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

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

6,225 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,225
Reviews: 2,808
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%
Wants: 261
Gots: 1,089 | FT: 37
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  9.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 02-06-1998)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,225 | Reviews: 2,808 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tbrown4


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

12 oz. -> Chimay chalice. 2011 vintage at room temperature. Pulled one from the initial six pack I bought at the beginning of the season. I'm thinking that I should be getting a few sixers each year. I'm new to Bigfoot as of last year. I've since got a some bottles dating back a few years. I have a goal of doing a 10 year vertical evening. We'll see if they last. In general I prefer to European barleywines.

A - Dark ruby read, big frothy off white head. Carb is present immediately after pour, but is gone quickly. Thick webbed lacing

S - Mildly sweet fruity aromas. Hints of fresh pizza dough. Minimal hop bitter nose.

T - Big malty sweet dark fruit flavors are dominated by very forward hop bitterness. As expected for a fresh American barleywine. Dark toasted pumpernickel bread in the middle. Strong bitter hop finish with a hint of creaminess. The hops will mellow with time I imagine.

M - Medium bodied, mild carb, strong alcohol warmth in the finish.

O - This is a very good American barleywine. It's not a total booze bomb like some others, but it will take you for a ride. I really feel that this one needs some time to mellow out and develop a bit. I wanted to get a good baseline tasting to look at later. As stated in my intro, I will continue to buy this, hopefully on an annual basis.

03-23-2011 00:23:58 | More by tbrown4
Photo of abcsofbeer


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

Bottle poured into a pint glass. The color is a dark amber with tints of red and is topped by a 11/2 finger tan head. The head is very frothy and leaves heavy rings of lacing. The aroma is pretty strong citrus oil that is both flowery and fruity. The taste is pretty heavy alcohol, and has a good amount of hoppiness and malt flavors that are way up there. The mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied and very tangy. This is a good one.

05-18-2007 01:53:44 | More by abcsofbeer
Photo of StJamesGate

New York

4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

Clear burnt amber body with stiff creamy ecru head that leaves soapy cathedral sheets. Intoxicating caramel-dipped orange nose. Werther's Original, brown sugar and papaya attempt to make an appearance but are snuffed by orange, resin, cinnamon oil and pine hops. Cherry cough drop comeback and stinging linger. Medium to full, creamy, chewy, slight burn.

The blueprint of American barleywine. Enough said.

2011, fresh enough. Hot and hoppy.

07-16-2011 19:43:00 | More by StJamesGate
Photo of JMScowcroft


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

Sierra Nevada - Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale, poured into a wine goblet.

Look - Filtered deep amber ruby with good sized soapy head. Abundance of lacing.

Smell - Citrus and pine dank hops intertwined with amber/red malts. Aroma is strong and full.

Taste - Rich malts with definitely alcohol taste (slightly off putting), finishes bitter pine hop blast.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied with medium carbonation. Sticky coating from malts. Definite boozy kicker. Sipper.

Overall - This is one heck of a mean brew. the pine hop bitter mixed with definite alcohol creates almost a solvent-like taste but you acclimate to it as you drink it. Watch out for hangovers with this one!

01-22-2014 23:23:08 | More by JMScowcroft
Photo of chorizoandeggs


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

As the beer was poured, I became curious of this beer. There was a slight chill haze through the copper colored beer. At first i was disappointed by the head retention but my second beer had much more retention. I'm assuming that my first glass wasn't the cleanest.

As far as smell goes, uh....there wasn't much to mention. I could smell some hop fragrance but it really didn't stand out as exceptional to me. But my sniffer goes wacky after surfing so that may have played a part in it. .

Taste was where I was impressed. This beer was delicious. I was amazed at how flavorful it was and even more amazed at how my damn tongue went numb in 1 minute. The balance worked nicely with the amount of alcohol.

Mouthfull was really light for what I'm assuming was a very high initial gravity. It went down easy and definitely played a role in this beers drinkability, along with taste.

The only downfall is that I had way too many of these in a short amount of time. This is not something you can drink 5 of and mow the lawn. Well, I guess you can but the lawn isn't going to come out too good.

08-30-2005 05:04:09 | More by chorizoandeggs
Photo of HOPPYKC


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

I got this on tap at the flying saucer. A great seasonal that is Definatly hard to find.

A- a nice amber and brown color. Almost transparent but has a little bit of a full look to it. Nice tan head that goes quickly. Shows hood signs of carbonation.

S- almond and roasted malts. Now hops. Bitter and complex. Fruity and composed.

T- bitter up from but well composed. Toasted malts and fruit maybe pineapple and grapefruit.

M&D- great drink and full flavor. Complex and wanted. Could drinkthis all day long.

02-13-2011 03:12:10 | More by HOPPYKC
Photo of Hojaminbag


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

12oz bottle.

Pretty mahongany with a big head and good lacing.

Smells very hoppy with slight floral and fruity undertones.

Up front fruitiness followed by Hoppy taste. Followed by some more hops hops. Fisnishing with a little more sweetness. Hides the alcohol well.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are both good, about on par with any good IPA. In fact, this is very similar to a DIPA. I will let a few of these age and see what I think. Great to drink now, will probably be great later. Good for the price too.

02-15-2008 00:58:23 | More by Hojaminbag
Photo of Heavenisbeer


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%


A: A glowing ruby, with a two-finger Swiss cheese pearl-white head. Sticky tendril lacing. Slow-moving celestial carbonation.

S: Huge boastful waves of hopped up sweet malts. The nose on this is simultaneous--versus a chronological narrative--and it hits with heavy hops and bright tropical fruits, backed by a sweet malt body.

T: Boozy orange marmalade, into bright grapefruit, and ending in a very bitter hop linger. There's a ton of booze, sugars, and intriguing tropical fruits in there as well. Not a ton of dimensions, but truly great in the few dimensions it hits upon.

M: Creamy and coating, then boozy and dry.

04-02-2012 04:04:38 | More by Heavenisbeer
Photo of schoolboy


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

I am not sure when the last time was that I had any of this that wasn't a year old. I've been aging this stuff a year before drinking for several batches, and the result always seems to be a smoother barley wine than I remember the unaged stuff being.

As I recall, the un-aged stuff was much nastier and ruder. That is to say, it still is nasty and rude after a year, just much less so. My question (that may remain unanswered for a while unless I stick one away a little further).

The appearance of this was not the flat, boring barley wine you might expect. It is a pretty reddish color and has a decent head.

For a smooth, pre-aged experience, I think the Old Brooklyn has a less wild taste - not necessarily as true to the style, but more drinkable.

02-15-2009 21:13:20 | More by schoolboy
Photo of riversider76

New York

4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

Pours brown, with a thin tan head.This was vintage 2006. Smell is of citrus, hops,and alchol. Body is medium. Taste is big, almost sweet at the start, but finishes with a big hop kick. The citrus and alchol really come through. have a few of these,and say goodnight!

03-26-2006 22:03:18 | More by riversider76
Photo of raoulduke37


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

2007 Vintage

Poured into a large snifter. Nice 1cm beige head formed right away, but stuck around for only a few minutes. Distinct lacing. The brew itself is a dark brown murky color, reminiscent of an oude bruin. The smell is immensely appetizing - burnt sugar, cinnamon, and dark licorice - hints of anise as well. Extremely rich in flavor - somewhat phenolic but plenty of interesting flavors going on - butter, toffee, raisins, and impossible to ignore that nice hoppiness that still seems to be holding strong after so long in my cellar. Nice smooth mouthfeel, slightly chewy and with a carbonation kick right at the end, even after 2+ years. I'm looking forward to see how this one ages.

01-30-2010 03:31:23 | More by raoulduke37
Photo of cracgor


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

2006 bottle. Pours out a brown with a thin light head that collars around the edges. A nice hoppy smell to it-though also a little syrup, citrusy, piney. A great cascade hop smell, but maybe another or two in the mix. This just has an awesome smell. Tastes very strong. The hops stand out right at the beginning--citrusy and piney, but it is followed with a pretty good malt kick. It tastes just a little nutty. The most notable thing about this one is the big kick of alcohol in the mouthfeel though the taste is only minimal-giving it a little fruity taste. Drinkable in the slow, reflecting way, but not something to drink a ton of.

02-16-2006 04:08:34 | More by cracgor
Photo of spointon


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

I poured this one from a 12oz stubby brown bottle into a shaker pint glass. This was the 2009 vintage.

A= With an aggressive pour, this ale appeared a very clear dark copper color with a 2" fluffy white head. The head dropped to a 1/8" cap that retained all the way down and left loads of sticky sheet lace.

S= This ale was all fresh citrus hops in the nose. Some pine notes as well as a biscuity malt aroma in there too. Modest alcohol presence.

T= This one had a load of hop bitterness right from the start. Sticky pine and grapefruit ruled the roost for sure. Despite all those hops, there was a caramel and biscuit malt backbone always hovering underneath the hops. The end was quite dry with a touch of alcohol.

MF= Medium bodied with a prickly carbonation feel.

D= This is a very good beer, but I think its a bit young still. The hops are at a DIPA bitterness and aroma level now, and the alcohol is a bit over the top. I think that some age will mellow those hops and soften the alcohol a bit. Even so, this beer will be good at any stage of its life.

03-03-2009 05:51:52 | More by spointon
Photo of WYVYRN527


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

2011 Edition. Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a snifter.

A: 2011 Bigfoot pours a dark amber hue with a thin, cream-colored head that slowly settles. Retention is decent, and leaves sticky lacing on the glass.

S: Floral hops surrounded by a thick malt backbone, with scents of dried fruit, fig, spice, and alcohol. Hints of citrus and pine linger in the backround.

T: A very assertively hopped beer of this style. Floral, with lots of pine and citrus. Malt brings forth notes of caramel, dried fruits, toast, and some spice. Finish is slightly alcoholic and quite warming.

Notes: Bigfoot is a full-bodied brew, and flavors remain on the palate for some time after each sip. While this is a fresh example, it's a bit off-balanced, yet still tasty. This is one for the cellar, as the hops will mellow and flvors will meld together quite nicely. This is a beer that I look forward to every year.

02-03-2011 05:17:04 | More by WYVYRN527
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

2008 Vintage - 25th Anniversary Edition - sampled 18/03/09

Luscious raspberry puree with a bit of cantaloupe polish near the bottom end - if I worked in the cosmetic industry I'd be sure to have a lipstick made in this colour. The beer has such a healthy glow when held up to the light, the rosy brilliance is striking. The scantiness of head manages to provide outline but largely denies the beer of contrast.

The bitterness of the beer can be sensed from the smell at first instance. Pungent, earthy hops bombard the nasal passage with a cannonball of grassy vines, bitter serum and crushed up tree bark. This is much less the zest of citrus than it is the piths. There is something very inelegant about this scent that I don't remember noting in the best smelling Barleywines. (Note: I've revisited and upped the marks, this is delicious!)

The flavour is dominated by a very harshly roasted malt bill. It tastes as though the grains and their husks are still in tact. Notes of burnt toffee, dark chocolate and dried fruits unfold. Given the richness in the colour I'm surprised the beer isn't more sweet (I know from experience the sweeter caramel malts will come forth more once the hops begin to fade).

Speaking of those little lupullin pellets, they impart a discernibly earthy character as well as a grapefruit pith so bitter it will cause your cheeks to suck in (this wouldn't be a classic West Coast staple if it didn't have a little citrus!) American Barleywines age well but also drink wonderfully young when the copious level of hoping is on full display.

But on that note, I think I personally prefer this Barleywine aged. Like the creature after whom it's named, I find the beer a little beastly and brute at a young age. Unlike him, however, the alcohol can often be seen in plain sight. Not to say it doesn't have some camouflage (caramel drizzle and candied fruits) but I was hoping not to have spotted it.

Having sampled previous vintages and older bottles, I can be fairly assured that all my qualms with this batch should fade as it matures over time. The fact that the beer is still this tempestuous at age 1 tells me it'll be fine to hold up over the long haul. Indeed, I always look forward to revisiting this beer and have never finished the glass anything but satisfied.

03-20-2009 00:12:12 | More by biegaman
Photo of Bizz88


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

This 2010 brew poured a nice two finger off white head over a dark amber liquid with lots of sticky lacing. Aromas of hops and sweet carmel malts with slight citrus hints. Hoppy citrus malts on the tongue with a light grapefruit rind finish. A bitter sweet infusion. Medium bodied creaminess with light carbonation. An awesome brew that would probably do even better with a little ageing time. Very drinkable.

05-29-2010 20:36:52 | More by Bizz88
Photo of hoppheadIPA


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

This is my first barleywine so I really have nothing to compare it to but let me tell you, I'll be trying a whole lot more after having this. Pours a golden amber with a nice head that dissapated quickly leaving some lacing. Has very strong smell of hops, some malt, and citrus in the backround. Tastes very strong but alcohol is hidden by the bitterness balanced with malt and hops. Nice and thick in the mouth with good carbonatin. Excellent beer but don't have more than 1 or 2 givin the strong alcohal content.

11-20-2008 10:28:31 | More by hoppheadIPA
Photo of hackmann


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

Appearance: copper body with a one finger beige colored head; not much on the lacing

Aroma: nice spicy hops tingles the nose with a rich malt backbone

Flavors: spicy hops up front, pine on the mid and finish along with alcohol, white grapefruit peel on the aftertaste, brown spice bread in the background,

Mouthfeel: rich style, thick, oily, alcohol warmth and alcohol peppery feel, moderate fizzy carbonation, bitterness up front followed by the sweet brown spice bread, white grapefruit lingers on the palate, full body, more bitter than sweet

To the Point: I like this ale; it is a sipper;

05-17-2013 19:46:33 | More by hackmann
Photo of xnicknj


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

2010 bottle poured into large snifter glass.

A - Pours a hazy auburn with orange and copper hues. A creamy, one finger high, off-white head retains nicely with layers of lacing littered across the glass.

S - Crispy dark malts, caramel, and a bit of warming alcohol.

T - Surprisingly bitter and juicy hops on the front end, mixing with citrus such as grapefruit. A beefy malt backbone lies underneath with caramel and toasted grain. There's a touch of fruit sweetness hidden in between everything along with a bit of astringency, which might be capable of turning people off. Finally, a flair of alcohol heat warms up the palate during the finish.

M - Medium to full body, somewhat chewy, yet ultimately smooth.

D - Between the biting hops and boozy touch, this is definitely more of a sipper, but for 9.6% everything is masked well.

This is hands down one of my favorite Sierra Nevada beers by a longshot. I'd really like to try some more vintages and see how much this mellows out over a longer period (5-10 years).


12oz bottle poured into snifter - 2011 vintage

Pours dark cherry auburn with a decent beige head which fades to nicely retained film with assorted patches and spots of lacing.

Strong pine resin and hops in the nose with some scents of fruity esters followed by malty sweetness.

Intense hop presence up front with sticky pine. Malted sweetness with caramel, burnt brown sugar and bready tones. Softer fruit notes and cherry hidden in between the more aggressive hop profile. Thick malted backbone laden with some warm alcohol presence. Smack of sticky pine hops, dryness and boozy warmth in the finish.

Full medium body, higher carbonation, a bit creamy and sticky. This is probably the freshest Bigfoot I've ever had, and it's definitely a different animal than the aged variety. This almost resembles a complex DIPA, but still remains super tasty and drinkable, although ultimately I enjoy it better with age.

09-09-2010 03:28:44 | More by xnicknj
Photo of nrbw23


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

A- Pours a mostly clear dark amber color with a fairly thick off white head. Head has good retention and leaves quite a bit of lacing.

S- Smells of toffee, nuts, and dark fruit. Quite a bit of hops here too.

T- This one follows the nose for the most part. Some nice sweet malts but give way to a nice dose of hops. A bit of an alcohol burn here too.

M- Full in body and carbonation is right on.

D- Very easy to drink. I enjoy this one but think its more of a sipper.

06-22-2010 19:22:50 | More by nrbw23
Photo of gmfessen


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

First time I've seen Bigfoot in stores, had to pick it up. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, 2010 Bigfoot is a clear, copper-orange color with a thick, foamy, amber-tan colored hop head (no pun intended). Bubbles rise through the glass like Champagne. The nose, to no great surprise is mostly all west coast hops like grapefruit, pineapple, heavy pine resin and floral but there are also some grainy sweet and toasty notes to boot. Hop lover's bouquet! The flavor (to no surprise again) leans towards the hop side as well with the hop flavors previously mentioned, piney and resinous more than fruity. The malt does its best to balance but this one definitely leaves a bitter aftertaste. There is a slight alcohol burn, but nothing out of line for 9.6%. Mouthfeel is full in body with a minimal but chewy carbonation and semi-dry finish. Overall, drinkable beer yes but this is definitely no quaffer.

09-14-2010 01:20:31 | More by gmfessen
Photo of Vdubb86


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

Served in a snifter

This beer poured a wonderful deep golden orange color topped by a creamy cream head. The aromatics smelled strongly of cascade hops. There was probably some caramel notes in the background but the hops were pretty strong on the nose. The body was a nice balance of hops and malts. The caramel taste worked well with the cascade hops. There was a decent hop bitterness to the body. I believe that I actually tasted a clove note in the finish of this beer which made it all the more better. This body was a solid medium and not overly carbonated. The drinkability of this beer was unparalleled by most American Barleywine standards. This was an enjoyable beer.

03-04-2011 06:56:00 | More by Vdubb86
Photo of cbn


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

Pours slightly syrupy, fairly cloudy deep amber-russet. Minimal head dissipates quickly.

Sweet, dry cereal and molasses malt followed by citrus, floral and grassy hops. I strain my olfactory to discern these aromas, even as the beverage warms.

Black pepper, darkfruit (blackberries), coffee and bitter yeast follwed by cedar wood, lemon and grapefruit, an all-out assault on the taste-buds!

Rather cool and creamy, smooth and slightly oily leaving the hop on the tongue.

very enjoyable, drinkabilty is only limited by high ABV.

01-27-2007 22:55:18 | More by cbn
Photo of DoctorDog


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle into a nonic. 2011 Vintage.

A- Copper and clear. 3 fingers of creamy tan head, which fades gradually into a thin cap. Tons of sticky lacing.

S- Strong wallop of citrus and pine hop upon pouring. After a few minutes, the caramel malts, and an earthy hop note.

T- Big caramel maltiness, quickly followed by a solid citrus and pine bitterness attack that balances the sweetness. A fair boozy kick on the finish.

M- Moderate carbonation. A nice, full body... Nice alcohol warming presence. Very, very good here...

D- Good. Tasty, great feel, and an "easy drinker" for it's ~10% ABV .

Future outlook: Seems like a bargain beer in relative terms, and one that might stand the test of time quite well to boot. Time to grab some more of these to stow away for a few years.

04-08-2011 02:59:04 | More by DoctorDog
Photo of mdcrouser


4.13/5  rDev -0.5%

Welcome to HopFest - your host, Sierra Nevada. Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale 2008.

Originally enjoyed 03/21/08, updated 02/05/09 with a cellared bottle. This beer is captured within a brilliant red-brown cylinder, topped by a lasting creamy white head. With lacing around the edges of the glass, this is an attractive beer.

It quickly unveils a fully uplifting blast of fat, chewy hops that rolls smoothly over the tongue like a velvet carpet unfurling across a room. Holding it on the tongue is like slow-smoking a marshmallow, allowing it to melt in your mouth. Once it moves to the back of the throat, a mild fruitiness takes over, pushing against the inside of your mouth, big enough that it's seemingly searching for a way out. That escape comes upon first exhale and return inhale.

Impressively good. Cellaring one for a later enjoyment.

In the past year, it has mellowed, with the fruitiness completely mellowed, becoming even more velvety smooth. Stewing in its own juices has done good things for this beer. Not sure that I like it any better than last year, but it's at least as good.

2012 version, with a six pack purchased to enjoy one per year over the next five years. This is my only one of 2012.

Big head upon the pour, settling down only after a few minutes. That's a long wait to finish pouring. Once complete, the head is sturdy and tan, leaving thick rings, with a glowing orange/red beer beneath.

Fresh with hops and a malty backbone - the nose is big, but still seems very "new."

While smooth, creamy and incredibly enjoyable, there is a sharpness coming from the hops that comes through spicy and very forward. It then closes sticky and a bit smokey.

Really enjoyable and I'm looking forward to learning how it develops in the coming years.

2012 version, pulled from the fridge the day after the biggest snowstorm to hit KC in our lifetime dumped 12" on us, I'm worn from shoveling and this sounded like as good of a cure as any.

The head holds fast at about an inch, capping that beautiful glow.

The nose seems to have mellowed a bit - less pungent, but still every bit as big.

The spiciness noted last year leveled out some too, more smoothly ascending into the mildly spicy hops and smoked maltiness.

Such a lovely drinker - warming, fulfilling, bridging the gap between winter and spring.

01-02-2009 02:44:41 | More by mdcrouser
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 6,225 ratings.