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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,971 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,971
Hads: 7,178
Avg: 4.14
pDev: 17.63%
Wants: 390
Gots: 1,638 | FT: 81
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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: 2,971 | Hads: 7,178
Photo of TastyTaste
4.67/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

1998 Edition, 8 years old at time of consumption.

Appearance: Still has a clear brown body, head is very small, just a little 1/4" of tan foam.

Smell: Smell is very deep and malty, oh so sweet and rich. Grapes and vinous smells permeate, fruity and full.

Taste: A little drier than I was expecting. The malt has an edge, but is mellow overall. The hops are a little subdued, but the alcohol provides a sharp backside. Mellow, yet still a strong sipper.

Drinkability: I can't say that this beer is past it's prime, it's very, very good. Fresh or aged, Bigfoot is a favorite and easy to recommend, whatever the vintage.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.67/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a huge fresh fresh brew. Pours copper, thin perfect tan head stays throughout and provides ample uniform lacing.

Brutaly hopped, Ressinous as hell, Grapefruit citrus. Damn this is not for the feint of heart. Double bastard comes to mind as far as the over the top aggressive flavor. Where the beers become completely differnent is the Bigfoot has a somewhat sweet caramel presence that tames it enough to keep it interesting. Alcohol serves as a spiced up finish with intense and linger aftertaste.

This is one of the bigger beers I've had to date. Not in abv% but in the massiveness of the flavours. Its a beer you'll never forget. Aging seems like it would be good for this brew.

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Photo of doubleipa
4.67/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

'06 Version. I had an '05 last night. Is this really the same beer? Aroma was DIPA hoppy. Not much of a maly smell, at all. Rocky, light-brown head, excellent lacing, and the head lasted a long time. Moderately sweet early and long. Really does taste/smell more like a DIPA than "classic" barleywines". Body was light to medium. Really can't taste the alcohol. This has made me re-think whether I want to age an entire case for future consumption. Hmmm I think I'll review after 6 months and see what happens.
2/17/06 Update. Had the '06 on tap last night. Now I'm really confused. I expected big hoppiness, but was dissapointed. Malt characteristics were much stronger than hops. The waitress assured me that this was the '06 version, not '05.

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Photo of dfried
4.67/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bigfooticus Barleywineicus 2006

It's hard to put your finger on just what color it is, not red, not brown, not golden, but some where in there. There was about a centimeter or so of head that bubbled away to a ring with some film that stayed on top.

The smell is strongly of fresh floral hops, but Bigfooticus lurks in the background, sweet and caramely, almost a red toastiness, syrupy.

The taste is initially a slap in the face of fresh, floral, right off the vine hops, which is awesome by the way. Then came a distinct black liquorish flavor. Eventually the fruitiness reveals itself, it tastes of apple cider with plums, dates, and raisins. The finish is a combination of everything mentioned before, though it is not confusing, it's just plain phenomenal. As the beer warms, it does sweeten as one would expect but the strong hops persist in the finish.

It has a quite syrupy and chewy mouthfeel, it kind of sticks to your mouth. The montage of flavors does not mask the alcohol all that much, but the alcohol is not nagging, it just kind of matter of fact while enjoying Bigfooticus. This is far from a session beer but it is as drinkable as a barleywine gets.

Phenomenal beer! Thank you Sierra Nevada!

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Photo of dreadnatty08
4.67/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

06' edition.
Pours a dark ruby hazy brew. An aggressive pour yields just a slight fizzy head that quickly dissipates. Aromas abound, screaming out of the glass. A sweet, roasty maltiness, followed by some resinous hops and a bit of alcohol burning in the end. A syrupy, heavy mouthfeel with very little carbonation covers the tongue with some intense flavors. The sweetness is quickly entrapped by a bitter hoppy zing. Some dried fruits are noted in addition to a floralness that barely makes it over the alcohol, which makes a heavy presence. This is a style I've come to love, and wonder why anyone would want to drink wine after this.
I had the pleasure to drink this side by side a 750ml bottle of Old Crustacean (with a friend of course) and was able to appreciate the big difference (mainly the sweet, balanced flavor of Rogue's vs. the hop bomb of Bigfoot). This is an amazing digestif beer I've been able to enjoy on many a night. Holds a special place for me.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.67/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

'04 vintage, served in the 12 oz bottle, into a snifter. The color was a very dark amber, with a wispy head. The smell was a citrusy hop blend. The taste was a very nice citrus hop bitterness over the creamy caramel malt, and the alcohol was quite warming and not harsh and overpowering. Mouthfeel was very thick. As for drinkability, despite the ABV, I could drink tons of these.

When I first had this one last summer, it sent chills down my spine & made me think just how lucky I am to have so many good beers in my time. A fantastic barleywine, and proof that the style doesn't have to be an ABV monster to impress...well-balanced and warming is quite enough. Quite good, and now that it's out for 2004, I'll be having more of this!

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Photo of mcowgill
4.67/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Bought a 6 pack of this beer a year ago. I was thankful to see it on the bottom shelf in a really dark location. Drank 5 of them in the first month or so. Saved this one until now. This last one is simply amazing to me. The beer poured a nice amber color with a small head that dissipated quickly. The smell is a very intense mixture of very strong hops, pine, fruit, and alcohol. The taste was a very bitter hoppiness initially and then the malts kicked in. Nice! It was quite intense but I loved it. Some might say the drinkability is tough but I say its really good. Definitely would behoove anyone to sip this beer slowly over time though. Tried the 2006 at the Winter Jubilee towards the end so I was not fit to review it.

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Photo of TheBear11D
4.67/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a fairly clear dark amber that is dark enough to prevent being able to see through. Has a thick light tan, long lasting head.

Smells of floral hop goodness with some pine. Very earthy containing an abundance of bold smells which can perhaps be attributed to the high ABV.

Strong dry pine and floral hops. Starts off strong only to grow stronger. The ABV is noticeable, but not overly so as it blends pretty well in the hops. There is some noticeable malt but the hops still stand out.

Thicker than anticipated. Is slightly similar to syrup in feel, a bit lighter. Sharp but suiting for the taste.

While the beer is strong, it's also full of flavor. Easily something worth having, but something to sip and enjoy.

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Photo of lonestar4lunch
4.67/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 edition. OUTSTANDING.
This years is a special gift. It is their traditional Bigfoot but with more hops and man do I love the hops. It has the sweetness with a touch of bitterness in the end with hops lingering on the tounge. Wonderfull. I will buy all I can find. Had right after a 2006 and quite a bit more hops. Can't say enough. This is like Bigfoot mated with Celebration and a beautiful brew was born. Will call it Celebrafoot....it's that good folks.

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Photo of pmccallum86
4.67/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 25th Anniversary edition Bigfoot.

Wow, this beer immediately out of the bottle blasts you with a wall of malty aromas. Pours a very deep hazy reddish gold with a medium sized creamy head. The smell is of malt, tons of malt with hops being slightly detectable. Caramel scent along with dried fruit. The taste of this beer is overwhelming in the best way possible. Holy shit this beer is loaded with fruit, caramel malt, grapefruit hops and too many other flavors for detection. Great mouthfeel, very full bodied with medium carbonation and at 9.6% ABV it is quite scarily undetectable. Drinkability is great, goes down very smooth. Wow this is an amazing barleywine.

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Photo of plfahey
4.68/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle (2011 vintage) poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Amber to mahogany with fantastic clarity and a giant, yellow-cream colored head with great lacing and retention. Looks awesome and truly imposing. When swirled about the glass, you can get a sense for how viscous it is.

Aroma-Bright burst of hops up front-pine, citrus, grapefruit, lemon, and a hint of resin. Underneath is a foundation of rich toffee, dark caramel, and molasses. Just a whiff of alcohol. Some orange as well, though I'm not quite sure where that's coming from.

Flavor-Huge flavor on the palate. Starts out with assault of piney hops, followed by rich depth of toffee malt with molasses and dark caramel-almost raisiny at times. After the malt shows in the mid-palate, assertive hop bitterness and flavor kick in. The hop bitterness and high alcohol dry out the palate, while piney, grapefruit hops soar through the long aftertaste. Rich, powerful, and awesome.

Mouthfeel-Medium full body and moderate carbonation make this almost chewy, but it just falls short of that mark-I wish it were just a bit fuller. High hop bitterness leaves the mouth buzzing, while the high alcohol warms from within.

This beer is truly definitive of the style-this is an American barleywine through and through, and a damn tasty one at that. I'm not sure what more needs to be said. I don't think this one holds up to age as well as some other barleywines do, but within the first few years (or even fresh), this beer kicks some serious ass.

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Photo of Erish
4.68/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this 12 oz. bottle into a large wine glass. Dated "2011."

A: clear reddish amber color, thick, luxurious head slowly falls into a thick, luxurious cap, with long, luxurious lacing. This is a beer porn star!

S: orange, grapefruit, pine, lemon, sweetbread, a twinge of grass, with a bit of a fruity/earthy backstop. Nearly perfect.

T: all of that citrus and malt hit nicely up front, the middle has a hard candy note, along with a pine/herbal hop note, the finish is earthy, grassy, floral, and a bit chalky at the very end. The footprint of this beer is indeed big! I gave this beer a 5 for taste because I tried to imaging how I would improve it, and I came up empty handed. It is such a mouth-coating, tongue-tingling experience, it cannot be improved upon.

M: full-bodied, silky smooth texture, moderate carbonation, and the finish is astringently bitter, but still maintains its pleasant floral/citrus character.

D: I drank this beer at about 60 degrees F. I recommend you try the same. This beer needs some warmth to really open up. It is a phenomenal beer, and reminds of why Sierra Nevada is such a great brewery. I will age some of the remainders and see how this beer evolves over the years.

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Photo of iowaero
4.68/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 Edition

Purchased a case from John's Grocery in Iowa City, IA

I am reviewing this after I have had about 7 of these (not all at once - over about 4 days). I have sampled it in a nice wide mouth crystal glass as well as straight from the bottle. Freezing cold (put a bottle in the snow outside for about 4 hours) to a nice 65 degree temp. I must say there are many more flavors to be had at 65 degrees but is surely is very good cold as well!

Pours a nice dark amber. The taste is very strong sweet caramel and then the citrusy pine hops give you a bigfoot smack in the ass.
Truly awesome. Finishes very smooth and somewhat dry. As the temp of the ale warms the alchohol lets you know it is there.

This is a very good barley wine young. I am going to try to save 4 of these bottles for a year and see what happens. But drinking them at this stage is very, very satisfying. Very easy drinking for such a high alchohol content. Almost dangerous. I rated the taste and drinkability a "5" because compared to other fine barley wines I have tried, for the style, this one takes the cake.

This one truly impresses me. Thanks SN for a fine brew.

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Photo of frankbro
4.68/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I only give it a 4 on drinkability because you can't chug it. At 9.6 ABV you probably wouldn't want to. Not for mowing or yardwork. Didn't I have a flower bed? Definitely a thick head, in the glass. Not much lacing in a Bass Ale glass. It's a beautiful reddish-gold, when held to the sun. Smells like HOPS, citrus, and malt. As hoppy as a double IPA. The mouthfeel, not the taste, is like biting down on homemade bread. A very satisfying "beer". Alc .096x12oz= 1.05oz pure ethanol, or 2.1oz at 100 proof. I have a case in my cellar to see what happens.

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Photo of dippy
4.68/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Wow...2005 is my first intro to Bigfoot and let me just say that the bigger the foot, the harder it kicks your ass.

I was impressed by the head first and foremost, a light tan/brown and standing about 2-3 fingers. The head stuck around for almost the whole duration of the brew leaving some beautiful lacing on the side of the glass.

My friend actually smelled this beer from around the corner as it is quite aromatic.

The brew itselfwas a bit floral at first,more hops than expected for a barley wine, but considering the aroma I knew it was coming. The carmelly sweet malt of this beverage made it go down so smooth.

This beer was awesome, I could've drank 20 of them if I didn't start to get drunk off just three of them. THe alcohol is well masked. Great beer. Everyone should try one or two or three of them.

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Photo of Drew966
4.68/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The 2005 edition of Bigfoot Ale pours a hazy orange with a small tan head. The aroma, while good, doesn't even begin to hint at the bomb of taste sensation that is about to go off in your mouth. This is definitely an American take on the barleywine style with aggressive hopping that makes for a very tasty brew. Higly recommmended, worth seeking out for those who like a hoppy version of the barleywine style.

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Photo of Shaw
4.68/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I inadvertently erased my first Bigfoot review with a review of an aged bottle. So I'm giving it another go!

Pours a deep copper in color with a sticky off-white head that leaves chunks of lace in my glass.

It's got that barleywine smell: Citrus hops mix with toffee and caramel notes and a hint of alcohol. Nice.

The taste is perfect. And I give very, very few 5's. This is what I think of when I think barleywine. It's bitter and malty with lots of hop flavors and a nice warming finish. It is not just a bitter beer: This has depth.

The body is thick and smooth and almost chewy with its heft.

This is one of my most favorite beers. I could drink nothing but this for the rest of my life.


(Previous review from 2/22/07 follows)

I bought a bottle of the 2006 vintage in Feb. 2007 at Beer World in Largo, Fla. I've never had an aged Bigfoot before. Let's see how it is.

Pours a very cloudy mahogany with a nice head that reduces but leaves nice lacing in my glass. (4.0)

It still has that great, complex barleywine aroma of hops, malt, caramel, biscuit, alcohol and more things I can't identify. (4.0)

Time has done little to this beer's taste. If anything, it's even more bitter and tannic than when it's young. Alcohol flavors compete with the sharp bitterness, overriding biscuit and caramel flavors from the malt. (4.0)

Like Rogue's barley wine, this beer is better young. It is by no means bad. But I find the fresher beer is even better. (3.5)

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Photo of StrangeBrewer76
4.68/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

With many hundreds of reviews of this beer there is nothing but my personal experience with it that could be informative at all. Even my personal story is likely repeated here a few times chances are.

I bought a case thinking I would review one, drink a few and cellar the rest for next year knowing how well they age. As you may have guessed, that was not the case. I drank the first 23 in less than two weeks while also drinking other stuff. I went out of my way to buy really good beers so I would forget about the bigfoot. This also did not work. I tried keeping them warm (room temp) so I would be less tempted, but I found myself throwing 'just one' into the freezer but when I went to drink it, I determined it to be 'too cold' and instead of waiting for it to warm up, I had the genius idea of mixing it with a warm one.

This is the first beer that I have been addicted to in a literal sense. The only solution is to review this last one and wait until next year.

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Photo of MrPlayboy
4.69/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage. This brew might need some age for it to really be great.

Purplish amber liquid with an off white head pours beautifully into a snifter. Looks like your typical Barleywine.

Has a hoppy and pine resin aroma with some caramel notes.

Taste follows the nose. Very bitter and slightly harsh. Sweet syrupy and then bitingly bitter.

This is a bold beer! Not for the faint of heart. Ill be aging the rest for awhile to see how it progresses.

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Photo of wobblymailman
4.69/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Seemed like a good night to open up a 2001 bottle. Poured into a large snifter at apprx. 55 degrees. This one looks great, albsolutely no head. Dark brown in color. I never cease to get a kick out of this stuff. The nose has alot of sherry notes with undertones of currant Most of the hop notes have faded and the malt nose has taken over The taste boast a good amount of rich sweet maltiness. The raw alcahol nose has long since faded. First bigfoot i have had since last March now I remember why I buy five cases of this every year.

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Photo of elmocoso
4.69/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Aahh - I pulled this one out of my closet the other night after hiding and forgetting about it for a year. This is a 2002, and i can sure tell the difference after letting this baby age for a year.

It poured a cloudy copper-red color with a nice rich tan head that soon fell to a ring and a nice lacy blanket across the top of the beer.

The smell is fabulous and complex - a rich malty sweet with a vail of citrusy hops. I can not tell that there is a winner for most prominant, because it seems they co-exist in perfect rich harmony.

The taste is great. sweet and malty at first, gliding over the tounge like a slippery eel and leaving a bitterness in the back that makes you long for another drink, more maltyness to compliment the after-taste.

The mouthfeel is great, easy on the tounge. This beer is great, and of course i wish i would have held out with the five that i dranke prematurely - hell, this one was probably a little premature, but hay, a year takes a lot of self controll.

I will seek and destroy a sixer of this years addition - hopefully, and just maybe get another sixer to stash and hopefully forget.

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Photo of Jekster
4.69/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 Variety

Appearance: This beer pours a deep dark cherry read that fades to a dark garnet pink red on the edge of the glass. There is a slight one finger light caramel head that maintains persistence while drinking the brew.

Smell: The smell is phenomenal. There is a deep sticky pine resin character along with a fresh cut grapefruit citrus character. There is a slight spicy character of rosemary or thyme along with dark caramel undertones. Tones of sweet bourbon hide as well in the background finding a nice balance with the forward hop character.

Taste: The first character on the pallet is definitely a strong hop citrus peer bitterness. This is quickly backed by an almost dark chocolate malt character along with a pleasant sweet red cherry flavor. The flavors literally hit you in waves providing a deep a complex character throughout the whole beer. There are tones of bread crust, burnt marshmallow and wildflower honey. There is a slight bitter aftertaste, but nothing astringent or unpleasant at all. The beer finishes with a nice warming feeling of alcohol although it was not detected in the least with the smell.

Mouthfeel: For as big as this beer taste it does not feel overly thick or syrupy. In fact it is actually a full bodied beer with a slight slickness and rather dry finish clean finish.

Drinkability: I would enjoy sipping a few of these throughout the evening. It is definitely not a beer to drink quickly, but rather one to enjoy with a nice cigar or a roaring fire.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: This is a wonderful sipper of a beer. It is amazingly complex while not being overbearing in any way. It has the perfect level of aroma, flavor, and alcohol to make it the perfect sippable beer for a cold evening. For the price point it is unmatched in my opinion by any barley wine I've had. If you're a barley wine or big beer fan this is a must get before the winter is over. This beer truly sips like a fine spirit.

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Photo of californiakulak
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just bought a bottle of 2010 Bigfoot from Wholefoods.

A. This beer is a dark reddish brown color. Huge head and lots of thick lacing.

S. Stong malty smell. Almost doughy. Caramel and toffee.

T. Wonderful beer. Lots of hop bitterness with an excellent malt flavor. Tastes like a Sierra Nevada beer. Lots of hops. It also has a wonderful boozy taste.

M. Warming. Thick anad smooth. Medium carbonation and a bitter bite.

D. Way too drinkable. A six pack could go down easily if you are not careful. My favorite barleywine in the world.

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Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bigfoot 2007 Expedition...

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle in a snifter. Beautiful orange/mahogony/burnt red color. Some initial spiderweb lacing- decent head- half an inch on this one- hills and bumps. A very sweet scent eminating from my glass- detected some maple notes, raisons, even slight caramel. A side from the sweet stuff- Bigfoot is a hop bomb! These hops will stick around for a while as well leaving a great taste in the mouth right up until the next sip. The alcohol is evident- at 9.6% ABV although it is not as strong as expected with a barley wine- tastes better as it warms-

Needless to say, Bigfoot is a pleasure to sip. A true gem from this pioneering brewery.


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Photo of marcobrau
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Another winter spent looking forward to Bigfoot and I'm not disappointed. This is the 25th anniversary edition bottle with the new art. I miss the old art; maybe it'll change back next year, who knows, but it's what's in the bottle that counts.

I poured my Bigfoot into an eight-ounce pilsner bow-tie glass for sampling. It's bedtime and I've already had a couple other hoppy ales so I'm splitting the bottle. It doesn't suffer any: it's still beautiful. It looks great with a dense off-white head which leaves thick lace work down the sides of the glass and it smells...well, awesome! Candied fruit and piney, yet complex and flowery hops burst out of the little glass. This huge aroma dissipates and I get kind of sad, but then my first hoppy sip puts a smile back on my face. Ah, the piney hops mixed with the thick caramel malts and then that intensely bitter and dry finish. Bigfoot is never a cloying barleywine, that's for sure. It's drinkability is quite good for the style.

I eagerly await doing a flight of Bigfoot with fellow BA RedBaron; I love how this beer ages, We plan to take a stroll down memory lane sampling the last four or five years of 'Foot. I don't know why I love this beer so; hoppier and more bitter ales have come forth since its inception, but it's still a favorite -- perhaps it's just nostalgia, or maybe it's just good, it certainly has stood the test of time.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,971 ratings.