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.

6,946 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,946
Reviews: 2,954
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 11.35%
Wants: 352
Gots: 1,500 | FT: 66
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
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
Ratings: 6,946 | Reviews: 2,954
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)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Vertical tasting 2011-2014. Great vertical. Can really taste the difference the aging makes. 2011 is very smooth.

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.

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.


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.

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

2011 bottle

a: dark amber color with decent lacing.

s: bit of citrusy hops and some caramel

t: Incredible taste. A great balance of blissful hoppiness and heavenly maltiness.

m: medium carbonation - just the right amount. Bitterness lingers in a delectable manner.

d: very drinkable. The bitterness wants me coming back for more...and more

I thoroughly enjoy this beer. Thankfully it is not as elusive as Sasquatch as I will never tire of the beautiful bitter kiss it so generously offers.

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

1999 vintage on tap at Monks! So lucky to stumble on this, which has been stored in their basement for 9yrs apparently.
I know the vintage doesn't necessarily translate, but...
Poured into a tulip.
Appearance was opaque coppery reddish brown with a creamy 2finger crandberry off-white head that quickly settled. not much lacing, everything is creamy and wants to settle back in the glass.
S: Tart and sweet, acidic and alcoholy. Sweet malts, dulce de leche candy.
T: my goodness. the very first sensation on the tongue is tart, sour. quickly turns to deep woody malt. Sweetens up quite a bit in the middle - all about the malt as described on the beer list - buttressed by plenty of dried fruit, apricots and prunes, mixed with caramel candy, floral, but pinned down. Vaporous & breathy alcohol apparent throughout without being cloying. Swirling in the mouth brings out the sourness (sour red ale), still pinned down and going many complex directions. At this point I was hit with the realization that I was tasting something unbelievable. The tartness told me that this beer was pushing some limit, aged to the point that it had become a totally different beast. I'm elated. The Aftertaste is woody and tart. As this warmed a bit, it just became all the more pronounced and complex.
MF: creamy, milky forgiving. The ultimate mouthfeel for this style and probably for any beer
D: no pints? I need to run errands tonight? How did I leave this at one glass? I could have an adventure all night with this one.
Thanks Monk's!

Photo of STKPICR0720
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew is deceiving . It truly comes across as a very easy to drink brew and the pop of the abv is hidden. This beer drinks like a smooth DIPA to me rather than a barley. Then after another sip it drinks like a barleywine. My hat is off to SN for this brew and I hope they keep them coming. I can't wait to try next years. I put a couple back for the cellar. Awesome brew

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

Ah, Bigfoot. One of my favorites.

Appearance: Dark mahogany, 2 finger white fluffy head. Incredible lacing.

Smell: Crisp. Piney hops, citrus, amazing! Little alcohol scent but nothing frightening.

Taste: Mmm.. Hops! Just like the smell. I knew there was a reason why I love this beer so much. Its delicious! Perfect hop and malt balance. Well hidden alcohol.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. Alcohol is so well hidden behind the hops and aromas. Very good Sierra!

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

12 oz. bottle, vintage 2010, well stored in a temperature controlled environment. Poured into a Dogfish Head Snifter with nucleation etching.

Pours a tremendous two finger head, which settles down rapidly to a lingering ¼” cap. Beautiful, very deep amber color. Has a great “presence” in the glass. Thick lacing hangs on the side of the glass marking every sip. Just beautiful!

Distinct and powerful nose of piney hops when first poured. The hops settle down a little with some time and warming, and allows the rich malt to come out to be enjoyed along with a wonderful ale yeast. That being said the hops dominate this ale from the first sip to the last. Thank you God!

The taste is just a monster rush of piney hops and rich distinct roasted malt, with crisp acidity giving balance. Very full bodied. Long lingering malt in the middle, but it can never shake off the incredible hop component of this ale. The hop oil sticks to the roof of your mouth like glue. Nice carbonation rises from the nucleation etching but it’s not over done, giving this ale a very pleasant mouthfeel.

Long, long lingering finish of piney bitter hops, rich malt, and a touch of yeast. It just goes on forever, like the Energizer Bunny. I may never brush my teeth again.

This ale is just flat out delicious. A great American Style Barleywine. The 9.6% ABV is completely buried by the intensity of the aroma and flavor. If this was not readily available every fall/winter the “Beer Snobs” would be killing themselves to get this, and writing A+ reviews like crazy. I often read in the forums of people asking for a great beer that is easier to find then the ones on the top 10 list, well look no further folks, here it is. I buy a case or two every year and at less than $60 this is a bargain. This is one of my favorite Barleywine Style Ales along with a recent find from Troegs, Flying Mouflan.

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

Bigfoot 2009

Sierra Nevada was the brewery that got me into craft beer, Bigfoot 07 was my introduction to "big" beers late in 2008. I looked forward to sampling 2009 while it was fresh, and then keeping some to drink in the future. Served in a red wine glass Bigfoot has a dark copper color with a half inch head that leaves a nice pasting on the sides of the glass. The scent of the beer provides a strong nose of carmel malts and citrusy hops. Bigfoots flavor is a complex mix of malty/citrus with a crisp hops finish. The beers body has a chewy mouthfeel with good carbonation. Bigfoot is a very drinkable barleywine at 9.6%, it tastes great and warms the stomach on those cold winter nights.

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

2011 vintage poured from a 12oz stubby bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint.

Pours a nearly brilliant amber with a small amount of cream colored foam. As the foam dies, it leaves very nice sticky lacing. A thin layer of foam remains indefinitely.

Aromas of sweet malt blend perfectly with classic west coast hops. Grassy, grapefruit and herbal aromas burst from the glass. There no need to stick my nose into the glass, I can get it all from several feet away. Fantastic.

The taste of Bigfoot is everything that I want in an American Barleywine. Strong bitterness with a great malt backbone that supports the flavor, bitterness and aroma of the huge hop presence. Wonderful hop flavors mingle with a clean malty body. Deep caramel malts that really are well rounded and not sharply sweet.

Mouthfeel is full, but the carbonation does a nice job of keeping the palate scrubbed and not letting big foot get too heavy in the mouth. The finish is firm and bitter and leaves me ready for the next pull.

Drinkability is great for s barleywine. Slightly warming, but not heavy in the belly. I could drink this all day. Probably not, but it would be fun to try.

Big foot is one of my favorites. The only thing id love more would be a oaked version. Superb.

Photo of dhd1491
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one instantly makes my top ten list.

I've not had a barleywine-style ale since visiting England several years ago. My wife's grandfather foisted a barleywine on me that was like fermented motor oil. I've avoided the genre ever since.

My eyes have been opened. This brew assaults the senses with bitter and sweet, malty and alcoholy (new word). All is in perfect, delicate balance. BIG BIG BIG flavor. More hops than can be believed. Dripping with caramel and butter. Thick and chewy. Alcohol heat. Sip or be buzzed.

Wow. Can't wait to try some of the other barleywines recommended by my fellow BA's.

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

Undoubtedly, and without question, AN AMERICAN CLASSIC. I have such a tremendous amount of respect for this brewery.

My sample poured a deep amber - almost copper color - with a small amount of lacing.

The aroma was a mixture of piney, citrusy, and almost grassy/herbal qualities from the hops; alcohol; and a massive malt backbone.

The taste? Fuggedaboutit. Outstanding. A massive beer that has found a perfect balance between a high amount of hops, the perfect body and mouthfeel, and a warming alcohol effect.

Overall, a very drinkable (dare I say sippable) beer, and I'm enjoying every sip of it. Bravo.

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

Aroma of liquorice, grapes, hops, some malt, pine, alcohol and cinnamon. The pour is a very bright red when viewed by a lamp with a tannish-orangey head that laced nicely and stuck around. The taste grabs hold with a citrusy bite right from the start... liquoricey, nice malty aftertones, and a tasty hop finish. Warm alcohol feeling in the belly and the back of the throat - just like a barleywine!.

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

Appearance: Dark amber, almost mahogany in color. Yellow head that quickly dissipates.

Aroma: Nice floral aroma. With barley wines I'm used to an upfront sweet smell mixes with phenol notes. I like this already.

Taste: Right away I got the sweet barley wines taste. However, the bold hops used meshed beautifully with this ale. I really enjoyed the intermingling of the sweet and bitterness. Two big thumbs up!

Mouthfeel: Not over carbonated which is appropriate for this style.

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

Has a brown/amber color, slightly cloudy. The head is a very light tan. Unfortunately it didn't have as much of a head as I would have liked. It is a very appealing beer, though.

Very appealing smell. I can tell that this will be a fairly hoppy beer; I also smell some fruitiness and maybe a little alcohol.

The taste blew me a away. I was a little apprehensive about barelywines at first because I knew that they are one of the strongest beers, but this one is incredible. This is what I've been looking for in a beer that I haven't been able to find in an IPA. Great hop flavor, but not overpowering. This is perfectly complemented with a slight sweetness that makes the beer incredibly smooth do drink. Even as it warms up I can't yet taste the alcohol. As it warms the beer feels maltier and the alcohol begins to show its head, though just enough to give me a warm sensation.

Very lightly carbonated, this beer leaves an oily, sticky feeling in my mouth and on my lips, which I'm told is from the hops. Gives me a warm feeling as I drink it.

As I said before, this is a really smooth beer dispite it's strength. If it hadn't been for all the things I've read about barleywines telling me to sip it slowly, I think I would have finished this beer in 15 minutes.

A delicious beer. I do believe that I'll have to change my BeerAdvocate profile say that Barleywine is my favorite style. I can't wait to try more Barleywines and hopefully start brewing them.

Photo of King_KongDCO93
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle

A: dark reddish amber. Nice half inch of off-white head

S: lost of hop aroma and roasted malts notes

T: Wow, really has a nice balance of hopes and malts. it truly is bittersweet. Its has some spicy notes as well and the spice blends extremely well with with the other flavors.

M: feels creamy and warmer

O: Extremely balanced beer Hops+Malts+Spice=balanced beer

love the big foot under the bottle cap

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

2006 edition

A: Pours a mahogany color with a large head for a barleywine. Lots of sticky lace is left on the snifter.

S: The smell explodes with hops and includes aromas of pine and spices

T: A perfectly balanced barleywine, the taste presents caramel and fruity flavors up front followed by a full hop flavor in the finish. Just the right amount of bitterness with a moderate amount of alcohol in the finish.

M: Heavy, chewy, and sticky with the perfect amount of carbonation.

D: It's not everyday that I can drink a beer like this, but this is definitely the best barleywine that I've had so far. The alcohol is a little too prominent right now; in a few years I think this will be truly great.

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

I've just recently been introduced the the Barleywine style, as this is only my second offering.

Pours a wonderful brown color with red tinges. Good foamy head. Smells of citrus and sugars. Taste is indescribable. So sweet, but bitter enough to balance it. The hops are citrusy, yet the malt is candylike. Its just amazing, and it goes down oh so smooth. A truly wonderful offering from SN.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 6,946 ratings.