1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

638 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 638
Reviews: 115
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 11.59%
Wants: 156
Gots: 280 | FT: 26
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: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Whiskey Barrel-Aged Alström Bros
Ratings: 638 | Reviews: 115 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of yamar68
4.14/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I've heard that this one is pretty hot at the moment - but I've never been afraid of a bit of booze in my beer. Plus, I prefer fresh Bigfoot 9 times out of 10 to begin with. Let's see...

Pours pretty much just as you'd expect with the addition of a deeper copper body. Good, consistent lacing and a surprising amount of beading beneath the carb cap. Really nice looking stuff I'd say.

They definitely didn't hesitate when it came to the barrel's contribution to the nose profile. Massive warm whiskey and vanilla, oak... the hops take a back seat to everything that is whiskey. There's also plenty of muddied toffee and caramel beneath all that. Alcohol content certainly shows itself, no doubt. I can jibe though.

There's the hops. Huge bittersweet hops jump right on the front end of the palate, giving way to the heat of the whiskey and a semisweet finish. Between the bite of the hops and the warmth of the alcohol, it tears up the tongue. Everything surfaces in the end though... caramel and toffee, smooth charred wood, dry yet sticky... plenty of heat.

I'd love to give this a taste a year or two down the road but I can dig it for what it is. Well done, Sierra Nevada. My favorite 750ml beer from them in recent memory.

Photo of AgentMunky
4.44/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Served on-tap at Harry's Hofbrau in a sampling glass.

A: No head. Very murky golden brown. Translucent.

S: Fruity alcohol. Smells great!! Rich toffee malts, tropical hops(!?), and delicious whisky. Huge fan.

T: Wow. Boozy and hugely bourbony. This tastes more like a bourbon barrel aged RIS than a Barleywine. Hops are strongly bitter, but overshadowed by the caramelized sugar and great malt. The end taste is dry and long and lingeringly bitter. Very impressive.

M: Light, spicy hops; sweet sticky caramel. Hops win.

O: Truly phenomenal. One of the most exciting beers I've tried in recent memory. Highly recommended.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Credit for the American-style barleywine can be largely, if not solely attributed to Sierra Nevada and their Bigfoot Barleywine. Its taken thirty years of recipe formulation and execution and over a decade of barrel aged technique to achieve the seduction of taste that this bottle delivers.

Its tawny brown pour provides highlights of mahogany, ruby, and maroon just as soon as the beer releases its slightly yellowish foam. Mostly clear in color, the beer's sheer darkness prevents it from being see-through. Capped by that ultra-creamy froth, the beer retains exceptional for its high alcohol and barrel-aged character, all the while lacing randomly and intricately as the beer fades.

Maple syrup, oak, and incredible whisky are the boldest scents to entice the olfactory senses, but a secondary rise of dark pitted fruit, kettle caramelized toffee, toast, citrus peels and vanilla often times rival the more overt scents. Its a very lush and inviting set of aromas that seem to meld together beautifully.

Robust sweetness of caramelized malts provide a healthy and heaping dose of toffee, maple, and caramel. But just as the sweetness takes on port-like proportions, the fruit notes of plumb, raisin, currant, dates, grapes, and figs take hold and turn the beer slightly tart and savory. Aged oak, vanilla, and malt starches provide a mild creamy taste that teases the middle palate with notions of milkshake. But finishing with an overwhelming sense of whisky is peppery, coconut-like, moderate citrusy bitterness and strongly of barrel-infused alcohol for a taste that takes the original Bigfoot right out of orbit.

Full bodied without question, however the beer has a certain lightness due to how the whisky barrel smoothed out the textures, mellowed the hops, and tamed the alcohols somewhat. But a gradient lessening of malt sweetness allows the stronger alcohols to cut through the malt and usher in a balanced, warm, and malty-dry finish.

I'm rather surprised of how much the barrels diealed down the hops and rounded out the malts to sherry-like or port-like savoriness and complexity. But with the influx of bourbon barrel aged beers, I have become accustomed to expect more bourbon character than this simplified whisky flavor provided. Even still, its a world class barleywine that more resembles English versions than the standard Bigfoot provides.

Photo of grrrah
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.33/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

2007 Bourbon Bigfoot (draft) from the Toronado BWine Festival (A-)

A Poured a nice deep,deep amber as the bourbon pushed through this. You can tell the bourbon influence just by the look.

S: Medium smell of bourbon, not to overbearing and very subtle. It did not overpower the barleywine which was good. They were well balanced.

T: Taste is fully sweet, rounded malty goodness and that smooth bourbon flavor was there throughout.

M: No bite on this one.

O: Like liquid candy and one of my favorite barleywines to date.
2013 Bourbon Bigfoot (bottle)

A: Poured clear copper color with bubbles and a short-lived tannish colored cap which leaves behind some faint bubbles but no lacing

S: Pickle juice? Cheap bourbon, old wood, caramel and faded piney hops

T: Initial stinging booze with hop bitterness, pine needles, whiskey and old wood breakthrough as does some Earthiness. Mdway I get a bit of sticky sweetness with a light run at vanilla. The finish is looong with bittering hops a bit sticky at times

M: Medium to full body, a bit overcarbonated and thin,pickle juice comes to mind as a lingering flavor on the palate

O: Not so impressed by the bottle. A but thin, overcarbed, a light astringency and ultimate letdown compared to then draft version. It reminded me of BA Old Ruffian to a deree and thats not a positive.

Photo of jjcote
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of ZombieJester
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of drummermattie02
3/5  rDev -27.5%

Photo of DonDirkA
4.57/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The nose is similar to the original only in the background, right up front it is definitely barrel aged. Bourbon, vanilla, toasted coconut, oak, caramel, molasses, a hint of piney hops and some booziness. The bourbon barrel comes forward REALLY strong in the taste. Toasted coconut, oak, bourbon, caramel, pine hops, vanilla, some citrus and sweet roasted, caramel malts. I like the more pronounced malts of the barrel-aged version as opposed to the standard Bigfoot. The hops are much more muted and subtle. Medium to full body, low but proper carbonation, very smooth, not too boozey and a sweet, somewhat chewy mouthfeel. I could drink this all the time whereas the original is a bit rougher, in my opinion.

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

750ml bottle in Duvel tulip
2013 vintage

A: Dark copper/reddish color when held up to a light. Pours with a very thick/creamy tan head that never quite disappears. A little bit of lace.
S: When first opened the bourbon dominates (vanilla, toasted coconut, some wood) but as it warms, the hops become more apparent (hints of citrus and generic "fruit" along with pine).
T: The bourbon barrel is very obvious on the tongue, a definite bourbon flavor along with some of the oak (thankfully not overly tannic like some BA beers). I always get hints of coconut in BA beers but those are usually RISs, it doesn't quite work in an American Barleywine, but it is hidden so not too bad. Along with the coconut, a bit of vanilla and then muted American hops (citrus and pine). The hops jump out a little more if I hold it on my tongue i.e. they are hidden in the malts and bourbon.
M: Very creamy mouthfeel, feels "rich", a sippin' beer, no alcohol heat at all.
O: I like this a lot, but I wonder if some of the Bigfoot greatness is lost in the barrel. This comes across as a slightly hopped up version of an English barleywine, very malt driven with some American hops in the background. In the end a great beer, but I wish they had bottled a BA version of the 30th anniversary stout (Fritz and Ken?) that would be amazing. Very glad to try this, but at $16 a bottle, not sure how often I would pick this up. At the same time, I might finish the whole bottle tonight :)

In the end, I am having a hard time separating what I paid for the beer along with the "rareness" as I rate the beer. This is a delicious beer, but I don't think it is a truly great beer.

Photo of Chaney
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this side-by-side with Bigfoot 2012.

Served in an Olde Hickory glass.

A: About a shade or two darker that the standard Bigfoot, with a head that was about a finger + shorter. Great looking BA brew.

S: I got a sillouette of the hops in there from "Bigfoot," but there was a nice coconuty, bourbon character on top. Understated, but really nice.

T: Oh yeah. Definitely the SN hop profile underneath the barrels. Muted, muted, muted, yet still there. I could definitely tell it was the same beer.

M: Low in carbonation (as it should be), low in lacing (as it should be), and not too sweet, bitter, or bourbony.

O: This was like an old friend who you respect as a cook and lets you try something that wasn't QUITE as good as what he or she made recently, but you can tell they are experimenting are their proud of it. I respect this beer and Sierra Nevada for making it.

Photo of jeff1973
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of MDDMD
4.19/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-reddish amber color with a decent off-white head and minimal lacing

S-whiskey, caramel, malt

T-dark fruit, caramel, sweet malt, oak, vanilla, enveloped in whiskey

F-medium body with low carbonation, smooth with the alcohol not very apparent given the ABV

O-a nice variation of one of my favorite barleywines

Photo of augustgarage
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of KiMiRaiK
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of vodkammunion90
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of ptarmigan98
5/5  rDev +20.8%

Photo of Hanzo
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Orange pour, really impressive, looks more like a dipa than the somewhat brown tones of regular bigfoot. The significant jump from 9.6% to 12.2% also makes me think that it might just be a stronger base batch, as thats a big jump from just being a in a bourbon barrel, but not impossible either. Anyways, orange pour, nice 1/3" white head on it, something you don't see every day with a barreled beer.

Good and complex aroma, obviously whiskey, maybe even some peat malt, oak, toffee, stayed away from hot alcohol sting. Even a little twinge of citrus to it.

Taste, the vanilla was much stronger than expected, but not a problem at all. Drank pretty easy. Usually, I like to either drink Bigfoot fresh, or after at least 3 years, the 2 years that this was aged made me worried it would be in an awkward teenage phase, but not at all. It is very different from fresh bigfoot, no doubt. But it is also different than 2 year old bigfoot, the barrel just really transforms this beer into something you don't (or didn't) associate with what I've come to know Bigfoot as since the mid90s.

Plenty of caramel still runs through the mouthfeel, but the hops are so far downplayed on the flavor list, you still can't believe this is Bigfoot. Its robust and strong, I don't want to say "boozy" but this is never going to be mistaken for a session ale either. I was pretty impressed, and I'm sure I'll save a bottle or two to drink in 2020 or whatnot down the road.

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of Fluteswell
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of popery
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of jonbeer89
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of Romulux
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of bifrost17
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Whiskey Barrel-Aged from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 638 ratings.