Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
American Barleywine
Ranked #77
Ranked #4,639
4.14 | pDev: 11.35%
Dec 04, 2023
Feb 06, 1998
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.
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Ratings by bark:
Photo of bark
Reviewed by bark from Sweden

4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Vintage 2007.

The colour is deep red-brown; the liquid clear. The off white head is finger thick; it sinks slowly down leaving some lacing and a fine ring.

The smell is loaded with American hops; citric notes of Cascade, Challenger and perhaps some Fuggles? I found notes of grape fruits, bitter oranges, bitter herbs and some light sweetness from the malt.

The taste is very concentrated and powerful: an almost brutal bitterness. Grape fruit juice, bitter herbs, lightly roasted malt, some mild sweet notes. The aftertaste got some minerals and earthy notes, the bitterness gets a little milder and smoother. The finish is creamy, somewhat sweet with sour-bitter notes of bitter citric fruits.

The carbonation is mild; small soft bubbles. The liquid is very smooth and a bit thick.

A nice and highly hopped brew. Although I missed some complexity and maybe some more malt.

I will get back to this in a couple of years, it might develop in a very interesting way...
Jun 02, 2007
More User Ratings:
Photo of wiggibow
Reviewed by wiggibow from Nebraska

4.59/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
2023 release, bottle says packaged on December 1st, 2022 so it's just a hair over a year old.

Absolutely loving this one, I won't claim to be any sort of expert in judging a flavor profile, but I can say for certain that this beer is very complex in (for me) the absolute best of ways. The almost caramel-like malty sweetness fights the intensely bitter piney hops back and forth on the palette, continuously saving it from becoming either too sweet or too bitter; always landing somewhere in the middle but never lingering there too long.

A lot to dissect here, which I could see being either a good or a bad thing depending who you ask. For me, it's a home run. This bottle was part of a mixed sixer, but I now feel obligated to go buy a full six pack and set a couple aside to see how things develop as it ages. Lovely beer!
Dec 04, 2023
Photo of guitarguyny
Rated by guitarguyny from New York

3.53/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
Like most of Sierra Nevada offerings, much too hoppy/bitter for my liking. May need to age some
Oct 17, 2023
Rated: 4.25 by ctbeerman1 from Connecticut

Sep 01, 2023
Rated: 4.19 by jbolger from Connecticut

Aug 15, 2023
Photo of robwired
Reviewed by robwired from Kansas

4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
"Barleywine-style." Not a barleywine.
This 2023 brew came up with a two-finger beige head when poured into a snifter. Malty nose.
The flavor is intriguing. Roast pine, piney hops. Caramel.
The finish needs smoothed out with aging. A little bitter, which is OK, and malt on the back end. The label reads, "... or cellar ... ," but I won't.
Jul 28, 2023
Rated: 4.25 by Patches826 from Massachusetts

Jul 17, 2023
Photo of Otter-the-Beer-Man
Reviewed by Otter-the-Beer-Man from Maryland

3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
L: deep red color. Beige head forms at the pour. Thin half inch head dissipates slowly. Active carbonation maintains throughout the pint.
S: malt, caramel
T: malt, warm smooth alcohol, caramel again
F: fizzy and warmth. Piney feel works up through the nose.
O: very nice beer. Will drink a couple and put a few away for later.
Jul 14, 2023
Rated: 4.22 by BLVBBERGIXLL from Arizona

Jul 07, 2023
Photo of Mindcrime1000
Reviewed by Mindcrime1000 from South Dakota

3.91/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
A 2023 iteration bottled on January 12, 2023 and poured into a tulip about five months later.

Pours dark/amber brown. Excellent head. Initially, it releases big bubbles from the bottom of the pour that slowly bubble up. Good retention and lacing.

Aromas of dark fruit and piney hops, along with some modest citrus.

The brew delivers initial sticky-bready caramel-malt sweetness balanced almost immediately by white pepper and pine hoppiness. As the brew warms, a distinct grapefruit citrus note rounds out the middle, along with raisin, peach, and molasses. Some anise, tobacco and leather are trying to manifest, but need some time to mature. Not as boozy as feared. There are quite a few different things going on here.

Full bodied for sure, it nevertheless is very drying and tingly, which makes each sip welcome.

Overall, I understand why this brew can be polarizing, because there is nothing subtle or nuanced about a newer bottle of this brew. Regardless, this is a very flavorful American Barleywine that is excellent, but would probably be better with a little more age to smooth things out from what is currently pretty wild.
Jun 25, 2023
Photo of talon757
Reviewed by talon757 from Montana

4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
This one appeared in our local grocery rural Montana grocery store and and I thought it worth a try. Up front, I'll admit that the word "Barleywine" grabbed my eye and I missed the word, "Style". While after buying the first sixpack for (at our store) a very reasonable price of $11.50 I then came back for the other four, I liked it very much for what it was, not what it purported to be. If you are looking for a Barleywine, this isn't it. If instead, you are looking for an very excellent dark imperial IPA this is the one! Hops to spare and definitely a worthwhile pint to keep in your stock. If this sounds like it works for you then by all means grab some. I am glad I found it.
May 19, 2023
Photo of MadMadMike
Reviewed by MadMadMike from France

4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
12 ounce bottle, fridge chilled. Dark amber, khaki foam.
Aroma is a bit all over and it takes a moment to call out the pine and malt and woods.
Taste is malty and hops balanced at first drink, then comes apart on the palate., caramel, pine, white pepper. Solid bitterness. Alcohol is present, as it should be for the American Barleywine style.
Feel is mid-weight, mid-carb.
Overall, good sud, a little busy, but not in a bad way. Better as it warms.
May 15, 2023
Rated: 3.96 by joran from Kansas

May 14, 2023
Photo of MNJR
Reviewed by MNJR from Illinois

4.07/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Big flavors, thick, grainy consistency. Dry and bitter, malt heavy first impression then the hops kick in with a piny and powdery finish. Some bitter gentian root flavors (cocktail bitters), a little too much sometimes. Raisins. Herbal. Mild sweetness is beaten back by the massive malt and hops. Very similar to a double or triple IPA. If you like big and bitter, this is it.
Apr 30, 2023
Photo of whitro17
Reviewed by whitro17 from Florida

4.81/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5
Look - deep amber, aggressive pour for a 2" tan head, little lacing left after this session
Smell - woody, malty, piney, floral, spicy
Taste - toasted malt, sweet caramel, hoppy, black pepper, piney, citrus
Feel - medium body and carbonation, sticky piney resinous finish, peppery
Overall - My first Barleywine and I'm very impressed. There is some serious hop nectar going on here. Flavor is very rich, almost like you're drinking the hops extract concentrate straight from the can and the enormous malt body brings the balance of toasted malt and a bit of sweet caramel. This brew is right up my alley with intense hoppy, piney, bitter traits that linger after every sip. Originally I bought one to try and that turned into buying a couple of six packs after I did try it. I'm gonna save a few to age and drink them in the years to come. Bigfoot is definitely a beast so take your time and pair it with the long classic, Do You Feel Like We Do from the Frampton Comes Alive! album. Enjoy!
Apr 29, 2023
Photo of UWDAWG
Reviewed by UWDAWG from Washington

4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
2023 vintage:

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle dated 1/19/23 into a snifter.

Look- Amber brown, light brown frothy head, no visible particulate, average lacing, above average head retention.

Smell- Bready, earthy, pine, boozy, barley, medium strength of scent.

Taste- Bready, toasted barley, pine, citrus, black pepper, boozy, high strength of flavor.

Feel- Full body, average carbonation, highly mouth warming, highly bitter, mildly mouth coating, moderately creamy.

Overall- Amber brown in color with no visible particulate and above average head retention. Bouquet was malt forward with medium strength and notes of pine and booze. Taste was high in strength and malt forward with pine, citrus and black pepper character. Feel was full bodied with plenty of mouth warming and bitterness. Overall this provided a nice drinking experience and was a very enjoyable example of the style.
Apr 13, 2023
Photo of flgimp
Rated by flgimp from Pennsylvania

4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Yes…! A very interesting Barleywine beer….
Mar 23, 2023
Photo of Beer_aenima7
Rated by Beer_aenima7 from Idaho

3.6/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
It has that distinct sierra Nevada skunkiness. A little more dark amber than their infamous IPAs. Currently cellaring mine to see what the age brings
Mar 16, 2023
Rated: 4.58 by SoundMakesSense from Indiana

Mar 05, 2023
Photo of Qu3st
Reviewed by Qu3st from Massachusetts

3.71/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75
2015 and stored with zero skill, will it survive?
L: Dark brown with respectable tan foam.
S: Light sour notes dominate, soy sauce on the end.
T: Brown bread crust, hint of anise, treacle, cigar leaves. No burn left.
F: A little slippery but still good to go.
O: I think I caught this at the top of it's age, though possibly a year late. Bigfoot approaching abbey ale territory.
Mar 01, 2023
Bigfoot from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 7900 ratings