Bigfoot | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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BigfootBigfoot
BA SCORE
4.14/5
Exceptional
BigfootBigfoot
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.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#3,667
Reviews:
3,130
Ratings:
7,715
pDev:
11.35%
 
 
Wants:
432
Gots:
1,905
Trade:
68
 
User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 3,130 | Ratings: 7,715
Photo of Beer_Right_Back
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

An excellent barleywine hybrid that has all of the strength and complexity you would find in a more typical barleywine, but crossed with just enough hop bitterness, and malty smoothness. This is essentially the barleywine you can have in any situation.

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Photo of Avitra
3.44/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

too much hops, and also too sweet for a barleywine. In fact, this tastes a lot more like an overly sweet and eearingly dark IPA. The malt doesn't cover the bitterness, nor do the sweet notes.
Not a great beer unfortunately.

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Photo of MaltyMagic
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2019 vintage in 2019. Dark orange/red with tan head. Very resinous. Evergreen sap, moss, herbs dominate the nose. Toffee, dark fruits, bread, nuts, join the party on the palate. Zesty and boozy. Long, bitter, sticky, sappy, sweet finish. A classic, for sure. Was ahead of its time when crafted and holds up well year after year. Massive beer, not for the faint of heart.

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Photo of Noah_Aimar
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2015 bottle opened 2019. A murky, almost brown look with minimal head. Smells like barelywine thats for sure. Smell is sweeter than the taste with notes of honey and malty chocolate. Taste is bitter, figs immediately and then a little bit of caramel sweetness that finishes with strong coffee/chocolate flavors. There are better barelywines out there but you definitely can't go wrong with this one. (This one may seem like a sipper but I found that decent swigs are the way to go to get the full flavor profile).

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Photo of AZBeerDude72
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Deep amber with a rich foamy head and solid lacing that does not fade.
N: Malt, bread, caramel, dark fruit/figs.
T: A chewy mix of malt and caramel with a nice hint of figs and dark fruit.
M: Medium and very smooth.
O: Perfect beer!

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Photo of izraelc
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I get one of these every year and every year it's fantastic . I'm not a fan of the barleywine style but this one is the exception. Pours a dark amber. Bold sweet aroma. This has big flavors. Heavy malt body with a hoppy finish. They compliment each other well. Too bad this one only comes once a year.

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Photo of jjamadorphd
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Is now one of my favorite SN offering...

Beautifully colored in dark caramel, it has nice foam and impressive lacing down the glass. The smell is a mixture of hops, malty sweetness, and floral notes. Mouthfeel is carbonated but not overpowering, it has a slightly creamy texture that is more noticeable as it warms. The taste was definitely hip-forward with hints of the malty sweetness I detected in the nose. Overall, this was very much enjoyable, a brew I will be on the lookout moving forward.

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Photo of Victory_Sabre1973
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage - Consumed on 4-16-2019.

Consumed at room temp.

Pours a nice amberish color. 1 finger, frothy, and slightly off white head. Nice lacing on the glass as the head dissipates. Considering the age, I'm surprised at the head retention.
The nose has a slight sweetness to it. It isn't too strong. Bready, yeasty smelling. Pleasing.
Taste - Rich and complex. There's a bread, malt, sweetness. There's actually a decent hop flavor here, which surprised me. Some raisin.
It's got a decent, boozy punch.. Thick full body. Surprised at the carbonation, considering the age, but it dances on my tongue.
This is a solid Barleywine, and it ages well. Glad to try a vintage.

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Photo of Agemar
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Malt up front, hints of Carmel and finishes with intense hop flavor. Reminds me of lagunitas undercover investigation shutdown ale. A very good brew worth buying two of - try one now and cellar the other for 2years. Can't go wrong with Sierra nevada's beers :)

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Photo of AllOfTheCats
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I've consistently given this beer a 4.25, fresh and aged 3yrs. I've only ever had it in a bottle. I'm interested in seeing how my 2015 will be in 2020 :)

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Photo of Joebeerjoe
4.86/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I love it. The bitterness is perfect for me but I know that will be a difference maker. The flavor is amazing it has some piney flavor as well as some sweet rich flavors.

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Photo of Nass
3.89/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2018 Vintage. Bigfoot has some interesting bottle label artwork. I do notice a bottled on date on the neck of the bottle. It pours a dark reddish, light brown, hints of purple type of color. The nose reminds me of sweetened prune. On the tasting i'm detecting some hops, some caramel, figs, prunes, dates, slight pine character, it's also malty sweet, & biscuity. The 9.6% abv has melded well in this drink. This is a classic Barleywine that has held up over the years. This is clearly a beer that I think will develop & taste better with a few years of age to it. Cheers! B

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Photo of mishi_d
3.94/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Amber color, beige head, intense aroma of caramel, malts citrus and flowers, taste is moderate sweet, heavy bitter, medium body, soft carbonation, quite difficult to drink.

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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.16/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into glass. Bottled date on label is '12/14/16 2031'.
Medium amber colored body, which is cloudy. Half finger of off white head sticks around as thin cap. Leaves behind some strings and spots of lacing.
This aroma is not very attractive, but expresses dark fruit prune and raisin. Good hops back up.
Taste is dark roasted with prune and raisin, and bright hops.
Mouth feel is close to full, with dark fruit resonance. Very smooth with the dark fruit influence. Good carbonation.
Expresses as a fully thought out and developed American barleywine beer. Can be sipped or crushed both, according to
how this barleywine is experienced.

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Photo of stevepat
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep vibrant red/copper, nice head with great retention and lacing, color of clay.
Smell is sweat figs and apples with some sweet hop/herb notes. Cherry and caramel hits as well.
Taste is definitely hop forward, quite bitter, tastes like black tea and lightly of lemon or lime peel. some tart apple and more caramel as it warms up. Hadn't had this in years and am honestly shocked at how hoppy it is. This could pass as an imperial IPA.
Mouthfeel is a little on the lighter side. Really surprised at that, it's not watery but it is definitely not dominant or really filling.
Overall this is a really nice english imperial IPA? The most American of American barleywines I suppose. It is assertively hoppy and surprisingly light bodied. Not really what I want when I want barleywine but a nice beer none the less.

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Photo of puck1225
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had it on tap in a snifter after watching the Damcing With The Stars road show.

Rich dark reddish brown color with a nice beige head and excellent lacing. Pleasant toffee smell and taste. The taste includes notes of caramel, brown toast and a bit of booze. A very enjoyable beer!

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Photo of CaptainHate
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2/3/2019 This is the first of many reviews of this as a baseline since I've already aged a 2018 sixer and will do likewise with more of this. Poured into a large goblet produced a smaller than expected head over a clear dark brown amber body. Smell is of piney citrusy toffee. Taste was surprisingly not the hop monster I was expecting; don't get me wrong, there was plenty of bitterness but already complex dark sweet flavors underneath with very little overt alcohol. Mouthfeel was particularly bitter on the back end.

2/17/2019 After my 2/4 initial plunge with a 2019, which was at my daughter's and son in law's place in Santa Cruz, I decided when I returned to chez Hate to pop one of the 2018s (bottled 12/01/2017) as a basis of comparison. One huge difference: I store mine in a cellar fridge set between 50-55; God knows what the kids fridge is set at but it's a *lot* colder. Maybe because of that the head was much larger and consistent with what photos here have illustrated. Definitely because of the temp differences the smell was more prominent as was the taste. The hops are still very forward and any drop off is indiscernible to my unrefined palate. There's still an underlying sweetness that I hope comes more to the fore with increased age. I'll probably pick up a 2019 sixer tomorrow for cellaring.

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Photo of Blackrobe
4.46/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bigfoot 2013 edition.
Label code of 2356211:20, bottled 12/21/12, just over 6 years old.

Pours a murky deep brown with a slight garnet hue, two fingers of thick creamy tan head. Nose of big dark fruit with a deep malty sweetness. Notes of raisin, pine bark, preserved fig, hard caramel candy, babka cake, fruit leather and just a hint of alcohol. Loved it! Taste follows the nose with the well melded flavors of sweet dark fruit, spicy babka and pine. Additionally I get a bit of roastiness of the back end as well as earthiness that seems to build on each sip. It's got a luxuriously smooth medium+ body with carbonation still there to prick the back of your palette 6 years in. This is the only bottle of '13 I have and I REALLY wish I had some more. Cheers to all of you still holding on to this one after all these days, it was worth the wait.

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Photo of defunksta
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look - Dark amber/brown in color with a heavy, large, prominent foam head
Smell - Minimal. The properties of the beer are hidden and not well portrayed in the aroma.
Taste - The flavor embodies the alcohol well. Strong and hoppy. The flavor is is of bittersweet chocolate and caramel. The alcohol is pronounced.
Feel - Well carbonated. Oily and resiny as expected.
Overall: This is my first of the style. The alcohol and flavor is strong but much milder than similar others of the style. Sweetness is moderate. Carbonation is heavy but hidden in the heavy, oily mouthfeel.. An interesting heavy beer that is well hopped and bitter, yet not too sweet, I prefer this to many other barleywines simply because of the relative low ABV but yet pronounced flavor.

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Photo of jrc1093
4.07/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 12/1/17 (2018 release)

Pours a clean, effervescent deep maroon topped with a thick, fluffy off-white head; very solid retention results in thick walls of lacing and a steady collar when it recedes.

Aroma is heavily piney, but smooths out without becoming too aggressive; fairly one-dimensional, but the intermingling with light tones of sweeter, roasty caramel malt in the background really further the depth of a singular note and has it bursting.

Taste really brings forth some of the restrained aggression in the pine and hops with an earthy bitterness that builds calmly through to the finish; like the aroma, softer notes of caramel malt are present to diversify the profile as its few notes develop.

Mouthfeel shows a fairly robust medium body with a steadily increasing hoppy bitterness and a spectacularly leveled medium carbonation. Drying toward the finish, but a slight stickiness prevents it from doing so fully; overall, silky, gritty, and equal parts easy and aggressive on the palate; so excellently done.

Aggressive, hoppy, and singular in its profile, this is just a beast of a beer with some incredible balance shown throughout; easy to see why this could be considered a quintessential American barleywine. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of Bum4ever
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Kind of a hazy brown color with a small amount of tan head. Smell of caramel, molasses, burnt sugar and what my initial reaction was hops, but I think it's a pine note that my brain associates with hops. Taste follows the smell almost to a T, including a slight pine hint in there. Flavors are mellow and they mix well together. Medium bodied and a nice dry finish. First time trying this guy and it was excellent

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Photo of mothmanscott
4.31/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a chill hazed coppery deep amber producing variable head size from 2 fingers to voluminous depending on the purchase and pour. The head is tan, frothy and lasting. It leaves a wash of sticky lacing 1/2-1 inch above the collar ring regardless of total head height. Aroma is spicy, cake-like bready, sweet grain, caramel/toffee, subtle raisin, fig and white fruits; some grass & pine with a strong alcohol note. Taste is boozy sweet caramel/toffee, sweet bready malt, thin dark fruits with a chocolate hint. Hop presence is earthy herbal and pine. Hints of molasses, sweet potato casserole and white fruits appear as the brew warms. Starts sweet and remians so for most of the sip with a faint peppery prickle appearing briefly in the middle. Bitters between midsip and finish and hangs on into the aftertaste. Aftertaste is caramel malty, bitter pine, alcohol blend. Mouthfeel is moderately heavy with medium carbonation, smooth, silky with an hint of alcohol bite.

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Photo of muchos
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 12/01/17.
Enjoyed 09/29/18.
L. Murky brown, carbonation streaming up, light tan frothy head leaves a thick lacing.
S. Molasses, burnt sugar, dates, caramely, Whoppers (the candy, not the burger).
T. Bitter and sweet, and not shy in either direction. Toasted malts, dark caramel, molasses, some smooth bitter dark chocolate, grassy piney hops, big dates. Pretty scrumptious.
F. Pretty full feel, smooth, sticky and resinous. Not boozy, only somewhat warming way in the end.
O. At 10 months it has terrific balance. I'd buy it again. Cheers ! ! !

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 bottle, so nicely aged.

A - Dark brown body, mostly opaque with strong red and orange highlights, light tan head with an orange tint, and extensive small bubble lacing.

S - Harsh alcohol and pine notes, almost like floor cleaner, but in a manner that is not offensive per se. Caramel and lemon aspects are also there, offering something more pleasant.

T - A sipper, as you might expect. Opens with caramel sweetness, leading to lemon and bread, and a grassy, steeped tea bitter bite in the finish. That bite helps keep things from getting cloying but is itself a bit overpowering, particularly when the beer is still cold. You end up wanting to take another sip quick, but if you let it linger, the biting bitterness does trail off after peaking at about 30 seconds from the drink.

M - Moderate body, with a very dry and building finish.

O - This is a beer designed to sit and grow. And it does offer great flavor range, a mingling of bitterness and sweet caramel. Not a favorite style, but well built and offering quite a bit to chew on.

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Photo of EMH73
4.04/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2018 version. Pours a clear light to medium brown with ruby red highlights. a one inch creamy tan head that left nice blotches of lacing. Smells of lightly roasted malts, toffee, raisins and hops. Taste is far more bitter than I expected, somewhat sweet roasted malts, toffee, raisins, dates and alcohol. This beer is meant for sipping and needs to be drank at near room temperature. Full bodied, lightly carbonated, lingering dry and bitter finish.

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Bigfoot from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 7,715 ratings