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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.

6,576 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,576
Reviews: 2,850
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 312
Gots: 1,239 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,576 | Reviews: 2,850 | Display Reviews Only:
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown amber body almost has a copper glow. Head is a good 2 inches thick and full of tan bubbles. Head lasts quite a while and leaves decent lace.

Nose is vibrant and wonderful, very enticing. Sweet dark ripened fruits, and a celebration of spices and hops, almost vintage port like.

Long rich malty feel is sweet as it first enters the mouth. Palate is hoppy spice filled goodness. A backround of overripe grapes and plum are present also.

An incredibley complex brew that is a joy to drink. Mouthfeel is loud but welcome. A great beer!

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

Vintage 1995.
This was the last year Bigfoot was produced at 12% ABV, and held up well for a ten year (almost 11) old.
Light mahogany body with a tan head that still held its own.
Subdued earthy spruce notes with mild dusty paper in the nose.
Dried up malt with fruit skins and a stale cookie. Finishes warmly.
Fullish body, still chewy and bitter.
Bigfoot is a bit tired after his long journey.
Where once he was hugely hoppy and strong, he is now ready for retirement.
The malt is now a bit grainy and woody, with light papery notes.
Bitterness is subdued and hop flavors have tapered off.
Vineous and very drinkable, alcohol well hidden.
Finishes somewhat quick and slightly astringent, with dried fruits.

Photo of metallistout
4.87/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I have been hearing about this beer for so long.

Pours a red ruby, maybe slightly lighter, but the room is kind of dark. THe head is very foamy and thick, suprisingly for a beer with a huge ABV.

Hints of floral scents and sweet malts. A little bit of a fruit smell, and a definate alcohol smell.

Very strong and powerful, something you have to drink kind of slowly to appreciate all of the different flavors going on, plus it will knock you on your ass if you slam this one.Tons of hops biting your tastebuds and holding on as the sweet malt kind of passes by. Definately taste the fruit, alcohol and the malt, but mostly dominated by the hops.(I'm in Heaven)

This beer is only for the serious. I would not try this if you have never had a barley wine or a strong ale.

Good damn job Sierra Nevada.

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

2005 12 oz bottle.

Cloudy, dark red/amber with a big white frothy head. Head falls off fast, leaving nice lacing.

Sharp, piney hop nose, very nice!

Hop dominated flavor. Nice and tangy with lots of citrus up front, bitter, piney and astringent with some malt creeping through on the finish.

Mouthfeel is sharp, dry and tingly. Not thin though, plenty of body almost reaching chewy status.

Drinkability is good for what it is. I love bitter beers, and this certainly qualifies. I could have more than one, but not many more. Will buy again to drink and cellar.

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

2003 Batch, brown bottle.

Appearance – The brown barleywine has a tan one-finger head with light retention, as much as can be expected with the higher alcohol content, and very little lacing.

Smell – What a nosy beer! There’s a lot to smell here. Dark citrus and spicy fruits mix with deep caramelly herbal malt scents.

Taste – The beer is close to undrinkable (for my palate) being this young – and I like bitterness. This will be a superb beer to cellar for several years. The taste is decidedly alcoholic and bready with deep caramel chocolate tastes underscored by a medicinal backbone with raisin and spice tastes throughout. There is something unique here, and I have a hard time putting it into words. I enjoy this beer, even though I can tell I’d enjoy it more much later in its life. It’s still too young for me.

Mouthfeel – This has a very alcoholic, chewy mouth feel. It somehow comes across as being both creamy and coarse at the same time; the coarseness probably from the 9.60% ABV. Full bodied.

Drinkabilty – Even for a barleywine, I have to give this less than excellent points for drinkability because it’s still so rugged and unsettled, in my opinion.

Photo of jmz62565
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is something special.A beautiful dark coppery color with a giant three finger head.This beer has lots of carbonation.The smell is a full earthy,fruity,and hop filled scent.This is very aromatic.The taste is something to behold.A very hoppy flavor with a carmel aftertaste thats great.This has a full m/f thats very satisfying,I only wish I could have this on tap.This is an excellant beer and I will cellar three of my 6 pack to see the aging process.

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.

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!

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.

Photo of lordofthesox
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Photo of germaniac
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Photo of Holyterror
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

Photo of tgbljb
3.15/5  rDev -24.1%
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.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

Photo of Naes
3.83/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

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

Photo of evh883
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

Photo of PatYoda
2.22/5  rDev -46.5%
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.

Photo of Sigmund
3.45/5  rDev -16.9%
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.

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.

Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
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!

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.

Photo of jakester
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
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!

Photo of Gritsak
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

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.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,576 ratings.