Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

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.

2,924 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,924
Hads: 7,013
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.63%
Wants: 363
Gots: 1,544 | FT: 68
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,924 | Hads: 7,013
Photo of John_Wallinger
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Amazing burgundy color with a frothy off-white head with peaks. Smell was slightly lacking erhaps from just getting over a cold but i get hints of peat oak and a slight plum or could just be alcohol, taste was an amazing whirlwind of toffee, caramel oak toast bread crust and an orange hint of hops that finishes with a big alcoholic kick. mouth feel was a bit thick. (367 characters)

Photo of McLovinBeast57
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A- very clear beer for what I can imagine an insane amount of yeast and hops were added... Rich Amber and red hues with a tiny head (that means low carbonation which I prefer for BW's)

S- Floral and citrusy hop notes hit you in the nose and are very prominent with a bit of German malt aroma... the beer was definitely lagered.

M- Not as thick as it smells. But it is in between a medium and full bodied BW. The taste and ABV that follows justifies the medium mouthfeel

T- taste is fantastic. Rich Munich and a little spice quality maybe a Rye malt.. Overall a real rich malty beer with the perfect balance of citrusy hop flavor. For being almost 10% ABV it is not even remotely prevalent!

Overall- Very good tasting beer... you won't be disappointed! This is the 2015 Barleywine and I can only imagine when it was brewed.. Tastes as if it was already aged for a year! These guys are on top of their shit.. The beer is a cheap Barleywine for a world class beer. Would definitely pick up another pack! (1,005 characters)

Photo of Brackh
4.56/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A fresh 2015 bottle. Pours a dark copper red with a foamy head. Hot damn this smells delicious. Floral smell is overpowering. You can almost smell the alcohol too. The taste is a drop kick to your senses. Sweet up front and bitter on the back end. Big and chewy. Can't wait to start aging some of these. (303 characters)

Photo of Nctide
3.76/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

She's a beauty to look at, with a copper color and a thick off-white head. The alcohol is present on both the smell and taste. The smell is a mix of floral and fruity. The taste is sweet and malty. This seems to be a decent example of the style but didn't really wow me. I had this one less than 2 months after bottling date so it will be interesting to see how it changes with some age. (392 characters)

Photo of sdeese21
4.54/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Popped open a 2012. Can't get past how amazing this beers smells; Floral and fruity beyond my initial expectations! Hops are subdued as one would expect and a nice heat develops at the end. Solid beer! (202 characters)

Photo of timontheroad
4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Clear, reddish-Amber color. Nice two finger light tan fluffy head that left some nice lacing.
Smell: caramel, toffee, sweet malts, some piney/grassy notes as well.
Taste: Big piney flavors up front, nice malt backbone, with some sweet caramel and toffee flavors. Gettin a bit of alcohol in the taste also, but everything is nicely balanced and meshes well together. Superb!
Mouthfeel: Fairly thick, creamy and luxurious.
Overall: I just can't get enough of this brew when it comes out every year, really diggin it! (526 characters)

Photo of spacecake9
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single 12oz bottle at Total wine in Roseville MN.
A - Pours a reddish brown with a thci head that settle quickly.
S - An earlier reviewer said baked bread and he is right on.
T - Sweet and malty with a little bitterness at the finish.
M - Thick and chewy.
O - Very good barleywine and very drinkable. A great place to start if you are new to this style. (365 characters)

Photo of oregonduck
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this is impressive! So much flavor. Starts sweet like a Belgian, but finishes a bit like an IPA. A special beer, very smooth. Hides the high abv well. Would like to buy a couple more to age. (195 characters)

Photo of jcance
4.94/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Amazing brew. Great balance between hops and rich alcohol flavors with a silky mouthfeel. Very drinkable and deceptively sweet for the potency. Great introduction to barleywines for me, and my new favorite from Sierra Nevada. Well worth the price, even in a four pack. If I could take it overseas I would love to let some age for a few years, but something tells me customs might not be down with that. Drink it slow, and savor it, because it's very easy to put back quickly. Think Torpedo with less pungency and more sweetness, and extra smoothness. Will probably spend far more money than I honestly should on this one (620 characters)

Photo of BrownAleBollocks
3.55/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a somewhat hazy brown-orange color with a white head. Nose is toffee, hops and alcohol. Taste follows with toffee, hops, alcohoL. A bittersweet flavor really. Mouthfeel is medium. Overall a nice barleywine, my favorite so far, especially for a style I'm still getting used to. (287 characters)

Photo of Tuck_leepulin
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, 2014 expedition bottled on 1/09/2014 and poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a ruby-amber with a slight haze and 1 finger of head

Smell: Toffee, raison, and dark fruit with with baked bread

Taste: Malt flavors of the nose combined with an earthy hop flavor that crescendos into the finish

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and slightly sticky in the finish

Overall: Such a easily attainable world class Barleywine. I really appreciate how hop-forward it is and leads to great changes with age. (507 characters)

Photo of Jonada
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2013 vintage. 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

Appearance: Pours a dark amber color with 3 fingers of a creamy light tan head with good retention and lacing. Body is hazy, but translucent, with some visible sediment and mild carbonation.

Smell: Caramel, spicy hops, sweet tropical fruit and an almost iced tea like character.

Taste: Sweet malt, raisins, slight roast, and again a tea like character.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a slightly sticky mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Finishes sweet with a medium lingering bitterness.

Overall: Still quite a bit of hop character and bitterness despite 2 years of age. Nice example of the style. (648 characters)

Photo of BenwayPHD
4.31/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber honey color with a thin, one finger head. It smells sweet like toffee and honey. There is a strong hop presence on the nose as well. The flavor is heavy. Similar to the nose but with a smokiness and a heavy bitterness at the end. My favorite part if this beer is the mouthfeel. It's Very Thick and creamy. (321 characters)

Photo of neurobot01
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 12oz into an IPA glass.

Look: beautiful amber caramel with a decent head.

Smell: pine, caramel, something almost lime-like.

Taste: wowza. Big, sweet malts reminiscent of an amped up marzen or something, but with a huge splash of juicy piney hops. Alcohol is present, but I think it adds rather than detracts.

Feel: fluffy, medium-thick, and dry. Quite good.

Overall: had this for the first time last year and didn't know quite what to make of it. Suffice to say, my palate has developed, and I think this is a damn fine brew. I'd put it alongside Lukcy Basartd in sheer kickassery, though this is a bit tamer. (623 characters)

Photo of ZebraCakez
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a hazy deep red color with a light head that dissipates slowly. 

S: The aroma is that of sweet caramel and fresh hops.

T: An exceptionally smooth and tasty example of a barleywine, it's bitter and hoppy upfront then subsides to a sweet toffee caramel finish. Complex, but well balanced and delicious. 

F: Medium body and pleasant carbonation lead to an enjoyable mouthfeel.

O: A fantastic example of a barleywine with a touch of that signature SN hoppyness. Very glad to have found a few four packs of this, it's extremely enjoyable and certainly worthy of a spot in the fridge. (593 characters)

Photo of maedhros09
4.72/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: Transluscent Ruby-amber with big frothy tan head, lingering lacing and bubbles. Smell: sweet-sour breadiness with fresh hops noticeable upon pouring Taste: Big moderately sweet roasted caramel malt dominates, transistioning to tart fruit (nectarine?) with strong hops counterbalance. Finish is a roasty tartness. A bit of rough alcohol flavor. Thick mouthfeel producing fine carbonation in the mouth. A multitude of delicious flavors, aromas, and textures are exquisitely balanced. Also, drinks a lot easier than the ABV suggests. (537 characters)

Photo of colingaiser
3.86/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slowly poured from 12 oz bottle into a nonic pint glass, after being removed from fridge for 15 minutes.

L: Beautiful amber verging on caramel brown. It's quite hazy and mostly opaque, and there's a nice, frothy two-finger head that doesn't want to disappear.

S: Surprisingly unassertive. A little fruity, with some nice malty caramel and toffee notes.

T: Very complex. Immediately I pick up on delectable caramel, toffee, butterscotch, and even some woodiness. The sweetness is perfectly balanced with a floral bitterness and grapefruit tartness. There are notes of pear, apple, peach, and maybe papaya, but they're just supporting roles here.

F: Medium-to-heavy, with a creamy frothiness that complements the sweeter side of the beer.

O: This is a fantastic example of the exciting and complex drinking experience a barleywine can offer! (850 characters)

Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

A - Pours a two finger honey yellow head which dissipates down to a film. Extremely pretty rich ruby mahogany.
S - Mangos and peaches, hops and sweet honey, one of the most interesting aromas I've smelt from a beer.
T - One of the most complex and constantly developing tasting beers I've ever had. Immediate sweet malts, such as a strong stout, this is immediately followed by lightly sweet and syrupy peaches and mangos, this is followed by an intense hoppy bitterness, perfectly rounding off the initial sweetness. Strangely enough, after swallowing, seconds later a welcome smokiness develops.
O - One of the absolute most complex, interesting and tasty beers I've ever drank. An absolute must if you can get your hands on it.
V - Worth it at any price if you can acquire this sought after delicacy. (807 characters)

Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2010 Vintage (12 oz bottle) poured on 01/06/2015 into a Goblet. Certainly not my first experience with this beer. I have tasted it fresh, and with 3,5, and 6 years of age. All were excellent, but I think I prefer it with 4-5 years of age. Although I would never turn down a fresh bottle.

Ruby red and crystal clear body under a thick and creamy off-white head. Impressive after almost 5 years.

The nose is full of sherry and sugar coated hops. Like warm Ponderosa sap running down the outside of the fragrant bark in summer.

The taste is a happy marriage of hops (with sturdy bitterness) and sherry/oxidized malt. Wonderful. A tiny bit of cardboard hidden under all the excellent flavors, which is very easily overlooked.

The feel is thick and moderately sweet, but is nicely balanced because of the high bitterness.

Conclusion: An excellent beer at any age from 0-5 years, and at any time of the year. (911 characters)

Photo of chrisjws
3.92/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Purchased from my local liquor store as a single. Bottled date is 2/27/14. Consumed 12/30/14. Poured into a snifter glass.

A: Dark red/brown, slightly cloudy. 1-2 finger head that dissipated quickly. Lacing down the glass throughout my session. Slight bits of sediment settling on the bottom of the glass.

S: Bright, piney nose upfront. Little bit of malt sweetness with caramel, but the hops dominate. Similar to what you’d expect from a barley wine, with a bit extra on the hops, as you’d expect from an american style version. Not picking up any alcohol.

T: Strong bitterness upfront, slight bitter in the aftertaste. Hoppy and piney flavors in the middle mouth. Some sweetness in the middle mouth and resin flavors.

M: Vicious yet smooth. The carbonation is present but does not press your tongue. The carbonation bites and is sustained by hoppy bitterness that lingers

O: Nice, smooth and enjoyable. Strong pronounced flavors you’d expect from an american style barley wine (989 characters)

Photo of Johnquisssssssy
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decent head, which dissipated pretty quick. Colour is a gorgeous red/brown. Smell is nicely aromatic of piney hops which I assume will fade with years. It's a nice drinkable mix of syrupy prune/plum with a hop bite. There is a dry finish and the alcohol isn't evident beyond the body, and the sweetness. It's not fair to compare this to aged/ other barley wines; some of said its a good "intro to barley wines" and I wouldn't disagree; but that should not under cut how enjoyable it is as a fine balanced beer. (510 characters)

Photo of KarmicSkrambl8
4.54/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

my first real "craft beer"...at least what got me hooked in this realm...back in 2002/2003

slightly below Old Rasputin in taste and impact

excellent hoppiness...rare for a barleywine, but oh so preferred (205 characters)

Photo of lilsmizzul1225
4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 release, bottled about 13 months ago and cellared since purchase in March/April. Perhaps not the best thing to try and to savor after a day of Christmas "celebrating". Great beer but nothing too special. I think I would definitely prefer the barrel aged version better; since I generally like my barleywines to be a bit on the higher gravity side.

Still, a very solid beer, always a pleasure from Sierra Nevada. (417 characters)

Photo of sderenne
4.59/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I have a 5 gallon keg of this in my kegerator and it is great. The head on this is really cool. The creamiest I have ever seen. High abv but mostly hidden from all the flavor. (175 characters)

Photo of Geegmasta
2.69/5  rDev -35%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

2014, poured into a tulip glass

Appearance - Pours smooth with a crimson/orange body. A very small head accumulates at the top which is stark white compared to the depth of the body. Head recedes fairly quickly leaving a ring around the glass.

Smell - Mildly sweet with hints of a hoppy character. Nothing really stands out.

Taste - Consistent hop undertone hits first and remains for the duration. Roasted malt character shines through after the first second and slowly dies out. Finishes dry and the pine hops are clinging to your tongue until the next sip. There's a bit of zest in there too, from some spicing, but I can't put my finger on it. Too much hop for my liking. No real hint at the 9.6% ABV.

Mouthfeel - Smooth with little carbonation.

Overall - I was excited to see Sierra Nevada with a barleywine styled ale. Hoping it would be along the same quality as their Narwhal stout, I brought home the 4-pack. Honestly, I'm disappointed. The hop character was too obvious and strong for my liking. There was no sweetness that I tend to be used to with barleywines. Roasted malts gave me an inkling of hope but they couldn't shine through enough due to the bitterness of the hops. Oh well, ya win some ya lose some! (1,244 characters)

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,924 ratings.