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

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,775 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5775
Reviews: 2782
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 11.57%

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
Ratings: 5,775 | Reviews: 2,782 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Lemke10


4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 edition pours a semi-clear, dark amber color with a fizzy beige head. The aroma is very malty with lingering hints of bitter hops. The taste is bold with raw barley flavors and finishes with a strong hop after taste. Well made and very flavorful.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2014 02:09:41 | More by Lemke10
Photo of BradC


4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark copper color, nice head and lacing.

Smells of raisins, dark fruit and caramel.

Tastes is sweet up front with some raisin, fig, caramel and then a solid bitter hop finish

Moderately carbonated but still easy drinking, alcohol is not hot but pretty smooth

Overall, great American Barleywine, a style I'm getting to know better. Grabbed another of these to age of awhile, but not sure that it needs it.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2014 02:30:33 | More by BradC
Photo of Premo88


3.54/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into tulip
(12/6/12 bottled date ... drinking 3/2/14)

L: dark amber, almost pure red; clear but lots of debris floating in column; solid inch of off-white to light tan head that popped up almost on its own -- I gave it a pretty light pour; classic Sierra Nevada stick off the head

S: sweet, sweet caramel with pine hops ... but that pine is very subdued by the sweetness; maple syrup; mango

T: big hop bite but, like the nose, subdued some by a sweet caramel taste; quite bitter, hop taste is pine and just plain raw bitter; lots of sweet caramel, toffee; crazy as it sounds, wood ... just a hint here as it warms up of a chunk of oak or pecan wood -- might be some kind of spicy (black pepper) note from the hops

F: syrupy but still drinkable ... quite full; plenty of carbonation.

O: very hard for me to distinguish this from most American double IPAs ... loads of bitter hops and caramel sweet.

it has plenty of character, lots of nuance and different notes that continue to pop up. I drank one of these in early August, and it was much more bitter with a more noticeable alcohol taste. over six months later (and a beer aged at least 14 months), the hop bite is still big but at times subdued, and I can feel the alcohol but can't taste it. wouldn't mind aging this another 6-12 months just out of curiosity.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2014 23:05:21 | More by Premo88
Photo of spoony


4.16/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a 12 oz bottle (2014 edition) into a snifter.

A-An aggressive pour produces about one and one-half fingers of dense, light-tan head. The retention is pretty good at more than two minutes with very little reduction in height. The beer is a dark-tawny color and mostly clear. A bit of carbonation is visible.

S-The aroma is almost hot, but strangely charming. For a barleywine, there is a good dose of bitter hops, which adds to the medicinal, heating sensation of the alcohol. Balancing out the heat and hops is a sweet mixture of caramel, vanilla, malted barley, and a bit of molasses sweetness. Its a bit rough, but quite appealing.

T-The taste follows the smell with bitter, boozy warmth coming on strong throughout the palate. The flavors are as described above (caramel, vanilla, bitter hops, sweetness) with a finish that gives a light kick of citrus and reminds me of cognac. The whole thing is rough and a bit wild, but I kept drinking it and finished both bottles (over two night) thinking that I enjoyed it.

M-The body is a bit light for the style with a tingle of carbonation.

O-This is a big, brash beer and thoroughly enjoyable on a cold winter evening. I'm not sure how the bitterness and alcohol heat work so well together but they do. Barleywine isn't a style a drink often, but I'm glad that I have two more bottles in my four-pack to age and watch how they develop.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2014 17:14:52 | More by spoony
Photo of bigmo66


4.61/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was reaching for my"go to" Founders Breakfast Stout when I spotted this beer from SN so I gave it a shot. From the bottle into a schooner it pours a beautiful caramel color with a good head and plenty of lacing. I've had other Barleywines but none seem to have the hops that this ale does.

Smell - pine, citrus, sweet fruits
Mouth feel - plenty of carbonation, dry
Taste - this is where I was pleasantly surprised. Really complex without being a mess. Ultra-hops, but with enough sweetness to balance it out. Doesn't let on that it is nearly 10% alc. although you'll know soon enough!

I like this even better than Torpedo and will be bummed when it's gone. It's a great offering and at $7.99 a bargain. I should probably pick up more and store it in the cellar for a year.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2014 00:23:44 | More by bigmo66
Photo of buzzardman


4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Unaged fresh Bigfoot.
Aroma: Sweet malt, hint of a candy scent.

Appearance: One finger head, brown body with slight red tint.

Flavor: Sweet malt, pine hops. Very sweet candy like upfront followed by huge bitter pine hops. I can see why this is better aged.

Mouth: Heavy, thick, and syrupy.

Overall: Really good beer. A little heavy being unaged with a lot of sweetness but also has a nice bitter finish. I do enjoy this with about a year of aging on it, the heavy sweetness drops over time but the piney hops do remain with age.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2014 23:15:03 | More by buzzardman
Photo of TeamMathis

West Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Reddish amber. Minimal lace.
Smell: Strong and malty.
Taste: Pepper, pine, malt, and alcohol.

I wish this was year round. I love it. I think it's even better than last year's (drinking the 2014). Thankfully, out of sheer willpower I saved some of the 2013, so I'll try in comparison. The smell and taste are both big, and the look is beautiful and inviting. The taste is piney and bitter, with a malt all around. It's rather complex to be able to define particulars, but the total experience is excellent. I will get this every year.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2014 04:33:53 | More by TeamMathis
Photo of WhiteHillsStore


4.04/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Big beers sometimes turn off newcomers to craft beer. I was actually given five when two friends heard good things and didn't care for it because it was too strong. These people are wrong.
The smell and feel of this beer are my favorite parts of it. It has a semi-sweet smell and flavor and fills your mouth even if you're just sipping. The taste comes in strong at first, and then you begin to taste the little touches of wheat and the malt they use. One of the few criticisms I have about the beer is that the end has a bit of a sour feel and the aftertaste lasts a bit too long. If you're a fan of big barley wine style beer, then let me know. I need two new friends now.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2014 20:35:00 | More by WhiteHillsStore
Photo of CowsandBeer


4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle pulled from the cellar. Picked up as part of a six pack, bottled in 2012. Served chilled in a Blind Tiger Brewery snifter.

Appearance: Poured straight down the middle produces 3 fingers of cream colored head. Clear reddish brown body. For a barleywine with a bit of time on it’s got great head retention and nice lacing.

Aroma: Lots of woody, resiny pine hoppyness up front. A rich maltyness backs up the hops. The malts are fruity and resemble toasted marshmallows. An aromatic alcohol comes out at the end.

Taste: Lots of hops up front; very herbal, woody and earthy. The malts do come through with a kind of candied date/pruneyness in the middle. Soapy hops finish with some floral alcohol.

Mouthfeel: A chewy full body. Low carbonation. While it’s a warming beer it is in no way too boozy. If anything it’s too herbal and bitter.

Overall: A brash hoppy strong ale. Are American barleywines the true “American Strong Ales”? It’s all herbal, resiny hops here with a rich malt backbone to back it all up. Despite being about two years old at this point it’s still way hoppy. A perfect beer to try each year and see how it progresses.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2014 02:56:47 | More by CowsandBeer
Photo of Retroman40


4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Beautiful copper color with a good lasting head.

S - An explosion of hops and malt.

T - Strong malt flavor with excellent hopping.

M - Creamy with excellent carbonation level.

O - I expected a lot and got it with this one. The only knock is that as the beer warmed the 9.6% ABV became evident. Of course, if you are going to drink beers like this you have to be ready for that. This is a great brew worthy of a try.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2014 01:41:47 | More by Retroman40
Photo of Beermasterjarrett


4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz into pint, fresh 2014

Looking good sierra, nice burnt amber. Great head on this guy

Smells like a sweeter version of the hoptimum. If memory serves, this drinks like a DIPA . some nice dry hop aroma

Yup. Huge hop assault, pine, spice, grapefruit. Some major malt back to really just flip your taste buds upside down.

What a great finish, great malt really makes this a long finish and turns this guy into a sipper.

Another great offering from S.N. Give 'em a year and I bet....

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2014 06:54:50 | More by Beermasterjarrett
Photo of braican


4.06/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2014 bottle poured into a glass.

Pours a hazy, deep amber with a thin head. Thin, slightly off white lacing stays with me all the way down the glass.

Smells sweet and malty at first. Almost a bit boozy as well.

Initial thought is how smooth it is for a higher gravity beer. Very soft, almost creamy mouthfeel, and a very full flavor. Sweet toasted malt and honey give way to a piney hoppiness. I swear I get a bit of vanilla as well. Finishes somewhat dry, with a lingering bitterness. Definitely has that Sierra Nevada feel.

Not the most complex or flavorful barleywine style beer I've had; I'd almost say that it can be a good introduction to the style.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2014 01:17:11 | More by braican
Photo of brutusmuktuk


4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Copper colored ale with a small white head. Smells sweet like honey. Has a sweet flavor along with a whole lot of bitterness. I wonder what aging would do to this one. Very enjoyable. Plus, it has the best bottle cap art (at the bottom end of the bottle cap) I have seen.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2014 17:50:23 | More by brutusmuktuk
Photo of CTbrew32


3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2013 bottle
Aroma has traces of citrus hops, light fruits, and caramel malts. At first the taste is a balance of citrus hop and caramel malt with a tiny bit of alcohol. As this wams up the caramel malt takes over, the hoppiness subsides to a bright fruity taste, which balances very well with the strong malt presence. Overall this is a really good beer that ages well, but ive had it fresh too and it tasted good then too(just a hoppier version).

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2014 20:15:01 | More by CTbrew32
Photo of Copernicus


3.53/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 12oz. bottle of the 2014 into a snifter.

Not sure if a full review is even necessary; this one NEEDS some age. I'll probably buy a second bottle and wait a few years to then do a vertical tasting.

A: It pours a deep mahogany, nutty brown with ruby undertones...somewhere between amber and amber brown. It forms a good off-white head and a foamy lace. There is a slight haze.

S: It smells of nice spicy malt with a sturdy hop background. It's piney, like a wet boreal forest. It also displays some nice medium dried fruit like apricot and orange along with some clove and brown sugar.

T: It's bittersweet but well-balanced. It could even develop some sherry qualities when it ages. It's not too biting despite its alcohol content, but age will mellow it out even more. It tastes young, incomplete, like unripened fruit.

O: All of the makings of a good quaff are there, but the verdant flavors need a few years to work out their differences. Everything felt and tasted too spread out and disconnected, not fully integrated.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2014 19:54:40 | More by Copernicus
Photo of Leviathan5


4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage, aged 1 year

A - Reddish amber color, with a beige/cream 2 finger head, that dissipates but leaves a nice and permanent lacing

S - Predominantly hoppy, with resin and citrus touches. You can notice a little bit of the alcohol

T - The first taste is of hops, with a resin touch. Then the malts appear, mainly with caramel characteristics. Nice hoppy aftertaste

M - Silky smooth on the tongue and palate, medium body and medium carbonatation

O - A really great beer, with a good balance between malts and hops. It'll be interesting to see how other bottles from this same vintage evolve. Totally recommendable

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2014 13:00:41 | More by Leviathan5
Photo of happilyhopped


4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle of 2014 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale, Opened on 1/15/14

A - A nice caramel color when held up to the light that gives way to red hues as you take the glass away from the light. A nice head with some solid lacing. Although i swirl the glass a bunch so i have no idea about the retention of the lacing.

S - A ton of the hops hit your nose like a brick when you first smell. Also some grape leaves and white pepper, probably from the hops as well. I'm not getting much of the malt at all on the nose, but do get some of the alcohol.

T - When I first sip this beer i get all the carmel and sweetness of the malt immediately, but only for a second before the intense spicy, bitterness from the hops kicks in. But after the initial smack in the face from the hops, the caramel sweetness returns with a little bit of baker's chocolate in there as well. Also getting some lingering heat from the alcohol.

M - Solid mouthfeel. Not too syrupy like some barleywines, although i would prefer a little less carbonation in this beer considering all the flavor it has. Sometimes i feel that too many bubbles take away from some the the flavors.

O - Overall i like this beer, and if you are a person that likes an intense hop character in their beer, then drink this fresh. I am going to cellar the rest of these for a while hoping that some of the hop intensity fades so i can get even more of the malt backbone in this beer.


12oz Bottle of 2008 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale, Opened on 2/9/14

**I opened this beer side by side with a 2014 edition to see how time in the cellar effects the beer**

A - The beer is still a caramel/brownish kind of color, but is much more cloudy and murky than the 2014. It also is a bit more brown than the 2014, which has more orange and red on the peripheries of the glass when held up to the light. Almost no head on the pour, but the bubbles are noticeably more orangey brown than the 2014 which has whiter bubbles.

S - The smell is incredibly different then the 2014. Tons of malt and caramel on the nose right away. Almost like a milk chocolate kind of smell. None of the hop aroma comes through and no strong alcohol flavor like the fresh version. This smells amazing.

T - A really hearty bread taste right away, like eating saltless tuscan bread. Also getting a flavor similar to blue cheese stuffed dates that combines very well with the bread taste. But after that there is still a bunch of the hop bitterness working through. Surprised how much of the hoppy bitterness is still on this beer after 6 years in the bottle. But i like hops so this isn't a bad thing.

M - A bit more syrupy than the fresh version which is expected, but still not as much as some english style barleywines. The over carbonation that i didn't care for as much on the fresh version is gone and there is the perfect amount for my liking so you can smell and taste everything in the beer.

O - I definitely prefer the aged version to the fresh version. Both are good in their own right, but I love the front end flavors on this beer so much more than the fresh one and i prefer the slightly less carbonation too. So much richer and more developed than the fresh version. Still think the beer would be good with more years on it, but it is delicious now if you have any and were wondering.

2008 Rating:
A: 4.25
S: 4.75
T: 4.75
M: 4.25
O: 4.5

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2014 22:14:02 | More by happilyhopped
Photo of DenverHopHead


4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. The cap as presented, sucks...however, turn to the inside and an image of a yeti sitting with two campers, having a beer by a campfire; nice touch!
Appearance - red, bubbly carbonation; big, thick creamy white head! Lacing is fantastic!
Smell - the only downer of this brew, but not bad. More hop forward in the nose, with a tame malt presence.
Taste - very flavorful; the ABV is very well hidden in this brew!
Feel - complex, and well balanced. Bitter hops, sweet malts and a very faint presence of warming alcohol!
Overall - Another terrific offering from Sierra Nevada; lower on my list of SN brews, but hanging with very good company!

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2014 04:50:22 | More by DenverHopHead
Photo of Redneckwine


4.41/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first barleywine! 12 oz bottle, superfresh 2014 edition

Appearance - What a fantastic looking beer. Hazy dark orange, superb rocky head retention, lots of sticky lacing.

Smell - Loads of sweet, floral, piney hops. Mild sweet caramel malt.

Feel/Taste - Silky smooth, sticky full body feel. Light carb carries the flavor well. Flavor is massive hops front and center with a piney, floral, citrusy attack. The malts catch up shortly after with a sweet but very well balanced earthy caramel note, but the hops catch back up on the finish in a big way and dominate with some assertive lingering bitterness and flavor.

Overall - Huge flavor, huge beer. The hop bite on the finish is a little too assertive for my tastes... but the malt balance is impeccable. I worried it was going to be too sweet, but it's just right and not cloying at all. Maybe the most amazing thing of all, the big ABV is nowhere to be found. A big, impressive brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2014 02:28:19 | More by Redneckwine
Photo of MrPlayboy


4.7/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2014 21:33:07 | More by MrPlayboy
Photo of nataku00


4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle, 2011 released, poured into a tulip glass. Beer pours a hazy mahogany with tinges of orange and red with two fingers of light tan foamy head with mostly small bubbles. Head retention is pretty good, stick around for several minutes before slowly dissipating, leaving sticky lacing.

Nose is candied orange peel, pine and herbal hops, caramel, red apple skin, bread malt, touch of alcohol.

A bit of hop bitterness remains after two years, orange peel, pine, grapefruit, light herbal and earthy hop, with caramel, bread malt. Not much alcohol on the taste, with a nice lingering citrus peel bitterness on the tongue.

Full body and slightly syrupy but lightened up a little by some decent soft carbonation. Nice to revisit this one after so long.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2014 04:10:32 | More by nataku00
Photo of a0lbudman


4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-clear dark copper color with a large white head that leaves a good lace
S-malty with a great hop flavor
T-pine resin hop kick with a slight malt background that goes to a hard hop finish
M-medium body and medium carbonation
O-this beer had a hard hop smell that did not disappoint you in the taste or the the finish

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2014 01:44:56 | More by a0lbudman
Photo of delta490


4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A- pours a nice clear mahogany with a tan creamy head. Head has nice retention and leaves nice lacing

S- aroma is a great blend of citrus hops and caramel malt (thinking toffee and some medium-light fruit)

T- the taste marches hand-in-hand with the aromas. Big bold hops flavors balance against the strong malt backbone

M- not as heavy and full feeling as other barleywines I've had, but it's in no way bad.

O- this is a big-flavored, well-made, barleywine

Serving type: growler

02-03-2014 22:34:46 | More by delta490
Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ


4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Amber/deep brown/orange color with a medium beige head
Strong hop presence along with caramel, malt and citrus
Malty, sweet and sugary come through first. Caramel and toffee emerge in the middle and it finishes with the strong taste of hops that lingers for a while. Mild alcohol presence, but is masked well for the most part.
I don’t drink barley wines too often, usually they are a bit too sweet for my liking, but on a cold Chicago winter’s evening, this really did the trick. Admittedly I haven’t experienced a ton of barley wines, but this one is my go to if I want one. Had 2 of them while watching TV and they hit me pretty well, so be careful!


Serving type: bottle

02-03-2014 17:47:24 | More by BeerandWhiskeyHQ
Photo of hopflyer


3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 version do this is aged a year or so.

Pours dark brownish orange with one finger head. Hazy and nearly opaque.

Aroma is typical of Sierra Nevada. subdued earthy hops on this with some breast maltiness. Reminds me of celebration ale I've been imbibing in the last 2 months with more malts.

Taste is rustic malts up front backed by a little bitterness from the hops. Some caramel sweetness is prevalent as well. Hops I remember on this have really faded but makes it more true to its labeled style. Sweetness prevails throughout with bitter aftertaste on every sip.

Definitely full bodied and sticky. nice carbonation.

Good offering from SN once again. The age really let the malty sweetness shine and overcome the hops. I like it.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2014 20:47:37 | More by hopflyer
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 5,775 ratings.