Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Barleywine - American
Ranked #21
Ranked #1,989
4.17 | pDev: 11.27%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
Notes: Bigfoot is a beast of a beer, brimming with bold flavors of bittersweet malt and heaps of aggressive whole-cone Pacific Northwest hops. First introduced in the winter of 1983, Bigfoot is a cult-classic beer brewed in the barleywine style, meaning a strong, robust, bruiser of a beer with the refined intensity of a wine. Bigfoot is prized by beer collectors for its supreme cellarability. Under the proper conditions, it can age like a fine wine, developing new flavors and character as it matures in the bottle. Each new release or “expedition” is vintage dated. Collect your own and see the flavors develop and progress.
Reviews: 3,149 | Ratings: 7,765 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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CraigDeMoss from Kansas

4.04/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glowing amber with little buff whit head.

Hoppy and malty, caramel and cascade hops, warming and boozy. Good bitterness.

Creamy and bitter With a medium full body. Good carbonation.

Not my thing really but still a good brew. West Coast IPA on steroids.

Jun 12, 2020
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Clyde_D13 from Texas

4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this bad boy into a tulip glass out of a bottle. Immediately upon pouring, I noticed the deep amber color of this ale. Pours little to no head, but that which is there is a golden color. The ale smells very sweet, picking up a whole lot of malt & hops, very pleasant. Very little carbonation, it goes down smooth with a lingering hoppy sweetness that stays. The feel of this beer is very chewy & almost oily, the sweet taste hangs around awhile after taking a drink. This beer reminds me a lot of an Arrogant Bastard, but it is much more sweet in my opinion. Overall, it is a damn good brew & the 9.6% ABV will have you feeling nice & warm.

Jun 03, 2020
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Jas0921 from Florida

5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big, bittersweet malts, balanced with aggressive hop bitterness and sweetness.... this beer is truly special. One of a kind! It deserves its legendary status.

May 30, 2020
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just1cho from California

4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

*Poured into a Teku glass from a 12oz bottle*

*Bottled on: 12/04/19*

*Drank on: 05/12/20*

Bigfoot 2020

The look of this beer poured a bourbon brown to amber red with a half finger thick off-white colored head. There was a nice diversity of rocky and micro bubbles on the head but there was very little retention to it. Despite this, it left a nice lacing around my glass.

On the nose, I found that there was a fair amount of balance between the malts and the hops. There was a good sweet barley malt aroma upfront, but it was coupled with a grapefruit bitterness with a tinge of mandarin oranges. There was also a noticeable amount of ethanol aroma in the back end.

The taste followed the nose, presenting a nice balance between the sweet barley malt and the bitterness and citrus-y notes of the hops. The beginning starts with a big boozy ethanol taste which mellows out to the bitterness and citrus-y notes of the hops. The beer then finishes with the biscuit and caramel notes of the malts with a hop grapefruit bitterness.

The feel is medium to full bodied. It's undoubtedly big and boozy, but I found that it was surprisingly smooth. It had a light carbonation to it and leaves the mouth with a long lingering bitter aftertaste coupled with a slightly tangy orange sweetness. Again, this is a pretty big and boozy beer, and it doesn't even try to hide the alcohol content--so there is definitely a noticeable warmth from the ABV on the palate and throat.

Overall, I felt that this was an above average barleywine. Really good, but definitely a sipper. There was a lot more hop taste/aroma in this that I thought there would be, making this an overall solid and balanced beer. I'm interested to see how well these age in my cellar!

May 16, 2020
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joaopmgoncalves from Portugal

4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured to a BrewDog snifter.

A: Body is coppery and shows a beige head that doesn't have much retention like pretty much all barleywines.
S: The aroma is powerful on molasses and mildly roasted malts. It's not a new thing but it smells wonderfully. It almost seems like the sweetness present in some Tripels.
T: This beer starts off with a huge component on sweetness, with caramel, molasses, sugary malty tones. This then moves up to a mildly bitter end that finishes with a very crisp and toasty profile. It's pretty much a very good beer.
M: Body is medium high. Carbonation is low. Alcohol is barely noticeable even running at 9.6% ABV. Bitterness is low.
O: Not the best barleywine I've had but for Sierra Nevada, even if they're not innovating very much with their porftolio, this one is a keeper.

Apr 14, 2020
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wl2bill from Wisconsin

4.29/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Looks like a barleywine. Tastes like a barleywine. This may not be the best Brandywine I have had but it is one of the amidst and easiest drinking I think I have ever had. I will get this one again.

Mar 16, 2020
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DavetotheB from Pennsylvania

4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 12 oz bottle dated 12/10/19 (2020) into a pint glass.

Pours a translucent dark copper color with about two fingers of tan head. Decent retention and lacing.

Smells of sweet malts (caramel?) and a bit of alcohol.

Tastes of bitter hops, pine and resin are prominent. Also a hint of sweetness. Bit of alcohol on the swallow.

Mouthfeel is sticky with a strong bitter aftertaste.

Overall, not a style I have a lot of experience with, but very enjoyable. May stick one of this 6er in the back of the fridge for a few years and see how the taste develops.

Feb 16, 2020
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JasonQKing from Texas

4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Normally $11.99, I got this because it was marked for $8.97 at HEB. Here we go!

Lots of foam. Very nice red, ruddy color to the beer once settled.

Tastes great for a 10% abv. Very bitter, piney and clean.

Feb 06, 2020
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ExtraStout from Massachusetts

4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I am not the biggest barleywine fan (or so I thought), so I was not even going to buy a six pack of this beer when it came in at my local beer store - but luckily I did. The color is deep reddish brown with a tan creamy head and minimal lacing. The beer appears slighly cloudy and lower in carbonation. The smell is of hops, alcohol and maybe peaches, surely some sort of fruit. The flavor is hoppy as well, with fruitiness and some citrus tones in there. The alcohol level does come out in the taste department, but not in a negative way. There is that little heat sensation from the ABV and then its back to the flavor. The brew is smooth with a long and obvious hops finish. Great brew!!!

Jan 29, 2020
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SierraNevallagash from Maine

3.96/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2020 Vintage - poured into a short stem at just above cellar temp

Pours a deep mahogany hue - beyond caramel, beyond amber, but not brown. Stained mahogany with deep red highlights, excellent clarity, and topped with two large fingers of dense sandy head which slowly recedes to a giant cap ajd collar, leaving some irregular, albeit tenacious lacing behind. Plentiful visible effervescence rising to feed the cap.

Nose: The aroma is actually a touch muted, but presents itself with plenty of deep caramelised crystal malt which lends a ton of caramel and toffee, much like you'd expect from a Sierra Nevada IPA, but the malt is much firmer, taking things a step further with brown sugar, dried cherry, fig, raisin, date, and some other dark fruit notes. The aggressive hopping with classic West Coast C-hops brings a bouquet of pine and classic floral notes with a hint of juicy grapefruit and tangerine. It presents itself much like a big malty imperial IPA on the nose.

Palate: The beer greets the palate with a big malty sweetness that opens up with cherry, raisin, fig, brown sugar, and toffee which is immediately overtaken by an absolute bombardment of Centennial and Cascade hops. An early and biting resinous bitterness cuts through the malt sweetness bringing sappy, resinous pine and a metric ton of grapefruit pith, as well as all of the predictable floral notes that you would expect from any West Coast-style IPA. The finish dries the beer out considerably, with the resinous hops continuing to increase in pithy bitterness. The malt falls back, leaving all the bitter hop resins to linger and linger with dry floral notes, grapefruit rind, and pine sap. From start to finish, I think anyone drinking this blind would guess it was some type of IPA.

Mouthfeel/Body: The one element of this beer that leans more towards a barleywine. Right out of the gate, Bigfoot has a big, bold, sticky malt delivery - full-bodied with a bit of chewy viscosity at room temperature. Effervescence is pretty lively for the ABV and semi-fine in nature, also keeping in line with the imperial IPA theme. Quite sticky up front, with a hint of a syrupy texture, then becoming quite drying in the finish, with slick hop oils coating the palate.

Overall: I'm quite torn on this beer. I purchase it every year, and I enjoy it, but not when I'm looking to enjoy a barleywine. To me, this has always been a big, bold, malty imperial IPA hopped to high hell with classic Sierra Nevada hopping techniques. I've always preferred English-style barleywine over American barleywine because I find many American styles to be over-hopped. Bigfoot though, is an entirely different beast, and it is so aggressively hoppy, I cannot think of it as anything other than an IPA. I find it best when it's as fresh as possible, though I'm not sure how 5+ years would affect it. Perhaps it's more barleywine-like after extensive aging, but all in all, as long as I don't think of it as a barleywine, it's a great hoppy imperial...ale. A big hoppy ale.

Jan 28, 2020
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4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This one is a 2020 version and it looks like classic bigfoot. Its got a very nice amber color with a nice white sticky head. It smells of sweetened hops with a little bit of alcohol and some citrus notes. Taste follows the nose with an instant hit of bitterness then the sweetness and alcohol come in. The feel is slick and medium thick. Overall one of my favorite barley wines especially when fresh

Jan 16, 2020
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Anders91 from California

4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: nice amber color, poured with a think white head

Smell: malty, fruity, with a bit of booze

Taste: malty, sweet, boozey, with a hint of a dark red wine

Feel: thick and smooth

Jan 08, 2020
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fedt from Arizona

4.71/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Ale, 9.6%, 2016
L: Dark brown, little red. Opaque. Medium tan head, good retention.
S: Thick maltiness, like baked goods and breads, dark fruits, raisins, bit of booze.
T: Heavy hops, dark nuts, piney hops, grapefruit, raisin, prunes, strong alcohol behind it all, kind of old fruit aftertaste. Alcohol is definitely strong for this viscosity and lighter malt, but that's just part of the barleywine life.
F: Medium-full, heavy alcohol, good carbonation.
O: Nice. This is one is a winner, and a favorite from Sierra Nevada.

Jan 05, 2020
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emincems from Turkey

3.82/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

One of the first American hoppy Barleywines and a game-changer in history.
It pours clear dark copper color with a long-lasting beige head. It has very good head retention for a barleywine. The boozy smell is moderate; dark caramel, molasses, and toffee malty notes are on the nose with some pine. Complex bittersweet taste is overly highly resiny bitter and intense malty. Licorice, molasses and dark caramel are evident. Fruity esters are in the background. It finishes surprisingly dry, quite hoppy and warming. Full-bodied and moderate carbonation in palate. Today there are more tasty barleywines for sure, but it deserves all compliments.

Nov 21, 2019
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CharlesForbin from Pennsylvania

4.39/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Age 10 months bottled 1-17-19 which makes it a fresh barleywine which is a different experience from an aged version.
The head it very thick and rich looking. Lots of lacing as I get into this. Much hoppier than if I were to let it age for a few years (and I like it this way). Relatively inexpensive for a barley wine one more reason why it is a favorite of mine. If you're a fan of the style it is a must try and fresh it resembles a IIPA in my opinion. Best served not too cold because there is a lot going on here.

Nov 07, 2019
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mngermanshepherd from Minnesota

3.9/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark amber colour with an agressive head that slightly recedes but sits nicely. Taste is an ale/hoppy taste with some citrus in the background, finishes smoothly but somewhat bitter.

Sep 29, 2019
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cardfan212 from Minnesota

3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A 2019 12 ounce bottle poured into a nonic glass.

Look - Pours a dark burnt orange with a rolling golden tan head. Once it's all settled down, you can notice it's decently opaque. The head lingers around for an eternity and clings strongly to the glass.

Smell - Sweet like some sugar cookies in the oven, but those cookies also have some hops in them for reason. A fairly simple smell, but it's quite enjoyable.

Taste - Starts with a bold round maple syrup sweetness that is eventually overtaken by a stabbing bitterness and finishes incredibly drily. Kinda ashy and dirty a bit.

Feel - Fairly still, medium body, and surprisingly no noticeable alcohol burn. An easy drinker for how bold the rest of the beer is.

Overall - This would be a near perfect beer if it wasn't so aggressively hopped.

Aug 03, 2019
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Beer_Right_Back from Arizona

4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

An excellent barleywine hybrid that has all of the strength and complexity you would find in a more typical barleywine, but crossed with just enough hop bitterness, and malty smoothness. This is essentially the barleywine you can have in any situation.

Jun 15, 2019
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Avitra from Switzerland

3.44/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

too much hops, and also too sweet for a barleywine. In fact, this tastes a lot more like an overly sweet and eearingly dark IPA. The malt doesn't cover the bitterness, nor do the sweet notes.
Not a great beer unfortunately.

May 27, 2019
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MaltyMagic from California

4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2019 vintage in 2019. Dark orange/red with tan head. Very resinous. Evergreen sap, moss, herbs dominate the nose. Toffee, dark fruits, bread, nuts, join the party on the palate. Zesty and boozy. Long, bitter, sticky, sappy, sweet finish. A classic, for sure. Was ahead of its time when crafted and holds up well year after year. Massive beer, not for the faint of heart.

May 26, 2019
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Noah_Aimar from Oregon

4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2015 bottle opened 2019. A murky, almost brown look with minimal head. Smells like barelywine thats for sure. Smell is sweeter than the taste with notes of honey and malty chocolate. Taste is bitter, figs immediately and then a little bit of caramel sweetness that finishes with strong coffee/chocolate flavors. There are better barelywines out there but you definitely can't go wrong with this one. (This one may seem like a sipper but I found that decent swigs are the way to go to get the full flavor profile).

May 20, 2019
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AZBeerDude72 from Arizona

4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Deep amber with a rich foamy head and solid lacing that does not fade.
N: Malt, bread, caramel, dark fruit/figs.
T: A chewy mix of malt and caramel with a nice hint of figs and dark fruit.
M: Medium and very smooth.
O: Perfect beer!

May 01, 2019
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izraelc from New York

4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I get one of these every year and every year it's fantastic . I'm not a fan of the barleywine style but this one is the exception. Pours a dark amber. Bold sweet aroma. This has big flavors. Heavy malt body with a hoppy finish. They compliment each other well. Too bad this one only comes once a year.

Apr 27, 2019
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jjamadorphd from Florida

4.01/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Is now one of my favorite SN offering...

Beautifully colored in dark caramel, it has nice foam and impressive lacing down the glass. The smell is a mixture of hops, malty sweetness, and floral notes. Mouthfeel is carbonated but not overpowering, it has a slightly creamy texture that is more noticeable as it warms. The taste was definitely hip-forward with hints of the malty sweetness I detected in the nose. Overall, this was very much enjoyable, a brew I will be on the lookout moving forward.

Apr 21, 2019
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Victory_Sabre1973 from Minnesota

4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage - Consumed on 4-16-2019.

Consumed at room temp.

Pours a nice amberish color. 1 finger, frothy, and slightly off white head. Nice lacing on the glass as the head dissipates. Considering the age, I'm surprised at the head retention.
The nose has a slight sweetness to it. It isn't too strong. Bready, yeasty smelling. Pleasing.
Taste - Rich and complex. There's a bread, malt, sweetness. There's actually a decent hop flavor here, which surprised me. Some raisin.
It's got a decent, boozy punch.. Thick full body. Surprised at the carbonation, considering the age, but it dances on my tongue.
This is a solid Barleywine, and it ages well. Glad to try a vintage.

Apr 17, 2019
Bigfoot from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 7765 ratings