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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204 Reviews
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Reviews: 204
Hads: 1,103
Avg: 4.14
pDev: 23.43%
Wants: 157
Gots: 587 | 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

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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 204 | Hads: 1,103
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Sierra Nevada Barrel-aged Bigfoot Barleywine-style Ale, Ale aged in Whiskey Barrels. Alc. 11.9% by Vol.

Appearance: Clear, bright and beautiful crimson coloring, lush, creamy off-white head, lazily leaving lace. Just about perfect.

Aroma: Caramel and vanilla caress the nose….no, that's not right, but I didn't want to say "assault" either. What's right? It's a passionate flowering, how about that? A gentle invasion of whiskey flavors flooding the senses. Deep and powerful, the barrel affects are pounding on the gates, and letting loose, with the proper Bigfoot Barley-wine lagging a little behind.

Taste, now: In the mouth, the bourbon blares on through once more, the caramel, vanilla, char and oak associations sound off the loudest on the tongue. And now the Bigfoot comes crawling from his cave, here comes all the flavors we've known all the rich malt, the brandy notes, the toffee and the dried fruit and the leather. And as we go on, it's growing and showing it's full flower. Increasing intensity. While Remaining mellow.

This ale moves back and forth. Now, the heat increases, now the alcohol rises. The barley-wine flavor peeks through, then the whiskey tones return. It's a complicated thing, this. Cool and hot, incredibly complex. Now, it's showing rich fruit, with high alcohol presence. Then, caramel malt resurfaces….the flavor is as full as it gets, the finish is ever-lasting.

This one goes beyond what I like to pay for a bottle of beer ($20), but it's worth every penny. It even feels cheap for quality of this magnitude. In fact, it seems necessary to buy more just to keep and cellar.

The more I drink it in, the more ridiculously drinkable it is, despite the richness, despite the high ABV. It's just damned well-done is what it is.

Time to read the bottle: "2015 Expedition. Our Bigfoot Barley-wine-style ale is a craft beer legend. Each winter, this beast of a beer appears to ambush unsuspecting palates with it's intense bittersweet flavors. We matured this special barrel-aged version in oak Kentucky bourbon casks for nearly a year before unleashing it into the wild. The result is an incredibly complex version of the classic beer. Bigfoot's notorious assault of resinous hops has mellowed and the wood's influence shifts your focus toward the malt, rich burnt sugar flavors and notes of vanilla, toasted coconut, and raisins. Grab this elusive beast while you can, it won't be around for long."

You may notice that this time I did not refer to the copy on the back of the bottle as "gobbledygook." Because it isn't. (Also notice that they weren't so shy about using the word "assault.")

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

sooo good...smooth, smell is of candied rum. noticeable alcohol, but content is high...however, not at all overwhelming. taste is sweet dark fruit and caramelized malt.

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Photo of CHickman
3.82/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2015 Expedition: Pours dark copper mahogany brown color with a thick creamy 2 finger tan head that was full of tiny bubbles and faded very, very slowly leaving excellent lacing coasting the sides and foamy rings as it went down. The lacing was outstanding.

Smells of whiskey up front mixed with piney hops and oak barrels where the wood notes give out vanilla, char and red wine and resemble bourbon as much as whiskey. The booze in the nose takes away from the base beer’s hoppy and caramel sweetness and leaves more of the barrel and wood earthy notes, as well as bourbon, coconut, roasted nuts and some toffee. I like the standard Bigfoot nose better as the hops seem sweeter, more oily and enjoyable to inhale.

Tastes of booze, oak, toasted coconut, roasted grains, whiskey, rye, pine needles, vanilla, dark fruit, tea leaf, charred wood, dry floral hops, cocoa powder and chalky yeast. There is some sweetness and a lot of syrup-like tones from the brown sugar, bourbon and oak character, but the liquor is so dominant that it almost erases the hops that normally control the standard Bigfoot profile. This is a completely different beer due to the barrel aging, but perhaps I popped the cork too soon since it’s still rough around the edges and too boozy at this point. Some age may mellow it and let more of the vanilla and sweetness to come through, but at this stage it’s a whiskey/bourbon centric brew that overpowers the hops. As it warms it seems that more booze and earthy barrel flavors come out.

Mouthfeel is slick and creamy even though the booze is hot and almost harsh, with a chewy, medium body, mild carbonation and a slightly bitter, boozy finish that trails off with roasted grains, toasted coconut, burnt toffee and charred and oaky barrel notes like the mash grains from a bourbon were added into the mix. You have to like hard alcohol if you’re going to take on this beer.

I cracked this open tonight to see if I’d want to get another bottle to age while they are still available in my area, but at the price point of $20-22 per bomber I’m not sure I will get another one. Overall it was a good beer, but I was hoping for a great beer. Worth a shot, especially if you like heavy booze in your barleywine.

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Photo of Nife
4.56/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

First time I have tried this. A 10oz glass at SN taproom. Bigfoot hops r still there but subdued. Whiskey barrel taste complements the Bigfoot flavor perfectly. Everything is in balance. Mod malty nose with whisky barrel aroma nicely in step. Mine is a bit cold now. Hides its alch very well. Very enjoyable. Went perfectly with dinner.

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Photo of Pencible
4.39/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: This poured a hazy mahogany with moderate light tan head.
S: It smelled like strong toasted coconut with some oak and vanilla and nutty toffee.
T: It tasted like copper hops and toasted coconut, with some oak and vanilla and earthy caramel. It had a bittersweet aftertaste with alcohol warming.
M: It was oily with a little fine carbonation. Great slick body.
D: This was a solid brew that smelled amazing, like coconut cream pie. The taste was more like standard Bigfoot with a bourbon barrel twist. The body was solid, but the finish was hot, so it must be sipped. I can only imagine this improving with age. A shame I only have this one. Still a very enjoyable drink fresh.

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Photo of Roguer
4.48/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Brew looks mostly like regular Bigfoot: dark, nutty, and very clear. Pours with a strong fluffy beige head, decent retention, and tons of lacing.

Strong, rich aroma: tons of earthy, piney hops; caramel and toffee; whiskey and oak taking a nice back seat.

Up front, flavor is regular Bigfoot, but smoother: brown sugar, caramel, and a healthy dose of bitter hops. Whiskey starts to kick in mid-palate, slowly bringing some alcohol heat along. Finish carries notes of coconut and vanilla from the barrels. Complex, smooth, rich, deep, and with a long finish.

Silky mouthfeel; not exactly thick, but definitely a sipper. A little hot, but represents 12.2% incredibly easily. Long finish.

This is an excellent brew, with the barrel incorporated carefully to add to, vice subtract from, Bigfoot's regular character.

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Photo of russpowell
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2015 bottle didn't have much carbonation when opened

Pours a slightly hazed orange/caramel with a pinky of tan head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Faint whisky smell, a little figgyness

T: Figgyness, leafy hops, a little bit of whiskey. Whisky, raisins & figs as this warms, a little bit of leafy hops as well, toffee and vanilla as well, plus dryness. Finishes dry, jammy with figs, raisins & cakeyness

MF: Medium bodied, damn near zero carbonation. Carbonation picks up as this warms, becomes very warming

Drinks alright, was expecting much more, perhaps tied to the carbonation? Got better as it warmed

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Photo of bgold86
4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Was disappointed, 2015 bottle, bought 2 at WF, one to drink now one to cellar, first bottle really left something to be desired. For the price paid would have been better off with other options.

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Photo of fx20736
4.74/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Almost Garnet Port tinted amber with pecan cream head and a lace blanket.Rich Aroma of plums mixed with butterscotch, caramel, vanilla and booze.First taste is surprise grapefruit followed by rich toffee and finish with dark fruity wine. Mouthfeel is buoyant, silky smooth.This is one of the best beers I have ever tasted.

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Photo of InkedinRi
4.52/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very smooth.. Awesome mouth feel on this beer! And it's fresh not aged, it's a 2015, it would like velvet in my mouth after a couple of years in the cellar!

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Photo of Apellonious
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

1 pt 9.4 fl oz 2015 version poured into a tulip glass.

A - A Dark ruby/brown, dense, with a one finger tan head that dissapates within a few minutes to thin lace.

S - Bourbon, cherries, coconut, caramel, slight waft of booze.

T - Similar to the nose at first, with some back end grassy hops notes, mid swig wood and vanilla.

M - Full, carbonation is a touch below average. Becomes sticky as it warms.

O - Glad I had the patience to let it age a whole extra month after purchase. Ha! This must be similar to what an aged regular bigfoot is like, with some added bourbon /wood notes.

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

Delicious but still a little young. You can smell the bourbon along with notes of coconut and slight vanilla. The taste is smooth without much burn. Primary taste is coconut followed by vanilla and a little dark fruit. Great version of a great beer, can't wait till next year when I open my second.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 .

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Barrel-Aged from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 204 ratings.