Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
92
outstanding
7,501 Ratings
Bigfoot Barleywine-Style AleBigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
7,501
Reviews:
3,058
Avg:
4.14
pDev:
11.35%
 
 
Wants:
417
Gots:
1,827
For Trade:
69
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,501 |  Reviews: 3,058
Photo of BGsWo22
1/5  rDev -75.8%

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
1/5  rDev -75.8%

Photo of seaver41
1/5  rDev -75.8%

Photo of harrylee773
1/5  rDev -75.8%

Photo of yas
1/5  rDev -75.8%

Photo of FLBEERGUY25
1/5  rDev -75.8%

Photo of newbeeraday
1/5  rDev -75.8%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Photo of kvnstfrd
1/5  rDev -75.8%

Photo of MonkeyBread
1.25/5  rDev -69.8%

Photo of Taste-Acquired
1.25/5  rDev -69.8%

Photo of KenRinPA
1.38/5  rDev -66.7%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Photo of FtownThrowDown
1.46/5  rDev -64.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

I keep trying to like this beer. It’s just not going to happen.
Pours a reddish amber color with a slight head that recedes quickly. Smell is bittering hops. Strong and dominating. Taste is more the same. Can’t even tell if the underlying barleywine is any good, because the hops are all that’s there. I just don’t get the fascination with this beer. I guess it can’t be for everyone. I feel this is just a highly over-rated beer that I just can’t figure out.

 466 characters

Photo of Kuongming
1.5/5  rDev -63.8%

Photo of cliftonsbiehl
1.5/5  rDev -63.8%

Photo of olbubba
1.5/5  rDev -63.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Photo of Contagion
1.65/5  rDev -60.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

It's dark brown in color with a nice rich ruby highlights. It poured a thin tan head that faded quickly to a film on the top of the beer. It is cloudy, light passes through easily enough, but you can't see any clear images. There was some lacing.

The smell is of dark fruit with a hint of vanilla. The scent of bourbon from being aged in a bourbon barrel. The bitter scent of hops is present, almost overpowering. The taste is a mixture of roasted malts, vanilla bean and hops. The bitterness from the hops overpowers the scent and the taste of the beer, and leaves a very IPA like aftertaste to it. I'm not sure if this beer is just a little skunky or if it should taste like this as it doesn't taste like any other barleywine style ale that I've ever tasted. Although I will say that you can't taste the alcohol in this 9.6% Alcohol by Volume beer.

This is medium bodied beer that is light on the carbonation. There is some coating to it, which may be why the aftertaste sticks around for a long time.

This beer was given to me back in June and had been lost in the back of the fridge since. It may have gone skunky in that time so I'm thinking of getting another one to re-review it at another time.

 1,208 characters

Photo of Das_Reh
1.67/5  rDev -59.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 1.75

2013 bottle poured into a snifter.

Aggressive pour produces minimal head, about a half finger thick, before dissipating into a thin white film. The beer is a striking mahogany color and looks wonderful in the glass.

Oh my... BIG hop presence on the nose, very potent and piney. I've had IPA's that didn't smell this hoppy. I'm worried... I've never had the barleywine style before, but I was assuming it would have the dark fruit/caramel/brown sugar aromas of other dark, high alcohol beers.

Holy crap, that's hoppy! Big smack of pine resin and grapefruit rind to the face, a bitterness that dominates and completely overpowers the bourbon-like sweetness that is barely discernible in this brew. There is a bit of warming heat from the alcohol, but again, hops overshadow everything. Each sip makes me grimace; this is far from drinkable...

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and slick, with oily hop bitterness coating your tongue.

After a few sips, I had to pour this down the sink, much to my dismay. This is the last time I base my beer purchases on reviews from BA, as my past 4-5 purchases have left me disappointed and wishing I had my money back. This beer was all bitterness and no flavor, a hop bomb. They should have called this a DIPA instead of a barleywine. I've heard that you can mellow this thing out by cellaring it for a year or so, but this is the last Bigfoot I will ever have.

NOTE: Although I stand by my review scores and consider this undrinkable, I should have realized it actually does fit within the style of being very hoppy, as it is an American styled barleywine. American styled barleywines have a more aggressive hop profile than their English counterparts, and I failed to realize that at the time.

 1,734 characters

Photo of NoetheMatt
1.75/5  rDev -57.7%

Photo of fishguyac
1.75/5  rDev -57.7%

Photo of WholeLottaTricks
1.8/5  rDev -56.5%

Photo of PorterLambic
1.82/5  rDev -56%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Wow. This was quite an experience, sadly not a good one.
Reddish brown with a coarse 1" head, decent lacing.
Smells of spice, alcohol, malt and fruit.
Taste is spice, fruit, malt, alcohol. Starts a little rough, way too hoppy. Finishes with a extremely noticeable and harsh piney, almost turpentine, aftertaste that get horrendously rough, very bitter.
Mouthfeel was medium-bodied, but not smooth.

Definitely a beer I will NEVER drink again, barely able to choke this one down, and it wasn't because of the alcohol. It did not improve as the temperature came up, quite the opposite. One was definitely enough. If you want a barleywine style ale, I would suggest Anchor's Old Foghorn instead, or any other.

 712 characters

Photo of jamie2dope
1.82/5  rDev -56%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

From what I understand, this years vintage has received a large amount of criticism and praise at the same time. Lets see how it turns out. Poured in to my Westmalle chalice a nice looking cherry color. Besides the color, it looks slightly dull, with not much head save for a tiny ring around the glass. Aroma is a slight improvement, with some great berry and cream characters backed by a heavy perfume of booze. Taste begins with a huge assault of hops, a bit of juicy dark fruit, then leaves on an intensely bitter note that reminds me of cheap tobacco. Aftertaste is rather unpleasant. Reminds me of the taste in my mouth after a harsh night of drinking mixed with bad cigarettes. Mouthfeel is heavy on the palate, and drinkability is lessened quite a bit by the rough aftertaste. Quite a disappointment in my book, as other years of this brew have been very enjoyable. I suspected maybe I had a poor bottle, but found the same flaws present in the second bottle I cracked open. I don't think I will be drinking the rest of my six pack at this point, so maybe I will lay a few down to see if they mature well. Simply a mess of a beer IMO. Avoid.

 1,149 characters

Photo of mayorwalda
1.87/5  rDev -54.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I review this the way I have because I have a number of expectations when cracking open a "barley wine" and this brew fulfilled almost none of them.

Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot Barley Wine Style Ale
Man, I love Sierra Nevada! Let’s pry the cap off this thang (12 fl oz bottle).

Here comes the aroma! More like “ah-ro…what?” Do I smell hops? Weird. I really do, I smell hops; and basically no malt. Smells can be deceiving sometimes, I guess.

Let’s move on.

On the pour, Sierra Nevada’s barley wine looks like a barley wine, at least. It has got that dark red, unfiltered beauty which signifies to me, visually, “Hey, man, good job picking that barley wine.” But my nose is calling the bluff here, “Hey, guys, I smell hops. Just hops.” We’ll let senior Palaté (I have no clue how that would be pronounced) mediate this discussion.

And, so, on the first sip, well, my nose had this brew’s number from the start.

Holy hell, are there hops in here! There are really, really a lot of hops in here. So much so, that I am not getting any sense of maltiness at all—certainly nothing from our subtle, sweet, amazing friend, barley. No malt/barley sweetness frolicking across my tongue this time around. What a bummer.

Instead of the smooth, round tastes I’m used to, I’m getting the taste of something a lot more hop-centric. Something like an imperial IPA. I know Sierra Nevada loves their line of pale ales, but it still surprises me that they’d overwhelm this style with the tank full of hops they must have used to make this. I find that it’s a strange decision as a person smitten with this style of beer.

All the things I love about barley wine seem to go ignored in this. The sweetness is not there. While on your tongue, this brew drinks like an IPA. Very green, resinous and slightly floral. After gulping it down a bit you get that typical IPA trail of bitterness on your tongue which waits eagerly for you to reinforce it. There isn’t a moment in the process of enjoying this brew that you do not taste hops.

Word on the street, though, is that this thing perks up—or rather mellows the ‘eff’ out—with age. This is the 2012 release I’m drinking, so, if this thing needs age, well, I haven’t given it that. To be honest, I’ll have no trouble shelving two or three of these for a year or two. I would like this beer to really live up to the sweet mellowness “barley wine” signifies to me. If it takes a year or two, I guess it’s an investment I’m willing to make.

At any rate, the skinny is like this. (I promise from here on out I’ll be less whiny.)

A(ppearance): Well, Sierra Nevada’s got the barley wine style down in this department. This brew most certainly has the dark, red, copper color of the beloved barley wine. The head gathers tightly and eagerly. This brew’s head has a piney, resin texture.

S(mell): This is where things seem to deviate from expectation. The bouquet from this beer is completely composed of hops

T(aste): As far as taste is concerned, this beer is green and hoppy. There is little in the way of malt taste. I mean to say that it must be there, but it is completely overwhelmed by the hop intensity that it’s not present in a way that can be appreciated. It’s probably only serving, at this point, to keep us from going cross-eyed from bitterness. I will say one positive thing about this brew, though. This beer comes with an ABV of 9.6. That will serve as a surprise to anyone who doesn’t do their homework before cracking this thing open. The booziness of a 9.6 ABV is totally hidden in this brew. Kudos for that, Sierra Nevada.

M(outhfeel): The mouthfeel is a bit tacky, with lasting bitterness that asks to be endlessly refreshed. A great quality for an IPA; not, in my opinion, a good quality for a barley wine.

O(verall): Well, as this review is part of my ongoing Quest for the Best Barley Wine Under $14.99, well, I have to totally fail Sierra Nevada’s offering. As a beer in general it’s nice. I’d like to see it called something different because I don’t think it lives up to the qualifications they put to it… At any rate it’s a quality, high ABV ale and deserves a lick. You should try it if for no other reason than, it’s another good hop-centric beer from Sierra Nevada. But, again, it doesn’t even qualify for a rank in my quest…

 4,378 characters

Photo of ChrisBuster
1.9/5  rDev -54.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

07' Bigfoot

So I think I must have stumbled on a bottle that had somehow soured in one way or another. The color was excellent however a nice amber red, bright yet opaque. But a very small head that dissipated in an instant. Smell was hard to explain yet very pleasing...everything else was just bad. Strong alcohol taste that gave me no room to even really taste anything else...in all honesty tasted like cheep booze to me. Also everyone is raging about the hops yet i didn't smell or taste even a hint.Something had to be wrong with this brew...

 549 characters

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
1.97/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

Year : 2016.

My first experience with Sierra Nevada's Barleywine.


It starts off great with a pour of mahogany and burnt caramel. The head is egg foam yellow and towering above the woody body.

On the label it talks about a lot of cone hops, but that's about all I smell when nosing this particular BW. This comes off more as an IPA in the aroma than any sort of Barleywine. Onion, grapefruit, garlic. Not on point - not at all. A stinge of caramel malts keep it from completely tanking in this category.

The flavor delivers a touch more maltiness, but I'm still drinking a very strong IPA here. A bit of welcoming alcohol burn, but that's the only variation. Powdered sugar and toffee-like saccharine sweetness meets a hop assault of Vidalia onion and grapefruit. This is very much a hop forward IPA. I mean Barleywine. Resins everywhere. Everywhere. No balance. Just a hoppy, oily mess.

Feel is slick and oily, all the way down. It leaves an undesirable coating on the palate that makes it easy to continue disliking this beer.

Overall a very disconnected, one trick hop-blasted beer that drinks more like a super hop infused IPA than any type of BW. I understand the style, I know some people like their Barleywines hoppy - but there is no fruit, no malt backing, no fluctuation in flavor. I feel I wasted money and will not be returning to this particular SN offering.

 1,383 characters

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Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 7,501 ratings.
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