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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.

6,679 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,679
Reviews: 2,883
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 321
Gots: 1,318 | FT: 55
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,679 | Reviews: 2,883 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Simultaneous tasting of 2000, 2003, and 2006 vintages in midwinter of 2006.

Appearance: The 06 and 03 are fairly equal in terms of carbonation and head. 00 is lacking. All three are semi-cloudy, light orange/ruby brown. 00 lacks some life in color and body.

Aroma: The 06 reminds me more of an IPA than a Barley Wine. I’m still getting used to American Barley Wines so this is a learning experience as much as anything. Pine sap is oozing out of the 06. I think I could smell it clear across the room…just checked…I could. Strong alcoholic caramel notes are also present but really covered by the hops. Citrus and floral spice are strong as well. Everything hops are supposed to be and more can be found within these confines. As expected, the 03 is less blistering but still heavily hopped – actually to a degree considerably greater than I would have expected. One can tell that SN really loads the hops into this one. After three years, a lot of hop oils must have broken down yet the 03 barley wine still ranks with the hoppier of American Barley Wines that I’ve tasted. It’s pretty cool. Also as expected, the 00 has really lost most of its hops. This isn’t exactly a bad thing. I prefer English Barley Wine and I find the 00 to be just delicious. The caramel is a alive as ever. It’s deeply earthy and subtle dark fruit flavors that go entirely missed in the younger vintages are present here. I think I pick up cherries and plums.

Taste: Following aroma, the 06 is largely hops with some minimal caramel content. Hop lingering in the finish is up there with perhaps the 5 hoppiest beers I’ve had. One sip leaves a hop oil residue for a good two minutes. Intensity is exceptional. The 03 is a step down but once again surprises with some pretty discombobulating hops. Caramel flavors are more pronounced but only slightly. Some wood and sweet grains are present. The 00 vintage on the other hand is loaded with sweet caramel, earth, dates, and Japanese plum wine.

Mouthfeel: Obviously, the 06 is dry as Antarctica and blisteringly bitter. Beyond that the sweet alcohol plays a large roll as does lively biting carbonation. 03 compares as in the aroma and flavor – same as the 06 but smaller, although bitterness in the finish is considerably lessened here. The 00, despite its many fine qualities, has lost a lot of its zing here. Carbonation levels are below where they should be. A lot of the bite is gone. All that remains is a burn from the alcohol but even that seems mellow in comparison to the ass kicking tongue attack of the 06 and 03. Body is too flat and lifeless compared to following years.

Drinkability: The combination of high ABV and crazy hops in the younger vintages is a problem for me when it comes to drinkability. My taste buds simply aren’t that mature (read old and dead) yet, maybe if I started smoking… At any rate, it’s not a knock on the beer, just personal preferences coming into play. The 00 would be more drinkable for me because of the hop mellowing but the lack of vitality in the body becomes a problem.

Overall: Impressive beer that ages well and changes drastically, although not necessarily for the worse, over time. I am pleased by all three vintages and curious to try others. Peak seems to be sometime before the beer hits three years.

Photo of hustlemuscle
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The first thing I thought when I tried the 2006 Bigfoot was that this one will be spectacular after a year or so to cool down. As is though, it is pretty damn good.

Pours a pleasant clear amber, with golden highlights. Decent head, which results in some thick lacing. Smells lovely, fresh wet hops, candy, piney. The sugery candy is intriguing. A hint of what might be to come after time.

I let this one warm a hair more than I would have. But warming it really brought out some flavors slightly overshadowed in the cooler version I had the first time around.

Big big hops, but only a passing attempt at balance. The sugery candy comes out, but only after a full frontal attack on the tastebuds by a team of piney hops and grassy hops.

Oily and a bit hot. I suspect time will ease off the alchohol a bit, and produce a real winner. For those that think that aging beer is foolish, I think in a year this bottle could convert thee.

Overall, a good beer, but falls short of greatness. But lest I hammer home my ideas on aging this one, I think greatness is just over the horizon.

Photo of erosier
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark red amber color from the bottle with a short but thick tan colored head that laces the sides fo the glass. Nice earthy hop aroma with hints of fruit and maltyness underneath. The taste is bold. Malted barely with layers of fruit underneath an earthy hop flavor that balances the beer out very well. The mouthfeel is good. Very crisp and complex with a dry finish. The drinkability is OK because of its intense flavor. Definately worth it.

Photo of Phatz
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a complex coppery caramel amber with an off white head.

Smell: BIG! This is a big beer and it lets you know it from the start. Flamboyant floral hops lead in the nose. They are paralleled by a sugary sweet deep dark malt base, mmm.

Taste: The taste is as big as the smell. I would not consider this a balanced beer although it has a balance of flavors. It has an extreme sweet toasty malt, brown sugar and dark fruit characteristic. It also has an extreme grapefruit citrus tart and piney hop bitter. They do run parallel but not blended. The nose and the beginning of this beer seems dominated by the former, that is the sweet malt and as it passes through the middle it move to the latter that is a yeasty hop citrus pine bitter. I must admit I am not a big fan of the pine aftertaste in my beers but this does not go to extreme and I can enjoy it. I do prefer this beer with cheese as a chaser to help neutralize the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: This is a medium thick beer that is smooth through the middle and has a dry finish.

Drinkability: This is a tasty beer but for me the hop bitterness is a bit much to consider it highly drinkable. It goes down enjoyable but with some effort.

Hope this is helpful.

Photo of epyon396
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Damian
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank from a 12 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Cambridge Wine & Spirits, Cambridge, MA

Poured a deep, slightly hazy, orange-copper with no head (just a ring of frothy bubbles).

Aroma was big and very fragrant. Super hoppy with piney and citrusy notes. In the background lay a stiff malty backbone with some sweet fruitiness. As the beer warmed, some alcohol also became noticeable.

Taste was similar to smell, except even more hoppy and biting. A touch of malty creaminess was noticeable on the front of the palate before the hops took over. Hoppy from start to finish with the strong, fruity, juicy and piney hop notes intensifying as they moved along the palate. The long finish was very dry, puckering, piney and resiny with a distinct, bitter grapefruit quality. This beer was a true palate shredder.

Mouthfeel was super rich, creamy and frothy. It almost felt fluffy on my tongue.

Drinkability was moderate. While this beer was quite flavorful and the 9.6% ABV was well masked, the intense hop bitterness was rather difficult to handle.

Overall, this was a good barley wine, but I would have preferred a more balanced offering.

Photo of trill
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage, poured into an oversized wine glass.

a - poured a dark copper, with a very slight head that tends to hang around for the duration.

s - malty, but, for the style, an exceptional amount (read: a bit) of hops in the nose.

t/m - surprisingly balanced for a barleywine. enough hop presence to stand up to the big malts. this leads me to believe that this one would benefit greatly from sitting for a year or two, to let the hops calm down and the complexities of the malts expand. the mouthfeel is pretty even, with a fair amount of bite from the carbonation/alcohol.

d - overall, a highly drinkable example of the style, which seems well-prepared for cellaring. i've gone through 3 bottles of a six-pack, and i look forward to seeing how the other three age.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured 2011 from 12oz bottle into duvel tasting tulip.

a - Nice murky amber with steady carbonation with a thin head that built as the glass poured. Swirling the glass left slimey snail like lacing.

s - Syrupy subtle hops with a sweet malty backbone. very appetizing and inviting like candy. bitter hops.

t - shockingly bitter...what sierra nevada does to the pale ale, they do to the barleywine in bigfoot. pretty boozy. i tend to prefer a barleywine that isn't so hop forward. as it warmed i got used to the hops and a really flavorful beer shone through that was rich and full.

m - tangy and bitter. left a really strong dry and bitter aftertaste. coated my mouth. little alcohol tingle.

d - another great bang for your buck brew and not a bad beer by any means. i've been getting deeper into barleywines lately and although this one started off a bit too hop forward and left a bit of a heavy bitter after taste..there is a nice flavorful beer in there. can't wait to sit on this one and see what time does.

Photo of kemoarps
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is a 2010 edition. Thank god for islandale.
The beer pours a hazy opaque almost ruby amber straw wih a creamy almost greenish tint but more almond off white head.
Holy smacks this smells really good. Big sweet honey entwined with the vinous green hops, with a malt backbone to bring it all together. This is a very tasty smelling beer.
The taste veers further towards green vines as the hops still play a prominent role even after all these years. Good steadying presence, though, from the malts, coming together and presenting almost with a backdrop of a good cigar. The hops stick with you the most throughout the back, but they're not hte burning sharp hop bitterness so much as kind of a flat, pervasive dull ache. Think more abrasion than laceration. There's almost some hint of just the sweetness of a dark chocolate hidden in there somewhere but that's just silly (but super tasty)...
I'm gonna go back after work monday and hope they have a couple more in stock. 2010s off the shelf for 2 bucks? Can't really complain...

Photo of patmcd
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 Vintage.

Head is sweet, dried fruits and caramel. I detect just a hint of pine and hops. Poured a murky, dark reddish brown with a small, cream-colored head, that left nice lacing.

Aroma is dominated by hops, sweet fruits and citrus.

Flavor is complex, a tug-o-war between the hops and the sweetness of malts. I first notice the hops, and flavors of grapefruit rine, pine, and earthy spices. Strangely, enough I notice some chalk dust on the transition. The malt comes through extremely sweet on the end and into the aftertaste, and caramel presence.

Has a fairly heavy mouth feel, but extremely low carbonation.

Drinkability is decent, considering it's extremely high ABV but I don't think I could do more than two bottles in a session.

Photo of froggyfrog
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2005 vintage served snifterwise in May of 2007.

Incredibly clear ruby-colored body with a flash of white head. Aroma is caramel and full-bloom flowers. There is a peppery spice to the smell and the taste. Butterscotch notes are noticeable as well. Darkened toast with orange marmalade comes to mind.

The alcohol sticks on the tongue long after the swallow. The mouthfeel has little flesh and doesn't really hold up to the caramel notes from the nose.

This beer gets high marks for the fumes and the view but I would reach for a BW with a little more substance and sweetness as my personal preference.

Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

(2008)-This is a great beer, and a nice entry into the American Barleywine style.

Pouring it into my DFH Snifter, its a great dark amber color. Definitely aromatic. I can smell it as Im pouring. The head is a good size, after an aggressive pour. This beer gets better and more aromatic as it warms up. Remember that as you drink it.

In the aroma, the alcohol is definitely present. The hops are definitely there also, a little more than one might expect. Overall the aroma is very similar to what I would expect out of a DIPA, the citrusy tones, but with an earthier backbone. This comes out in the taste also.

I cant help but think that the taste is dominated by the earthiness. I get a lot of dark fruits like dates. There is also a nutty quality hiding behind the alcohol flavors and hops.

Its great on the palate. Perfect amount of carbonation. I really think that it feels full on the tongue and isn't a beer to be sessioned. I couldn't think of many beers I rather sip by the fire on a winter day, or have with a nice dinner.

Photo of LADaveBN
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of wheatyweiss
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 12 ounce shorty bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a mahogany hue, ruddy red with a small off white head that recedes quickly.

Aroma is full blown fruity hops. Slightly floral and hinting at a fresh grapefruit. Caramel malts come through barely, but they are there.

Flavor is hops upfront, the flavor belies the aroma as the hops are peppery and biting. Alcohol follows with a chewy malt backing that barely balances the hop. Hops in the middle are resinous and piney. I would almost guess Simcoe, but the site says Chinook. Alcohol sneaks back in on the finish as well as the cracked black pepper flavor of the hops.

Mouthfeel is lush and oily, perfect carbonation.

Very nice brew, the bitterness would be helped by a little more malt backing, but overall very good.

(2010 batch)

This year is way more balanced than last. The alcohol is hidden way better than the last batch. Very smooth and drinkable. Be careful!

Photo of brew3crew
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle

A-nice reddish brown color with almost no head
S-sweet maltiness and nice hops
T-alot like an Ipa. Tons of hops. I can see why people say that barlywines are the new Ipas. Nice amount of hops all the way throughout
M-medium bodied and so smooth
D-dangerously drinkable.

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Clear orange bronze color, small head, nice lacing.
S- Very hoppy aroma with caramel undertones. Very surprised by the hoppy aroma, smelled a lot like DIPA.
T- Great Balance, very tasty, a lot of hoppy flavors that stand out. Sweet malty flavors as well, again surprised by the hoppiness.
M- Nice warm feeling, well balanced smooth feeling on the palate. Well carbonated, with a bitter finish.
D- Was surprised by this beer. Hops really stood out. Really enjoyable beer that is easy to drink. Alcohol level is very hidden especially for 9.6 abv. Very enjoyable.

Photo of BeerDawgs
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle vintage 2012

A - A brown sugar color, with clarity and a thin amount of head and lace

S - Wow, hop bomb! Dank wet hops, sweet sugar, caramel, etc

T - A huge hop bitterness slap onto your tongue, with a nice malty backbone. Very good. Lingering bitter aftertaste

M - Medium bodied, oily, smooth.

O - A very good barleywine. Taste like a very bitter DIPA.

Photo of TastyAdventure
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from two days ago:

A - poured into a tinted glass, i can't comment on the color, but had a thin half finger head, although it remained til the end.

S - some hops... I can't recall much here

T - Robust piney hops, but also robust caramel malt. It's like a Hop monster and a Malt monster beer were blended together. Very strong conflicting flavors that can be overwhelming at first. About halfway through the beer, as I start to feel the effects and the beer warmed, both flavors began to blend more smoothly, and became even more enjoyable. I'm not much of a hops fan, but this beer is great.

M - might be the best part. It's thick, but not syrupy or anything like that. Just a dense, hearty body. Moderate carbonation that is definitely needed for one like this.

O - I enjoyed the last half better than the first. I'd serve this barely chilled next time, close to room temp. Very enjoyable. A lot to think about with this one. Definitely one to sit down, sip and dissect. I have one of these in the cellar because it's great and seems like the perfect type of beer to age.


Had a 5 year old Bigfoot on Tap. Not quite as enjoyable. Hops nearly faded to nothing, felt heavier. Still liked it, but I'd like to try one maybe aged a year or 2.

Photo of TommyW
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage, poured into a snifter.

A- Golden body with a red tint, darkened by the patchy, white head blocking the light.

S- Smell of fruity hops (lots of citrus and ripe fruits) along with a faint bready, malt aroma.

T- Begins by following the nose quite well with lots of citrus and fruit flavors from the hops. This transitions into some bready flavors from the malts. The malts don't shine through for long (but there presence creates a great mouthfeel). Alcohol comes in towards the end and mixes with some fairly intense hop bitterness.

M- Nice full feel and a medium carbonation.

D- Kind of what I expected from such a fresh American barleywine, a pretty big hop presence and a hot alcohol profile. I'm cellaring the rest of my 6-er, as I'm sure this beer will become tremendous with some age.

Photo of instrumentality
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a transparent amber with very little head.

Smell was somewhat sweet, almost like apples.

Taste started out somewhat sweet and apple-like, but was soon overpowered by malt and hops.

Mountfeel was a bit harsh, somewhat burning the palate, and the alcohol was very apparent. The taste of hops was left behind on my tongue, but not so much as with some other barley wines.

I'm not a big fan of barley wines, but I tried to drink this one objectively and compare it with other barley wines. From that perspective, this is a well crafted beer. I do like it, but I'm not too fond of the lingering aftertaste. This would probably be consumed best with a sharp cheese or red meat to help balance its potency.

Photo of phishgator
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2004, 12/25/04

I've given this about a year to age. It is near maturity. The hops are so ever present. The sticky mouthfeel and the sweet malty back bone make this a full bodied sipping brew. The alcohol is warming after the first half a glass. The appearance is a deep ruby with highlights of copper. Nice foamy head in a snifter, that dissipates quickly. Not a brew to start the evening with unless that is all your going to drink.

Photo of jsolack
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep brown and cloudy. Head is tan and is very lofty... sticks around for quite some time... lots of lacing.

Licorice and grain. Smells strong with sweet notes.

Strong and thick flavor. Has a strong sweet taste with a rather bitter aftertaste. Grassy finish. Overall everything blends together nicely.

Very thick and heavy in the mouth. Compliments the flavor.

Very great tasting beer. It's strong and has a high alchohol content so I don't know if it's a great idea to slam these but they are definitly a great drink!

Photo of TKEbeerman
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my SN XXX glass, this brew pours an almost perfect amber orange with an impressively frothy tan head. Lacing is left all the way down the glass

S: The aroma is lacking power and complexity, but is full of toasty malt and pinny hops. After months in my closet, this brew is still a hoped up slice of heaven.

T: The flavor is sweet caramel, with hoppy bitterness increasing over time. Overtime, this brew has maintained it's hop presence like no other.

MF/D: mouthfeel is still full, and drinkability is still superior.

Photo of teejay76
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Dark ambers pour with decent head retention.

Smell - Hops, caramel maybe (?), a little citrus, and alcohol.

Taste - Full-bodied heavy malt flavor with hops finish. Great aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Very surprisingly smooth considering the ABV.

Drinkability - This will enter the rotation as a permanent staple.

Photo of alovesupreme
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot- at least 2 years old.
Pours with a brilliant head white head. Murky light orange in appearance with sediment floating in the body.
Lots of hops, citrus, pine, caramel, and alcohol.
Grapefruit and pine from the large amount of hops.Caramel and many other flavors as well as alcohol are in the mix.
Good carbonation with a syrupy mouthfeel throughout.
A great barley wine. I am happy it was 2 years old but I think it would be even better if it was a little older.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,679 ratings.