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

3,002 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: 3,002 | Ratings: 7,307
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 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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Photo of JasonCoop
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2006. my first barley wine.
poured into a snifter, pours basically a dark brown/red. pretty hazy. good offwhite foam to it.

smells extremely hoppy. slightly citrusy, slightly fruity but mainly smells like an alcoholic hop juice. which i like.

taste is huge. huge hops, a little bit citrusy(mainly grapefruit). a little bit piney on the finish, but totally dominated by pure hops. the hoppiness almost effectively masks the alcohol content, but the alcohol comes through with warmth.
in a nutshell: dominating grapefruitish hops, subtle piney/earthiness. subtle malt sweetness tries to balance it but fails. ripe, hoppy, alcoholic, delicious, and intense.

mouthfeel is somewhat creamy with a cottony hop kick. very full and alcoholic. this beer truly is a monster, and because of this it isn't the most drinkable ale. but it is to be savoured in moderation and enjoyed for what it is, slowly and with caution. great brew.

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

A: a dark brownish red color with a thick creamy off white head.
S: has a strong caramel malt aroma with the hops coming in the back of the nose. Not overly hoppy at all.
T: a very sugary sweet taste of caramel malts with a nutty aftertaste and gentle floral hops moving in between.
M/D: it has a thick yet soft feel. The drinkability is very good due to the taste and the feel. I highly recommend.

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

3/1/09 12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass (only clean glassware available...)

Deep amber appearance, one finger of off-white head.

Hoppy and sweet smell.

Wow, what a taste. Somewhat syrupy but hoppy, sweet, and delicious! To be sipped and savored.

Fairly heavy mouthfeel, yet still somehow refreshing. It demands attention and but is not completely overwhelming.

Overall, very drinkable, especially for a nearly 10% barleywine. This year's version seems slightly more balanced than previous years. Gotta be careful with this stuff, though, considering the ABV.

Be sure to check out the artwork on the bottle and 6 pack, pretty cool.

This is definitely worth a try for any fans of DIPAs.

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

Just picked up a sixer of the 2009 batch at Kappy's in Leominster...

12 oz. poured into a pint glass...

A- Nice copper reddish hue. Head dissipates after sitting a couple of minutes, lacing looks good.

S- Incredible! Malts, hint of molasses, hops hanging around to bring it full circle.

T- The flavor is all barley wine, nice to see Sierra Nevada continue to get it right. Nice and malty with the hops to finish well. also, some hints of pepper, graptefruit, maybe raisin? This is a young beer still, I am hoping with age it will be unREAL.

M- Great feeling on the palate. Some off flavors do sort of hang out after it goes down, but really they are great flavors, and it will surely change over time.

D- Excellent. I tend to sip on my barley wines like most folks I know...I could probably drink these all night (but at 9.6% would likely end up in a dark alley somewhere sleeping after too long).

Great beer! A must try for 2009.

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

Poured from tap into pint glass

A- reddish amber with super smooth head

S- mixed fruit, grapefruit, and floral hops. The scent is very sweet and the alcohol is well hidden.

T- delicious taste combo of grapefruit and sweet and bitter hops. The taste has me craving more

M- crisp and slightly carbonated

D- this brew lives up to the hype. It's probably one of the better drinks I have had

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Photo of Nibbley
4.66/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 2008 25th Expedition release.
Pours a lovely reddish-brown with a good 2 finger head that lasts the entire glass.Good lacing down the glass.
Smells of dark fruit and fresh baked rye bread.
First taste bring a wallop of hoppy bitterness that mellows into a nice malty backround. Warming alcohol is nice but not overpowering.
Exceptional example of the style.

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Photo of gillagorilla
4.66/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. 2013 bottle into a pint glass

A: Excellent thick head that remains for quite a while. A very nice dark amber that is slightly cloudy.

S: This smells like a slightly alcoholic IPA/DIPA. It is very much in the vein as a toned down 120. Quite citrusy and piney. Really does smell like a great IPA.

T: Well, it even tastes like a very piney IPA. God this is good. So, glad I decided to drink this tonight. It made up for the WWS and 120. The aftertaste is very resinous too.

M: It is quite smooth with coarse bubbles throughout. Very nice.

O: This seems like what 120 should be. What is up with the beers that I tried tonight? The WWS is the only one that seems to have been labeled right. Bigfoot and 120 should switch beer types. I really wonder what this would be like with some age on it when the hops die down. You can tell that there is another beer in there somewhere. I love this IPA, but it seems to turn into a BW with age.

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Photo of wcudwight
4.66/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy ruby, mahogany and cherry wood color. Thin head with minimal lacing.
Smells like a candy apple.
The malts dominate the taste at the beginning. Lot's of caramel and very candy natured. This is a very sweet beer with some toastiness. From the middle to the end the taste transitions to a more citrus and piney hop flavor. Can definately feel the bitterness and hop bite at the end. Just a touch of alcohol in the finish to add some warming. Aftertaste is mostly the hops with a hint of the alcohol.
Mouthfeel is big, thick, chewy and filling.
This is easily the most drinkable barleywine I've had yet and maybe the most drinkable high abv beer I've had. Highly recommended.
Thanks to enola for sharing while watching the Panthers beat the Bucs on Monday Night Football.

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Photo of mjd83goblue
4.66/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, 2006 edition

A: Amazing looking beer. Pours a deep amber with 1.5" of thick head that stays for awhile.

S: Some hops, carmel, and alcohol. Not as fragrant as you might expect.

T: A bombardment of raw bitter hops. Seem to relax a little as the beer warms, and the sugary malt comes through a little more, but still finishes bitter.

M: A little carbonation on the tongue, and thick and sticky like you would expect. Very good.

D: Depends on how you look at it. Would I keep buying this? Yes. Would I kill a sixer of it right now? No. I'm going with the former.

Probably a little raw, and its hard to break down the subcategories. But it just works all together. I'm not doing to get into the DIPA/Barleywine argument, because I don't give a damn, either way its a great beer. If you don't want the kick in the teeth hops in your barleywine, try something else. I like it though, and this is perfect.

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

Pours a ruby red with dark pockets that leave a thick frothy tan head that hangs with this brew. I can smell the hops before I even breathe in the nose. Hops, citrus, baked cookies, cinnamon, pine, lemon, so fresh and nice...are all in the nose.

The taste is intense, so spicy, fresh chewed pine, fruit sorbet. I had this brew awhile back and I don't remember it being this good, it was good but this is fantastic perhaps the development of my palate.

This beer went great with a little cheese platter I laid out. The plate consisted of aged Irish porter cheddar and pepperoni for spiciness that really accentuate the spices in the barleywine.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 3,002 ratings.