Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

7,506 Ratings
Bigfoot Barleywine-Style AleBigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.60%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 02-06-1998

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,506 |  Reviews: 3,058
Photo of KoG
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh 2005 bottling.

Looks just as good as ever. Nice clarity through the orangish brown liquid that fills the glass. Sticky head leaves tracks bigfoot would be envious of down the side of my glass.

Smell is hoppy with ripe fruit and a slight malt hint coming through at the end.

Taste is strong, but no alcohol can be found. Hops dominate but pair well with the rich dark fruit flavors and caramely malt profile. Very tasty but will get even better and more complex with aging.

Comparing this to the bigfoot i had on tap last August (which was horrendously astringent) and the 03 I had in October, I can honestly say the mellowed hop flavor is better.

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Photo of wcu80
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of marcpal
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2008 Bigfoot.

A: Ruby red. Decent puff of head that went down to almost nothing as was the lacing.

S: Fruity and sweet. Mild burn in the aroma. Rum covered raisins come to mind first. Not as hoppy as I wouldve thought.

T: Tasty indeed, a whack of caramel up front but left in the back with nothing virtually but hops and a good chewy flavor. This is a really nice 'barleywine style ale'. All of these attributes come together ideally. As the beer warmed a bit, took a bit of a different order: whack of hops, awesome maltiness, then the hop coating. Taste the alcohol in a good way.

M: Syrupy as it should be. Nice and chewy texture. Comforting to the throat- strong characteristics.

D: One of the most drinkable of the style. A bit more than a sipper and I like the mild burn. When I think non-over the top European barleywine without being over the top, this is the definition.

I recommend highly, another good job by Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of BostonHops
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served ina snifter.
2011 vintage.

pours a beautiful, translucent deep amber/copper hue with orange highlights; yields just shy of 1" creamy beige head. (expected) middling retention - lapses into a thin cap, collar around the glass - but nice walls of lacing. overall an excellent presentation.

my first impression of the nose is that this is going to be one heck of a hoppy barleywine, even for the american style (this is my first experience with bigfoot, incidentally). very heavy floral/cirtus presence of hops. also notes of sweet malt.

one sip confirms the nose. big bitter hoppiness out front, *almost* reminiscent of a DIPA, but as it warms the maltiness seems to open up and the beer becomes much more complex and flavorful. still, hands down one of the more heavy hopped barleywines i've had.

really nice mouthfeel: luscious, medium-full bodied with average carbonation.

overall this is an excellent barleywine. as noted, a bit too hop-forward for my personal taste, but i can see where a little age would take this beer to another level. definitely intend to test that theory.

originally reviewed: 03-27-2011

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Photo of Washuffizi98
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of stoutlove77
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I got a chance to savor this one on tap at Lucky Baldwin's, man is this stuff not to be dealt with by the weak. This is the first time I try a Barley Wine style ale and it was sure memorable.The color was a deep amber with a nice light head. The taste is a bitter with a fresh light essence of caramel and i believe hops.. The drinkablity is going to be low, the ABV of 9.6 rated here doesnt feel close, in fact I believe this one had a lot more for I was in unexpected high gravity country and I wasn't coming back till the next morning. Overall a good one, enjoy at ease.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice mahogany with cooper highlights. It has a thick caramel colored head that goes all night and leaves massive lacing.

Smells of malt, pine, and resinous hops backed by some earthy nutty notes.

Sweet malt up front with chewy biscuit mouth feel. That sweetness is ripped away almost immediately by big pine resinous bitter hops which dance lively across the palate and leave the finish dry. Earthy and nut (almond) notes are subtle but can be sensed slightly towards the finish. A very nice aggressive beer. After three years, it is still fairly raw.

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Photo of TheodorHerzl
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a dark reddish/garnet hue with one finger of white head. The head dissipated very quickly on this, but at 9.6% that can be expected. The nose is classic for Sierra Nevada. Bold hop characteristics showing signs of all of the C-hops with citrus and pine making themselves known on the nose. The taste brings a blast of powerful malt with the bitter hop flavoring right behind it. I taste big flavors of resinous pine, grapefruit, and sweet caramel. The sweet malt and bitter hops are very well done on this brew. At 9.6% the alcohol is present as well, but is in no way cloying at all in the flavor profile. The mouthfeel is big, chewy, and sticky with the alcohol warmth only slightly making itself known. The drinkability is very good on this brew, and I would gladly purchase again.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance -- Pours a translucent ruby red with an abundance of stiff tan head. Lacing is abundant and rocky.

Smell -- An abundance of caramel and butterscotch with some floral hop aroma and some resin. Some alcohol is present in the nose, as to be expected.

Taste -- Very hop forward from the onset, then a lot of dark roastiness and caramel eek out of the wall of resin. Finish is hoppy and asserive with a fair amount of caramel and burnt roast flavors, as well as some alcohol bite.

Mouthfeel -- full-bodied, chewy, and with more carbonation than I am used to with for the style, but somehow it suits this beer quite well.

Drinkability -- This is a whole lot of beer in every way possible. What I really enjoyed about this beer was that even with 90 IBUs it still hits a lot of those prototypical malty, unctuous barleywine notes that makes them so satisfying. The higher carbonation and hop assertiveness really adds to the drinkability for me, as it prevents all of that sweet maltiness from becoming cloying. It's delightful, and absolutely worthy of its reputation.

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Photo of Bonis
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Dark amber with lots of sticky foam. Great lacing. Looks like a superb beer.

S - Not what I anticipated. Lots and lots of booze along with some sweet malt characteristics. Either my nose is off or I get very little hops. The hops I do smell are only a tad floral. Not gonna lie, I get notes of barf in this one for some reason.

T - As much as I wanted to throw this one away after smelling it, I took one drink and it was amazing. A huge beer, malty and bready and hoppy and piney and fruity at the same time. The finish is bitter and dry but sticks around for the right amount of time. Just extremely complex and well balanced at the same time. I feel like it's a bit hoppy for the style, but it works for me overall.

M - An extremely thick full bodied beer. Carbonation is high, booze is noticeable and warming, but not too much.

D - Good for what it is. I wouldn't want to drink more than 3 in a night, but it is nearly 10% abv in the end.

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Photo of scifan
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So glad to be trying this again. I remember trying this about two years ago and I hated it. I was really into belgians back then and hadn't really tried any hoppy beers. I think things will be different this time around. Poured a dark amber color with a nice off white head. Smells nice LOTS of piney hops, with sweet caramel malts, and a touch of alcohol. Lots of piney bittering hoppiness and sweet sweet malty goodness. Alcohol is quite noticeable. But man my tastbuds have definitely matured this beer is awesome. I'm diving headfirst into the world of american barleywines.

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Photo of freshcarl
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of gfap61
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of KobraKai
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jwwjd
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottle poured Into a 14 oz. snifter

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Photo of haazer
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think this beer goes better in a tulip.

A- Pour yields a nice 3 finger off-white head. This leaves lacing all down the glass. The brew itself is a beautiful amaretto red color with violet highlights. A good amount of carbonation is evident on the sides.

S- Plenty of caramel malts are present upfront and intertwined with the other scents in this beer. Sweet sugar cane, dark fruits such as plums and raisins, and a fair amount of hops in this brew. Fresh I'd imagine this would smell as a pine forest where the sasquatch roams...(I'm buzzed)

T- Sweet plum, raisin and date flavors begin the barleywine. There is a nice caramel malt backbone to this thing. Aftertaste is somewhat that of cheese, interestingly enough. And there is strong bitterness to the end indicating the hops are still in here.

M- Mouthfeel is medium in body, and almost syrupy. The hops and malt bill balance quite nicely in this brew. Carbonation is evident, I'd say about a 6 out of 10.

O- This is a highly enjoyable barlewyine. I havent drank much Sierra Nevada, barleywines are hard to pull off, and judging by this offer I feel that I can trust this brewery with other beers I try from them. And for the record I do think Bigfoot exists.

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Photo of PintOHops
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glass - Snifter

2011 Edition

A - Amber/red color with decent clarity. It produced a 1-finger head that held okay. It fell to a sticky looking ring atop my beer. No lacing was left but there was a couple spots here and there.

S - It smells pretty fresh to me. I get a nice balance of malts and hops, with the malts slightly dominating. With a good swirl I get lots of burnt sugary notes like molasses, toast, caramel, brown sugar, roasted nuts and hints of cocoa. I also get leafy and herbal hop characters. Pretty inviting aroma.

T - Upfront I get some alcohol and bitterness, and as it clears I get really nice malt characters: brown sugar, nuts, cocoa, caramel and toffee, just really tasty. Towards the finish I start getting a pretty strong leafy hop character, pretty strong bitterness that lingers and lots of alcohol. You know your drinking a higher ABV brew, but it works pretty well.

M - Silky smooth texture with soft crispness and a relatively full body.

O - This is a beer that your gonna wanna sit back, sip and let warm. I think this is a pretty darn good Barleywine, drinkable for what it is but not something I would drink more than one of because it would probably get to warm and sweet tasting, which I don't like. A great beer I would definitely have again sometime. Definitely pick it up if your into Barleywines and sipping brews. Cheers!

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Photo of amcmaho1
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh 2011 Bigfoot picked up earlier today...

Appearance: Great crimson colored body. Pours a small head with nice lacing. Very beautiful presentation!

Smell: Huge malt sweetness and aromatic hops dominate the nose. It smells "fresh" in a good way; although i know how well this ages, and subsequently how the flavors and aromas will shift with time. For now though, the hop profile is taking a front seat along with the malt, giving this barleywine a great "American" edge.

Taste: Again, the great interplay between the sweetness of the malt and the bitterness of the hops. There's a little alcohol burn and astringency, though it's marginal.

Mouthfeel: Nice amount of carbonation, and little to no "syrupy" feeling. It's undoubtedly a "bigger" beer, though not a behemoth. This makes it very drinkable for me. As great as it is now though (and it certainly is...) I can't wait to space out my Bigfoots over some time to see how they mature.

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Photo of scottsoileau
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ONUMello
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage, 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: A hazy caramel-brown color, with a thinner head than this beer had when younger.
S: Lots of malt, hops, spice- quite a bit going on.
T: The flavors match the smells. Rich and robust; the etoh is well integrated.
M: Big and bold yet smooth and balanced.
O: As others have said, a fantastic barleywine. Nice to try with a little age on it, and I've got a couple more 2009s that I'm going to try to hang onto even longer.

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Photo of midworken
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 Batch-
Poured a thick, leathery head with good head retention and lacing.
Smelled of citrus, primarily grapefruit. Very bright and vibrant aroma. Faint smell of soapiness.
Taste mirrored the aroma. The first time I take a sip of this brew it always kicks me in the mouth, the flavor profile comes right away. Citrus is at the front, with the piney and woody flavors coming near the end. Flavor retention is dismal, yet still very complex.
Although flavor is bright, the body is thick and malty. Alcohol is very present and astringent.

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Photo of nasty15108
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle (2009) into a snifter.

A - Poured a deep copper color. The pour produced a thin head of off-white foam that subsided into a thick bubbly film.

S - Big aroma of citrus (grapefruit) and pine. The warming smell of alcohol also detected.

T - Up front this ale had a slightly sweet malty taste that quickly gets overpowered (not in a bad way) of the bitter flavor of grapefruit and some pine needles. Finshes off slightly dry with a bit of bitter hop bite.

MF&D - Oily, sticky and wonderful to drink (sip). Medium bodied, but with a thick, slightly creamy mouthfeel. Although it is a definite sipper, this ale went down exceptionally well. I would love one with a nice cigar.

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Photo of JMScowcroft
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada - Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale, poured into a wine goblet.

Look - Filtered deep amber ruby with good sized soapy head. Abundance of lacing.

Smell - Citrus and pine dank hops intertwined with amber/red malts. Aroma is strong and full.

Taste - Rich malts with definitely alcohol taste (slightly off putting), finishes bitter pine hop blast.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied with medium carbonation. Sticky coating from malts. Definite boozy kicker. Sipper.

Overall - This is one heck of a mean brew. the pine hop bitter mixed with definite alcohol creates almost a solvent-like taste but you acclimate to it as you drink it. Watch out for hangovers with this one!

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Photo of HOPPYKC
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this on tap at the flying saucer. A great seasonal that is Definatly hard to find.

A- a nice amber and brown color. Almost transparent but has a little bit of a full look to it. Nice tan head that goes quickly. Shows hood signs of carbonation.

S- almond and roasted malts. Now hops. Bitter and complex. Fruity and composed.

T- bitter up from but well composed. Toasted malts and fruit maybe pineapple and grapefruit.

M&D- great drink and full flavor. Complex and wanted. Could drinkthis all day long.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle.

Pretty mahongany with a big head and good lacing.

Smells very hoppy with slight floral and fruity undertones.

Up front fruitiness followed by Hoppy taste. Followed by some more hops hops. Fisnishing with a little more sweetness. Hides the alcohol well.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are both good, about on par with any good IPA. In fact, this is very similar to a DIPA. I will let a few of these age and see what I think. Great to drink now, will probably be great later. Good for the price too.

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Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 7,506 ratings.
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