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

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Barrel-AgedSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Barrel-Aged

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192 Reviews
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Reviews: 192
Hads: 1,051
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 4.11%
Wants: 160
Gots: 565 | FT: 78
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

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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 192 | Hads: 1,051
Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2015 edition. Poured from a bottle into a Lost Abbey Teku. After the cork came free with an emphatic pop, the beer poured out fairly clear and reddish amber with a nice two fingers of wispy white head that clings to the sides of the glass as it slowly dissolves. The nose has some herbal, cedary hop notes, pine trees, grapefruit, and roses. I don't get any bourbon or vanilla or toasted oak at all. In fact, it smells like a bottle of regular Bigfoot that has sat around for a year.

Full body and a fat, chewy feel. Starts out with rich toasted malt, molasses, and a hint of vanilla. Then the proud remnants of a once-mighty hop bill rise up and add a bitter, herbal, earthy balance to the sweetness. Various flavors come and go, including black cherries, some bourbon, brown bread with honey, and coriander seed. Finishes very strong with dank hop resin and a sharp kick of alcohol warmth.

I passed on this one the first time I came across it, but didn't pass on it this time. Glad I didn't, as it's really good, but I think I prefer the standard Bigfoot Barleywine (fresh). I'm simply not a fan of bourbon-barrel-aged American Barleywines. Even if the hops don't completely overwhelm any barrel notes one might achieve, the flavors simply don't complement each other very well. I think English Barleywines, with their characteristic caramel sweetness, are much better candidates for bourbon-barrel-aging. This beer doesn't taste all that different than the two-year-old Bigfoot bottles I have in my cellar. Really good, but not quite as good as fresh and not nearly as good as I hope it will be in several more years. Still, there is obvious quality and complexity here and I can definitely taste it. I may buy another bottle of this in couple of years, just to see if I like it better after my palate has developed a bit more. (1,832 characters)

Photo of BEERMILER12
4.19/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2015 Vintage

A: Pours a dark mahogany color with close to 2 fingers of head that fade down to a nice cap that leaves some decent lacing

S: Big maltiness and barrel character up front, including some notes of bourbon, vanilla, and oak. Some of the hoppiness also comes through, providing some light pine and fruity notes. Definitely not nearly as hoppy as the regular

T: Starts off with the barrel character and slowly moves to the malty base. Vanilla initially, followed by bourbon and oak. Lightly sweet malts come through shorty after, followed by some light hop notes. Finishes with an increasing bitterness and more of the oak

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Definitely interesting given the barrel influence and abv

O: A nice treatment to the already amazing base beer. The barrel character definitely imparts itself to start things off, but as the taste flows, the base beer shows up more and more, with the signature bitterness finally showing up at the end. A great sipper by itself, as well as trying side by side with the regular. Definitely worth picking up for the right price (1,105 characters)

Photo of hardy008
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful mahogany brown color with a one finger beige head. The aroma has dark fruit, wood, vanilla, coconut, toffee, and Bourbon.

Has a sweeter flavor than regular Bigfoot with dark fruit, wood, vanilla, coconut, toffee, Bourbon, burnt sugar, and citrus and pine. There is some hop bitterness to counter the sweetness.. I think this would age nicely, and I do have another bottle..

Full bodied and creamy, with low carbonation. More complex by far than the regular Bigfoot, which is also a great beer. I'm glad I was finally able to get a couple of bottles. (571 characters)

Photo of ajm5108
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very smooth for the high abv, but it loses some of the malt kick from the normal variety. Definite bourbon aroma. Burnt vanilla and cream notes, with a kick of the bourbon at the end. Not too much "beer" flavor but that is fine, not every brew has to dial-up the hops & malts. (279 characters)

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.31/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

look: Clear bronze. Foamy beige head.
smell: Bourbon up front wrapped in vanilla and dark fruit.
taste: Much like the nose. a bit of sweetness and spice. Finish is decidedly dry and bitter.
overall: damn good barley and barrel treatment. (239 characters)

Photo of neurobot01
4.14/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml (2015 edition) into a snifter at cellar temp.

Look: bottle opened with no 'pop', but pours with some mild carbonation. Dark ruby brown, very minimal head.

Smell: whisky, barrel, mild hops, malt. Smells great—reminiscent of DDBA or the like.

Taste: whisky and bitterness. Reminds me of last year's Southern Charred in how raw it is. Very little sweetness—a bit of coconut and molasses up front, but the dominant flavor is bitter.

Feel: surprisingly thin. Just a bit unsubstantial, somehow. Pretty dry.

Overall: I really love a good, complex, challenging BA strong ale, including beers that started off extremely hoppy. This just doesn't quite come together somehow in the way I'd hoped (having recently had aged Bigfoot for the first time and seeing the potential). I may grab another bottle to see if another year or so helps this realize its potential. (868 characters)

Photo of PicoPapa
4.34/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750mL bottle. 2015 Expedition. 11.9% ABV. Pours a murky dark brown color with an inch of creamy white head. Tons of lacing. The aroma is lots of whiskey with vanilla, wood, caramel and a good amount of floral and earthy hops. The taste is lots of wood and whiskey along with a good amount of floral and spicy hops. Some caramel, vanilla, and toffee as well. Brown sugar and bready towards he end. Finishes with more of the woody whiskey. Lots of warming alcohol, as expected. Heavy, chewy mouthfeel. A bit oily. Overall, fantastic variant of a fantastic beer, as expected. Sierra Nevada does it again. (601 characters)

Photo of mfnmbvp
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle (1 pint 9.4 fl oz), vintage 2015, with an apparent bottled on date 01/21/2015 printed on the bottle. At long last I've acquired a bottle of the elusive Sierra Nevada Barrel-Aged Bigfoot. Corked and caged, "2015 Expedition", my bottle lists an 11.90% abv.

Poured into a Big Eddy snifter glass.

A - It pours a thick dark caramel-orange, borderline red with about two fingers of creamy khaki head that thins to a ring. Some root beer float looking head as it recedes. Some sticky spotty lacing left behind.

S - The whiskey barrel aging has done it's thing, but this is still one boozy monster of a beer. Oak wood, alcohol fumes, caramel, vanilla, must, marshmallow fluff. There is still a surprising amount of resinous / piney hop bitterness present, but it melds with the caramel / oak barrel notes nicely.

T - The taste follows the nose - still quite boozy, but lots of sweetened burnt brown sugars, caramel, vanilla, & oak wood abound. Still a significant amount of hop bitterness retained as well.

M - The feel is smooth & creamy. Aftertaste of caramel / vanilla, with mild alcohol warmth. Sticky, sugary, heavy, & full-bodied.

Overall, definitely a slow-sipper of a beer from Sierra Nevada. I could probably see a bit of age doing this barrel-aged variant a bit of good, same as it does for the base beer. Very glad to have tried this. Would love to get a hold of more of these.

Sierra Nevada Barrel-Aged Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale 2015 -----4/5. (1,479 characters)

Photo of Nietzsches_Horse
4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I found this to be a perfectly competent, even very nice, barrel-aged American Barleywine. But, in terms of taste and, certainly, value, I'd always choose 2 4-packs of regular Bigfoot over one bottle of this . (210 characters)

Photo of JebBeerFish
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thus far, the biggest difference between smell and taste for a beer. Smells quite sweet in a vanilla caramel way, like a really nice English Barley Wine, but taste is much hoppier, although significantly less hoppy then regular Bigfoot. While better than the regular Bigfoot, I prefer my barley wines to be sweeter. (315 characters)

Photo of Chcshammonde
4.86/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Epic BA version of an already great beer. Enjoyed with some beer nerd friends and this was a big hit. Vanilla, bourbon, hop, caramel, and malt flavors abound. (164 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750 ml corked bottle into a stemmed chalice. 2015 Vintage.

Appearance: Pours a deep brownish amber with a moderate amount of bubbles. Big two finger off white head that settles into a thin creamy layer. Leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: A nicely boozy, sweet, and earthy aroma with big hints of bourbon, earthy hops, and caramel malt. Big upfront barrel presence with good hints of bourbon whiskey, vanilla, oak, and wood. Earthy and floral hops with hints of pine and grass. Toasted barley malt with hints of caramel, toffee, biscuit, and yeast. Sweet hints of brown sugar. Subtle dark fruit hints of raisin and cherry. A very good complex aroma.

Taste: Like the nose hints at, a sweet, boozy, and earthy taste with big notes of bourbon, caramel malt, and hops. Upfront barrel taste with notes of bourbon whiskey, vanilla, oak, and wood. Floral, earthy, and spicy hop notes with some pine and grass. Bready barley malt notes of sweet caramel, toffee, biscuit, toast, and yeast. Sweet taste of brown sugar. Light dark fruit undertones of raisin, cherry, and fig. A really great taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a carbonation level on the lower side. Rich and fairly syrupy and oily. Some alcohol heat comes through as expected but it’s nothing overwhelming.

Overall: A really great spin on a classic Barleywine. The bourbon barrel presence is strong but doesn’t overwhelm the complex hop and malt notes. Nicely complex and balanced. (1,459 characters)

Photo of kdahnke123
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2015 Poured into a snifter at cellar temperature.
A - A clear amber color with a large amount of head which dissipates to a long lasting lacing.
S - Honey and floral notes with bourbon and hops on the finish.
T - Oak, malt, honey and a bite of hops on the finish.
M - Moderate mouthfeel with plenty of carbonation.
O - The base Bigfoot has had the hops tempered down a couple of notches while the time in wood has added some character and complexity. (450 characters)

Photo of richj1970
4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 ml bottle into Old Guardian glass.

A: Pours a clear crimson red with two finger light tan head with decent retention and leaves some nice lacing.

S: Sweet whiskey, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, and vanilla. Mild oak and pine hops.

T: Tons of whiskey mixed with caramel and brown sugar. Hints of berry fruits and a rye spice.

M: Medium body and nicely carbonated. Just a touch thin but not exepected for a barrel aged beer. Alcohol is definitely apparent and finish is a little sweet.

O: Excellent beer. This reassures me that I need more BA barleywines in my life. (596 characters)

Photo of kissmybunniebutt
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

It poured like a mildly diluted syrup. Nice and viscous. It was a pretty, clean amber color with mild pinkish hues (horrible kitchen lighting? Maybe...). It has a sweet, toasty, mildy fruity aroma to it. As soon as I took a sip I knew I was in trouble. The ABV is very apparent when you first taste it! But it smooths out nicely and coats your tongue, then lingers there with a nice mildly fruity, hoppy flavor.

Wasn't sure I liked it at first taste, but it definitely grew on me. The flavors blended the longer it was on your palate. Nice beer. Silky beer. Strong beer. (572 characters)

Photo of timontheroad
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a clear dark copper color, half inch head, minimal lacing.
Smell: Big aromas of vanilla, caramel, toffee, and alcohol
Taste: Sweet caramel and vanilla flavors hit the tongue right away then bam! the alcohol hits.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a nice silky smooth character, a little burn from the alcohol
Overall: Quite a nice beer, not so sure it's worth the $20 price tag though (400 characters)

Photo of Wowcoolman
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A little unbalanced, boozy character shows though, I'd like a little more backbone. Not bad, though not necessarily an improvement over regular Bigfoot. (152 characters)

Photo of FLima
3.91/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reddish brown color with a thick head that leaves a constant ring.
Unique bold aroma with notes of bourbon, vanilla, pine and caramels. Somewhat medicinal.
Hoppy flavor with notes of pine, red fruits, pine, bourbon, coconut, caramels, burnt sugar and lots of wood. Dry, bitter and woody aftertaste.
Full body with mild carbonation. Alcohol is in harmony with the overall beer.
Definitely this is a rather woody and piney sipper. This sure could have enjoyed more resting time (2015 expedition) to round its edges. (513 characters)

Photo of badgustav
4.64/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The hopiness of the standard Bigfoot is greatly diminished and is replaced by a sweet heat. The alcohol is quite obvious in the aftertaste, which should diminish in time. There is a syrupy sweetness which may not appeal to some. (228 characters)

Photo of alpinebryant
4.46/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a great large tan head with sticky lacing edging to the sides of the glass as it settled after the pour.

S: Aroma of faint whiskey barrel, signature Bigfoot caramelized sugars and a less pronounced hop presence overtaken with subdued caramel notes as compared to the standard edition.

T: Flavor is completely different from the old familiar taste of Bigfoot. Being a large fan of this beer for a number of years now and stocking a good supply to age, the hop notes are notably not as overpowering as they are in the year that it is brewed, there is a great whiskey presence which for most whiskey barrel aged beers cannot be said, so this is a big plus for me in that it is prominent. Whiskey barrel notes add vanilla, caramel, wet wood, earth and prune flavors.

M: Thick as the original , but notably smoother, more balanced and rounded.

O: Overall this is very good. I had avoided getting this a few years back as the price of it is clearly higher than the standard Bigfoot which is one of the better prices for what was a 6 pack and is now in 4 packs. Unfortunately this year I wasnt able to find any before they sold out of inventory from my locals to keep the vertical going. (1,200 characters)

Photo of beertunes
2.95/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Served (by choice) in a 4oz goblet. Poured a clean, clear medium mahogany color, with about 1/4 inch (which is a lot in a glass this small) of light khaki head that had low-moderate retention and lacing.

The aroma was totally dominated by the whiskey. Even Bigfoots notorious over-hopping doesn't show through. On the tongue some malt and hops did show through, but the booze dominates. I hate that in a beer. I want the chosen spirit to complement the beer.

The body was thinner than I like in a BW, but was typical for the base beer. Drinkability was hurt by the overpowering amount of booze, I would have a problem finishing a pint or bottle. Overall, while not a "bad" beer in the technical sense, this was an unenjoyable brew for me. YMMV. (747 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
3.84/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Small pop when I removed the cork, it pours a clear dark reddish brown with a small amount of foam that shrinks to a ring around the glass.

The smell is of bourbon, vanilla, caramel malt that has a burnt character to it.

The taste is stronger than I even thought it would be. Bourbon is inmy face big time. Next big thing is the burnt/charred taste I mentioned in the smell.

Setting down with the flavours at hand, delicious notes of vanilla make a partial rescue to the flavour overload.

The mouthfeel, to me, is much lighter than expected and I reckon that's a good thing.

Overall, it is a cool brew to try, especially considering how limited a distro, I'm guessing it sees, but it needs time to mellow out like its little brother.

Edit: I forgot to mention that this is the newly released 2015 and is 11.9% abv. And as the beer warmed, the base beer's hoppiness came through. (890 characters)

Photo of beerhan
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'll keep this brief.

A-Poured two fingers into a Teku glass, small head, light brown syrupy, ruby color

S-Candy, medicinal aroma with minimal vanilla lingering.

T-Meh, I am not sure what is going on here. The bigfoot flavor keeps trying to shine through but it is almost like there is a barrier from the barrel blocking it and this sort of vanilla sheath prevents it from permeating.

M-This was the 2015 batch, it felt boozier and less crisp than the last batch. The alcohol really hits you fast but at least the carbonation is almost nonexistent.

O-Not worth the $18.99 price tag. I wanted to revisit this one so I bit the bullet. I just do not see the point of putting this in a 750ml bottle when they have the capacity to sell 375ml 4 packs. After this and the Barrel Aged Narwhal I am going to look for better options than Sierra Nevada for barrel aged high gravity beers (at least in this price range).

Bottle label 5/5 --this was probably the biggest factor in me deciding to pick this up. (1,003 characters)

Photo of Tucquan
4.39/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Had this on 2015-02-27 in Columbia, PA from a corked and caged bomber. It's the 2015 release from just a few days ago.

A - Surprisingly-clear mahogany with a 1.5-finger tan head that lingers for a few minutes; and mild lace.

S - Caramel, molasses, toasted brown bread, pine, vanilla, oak, bourbon.

T - Caramel, pine, candied-orange, toffee, raisin, mint, cherry, orange zest, mild bourbon, oak and coconut with malt and alcohol sweetness (but just moderately-boozy). Finish retains the balance of all these flavors; pivoting just a bit towards the citrus bitterness.

M - Heavy body and light-medium carbonation. Thick, syrupy, resinous and mildly prickly. Clings and clings and clings and clings.

O - This is one great beer. The bourbon barrel-aging has tamed the hop bite of regular Bigfoot and enhanced the other flavors. It now seems like a cross between American and English barleywines. I've always really liked Bigfoot and this version takes it up a notch or two. Impressive. Really sits in the sweet spot for my palate. I'm rating this a tad above the also-excellent Bourbon Barrel-Aged Narwhal; likely-reflecting my changing preferences towards Barleywines over Imperial Stouts. This is going to age really well. (1,241 characters)

Photo of Sparty1224
4.49/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Serving: 1 Pt 9.4 Fl. oz. bomber poured into a Founder's CBS snifter. Bottled on 1/22/15, making this just under a month old.

A: Pours a dark ruby-red color, pretty clear. Just a thin ring of white head laces the beer.

S: Lots of vanilla, oak, molasses. Some maple-candy sweetness in there as well. Picking up some licorice and candied red apples too. The whiskey barrel isn't huge on the nose, but it's definitely there.

T: Vanilla, oak, rich maple syrup. Some caramel and raison notes as well. Big, big hop presence here in the finish. Lots of dank, piney, resinous qualities to it. Quite bitter actually.

M: Nice and full, good carbonation for a barrel-aged beer. Very hot and boozy on the finish, with quite a lingering bitterness.

O: I remember being very fond of this beer back when it first came out in 2013... but that was before I had tried BCBBW. I love regular Bigfoot, and in general I prefer the very hop-forward American-style barleywines. But when it comes to throwing them into barrels, I think you have to go English-style. The smooth, malty flavors just work so much better in the barrel. This beer still feels very hot, hoppy and undercooked, even after a year in a barrel. Also, the barrel character isn't huge here. BCBBW is in 3rd-use barrels, and the barrel is way more present there. This is a very nicely done beer, and it's just what I expected from barrel-aging Bigfoot. But I just really prefer BA English-style BW's so much more, and this leaves me wanting a bit.

Recommendation: A bit easier to come by in 2015 compared to 2013, so get on it while you can, it's totally worth it. (1,620 characters)

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Barrel-Aged from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 192 ratings.