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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

6,290 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,290
Reviews: 2,814
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 265
Gots: 1,109 | FT: 40
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: 6,290 | Reviews: 2,814 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ABH
2/5  rDev -51.8%

ABH, Sep 05, 2012
Photo of NOLANDMAN
2/5  rDev -51.8%

NOLANDMAN, Jun 15, 2012
Photo of mwar
2/5  rDev -51.8%

mwar, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of magoover
2/5  rDev -51.8%

magoover, May 03, 2012
Photo of StoughtonGuy
2/5  rDev -51.8%

StoughtonGuy, Apr 08, 2013
Photo of thatdirtymick
2/5  rDev -51.8%

thatdirtymick, Dec 28, 2011
Photo of lostinfla
2/5  rDev -51.8%

lostinfla, Apr 11, 2014
Photo of Rpreskenis
2/5  rDev -51.8%

Rpreskenis, Mar 18, 2014
Photo of NODAK
2.03/5  rDev -51.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Nose has an assault of piney, floral hops upfront. Very potent. But after that subsides, a very boozy quality comes out...hints of sherry and raisins are present. It leaves me wondering which of these two sides are going to dominate the taste.

The taste leaves no confusion about that. It has abrasive bitterness from the start on through the finish, increasing in intensity and lasting well on into the aftertaste with stinging astringency. It's one of the most bitter beers I have ever had. Yes, there's some raisin, toffee, and booze on the taste as an undercurrent that shows through on the finish pretty well....but absolutely nothing approaches the hoppiness here. It left me grimacing after each swallow. I know I'm not the biggest hophead on the planet, but the lack of balance here just turned me off.

In the end, it's just not my type of beer I suppose. More balance would have been appreciated...as it is, it's just too strong and one-sided for me.

NODAK, Dec 14, 2010
Photo of voraciousalky
2.05/5  rDev -50.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

I just bought a four-pack of 2013 Bigfoot at a nearby beer shop. I tried this ale several years ago and didn't really like it. I thought maybe I would appreciate it a little more now that I'm older and more experienced. I was wrong.

This beer doesn't taste good, and taking a big swig is a wholly unpleasant experience. Some folks pick up the taste of fruit; I pick up the flavor of OTC cough syrup. I know good and bad are subjective when it comes to beer, but I can't figure out why everyone thinks Bigfoot is worthy of a score in the nineties. Am I just unsophisticated? Maybe. But then again, there might be a lot of groupthink supporting Bigfoot's high average rating. For the record, Busch, Budweiser, Miller High-Life, etc. are all better than this beer. (Yes, I said it.)

Now that all that's out of the way...

This is certainly an interesting brew, despite the off-putting taste. A lot of reviewers note the strong bitterness and hop aroma, but I was surprised that a beer with an IBU of 90 was so well-balanced. When I drink Bigfoot, I'm not overwhelmed at all by the smell or bitter taste of the hops at all. It is truly well-balanced.

Then there's the alcohol. Bigfoot does a far better job of masking the taste of alcohol than other brews, such as Hoptimum, with similar ABVs. I don't know how they did it, but I've had beers with substantially lower levels of alcohol that were far more "boozy" tasting than Bigfoot.

voraciousalky, Dec 15, 2013
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 nicnut45
2.17/5  rDev -47.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Presentation: 12 oz bottle poured into Chimay chalice/2011

A- Deep red brown color, slightly hazy with sediment swirling around. Superfine off white head.

S- Smell is very muted upon a vigourours pour, perhaps it needs to warm up a bit. Upon warming up there is very little scent to this beer. What is there, smells like fruitiness from the yeast with a slight rubbing alcohol scent.

T&MF- This is just plain bitter without the finer qualities of hops. Malts are underwhelming and over attuenated resulting in hot rubbing alcohol flavors. This overly overly dry in my opinion. There is a faint glimmer of sweetness to this beer and it reminds me of burnt sugar but it is soon overpowered by alcohol and bitter hops.

O- I will be laying down at least one of these bottles in hopes that it gets better with age. The others will go to enemies.

nicnut45, Mar 27, 2011
Photo of Jdecarol
2.2/5  rDev -47%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I love hops in my beers but this thing is not balanced at all. I is nothing but bitter kicking in the back of your throat. Moon shine goes down smoother.

Looks great though but that doesn't make it easier to drink. I'm going to sit on it for a few months and revisit it after it mellows. Hopefully the aging doesn't destroy the hop flavor and just mellows the bitterness.

I had this last year but it was bought around june, maybe the extra months sitting on a shelf made it more palatable or they just hop bombed it this year.

Jdecarol, Feb 24, 2009
Photo of mnstorm99
2.2/5  rDev -47%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

12 oz. bottle poured into a 22 oz. globe wine glass.
Oh Boy, I hope this one ages well (I guess I have wasted $10 on worse things).
Good looking copper beer with a nice JUST off white 1 finger head that sticks well, and laces better.
Aroma is a very nice strong fruity and spicy hops, quite a bit of promise here, reminds me of something from when I was a child I just can't place it.
Taste, Ouch nice flash of hops and fruits, but before they even make much of an appearance the alchohol burn just won't go away. I was guessing this beer to be around 12%, but then I come here to see it is only 9.6% with that kind of burn, this is poor craftsmanship IMHO.
Mouthfeel is burning overly carbonated and thin. I could hardly finish one of these, not going to have another until after a few months downstairs.

mnstorm99, Feb 21, 2008
Photo of bobhits
2.2/5  rDev -47%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Pours a decent head given the abv and the style but it quickly dissipates. The body is a deep ruby color with a huge amount of clarity. There is still enough density here to remind me that yes it is a deep big barely wine.

The nose is a blast of hops, biting the nose and quickly mellowing to a huge thick powerful caramel malt. The best barely wines I've had carried tone more complexity and depth. This reminds me of a slightly higher malt double IPA.

Alcohol, and some kind of dying funk to finish this one off. Amazingly dry and lacking any real sweetness that the nose indicates should be here. Finishes with a huge amount of dry bitterness. As I'm drinking this that finishes that put me off earlier has dissipated a great deal, but still this is absurdly over powering without the flavor to back it.

My mouth has been dried out, burned, and overwhelmed by intense flavors, yet not in the way I'm used to seeing.

Will this age? Certainly! That said this is just awful for a fresh barely wine from anywhere. I haven't had any since 08 and before that 06 and I recall both being a good bit better. That said I never have and certainly don't know understand the hype surrounding this beer. Completely unbalanced and underwhelming.

bobhits, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of Apeloquin19
2.24/5  rDev -46%

Apeloquin19, Sep 05, 2014
Photo of Damian74Shensky
2.25/5  rDev -45.8%

Damian74Shensky, Dec 07, 2012
Photo of rudy0908
2.25/5  rDev -45.8%

rudy0908, Dec 16, 2012
Photo of Anvilfarm
2.25/5  rDev -45.8%

Anvilfarm, Aug 23, 2013
Photo of skaboom420
2.25/5  rDev -45.8%

skaboom420, Dec 07, 2012
Photo of VMWhelan
2.3/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

2011 12oz bottle into Sierra Nevada tumbler.

Pours a reddish copper with a two finger off white head.

Smell is very floral with some piney hops and just a bit of malt sweetness. Getting a potpourri of sorts.

Taste is very bitter. Getting a lot of the same potpourri that I got in the scent, as well as some very piney hops. Alcohol is very noticeable.

Mouthfeel is medium with high carbonation.

Drinkability is low. This may be better with age, but it's way too harsh fresh. I'm going to age the other one that I bought for a year or two before I try this one again.

VMWhelan, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of Jwaks
2.3/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Serving : 12oz bottle with 2007 on the cap, no freshness date.

Significant effort is required on the pour to squeeze a finger thick head from this vibrant orange tinted amber brew. Spirited very fine bubbles sprint up through the low viscosity body to meet a scant white frothy cap ringed by a thin sticky white lace.

Overwhelmingly pungeant, bitter hop aromas assult the nose quickly followed by odors of ripe viney fruit and strong solvents. Subtle aromas of malt and bread break free from the overpowering and dominant hoppy and solvent character.

Young, rough and raucous, this beer thrashes the palate with intense, unrelenting bitter hops and unripe vinous fruits that just won't give up even in the aftertaste. Green, leafy hops, lots of lemon zest, and a healthy dose of warming, peppery alcohol hit the tongue on the dry, long-lasting finish. Wow, this beer's bitter, vinous character hits you like a ton of bricks, it has the finesse and grace of a 40 ton truck. It is entirely unbalanced leaning heavily toward hops and bitterness, where are the malts and barely?

Very tough and chewy in the mouth, it is medium to full bodied with a great ability to coat the palate. With so much bitterness, leafy hops and slightly sour viney fruit this one is far from smooth and creamy.

Wow. This was a surprise after reading all the sterling reviews of this brew. I have a feeling this one will require at least six months to a year of cellar age to shed its youthful vibrance and begin to be drinkable.

Cheers!

Jwaks, Feb 06, 2007
Photo of RJLarse
2.3/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I went to a local craft beer shop and picked up two of these for tasting. I’ve never had a barley wine before so I wanted to give it a try. This one comes highly recommended. I poured this beer in to a pint tumbler.

A medium dark copper color in the glass, with a creamy off-white head. The head is resilient, and left a medium to heavy lacing on the side of the glass while drinking.

The smell is strong, fruity and hoppy. I also think it smells a little like bourbon or whiskey.

The taste is fairly neutral at first, a little sweet and malty, but once you allow air to join the brew in your mouth it turns quite bitter. The taste of alcohol is present, which gets back to the bourbon/whiskey aroma. The aftertaste is quite strong and bitter as well. The aftertaste lingers for quite a while, and seems to be revived from to time in the mouth even without drinking more of the beer.

The mouth feel of this beer is sharp and biting.

This beer is not particularly drinkable. I found myself drinking this one slowly, and frankly not enjoying it very much. It might go well paired with some sort of robust food to quell the aftertaste. I can’t see myself drinking more than one of these in a blue moon. Perhaps barley wine is an acquired taste? It was better at the end of the glass than the beginning, but I’ll put the other one away for a while.

RJLarse, Feb 11, 2006
Photo of adamette
2.3/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Served in bottle proclaiming that it is the 25th adventure, 2008 version with clean, clear ale glass at Winking Lizard in Mentor, Ohio. I appreciated the fact that I was able to pour it for myself.

A I cm light brown head over a caramel brown, cloudy, opaque body. Very pleasing, inviting.

S Barley and alcohol to the nose. There is a strong grain smell.

T Hops. This was a suprise since I really did not smell that (I smelled it again to see what I had missed and indeed, did not really smell predominate hops like the taste). It reminds me of Great Lakes Brewing Company's Noferastu which I tasted and reviewed this week (I gave it a 2.0 overall) in that it is way too bitter with hops. I really did not like this going in or going down.

M Full, acidic, repulsive.

D Poor due to high ABV, acidic taste, bitter, bitter.

Notes: I respect that Barleywine is supposed to be bitter, hoppy but I just don't like that taste in beer. It is too bitter.

adamette, Oct 07, 2008
Photo of FreightTrain
2.35/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A- Dark, brown beer with rapidly dissipating white head.

S- Grapey smell.

T- Taste was like grape drink. Not grape juice; grape drink. Intensely so. Lots of hop bitterness, which is welcome since it cuts through the artificial grape flavor a bit.

M- Mouthfeel was thick and creamy, as you'd expect from a barleywine, nice carbonation.

D- I couldn't finish my pint. The grape/fruitloop flavor was unbearable. It was so bad that at first I thought it had to be the cold (tap) temperature, but it improved only slightly once it reached cellar and then room temperature.

FreightTrain, Jan 30, 2009
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,290 ratings.