Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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.

211 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 211
Hads: 1,137
Avg: 4.14
pDev: 23.43%
Wants: 162
Gots: 596 | FT: 83
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 211 | Hads: 1,137
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

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

 1,543 characters

Photo of BenwayPHD
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

 319 characters

Photo of M_chav
3.24/5  rDev -21.7%
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.

 335 characters

Photo of Seanniek91
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%

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.

 161 characters

Photo of mothman
3.4/5  rDev -17.9%

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.

 178 characters

Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

 1,704 characters

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Barrel-Aged from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 211 ratings.