Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
92
outstanding
7,505 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:
7,505
Reviews:
3,058
Avg:
4.14
pDev:
11.35%
 
 
Wants:
417
Gots:
1,832
For Trade:
69
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,505 |  Reviews: 3,058
Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of zeff80
4.34/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 edition

A - Poured out a clear, amber color with a small, tan, one-finger head. Left nice rings of lace.

S - It smelled of Cascade hops. Also, some citrusy notes. A good dose of malt aromas, too.

T - It tasted of spices. A nice sweet caramel maltiness. Some fruit flavors, too.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A heavy-bodied beer with a warm alcohol presence.

D - This is a very good barley wine. But it is very strong and requires some slow sippin'.

 456 characters

Photo of LXIXME
3.46/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A pretty decent light brown to off white head settles into a decent lacing above a clear dark reddish amber ale.

Big hops, a lot of barley malt and a lot of alcohol in the aroma of this beer.

Alcohol dominates a bitter hops and a sweet grain malt taste.

A medium bodied beer with a alcohol and dry hops aftertaste.

To much alcohol in the aroma and taste for me, if I want that I'll just grab a bottle of JD and be happy.

 424 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a fresh '08 bottle - the 25th anniversary Bigfoot release.

Appearance - Dark reddish-amber, not quite opaque but close to it. The creamy tan-colored head retains surprisingly well for a beer this big, leaving behind sheets of lace as the glass empties.

Smell - Caramel and toffee, fresh resiny hops and plainly noticeable alcohol.

Taste/mouthfeel - Flavors of caramel, biscuit, lemon peel and pine are most prevalent. Very balanced; the rich, syrupy malts are kept in check by an equally massive hop character. Bitter hops and bitter alcohol in the finish; somewhat rough. Warming as it settles in your stomach. Good stuff, and surprisingly easy to drink.

 666 characters

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -3.4%

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

12 ounce bottle into snifter, 2011 vintage bottled 12/30/2010. Pours lightly cloudy reddish copper color with a nice 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big orange zest, pine, grapefruit, caramel, molasses, toast, biscuit, herbal, and earthy spiciness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of big pine, orange zest, caramel, raisin, molasses, toast, biscuit, herbal, floral, grapefruit, earth, and piney spiciness. Good amount of pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, orange rind, pine, caramel, toast, molasses, biscuit, earth, herbal, and piney spiciness on the finish for a while. Great balance of flavors with good complexity; nice bitterness/sweetness balance; no overly cloying flavors at all after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a creamy, slick, and slightly crisp mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is incredibly well hidden with nearly zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent barleywine! Nice balance and complexity of flavors; very smooth and crisp to sip on. Highly enjoyable offering with the age on it. Looking forward to seeing how it changes down the road.

 1,291 characters

Photo of mothman
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed some of these with ThePeskyDingo

Poured into New Belgium Globe Glass

Bubbles stuck to the inside of the glass. Pours a 1 finger tan head, some what pillow-toped. Good retention with splattered lace. Color is a clear copper ruby.

Aroma is very complex. Pine hops, citrus fruits, honey, and bready malts.

Taste: Hops, hops, and more hops. This beer follows the sierra nevada line-up for sure. Piny hops, honey, grapefruit, bready malts, just like the smell. Alcohol peeps out a little here. For some reason this beer reminds me of a couple month old hopslam.

Mouthfeel is bitter at first then it gets a little smoother, but still pretty bitter. Decent carbonation and has a very clean aftertaste.

Overall a hoppy beer that I really enjoyed. If I had tasted this blindly, I would have thought it was a double ipa. It is, however, a sipper at 9.6% abv.

Edit: had a side by side tasting with 08 and 09 and here are a few notes.

The 08 was a lot farmer. Hops faded a little but the beer developed very well. Color is more hazy for the 08. The Aroma is sweeter/ not as hoppy. Overall, I enjoyed the 09 hops but I loved the developed flavor of the '08. Simply an amazing beer.

 1,184 characters

Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of olradetbalder
4.04/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of DrBier
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 01.07.09. Tasted on 03.01.09.

G: Oversized snifer.

A: Pours a very dark amber with a single-finger thick and creamy head. Lacing on the glass as it goes down. Not very transparent.

S: Strong, sweet malt with a hint of alcohol. Mild fruity smells.

T: Initial malt presence with the hops coming on shortly thereafter. The flavor comes out much more as it warms up. Not as complex as some other barleywines I've had, but still a very solid offering.

M: Medium-bodied and creamy. Alcohol hits the tip of the tongue and the beer is smooth as it goes down.

D: A nice drink that I'll definitely enjoy each year, but not one I'll plan on really stocking up on--maybe one to grab a few bottles of each year to see how it changes.

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Photo of nickfl
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - The beer fills the glass and forms a half a finger of off-white foam on top of the very clear, light brown body. The head settles out quite quickly and leaves just a film of lace on the glass in its wake.

S - The classic American barleywine aroma of spicy hops and earthy caramel malt. Notes of pepper, mustard, and pine.

T - Spicy hops and thick toffee malt up front with some distinct pine notes. More pine hops in the middle with sweet, sugary elements of brown sugar and caramel. Things finish up with more mustardy, spicy hop flavors and strong, somewhat harsh hop bitterness to balance the rich malt profile.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a fairly dry finish.

D - This is a tough beer to review, it is such an achetypical classic of its particular style that it is hard to give it an objective examination. Still, like a Beatles album, there is a reason it has become a classic that is a standard bearer for all that followed. The spicy hop character is brimming with pine and more subtle, darker character that is both influenced by and harmonizes with the deep, sugary malt. This is a timeless and complex beer that is all the more notable in that it doesn't require extensive aging to become drinkable the way that some other classic American barleywines do.

 1,294 characters

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

2012 bottle (date on cap & label) served in a pint glass.

A. Dark reddish-amber with 1+ finger of bone-colored head. The head is markedly thick, has great retention and leaves plentiful sticky lacing. There's a very slight haze, but both coarse and fine carbonation bubbles can be seen rising from the bottom of the glass. No room for improvement here.

S: The first thing to strike me was the clear hop aroma, with a mixed of resin (primary) and citrus (secondary). This is no IPA, however, and there's a solid, sweet malt base, and hints of brandy and dark fruits. High ABV becomes increasingly evident with warming, but still mixes nicely with the other aromatics.

T: Caramel malt sweetness up front is quickly replaced with a big bitter hop hit. Relatively strong, hoppy and bitter finish and aftertaste. ABV is fairly well hidden.

M: Moderate carbonation. Rather full body. Smooth. Inevitable impact of high ABV does have a negative impact on the mouthfeel.

O: This is a big beer in aroma, appearance, and flavor. Would not be out of place in a DIPA tasting session: it may well stick out less in a group of DIPA than with a bunch of other barleywines. Tasty, but consume slowly.

{Re-tasted March 2013 -- aged nicely and is a better, less-hoppy beer. Ratings partially adjusted for aged version}

 1,309 characters

Photo of oberon
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 Expedition,pours a deep rich amber with a slightly off white one finger head that leaves a light amount of laces behind as it settled,aromas of brown sugar and pine and I mean big on the pine like whole hop cones just beautiful.Very nice medium to full mouthfeel wich is still slick and easy sliding down,this is one of the defining American barley wines at least this years full and sweet up front with brown sugar and dark fruit but a big resiny/piney hop note takes over midway and in to the finish.This is comparable to my personal favorite Old Ruffian in its big hop character,it dont get much better than a big American barley wine in my opinion.

 657 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 10 year old cellared bottle (1995). As I work my way through my cellared beers I find alot of disappointments, and this one might just be the worst. I've had 30 and 50 year old beers that were better. This is like a bad homebrew. Or, perhaps, maybe I'm just missing that big assult of hop and malt that the Bigfoot offers? Nah, this has just gone to hell in a handbasket...

Oxidation has clearly taken full effect, and although it enhances the caramelish aspect of the maltiness to some extent, there's a sherry note in the finish that combines with the alcohol, and perhaps a bit of piney hops, to leaves a rather unpleasant aftertaste.

The sherry appears in the nose as well, along with alcohol, but it doesn't really detract there. It lends an almond note, and there's also some coconut that's quite nice as well.

It pours an absolutely crystal clear ruby brown, but it has lost carbonation, and there's not really a head to it, just a big bubbled but thin collar.

The body is somewhat thinned, and it's clear that there's a touch more alcohol. Some sublime phenols (or are they higher alcohols?) seem to be present as well.

Overall, most of the bitterness, and some of the piney hops remain, but without the malty sweetness to back it up. I'd have thought the hops would soften more, but what I got is just a shriveled corpse of the beautiful fresh hop vibrance that once was.

Perhaps this one bottle didn't hold up and there are others that are OK; but I'd say, as I've always said, Bigfoot isn't really for aging.... it just holds well. I'll take mine fresh (or within 3 years, thanks!).

That said, my score for this bottle when calculated was a pathetic 3.0; but that's not fair as it's an aged bottle, and so I've included my original scores from the bottle I had back in '02.

 1,814 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.57/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2006 Expedition poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: The beer is a reddish amber color with a very slight haze to it. It creates a foamy off-white head that takes its time to fade and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: Rich hoppy aroma backed up with citrus along with some caramel malt note.

T: Nice hops bite that remains prevalent from start to finish. There’s some citrus and malt sweetness to balance it out a little bit and you can taste the alcohol just a little bit. It leaves a slight citrus hops flavor in the after-taste, but it’s not as strong as I expected given the intensity of the hops that you taste until you swallow.

M: Very crisp and very smooth. Medium body and medium carbonation. Finishes quite cleanly.

D: Although you can taste the alcohol a bit, you certainly don’t taste 9.60% worth. If you take that into account along with the smoothness and the fact that it’s not too filling, I could go with this beer for quite a while, until the ABV catches up with me.

 1,017 characters

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

2012 Vintage

A: Pours a crystal clear copper color. The beer has a finger tall beige head that reduces rather quickly to a thick patch and a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Significant lacing is observed.

S: This beer has a really nice aroma, starting with some sweet caramel malt notes. After that the hops take over, first with the intense pine and then followed by some lighter tropical fruit notes.

T: The taste really follows the flavor... there is a light caramel malt sweetness up front that is followed by lots of hops. There is definitely a dominant presence of pine hops that have a real lot of lingering bitterness (and quite a bit of bitterness as well). Some subtle hints of tropical fruit hops. Some alcohol taste is present in the finish as the beer warms.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly sticky/resiny.

O: A little surprising that there is so much hoppiness in a barleywine. There is a light presence of the alcohol in the finish of the taste and a slight amount of alcohol heat left in your mouth after drinking. Not the easiest drinking beer but still enjoyable. This beer is meant for sipping and probably only one in an evening. Definitely nice complexity to the smell and taste.

 1,253 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Kegatron
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into a snifter. 2010 release.

Pours a beautiful looking deep clear amber, with 2+ foamy fingers of foamy off-white head. Retention is great here, with this putting up a big frothy flareup of lacing that hangs in thick swathes down the sides of the glass. The aroma mainly consists of fresh American hops that literally blow up in the nose, being full of pine and spice and a deep smelling fresh herbal tanginess. A thick malty graininess fills the back of the nose, with most of the sweetness here appearing to come for the fruitiness and earthy nature of the hops.

Resins and spice from those fresh hops just rip the mouth, while a combo of earthy dankness and bitter citrus flavor creeps along in the background. Much like the aroma, there isn't a whole lot of sweetness present (but there's just enough), with a stiff backbone of toasted gaininess holding steady across the back of the palate. Finishes with a ton of lingering dryness, spice, and some leftover herbal tang. The mouthfeel is full and chewy with a good bit of thickness to the feel; but the overall creaminess of the carbonation helps keep this smooth in the mouth for such a big beer. Even at room temp, I'm happy to report that the alcohol here is kept in check, with only some gentle warmth in the chest and throat showing itself after each sip. Well done.

A classic any way you cut it, not only because of it's great availabilty and price each year but also because this is just a damn fine American Barleywine. I personally prefer this fresh each year but aged isn't shabby either. So loosen up thee ole' belt and enjoy one of these calorie-bombs!

 1,639 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of Rifugium
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: cask conditioned at Ebenezer's Pub, Lovell, ME

This was a 2002 batch, cellared for 9 years, and served on tap at Ebenezer's. It definitely picked up some interesting flavors in the cellaring process that made it distinct from the fresh batch I had the day before.

Poured a dark maroon-amber with more haze than its younger brother, to the point where it was pretty much opaque. Still sweet with rich malts, with rich coffee tones appearing, pine resin, dark fruits, a very woody quality, and a definite alcohol burn. Heavy mouthfeel, but not quite full-bodied. Strong, but drinkable...though perhaps one serving is enough.

 635 characters

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

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 7,505 ratings.
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