scotch whiskey in feel and flavor to a subtle degree. It also has the oak-aged, smoked effect in the flavor as well. The malt is heavy and sweet, not DFH sweet but just enough to make your lips sticky. This brew is amazing with smoked gouda and extra sharp cheese. It really enhances the malt dominance.

DA: It's a sipper you need to enjoy slowly.

Photo of IPAcraig
4.84/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bigfoot 2006 Expedition

This one has been sitting my fridge for about a year.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an oversized wine glass.

A - A beautiful deep orange, ruby color with a one finger head. Slight lacing.

S - Simply amazing. It makes me want to dive in. Hugely malty/sweet with a hint of alcohol and a tinge of peat and tobacco. It doesnt get much better than this. The hops are not laking in the aroma department either.

T - I love Bigfoot fresh, but I am glad I saved this one. Caramel, alcohol, and hops dominate. But htis beer has so much more to offer than that. Licorice and pine come through as well. Just a great brew, the bitterness has died down ever so slightly making it more balanced than I remember.

M - Mild carbonation, lending a semi slick feel to it. I like it.

D - I dont want to put this beer down. I have a few more 2006s in the fridge and they will be tough to save.

Photo of Slatetank
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 vintage

Presentation - Poured from a 12oz bottle with 6007 imprinted above barcode into a medium sized snifter.

A - Beautiful deep amber/copper ale pours with sufficient carbonation to produce a generous beige head with compact bubbles.

S - Fruits and wood make an immediate impression along w/ grapeskin and stone fruit odors. Hickory and boozy scents mingle with toffee and green apple aromas. Citrus hops do not hesitate to assert their aromatic presence.

M - Warm and boozy, sweet + sticky with mild to medium acidity and a blossoming effervesence.

T - Solid malt sweetness says HELLO! with an in your face hoppiness. The two join together in a sentimental marriage that frolics with alcoholic equilibrium. A great toffee sweet and woody dry essence is blended with grapefruity hop bitterness. Blends of multiple flavors such as tart and spicy are experienced. Candied pecans and sugar cookies come to mind as a malty spotlight shift occurs amid warming ale tasting temps.
A great balance is achieved with a 1-alcohol, 2-hop, 3-malt punch.

D - Great drinkability for a potent brew. Hops are showcased as well as an effervescent mouthfeel. Would be one that may benefit from aging. I might put one aside for a year to compare.

2009 Version Poured from the 12oz stubby bottle chilled into a snifter.

A - Dark copper/bronze w/ lots of visible carbonation rising to a sand colored cap of approx 3/4 inch. Appears almost like ruby colored w/ thick rings of lace clinging to the snifter

S - Crisp pine scent, lots of caramel and woody aromas like smoked hickory w/ a sweet cherry-like fruit ester

M - Mildly bitter w/ sweet feel moderate carbonation and bitter feel lingers w/ a semi sweet finish

T - The flavor is acidic w/ hoppy piney and sweet candy taste w/ alcohol flavor and mild citrus w/ sweet citrus zest. Ruby red graperfruit taste and light biscuit taste is noted in the last taste w/ gentle pepper flavor

D - A strong beer but one that is really tasty and practically begs to be drank, but slowly. A hoppy intense barleywine-Classic.

Photo of cameraman
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep amber color, with slight visibility of carbonation. A thin layer of a head forms on top, that is creamy in color. A strong malty aroma, followed by some intense spicy, almost peppery, and citrus fragrances, plus the small scent of alchol. The malt starts the flavor out, then the hop overtake the sweet flavor. Intense hop flavors from grapefruit, pine, to pepper, there is just alot going on, thiese flavors linger on the palate for some time. A thin feel at the start, but it gains strength, and begins to roll to the bcak of the throat, leaving the palate dry. This is a solid barleywine, very good to sip on when it is cold outside. The solid flavor and aroma, plus it is one of the first american barley wines ever created, make this a must try beer.

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

350ml bottle bought Tuckers Maltings... 2007 vintage...

Poured a deep coppery russet colour into a brandy snifter. Creamy head with some coppery tinges poured quite thick and rocky then faded to nice light ring around the edge of the glass. Barely any carbonation... some light frothy lacing...

Aroma - Lots of spicy piney hops, strong floral / perfume notes, peppery, herbal notes, caramel / honey sweetness, some burnt sugar notes, spicy fruits (apricots, oranges, some light figs), strong resinous notes, some saltiness, toasted bread, light biscuity malts, some faint leathery traces, grassy, quite a lot of alcoholic esters when the glass is given a light swirl...

Taste – Very strong peppery / spicy / floral hop bitterness to the fore - a real attack on the taste buds !! Once the hops have subsided pine hints appear.. also some very grassy notes, light honey and caramel sweetness, some spicy fruits (bitter oranges, tart apples, some figs), dark muscovado sugar traces, herbal, some anise, toasted bread, very little malts - nothing like the sweet malty English barley wines i'm used to... some woody notes, alcohol not too noticeable...

M&D - Quite sharp initially then mellows to quite a syrupy smoothness. Medium bodied... Certainly not the most drinkable beer due to the hop explosion and the high alcohol... it is quite refreshing though...

Overall - An excellent and slightly unusual barley wine - a very American twist on the style. I prefer my barley wines to be a little more malty than this but it is definitely recommended. I have a couple more of these and it will be interesting to see how they develop with a couple of years aging...

Photo of beerbutcher
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance- copper/reddish beer with a vigorous tan head which lasts a half-minute and leaves beautiful lacing.

aroma- heavy on the caramel as well as substantially citrusy with hops, brandy-like, candied fruits and prickly esters

taste- rich, sweet mouth coating malt paves the way and livid hop bitterness follows. the hops, juicy, resinous and copious go on and on with this beer. tastes like candied grapefruit rind (which i happen to like) finishing fully bitter as malt trails away

mouthfeel- the beer is luscious and the heat is well balanced by the viscosity of the malt. it's never cloying, the hops will not permit. they are the dominating character by far, you must love the heavy lay of hop oils to enjoy this beer.

drinkability- i love strong hoppy beers. i consider this exceptional within that realm. superb tasting with amazing balance.

Photo of atigerlife
3.43/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2007 Vintage.

Poured a beautiful ruby brown color with a small, creamy light brown head. Clear with a steady stream of small bubbles rising.
Impressive to look at.

Aroma is of dark fruits [cherries], sweet, alcohol and hops.

Taste is very powerful. Alcohol, woody, dark cherries, hops and some grapefruit [sort of]. Dry and bitter aftertaste that isn't very pleasant.

Mouthfeel is slightly flat, smooth. Quite "thick" feel.

Overall, a nice sipping beer. Very warming, so would be good on a cold winter day. I think I would enjoy this more if it was aged a couple of years so that the flavors could meld and mellow more.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,699 ratings.