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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.

210 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 210
Hads: 1,135
Avg: 4.14
pDev: 23.43%
Wants: 162
Gots: 597 | FT: 84
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: 210 | Hads: 1,135
Photo of OrangeMen
4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

6 months age

Appearance- Ruby red, burgundy color. Finger thick, off white, creamy head. Lots of sticky lacing.
Aroma- Whiskey notes up front, burnt sugar, sticky moslasses, tons of dark fruits. Creamy vanilla, caramel, coconut. Well faded, citrusy/resinous hops.
Taste- Rich burnt sugar, raisins, dark fruit medley. Whiskey notes permiate throughout, between sweet vanilla and coconut, through toasty malts and rich sugar. Slight citrus note, probably still hanging around from the hops. Dry oak, earthy spice finish.
Feel- Sticky, full, lower carbonation on taste than what appears.
Overall- Excellent change to an already great base beer. Barrel adds a smooth boozy note, amplifies sweetness yet adds a nice dry counterbalance.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I opened this to celebrate my son's 5th birthday -poured chilled from the 750ml corked and caged bottle in a snifter allowed to gradually increase in temperature.

The color is ruddy brown with translucent clarity and thick 3 finger head that compresses with very fine bead and streamers of lace cling in a wave like pattern. This ale smells intense with lots of malt, wood and spice with slight graham cracker and dark brown sugar with slight hint of vanilla from the oak aging and bourbon influence is there with some pine from the hops with mild alcohol with slight yeast ester that is stone fruit oriented in the peripheral aroma. The smell is more malt forward than expected which is nice with light hop aroma and booze of bourbon.

The feel is thick, viscous and moderate carbonation gives the impression of levity with light alcohol influence on the palate with slight woody element and moderate full malt base with subtle sweetness level with slightly strong body and light tannin of barrel in a sort of spicy aspect with hop bitterness more toward the finish.

The taste is very good with a dried fruit taste like dates up front with spice and earthy flavor of wood with malt addding a dark sugar component and slight caramel sweetness with subtle toast and mild pine flavor mid palate. The flavor increases in depth and the lightly woody character of the bourbon with a toffee/toasted accent of malt with alcohol coming through in the finish as the wood and piney bitter hop flavor rounds out the big barleywine. his is exceptional as far as barleywine as Iconic as Bigfoot it is improvement on the base while the whiskey is magical when it marries and enhances the malt, makes it better in the finished product. I consider this great because it still has a decent amount of bitterness and hops to keep it balanced with whiskey, toasted malt and caramel in the flavor. I will admit it is not as impressive after a full 750ml as it is a strong beer but for 11.9% it drinks like a much smaller beer. I would enjoy this again if I could but one for sharing it is very good but could use some aging perhaps

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Photo of mlockman
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I thought the bourbon-flavor was rather subdued; perhaps my perception as such is an artifact of having been on the Bourbon trail earlier this week, but I appreciated the attenuated hop-bitterness.

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Photo of chinchill
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the brewery taproom in NC.
Beautiful clear copies colored body is topped by a surprisingly durable head.
This has a bit more input from the barrel aging than I prefer. The barleywine base is not completely masked but is dominated.

Feel: Too much heat in the feel; this would certainly benefit from some aging.

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Photo of gshak
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The barrel character has blended in extremely well, in this 2015 edition of Bigfoot. A perfect marriage of barrel, and hop character is evident in this beer, the 12% ABV is evident as the beer warms up. Might be worth cellaring a bottle, if not more.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Cloudy amber/brown body with a thick, frothy tan head. A hint of light shines through and the head lingers. Aroma is big caramel malts, a dash of sweet burnt sugar, oak, a hint of toasted coconut. The barrel mellows of the typical Bigfoot hoppy flavor tremendously. Big and malty, with the barrel adding a dash of sugary sweetness, lots of toasted oak flavors and then some of the hoppiness comes though on the finish. Whisky and hops seems like a strange combo, but it works with everything else going on. The feel is full bodied, medium carbonation, lingering finish. Regular Bigfoot is a great beer. This version is very different, but you can still get hints of the unbarreled version. A solid beer, but not on close to the best BA Barleywines out there.

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Photo of zac16125
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle into a snifter
2015 Expedition

A: Pours a very hazy, dark rust colored brown with 1 plus fingers width of light tan head. Head has good retention and leaves a few patches of lacing. 4.25

S: Big nose. Boozier than I expected, with a Scotch-like peet character. Big barrel notes with oaky vanilla, subtle toasted coconut, and bourbony booze. Sweet malts include caramel and dark fruits. Hops are much more subtle than regular Big Foot of the same vintage (although the same vintage of the barrel aged variant would have about a year of natural aging on it from the time in the barrel). There is a somewhat astringent, almost acidic character that I don’t love, still a very good aroma though. 4.25

T: Wonderful maltiness with caramel, candied sugar, dark fruits, and subtle licorice. Bitterness from the hops is present and balances the sweetness very well. Barrel notes are present, but not as strong as in the aroma, and include charred oak and bourbon booze. Excellent beer. 4.5

M/D: Full bodied but not thick, carbonation appropriate, ABV is noticeable but in a good way, drinkability is excellent. 4.5

O: Very enjoyable. Take one of my favorite beers and throw it in a barrel for almost 1 year, what could go wrong? Whatever could go wrong certainly didn’t here. A great beer that I would have anytime it was available. 4.5

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Photo of antott0523
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Rating this as I drink my second bottle (not consecutively, of course).

A: Pours translucent with attractive notes of caramel, ruby red and dark cherry colors. Airy beige head that settles down as the beer sits. Some lacing is left behind. No visible carbonation.

S: The barrel aging shine through with strong notes of whiskey and an oak-like wood quality. Some cola and hazelnut qualities as well. The hops peek through, but the barrel aging definitely subdues the signature hop profile of this American barley wine.

T: Sweet notes of figs and whiskey up front shifting to a more dry, bitter ale that allows the hop profile of the beer to continue shining. Nothing complex, but the sweet notes from the barrel aging play off the hops in this beer so well.

M: Moderately carbonated, smooth feel, but enough hops to provide that expected Sierra Nevada hop tingle. Finishes with a touch of heat that warms the palate.

O: Overall, I think this is a delicious barrel aged barleywine. This beer is a great illustration of how the barrel aging process improves upon, but also imparts complementary elements to the base beer. If you like Big Foot then give this a try. The hops are still present, and it is an enjoyable barley wine not dominated by sweet elements. I look forward to trying this down road knowing that the base beer looses some hop profile and sweetens up over time. The trick will be to find that equilibrium with only one bottle left!

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Photo of HalfFull
3.87/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A 'fresh' pour of the 2015 barrel aged BigFoot In hand, and a study as for 'should I buy more and bury them for later use'....

The pour is solid with some ruby highdlights and offered up a somewhat lingering foam cap. Nose is still slightly hoppy, and malty with muddled caramel and with a light woody edge and an occassional waft of ethanol. Aroma is a bit subdued overall with regard to expectations but decent. Not a 'wet barrel' aroma by any means.

Taste follows with more muddled caramel and stone fruit notes. Bourbon notes are minimal yet I get more fresh oak and a light touch of vanilla. Feel is a bit thin yet lingers moderately for what seems to be a rather dry finish for the style. No doubt this beer will develop more balance over a year or two but as it stands I don't think I'll be taking on any more.

Warming helps out across the board for this brew; letting more expressive notes reveal themselves on the aroma and giving the feel a fuller body.

2015 Expedition release @ 11.9%

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Photo of gcamparone
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a snifter. Purchased in Attleboro, MA.

Pours a light brown muddy body with an off-white fluffy head that reduces slowly and leave good retention and lacing.

Aromas are potent and forward - lots of whiskey here, vanilla and caramel/toffee, some hops in the background.

On the tongue it's very complex and flavorful. Vanilla, butterscotch, whiskey, caramel, toffee, raisins upfront, followed by a bitter hoppiness, roasty chocolate, coffee, and a dark chocolate aftertaste. Super complex. Medium-heavy body with medium carbonation.

I was surprised at how complex, balanced and flavorful this beer was.The hoppy barleywine is really complimented well by the barrel. Really enjoyed it.

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Photo of cjgiant
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured about as nicely as the base beer. Chestnut and auburn, with a decent amount of clarity noticeable in a half glass. Head is red-tinted tan, and does last at the edges.
The nose doesn't hide the barrel aging at all, which is fine, but also doesn't seem to offer much beyond it, either. I actually get a little blackberry scent in a warmer beer.

The taste follows the nose with bourbon, oak, some vanilla immediately coming through. The base beer tastes come out mid taste (molasses, blackberry, hint of date, followed by a green hops character), but the alcohol burn lasts throughout. That burn and a mildly thinner feel than I was expecting weighed down the feel.

I liked this better than a young regular Bigfoot, but it still isn't quite my cup of tea. Perhaps some aging is called for.

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Photo of evanforbeer
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice chestnut-brown with off-white head

Nose: raisins, oaky caramel and toffee, bourbon heat. Nice, not over-powering

Taste: starts with nice warm vanilla and oak with dark fruitiness. Rich toasted flavors of coconut and caramel emerge and bourbon with slight orange peel hoppiness trying to bust through, dried dark cherry. Bourbon on the back end comes through clear With some more vanilla warmth

Feel: warm, delicate, heat, slightly light-bodied, rich, crazy smooth finish

Very nice. With a wonderful flavor profile, my one negative note is the body, seems pretty light on the palate for a barrel aged barleywine, though that increases its drinkability. However, the balance of barrel and beer seems to be spot on-it's there but not overpowering, brings out great nuances of the beer

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Photo of Pete_IV
4.54/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: A crisp ruby reddish mahogany color, with a quater inch high tan head
S: instant bourbon, toffee, vanilla, maple
T: smoooooth toffee bourbon notes, no hop bite at all really, some toasted sweet malts, more vanilla flavors.
F: so creamy and smooth on the tongue.
O: Very happy with this beer. For me this is what I imagine barrel aged to mean.

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Photo of Suds
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I love the usual Bigfoot. This one is similar, but a little more complex. It has a reddish chestnut color with good clarity. Malty, heavy, hoppy, and alcoholic. Full in flavor, with a woody complexity. Excellent.

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Photo of cbutova
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks a ton to Chico1985 for sharing this bottle the other night. Full notes taken at the time.

A- Brown dark amber body from the 750ml to several glasses, somewhat murky. Tan head to about one finger retaining decently before a thick pillow gives spotty lace.

S- A different world from the Bigfoot of old. The barrel has done some work giving notes of heavily toasted oak wood planks, smooth vanilla spicy whiskey and char. Caramel, raisins and a hint of fruits join the barrel.

T- Balances out rather well between the base and the barrel in a huge flavor. A smooth package of caramel, bitter toasty oak wood, dried dark fruits, toasted nuts, slight roast, plums, vanilla sweet whiskey, spicy alcohol and cocoa. Still some earthy hops to be found.

MF- Creamy and moderately thick body with a very smooth overall consistency from the medium carbonation. Ends with a woody hoppy bitterness and alcohol warmth.

Whiskey barrel curbs out the hops quite a bit but it comes together nicely in the end. Spicy and oaky with decadent caramel and somewhat roasty notes.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a Belgian style tulip

A: Off white head that disappeared quickly, clear, some minor lacing, has a merlot reddish color, looks like regular Bigfoot but darker.

A: Whiskey, caramel malts aromas, some alcohol, oak aroma in there as well, smells almost like Bigfoot without the hops and whiskey aroma added.

T: Whiskey up front, malts, some slight bitterness on the end, finishes dry.

M: Medium mouthfeel with a semi dry finish

O: Very good, it's a big beer, taste just regular Bigfoot without the hop flavors up front and whiskey flavors added, probably won't pick up another bottle, but very good.

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I would take a regular Bigfoot priced at 10 bucks a 4 pack over this one at 17+ per bottle. I don't taste any distinguishing characteristics out of this one.

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Photo of Phigg1102
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lots of apple/peach in the nose. This beer is quite sweet, which I normally find a bit of a turnoff but it works for me here. Lots of caramel flavors swirl in the taste to accompany the stone fruit. Hints of tobacco and leather round it all out. I love bigfoot and this was a great barrel aged version.

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Photo of kerry4porters
4.49/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2013 version very strong whiskey nose but mellow whiskey flavor with lost of barley wine flavors brown sugar molasses alcohol sweetness not bad at all really smooth after a year of age nice buzz after drinking the entire bottle haha

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Photo of mjpolzin
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Not as good as I had hoped. I don't love regular Bigfoot but thought maybe the barrel aging would add more. It was very sweet which mixed weirdly with the hops. Very little whiskey flavor.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.52/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bigfoot Barleywine pours a dark reddish color with a big long lasting lacing head. There is a big oakey and whiskey aroma. The taste has a big oak flavor, hints of whiskey, dry fruit like raisins, with a warm alcohol finish. Nice body good flavors. Overall very complex, lots of fruit, sugary flavors, with whiskey and oak mixed in. Much better then regular bigfoot.

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Photo of travolta
4.16/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Muddy, hazy water color. Nice lacing and retention.

Nose: Carmel, oak, and black pepper. A little fruit, vanilla, and grass.

Taste: Pine and some bitter hops up front, oak dryness, slight alcohol finish. Some hotness at the end. A little pepper in the middle.

Notes: Nina has not arrived yet. Reviewing this at the Fairwinds. First beer review after Mt Wilson and before Diebold. Our new chapter!!!

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Photo of Zorro
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chill hazed amber colored beer with a very small tan colored head.

Smells strongly of oak and caramel. Whiskey and black pepper scents and a fainter vanilla. Distinct scent of cedar wood.

Starts out sweet with a strongish whiskey taste, caramel and vanilla are long lasting after tastes. Strong oak flavor. Strong chest warming. Mild bitterness, especially compared to fresh Bigfoot which can be on the harsh side. A definite sipper of a beer.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall a very tasty beer. I don't know if it is $20 a bottle tasty but it will be savored.

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

The beer pours a nice foamy and small bubbly head that dissipates quickly head. The beer itself is hazy and sort of clear. The haze is probably chill haze. The beer is a deep amber color bordering on a light brown.

The beer has a very nice complex smell. The smell has several different notes from the malt, aging, and hops that combine pretty well to create an interesting nose. The strongest notes seem to be the pine and slightly grassish hops along with the vanilla from the barrel. The vanilla smells fairly smooth and creamy instead of being an intense note along with a slight whiskey and oak barrel note. The beer still has the traditional fruity notes but are pretty subdued compared to the other notes.

The beer is much more simple than the nice smell but still provides a decent experience. The beer taste has a much stronger pine hop note than the smell. The creamy vanilla is till there but not as strong. Also, the oak note is much stronger, which enhances the hop notes a bit.

Apparently, the taste becomes slightly more complex as it warms up. As the temperature rises, the toasted coconut and burnt sugar begin to become more noticeable, which become an interesting complement to the hops.

The mouthfeel is decent but nothing different from regular barefoot. The beer has a bubbly carbonation to give more texture than it needs and the beer goes down fairly smoothly. The beer has a bit of body but less than most other barleywines.

Overall, a pretty good and worth the price I paid for it ($12ish). The smell is very good but the taste and mouthfeel aren't that different from regular Bigfoot. Whether you want to buy it is entirely up to you, but I would go for it at least once just to taste the differences.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.41/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Way harsh, a bit thin. Not really any finesse here. Burns on the way down and little to none when it comes to mellow vanilla and oak bourbon notes. Rather poorly done but relatively tasty I guess...just as long as you can get past the burning.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Barrel-Aged from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 210 ratings.