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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

6,445 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,445
Reviews: 2,821
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 282
Gots: 1,166 | FT: 46
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 02-06-1998)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,445 | Reviews: 2,821 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ChrisBowers
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2003 vintage, bottle conditioned. Pours a murky brown. Sweet, hoppy aromas abound. Taste... this is a huge, bold beer. Sweet, with ripe fruits, tons of malt, cascade hops and an interesting, almost chocolatey finish. DEFINITELY benefits from age. I don't even drink the stuff unless its at least a year old. Rich, full mouthfeel. Drinkability suffers because of ABV and richness, but it is not an overpowering beer. You can definitely have more than one in a sitting, but watch out.

ChrisBowers, Oct 21, 2005
Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

With the release of this annual Barleywine, I am aways taken back to the firt time tasting this massive beverage. With extremes of hops colide with extremes of malt, you don't see the finess of balance comming....

This godfather of the American Barleyine style jumps out of the bottle and lands with a masculine viscocity that's caught somewhere between viscous and crisp. Deep bronze in color, the beer is quite clear for such a hop-forward flavor. Froathy off-white foam blankets the surface of the beer and much of the glass, making it difficult to know where the head character ends and the lacing begins. It's to be expected of a richly malted beer with a generous hop contingency.

Molasass and toffee malt aromas reach the nose, along with an abundance of pine and grapefruit scented hops. Esters of cherry, plumb, and currant help to bridge the hop-malt divide, and to give a sense of meldedness to the nose.

Malt dominance is evidence with the very first sip; with the strong sweetness of black strap molasass, barley sugars, and sturdy malt taste. But the hops provide an attack of white grapefruit, citrus piths, pine resin, and a smooth pang of bitterness... Nether allowing any ground to the other- somewhat combative in taste, but strikingly harmoneous in balance. (Kinda like tango with Fred and Ginger).... Meanwile, back at the ranch- The strong brandy-strength esters of cherry, berry, plumb, grape, and dates begin to sew the flavors together for an intense dichotomy in the mouth.

Strong and matly early, but with the dryness of hop and alcohol late tells the tale of two halves: malty rich and velvety smooth to mid palate then turns IPA-ish with malty-dry textures and alcoholic warmth leading to a strong and dense beer that's way more drinkable than it should be.

A long, dry linger of barley and hops continues to develop in aftertaste making this beer as drinkable as you want it to be, and as savory as you want it to be. That's the beauty in this classy ale!

BEERchitect, Oct 21, 2005
Photo of texashammer
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 bottle, so a little under a year old. amber/orange/brown color glows in the light, with very little head. Smell is big: hops and sweet fruitiness and alcohol. some banana I think. Smells bitter and sweet at once, and tastes that way too. Lots of hop bitterness and also a syrupy sweetness and syrupy mouthfeel. Can feel the warming alcohol. This is a big beer. WIll certainly mellow with more age but it's good this way too.

texashammer, Oct 20, 2005
Photo of lordofthesox
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I just wanna make sure to get this review out before I forget. The rules here state "Do not chastise other users in your comments for their opinions." Due to respect for the Alstro(e)m brothers, I will avoid badmouthing Patyoda from the city of Indianapolis for his comments.

For example, I will not say that his comments were foolish, trifling, or witless. Another thing that I will avoid saying is that he was rash and reckless in his approach. One more thing that you will not see me say is that he told me he secretly loves Anheuser Busch and despises craft beer. And one final thing that I will not say that he's my brother and I'm just doing a little trash talking. This is probably gonna get deleted for clowning around too much, huh? Well hopefully Pat sees it and gets a laugh first, I don't think he believed that I would actually review it, so if you delete it, please beer mail him and let him know that I reviewed it, thank you.

On to the review:

Appearance: Very nice, darkish color, I'm not very good with colors. It poured nicely and left very little fizz.

Smell: It was very Wheat-like in smell, I think it may have been the hops, it was a very natural smell, it was enjoyable, and not too offensive.

Taste: Personally, I liked it. It's sharp, and it lingers in the throat. It doesn't mess around, you'll definitely know you're drinking a serious brew when this one hits you.

Mouthfeel: I loved the mouthfeel. It was great. I think that's about all that needs to be said about the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: After finally getting a decent definition of drinkability, I'd say the drinkability of this beer is very low; however, due to the high alcohol content and the nice taste, I feel that it should be drank slow and savored; therfore, I give the drinkability a 3.5 because, while hard to drink, I believe it is an appropriate amount of drinkability.

Thank you, that is all. This is my first review.

lordofthesox, Oct 14, 2005
Photo of germaniac
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep reddish brown. Hazy gold highlights are visible when the light hits it just so.

Smells mainly of heavy, sweet malt. Very nice caramel smoothness to it. Alcohol is present and accounted for with a nice bite.

Tastes like malted maple brown sugar, with a tongue tantalizing fruity hoppiness. The alcohol bite only makes itself known after the other flavors have worked my tastebuds over with a decent impression of Apollo Creed.

Fairly thick feeling in my mouth. But still a joy to drink, even in it's infancy. Totally worth it to buy a sixer and enjoy them in the future.

germaniac, Oct 13, 2005
Photo of Holyterror
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada is known for crafting brews that perfectly exemplify their style. This is no different than any of their other offerings. English barleywine this is not. This is what only a bunch of hop-crazy Americans could come up with. This review is of the 2005 vintage, consumed young.

Bigfoot poured a deep copper with a moderate-sized, creamy head that laced the glass fairly well. The aroma was immediately striking, with delicious estery goodness practically slapping you in the face. A zesty fruitiness and raw alcoholic glory play tug-of-war in your nose. Anticipation is high at this point.

Taste is amazing. Being a hophead, I delighted in the spiciness imparted by the cascades and/or centennials (there's no mistaking these hops). Subtle yeast flavors are all over the place, and its hard to identify them all. A little mellowing would allow these characteristics to surface more easily. Alcohol is evident, but not overbearing. It is at the level where it blends in with the other spicy flavors present, and is quite balanced for such a raw barleywine. Bigfoot has a solid malt backbone that is very bready, but entirely counteracted by the hops. As it approaches room temperature, a little diacetyl buffer appears between the malt and the hops. Purely delicious.

Mouthfeel is good. The slightly syrupy viscosity is expected, and it goes down easily compared to some other similar offerings. This is quite drinkable for such a huge style. The 9.6% alcohol could sneak up on you rather quickly if you were to get the notion of making this a session beer (unlikely for most people).

If you're into cellaring, this could be a real fun beer to experiment with. I can get a sixer for $13; that's six years of cheap entertainment. If nothing else, this is a hophead's alternative to English barleywine.

Holyterror, Oct 10, 2005
Photo of tgbljb
3.08/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2004 edition. poured a mahagony color, slightly hazy with respectable head that fell to a nice sticky ring. Smell is a delightful mixture of malt and piney hops. Taste is very strongly alcoholic, with only a slight nalt sweetness and some hop bitterness.Finished with very strong notes of alcohol, Very disappointing beer, maybe it will be better in another year or two.

tgbljb, Oct 09, 2005
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 10 year old cellared bottle (1995). As I work my way through my cellared beers I find alot of disappointments, and this one might just be the worst. I've had 30 and 50 year old beers that were better. This is like a bad homebrew. Or, perhaps, maybe I'm just missing that big assult of hop and malt that the Bigfoot offers? Nah, this has just gone to hell in a handbasket...

Oxidation has clearly taken full effect, and although it enhances the caramelish aspect of the maltiness to some extent, there's a sherry note in the finish that combines with the alcohol, and perhaps a bit of piney hops, to leaves a rather unpleasant aftertaste.

The sherry appears in the nose as well, along with alcohol, but it doesn't really detract there. It lends an almond note, and there's also some coconut that's quite nice as well.

It pours an absolutely crystal clear ruby brown, but it has lost carbonation, and there's not really a head to it, just a big bubbled but thin collar.

The body is somewhat thinned, and it's clear that there's a touch more alcohol. Some sublime phenols (or are they higher alcohols?) seem to be present as well.

Overall, most of the bitterness, and some of the piney hops remain, but without the malty sweetness to back it up. I'd have thought the hops would soften more, but what I got is just a shriveled corpse of the beautiful fresh hop vibrance that once was.

Perhaps this one bottle didn't hold up and there are others that are OK; but I'd say, as I've always said, Bigfoot isn't really for aging.... it just holds well. I'll take mine fresh (or within 3 years, thanks!).

That said, my score for this bottle when calculated was a pathetic 3.0; but that's not fair as it's an aged bottle, and so I've included my original scores from the bottle I had back in '02.

NeroFiddled, Sep 25, 2005
Photo of Naes
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005
Appearance is hazy brown with hues of orange, amber and red. It has a one finger frothy off white head that turns into a thin layer after a min or two.
Aroma is malty sweet with bits of fruitiness and a slight hop presence.
Its flavor is a blend of dark fruit, hops and has a slight alcohol presence. There is a bit of chocolate near the end as well. This has quite a nice blend of sweetness and bitterness.
Mouth feel is full bodied yet remains quite drinkable.

Naes, Sep 25, 2005
Photo of dirtylou
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 bottle thats been sitting since january, served at cellar temp

opened in celebration of Notre Dame beating UWash and my new bandwagon allegiance Wisconsin beating the hated wolverines

appearance: pours a beautiful rich amber...creamy tan head. Just as lovely as I remembered

smell: heavy malts, sweet ripe dark fruits, typical barleywine alcohol aromas.

taste: very smooth, quite malty, dark fruits, bitter hops in the aftertaste, dark rum alcohol, raisins and plums. This one has mellowed out a little since its purchase....I like what i taste

mouthfeel: smooth and creamy, chewey alcohol rich texture

drinkability: good for the style

Prior to last winter I knew sierra nevada for the ever popular pale ale, the average porter, and pretty good stout. After finding celebration and big foot at super low prices in the grocery store, my opinion of this brewery has changed greatly

dirtylou, Sep 25, 2005
Photo of evh883
3.8/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was a stand out beer as soon as I poured it into the glass. It has a great deep amber color with a small, light-brown head that looks great in a snifter glass. Then the aroma comes at you. It's filled with a lot of maltiness followed by a light spruce and resin smell with a bit of a grapefruit note.

When it first hits your tongue, there is a mellow sweetness followed by a heavy bitterness and saltiness that lasts in duration. This full-bodied beer, has a flat and oily mouthfeel with a very noticable alcohol aftertaste.

Overall, this beer is great for sipping on a cold day and one you should put on the must-have list for this winter.

evh883, Sep 25, 2005
Photo of PatYoda
2.13/5  rDev -48.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

2005 Version

Appearance is perfect. Nice clear mahogany with a perfect 1 finger creamy head of miniscule bubbles. Leaves lacing all the way down the glass, which is very unexpected for the style. Smell is almost all hops, and I'm not talking the nice citrusy hops that I love. Pure pine needles. There is actually some caramel malt smell underneath everything, just barely. Unfortunately it doesn't show up in the taste. At first the hops bite hard. Like eating pine needles. Then you wait for the initial hop bite to subside and for the malt to smooth things over...and you can wait all day if you want, but it never happens. The finish is even worse - it's pure bitterness. There is absolutely no flavor that lingers in the mouth, just bitterness, and linger it does! Mouthfeel is actually pretty good. Nice and thick and creamy like I like my barleywines. Right now I don't care how good this will taste in 10 years, it's nearly undrinkable at the moment.

PatYoda, Sep 24, 2005
Photo of Sigmund
3.43/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 fl. oz. bottle, bought at Vinens Verden, Odense, Denmark. Copper coloured, good light tan head. Very nice strong aroma of flowery hops, notes of honey and fruits too, hints of oak and caramel. Full and rich mouthfeel. Initially sweet and oaky flavour of dried fruits, then a massive hoppy bitterness takes over and lasts through the aftertaste. Not very well balanced IMO, the very bitter finish kind of kills all other qualities this beer has.

Sigmund, Sep 22, 2005
Photo of DrunkMcDermott
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

DrunkMcDermott, Sep 22, 2005
Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
3.6/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2005 Vintage

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

ALESwhatCURESya, Sep 22, 2005
Photo of orfeu
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2004 bottling.

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

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

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

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

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

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

orfeu, Sep 18, 2005
Photo of jakester
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

jakester, Sep 13, 2005
Photo of Gritsak
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

S- strong hop, alcohol and malt aroma.

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

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

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

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

Gritsak, Sep 07, 2005
Photo of horshack7
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

horshack7, Sep 06, 2005
Photo of chorizoandeggs
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

chorizoandeggs, Aug 30, 2005
Photo of RedHaze
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 edition.

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

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

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

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

RedHaze, Aug 30, 2005
Photo of chOAKbarrell
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

chOAKbarrell, Aug 27, 2005
Photo of tjthresh
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

tjthresh, Aug 26, 2005
Photo of Krovtar
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Krovtar, Aug 25, 2005
Photo of sopor
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

sopor, Aug 25, 2005
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,445 ratings.