Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

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

3,008 Reviews
For Trade:
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.60%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 02-06-1998

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 3,008 | Ratings: 7,328
Photo of Czarkazm
4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle 12/10/2013. Nice rich amber body with a thick lightly tanned head. Big sweet burnt caramel and candied orange notes in the aroma, earthy and spicy pine hoppiness, hint of something darker, cocoa maybe? Nice feel going down. Sweet, mouth coating, well balanced without being cloying. Toffee/Caramel on the taste, candied citrus/pine hops, toasted malts, and some dark fruit just started to peak through.

 414 characters

Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. 2015 vintage (bottled 2/11/2015): 7 months old to date. I had this right after trying the Lagunitas Gnarlywine at about the same age.

Poured a nice frothy head (similar to Gnarlywine), with a light amber color. Has a lot going on in the aroma: alcohol, malts, dark fruit, and something else I like--and haven't found in any other beer--perhaps mint. Mouth-feel is light to medium. Lots of the flavors I find typical in barleywines: sweetness, dark fruits, not too much on the hoppy side, with a little bitterness in the finish (not in the Gnarlywine).

I have read lots about this barleywine in terms of it being a classic to cellar, so I have been looking forward to trying it with a bit of age on it.

In general, I like both Bigfoot and Gnarlywine. I really like the aroma of Bigfoot (a little better than Gnarlywine), but the flavor of this beer seems a little too much--too strong, too intense--at the moment, which I believe is commonly termed as 'too hot'. My guess is in another year or two the flavor will mellow out and surpass the flavor of Gnarlywine; but only time will tell, as I have a number of both currently cellaring.

 1,145 characters

Photo of MHurley
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark Amber with little light able to pass through. Very thin white head with a little carmel tint to it. Thin lacing that dissappears very quickly. Smells of light alcohol, bitterness and pine fallowing a very bitter taste with light alcohol. Good beer to bust out of a occasion in winter but not a every day drinker. I'll be holding onto my last 2015 and trying it next winter.

 387 characters

Photo of Beertsipper
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Small tan head. Smells of caramel, toffee, raisin, dates, hops, sweet malts, brown sugar. Taste follows the nose. For a beer that is supposed to be overly hop forward, I get more sweet malts and dark fruit like dates, figs, raisins and a good amount of sweetness. The alcohol shows up at the finish. As the beer warms, the dark fruits, toffee, and caramel becomes more pronounced. This bottle was nine months old. I am going to cellar the remaining three bottles for two years and might reserve another bottle for three years. Very good beer. I prefer English Barleywines, but this one surprised me.

 599 characters

Photo of mschrei
4.19/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into snifter. Dated 2/11/15. Dark auburn brown with healthy lasting foam. Strong malty nose. Malty taste isn't super strong. Alcohol on the back end, mouth filling with some nice boozy belches. Pretty good example of the style.

 234 characters

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

look: Clear copper-amber. Full swath of tan head and messy lacing.
smell: Bitter sweet, as in very piney hop edge with a ton of malt too.
taste: A war here - hoppy bitterness against a sweet malt thing...in a good way.

 225 characters

Photo of SaulFox
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014. Washed out american barleywine (hoppy). It was still delicious but I recommend drinking this one fresh. Nice hoppyness and malt but doesnt seem balanced

 158 characters

Photo of kbwalters
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured cold into a Libby style stout glass. Bottled on 12/10/13 and consumed about a year later on 12/17/14.
Look = 4.25 Murky copper color with gold highlights; 1 finger of light brown head with average retention and a big sticky lace. Nice color.
Aroma = 3.75 Subdued hops; big sweet backbone and booze. Overall on the weak side.
Taste = 4.25 Intense bitterness on the finish the first couple of sips, but it mellows. Boozy up front but gets really sweet right before the bitterness come in. Caramel and bread malt notes dominate.
Feel = 4.0 Medium to high carbonation with a full bodied, thick, syrupy and resiny feel; some fizz on the tongue.
Drinkability = 3.0 Big booziness and intense bitterness has to detract from the drinkability somewhat.
Overall = 3.9625 All around pretty solid barleywine; big and boozy and sweet, just as expected.

 849 characters

Photo of elNopalero
5/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I find it hard to believe that I’ve yet to review Bigfoot. So for my 1450th beer I am finally entering it into my ratings.

This is THE barleywine. It’s a classic, and a standard of the style. Pours a wonderful warm malty-amber with a boquet that changes over time… from a orange/citrusy hop kick to a light toffee/toasted coconut. Big malt backing that develops toffee and chocolate notes over time as well, complementing the citrusy piney hop profile.

I’ve had this fresh and I’ve had this aged and I love it either way. Just don’t drink it out of the bottle, ok?

 579 characters

Photo of dbl_delta
3.99/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Labeled 2015. Bottle "pkgd 12/11/14" into pint glass. Cloudy deep amber with a thick, persistent eggshell-colored head. Initially an emphatic malt sweetness, but the hops bitterness (kind of like chewing on a bitter orange peel) kicks in almost immediately thereafter. But wait: that's followed by a caramel sweetness, and THAT'S followed by a piney, resinous finish. There's so much going on taste-wise that you don't even notice the alcohol (but trust me - it's there). Thick, sticky mouthfeel; moderate carbonation. Hoppier than I think a barleywine ought to be, but still very drinkable.

 597 characters

Photo of MLH90
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Haven't had too many different Barleywines so far and not necessarily the biggest fan of the style, but this is absolutely great. Don't taste the alcohol at all either.

 168 characters

Photo of Andrewharemza
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Hazy dark amber pour with off white head. Aroma of resin, pine and toffee with hints of tropical fruits. Heavy mouth feel, sticky. Nice sweet malt and bitter front followed by carmel and pine notes with lingering finish. I like the balance from front to back with its layering. The citrus and floral notes are present but for me a bit too much in the background. Overall a very enjoyable and respectable barley wine.

 416 characters

Photo of JOldewurtel
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had been wanting to try this for a long time now. I am not a huge barleywine fan, but this is maybe the most well balanced one I've had. Another great beer from SN.

 166 characters

Photo of hopphead31415
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I had been meaning to try this beer for a while as an avid Sierra Nevada fan. I should have tried it sooner as it is excellent. It does pack a powerful 9.6% ABV so be careful, but it is quite drinkable for such a strong brew and remember it is after all a barely wine. And lastly, this particular bottle pack that I picked up was almost 8 months cellared, so take that into account as you consider my review.

Look-It pours a reddish copper dark amber color that glints in the light with molten golden color hues. The head is delicate and quickly dissipates due to the sugar content. The lacing is also almost nonexistent, but that is to be expected. The color more than makes up for the lack of those other attributes.

Smell-It has a complex and strong malt-forward smell with yeast components as well as molasses, toffee, caramel, spices, pine, and maybe some bread pudding.

Taste-The hops are definitely present, but are equally balanced by a plethora of sweet dark fruits like candied cherry, plums, and smoked cedar. I also get walnuts and a nutty spice that reminds me of Christmas. The hops shine through strongest at the end with a heavy pine resin and maybe some clementine or grapefruit.

Mouthfeel-It is quite heavy, but not overwhelming and mildly syrupy with little carbonation. You get a sticky oil feeling that lingers like a hoppy resin at the end. It drinks so crisply for a powerful 9.6% brew and is really easy to finish.

Overall-This brew is excellent and belongs in front of a fancy movie scene which features a log cabin in the middle of the woods in a blizzard with a man holding a crystal goblet filled with this variety sitting in front of a big fireplace in a red leather chair perched upon a bear rug while absent-mindedly petting a bloodhound and smoking a Cuban cigar.

 1,804 characters

Photo of mmmbeer89
3.01/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

a very bitter taste with little sweetness to offset the bitterness. you get used to the taste after awhile (i bought a 4-pack) but definately not a great tasting beer.

 167 characters

Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a wine glass. Packed on 12/18/14. This is my first ever barleywine, so here goes nothing!

LOOK: Clear, lightly reddish brown with a thin finger of off white head that leaves some lacing.

SMELL: Generically speaking, big complex malt and yeast aromas mixed with a big hop presence. Individually, I can smell molasses, caramel, toffee, some spices, tons of pine, and a hint of grapefruit and raisins. On to the taste!

TASTE: A massive intermingling of hops and malt. Caramel, toffee, brown sugar, toasted coconut, walnuts, gingerbread, and fruit cake galore, but kept in check by just enough bitterness. There's a rich, dark fruit presence--some cherries, plums, and raisins. Finishes hoppy with heavy pine and grapefruit. I love it!

FEEL: Medium-heavy mouthfeel with moderate carbonation and a sticky hop oil aftertaste. Drinks incredibly easy for 9.6% ABV.

OVERALL: I love this beer! I'm glad my first trying a barleywine was a good experience. This beer is both heavy as all get out, yet quite easy to drink at the same time. Simultaneously super malty and super hoppy. Complex and flavorful. This beer will definitely see my fridge again.

 1,194 characters

Photo of sammorito
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

pours a dark clear amber with an off-white head
-bread and caramel. a little bit of citrus
in the beginning i get a lot of malt and caramel. then i get a little bit of grapefruit and lots of hop at the end
medium carbonation,medium body
great beer. easy to drink.

 279 characters

Photo of LloydDobler
4.61/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage
One of my favorites, and possibly my favorite of the style. I DO, however, prefer the fresher batches. They just have more of a hoppy "pop" to them.

 161 characters

Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed a single 12 oz bottle as part of a mixed pack at my local Stein's Liquor. This one was packaged about six months ago. Poured at cellar temperature into my tulip glass.

L: Pours a deep burnt sienna with about two inches of dense tan head that persists for a good long while and leaves very nice lacing on the glass. Moderate visible carbonation at the edges where the light shines through.

S: Caramel and toasted malts are front and center. There are also nice notes of raisin, stone fruit, citrus rind, and pine. Just a little clear alcohol coming through. Very nice, if not especially assertive, bouquet.

T: Caramel and toasted malts provide a sweet initial flavor. The hops introduce themselves quite early, providing grapefruit rind and pine notes to complement the malts. In the middle there's also a development of some nice fruit flavors, including raisin, dried stone fruit, and pineapple. The back end is characterized by resinous hop flavor--grapefruit rind and pine. These bring a ton of bitter to the back end, though there is enough of the malts to keep them somewhat in check. Just a touch of clear alcohol at the close.

F: Medium-bodied, though perhaps not quite as heavy as would be expected from the style. Creamy and bright in turns. This one definitely has a bit of stick to it, but it's not overtly syrupy. Lots of lingering bitter on the palate from this one.

O: Having had a few very good barleywines, I was surprised to find this one as hop-forward as it is. Being a big fan of hops, I don't have much of a complaint, but I just don't think this one is quite well-representative of the style. That being said, it's delicious and well-worth a try.

 1,681 characters

Photo of Bone53
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Rich clear mahogony color with a finger or two light beige head

Smell: The caramel, subtle dark fruits and breadiness from the malts balance great with the floral and citrus hops

Taste: Caramel malt sweetness upfront with a floral and citrus hop finish

Mouthfeel: Heavy medium to light heavy body; Goes down fairly easy for nearly 10%, but the bitterness is excessive for a barleywine

Overall: Bigfoot is hard for me to rate. It's very hoppy for a barleywine and doesnt hold up to the best beers in the style today. However, i have to put into consideration that this was first brewed in 1983. As others have mentioned, this reminds me more of an imperial red ale. If labeled as such, id easily give this a 4.5. As a barleywine, its closer to a solid 4. Very enjoyable nonetheless

 797 characters

Photo of drmeto
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

-pours a clear dark red with a big,creamy,off-white head
-medium-high carbonation visible
-caramel,toffee,raisins,plums,pine resin,grapefruit
-medium carbonation,medium body
-alcohol well hidden
Overall a great Beer,but i missed that mouth-coating sweetness usually present in Barleywines.
To me this was more akin to an imperial red ale.
It also lacked a bit of body.

 440 characters

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, 2013 vintage, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, deep, dark, mahogany color, with a quarter of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Strong, complex and delicious aromas of toasted malt, candied sugar, dried stone fruit such as apricots, plumbs and nectarines, as well as honey, spices of black pepper, saffron, coriander and a touch of ginger. There is also a touch of floral, piney, hops.

Taste: With two years age on it, it tastes very nice and complex! Tons of roasted malt and candied sugar up front, followed by the aforementioned spices of black pepper, saffron, coriander, ginger, as well as touches of nutmeg and all-spice. There is also quite a bit of the aforementioned dried stone fruit such as apricots, plumbs and nectarines, and finally, the beer finishes with some piney, floral, slightly resin-like, slightly bitter hops, but nothing out of balance or too assertive to muddle the other flavors. It’s a beautifully balanced beer!

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy and pretty smooth as there is just a touch of carbonation. With an ABV of 9.6%, there is just a touch of an alcohol warmth on the palate, otherwise the alcohol is very well masked.

Overall: This was drunk with two years age on it, and it’s a very nice, very good American-style barley wine. Great flavors, nicely balanced hops. Great quaff!

 1,487 characters

Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz. bottle. (2015 vintage)

A: Pours a rusty amber with a thick creamy beige head. Excellent retention the head lingers for quite awhile. Lacing is intense and beautiful on the glass.

S: Raisin, pine, caramel, and floral earthy hops.

T: Sweet malts, white pepper, molasses, raisins, apricot, with some nice earthy hop bitterness on the back end.

M: Medium bodied, lightly carbonated, smooth, peppery and bitter.

O: While not mind blowing this a great and classic example of an american barleywine. I pick up a few four packs each year and gradually enjoy them when I want a solid barleywine.

 611 characters

Photo of frozyn
4.04/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 12/18/14; 2015 cap. Poured 6/14/15.

L -- Pours finger-thick head in an oversized snifter, dissipates quickly. Ruby red color at first gives way to a caramel/amber color.

S -- Raisin is the first scent I got, followed by floral hops. Nothing strong or overwhelmingly awesome, but pleasant nonetheless.

T -- Peppery malts and baked fruit. The hop flavor comes through strong, especially towards the end of the sip, as it warms. Got a bit of resin flavor on the tongue occasionally.

F -- Smooth, a bit of zing on the tongue from the peppery flavor.

O -- Great to drink, but nothing that blew my socks off.

 619 characters

Photo of jclark42796
2.75/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This is my first barley wine so wasn't sure what to expect. Color and smell reminded me of a Dogfish head Red and White (not sure why that is classified as witbier), which I really like. Love the smell, but this beer is way too bitter for me. Someone mentioned a DFH 120min, probably would agree with that.

 309 characters

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 3,008 ratings.