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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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6,578 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,578
Reviews: 2,850
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 312
Gots: 1,241 | FT: 51
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: 6,578 | Reviews: 2,850 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mattd017
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2007, aged 1 month. Poured into a Chimay trappist glass. Pours a deep red mahogany with a thick (~1") creamy head. Head slowly disappears, leaving good lacing behind and after every sip. Smells like a super hopped IPA. Tastes like a super hopped IPA, with the barleywine sweetness sneaking in towards the end. Poured with a slight chill (about 50 degrees), but flavors started opening up the warmer it got. For a barley wine, it was incredibly drinkable. Can’t wait to see what the rest of the 6 pack taste like down the road.

Photo of neonbrown82
4.74/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After reading my review of the '05 (my first barleywine ever) and realizing that I skipped reviewing the '06, I thought I would write a new one. Besides, this year's is quite different than the last. I had an '06 a few nights ago and it still seemed much more harsh and abrasively bitter than the '07. This is probably the best vintage of it I've had, which includes only the past three years.

The beer pours to a nice ruby color, almost brownish. Quite clear when held to the light. Very little apparent carbonation. Has a smallish head that retains to a film. Quite a washy lacing.

The smell is amazing. Almost as if they used different hops this year. Has a very juicy grapefruit hop aroma, not quite as resinous as last years. Smells like they used some Amarillo, Simcoe, or Summit in addition to the familiar Chinook and Cascade. The bitterness is not as rough and abrasive. There is a hint of raisiny malt underlying the hops as well, like special b and biscuit. Sweet with a hint of alcohol.

The taste is equally brilliant. Very juicy up front with a very clean hop bitterness. The '06 I had a few nights ago has a much rougher hop cohumulone even after having aged for a year. The malt is sweet up front with a slight hint of raisiny malt, characteristic of most barleywines. The alcohol is definitely there in the finish, but it is still quite well hidden given the strength.

The body is quite thick. The carbonation is sharp on the palate. Has a nice warming alcohol sting, but still quite mild for the strength. Very drinkable for being so strong as well. I will be interested to see how this one develops over time, but given how much I am enjoying it, I think I might have to buy an additional case. Afterall, I like this at least twice as much as last year's, and I only have one left out of my '06 case.

Photo of prototypic
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 edition

Appearance-Beer has a very nice copper to amber brown color. Nice two finger head with good retention.

Smell-I'm picking up a nice blend of hops and citrus scents. Also a bit of pine.

Taste-Nice blend of malt and hops. Can't tell which dominates, if either. Hints of raisin and citrus. Alcohol is blended nicely. Does not overwhelm at nearly 10%.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability-Very smooth. I actually prefer this to Old Guardian. I could drink a couple of these, but I wouldn't characterize it as a session beer. Very good beer.

Photo of cjgator3
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage.

Pours a dark copper color with a nice creamy off-white head with nice retention and lacing. A nice sweet caramel and lively piney and grapefruit hop aroma with some alcohol in the nose as well. The taste is incredible! Hop heads rejoice, this beer fulfills any craving for hops one might have. The hops dominate the start and make way for a little apperance from the malt and then the hops are full throttle all the way through the finish and linger for quite some time on the palate. Delicious! Overall, this is a wonderful brew. The hard part will be saving some of these to cellar for later. I just want to drink them all up while they are fresh.

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

Came in today in a six pack to the North Coast Coop here in Eureka, CA. Poured a rich ruby color with a nice fat off-white head that left excellent rings of lacing .Was very high on appearance. Nose was malts, fruits, and vanilla and quite nice. Very rich mouthfeel was almost cloying. Flavor was mostly of malts, fruits, and a touch of hops. While this did not hold a candle to the excellent Mad River John Barleycorn I drank a couple of days ago it was still pretty good. Alcohol is hidden well and overall it is quite drinkable.

Photo of scarletfire79
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

wow. love this beer. haven't sampled any other vintage so it's hard to compare but this beer is definitly right on for the style. pours an awesome red amber with a nice head that slowly disapates into great lacing. the nose smells greatly of hops and grapefruit. slightly piney with a hint of hops. the taste is a piney/hop/grapefruit montage that blasts my pallate full on. very drinkable. very warming. i don't find the 9.6% to be a hinderance, rather a nice reward for a long winter coming to an end. definitly my favorite barleywine i've sampled so far. great beer!

Photo of acrawf6
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My 4th one out of the first 6pack i bought in 2007

Pours out a clear ruby and brown amber with a nice tight tan head.

Smell. Hops have a lot of caramel and grapefruit. Hops certainly dominate and hint to you what is stored ahead.

Taste. Hops have a good bit of bittering. A bit more grapefruit with some pine. Aftertaste is still hoppy, but slightly sweetens up. Alcohol become more appearant with a warming sensation, but still hides it decently.

Mouthfeel. Body is full with a decent amount of carbonation. hops certainly dominate, but the malts can hold some of it's own. Right now i think the hops are just a bit too much for this beer, but i'm hoping just a little bit of cellaring will make this year incredible.

Overall, a good and solid beer. I've waited a while to get this in again, and it hasnt really failed me. I will certainly buy more to store and i think in a few months, this one will be a gem.

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

2007 vintage

Pours a bright clear copper color with a nice white head.

Smells quite hoppy. Resiny, pine, and some dark fruits noted.

Flavors are very well balanced. This years Bigfoot seems to be even more tasty fresh than years before. Very hoppy on the front end, with a nice tangy bitterness. Beer then settles into a slightly sweet fruity creaminess that is very full bodied. The finish is very crisp and has a nice hop bite.

Mouthfeel is excellent, nice full flavors, very well rounded.

Drinkability is excellent. This tastes great fresh, I don't think I really want to age this too much. I really like the hoppiness this year. This is a very flavorful beer, but it is still quite drinkable.

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

2007 vintage.

As soon as the beer evacuates from the bottle into my goblet, an immediate kick of grassy hop aroma smacks the snotty crust off of my face, buttressed by a substantial malt foundation (rum-bloated raisins, warm cotton candy). The hops, once I dig my nose into the brew, become more complex than simply "grassy" -- they're huge here -- an entire landscape of freshly peeled citrus rinds and cut grass, pinches of pine resin -- huge -- along with a mild flash of alcohol heat. The color's a translucent russet, has a sheen to it; the head's at least an inch tall, tan, and deflates slowly leaving curdled swaths of lace on the goblet walls. The taste opens from the periphery of my palate, for a split second, before the onslaught of hop bitterness caves in at a deliberately massive pace, like sucking on a thick wad of liquor-drenched grapefruit rinds that still have a bit of flesh, juice, adhered to them. The middle brings out the malts; they press through, in thin ribbons of caramel and prune, deep from the underbelly of the hop tsunami that's so intense even the roof of my mouth feels numbed. Mind you, this is entirely pleasurable to me. Bigfoot is violently sodomizing my mouth! I look forward to it every year.

Photo of BeerSox
3.65/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Each tasting from 12oz bottle into snifter glass. Bottled 2007 (no specific date).

Tasting 1 - Feb 10, 2007 - 3.55
Clear and vibrant raspberry red hue with a tan colored head that fizzes to a thin rim along the glass. String and spotty lacing along the glass. An aggressive pour yields a one finger head with popping bubbles along the surface. The head holds well.

Very sharp hops align with strong alcohol vapors. A little bit of a dark candy scent is also there.

Starts out very tame, with almost no flavor, with a bit of toasty grain showing up a bit late. About midway through, a blast of sharp and acidic hops take over. There is not as much hop flavor as there is bitterness. The malts seem almost nonexistent at this point. A little bit of alcohol shows up at the end. Medium bodied with very low carbonation, leaving a very syrupy and oily feel. The finish is completely hops, leaving a very strong presence. The bitterness lingers for a while after each sip, along with an herblike flavor.

Ultra fresh, and maybe too fresh. The hops are extremely potent at this point, and I think long-term aging would benefit this one. I'm curious to see how much the malt shows up after a while, especially since I couldn't taste them in this round.

Tasting 2 - March 11, 2007 - 3.7
Clear and ruby, the head is still a little fizzy and short, and ends up as a rim along the glass.

The hops are the main show, yet not as sharp as they were before. A little bit more of the candy aroma can come through.

Immediately a sweet syrupy fruit flavor emerges, then slowly gives way to a sharp citrusy flavor and bitterness from the hops. A little bit of butterscotch comes out as well. The feel is still the same. The finish is still full of lingering bitterness.

It seems after only a month a little the complexity has increased a little. The hops are slightly less dominating, and the malts and sugary characteristics are coming out more.

Tasting 3 - April 14, 2007 - 3.7
Still clear, ruby, with the hops running the show in the aroma. The head is thin and doesn't present much.

In the flavor, the hops are still extremely dominant, even moreso than the last tasting.

Not much has changed since the original tasting. I may reserve the rest for a longer term testing, to give the hops a better chance to mellow.

Photo of cueball52
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot - It pours a deep amber with robust carbination and about an 1 1/2" head that slowly fades leaving heavy lace all the way around the sides of the glass.
The color and clarity give no idea of what you are about to taste. The hops jump out as soon as this beer hits your tongue and they are complimented with a rich maltiness followed by a very bitter aftertaste.
Definitely not a session brew but one to sit back and enjoy.
This may not be the best version of Bigfoot I've tried but I still love this beer!

Photo of bigdeuce
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Wow, this is strong as hell. Pours a nice red color with a massive head that laces all the way down the glass. Smells of mega hops and is very malty as well. It is a little unbalanced toward the hoppy side, but that is the style. Tough to drink more than one of these as the alcohol shines through, hard! Finishes dry and makes you want to drink more, but just too much for me. It's like every beer you've ever had dumped into one. But a good beer, nonetheless.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into an oversize wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a ruby/brown. Dense but thin tan head that turns to a lace (and leaves a lacing on the glass as well).

Smell: A strong, nice, and interesting aroma of hops and pines. A hint of citrus is also present.

Taste: Strong and good! A very hoppy flavor kicks in first with a strong piney aspect and citrusy backing. There's also a milder taste of roasted malts that becomes apparent later. Though definitely on the hoppy side, I find this to be well-balanced for this type of beer. Aftertaste retains some of the bitterness, but also the slightly smoky taste of the malts. A tad bit of alcohol flavor is present, but it's far from being overwhelming.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and somewhat warm, with a nice (though very light) carbonation.

Drinkability: Obviously you'll have to drink this slowly (given the strong alcohol and taste., but the beer lends itself quite well to such drinking.

Very nice barleywine that I'd certainly get again. Certainly one of the best beers of this style that I've had -- so many try to be pretentiously strong or harsh, but this spot-on in those regards.

Photo of Talisker
3.35/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2007 edition from a 12oz bottle.

An excellent beer hiding in here - a beautiful marriage of American hops with a thick malt and old-fashioned barley wine feel. But it might not be ready for prime time.

Pours into the brandy snifter a dark red color with a medium thick head. Nice lacing throughout. Nose of unmistakably American hops - citrus, some pine - with an alcohol and sweetness saying this is not just an IPA.

Taste is certainly complex, but I find it a little harsh, with a bit of an unintegrated edge - hard to find the malt. Maybe some age will mellow it?

Finish is definitely a barley wine - there's an alcohol warmth, even bite, that can catch you by surprise. A drying astringency lingers. Obviously not intended by a session beer, but the slight edge and alcohol bite knock it down on drinkability.

Still, if you want a distinctly American take on the style, then you'll like this. No harm in letting the 2007 cellar a bit, though - it could only help.

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

My first Bigfoot of the new 2007 release in a Duvel tulip, served at about 50F.

Released with less carbonation than last year's, but produced a clear, rich amber brew with a great head that subsided after about a minute and left some small, temporary lacing.

Fantastic aroma of Cascade hops dried in an oast that has baking candied fruit air blown through it. Later, the notes of toffee and alcohol come through.

Slightly hot, bitter finish over a creamy, roasted crystal base and some pithy hop flavor in the middle. Somewhat coating on the tounge, but still crisp and snappy because of the bitterness on the back.

A great fresh barleywine. Love it every year!

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 served in a chalice. Pours a dark, slightly cloudy orange with a short head that mostly fades quickly but leaves some nice lacing. The smell is a little bit fainter than I'd like, but there is still a wonderful nose of fresh piney hops. The taste is amazing- this beer is definitely best fresh and unaged. An explosion of fresh and piney hops with a backnote of grapefruit and a solid dry malt background. There are also notes of bitter orange and an undefinable meaty taste as well. Delicious. The mouthfeel is substantial without being grainy or sweet. The hop levelof this barley wine keeps it dry and powerful- flirting with dipa style. Perilously drinkable!

Photo of kush6875
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage

poured into a chimay goblet:

appearance: creamy white 3/4 inch head that dissiapted after a few minutes. nice lacing though. nice ruby amber color with nice clarity.

smell: crisp pine, citus hops, very intense! smell grapefruit with a touch of sweetness

taste: the hops explode on the palate at first then finish with a nice malty aftertaste.

mouthfeel: is thick, chewy and very hopppy. i love it!

drinkability: this is a nice at home brew. very nice way to end your day. this beer is way too drinakble for 9.6%. respect this brew and savor it!!! ENJOY!

Photo of 1whiskey
4.92/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 Vintage.

12 oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Huge billowing head (perhaps I overpoured) caps a brilliant copper color.

Smell is of fanatastic pine, resin, and pineapple notes. Reminds me of Stone 10th Anniversary Ale.

Taste is laden with huge hop flavor, but does not overwhelm me with bitterness the way a young 2006 Bigfoot did. In fact, I can cut through the bitterness to easily detect all of the elements in the nose, as well as date and raisin notes. A huge malt backbone holds it all together, enveloping all that hoppy goodness and propelling your taste buds into sweet oblivion.

Slick and oily on the palate, this has a pretty hefty body. Not much carbonation remained after my fitful pour, but just enough to dance around on my tongue.

Drinkability? AMAZING. Especially for how young this is. Young barleywines should not be this drinkable. I could get myself into trouble with this.

I don't know if my taste has changed this much in a year or if it really is that different, but I much prefer this to the 2006 version. This is incredible.

Photo of Jwaks
2.32/5  rDev -44.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Serving : 12oz bottle with 2007 on the cap, no freshness date.

Significant effort is required on the pour to squeeze a finger thick head from this vibrant orange tinted amber brew. Spirited very fine bubbles sprint up through the low viscosity body to meet a scant white frothy cap ringed by a thin sticky white lace.

Overwhelmingly pungeant, bitter hop aromas assult the nose quickly followed by odors of ripe viney fruit and strong solvents. Subtle aromas of malt and bread break free from the overpowering and dominant hoppy and solvent character.

Young, rough and raucous, this beer thrashes the palate with intense, unrelenting bitter hops and unripe vinous fruits that just won't give up even in the aftertaste. Green, leafy hops, lots of lemon zest, and a healthy dose of warming, peppery alcohol hit the tongue on the dry, long-lasting finish. Wow, this beer's bitter, vinous character hits you like a ton of bricks, it has the finesse and grace of a 40 ton truck. It is entirely unbalanced leaning heavily toward hops and bitterness, where are the malts and barely?

Very tough and chewy in the mouth, it is medium to full bodied with a great ability to coat the palate. With so much bitterness, leafy hops and slightly sour viney fruit this one is far from smooth and creamy.

Wow. This was a surprise after reading all the sterling reviews of this brew. I have a feeling this one will require at least six months to a year of cellar age to shed its youthful vibrance and begin to be drinkable.


Photo of Dubbercody
3.62/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007- Just released- Nicely big and hoppy brew. Really, Really good, I have to say I enjoyed this one more than the year old version.

2006- One year old- Amazingly different from the new release. Hops have faded away, in comparison, big malty nose and mouth feel is must maltier than new bottle. Almost too malty, I think it will be great in another year or two. With my personal taste.

Photo of Cadyfatcat
3.77/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown beefy bullion style with a little lacey brown covering.
Smells of mirepoix, raspberries, blueberries, tea, evergreen foresty hops.
Taste is huge. Inescapable bitterness throughout. Tangy unsettling taste of a ripe barleywine. Rotten fleshy fruit - strawberry, plum, and peach. Hopping is adequate to combat initial tanginess, dry green wood type bitterness.
Breath out and the 9% + can be felt escaping your esophagus.
I've had an older vintage and remember it being better. I have another one I will sit on for a while and revisit.

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

12oz bottle -> pint

Pours a clear red amber, with a small finely bubbled white head that leaves behind small patches of lace. Carbonation appears fairly robust.

Nose: Citrus hops, rine qualities, alcohol, some caramel malts.

Taste: Little sweets malts are quickly overwhelmed by an intense dry pine bitterness that does a long dance on the palate. Hot alcohol also warms the belly, as well as a punch of malt and sugar after the initial burn subsides. May need a little while to calm some.

MoutH: Hot and full.

I'd say this may be much more drinkable in a few months, though i must admit i'm not very schooled on barleywine. Of the few i've tried this seems to be the most hoppy, with a few nice hoppy burps to boot.

Photo of jcdiflorio
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served into a pub glass from a 12oz stubby brown bottle with a twist-off cap.

Clear,beautiful ruby red color,very creamy 2" white head with good retention and some spotty lacing.

Intense citrus aromas,very carmelly aromas,with some pine notes also. Great nose,very pleasing,very balanced for the intensity of the aromas.

Very intense citrus and honeyed carmellness.Piney,lots of hot alcohol,sugary,syrupy,oily hoppieness. A sharp grapefruity finish that lingers on the palate.

Thck,cloying mouthfeel,very juicy. Don't want to stop drinking this beer,but the alcohol and thickness will catch up. Reminds me of a DIPA.

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.35/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

2006 bottle

A: Murky brownish orange color with a dense head of thick, heavy auburn white foam. Some noteable lace inside the glass, and a lower level of carbonation.

S: Hops and bourbon-y malts with a strong scent of spices. A mild fermented sugar note weaves in and out. Notes of wood and caramel are noteable when sought.

T: Strong, powerful complexity. Not for the faint. Wood and bourbon flavors push the palate to near asphyxiation, with caramel malts, sweet fermented grains and rotting dark fruit flavors filling in after the inital wave of flavors. Warming alcohol effect is present and appropriate.

M: Dense. Rich. Heavy. Quite syrupy, yet not overpowering or choking. Nearly no carbonation is noted on the tongue.

D: Not a bad beer by any means, but not for me. One and done.

Photo of John1985
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 Edition

Ale poured a muddy brown with a white half inch head. Very well carbonated after 4 years. Head dies down to some faint lacing around the mug. Aroma is of sweet malt and pine hops. Intense taste-trademark Bigfoot of intense hoppiness and with sweet malt in the middle and a bit of sting on the aftertaste. Heavy body slowed down the drinkability. Remarkably balanced for its age. This is my last 2003, now I wish I could taste this next year but it snowed last night so what the heck.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,578 ratings.