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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,934 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,934
Hads: 7,078
Avg: 4.14
pDev: 17.63%
Wants: 384
Gots: 1,580 | FT: 76
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,934 | Hads: 7,078
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.

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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.

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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!.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Photo of sweetbrew82
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. into a snifter/ '09 version

P: Reddish-brown from the bottle, crimson-shaded plum in the glass. 2 fingered light tan head is thick and creamy with decent retention. Sticky lacing left in notches.

A: Piney & citrusy hops, biscuity malts, caramel, and some earth.

T: Oh baby, the hophead in me is jumping for joy! It starts sweet from the malts, but the hops soon crush any incling of this being a malt bomb. The hop profile consists of brown sugar-crusted grapefruits, oranges, pine sap, and a touch of herbal spice. So fresh and juicy, it flirts with entering the DIPA territory. In fact, I've had DIPA's that can't match this. Sweet malts try in vain to hold their own, but it's clear who the star of this show is. There is also a caramel sweetness in there that plays off of the bitterness quite well. Alcohol is well-hidden for this big of an ABV.

M & D: Full-bodied, luxuriously smooth, and a bit chewy. Great drinkability for this big of a beer. Although, I'm not sure how many I could drink before I find myself on the kitchen floor!

Notes: Definitely the most hop-forward barleywine I've had to date. Superb west coast hop bill that rivals DIPA's, with some sweet malts and caramel in the background to complement. I am officially blown away by this superb offering from Sierra Nevada. Highly recommended!

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

Appearance is of a thick creamy foam with nicely retentive lacing; and a dark burgundy color. Aroma consists of citrus hops and spruce. Banana, brown sugar and malt chime in. Initial taste has bitter hops that bite back, followed by sweet malt and crackers; there is yeast and cookie dough, settling down to a dry finish. Very complex and very well crafted. Wonderful.

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

This was their 2008, 25th Expedition offering. The beer poured a clear deep reddish-amber with creamy almond head into a 12-oz pilsner glass. The smell was of sweet malt, hops, and alcoholic esters. The taste was that classic Bigfoot signature of intense hop bitterness, balanced beautifully with the sweet, fruity malt background. I look forward to this release every year - a barleywine against which all other barleywines should be judged.

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Photo of WaveRebel51
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 edition. Mmmmm. Looks and smells tasty. Deep amber hue, and is very thick. A deep fragrant aroma -- nice mix of floral hops, sweet malts and an earthy character ... the tastebuds are bombarded with complex flavors. Starts out with a malts, then strong hop bitterness finished off with malt sweetness. Yummy. So thick, I'd bet you could drizzle this over a piece of cheesecake for a wonderful after dinner treat.

EDIT -- 2008 edition. I think I sold this one short when reviewing the 2007. The flavor profile is excellent, as you get the whole range from the sweet malts up front to the hop bitterness in the finish. Can't wait to let this one sit for a year and revisit.

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

Ahh, my annual gift from the hop gods. This is one of the best looking beers in a glass, beautiful deep amber. The aroma is intoxicating, with incredible pine, grapefruit, and floral scents. The first sip causes your taste buds to stand upright out of sheer hop shock, but they soon catch on and realize that they're experiencing one of the true pleasures of life. Once that happens (about half-way through the glass), you can really focus on the complexities: a slight malty sweetness, the alcohol (not overpowering, but definitely there), the lingering pine and citrus. It's terrific now; it'll be out of this world after it ages a bit.

2001 bottling: Something magical has happened over the last couple months. My 2001 has aged and mellowed perfectly. The trademark hoppiness is still there, but is now balanced by just a hint of sweetness (like caramelized fruit). Outstanding. Unfortunately, I have only one left, so I can only hope my 2002's age as well (and I exhibit a bit more patience than I did with the 2001's). I marvel at Sierra Nevada's craftsmanship.

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

Dark purplish color, beneath a tan head. Aroma is fantastic, fresh, roasty, spicy, full of notes of caramel, toffee, nuts, berries, a beautiful blend. The alcohol content, also, is evident in the nose. Thick texture, not to be approached lightly. Take care, good friends, when confronting the species Bigfooticus Barleywinicus. Very warming, very friendly, heat and flavor floods and fills the mouth., hell, it takes over your entire head! An everlasting spark carries through this classic brew, loads of hops, backed up with a full load of malt. Always formidable, always enjoyable. I'm glad we can always count on finding Bigfoot at least once a year!
2002 edition.

Found a bottle of the 1999 edition at a store, Wow!, pre-cellared, so why sit on it longer, it's nearly 5 years old already, let's crack it and see...beautiful, bright crimson color, full, thick, fresh, bubbly, creamy head. Roasty, rich, fruity, yeasty, bread-y, biscuit-y, just amazing, uplifting, alive and luscious and lovely and ...surprisingly smooth on meeting the tongue, yet full of amazing flavor, and incredibly drinkable, fully fruity, woody, nutty, boozy, let's not forget...
hmmm, while I'm at it, why not review the 2003?
Eh, this is plenty...my devotion to Bigfoot is again justified, and I've kicked up the rankings a notch or two, for I've had further reason to bow down before it's greatness...certainly, I've never been able to "cellar" this brew this long on my own, for it's pull is irresistible, and I've always been pulled to drink it fresh down my gullet...oh, it's a mighty and a beautiful thing!
To answer myself so quickly, the 2003, after nearly a year is magnificent as you'd expect, full of rich flavor...yum, yum, yum...I'm sorry did I say "yum" yet?

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Photo of Chiefy770
4.71/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 batch. Poured from a 12 fluid ounce bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: A very hazy brown body with an amber glow is topped off with a beige bubbly head. The head collapse and leaves wads of sticky lacing throughout.

Smell: Incredibly rich aromas of caramel, toffee and bread make up the base. Astringent notes of citrus, particularly orange, stand out as well.

Taste: Bold sweet malts hit the tongue first. Caramel, brown sugar, and burnt toast. The hops explode on impact and turn the sweet notes into very bitter notes. Part of this bitterness is from the alcohol. Floral notes from the hops. A surprisingly dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Full body. Medium carbonation. More carbonation than I would expect from a barleywine... perhaps this is why the hops maintain their flavor so well.

Overall: This is my first time trying Bigfoot. Definitely contains a lot more hops than I anticipated... not that it's a bad thing though. The flavor is superb by my preference. The only problem I had was with the balance. The malts did not linger around long enough for me to taste their full essence. Perhaps that is something that will fix itself in the cellar.

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Photo of pyrohsmok
4.71/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'll amend this review to be more professional but never have I been so compelled to rate a beer since Ruination IPA. This beer is a credit to the style. I was never impressed with Sierra Nevada until now. SLIGHTLY sweet malty thick canvas sets the stage for GLORIOUS resinous hops to paint a picture of grapefruits and pine. A feast for the nose as well as the palate. I would drink this over any DIPA/IPA any day. This is just amazing for a "Barleywine style Ale". I'm.. I'm just blown away. I tried to objectively taste an American Pale Ale after a palate cleansing but I can't. This beer might stick with me for days like Ruination or Stone IPA.

Bottom Line. Pick one up at least. Try it. Be amazed.

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Photo of MisterClean
4.71/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle, bought from the SN brewery

A - Gorgeous, deep auburn to light brown in body, tan head, nice legs, dissipates slow and evenly.

S - Brown sugar, cloves, and candied plums.

T - Amazing. Plums, light earthy hops, slight ester, and a faint bit of pine hops.

M - Smooth, with a light bitterness. I could not taste any alcohol, we sure it is a 9.6?

D - Friggin great, wish the ABV wasn't so high, but it comes with the barleywine territory.

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Photo of ch196h
4.71/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

In my opinion this is the beer that should serve as part of the new standard for an American Barleywine style ale. The hop profile on this is simply divine whether you are drinking a fresh batch beer or one that has aged in the cellar for 2-3 years. If does have minor variation for each vintage year, my favorite so far being circa 2012, but it is consistently excellent. While these are no longer sold in 6-packs and they are a bit pricey, it is certainly worth the cost to buy a couple of 4-packs. Drink 2-3 now and cellar the rest to see how they develop with age.

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Photo of Jmoore50
4.71/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I just discovered I have never reviewed this fantastic beer. Well I have a fresh 2010 in front of me, so I figured this would be a good 200th review.

The appearance is beautiful, a dark stained cherry wood color that is so clean and pure it makes me weep. It gives good head, something I really appreciate. It pours a three finger white frothy head that just sticks to everything it touches. The head never really goes away, it just gets a bit smaller and leaves a fat lacing. It has everything I want in appearance, good color, good head, good alcoholic legs, good lacing.

The smell is of strong citrus hops and sweet bready malts. A bit of cherries as well.

The taste is of strong fruity hops paired with very sweet caramel malts. There are cherries and peaches and lemon peel with an earthy flavor. Strong wisps of alcohol come in different waves. Apricots and plumbs in some aftertastes. This is fairly fruity with so much backbone. Perfectly balanced on the palate and incredibly drinkable. I love this beer for everything it stands for. It is not too strong, 9.6% ABV, and it is not thrown in any barrels. This is just another example of why Sierra Nevada deserves to be the top brewery in the country.

Drinkability, well this is my fourth bottle for the night so I would say it is pretty good.


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Photo of fields336
4.71/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle poured into my SN snifter.

reviewed on 6/17/11

A: Dark amber, brown color with creamy one finger head dissipates slowly, leaving rings of lacing.

S: Dark fruits amidst a hoppy blast. Almost DIPA-like. Can smell the alcohol behind it

T: wow, extremely hoppy. West coast style, piney and citrus hops present. Blasted with hops, behind that is a dark fruity almost winey taste including alcoholy undertone.

M:Creamy, almost chewy, then hops and carbonation blast it away, making you forget about anything else.

O: Just an excellent beer. I'm not well versed in barleywines admittedly, but this is one of the best. This is almost DIPA-like, and i love it.

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Photo of jdklks
4.72/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I did a back to back tasting of the 2008 and 2009. they are very different and both very good.

A- Murky, impenetrable copper-brown body with a frothy tan head that has great retention and leaves a thick lacing.

S- Hops. sweet maltiness. citrus fruits.

T- Malts and sweet fruits up front with a bitter hop finish. however, the malts reassert themselves and dominate the aftertaste.

M- It's definitely a full bodied barleywine. perfect amount of carbonation, and smooth throughout.

D- the drinkability is pretty ddamn good considering the fullness and the abv.

A- Dark, see-through amber brown color with a small off-whitish tan head that minimally laces the glass.

S- Hops and malt.

T- Just like the smell, it's hops and malt. a great, balanced blend. more malt up front while the hops are pronounced in the finish. hardly any of the sweetness that dominated the initial flavor of the 2008. again, lots of hops, especially compared with previous years. has a less intense aftertaste as well.

M- not as carbonated as the 2008, which is surprising considering that the 2008 has a year on it. a little bit lighter body than the 2008 as well.

D- the drinkability of the 2009 is higher due to it being slightly less "full."

Overall, the 2008 is better RIGHT NOW than the 2009, if you didn't get that from the reviews. however, the 2009 definitely has promise for aging. they are both excellent.

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Photo of cbros
4.72/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 edition poured into a snifter glass.

I have several years of this particular beer but I decided to finally review the newest edition. Pours a very respectable deep amber with a nice one finger white lacing. The longer you let the beer warm up the better it becomes. After 20+ minutes the beer has settled into a nice rhythm. The balance of the malts and hops give a very balanced beer, especially for it being the newest edition. The taste is a parallel of the smell with a nice smooth balance of flavors that ends in smoothly with a hint of sharp alcohol flavoring. If the beer tastes this good as a newcomer I can't wait to taste it in a few years!!

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.72/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 bottle pured into a snifter. Yes! I have been waiting for this one for awhile now. The color is nice amber-red with a short white head that needed a little coaxing. The smell was slightly piney and really awesome. I actually had to sniff the beer for a couple minutes before I took my first drink. the taste was very hoppy pine with a slight hint of bubblegum. I don't know where that comes from but I have detected it in Ruination at times. I didn't get any of the chocolate flavors that are showing up in the 06 right now. This beer was amazing fresh and it will probably only get better. I think I better buy another case before this stuff is gone!

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Photo of XxNitExX
4.72/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 12oz bottle into SA Pint glass

A- Pours a delicious mahogony color with a nice light tan head with large bubbles and beautiful lacing.

S- Can immediately tell this is an American Barleywine as it smells like an IPA! Smells of wonderful citrus and peppery hops with a small alcohol bite towards the end.

T- So smooth. Wonderful deep rich malts, complex hop flavor including earthy, peppery and citrusy hops. Has a very strong alcoholic middle and a smooth crisp finish.

M- Carbonated just right for the style. Coats the mouth and stays there. Not harsh, but just exactly right.

Overall a very strong beer, having aged some bottles they do become mellower as they age. Would be nice to do a 3 to 5 year vertical comparing them.

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Photo of 51mmz0rz
4.72/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This review was of the 2006:

A: Small tan head, but it's thick; strong. The body is cloudy and mysterious, like a foreign planet. Bubbles struggle to move through the deep brown body of the beer.

S: Smell is rich, with a honey sweetness and slight alcohol tinge. The smell of old malt gives it a distinguished aroma. I can tell I'm going to have to sip this one.

T: First sip: Malt, hops, malt, alcohol and layers upon layers of flavors. They hit in distinct sections; amazingly well choreographed beer. Malt honey sweetness, hop bitterness and bite, and roasty malt on the finish. A song.

M: Thick and coating; fits the style.

D: A beer to enjoy slowly for sure, with exceptional and varied palate.

2008 version poured into a tall Adnams glass.

A: Nice thick head with a unique light orange color. The body is pretty clear and fiery red, probably the reddest beer I've seen. Head has good staying power, and the lacing is excellent.

S: I smelled this beer as soon as I opened the bottle. Nice hoppy aroma and a sweet malt in the background.

T: Huge hops flavors, I personally don't taste much malt. Lots of bitterness, and it lingers. I think this could use some aging to curb that a little.

M: Mouthfeel is good, maybe slightly thick, with normal carbonation.

D: The lingering bitterness and high abv make this one to sip.

I'll be interested to cellar a few of these and check back in a few months.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,934 ratings.