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

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

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6,704 Ratings

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Ratings: 6,704
Reviews: 2,891
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 325
Gots: 1,334 | FT: 55
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 02-06-1998

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,704 | Reviews: 2,891 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of 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.

Photo of BlindPig
4.26/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 edition
A- Thick creamy tan head on a clear deep ruby body.
S- Huge amount of pine and grass hops. There is also a pretty big citrus hop aroma also. Some light caramel malt behind all of it. Grapefruit and pine are the most dominate aromas though.
T- Huge pine hop flavor. Some citrus hops manage to make there way through and make sure they are known too. They come through as a big grapefruit rind flavor. The pine hops just stick to your mouth for a long time leaving a big bitterness alone with the taste of pine and grapefruit. All of this is on a big malt body. The hops do come off stronger but the malt manages to hold its own. Some hints of caramel body can be found in it. Alcohol also tickles the tongue and a very light calm warming is left afterward. I would never guess it was a 9.6% abv though.
M- Big full body that is sticky at the same time. Low carbonation.
D- This is really good. I do prefer them aged though. It is almost like two different beers. Both are very good but fit their certain moods.

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

Pours slightly syrupy, fairly cloudy deep amber-russet. Minimal head dissipates quickly.

Sweet, dry cereal and molasses malt followed by citrus, floral and grassy hops. I strain my olfactory to discern these aromas, even as the beverage warms.

Black pepper, darkfruit (blackberries), coffee and bitter yeast follwed by cedar wood, lemon and grapefruit, an all-out assault on the taste-buds!

Rather cool and creamy, smooth and slightly oily leaving the hop on the tongue.

very enjoyable, drinkabilty is only limited by high ABV.

Photo of jpkoch1962
3.41/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This is from the 2006 vintage I bought a year ago. Pours a clear dark copper with a short lived brown head and lacing. The aroma was a mixture of bitter hops and alcohol fusels - remnds me of a sweet brandy. The taste matured from last spring, as the hops mellowed quite a bit, but not enough. This was like drinking a bitter brandy. Way too much alcohol up front, along with very Cascade hops(grapefruit, pine solvent bitterness) dominated the entire brew. Way out of balance. One positive thing about to say was the strong malt base. Even though it couldn't quite keep up with the hops, a sweet toffee like taste could be detected- thanks to the near perfect carbonation. While this is a hopheads dream, I find it a bit too much, if not poorly constructed. If I wish to drink grapejuice soaked pine needles, I go make it myself. Perhaps another 2 years in the cellar would have helped, but I doubt it. The overpowering bitterness is here to stay. Not intended to be a session beer. I prefer the English Barley Wines, but for hopheads, this is your thing.

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

An '04 at Andy's, on tap. Lovely.

Poured out a reddish clear color, not much head, but strangely, lots of lacing. The nose was big, lots of hops, green and bitter, some alcohol, but not as huge as I thought it would be. The taste was pretty big, warming, with sherry, raisin, hops, pine, and a tiny bit of alcohol, more from the warmth of the mouthfeel than a particular taste. A gentle giant. Had a fairly clean mouthfeel, medium effervescence, with a long, big finish.

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

The Bigfoot Ale takes a close second to Celebration Ale when ranking Sierra Nevada Brews. The 2006 vintage poured to a dark brown cloudy liquid. Nominal head that did last down to the bottom of the glass. Nice fine lacing. The smell was of hoppy alcohol, and fruits. Very nice! Taste was of a great blend of strong malt and hops. Strong alcohol kicker as well. Again very nice. The brew felt thick with little carbonation. Despite the heaviness and alchohol content of this beer I found it extremely drinkable. Another solid product by SN.

Photo of lackenhauser
3.84/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2000

Pours a rather muddy orange color. Seemd almost flat when opened. Very slight carbonation level but nothing worth noticing when it came to trying it. Very spruce like aroma. residual hop aroma with a deep, resin laced, slightly malty scent. Quite malty flavor. Winey, somewhat oakiness to it. Fairly bitter but none of the "fresh" hop bitterness to it that it has when new. Seems like the alcohol comes out as the years go by. Astringent,sort of dry mouthfeel to it. The standout hop character and huge malt flavor has definately subsided. The dryness an astringency knocks down the drinkability in my book. Still quite enjoyable after 6 years. Having recently tried a 1994 version I wouldnt wait much longer.

Photo of goschool
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage: Almost a year old.

Appearance: The pour is a slightly hazy amber with a very minimal amount of head. It's starts out as a thin ring of lace and fades from there.

Smell: The nose is malty with quite a bit of fruit, citrus hops, and hint of alcohol.

Taste: The malts have caught up to, and overtaken, the hops since this first came out. The in flavor from toasty to fruity to sugary sweet and the hops bring mostly grapefruit with a touch of pine. A warming alcohol comes in near malts rangethe middle, goes away, and then comes back for the finish.

Mouthfeel: It's thick, chewy, and sticky with low carbonation, but a prickly texture.

Drinkability: This has aged nicely in 11+ months, becoming a well rounded barleywine. I've got five left and I look forward to seeing what the future will bring.

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

Excellent Barleywine from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Have had this many times straight out the bottle while enjoying the natural world. Very hoppy with a slightly fruity taste. Dry feeling in the mouth, likely due to the high alcohol content. Although some complain about the level of hops, I can't find anything wrong with this characteristic. Try it!

Photo of strangefate
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 edition.

Pours dark brown with a great cream-colored head that retains very well and laces all over the glass. Smell and taste are both very malty, lots of caramel character, and though chocolate malt is not used, the combination of malts gives a hint of it in the smell and taste. Since this is almost a year old, I guess the hops have calmed down a lot because I don't detect an amazing amount of hoppiness like others say is present when the beer hasn't aged. The malt is king in this beer. Dark grapefruit aroma and taste is also present. Very full-bodied and a very complex taste. The alcohol content is masked very well - it's a strong beer and it tastes strong, but not of strong alcohol, of strong malt. This one drinks pretty easily, you probably won't finish it as fast as other beers, but you'll be able to drink a few more of them afterwards. Especially if you're a badass like me.

Photo of oakbluff
4.44/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2006
Poured into a medium sized red wine glass. Ruby coloured, with little head and quite a few little floaties (my bad for dumping in the whole bottle). Seems to have decent lacing on side of glass though. Smells like hops with a side dish of hops.
I've had this bottle aging since late winter. The first sip tells me that it still packs a mighty hop punch, which I don't mind at all! The taste is still heavy on the bitter hops, but I don't think its unbalanced at all. Has a nice oily feel on the tongue. Very different from the last barley wine I had which was an english style and much more malty. But this is from the west coast so what do you expect? I could drink two or three of these no problem. I have two more I'm saving (trying to save) for another year or so to see how it ages. A great barley wine for the hop addicts of the world.

Photo of Risser09
3.84/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2004 Vintage • 12oz bottle poured into a tasting glass

Appearance: Dark brown with some opacity. Very little head but not surprising for a 3 year old beer. Minimal lace floats atop the beer.

Smell: Very floral, bursting with aroma. Pine. Honeysuckle in the background. Other floral aromas present as well.

Taste: Explosive like a 2006 Bigfoot. No changes here. This is a hop bomb of a beer. My tastebuds are obliterated with bitterness. Pine and flowers are so explosive. Interestingly, there is a malt backbone to this beer. As I drink, I have to keep reminding myself that this is a barleywine and not a DIPA. It really does taste like a DIPA.

Mouthfeel: Bitter and full of alcohol although it's low in alcohol for a barleywine. I could see this beer being incredible after 5-10 years. It's not too harsh to drink now, but I think it would see improvement over time.

Drinkability: Not high marks here. It is hard to drink multiples of this beer. Needs to smoothe out after some cellaring. Interesting brew.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006...Poured a rich hazy caramel color, with a thin head. Smell was Hop with a caramel, coffee under it with a hint of alcohol. Taste was much more complex. Caramel and rosted malts, followed by a very dry hoppy finish. Alcohol was very very well hidden. Superb taste and mouthfell make this very drinkable indeed. This was my favorite barleywine to date!

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 edition.
Cloudy amber/brown body with minimal head that stayed for a bit, then fizzled out.
Smell had some light hints of alcohol, with a bit of peach or apricot. Sweet malt and sticky honey smell as well.
Taste was a bit thin, but still good. The alcohol became more present and the peach/apricot moved to papaya and leather. Earth tones finish it out.
Thin feel. Alcohol seemed to stop any flavors that appeared. However, it was easier to drink than first suspected.

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

A 12 oz, 2002 edition, been saving this for quite a while. Into a pint glass, pours a lovely opaque reddish copper with a half thumb of partly bubbly, partly frothy-like head, receding to a thin film. Lacing is more than when new, spotty bubbles as it drains. Aroma is a solid floral hop presense, piney, oil and grapefuit, some alcahol apparent.

In taste, the hops mellow down a bit, and a nice and conplex warming alcohol and sweet malt due take charge. The hops aren't about to be showed up though, giving some solid pining through and through and good bittering through the middle and end and finishes a little dry. The mouth gets a little thinner if I remember the most recent one I had, much warmer, smooth and kind of crisp even at four years. Overall, ages very well, warm and fuzzy feelings around.

Photo of kimcgolf
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured to a hazy dark orange color, with medium off-white head that hung around for most of the drink, and then reduced to good lacing. Aroma was very pleasant, of malty, dark fruit, with hints of the alcohol at the beginning. Flavor was a little spicier than I expected in a Barley Wine, but was a pleasant surprise, and was a nice addition to the dark fruit taste. As beer warmed, the alcohol continued to make itself more known in both the aroma and taste, and blended nicely with the malty sweetness. This all worked together to leave a nice, smooth, warming finish and pleasant aftertaste.

Photo of wcudwight
4.66/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy ruby, mahogany and cherry wood color. Thin head with minimal lacing.
Smells like a candy apple.
The malts dominate the taste at the beginning. Lot's of caramel and very candy natured. This is a very sweet beer with some toastiness. From the middle to the end the taste transitions to a more citrus and piney hop flavor. Can definately feel the bitterness and hop bite at the end. Just a touch of alcohol in the finish to add some warming. Aftertaste is mostly the hops with a hint of the alcohol.
Mouthfeel is big, thick, chewy and filling.
This is easily the most drinkable barleywine I've had yet and maybe the most drinkable high abv beer I've had. Highly recommended.
Thanks to enola for sharing while watching the Panthers beat the Bucs on Monday Night Football.

Photo of ericj551
4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I have to say first off that I love Bigfoot. It's great fresh, but even better after a year. I can't wait to see it next year (if I manage to save any). It pours a deep ruby red, with a nice head and light carbonation. Even after a year there are a lot of hops in the nose, as well as hints of alcohol and rich malts. Taste is a hop punch up front, barely subdued after almost a year in the bottle. Grapefruit and citrus flavor, mellowing into sweet malt flavor. Nice rich raisin with hints of toffee. I can't wait to compare last years with the next batch.

Photo of schusterbauer
4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 bottle

a -- has a thick caramel appearance; quite hazy

s -- the smell alone could knock you on your ass. smells delicious, but warns you that you are about to sip one strong beer

t -- burnt caramel, malt, plenty of hops, hints of citrus; wonderful flavor profile that mellows in your mouth if you hold it for a few seconds

m -- a little harsh at first, due to the competing flavors, but it does round out; nice thick body; maybe a little heavy on carbonation

d -- i can see why some would disagree, but this is one of my current favorites, and i find it extremely drinkable

overall -- i'm pretty much in love with this stuff; a staple during the fall/winter months

Photo of mvanaskie13
3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle (gotta love the bigfoot bottle and cap) a nice coppery amber, finished with a thick frothy head that lingered.
Smell is definitely hoppy, but not overbearing.
Taste is a sweet hoppy with a pungent aftertaste, but not overbearing.
Great mouthfeel, not to bitter but as mentioned above, finishes strong. Alcohol taste is present but in a good way.

Photo of tweeder263
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours out a cloudy amber brew,,has a verythick look to it.nice 2 finger head slow to dissipate.smell,,,,mad hops,,very nice citrusy.taste,,,hops,,balanced out by a nice sweetness. nice alcohol presence,,just enough and you know its there but not overbearing.mouthfeel is nice and thick..a nice treat once in a while not an everyday brew. 2006 version

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

Dark in color. Aroma is almost equally hoppy and malty. Hops are the first thing I noticed when drinking this. Only after a few sips did I start to notice the toasty maltiness this beer has. Very complex flavor, with some aspects I can't quite put my finger on. Alcohol is hardly noticeable in the flavor, though the alcohol's effects kind of sneak up on you. A pretty solid brew - definitely my favorite SN so far. Wish I could find it in a bit more places around here.

Photo of treedoctor5002
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2006 Edition
Pours a very dark and deep amber color with a tan head and tons of lacing. The smell makes me anticipate something extrodinary!
It has a very malty, roasted smell to it along with some citrus. Wow what a combination! This is a great beer. Very good for so much alcohol. The hops definitely stand out here. This beer is really thick on the tongue, almost oily. The hops and malt taste linger in your mouth for a long time. For a Barley Wine this beer is pretty drinkable. I will definitely drink this again.

Photo of gonzo138
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 edition

A- pours into snifter a deep brownish red color, with a very nice cream colored head that both retains nicely and laces well

S- a combination of sweet malts, a little fruity taste, and nice and strong citric hop aroma

T- big rich malty sweetness, kind of chocolatey, a little fruity at first then followed by a nice bitter hoppy aftertaste at the finish

M- nice and thick, low/ moderate carbonation feels great on the palate, big heavy body, very sticky mouthfeel

D- ive said this before, no decent barleywine is very drinkable, this one however does go down a bit easier than most, not sure if this is a plus or a minus but i like the beer anyway, not too mention the beer gets points for being one of the few barleywines that dont start with the word "Old"

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

2006 Vintage. Served in a wide mouth goblet. Pours a dark amber with cranberry hues. Large beige head that lasts throughout drinking. Light lacing present.

Smells strongly of piney hops and spicy alcohol. Vague maltiness sweetness.

Brief initial maltiness that transcends into a strong piney hop and spicy alcohol fusion. Finishes with a moderately hot alcohol finish.

Medium bodied with pleasant oiliness and lingering piney dryness in the finish.

Pretty easy to drink. One or two at most, mostly due to larger alcohol content.

Overall, a very nice beer; however, I think I will prefer it more once it has aged some and the flavors blend better and the alcohol is a little less hot.

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