Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
American Barleywine
Ranked #68
Ranked #4,576
4.14 | pDev: 11.35%
Nov 02, 2022
Feb 06, 1998
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.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of RaulMondesi
Reviewed by RaulMondesi from California

3.23/5  rDev -22%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25
Pretty bummed on this one. It’s like buying a ticket to see Babe Ruth play, but he was too hungover or in jail or something and not in the starting line up. Right from the start, I detected syrup in the aroma; and then what do you know? Leggo my Eggo - syrup on my palate too.

Well, you win some. You lose some. And right here I’m becoming ambivalent as it warms. Wait…

Yeah, not much. Still a big dollop of syrup in the aroma, but it has died down a bit in taste. Still nothing to call your mama about.
Sep 22, 2022
Photo of MHL81
Rated by MHL81 from Illinois

4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
A large beer, like its secretive primate namesake. Much malt, hops and ethanol. Looking forward to vertical tastings with this.
Sep 11, 2022
Rated: 5 by Dalkri from Massachusetts

Sep 09, 2022
Photo of Rambo111
Reviewed by Rambo111 from Minnesota

4.16/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
This beer is not meant as a session ale. I buy it once a year as a treat, and this year in 2022 it is exceptional! I get a clean head, with well balanced pine and tropical fruit for the body. The finish is bread flavors and a warming effect; this beer is complex in flavor and feel. I’d recommend this one for connoisseurs.
Aug 21, 2022
Rated: 4.1 by Hawkfish from Washington

Jun 05, 2022
Photo of TooManyGlasses
Reviewed by TooManyGlasses from Canada (AB)

4.49/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
2016 bottle from the cellar - not going to lie - not sure I drank any of the 2016 fresh....
Pours a clear garnet, dark ruby colour with tawny beige head. A bit of sediment left in bottle.
Aroma of caramel malt, bread, date but despite age a strong hop burst is there - piney, resin, candied grapefruit peel.
Malty sweetness on the palate - burnt toffee, caramel, date and bread - quickly overcome by a barrage of hop flavours - resinous pine, candied citrus peel, grapefruit with a sticky bitterness coating the palate.
Full sticky mouthfeel, decent carbonation despite aged state with a lingering powerful bittersweetness.
Jun 04, 2022
Rated: 4.18 by Booza from Australia

Jun 02, 2022
Rated: 4.25 by BabaBeer from California

May 08, 2022
Photo of RacerX5k
Reviewed by RacerX5k from Pennsylvania

1.52/5  rDev -63.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2
Yes, Bigfoot is an legend, an icon. And, every year, I have one, or two, singles, and yes, last year I depleted the stock at multiple locals, and for 6 months, it was that good. Got my bitterness on, along with Old Rasputin, how I survived (last year) ,... this year? This is not THAT review ...

This year? This beer fucking stinks, on rye, like one reviewer noted, recently, Yes, I finished my one sixer, and just to be sure, wasted the $2.50 on one more single last night ... way too harsh, and plastic, fake, tasting. No balance and this will only got worse over time And while, the other legend Celebration Ale, was very good, it does NOT belong in cans. loses aroma.
Apr 21, 2022
Photo of RyanK252
Reviewed by RyanK252 from California

4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
2022 bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada Brewing Co tulip glass

A: Pours gorgeous ruby copper amber with a frothy khaki head that settles to a firm layer that hangs around for a bit and leaves plenty of nice lacing.

S: Rich toasty bready malt, toffee, dark and stone fruit, all countered with a strong hit of resinous pine and citrus rind.

T: Hops hit first, citrus, grapefruit and orange, resinous pine, followed by a mix of fruity notes, plum, fig, apricot, peach, cherry, and raisin, toasty bready malt, and toffee sweetness.

M: Medium to full body, moderate carbonation, just a hint of alcohol.

O: Didn't realize I hadn't logged this one until recently, even though I've had plenty of it before, so I figured I might a well grab a fresh bottle and enter in a baseline, then revisit with a vintage bottle.

Fresh, it drinks kinda like a mix of TIPA and hoppy American Strong Ale, in a good way. English Barleywines get the majority of the attention, but there's a reason this American style one has stayed around so long. (4.28)
Apr 20, 2022
Photo of md3kcn
Reviewed by md3kcn from North Carolina

4.57/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Purchased as a single bottle from The Blue Door for $4. 2022 vintage. Poured into a cognac snifter.

L - A fantastic clear ruby, with a two-finger khaki head that doesn't die out. Lacing is excellent.
S - Super floral. Getting rosehip, grapefruit peel, pine tar, and red apple. A hint of ethanol on the nose.
T - Toffee, stone fruit, and pine resin. Juicy grapefruit, followed by a heavy black bread note. Finish is intense and pine-heavy. You really pick up the ABV on the latter half of the glass...
F - Full-bodied, with minimal carbonation. Filling. Warm. Heavy.
O - The king of Sierra Nevada's brews. Like the weathered father of an immature imperial IPA. Dense, intense, and titillating every sense, this one is for the fans. Highly recommend, and I'll be getting another bottle to age.
Apr 14, 2022
Photo of Manta200
Rated by Manta200 from Kentucky

3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
At the Cincinnati Beer Fest 2022
Apr 04, 2022
Rated: 3.84 by stanale from Illinois

Mar 25, 2022
Rated: 4.24 by eluvah from New York

Mar 24, 2022
Rated: 4 by dbauer from California

Mar 21, 2022
Photo of gooddaydiablo
Reviewed by gooddaydiablo from Texas

4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
look: ruby, clear

s: bread

t: bitter af, malty af, pine and grapefruit,

feel: dry, thick, monster

overall: ipa on steroid, strong but tastes just average
Mar 13, 2022
Photo of Captain69
Rated by Captain69 from Illinois

4.34/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
another great bigfoot this year (2022) strong malty , drink slow to get all the flavors
Mar 11, 2022
Rated: 4.18 by NightINgale from Russian Federation

Mar 07, 2022
Photo of tzbel013
Reviewed by tzbel013 from Tennessee

4.48/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
My 2nd foray into a gnarly wine style beer after Lagunitas Brown Shugga. Definitely catch the malts sweetness on the nose but it's the intense malt/hop hit on the 1st sip that is impressive. The booziness definitely becomes apparent as you sip this brew along with the hops as it warms. Overall I love this style and looking forward to cellaring a few of these for a few years.
Mar 06, 2022
Photo of MrOH
Reviewed by MrOH from Malta

4.64/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
Pours a clear garnet with a generous khaki head, excellent retention and lacing
Grapefruit, floral, and piney hops over a deep caramel malt aroma with hints of dried fruit
Bold pine and grapefruit rind hops, big caramel malt. Long, bitter finish
Heavy bodied but not too sticky, appropriate carbonation.
An American classic for a reason
Mar 01, 2022
Photo of Wattie83
Reviewed by Wattie83 from Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
2021 version. Poured 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Pours a deep caramel color with an off white head that falls to a cap. Very active carbonation rising up. Aroma is caramel and earthy hops mixed with a combination of dark fruit and citrus fruit. Taste is caramel, malty sweetness, resinous/earthy hops, and alcohol. Feel is thick and chewy with a nice carbonation bite. In the end there's a bit of dryness that sneaks in. There's a definite alcohol warmth with this. Overall, I don't have a lot of experience with barleywines, but I do like this and would buy again.
Feb 27, 2022
Rated: 4.06 by Dentist666 from Russian Federation

Feb 18, 2022
Rated: 3.5 by ryand14 from Michigan

Feb 13, 2022
Photo of nizzle8287
Reviewed by nizzle8287 from Texas

4.77/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
I first started drinking Bigfoot exactly 10 years ago, and every year, I buy several 6 packs and drink them periodically throughout the year. Today, I'm drinking the 2022 release on 2/5/22. It is outstanding, as usual. There was a ton of hop residue in the bottom of the bottle already, and I like my Bigfoot on the hoppy side, so I swished the last little bit around in the bottom of the bottle before I finished the pour. Pours a beautiful (and slightly hazy) dark cherry to copper hue with a beige head that falls down to an island with a ring around the rim of the glass. Smell is actually slightly mute this time around, but I can detect a slight caramel sweetness that blends well with a general, but faint, hop presence. The taste is definitely hop-forward, as I did swish the residue out of the bottle into my glass, but for me, that makes it perfectly balanced with its absolutely booming malt character. I believe that several hop varieties are used in the brewing of this beer, and the bitter aftertaste is absolutely there, but the malt flavor is so huge that it's hard to pinpoint any one flavor that stands out; it is amazingly well blended. Bitter-sweet medium-thick mouthfeel that finishes quite dry... the alcohol presence is very well hidden... Overall one of the best Bigfoot releases I've had yet!
Feb 05, 2022
Photo of MartyMaltose
Reviewed by MartyMaltose from Washington

4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Long-time Bigfoot enthusiast. Generally you can expect a somewhat-sweet, quite malty version of an IPA, like an IPA that has had 40% of the water evaporated out of it. Generally, delicious!

2022's is harsher, as KT3418 has mentioned (although "barleywine style" is just a legal term for all barleywines...not an indication that it's not a real barleywine). The usual heat is just not balanced this year by enough syrupy sweetness. Disappointing but it's still one of the more awesome brews on the shelves.
Feb 05, 2022
Rated: 3.92 by bschmidt_37 from Illinois

Jan 24, 2022
Photo of Spade
Reviewed by Spade from Pennsylvania

4.44/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Minimal head on a deep copper body. The aroma doesn't prepare for the taste, which is intense. A wonderfully bitter hop bite on a robust malt base, with a full mouthfeel. This will be great for cellaring!
Jan 23, 2022
Photo of klarcbarr3
Reviewed by klarcbarr3 from Michigan

3.91/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
I poured a 12 oz. Sierra Nevada Bigfoot into a pint glass. A cream colored head emerged above a beautiful red amber body that was impressively carbonated. Profuse lacing rose above a head that receded but never entirely disappeared. I have never been more impressed by a beers' look! The magic faded on the nose, however. Nice raspberry and bread notes were offset by a pungent hops note, which overrode the more pleasant components. The taste was a bit more amenable to enjoyment... the sweetness expected from a barleywine is there, and lingers a bit, but after a minute without a sip, the hops reasserts and again controls your senses. There is a sense of quality to this brew... the taste, look and feel of it are assertive, and if you are a true hophead, you might be enchanted with Sierra Nevada Bigfoot. I prefer to enjoy a barleywine that celerates its' fruited and grain characteristics. This is not that beer. The mouthfeel is quite good, I anguished a bit, that perhaps it deserved a 4.5. Overall, the taste and smell kill it for me, but I like dark, sweet beers. There are simply too many hops in the mix here for me, but I do believe it is a quality brew that will be cherished by hops lovers.
Jan 19, 2022
Photo of KT3418
Reviewed by KT3418 from Colorado

3.01/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75
The 2022 edition is absolutely awful fresh. Tastes like an extremely malt-forward IPA. None of us could stand this. Hope it's better next time or with age. Did not taste like a barleywine, can't help but notice they just say barleywine style. Maybe I need to wait 10 years before opening one.
Jan 14, 2022
Photo of Guaro
Reviewed by Guaro from Italy

4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Opaque amber with orange reflections, the foam is compact and fine ocher in color. Scent of caramel, biscuit, date, citric hops but mainly resinous. Sweet, softly and sweetly malty entry, generously bitter finish on resinous and fresh paths despite two years from bottling. Medium and round body with fine low intensity carbonation. Few elements elegantly linked together. Delight.
Dec 16, 2021
Rated: 1.64 by Bigmoist from West Virginia

Nov 13, 2021
Photo of LesDewitt4beer
Reviewed by LesDewitt4beer from Minnesota

4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Beginning in 2005 I've enjoyed each year of this release. It is perfectly rich, sweet and hoppy with deeply caramelized malts, firm and creamy. It has the signature SN central axis of taste that illuminates throughout their beers. Now 2021, I can finally cellar some bottles to enjoy and age for a few years. A beautiful American Barleywine that is world-class in it's style.
UPDATE as of April 7, 2022:
2021 release 12oz bottle pkg dated 12/10/2020 into a pint glass.
L: Pours a slightly clouded ruby burnished copper w/a thin creamy khaki head that dissipates to creamy edge foam. No visible carbonation. No lacing.
S: Roasted malt, caramelized malts, light earthy hops, a hind of biscuit. Moderate alcohol as the beer warms.
T: Gentle sharp hop bitterness, roasted malts followed by dates, citrus rind, sweet/tart hops, caramelized malts again then deep pine resin that goes fairly broad on the tongue. It's firm & lengthy hop bitterness results in a long resinous linger.
F: Lightly crisp, bold, firm, medium bodied mouth feel w/a drying long lingering finish.
O: This annual American Barleywine release I have is 16 months cellared and has a radiant taste of sweet malts and pine resin hops. It's toastiness & bitterness are expertly blended and it is outstanding and or world-class in it's style.
*The 2022 release has a bit more of a head, the body is clear burnished copper, aroma has berries and is a bit more citrusy, the taste is quite similar though bitterness is at the front rather than in the finish, it's feel is slightly slick. Overall it is fantastic.
Oct 17, 2021
Rated: 3.72 by CMGMgonzo

Oct 01, 2021
Photo of trevormajor
Reviewed by trevormajor from Ohio

4.41/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
12 oz bottles poured into snifters. Side by side tasting of the 2011 and 2014 vintages:
L - both are caramel colored with nice hazelnut heads that lingered. 2011 may be a shade darker, but really no noticeable difference
S - same, very slight scent, caramel and bread
T - caramel, sweet nuttiness. both are very nice, with both malt and hop flavors. 2014 is a bit silkier and more full bodied, 2011 seems to have more hop bitterness
F - thick mouthfeel, 2011 has a tad more carbonation feel to it
O - both are very nice, initially I prefer the 2014 vintage, it's a bit smoother and silkier
Aug 08, 2021
Rated: 2.09 by stephenlee93 from England

Jul 23, 2021
Rated: 3.99 by lsudduth from Ohio

Jul 11, 2021
Rated: 2.14 by OrdinaryManDrinks from England

Jun 26, 2021
Photo of Limazulu
Reviewed by Limazulu from Idaho

4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
A-beautiful dark caramel color with substantive head and lacing that lasted a long time
S-Moderate roast and hoppy notes
T-With the heavy hops, this almost seems like a boozy, not as roasty Black IPA. Which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. Above average bitter for the style.
M-Medium(+) body, a little chewy, pretty dry finish. Moderate carbonation.
O-unexpected, different, really good.
Jun 22, 2021
Bigfoot from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 7865 ratings