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

3,012 Reviews
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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
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Reviews: 3,012 | Ratings: 7,338
Photo of mattjv
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a dark amber color with copper highlights around the edges. 1.5 fingers of foamy head with good retention considering 9.6% ABV.

S-Rich, sticky caramel malt sweetness comes out strong. Lots of hop presence as expected, big resinous pine and orange citric character. Alcohol is definitely present on the aroma but kept in check.

T-Rich caramel malt presence starts it on a sweet note, bitterness comes in quick and strong. loads of piny hop flavors reminiscent of chewing on a mouthful of needles. Lemon and orange flavors provide a citrus complement to the hop backbone, did I mention bitterness? Comes in very strong and lasts long into the finish with a mildly soapy component. As with the aroma, some alcohol spice and heat are present but it doesn't run amok.

M- Full bodied, moderate carbonation pleasantly prickles on the tongue without overwhelming any of the taste.

0-A great brew with tremendous flavor and bitterness. Steer very clear if bitter beers aren't your thing, otherwise give it a try.

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Photo of ctylinebeer
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into teku glasss. 12/4/14 bottling date.

L - dark ruby red color. Hazy hue with some yeast sediment. Two finger head, light medium lacing.

S - pine, caramel malts, fresh flowers. Alcohol gives off a Windex aroma, which is a compliment. Aromas come out when at room temperature.

T - caramel, chocolate, roasted barley, super pine hops. Slight sweetness up front but bitter pine finish

F - big beer. Velvety texture. Slight alcohol lingering in the tongue but balanced by the bitterness.

O - very bitter for a barleywine. 50/50 sweet and bitter. Not sure if keeping it refridgerated did anything to the aging but it tastes the same as a new bottle.

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Photo of Rezzin
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Born on date of Jan 06, 2006. Poured into a pint glass.

A - Deep reddish brown with a creamy 1" tan head that sits around for a while. As I drink the lacing covers my pint glass beautifully.

S - Malty and sweet. Very malty and sweet with a big hop nose as well. This smells like a rich rich beer. Fruity and earthy hop aroma.

T - Sweet brown sugar maltiness up front.. piny, resiny, fruity hop bitterness on the back with an alcoholic bite that's not all that bad which kinda surprises me. It really reminds me of SNCA which is one of my favorite IPA's.

M - Creamy and smooth. Slight dry alcohol aftertaste but not overly so for a barleywine.

D - This is the first time I've tried the Bigfoot barleywines from SN and plan on stocking each year's offerings. This is an excellent beer. I can't wait to try it again in a year or two.

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Photo of TongoRad
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
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.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a 6-pack of this. 2009 vintage.

A- Pours a nice earthy brown with a moderate head.

S- Hops and malt sweetness out the wazoo. Fresh, floral hops.

T- Amazing. Hops and malt are here at 110%. With the intense flavors, you hardly notice the high ABV. I taste grapefruit hops, caramelized malts, and bitter hops in the end. Very very good... nay...great!

M- Amazing. Great beer balance helps hide the 9.6% ABV. Malts help bring the whole shebang together.

D- Moderate to insanely high depending on your preference for in-your-face brews. An intense brew.. not for the timid. Still, I think this beer goes down with ease. I've put off this one for a while, and can't for the life of me think of why. SN puts out quality beer, and this one shows it in spades. Bravo!

I plan to make this one a staple in my fridge. This is the first beer in a while to knock my socks off. Amazing!

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Photo of cratez
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle purchased at Ryan's Party Store in Port Huron, MI. 2011 Vintage.

Pours a hazy deep amber hue with one finger of frothy, cream-coloured head and several strands of lacing on the tulip glass. Great appearance.

Smell is plum, caramelized apple, toast, piney, floral and citrusy hops, toffee, ethanol, grassy earthiness, molasses, perfume, cherry, and melon. Huge aromas here.

Taste follows the nose with rich layers of caramel, raisin, molasses, toast, candy apple, toffee, melon, and a big blast of juicy, citric, and boldly bitter hops. Scrumptious.

Mouthfeel is thick, viscous, full-bodied, juicy middle, massive prickly and astringent hop bitterness precedes a bone dry finish that lingers for quite a while.

Overall, this succulent American barleywine is one of my all-time favourite beers. Bigfoot's gargantuan hop profile beautifully compliments its chewy and complex malt backbone. The alcohol provides a pleasant warming kick that never overwhelms the palate. A delicious and near-perfect extreme ale.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 Vintage. Fresh
Granted, my tastes have changed over the past few years, but this one taste the best of all of the Bigfoots I've had.
Crack the top and immediately get hit with the very fresh smell of citrus and pine hops.
Pours golden amber in the glass with a half finger of off white that melts very slowly to very, very sticky lacing. A nice map traces the drink down the glass.
The tongue is hit with sweet amber malts and brown sugar with citrus hops all at once....swallow slowly and go through phases of sweet malt, brown sugar, then grapefruit peel hops....pink grapefruit....more grapefruit peel...then a nice drying with only a hint of the sugars left.
Creamy mouthfeel.
The perfect American barleywine?
Damn close.

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Photo of Jjski
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Full disclosure- I am 1/2 Sasquatch and 1/2Welsh and 1/2 Irish. This was once my favorite beer. We Sasquatch receive no financial compensation for promoting a beer with our name on the label.

Vintage 2012 Cellar pull. Age on this beer is beautiful
A- hazy dark amber, not transparent.
S-Carmel, toast, citrus hops
T- Carmel. orange rind or grapefruit
M- perfectly slick, smooth, thick and bubbly
O- immense beer, one that actually makes me sip. There are not many that do.
Warm Carmel yet astringent. My taste has shifted to English Barleywines, but in the American style: this is a champion. Hops omnipresent yet balanced by huge grain profile. As I'm typing this, the last sips was over 5 minutes ago and my palate is still locked on to the flavor and sending positive signals to the taste center in my battered cerebral cortex.

Straight up, no barrel aging, all guns blazing, hellion of a BW.

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Photo of Matt1553
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Served this beer at a holiday party, and it was a big hit. A perfect warming beer for a cold evening. Hops predominate the flavor profile, which I appreciate. A few extra months of aging, however, may help this beer to mellow out. Highly recommended.

Rating: 9.3

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2015 - bottled 12/11/14 and i've had in my fridge for between 2-3 months.
2016- bottled 12/4/15 and i picked up 2 4packs in early Januar i think.
2014-bottled 1/12/14. bought it in March 2016 at $8.99 a 4pack. 2 in the fridge and 2 in the basement.

pours a deep mahogany with a thick head. with more age it looks much more like cider.

smell is sweet, nice balanced aroma. solid aroma, nice mix of malt and hops. not overly sweet but a nice subtle sweetness.

great taste, great balance of sweetness and bitterness. finishes bitter and dry but somehow different than an IPA finish. smooth and easy drinking.

REVIEW OF 2016 fresh Bigfoot (bottled 12/4/15 and in my fridge for a few months now, it's 3/21/16):
-certainly more bold than the 11 month old 2015, this certainly mellows with age. which is why i bought 2 4packs, 1 for now and 1 for later. also my local store was selling 2014 Bigfoot for the same price as 2016 Bigfoot so i picked it up to test out.
-the hops are much more prevalent than the aged barleywine, a nice strong ale almost Brown Shugga flavor to it.

2014: much more mellow. looks like cider. very malty yet has subtle and beautiful hop flavor. and has an amazing flavor. this is amazing with age, holy shit. i'm keeping my 2016 bottles in my cellar for a while now. slight char to it as well. really fantastic.

i am enjoying this! a great barleywine. a great balance, i enjoy the combination this beer has between sweetness and bitterness. almost has a slight barrel taste to it. a great beer, my new favorite barleywine.

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Photo of FenwaySquid
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 12 oz. brown short-necked bottle, the label proclaim this to be their 25th Expedition and the neck label says 2008, poured into a Chimay chalice.

Appearance: Pours a clear deep ruby red colorcarbonation rising at the center of the chalice. The head formed small, a little less than one finger, and faded into a thin layer.

Aroma: Citrus and piney hops along with some sweet malts, mainly caramel.

Taste: The first thing I get is the hops, bitter citrus and piney hops in all their glory. Some caramel and toasted malts come through in the middle, but remain in the background. The finish is bitter and spicy hops with some alcohol warming.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied but smooth, you definitely feel the alcohol. The carbonation balanced out very well.

Overall: An all around great beer, there's no other way to put it. You have to really like hops to enjoy it (as is the case with most Sierra Nevada brews) but if you're a hophead this one's a must. I've got a one year old bottle in my cellar. I'll review that one soon and see what's changed.

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Photo of chimaybier
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorite Barley Wines. I just had Lagunitas' Gnarly Wine 2 days ago, and it is hoppier than that one. I always look forward to the Spring when Sierra Nevada puts out its latest batch of Bigfoot. One minor complaint- they should have stayed with the old cartoonish label. I loved that! Very drinkable...



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Photo of ragekage23
4.64/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: very rich amber color with a frothy one inch head.

S: probably one of the best smelling beers: very hoppy, very fruity.

T: starts with hoppy, bitter taste, follows with a nice citrus, and end with one of the most prominent berry flavors i've tasted in a long time. the alcohol is very prominent.

M: more of a medium body mouthfeel, i think.

D: Ok, I'll be honest, this is my first barley wine, but if this is a forecast of things to come then this beer is one of the finest i've tasted.

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Photo of atone315
4.64/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 bottle, opened 2 years after bottling. Poured into 10oz taster, beer doesn't produce nearly as much head as freshly bottled Bigfoot. Age has knocked off just the right amount of hoppiness, this is tasting perfect right now. When this beer comes out, buy a case....drink one a month til the next batch comes out, then drink one a year. Thank me later.

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Photo of SublimeZero
4.64/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a solid Barleywine Ale. The color is a deep amber with a tan head giving forth to a bouquet of floral aromatics. As the deep amber liquid strikes the palate it yeals flavors of malty and a hint of sweetness due to left over malt sugars witch is quickly balanced with hop bitterness with the finish of hoppy radiance and floral tones.

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Photo of Trooper92292
4.64/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2013- smooth and excellent taste. Bitter level very balanced and acceptable. My favorite year.
2014 - hops not overpowering and taste lasts on palate.
2015 - Strong on the hops, a great taste but aging would definitely help it. As aging this beers always does. This has the darkest color for some reason out of the three.

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Photo of jamesm7485
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought a six pack of this as soon as it came out 08 vintage, cracked one of my many cellared bottles this evening.

Appearance is a red dark amber with very little head but some nice lacing

The smell is heavy on the barley, with little to any hops

The taste is one of the hoppier barleywines but it's very tasty and seems to have mellowed a bit.

The mouthfeel is very smooth and feels pleasant in your mount and on your tounge

Very drinkable and is also a very nicely priced barley wine, wish they brewed this year round!

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Photo of output01x
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 20 oz. bottle (2010 vintage) into a pint glass.

A strong pour yields a 2 finger creammy off-white head that withers slowly leaving massive clumps of foam clinging to the sides of the glass. The body is a translucent reddish amber color. Thick lacing covers the glass in gravity-defying sheets.

Spicy hops and sweet grainy malts assault the nostrils. It almost smells like cinammon rye toast. A slight booze smell is also detected.

Smooth, mellow roasted malt starts the journey, followed by spicy hops, a light lingering bitterness, and a low alcohol warmth. Every sip is like taking a journey through this beer. Coffee, caramel, toffee, burnt oak, dry resiny hops, and a bit of booze all join you on your trek.

Heavy bodied with moderate carbonation allows Bigfoot to coat your mouth and stick around.

While not exactly refreshing, this beers complexity and excellent flavors keep me reaching for the glass. I keep wanting to investigate it further, but each sip is too enjoyable for scrutiny. Allowing this beer to warm allows the flavors to become more bold.

As this beer ages, it mellows nicely. Its robust flavors round out and flow together. While certainly a great beer fresh, a year or two does wonders.

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Photo of Beertracker
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

SNBA (Expedition 2011) pours up with intrepid antipation and plenty of effervescence that creates a plethora of tiny-modest bubbles which create a massive sustainable beige-tannish cream colored head that sits regally atop the deep reddish-brown body. The head retention is amazing! The initial clarity suffers from a bit of "chill or hop haze", but clears nicely after it warms in hand and shows off some definite legs. The initial aroma showcases the resinous Northwest hops (Cascade & Centennial) which are part of the signature with an abundantly fruity (citrus salad/grapefruit) character. The additional added spiciness (piney/pine tar) and grassy/floral notes add complexity and gives way to a solid malt backbone and vinous strength as it warms. The malt dominated flavor starts off nicely fruity (apricot preserves, Mandarin orange, Texas Red Grapefruit) with a lovely toasted (ginger snap, shortbread cookies, vanilla wafer) character & huge caramel maltiness (hot buttered rum, toffee/treacle) that carries a touch of nuttiness (sugared almonds, peanut brittle) which layers into the overall complexity of this classic American barleywine. There's a very marked-scorching amount of underlying bitterness that keeps this grain fed monster balanced and prevents it from ever being overly cloying. The powerful, lingering finish is bold, rich and dominated by a green hop bitterness that screams monster! Everything about the mouthfeel is perfect, just perfect... from the creaminess to the carbonation. A barley masterpiece for the mouth! I've a professed Bigfoot fan who's been hunting & hording cases since 1998 with my oldest expedition tasted being a 1988. Bigfoot is the quintessentail American-style Barleywine and remains one of the finest examples in all of the known beer world! Here's to that legendary monster from the Sierra Nevadas known as Bigfoot!

CHEERS! Beertracker

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Photo of jtierney89
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours an orange hue with a massive yellow/tannish head. Big earthy hop presence on the nose with touches of grapefruit and citrus. Some roasted malts and dark fruit bowl smells come through as well but the scent is dominantly earthy hops. Good clarity for a barley wine.

Incredibly smooth and well blended for being so fresh. Roasted buttery malt up front followed by caramel sweetness and a delicate piney and earth hop finish. Decent bitterness. Thick and viscous in mouthfeel but with good carbonation. Touches of bright fruit show up here and there to compliment some of the other flavors. Incredibly delicate and so well blended. Bravo Sierra Nevada.

Earthy flavors usually aren't my thing but theyre pick up enough just to round everything else out. Elegant yet so big. I'm impressed.

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Photo of dfconnor
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Maybe the best barleywine ale I have ever had. Not overly sweet. The sweetness is well-tempered by the bittering hops. Robust flavor that is well-balanced. One of my new favorites.

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Photo of jdg204
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally broke down and bought a 6'er of this bad boy after hearing all the praise and seeing it at the Beer Shop for a few months. Got a great price ($8.99) as well and it was well, well worth the wait.

Appearance - Lovely rich red/orange color with a very nice plump slightly off-white head.

Smell - Rich amber citrus smells with a very spiced undertone.

Taste - WOW, not for the faint of heart to be sure. This was almost like a Triple IPA (West Coast Style), the hops was as intense as I think you can go and still hold a reasonable balance. The sweet, rich citrus flavors were intense and though I expected a bit more maltiness, it was definetly enjoyable.

Mouthfeel - Your mouth is in for a party, and yes everyone is invited! The thick, richness of the flavor will overwhelm a bit, but it's a heck of a thrill ride. The hop intensity will definetly leave your mouth tingling for a while, but hey, you only live once.

Drinkability - I'd only had an English Barleywine before, so the American version was very unique and very awesome! The American version is very different as it is less malty but much more intensely hopped and flavored. You could definetly call this beer bittersweet, though not in the traditional sense as it was first richly sweet then a nice intensely bitter aftertaste. I can see how this one has become a classic, bringing barleywines to a much wider audience and this brew definetly brought it! The flavor and intensity did not disappoint and I definetly look forward to my other 5 (though I think I'll age some). Sierra Nevada has another winner, no surprise there.

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Photo of NVbeer
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle with 2006 cap, into a snifter glass. A small white head quickly dissipates after the pour, leaving slight remanents around the edge. Beer has a deep red, mahogany color, no sediment or haze noted. Odor of alcohol is intially noted with minimal hops and no malt odors. As it warms up, increase in hop smell with grassy odors noted.
Upon taste the hops are pronounced, again as it warms the earthy grassy tones of this beer appear. Alcohol flavor is also noted, but is never overpowering and begins to dissipate as it warms.
Light carbonation noted, very pleasent feel in the mouth, some alcohol bite is noted, but not significant.
This is far from a session beer, but does remain a favorite of mine, as it was one of the first barleywines I tried a few years back. Another quality ale from Sierra Nevada. Highly recommend.

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Photo of Beerdregs
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage bottle

A: Ruby hue with 1.5 finger head with an off white to beige head.

S: Loaded with caramel malt notes and picking up raisins and mild fruity hop faintly in the background.

T: Caramel malt sweetness with very pronounced citrus hop tang in the middle with with black tea like flavors towards the end. I am left with strong bitterness on the back of the tongue after the swallow.

M: moderate to heavy carbonation. Cannot perceive the alcohol until after 5-6 swallows got a mild alc. warmness in the tummy.

O: I love this beer for the uniqueness of it. The hops give this beer a kaleidoscope of flavors for a style that is usually all malt.

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Photo of GRPunk
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle of the 2007 version poured into a tulip glass.

A- There was a 1-1/2 finger light tan head sitting atop a deep reddish-brown beer. There were some small bubbles of carbonation visible in the hazy liquid. The head eventually dropped to a nice lace that left many sticky rings.

S- The aroma was a nice play between the malts and hops. There were strong, warm caramel scents that just edged out the earthy hop tones. On further sniffs, there were definite alcohol aromas hiding in the background.

T- There was more balance in the flavor. I'm used to sweeter variations of barleywine, but this one seems to work. The caramel tones were overtaken by dry pine flavors from the hops by the end of a sip.

M- The feel was nice and thick. The carbonation was light and the hops added a dry bite to each mouthfull.

D- This is a definite sipper, but a welcome nightcap or warmer on a chilly night. It's early spring and this beer really hit the spot.

Overall- A different, yet great, representation of the stye. It's nice to mix up the usually malty beer with an extra dose of hops.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 3,012 ratings.