Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Bigfoot Barleywine-Style AleBigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale
BA SCORE
4.14/5
Exceptional
7,605 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:
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.

Added by kbub6f on 02-06-1998

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#1,702
Reviews:
3,098
Ratings:
7,605
pDev:
11.35%
Bros Score:
4.41
 
 
Wants:
424
Gots:
1,866
Trade:
70
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,605 |  Reviews: 3,098
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 tp1962
1.18/5  rDev -71.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Very disappointing for me. I don’t care for hoppy beer. Feel mislead. Not how I envision a barley wine should taste. I feel like I just wasted $12

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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 ntraft
1.58/5  rDev -61.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

2018 Edition

I had this many years ago (2008) and it was a major milestone on my journey into the world of beer. It was unlike anything I had ever tried before and even in years hence I continued to regard it as a remarkable example of barleywine. Today I saw it while in the checkout line, and on a whim decided to grab a six-pack.

With this latest effort, Sierra Nevada has utterly destroyed this previously-cherished offering.

The description on the bottle already had me a bit worried: "heaps of whole-cone, Pacific Northwest hops." Huh?! What do hops have to do with a barleywine?? They're an afterthought.

Look: Head sticks to the glass, and color is the deep reddish hue that I would expect. Does not bear the same cloudiness that I remember from previous iterations, however.

Smell: Fairly unremarkable. There's a hint of the old Bigfoot deep down somewhere in there, with vanishingly faint notes of raisin and dark fruits under the cacophony of hop oils. I practically have to touch my nose to the liquid to sense it.

Taste: It has not a trace of the sweet raisin flavor I originally fell in love with. The previously rich, syrupy malt has been utterly demolished by an astringent, choking load of hops that has me clearing my throat and chugging water. And for that bitterness I'm not even rewarded with the citrus earthiness of the typical IPA.

Feel: Doesn't have the rich creaminess that it had in previous years. Otherwise unremarkable.

Overall: Literally, what is the point of this beer?? It is literally pointless. It has no place in the world. There are plenty of double IPAs in the world. Why did they need to make one that didn't have the malty sweetness to backup those hops?? They should be ashamed of themselves. They have destroyed something that used to be a cornerstone of Great Beer. This is on the order of the destruction of Palmyra, the ancient World Heritage site which has has recently been ravaged by Syrian conflict.

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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.

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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 The-Adjunct-Hippie
1.69/5  rDev -59.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1

Year : 2016.

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 a quadruple iPA in the aroma. Onion, grapefruit, garlic. Hits of caramel.

SN's Barleywine drinks like a hoppy, oily mess. I realize the American Barleywine style is hoppier than the English counterpart, but this is just a cop out. Dump a bunch of hops into the boil and use a touch of caramel malts along with the huge pale malt bill and there you have it. It's total vidalia onion, awful grapefruit, and a garbage-caramel gross sweetness. Awful.

I just can't quit disliking this beer. Feel is slick and oily, all the way down. Not boozy, not alcoholic, just a resiny mess.

Overall a very disconnected, one trick hop-blasted beer that drinks more like a super hop infused malt liquor. It's disgusting. I'll probably never return to this beer since it's turned me off so badly! To style? This beer is a fat ass F. It's an IPA if anything, and barleywine-ignorant-hopheads with scrubbed palates are the only reason this beer gets any credit.

 1,219 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

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Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 7,605 ratings