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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

1,014 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,014
Reviews: 196
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 10.36%
Wants: 163
Gots: 550 | FT: 75
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 | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Barrel-Aged Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,014 | Reviews: 196
Photo of Sparty1224
4.49/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Photo of coolhandbeer
4.31/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Big foot maple candy, very smooth and not overdone.

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2015 750mL bottle served into a snifter.

Three and a half fingers of pillow-like, chewy, light oatmeal-colored head preside over a dark amber and brown body. Lace streaks about the glass as the head slowly recedes. 4.75

Smells awfully similar to the non-BA, floral, caramel-heavy and tinged with booze. Something perfume-like is highly present on the nose and I'm not so keen on it. But the vanilla that emerges as I sit waiting to dive in for a drink is a nice exit. 3.5

Tobacco, leather, and oak hang on my tongue after the first sip and let me know the finish is excellent, but I have to now figure out everything that preceded these flavors. Well, sweet caramel, raisin and combined oatmeal cookie lead things off, but this blissful taste is rudely interrupted by a perfume-like hop injection. It's not completely ruinous but certainly diminishes an otherwise sweet treat entrance. Interestingly, by taking a smaller sip I reduce the perfume presence and allow for more oatmeal cookie, tobacco, oak, vanilla, caramel and the like. There are a number of flavors that are outstanding here. 3.75

Just as that perfume messes with the taste it also has an impact on the feel, making for an overly hopped, harsh bite. Fortunately, there's excellent smoothness wrapped around this perfume to make for a smooth creamy brew with a slight bourbon-like quality. 3.75

I think there's an excellent bee here with more age but it's rough around the edges fresh. I picked up multiples so I'll have the opportunity to revisit some years down the line.

Photo of BenwayPHD
4.63/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, reddish brown with a light brown thin head. The nose is robust and delicious. Whiskey and booze right up front. Toffee, vanilla, pepper, mild citrus, Hawaiian Punch. The flavor is really nice. A bit more subtle than other barrel aged barleywine I've had. The mouth feel is a bit too thin, but still nice.

Photo of M_chav
3.24/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Slightly opaque and strong whiskey smell. The taste is unbalanced - alcohol forward and surprisingly bitter and thin. Overall, this brew has some decent qualities but they are not working well together. Aged in whiskey barrels for an entire year is probably what drives the price here but for me the price tag does not justify beer.

Photo of samtrillo
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bit too Boozey for me.

Photo of Seanniek91
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%

Dark amber color. Big whiskey barrel notes in nose and taste. Still relatively hoppy and resinous. Caramel. Vanilla. Not very hot at all actually. Easy to drink.

Photo of mothman
3.4/5  rDev -18.1%

Big letdown for me. I had high hopes for this one, but it couldn't compete with things like CW BBBW or TH Twisted Jim. It had an old dusty flavor to it. Barrel flavors were weak.

Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2700th review! 750 ml bottle into snifter; 2013 vintage, bottled in late 2012. Pours lightly hazy dark ruby red color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big caramel, toffee, toast, raisin, plum, fig, molasses, vanilla, brown sugar, coconut, oak, bourbon, citrus zest, herbal, light pine, and toast/oak earthiness. Fantastic aromas with awesome complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and light-moderate citrus/pine hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, toffee, toast, raisin, plum, fig, molasses, vanilla, brown sugar, coconut, oak, bourbon, citrus zest, herbal, light pine, and toast/oak earthiness. Fair amount of pine/oaky bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, toast, raisin, plum, fig, molasses, vanilla, brown sugar, coconut, oak, bourbon, citrus zest, herbal, light pine, and toast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, balance, and robustness of big dark/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and light-moderate citrus/pine hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and fairly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome barrel aged barleywine. All around great complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and light-moderate citrus/pine hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the huge ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

Photo of thebigredone
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Nice brew, but it lacks a bit in the barrel department. I definitely notice that the barrel helps take the rough, bitter edges off the base. But in terms of imparting flavor, I'm not sensing too much. Perhaps a touch of toffee and a smidge of vanilla.

Overall, I think this a good beer, but not something I'd likely by again at the current price point.

Photo of GarthDanielson
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Poured from a bomber into a snifter, the beer is a dark, crystal clear, caramel coloring with no head. Nose of vanilla, oak, molasses, and spiced wood. More layers release as it warms. Heavy sweetness throughout. Flavors are booze forward, with a vanilla and spice follow. Immediate warmth, with a vanilla and old world fruit backbone, with date, raisin, and fig throughout. This is a malt bomb. Very boozy. Big, bold body, but somehow thin, as well. Interesting. The aftertaste is all booze and malt. The finish is warming, with caramel, toffee, and booze. Heavy.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%

2013 Vintage

Pours a murky brown/red/rust color with a smallish head, not too much lacing, cap sticks around on top for awhile though.

Smell has a decent booziness to it which is expected since it hasn't aged terribly long, hop aroma has essentially faded (also expected), decent barrel woodiness on the nose.

Taste starts out with a good malt front, slightly sugary sweet but not even close to cloyingly sweet, alcohol booze sweeps in yet it doesn't have a strong burn, definitely can feel it though, the woody barrel character lingers around the entire time, not being too overwhelming or too weak to notice.

Surprisingly delicate with the barrel aging yet strong enough to be throughly enjoyable with each sip.

Photo of kscaldef
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

too woody

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage shared with stillmatic2232 at the Old Toad in Rochester, NY.

Pours a clear brown, with some orange-ish tints. A quarter inch head, and unsurprisingly, no lacing.

Smells very boozy and whiskey-like- the beer obviously took on a lot of qualities from the barrel. Smells very woody, with some burnt brown sugar, molasses, and cinnamon.

The barrel aging has mellowed the hop attack on this beer way down. It's a 2013, but the hop level tastes like a regular Bigfoot aged circa '10 or '11. What's remaining is a decadent and boozy landscape- lots of sweet, and slightly spicy, whiskey, intense woodiness, vanilla, a little bit of chocolate, a ton of coconut, especially as it warms, brown sugar, and molasses.

Medium bodied, could be slightly fuller and plumper, but it's a mild complaint. This one is very strong, and very boozy, making it not the easiest beer to drink. It's worth it for the intense (but lush at the same time) flavor. Points are knocked for the body and alcohol presence, however.

This was an intense experience, one I'm glad I have. Bigfoot seems like a natural candidate for barrel-aging, and I'm glad I got a chance to try it.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.41/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

one of the better american barleywines around, if it even still is around at all. this is just awesome. deep mahogany, almost ruby red in color, the richest of ambers, hazy but not dirty looking, and hanging on to a short half inch of just off white bubbles. the nose is great, still hanging in there with bigfoots characteristic hop intensity, but its mellowed from the oak, and from the first whiff, an intense and wonderful barrel character is evident. i get a lot of vanilla and toasted marshmallow, a pronounced nuttiness, maybe almond, and a nice molasses sweetness among the charred oak. the flavor comes in waves, bigfoot first, which is huge for me in barreled beers, i get the hops in the middle with the grain before it. the grain doesnt provide as much sweetness as the whiskey does i dont think, but all the nuance is wonderful. vanilla for sure, maple syrup, brown sugar, and still the hops, which play well with the oak. the alcohol is invisible even at ambient temperature, and the carbonation is just enough to keep it alive and moving. i drank this way too fast, a sign of how elegant it is really, and a testament to how not thick it is. not syrupy or dense or even filling, a great texture in a style that is usually candy teeth. i dig this a lot, extremely impressed by its degree of refinement, and would love to sit on a bottle of this for awhile, although the hops presence makes this special and it may fade off in time. truly world class example of a barrel aged strong ale.

Photo of argock
3.51/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 ml brown bottle into clear glass snifter. 2013 vintage. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Typical murky Bigfoot amber-brown with thin cap of beige bubbles and only a scrap here or there of any lacing.

S: Aroma was surprising short on vanilla but fairly heavy on the whiskey end of things - quite boozy and very oaky, tannic aroma. There was the usual beautiful caramel and earthy hop notes, but they were masked rather than enhanced by the barrel notes.

T: THe flavor was a major let-down -- I don't know if I waited way too long to sample this, but much of the vanilla and coconut and other notes were minimal to none and instead the tannic, oak-wood flavors came on extremely strong all through the beer. It really damped the base beer, which is usually at an awkward stage at the 1 year mark anyway. There were some nice toffee and burnt caramel notes along with fairly lively earthy and citrus hoppiness. THe whiskey barrel character is overbearingly oaky and tannic and really detracts from the base beer.

M: Still smooth with low carbonation and big body, but still drinkable.

O: Saved from my 1500th BA review, this was a let down as the wood character really supplants a lot of what makes Bigfoot great -- intense caramel and toffee maltiness and citrus and earthy hoppiness in one big bodied but drinkable package. The tannins and oakiness just clouded the beer for me.

Photo of Stevedore
3.53/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

750ml bottle of the 2013 bottling. Thanks Doug (I think...) for bringing this one tonight. Poured into a Cigar City snifter today, 4/23/2014.

A- Looks just like regular Bigfoot. Dark caramel brown body, half finger white head with OK retention, no lacing.

S- Smells hoppy still; although the caramel and toffee maltbomb is a lot more forward than in fresh Bigfoot. There's some sort of weird sweet whiskey flavour unlike anything I've tried before, and it interferes a bit with both the malts and hops in this beer. I can't put my finger on it, but it's not really a good aspect.

F- Tons of caramel, toffee, dark malt, and a nice piney bitterness that clearly hasn't faded much at all from fresh regular Bigfoot. The whiskey is strange and doesn't leave quite the spicy sweet flavours that I'm used to from other whiskey barrel-aged beers.. if anything, it seems to increase the bitter hoppiness of the base beer.

M- Similar to base Bigfoot, but the finish is slick, resinous and a bit off-putting. The whiskey just doesn't combine very well with the piney hop aftertaste.

O- A forgettable barrel-aged barleywine. Not really worth ticking off for the expense of getting this beer.

Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a burnt orange color with a modest head that fades rather quickly

Smell: Caramel and dried fruit (raisin) blend with the vanilla and oak tones from the barrel

Taste: Caramel, raisin and coconut flavors, up front, with the hops becoming assertive in the middle; piney and resinous in the finish, with considerable sweet tones

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: A pretty impressive beer - the barrel-aging tones down the bitter qualities of the underlying beer

Photo of mschind
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 edition that I've been cellaring for about a year. Time for something special to close out Sacramento Beer Week!

A- Pours a murky reddish brown color into a snifter. It seemed to clear a bit as it warmed up. Low but appropriate carbonation for this style leaving no head to speak of.

S- So many layers here; oak, bourbon, malt, dark cherry and just a hint of sherry.

T- Starts out malty sweet and then moves across the entire spectrum of typical barley wine flavors. There is a slight alcohol bite throughout, enough to remind you of what you are dealing with but not hot.More hops flavor than other offerings and I really appreciated the slightly bitter finish which kept things balanced.

M- Medium to full body with just enough carbonation to keep it from being syrupy.

O- A perfect Sunday sipper.

Photo of metter98
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle at Mugs Alehouse, Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is very hazy dark brownish amber in color. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of toasted oak and vanilla are present in the nose along with hints of caramel malts.
T: The taste mostly follows the smell and has lots of flavors imparted by the whiskey barrel aging, except that the hops are a bit stronger and lend a light amount of bitterness and slight hints of pine resin.
M: It feels full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The alcohol lends some warming to the mouthfeel.
O: The whiskey barrel aging really mellows out the strong dose of resinous hops that you would normally expect from a Bigfoot. It's not difficult do drink because most of the alcohol is hidden from the taste (except what you perceive from the whiskey).

Note: 2013 Expedition.

Photo of HeadyTheElder
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage.

A - Nice burgundy, minimal head.

S - Strong whiskey with some sweetness.

T - Lots of fruity, caramel malty sweetness balanced by the whiskey barrel characteristics. A rich sipper.

M - Full bodied like you would expect. The ABV is not hidden. Low carbonation, just right for the style.

O - A very flavorful, boozy beer. Wish the alcohol were hidden a little more, but it is still outstanding. I'd imagine this one would only improve with continued aging.

Photo of gillagorilla
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a mini snifter out of a bottle at Max's ($7)

A: Deep brown. Minimal head. (not good lighting at Max's)

S: Sweet barley with just hints of pine. Barrel notes on the nose.

T: Sweet. Weird whiskey notes permeate. Odd flavors, which are almost off. Lots of oak. There is a lot of barrel here and not in a good way. The Bigfoot I know and love is lost in there. I was expecting a sublime presentation like they achieved with BA Narwhal (hadn't even had Narwhal before I had it on tap).

M: Thick, almost viscous.

O: I had missed out on buying a bottle of this early on before I had even had Bigfoot (I think) but I wasn't shelling out $16 for a 750 back then. Then, I heard they had a bottle at Frisco's for $25 and on-site consumption. Finally, it just randomly popped up on tap at Max's for a Sierra Nevada Pint Night (score). I'm glad I didn't bounce on the other opportunities because this one did not live up to the hype for me. I had been looking for it for a while, and it was sub-par. My friend had a bottle in his cellar and he said to be wary and that it won't be what you expect and he was right. Save your money and just age a case of regular Bigfoot every year.

Photo of kojevergas
3.19/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

2013 vintage 750ml brown glass bottle with branded black hood-and-wire cap over a branded cork acquired in SoCal earlier this year and served into an EKU 28 stem-snifter in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given its current 93 rating, but I'm not a big fan of the base beer. Reviewed as a barleywine because the label describes it as such.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a half finger wide head of white colour which recedes inside 20 seconds, leaving no lacing.

Body colour is an orange-red of average vibrance. Translucent but nontransparent. No floating yeast particles/sediment is visible.

Overall, it's an appealing if standard appearance for a barleywine (barrel aged or otherwise). I'm optimistic.

Sm: Faint vanilla. Simplistic oak notes (no rich toasted character or the like). Coconut. Marshmallow. Amber malts. Biscuit malt. Tame timid hop character has a light presence. I get more a bourbon than a whiskey character; there's none of the spice or bite of a whiskey. Some burnt sugar. Caramel. Bread crust.

It's a pleasant aroma of mild strength, and hints at some nice complexity. I'm looking forward to trying it. It absolutely has a superior aroma to the base beer.

No yeast character or overt boozy alcohol is detectable.

T: Marshmallow, light graham cracker, bread crust, amber malts, some faint alcohol warmth, light vanilla, light burnt sugar, raisin, buried coconut (when I search for it), and some well-integrated whiskey. Maple syrup. Toffee. Candied sugars. Ample caramel. It's certainly sweet, but not cloying. Flirts with a red port wine character, but never quite commits. Admittedly, the barrel notes are pretty tame, and don't seem to develop the base beer's flavour profile all that much. It isn't all that whiskey-evocative; in fact, it isn't all that evocative in general. I'm a bit underwhelmed.

The highlight for me is the coconut.

Decent balance. The build is cohesive, but not gestalt. Depth of flavour is shockingly low for a barrel aged barleywine. Average duration and intensity of flavour. It's got nice complexity, but little subtlety, nuance, or intricacy. Each note feels very surface. It's not layered, but rather feels pretty flat.

No yeast character comes through.

Mf: Smooth. The wetness/dryness balance is a bit off, with it feeling like stale cardboard at some points in the structure and being perfectly fine in others. Full-bodied and thick. Overcarbonated. Supple. Has a warm presence on the palate. Never feels quite right. The texture suits the taste generally well, but feels far from custom-tailored to it. A biteen syrupy. Sticky.

Not oily, gushed, harsh, or astringent.

Dr: It's a bit too boozy to be as drinkable as it needs to be. It's better than the base beer, but still underwhelms. I continue to be shocked by Sierra Nevada's high reputation given this is the usual level of quality of their beers. I'm shocked by its 93 rating and wouldn't buy it again. I wouldn't recommend it to friends, and while I'll finish the bottle with some effort, it's far from remarkable. It'll get you drunk.

C+

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 11.29.13

A - Pours a dark cloudy brown with a fluffy light tan head that fades slowly.

S - Whiskey, caramel, malty.

T - Caramel, toffee, hot whiskey.

D - Good carbonation with a medium body, very easy drinking.

O - Nice, I love aging BigFoot, so this was a nice take on it.

Photo of johnnieoz
4.51/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Boxing Day brew.
Same lovely amber maple syrup hues as regular Bigfoot with a smaller off white crown. Oaky aroma, somewhat muted. Taste? Taste! Absolutely magnificent barrel-aging in effect - vanilla, caramel, woody hops. I can't recall having had a smoother beer. It coats the palate with all those flavors thanks to the subdued carbonation. Perhaps it's because I know and love the base beer, but this is one of best beers I've ever had. Kudos Sierra Nevada & please make it available every once in a while.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Barrel-Aged from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,014 ratings.