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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

6,574 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,574
Reviews: 2,850
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 312
Gots: 1,238 | FT: 51
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

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

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,574 | Reviews: 2,850 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of tjthresh
3.64/5  rDev -12.3%
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..

Photo of Krovtar
4.15/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of sopor
3.86/5  rDev -7%
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!

Photo of Derek
3.42/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Vintage 2002, openned August 2005.

A: Dark ruby, garnet coloured. Very little head, lacing is more like the legs of a sweet wine.

S: Pacific Northwest citrous & pine.

T: Bittersweet. The initial hit is actually fairly well balanced, with sherry-like flavours, but the crystal malt sweetness fades to an overpowering bitterness in the end. This bitterness is relatively smooth though, providing your taste-buds with plenty of excitement. Surprisingly, the bitterness even covers the potency of this brew! It's a 'hop bomb'.

M: Mouthfeel is moderately heavy, similar to a sherry, but with a bitter backbone!

D: To maintain the bitter-sweet balance, you need to keep sipping!


Photo of mrasskicktastic
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a gorgeous clear ruby/mahogany with a half finger head that leaves tiny scattered patches of lacing.

S - Strong caramel malt, potent pine hops and a slight vanilla underneath. Very, very nice.

T - A strong molasses malt flavor meshed with a less prominent hoppy taste that turns into a powerfully bitter hoppy finish. It is pretty good, a little too strong on the syrupy malt though.

M - Medium viscosity, low carbonation and very refreshing for a barleywine.

D - This goes down easily for a barleywine. It isn't drying and it wasn't hard to find the bottom of my snifter. Food pairing would be difficult. I would have again though.

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

the color of peach brandy jam. It's a little hazy with peach fuzz for a head.
It smells like apricot jam, homemade fruit wine, wildflower honey, orange.

I've been fooled into thinking this will have some sweetness. Once you bite through the grapefruit peels the alcohol hooks you through a piece of rum soaked fur. I feel like a fish biting a fly: It looks so good, smells good >OUCH< I'm hooked! Ouch. It kinda bites back, but there's a touch of brown sugar frosting that makes it a decent sip.

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

2005 edition. Pours a hazy reddish brown, iced tea colour, big off white head and plenty of lace. Smell is deep rich malts, caramel, citrus and floral hops. Taste is caramel sweetness up front, coffee/chocolate middle and a florally hop bitter finish. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, smooth, no rough edges, very excellent beer.

Photo of tavernjef
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1998 - opened August 2005: Still pours with voracity after 7 years of sitting. Color sits an opaque looking chestnut brown with a deep reddish glow. Finger high head of heavy yellow stained froth that sits for a pertinent duration. A thin collar keeps and the lacing is somewhat glaring and spotty with a small ink blob curtain sticking closer to the liquids' edge.

Aroma is nothin' but smoothed out pine soaked hop oily heat with a medley of tender roasted malts and grains that inlay a bordline scotch-like girth.

Taste is wonderfully smoothed over. The hops still play the main host as a load of pine oils and resin soaked leaves sit among a toasted molasses and roasted edge of malts. Heat is perfectly intertwined as the roasty stuff drys off the end leaving lots of oily hop residue, slight tobacco spice, and plenty of other spicy alcoholic nuances floating across the palate with weight as it finishes.

Feel is fairly rich, quite warm, both in the throat and belly, more so in the throat. Body is still fairly thick and heavy with a hop sided realm of oily heat and resins. Smooth but a bit rough edged; even still? Warmth is f*ckin' awesome to behold. Its perfect.

Drinkability is through the the roof on this aged wonderment. Even with its warmth its just lovely to sip and sip and sip and sip. This didn't last long in the snifter. A could see myself drinking a few more before bedtime no prob.
Bigfoot is always a pleasure a good time after its release. This was no different and stays true to the Barleywine nature of aging. Especially when done this well.

Photo of canucklehead
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a 2001 bottle. The beer pours a tawny red/brown colour with a minimal head. What grabbed me was the awesome old hop nose. It was dignified yet once redolent of huge hops. The taste was refined and complex with hops still in the mix but new notes of old fruit and tobacco taking its place. I have had fresh Bigfoot with all the huge hop notes but this was amazingly sophisticated due to the age.

Photo of mcclurmc
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Has a brown/amber color, slightly cloudy. The head is a very light tan. Unfortunately it didn't have as much of a head as I would have liked. It is a very appealing beer, though.

Very appealing smell. I can tell that this will be a fairly hoppy beer; I also smell some fruitiness and maybe a little alcohol.

The taste blew me a away. I was a little apprehensive about barelywines at first because I knew that they are one of the strongest beers, but this one is incredible. This is what I've been looking for in a beer that I haven't been able to find in an IPA. Great hop flavor, but not overpowering. This is perfectly complemented with a slight sweetness that makes the beer incredibly smooth do drink. Even as it warms up I can't yet taste the alcohol. As it warms the beer feels maltier and the alcohol begins to show its head, though just enough to give me a warm sensation.

Very lightly carbonated, this beer leaves an oily, sticky feeling in my mouth and on my lips, which I'm told is from the hops. Gives me a warm feeling as I drink it.

As I said before, this is a really smooth beer dispite it's strength. If it hadn't been for all the things I've read about barleywines telling me to sip it slowly, I think I would have finished this beer in 15 minutes.

A delicious beer. I do believe that I'll have to change my BeerAdvocate profile say that Barleywine is my favorite style. I can't wait to try more Barleywines and hopefully start brewing them.

Photo of yelterdow
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 edition, cellared for 6 months.

Pours a medium reddish brown with a terrific, 2+ inch head in my brandy snifter. Retention lasts well into the third minute, and we have some sticky ass lacing here.

Smell- It's awesome how this beer has matured in the six months I've been keeping it. What began as a West Coast hop porno has become a malty, dense, superb balance of aromas. Sharp but elegant is the best way I can describe it.

Taste- Easy and soft at first, then the malts and kamikaze hops unleash their relentless bitterness. This beer literally attacks the sides and back of the tongue so that you will not ever forget its footprints. So well done though, it exhibits what a barleywine should showcase better than any other I've had the pleasure of drinking. Harsh, then mellow, and fading into the big hop monster we crave as a nightcap.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- This plays a huge part in the overall allure of this beer. You've had high alcohol brews that literally hurt the esophogus after the first two swallows. You know what it's like to say "that's enough" because the beer is kicking your ass faster than you might have expected. The Bigfoot Barleywine 2005 has achieved the beloved status of "must have bedtime brew" of all time. Hand me a book, give me the remote. This one's for winding down.

I've been enjoying this 2005 batch over the last several months, and my advice is to hang the hell on to your stash. Bigger, maltier, more balanced is what you should expect. Let me know if you agree.

Photo of jamesclark
3.28/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer is medium-dark amber in color, murky, and comes with a moderate head of slightly-dark cream bubbles which slowly reduce to a pervasive final layer of bubbles.

The aroma is quite hoppy - floral and malty, with noticeable alcohol.

The flavor is puckeringly bitter, with lots of hops. There is a creamy feel, semi-sweet, with an alcoholic kick. The lingering finish is also quite bitter - spicy hops, black pepper, citrus.

The carbonation produces quite a few bubbles by the time I swallow, which almost get in the way.

This is a fine strong beer, but this one is a bit unbalanced. Though I love bitter beers, the hops are a little distracting and there isn't quite enough complexity to the flavor. That said, I have no trouble finishing the glass and would certainly have another.

Photo of palliko
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is of a thick creamy foam with nicely retentive lacing; and a dark burgundy color. Aroma consists of citrus hops and spruce. Banana, brown sugar and malt chime in. Initial taste has bitter hops that bite back, followed by sweet malt and crackers; there is yeast and cookie dough, settling down to a dry finish. Very complex and very well crafted. Wonderful.

Photo of JackStraw22
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2005 Version

Appearance: Slightly hazy, dark amber body. Tan head, stuck around a little bit.

Smell: Very sweet and malty. Much less hoppy than when I tried it this winter/spring. Hops are still there, but not as citrusy and in your face. I liked it better before I think, but it's still good.

Taste/feel: Smooth and balanced. Hops toned down from the winter, but more balanced. Really nice taste. Alcohol is present, but it fits. Syrupy and slick, really coats the mouth. Amazing how much it's changed in just 6 months.

Just a great barleywine. Grab a sixer or two and spread them out over a couple months.

Photo of TongoRad
4.62/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2005- not too fresh, not too old? Let's pop the cap and check it out...

It pours a mostly clear rich yet vivid brownish copper color with a dense tannish two-finger head.

Aroma is big- huge hops (resiny, citrusy) dominate but they are backed up by lots of caramel malt. I also pick up a blackberry-and-cream quality, hints of cocoa and, of course, alcohol.

Flavor is powerful- tons of malt and caramel at first, but the cocoa, berries and some nuts come right on afterwards. There is a gigantic bitterness cutting right through it all and there is a lingering finish of orange peel and alcohol.

I'm loving this beer right now- some of its abrasiveness of youth is gone and that lets some more complex characteristics come through, yet there is still some fire there as well.

Photo of mentor
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Belgian tulip glass served at BJ's in Boulder in July 2005. Presented a murky dark brown with a ragged light brown head clinging to itself in some places and spilling down the glass in other places. Smells dark and citrusy. Almost grapefruit pith, but not quite...perhaps a hint of pineapple mixed in there? Sweet is less noticable than the hops and consists of caramel and some brown sugar/molasses. Taste starts sweet (momentarily), but then comes the hops, bolstered by an playful alcohol. Citrus hop bitter rises above the caramel and rock candy sweetness to become almost edgy. Low co-humulone is good, because it keeps this one from going over the edge. The finish is hop citrusy, complimented by the bitter and alcohol to leave my mouth dry. Hop flavor is mostly grapefruit pith, some tangerine and also a touch of sour (not quite plum-skin sour, and certainly not cherry sour). Thick bodied and mildy carbonated. I was concerned that, fresh, the hops would be a bit too much and the malt a bit unrefined. Instead, the malt played a nice supporint role to the dominant hop bitter and flavor to make a multi-dimensional beer with complimenting tastes.

Photo of Sixpoint
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Undoubtedly, and without question, AN AMERICAN CLASSIC. I have such a tremendous amount of respect for this brewery.

My sample poured a deep amber - almost copper color - with a small amount of lacing.

The aroma was a mixture of piney, citrusy, and almost grassy/herbal qualities from the hops; alcohol; and a massive malt backbone.

The taste? Fuggedaboutit. Outstanding. A massive beer that has found a perfect balance between a high amount of hops, the perfect body and mouthfeel, and a warming alcohol effect.

Overall, a very drinkable (dare I say sippable) beer, and I'm enjoying every sip of it. Bravo.

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

Vintage 2004, 12/25/04

I've given this about a year to age. It is near maturity. The hops are so ever present. The sticky mouthfeel and the sweet malty back bone make this a full bodied sipping brew. The alcohol is warming after the first half a glass. The appearance is a deep ruby with highlights of copper. Nice foamy head in a snifter, that dissipates quickly. Not a brew to start the evening with unless that is all your going to drink.

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a bright amber, surprisingly red. The head is big and fluffy with incredible retention for a strong beer. The aroma is packed with hops, very perfumey, piney, fruity and bitter... very intense. The taste is surprisingly hoppy with an initial smack of high alpha bitterness which leads into wonderful herbal, citrus, eucalyptus flavors. The hops are very leafy and fresh tasting. Malt is always evident in the background and it becomes more prevelant as the beer warms. A really bready flavor emerges with time.

The finish is decidedly hoppy with a mouthpuckering bitterness that lingers and lingers. Alcohol is nice and warming but very well hidden. The mouthfeel is quite light with perfectly textured carbonation from good bottle conditioning. I love bottle conditioned beers. I love this brewery. I love this beer. I love beer.

Id say this is the my favorite barleywine so far. Thanks to Cafe Volo for carrying it (and a lot of other great beers).

Photo of edmundfitzoil
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 2005 stubby bottle:

Appearance: A good finger of thick head that didn't leave for a few minutes and left little lacing. A beautiful dark copper color.
Smell: Citrus and hops.
Taste: Hops. Smooth. A little alcohol. A perfect bitterness: strong, but nothing overly so, although probably more than a lot of people would be used to.
Drinkability: Spectacular. As the beer got warmer I the taste improved with it. A great brew and something that if the weather and the mood hits I can't wait to take the rest out one by one from the cellar.

Photo of PatandDavid
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a bottle from 2002, cracked open today. Chestnut in the glass, no real head to ooh and aah over. On the other hand who cares, as I have a few other senses to engage. The aroma is full of delightful things like molasses, pine cones, even some dried hay in there, plus alcohol on top. Mouthfeel is full but incredibly smooth. I am picking up some serious, almost chewy (al dente?) malt, with some prickly piney hops. Good stuff.

Photo of board45
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 bottle:

It pours a cloudy amber w/ a fluffy head that is just off white. As i took a sniff it smelled of pine sap, and citrus. WOW!!! I just took a sip and got glued to the glass by all the pine! Loads of sticky sap for a barleywine. Hops heaven. Tons of caramel flavors, with a hint of espresso in the background. The sweetness isnt here like other barleywines but still has that touch of citrus. I just took another sip, WOW this beer stays in your mouth. The flavor keeps flowing. I dont want this to end. This is one of my favorites. Though i feel as though it is a bit more on the Double IPA side. Well it is border line. Im going out right now to purchace more...

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

Pours a deep orange with hues of ruby read and a big two finger off-white head and decent lacing. Smell is excellent strong piney resinous hops with a little hint of alcohol. Taste is wonderful as well---very strong bitter pine hops balanced with a medicinally sweet fruity background. Very intense flavors on both ends of the spectrum. Medium bodied with a very smooth creamy feel, the alcohol is somewhat noticable as a warming in the back of the throat. It's been years since I first tried this---wasn't a craft drinker then, and hated it. Now that I can appreciate the intense flavors, this is a masterful beer.

Photo of Luigi
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A rich deep ruby color and a thin sticky tan head. Aroma is dominated by fruity hops and alcohol sweetness. I detect some sweet plumbs. The taste is hoppy bitterness right from the start. Sweet fruits, alcohol, and some pine like hops. Sweet dry hoppy finish. Full bodied almost syrupy. A kick to the taste buds I must say. Damn good (2005 Batch)

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,574 ratings.