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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.

6,782 Ratings

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Ratings: 6,782
Reviews: 2,914
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 337
Gots: 1,389 | FT: 56
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: 6,782 | Reviews: 2,914
Photo of xav33
4.77/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
12 oz bottle
Released 2007, demystified 02/07
Medium pour in an English pint.

Poured a clear amber red with a large off-white or beige mostly lasting head with good lacing.

Smelt of strong to harsh tangy grapefruit and pineapple with light toasted bread, spruce and caramel.

Taste was upfront strong sweet barley sugar candy and caramel with moderate bitter roasted grain and spruce hops followed by a strong to harsh spruce bitterness and moderate caramel sweetness and dried autumn leaves on a long bitter finish.

Palate was softly carbonated, medium bodied, oily to creamy, strongly astringent and lightly alcoholic.

Overall, as a young barleywine style ale, it is very meticulously crafted, with an excellent balance of sweet and bitter barley taste on the palate. Still has a young feel to it, but nonetheless the paragon of a barleywine style ale.

Photo of jwc215
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


Pours deep ruby with a one-finger head creamy head. Decent head retention for the style.

The smell is a fragrant bouquet. Caramel, citrus, peppery spice.

The taste is of rich caramelish sweetness with underlying citrus and pine. The citric/piney hops soon catch up to, and edge over, the malt. Very hoppy for the style. Assertive, slightly raw, though not necessarily sharp, alcohol is present that will probably mellow with aging.

The body is full, rich and creamy.

A nice slow-sipper. A nice malt profile supported by a stong hop character. A unique, tasty, barleywine!

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

This review is for the 2007 Bigfoot.

The beer was poured a slightly reddish brown with an off white head. The head was thin, a little less than a 1/4 inch thick but stayed that way almost the entire beer with great lacing. The aroma was a sweet malty smell with a hint of cherries and a nice floral hop smell.

The taste was a sweetly bitter flavor with a good amount of hops on the back end. You could taste cherries, a sweet malt flavor, a little hint of spice, and possibly a very slight hint of orange. The mouthfeel was good, with the beer being very thick. My only slight complaint would be that the CO2 was a little too strong.

Another great edition of bigfoot, if you get a chance to have this on tap I very highly suggest you give it a try. You won't be disappointed.

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

2007 Bigfoot. I've had this one before, so I gave it a rather aggressive pour into my pint glass. This yielded a slight head that was rather coarse. The ale itself is a dark amber, approaching brown, with very little carbonation, evidenced by just a few small bubbles slowly rising to the surface. The aroma is sharp and uniformly hoppy. The malt shines through only minimally. On the first taste and all subsequent, this beer tastes very much like a double IPA. The malt character is certainly there, but it's huge counterbalance of hops takes it away from the sweetish thick maltiness that I've come to expect from barleywines. Still, it's quite good. Heavy body, but not so heavy as to force it into the "one pint per session" category.

Overall, Bigfoot is a barleywine that I appreciate. In the days of beer that pushes the limits toward thicker, heavier, and more alcoholic flavors, this remains drinkable and an entirely reasonable barleywine. I will drink this again. In fact, I'm going out to get a six pack.

Photo of ccrida
3.74/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 and 2005 vertical, 4 oz drafts, at the Lucky Labrador Barelywine fest.
I had only had this as a fresh bottle, and was not impresed. I am not a fan of bitter bombs, and the fresh bottle just obliterated my palate. I cut it some slack in my review because I figured it was made to be laid down for a few years, and after these vintage versions, I can see I was right, they were MUCH better.
Bigfoot poured slightly murky amber with a thin white surface skim of head.
The smell was all rich malt but not particularly sweet.
The taste was also rich and malty, sweeter then the smell and a bit vinous, but fades to a very hoppy bitterness. The alcohol is well hidden.
The mouthfeel was good, medium bodied.
The drinkability of this was pretty good, particularly for the 04, which was much more subtle and balanced and not as bitter, really awesome.

Photo of goochpunch
3.21/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

From a bottle of the 2007.

I really have to give it to Bigfoot. This is a really beautiful beer. Rusty brown body with cascading bubbles, and off-white, nearly khaki head, and raised lacing patterns on the glass. Not many high abv beers can be described as such. In the nose I get a wealth of pine and citrus, with notes of vanilla and toasted malt. Alcohol sits in the background. When I first had Bigfoot about a year and a half ago, I thought it was over-the-top bitter, which it still kind of is, but now I can taste more than just an assault of hops. What I thought was once disgusting because of the hop character now just seems kind of all over the place with toasted malts, pine resin, and a finish that's both oily and overly sweet with a bitter that doesn't really balance out the sweet, so much as it conflicts with it. The beer is decent, for sure, but it's nothing I could get worked up over. Mouthfeel is full and mellow, but a bit slick for me. I don't have much interest in drinking this. I'd much rather an Old Foghorn or Old Ruffian for a better example of an American styled barleywine.

Photo of MCDuhamel
4.51/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003. Poured into a snifter at cellar temperature.

A: Very dark amber, almost brown. No head to speak of, and what there is retreats to a ring around the snifter immediately. Some lacing, though. The beer appears a bit murky. There's nothing unappealing about it, but nothing extraordinary either.

S: American hop aroma is the first thing to meet the nose, followed by ripe fruit and raisin. As it warms, there is a slight spiciness to the nose probably contributed by the alcohol but adding a nice layer of complexity. Very, very nice.

T: The nose might suggest a strong hop flavor, but the tongue instead meets fig, raisin, ripe fruit and malt. As that slowly fades, it yields to a nice driness butressed by bittering hops that manage to highlight the sweet maltiness of the first taste. Absolutely fantastic.

M: The mouthfeel is full and fairly heavy, but moderated by more carbonation than in most English versions of the style. The result is a very pleasant sensation on the tongue.

D: This is a sipper, and one is plenty. At the same time, I reach the bottom of the snifter with regret and wish I had sipped yet more slowly.

Overall: This may be the quintessential American barleywine, and it developed really nicely after 4 years in my cellar. I will drink my remaining 2003 next year, at 5 years old. This is a great American beer.

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

2007 , pours a red copper color. Not much of head

Smell is very citrusy,hoppy, and some sweet caramel.

Taste is again very citrusy , almost with a grapefruit bite. Any malt stays in the background.

Drinkability suffers slightly from the high ABV and high hops rates, but I expect this beer ages great.

Photo of ragekage23
4.64/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: very rich amber color with a frothy one inch head.

S: probably one of the best smelling beers: very hoppy, very fruity.

T: starts with hoppy, bitter taste, follows with a nice citrus, and end with one of the most prominent berry flavors i've tasted in a long time. the alcohol is very prominent.

M: more of a medium body mouthfeel, i think.

D: Ok, I'll be honest, this is my first barley wine, but if this is a forecast of things to come then this beer is one of the finest i've tasted.

Photo of atsprings
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served a DEEP amber with a thin head that left some spotty lacing on the glass. The aroma was a deep blend of malts and dried fruits balanced by earthy hops. The taste was a very complex blend of malts and hops, but not exactly the best taste in the world. The beer was very heavy on the palate and the alcohol was very present. The beer was slightly abrasive on the palate. This is a sipper, harder to drink than many other barley wines.

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

Drank from a 12 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Cambridge Wine & Spirits, Cambridge, MA

Poured a deep, slightly hazy, orange-copper with no head (just a ring of frothy bubbles).

Aroma was big and very fragrant. Super hoppy with piney and citrusy notes. In the background lay a stiff malty backbone with some sweet fruitiness. As the beer warmed, some alcohol also became noticeable.

Taste was similar to smell, except even more hoppy and biting. A touch of malty creaminess was noticeable on the front of the palate before the hops took over. Hoppy from start to finish with the strong, fruity, juicy and piney hop notes intensifying as they moved along the palate. The long finish was very dry, puckering, piney and resiny with a distinct, bitter grapefruit quality. This beer was a true palate shredder.

Mouthfeel was super rich, creamy and frothy. It almost felt fluffy on my tongue.

Drinkability was moderate. While this beer was quite flavorful and the 9.6% ABV was well masked, the intense hop bitterness was rather difficult to handle.

Overall, this was a good barley wine, but I would have preferred a more balanced offering.

Photo of DaggerEyes
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage, got it for a measly $1.25 at the local corner store :)

Pours a ruby-reddish brown with a soapy small head, crazy sticky against the side of the glass

Wonderful smell, the only thing holding it back from a straight up 5 is that it is slightly too astringant, something that will surely mellow with a bit of age. Strong notes of berries, mostly strawberrys, a bit of rasberry, caramel, a nice subtle hoppy tinge, maybe a little bit of pine in there but just a little bit, great smell...

the taste was a bit of a let down after the nose it had on it...pretty blunt and mono chromatic, not as sweet as one would believe by the nose. Very Bitter and the hops that were faintly present on the nose come out in full force on the tongue. It's pretty young and the alchohol is very present. I'd be interested to see how this does with a few years in a cellar.

smooth, fairly round with just a hint of carbonation, Very dry on the finish, you might want to keep a glass of water near by.

Given the higher achohol content I can't imagine drinking to much of this but it's fairly drinkable as barley wines go.

I am tempted to put a few of these aside...I'm anxious to see how this matures it could really be a knock out in a few years time

Photo of kelticblood
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2003 bottle

Being 4 years old it lost alot of it's head and carbonation. I've had this in my fridge for along time. The color is a Red/Brown and looks to be cloudy when held up to the light. Almost exceptional complex aroma with a great cherry and fuit smell. True to the style of a Barley Wine. It has mellowed out sitting in my fridge that long and the ABV is well-hidden . Lingering dry bitterness on the finish. The mouthfeel lacks a crisp carbonated bite. Full-bodied and creamy with no signs of a watery texture. Due to the high ABV I cannot see myself drinking more than one of these before wanting to switch. Goes down remarkably smooth with no alcohol bite.

Photo of kajerm
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2007 bottle, I've been wanting to try this one for a while.

Pours pale reddish-brown, a little bit hazy, and basically headless-- but it looks pretty nice. Slight notes of roasted malt, a little dark fruit, and somehting spicy-- cloves maybe? Oh, and booze. Definitely booze.

OK, tasting it-- shit, this is hoppy. I did not smell that one coming. Alpha acid bitterness and alcoholic spiciness are definitely the dominant notes here, with a shade of malt mid-palate that's gone as quickly as it appears. Lingering bitterness on the finish; not bad, not bad at all.

The palate is heavy, but if you buy a 9.6%ABV barleywine, I hope you saw that one coming. It's heavy, slick, and pretty chewy. The mouthfeel complements the aroma and flavor nicely.

This is a tasty beer, but one is enough for me. Drinkability is about what I'd expect at ten points of ethanol. That said, you need to get at least halfway into this one to really get it-- after habituating to the hops, this beer really starts to reveal itself and the balance and complexity are phenomenal.

rerate: Must have been a lousy pour, I got a nice head this time with about average retention and significant lingering lace. The nose is completely devoid of hops (it smells spicy and malty.) It's still hoppy as hell in the front and back, but it's pretty complex mid-palate-- some malt and lots of esters. Much more warming and alcoholic than I remember, but not in an off-putting way-- in this context, the booze is adding flavor and character. I wouldn't change any of the ratings, but I like it much better this time. It seems like Bigfoot is a different experience every time; I might have to try aging a few bottles.

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

12oz, 2007 expedition on cap
Pours a clear reddish color with a huge head (especially for a barleywine) of off white/tan bubbles. Strong aroma of pine and grapefruit hops. Taste is nearly in the hop bomb category. Very hoppy and bitter, but enough malt to add bit of caramel sweetness to the mix. Sweet in the way a grapefruit can be sweet. And the taste is primarily grapefruit. Bitter, but not overpowering in the aftertaste. The grapefruit lingers on the tongue. Great creamy mouthfeel. I loved it, but I also love grapefruit. They seemed to of amped up the hops this year. I’m digging this one more than past editions. IIPA lovers will go nuts over this one!

Photo of Cresant
3/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a becker glass. 2006 vintage. Cloudy/chill hazed (cleared later) golden brown body with a pillowy manilla folder colored head.

Smell was strong. Sweet malts, fresh grains. Baked brown bread.

Taste was alcohol, sugar, and mellow hoppiness. Hops were very present but they were far from being harsh. Barleywines are not my favorite style but I enjoyed this one. I believe I would like a fresh sample better due to my hop-headedness.

Mouthfeel was smooth and somewhat oily. Mildly carbonated.

Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle - 2007 edition

Pours a clear deep amber with a reddish hue. A small tan head forms and recedes. Mild lacing on the glass.

Aroma is dominated by citrusy / grapefruit smelling hops. However, there is a rich smell of caramel malt that comes through - especially as it warms. Quite a nice blend of aromas.

Citrusy hops pounce from the start and bring with them a potent bitter bite. As the bitterness fades toward the finish, some of the caramel maltiness starts to come through. Even as it warms, the malt taste doesn't really come through as I would like. Full of flavor, lacking in balance.

Huge body, mild carbonation.

While I do love the blend of hops, I would have liked to see a little more malt flavor to balance it out.. Still, enjoyable to drink - but definitely no more than one in a sitting.

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

This is the 2007 vintage, poured into a goblet. A nice dark copper color with a fluffy looking white head that was big on the lacing. This thing clung to the glass the whole way around, lacing was almost solid.

I can smell the malty goodness of an American Barleywine in there, but it is simply overpowered by a big citrus hoppy aroma that almost makes my eyes water. Not really, but wow! A heavy bitter grapefruit aroma that goes on and on. I'd personally like this to be a little more balanced but it is a fresh one and I expect the hops would mellow with some age.

The taste is a giant mix of malts, alcohol, citrusy hop flavor and severe bitterness, pretty much in that order. This is a good sipper indeed as it takes several seconds for a single sip to fade away. The finish is long and harsh and wonderful.

Full bodied with noticeable carbonation, this is a highly sippable Barleywine. Glad to finally get to try it.

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

Appearance: A still amber, on the reddish side, a big inch of cream colored foam, appears to be very sticky. Slight chill haze, very inviting.

Smell: Huge aroma, nice round hop oils, pine, malt sweetness is just present enough to balance, smells like a big hoppy DIPA.

Taste: Nice big malt sweetness, chocolate, caramel, ripe fruit, it's a balanced sweetness, hops come in, warm and bitter, herbal, finish is dry, alcohol is a background factor, warming.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, creamy and luxurious, the mouthfeel is out of this world, so creamy, very light carbonation.

Drinkability: A very well balanced brew, this beer shows more hops and more flavor than many other big beers in other styles like DIPAs. Very tasty.

Photo of stephendr
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage smell 4 taste 4 appearance 4 mouthfeel 3.5 drinkability 4
12 oz. bottle- color of dark copper, with a good tan head - nose of malts , hopps , spruce , wood notes , and resin – taste of malt , brown sugar , hopps , prunes , salty , spruce , and port – body semi raw , and lightly carbonated– aftertaste of malt , hopps, resin , and lingering

Photo of billybob
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

pours redish dark copper color , tan two finger head, holds fairly well with sheets of lacing with each sip. smell roasted malt, citrus, pine hops. taste is toasty, caramel, citrus, almond nut. mouthfeel is medium, light carbonation, but thats the style for this beer. drinkability, all night long, but i don't know how long i would be standing.

Photo of adowney523
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter glass from the tap at Strange Brew in Manchester, NH. Appears dark-brown with a reddish tinge.

Alcohol is apparent in the smell along with earthy hops.

Taste is of smokey and burnt flavors at first. This taste gives away to quite a kick of piney and citrusy hops. Alcohol prevalent in the finish.

A very well-hopped barleywine. Quite good. I will try again.

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

2007 bottle

A: Nice rusty brown. Clear with a small, thick tan head that sticks to the glass leaving nice lacing.

S: In your face hops prevail. Some sweet nutty malts bring up the rear to provide some balance.

T: Hop bitterness blends smoothly into sweet caramel malt. Alcohol ester present specifically if one exhales through the nose.

M: Moderate body. Crisp as opposed to creamy. Refreshing and allows for the taste to represent itself.

D: Simply put very smooth. Goes down very easily. Deceptive for such a strong beer.

As a big fan of big hops, malt and strong beers, this brew hits me just right.
With more malt balance than IPAs and more kick than a stout or porter, this is a good representative of a solid American Barley Wine. This brew showcases a solid beer as a drink: thin enough to wash down some nice food while strong enough to have some personality and kick you in the face on the way down. Drink up.

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

2007 edition. Poured from a 12oz. bottle, into a snifter. The beer poured a deep gold, forming a 1 inch head, leaving medium lacing on the glass. The aroma reminds of a strong Belgian style ale, with its intense fruit smell, along with a good balance of hops. The taste is very complex. Flavors range from a slight alcohol taste upfront, to a sweet fruit taste in the middle, ending with a slight bite from the hops. Very interesting! The mouthfeel is thick and full. While I would not recommend drinking too many of these in one night (already did it, and regretted it), it is still a great beer worth trying. Just be careful!

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

2007 edition, $1.70 at the Utah State Wine Store.

12 ounce bottle, twist-off (to my continued homebrewer irritation), states 9.6% ABV.

Pours a deep mahogany with a beige head, moderately dense, leaves a bit of light lacing.

Aroma: piney resiny hop goodness, hot alcohol. Maybe a bit of sherry or fortified wine?

Taste: lots of that piney resin-y goodness that's in the aroma, hot, almost burning alcohol (but in a good way, for me.) Deep caramel, a small bit of citrus.

Mouth: tingly hot alcohol, moderate to high carbonation for style.

Overall: another excellent vintage of Bigfoot. It's raw and unkempt, like I like it. It feels like it has much more hot alcohol than the last several years of Bigfoot, and also less sweet malt. Honestly, I like the 2006 better (even when I drank it right off the shelf after it came out.) But this is still excellent.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,782 ratings.