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

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Barrel-AgedSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Barrel-Aged

Educational use only; do not reuse.

203 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 203
Hads: 1,101
Avg: 4.14
pDev: 23.43%
Wants: 156
Gots: 586 | FT: 82
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  12.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Callenak on 12-05-2006

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 203 | Hads: 1,101
Photo of DavoleBomb
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

4.5 A: Clear deep amber color. Two fingers of beige frothy/creamy head. Retention is good given the ABV and a finger of lacing is left.

4.0 S: Oh boy, the barrel has had it's way with this. Exquisitely potent leather with a hint of charcoal. Tobacco, raisin, plum, melon. Oak with supple tannins and vanillins. Caramel and toffee. Resiny hops with herbal and earthy notes. Barrel forward nose that smells great.

3.5 T: Again this is mostly barrel and unfortunately I can taste the whiskey more than the beer. Again tons of leather, tobacco, and raisin. Plum, oak, and vanilla next followed by caramel and toffee. Herbal and earthy hop flavors. Moderate bitterness.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Lightly creamy with a tannic finish.

3.5 D: This sure if something. It's a whole hell of a lot of whiskey. I would prefer the barrel to complement the beer rather than dictate it.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.94/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml corked/caged bottle, split between a pair of chalices. I don't see a date anywhere on the bottle, except where it says, "2015 Expedition". I swear I've reviewed this beer before -- I remember trying it and liking it -- but there's no record of it here.

Pours deep brown-ruby with a small white head, slow and spare carbonation. Smell is vague, dark fruit, bourbon.

Taste is Bigfoot up front -- with a surprisingly delayed whiskey barrel finish. Strange how separate those two experiences seem right now. Heavy hops, strong alcohol, dark fruit.

Mouthfeel is smooth, a little oily. Overall, good beer - but not as good as I remember.

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Photo of Awolter
4.82/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage drank in mid September 2015. Strong toffee, caramel, oak, bourbon. Some bitterness left, not much. A delightful treat. Put a few years on it and it's spectacular. I absolutely love this beer.

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Photo of kaseydad
4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

This monster sat for a year.

Pours a nice clear amber colored ale with a not so large cream colored foamy head. No lacing at all.

Still getting good whiskey whiffs and the ever present Bigfoot stank....er....smells. Sweet hops, caramel and sticky sweet candy.

Taste is very whiskey forward but blends extremely well with the Foot base beer. Nice hops still present after a year and still a touch hot but way more mellow from sitting. Cola and brown sugar present and accounted for.

A tad thin for such a beast.

Overall this is a nice variant from the original Foot. The whiskey is a nice touch and gives it a nice warming kick but the base Foot is easily identifiable with each sip and reminds me that Bigfoot is not a lie.....if I believe it. Huh?

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Photo of BeerBuzzGuy
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Really tasty. On draft at brewery. Just the right amount of sweetness. The barrel adds just enough heat to this so you know you're drinking a hefty ABV without deterring from the pleasantness of a well rounded barley wine. It's not quite nectar from the gods, more like angel tears from a clear sky.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear amber color with a thin film of beige foam. Clear whiskey notes with some alcoholic notes. Taste is also full on whiskey. Sweet at first and bitter on the finish. Feels a lot like an Irish whiskey.

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Photo of BullDoza
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours translucent amber/orange-y color. Settles in to glass a deep amber/soil color. 1 finger, tight, cream head. Bubbles throughout. Not much in the way of alcohol legs.

N: Best part of the beer, IMO. Spirits from the barrel are there. Caramel. Raisin. Toasted coconut. Nice malty sweetness. As it warms, and I take a few big hearty "sniffs" the pine-y hops Bigfoot is known for are there.
*I did NOT read the back of the bottle prior to taking my notes and rating, but to my surprise...I damn near nailed what SN tells us we'll pick up on. Fairly happy with myself.*

T: Hops are more apparent; this is the Bigfoot ale I know. Whiskey/barrel character is there, but not front and center by any means. The hops steal the show. Very bitter toward middle of the palate. Finishes with an enjoyable (and needed) malt sweetness.

M: Medium. Fine. That is all.

O: I like the normal version. I like the BA version. The barrel adds quite a bit on the nose, and just enough on the taste. Solid beer and glad I picked it up.

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Photo of kkleu357
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Did a vertical tasting. Started with a 2014 Bigfoot, then 2015 Bigfoot, then finished with this 2015 BA Bigfoot. Quite honestly, they basically all taste the same. Not really getting much more from the BA version, except I paid a lot more. Pretty much a sweet but very hoppy IPA that happens to have some oak and whiskey taste.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.92/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2015 vintage. 750ml corked and caged bottle served in a tulip. Pours a hazy mahogany hue with a frothy, half-inch, off-white head that dissipates into a soapy slick. Some lacing, but no legs. Nose expresses ethanol, whiskey notes, toasted oak and a trace of caramel. Taste consistent with nose - whiskey is very much in the forefront and a medicinal ethanol quality follows; sweetness is masked. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body, perhaps a little thin. Carbonation is mild, but a little too assertive. All and all, this beer needs a few years to mellow out in my opinion. Much of the complexity is masked by the alcohol. If I had another bottle, I would open it somewhere between 2018-2020.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.56/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I feel like I popped this at the near perfect time given my preference on Bigfoot. The hops were still plenty pronounced even after 8 months of cellaring but it complemented the barrel notes wonderfully. Nice creamy feel and insanely drinkable for the high ABV. My recommendation would be to age it longer if you don't enjoy the spiciness of the hops in Bigfoot. If you like that hop character, drink it now. It's wonderful.

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Photo of uvachief
3.77/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle into a pint glass. Poured more brown than amber red. Big fluffy more brown than tan head as well. Smells like wet Piney hops instead of a sugary barley wine. Tastes more earthy as well. Thin like most barley wines. You do get bourbon on the front and back. Tastes like a barrel aged barley wine but needs a tad bit more sweetness for me. Not bad at all. Just not great.

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Photo of MUTINY
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a review of the 2015 edition.

750ml corked & caged bottle into my Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a hazy deep-amber/brown that shows more interesting reddish characteristics when held up to direct light. A fairly vigorous pour yields 1" of just off-white head that definitely lingers. Retention & lacing are both above-average.

S: Deep pitted fruit characters immediately grabbed my attention. Fig & date are both present along with hints of brighter berry characteristics. The Bourbon aspect is very subtle here on the nose, but quite pleasant. Brown sugar & what I'd characterize as roasted toffee help to round things out. The overall tone of the nose is somewhat sweet but deeply layered & mesmerizing.

T: Very similar to the nose with the addition of a much stronger Bourbon note. It leads with semi-sweet chocolate, vanilla & a healthy dose of pitted fruits that were present on the nose. The mid palate is unmistakeably boozy & Bourbony without much additional development of flavor. The finish is rather bitter & a pleasant change of pace from anything else that this brew has shown up to this point. Additional new flavors present themselves in the finish, most notably walnut, almond & cinnamon. It's really quite good save for the slightly one-note doldrums of the mid palate.

M: Arguably overcarbed yet delicate. The body presents only a portion of large maltiness that I feel would really benefit this brew. It is quite rich yet in my opinion not dense enough. It finishes slick & actually a bit crisp.

O: This is a subtle & logical improvement on the standard SN Bigfoot. This brew produces a deeper nose & a larger swath of flavor characteristics. I'm really rather impressed.

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Photo of john0721
3.69/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

1 PT 9.4 OZ bottle, 2015 vintage, poured into a tulip.

Cast Wood and Fruit in the nose.

Sweet malty, cookie, caramel, toffee, vanilla, cast wood, with subtle whiskey.

The body was lighter than expected.

A good beer worth a try if you like Big Foot.

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Photo of twage04
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in sierra nevada asheville's restaurant in a flight. If I had a full pint I might have been in trouble. Dark raisins and booze dominate with some hint of bourbon? Very complex and savory, I'm looking forward to saving the bottle I snatched up to see how it tastes after some aging, if I can resist opening it sooner.

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Photo of Greasy
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2015 (11.9% ABV) poured into a snifter.

A: A semi aggressive pour yields a finger of khaki foam atop deep ruby beverage that resembles a Dr. Pepper can burgundy when held up to the light.

S: Whiskey is present along notes of vanilla, burnt sugar and dark fruits.

T: Malt forward (as expected) with notes of raisin/date/fig bourbon, and alcohol. Bitterness is medium high and lingers for a bit.

M: Feels a bit thin. Alcohol burn is present too.

O: Pleasant, but the alcohol flavor is too apparent compared to other barrel aged barleywines of this ilk.

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Photo of spark3148857
3.99/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at Sierra Nevada (Chico) taproom. Really a case here where I'm not sure if the base beer benefited from the time in the barrels. I actually prefer the regular bigfoot. The caramel sweetness and slight boozyness that bigfoot brings to the table is accentuated rather than calmed by the barrel.

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Photo of do_ob
4.26/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2015 version clocking in at 11.9%. Was saving for something special, but eh. Served from the bottle at ~52*F.

Poured into a Boulevard Tank 7 tulip. Pours medium brown, very reminiscent of Jack Daniels. Settles a deep ruby-red in the glass with only a thin skirt of tan lacing on top. Very good carbonation. Huge wiskey nose on this, along with caramel, oak sap, leather, and sugared candy - cloyingly sweet aroma. Incredibly sticky, syrupy mouthfeel and possesses a medium-heavy body. Soft but vibrant notes of whiskey on the taste with blended caramel, molasses, and oak. Incredibly smooth from start to finish. The aftertaste is sweet booze with a touch of charred wood.

I had this beer once before at a beer fest, and it's just as delicious as I remember. This is pushing the limits of sweetness for me, but I still enjoy it. There's a slight booziness but nothing unmanagable. I wish I would've aged it a little longer to mute the alcohol, but that would've in turn potentially made it taste even sweeter. Decisions. Either way, an awesome BA beer.

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Photo of OrangeMen
4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

6 months age

Appearance- Ruby red, burgundy color. Finger thick, off white, creamy head. Lots of sticky lacing.
Aroma- Whiskey notes up front, burnt sugar, sticky moslasses, tons of dark fruits. Creamy vanilla, caramel, coconut. Well faded, citrusy/resinous hops.
Taste- Rich burnt sugar, raisins, dark fruit medley. Whiskey notes permiate throughout, between sweet vanilla and coconut, through toasty malts and rich sugar. Slight citrus note, probably still hanging around from the hops. Dry oak, earthy spice finish.
Feel- Sticky, full, lower carbonation on taste than what appears.
Overall- Excellent change to an already great base beer. Barrel adds a smooth boozy note, amplifies sweetness yet adds a nice dry counterbalance.

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Photo of sporklift87
4.54/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2015 version (11.9%) poured into snifter. Two fingers creamy light brown head, with long retention and some sticky lacing. A bit more clear than regular Bigfoot. Bourbon is very strong up front on nose, and peach flavor I remember in Bigfoot has become apricot. Vanilla has made a presence, and raisins have matured to dates. Bit of dark chocolate, coconut and cherries. Pleasant oak, I bet it could have sat even longer. Has an even bigger boozy punch. Very thick, syrupy texture and higher carbonation, bit more than regular Bigfoot. Got a bit chewy, too. Definitely still Bigfoot, no major transformations happened other than what you may expect, vanilla, oak, stronger, matured fruit flavors, etc. And a very fine brew was made. This one punched me in the wallet, but was well worth a try. Will buy again next year.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I opened this to celebrate my son's 5th birthday -poured chilled from the 750ml corked and caged bottle in a snifter allowed to gradually increase in temperature.

The color is ruddy brown with translucent clarity and thick 3 finger head that compresses with very fine bead and streamers of lace cling in a wave like pattern. This ale smells intense with lots of malt, wood and spice with slight graham cracker and dark brown sugar with slight hint of vanilla from the oak aging and bourbon influence is there with some pine from the hops with mild alcohol with slight yeast ester that is stone fruit oriented in the peripheral aroma. The smell is more malt forward than expected which is nice with light hop aroma and booze of bourbon.

The feel is thick, viscous and moderate carbonation gives the impression of levity with light alcohol influence on the palate with slight woody element and moderate full malt base with subtle sweetness level with slightly strong body and light tannin of barrel in a sort of spicy aspect with hop bitterness more toward the finish.

The taste is very good with a dried fruit taste like dates up front with spice and earthy flavor of wood with malt addding a dark sugar component and slight caramel sweetness with subtle toast and mild pine flavor mid palate. The flavor increases in depth and the lightly woody character of the bourbon with a toffee/toasted accent of malt with alcohol coming through in the finish as the wood and piney bitter hop flavor rounds out the big barleywine. his is exceptional as far as barleywine as Iconic as Bigfoot it is improvement on the base while the whiskey is magical when it marries and enhances the malt, makes it better in the finished product. I consider this great because it still has a decent amount of bitterness and hops to keep it balanced with whiskey, toasted malt and caramel in the flavor. I will admit it is not as impressive after a full 750ml as it is a strong beer but for 11.9% it drinks like a much smaller beer. I would enjoy this again if I could but one for sharing it is very good but could use some aging perhaps

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Photo of mlockman
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I thought the bourbon-flavor was rather subdued; perhaps my perception as such is an artifact of having been on the Bourbon trail earlier this week, but I appreciated the attenuated hop-bitterness.

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Photo of chinchill
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the brewery taproom in NC.
Beautiful clear copies colored body is topped by a surprisingly durable head.
This has a bit more input from the barrel aging. Than if prefer. The battleground is not completely masked but I'd more than matched.
Too much heat in the feel; this would certainly benefit from some aging.

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Photo of gshak
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The barrel character has blended in extremely well, in this 2015 edition of Bigfoot. A perfect marriage of barrel, and hop character is evident in this beer, the 12% ABV is evident as the beer warms up. Might be worth cellaring a bottle, if not more.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Cloudy amber/brown body with a thick, frothy tan head. A hint of light shines through and the head lingers. Aroma is big caramel malts, a dash of sweet burnt sugar, oak, a hint of toasted coconut. The barrel mellows of the typical Bigfoot hoppy flavor tremendously. Big and malty, with the barrel adding a dash of sugary sweetness, lots of toasted oak flavors and then some of the hoppiness comes though on the finish. Whisky and hops seems like a strange combo, but it works with everything else going on. The feel is full bodied, medium carbonation, lingering finish. Regular Bigfoot is a great beer. This version is very different, but you can still get hints of the unbarreled version. A solid beer, but not on close to the best BA Barleywines out there.

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Photo of zac16125
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle into a snifter
2015 Expedition

A: Pours a very hazy, dark rust colored brown with 1 plus fingers width of light tan head. Head has good retention and leaves a few patches of lacing. 4.25

S: Big nose. Boozier than I expected, with a Scotch-like peet character. Big barrel notes with oaky vanilla, subtle toasted coconut, and bourbony booze. Sweet malts include caramel and dark fruits. Hops are much more subtle than regular Big Foot of the same vintage (although the same vintage of the barrel aged variant would have about a year of natural aging on it from the time in the barrel). There is a somewhat astringent, almost acidic character that I don’t love, still a very good aroma though. 4.25

T: Wonderful maltiness with caramel, candied sugar, dark fruits, and subtle licorice. Bitterness from the hops is present and balances the sweetness very well. Barrel notes are present, but not as strong as in the aroma, and include charred oak and bourbon booze. Excellent beer. 4.5

M/D: Full bodied but not thick, carbonation appropriate, ABV is noticeable but in a good way, drinkability is excellent. 4.5

O: Very enjoyable. Take one of my favorite beers and throw it in a barrel for almost 1 year, what could go wrong? Whatever could go wrong certainly didn’t here. A great beer that I would have anytime it was available. 4.5

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Barrel-Aged from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 203 ratings.