Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

3,040 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale

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

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

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Reviews: 3,040 | Ratings: 7,461
Photo of cauchonpa
4.84/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I purchased a six pack of the 2012 Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Once Upon a Vine in Richmond, Virginia, on April 6, 2012. What followed was a worthwhile test of patience. After three and a half years later, this ale is absolutely superb.

A (4.75): Poured into a tulip glass. Cloudy red amber color with a creamy white head tinged with the slightest bit of honey gold at its edges. The head dissipates quickly, leaving almost no lacing. When held to a light, the ale glows a rusty orange.

S (5.00): Incredibly complex. While pouring, the ale surprises you with a strong malty sweetness with a good bit of cherry and spice. Upon further nosing, the hops that have been subdued over the past few years become evident; mostly piney but with the ever slightest hint of citrus. Alcohol hides behind candied fruit and honey, which certainly take center stage, starting (again) with cherry and working through raspberry and raisin to a sweet almost chocolaty allspice aroma. Everything is subtle and balanced.

T (4.75): Fruit tartness is offset by a molasses sweetness. The taste is flat compared to the smell, but isn't disappointing. More candied fruit that turns into malty sweetness after warming. Molasses lingers on the tongue.

M (5): Take the first sip quickly before the head dissipates for an incredibly smooth and creamy feel that dissolves into a slight dryness. The ever slightest bit of carbonation appear on the roof the mouth but not on the tongue. After the ale settles, there's a viscosity to it that doesn't offend, like very thin syrup.

O (4.875): I wholeheartedly suggest cellaring this ale for at least 18 months. I haven't done a vertical, and I'm not sure how much longer it would have held on after 3.5 years, but it's definitely fantastic after some time to balance and mellow out.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Caramel body, cloudy, rocky head, not much lace.

S: Big sweet malt, buttery even, with more than its fair share of piney hops.

T: Warm, buttery malt, caramel. The hops are present, but restrained; just enough to keep it from being one-note/cloying. Slightly sweet, with a touch of bitterness.

M: Rich, surprisingly high carbonation.

O: Just like SN Stout (enjoyed earlier today), they use juuuust slightly more hops than normal to keep the classic flavor but add a new, tasty, challenging twist. Warm, buttery, malty, caramel, touch of hop kick. Yum.

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Photo of ClePaul
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot

Look 8/10
Smell 17/20
Taste 35/40
Feel 8/10
Drinkability 17/20

Overall 85 /100

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Photo of JackRWatkins
2.27/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

A: clear dark ruby, persistent, creamy 1 finger head
S: weak, subtle sweetness as well as a touch of salt and caramel
T: hop bitterness up front, heavy malt presence, some caramel malts, has the toasty character of a red ale, has a filling and juicy body but not a fruity character, detected a very (incredibly so, could've imagined it) subtle touch of lychee
M: subtle dryness lent by hop character
O: would likely be enjoyable with some age on it but to me there is no real pay off here, its hop character is assertive but everything else is either pushing the hop bitterness or disappointingly subdued, would not drink it fresh again

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Photo of tmryan21
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2015 Vintage with about 7 months on it.

Look: Dark, reddish-amber colored with a white head. A nice looking beer.

Smell: Candy, pine, small amount of hops, caramel.

Taste: Was slightly disappointed in the taste based on the smell. Very good but was expecting more. Dark fruit (plums), caramel, and toffee. Maybe a hint of citrus.

Feel: Well carbonated, hides the ABV well.

Overall: A very good barleywine. Definitely the base-line for what a good barleywine should be.

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

This is the 2015 vintage. I have to admit that I just don't care for the overpowering hop bitterness when it is fresh. I cellared the other 3 from my 4 pack. However I resampled this beer with almost a year of age on it and it improves significantly. The initial hop bitterness which I did not care for is still present, just in a much more subdued and muted way. The malt is allowed to come out into the forefront. Much more enjoyable. The remaining two will continue to be cellared until I revisit them later.

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Photo of BriantheBeerHound
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This was my first time with Barleywine. Poured into a snifter glass. Edit:had been sitting in the dark part of my favorite liquor store for about 8-9 months, which are decently close to cellaring conditions.
Look: Absolutely stunning color. It's a deep red amber. Fine, smallish head that leaves sticky laces on the glass as I drink. I'm not exaggerating when I say this is easily one of the most attractive beers I've ever seen. Love the presentation; the cap
Smell: Candy of some sort? Fruits. Good or bad, alcohol presence is there.
Taste: Lives up to its name. Tastes like fruit (plum?), with an aftertaste of wine. Big hop presence, but not bitter at all, and it definitely doesn't detract from the other flavors. There's a lot here in the malts. Listed as 90 IBU, which surprised me. Very rich and balanced, with both sweet and bitter flavors.
Feel: medium just on the border of heavy bodied. Sticky, clinging finish that makes you want to drink it slow. Considering the abv, this is a good thing.
Overall: I did some research, and apparently these are in a similar category to the "winter warmer", which is by far my favorite style. This lived up to my expectations of being its more bitter, stronger cousin. Definitely going to be my go-to for cold weather drinking. I'm afraid of what it will taste like fresh (too much hops?)

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Photo of jhartley
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle packaged on 12/18/14, into a Cuvee tulip
Deep orange rust colored body, thick frothy sea foam head; tons of lacing!
Aromas of caramel, brown sugar, piney hops.
Tastes pretty good. Bitter pine up front with a strong caramel sweetness on the end; burnt sugar.
Full mouth feel, long lingering bitterness overlaps the caramel toffee sweetness.
Overall, this is a great beer, now that's not to say I will be searching it out again; it's that caramel sweetness and that over-steeped tea bag flavor that old D/IPA's get. Just not a fan of that flavor profile. Not a drain pour, just not my cup of tea, no pun intended.

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Photo of Czarkazm
4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle 12/10/2013. Nice rich amber body with a thick lightly tanned head. Big sweet burnt caramel and candied orange notes in the aroma, earthy and spicy pine hoppiness, hint of something darker, cocoa maybe? Nice feel going down. Sweet, mouth coating, well balanced without being cloying. Toffee/Caramel on the taste, candied citrus/pine hops, toasted malts, and some dark fruit just started to peak through.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. 2015 vintage (bottled 2/11/2015): 7 months old to date. I had this right after trying the Lagunitas Gnarlywine at about the same age.

Poured a nice frothy head (similar to Gnarlywine), with a light amber color. Has a lot going on in the aroma: alcohol, malts, dark fruit, and something else I like--and haven't found in any other beer--perhaps mint. Mouth-feel is light to medium. Lots of the flavors I find typical in barleywines: sweetness, dark fruits, not too much on the hoppy side, with a little bitterness in the finish (not in the Gnarlywine).

I have read lots about this barleywine in terms of it being a classic to cellar, so I have been looking forward to trying it with a bit of age on it.

In general, I like both Bigfoot and Gnarlywine. I really like the aroma of Bigfoot (a little better than Gnarlywine), but the flavor of this beer seems a little too much--too strong, too intense--at the moment, which I believe is commonly termed as 'too hot'. My guess is in another year or two the flavor will mellow out and surpass the flavor of Gnarlywine; but only time will tell, as I have a number of both currently cellaring.

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Photo of MHurley
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark Amber with little light able to pass through. Very thin white head with a little carmel tint to it. Thin lacing that dissappears very quickly. Smells of light alcohol, bitterness and pine fallowing a very bitter taste with light alcohol. Good beer to bust out of a occasion in winter but not a every day drinker. I'll be holding onto my last 2015 and trying it next winter.

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Photo of Beertsipper
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Small tan head. Smells of caramel, toffee, raisin, dates, hops, sweet malts, brown sugar. Taste follows the nose. For a beer that is supposed to be overly hop forward, I get more sweet malts and dark fruit like dates, figs, raisins and a good amount of sweetness. The alcohol shows up at the finish. As the beer warms, the dark fruits, toffee, and caramel becomes more pronounced. This bottle was nine months old. I am going to cellar the remaining three bottles for two years and might reserve another bottle for three years. Very good beer. I prefer English Barleywines, but this one surprised me.

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Photo of mschrei
4.19/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into snifter. Dated 2/11/15. Dark auburn brown with healthy lasting foam. Strong malty nose. Malty taste isn't super strong. Alcohol on the back end, mouth filling with some nice boozy belches. Pretty good example of the style.

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

look: Clear copper-amber. Full swath of tan head and messy lacing.
smell: Bitter sweet, as in very piney hop edge with a ton of malt too.
taste: A war here - hoppy bitterness against a sweet malt a good way.

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Photo of SaulFox
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014. Washed out american barleywine (hoppy). It was still delicious but I recommend drinking this one fresh. Nice hoppyness and malt but doesnt seem balanced

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

Poured cold into a Libby style stout glass. Bottled on 12/10/13 and consumed about a year later on 12/17/14.
Look = 4.25 Murky copper color with gold highlights; 1 finger of light brown head with average retention and a big sticky lace. Nice color.
Aroma = 3.75 Subdued hops; big sweet backbone and booze. Overall on the weak side.
Taste = 4.25 Intense bitterness on the finish the first couple of sips, but it mellows. Boozy up front but gets really sweet right before the bitterness come in. Caramel and bread malt notes dominate.
Feel = 4.0 Medium to high carbonation with a full bodied, thick, syrupy and resiny feel; some fizz on the tongue.
Drinkability = 3.0 Big booziness and intense bitterness has to detract from the drinkability somewhat.
Overall = 3.9625 All around pretty solid barleywine; big and boozy and sweet, just as expected.

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Photo of elNopalero
5/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I find it hard to believe that I’ve yet to review Bigfoot. So for my 1450th beer I am finally entering it into my ratings.

This is THE barleywine. It’s a classic, and a standard of the style. Pours a wonderful warm malty-amber with a boquet that changes over time… from a orange/citrusy hop kick to a light toffee/toasted coconut. Big malt backing that develops toffee and chocolate notes over time as well, complementing the citrusy piney hop profile.

I’ve had this fresh and I’ve had this aged and I love it either way. Just don’t drink it out of the bottle, ok?

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

Labeled 2015. Bottle "pkgd 12/11/14" into pint glass. Cloudy deep amber with a thick, persistent eggshell-colored head. Initially an emphatic malt sweetness, but the hops bitterness (kind of like chewing on a bitter orange peel) kicks in almost immediately thereafter. But wait: that's followed by a caramel sweetness, and THAT'S followed by a piney, resinous finish. There's so much going on taste-wise that you don't even notice the alcohol (but trust me - it's there). Thick, sticky mouthfeel; moderate carbonation. Hoppier than I think a barleywine ought to be, but still very drinkable.

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Photo of MLH90
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Haven't had too many different Barleywines so far and not necessarily the biggest fan of the style, but this is absolutely great. Don't taste the alcohol at all either.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Hazy dark amber pour with off white head. Aroma of resin, pine and toffee with hints of tropical fruits. Heavy mouth feel, sticky. Nice sweet malt and bitter front followed by carmel and pine notes with lingering finish. I like the balance from front to back with its layering. The citrus and floral notes are present but for me a bit too much in the background. Overall a very enjoyable and respectable barley wine.

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Photo of JOldewurtel
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had been wanting to try this for a long time now. I am not a huge barleywine fan, but this is maybe the most well balanced one I've had. Another great beer from SN.

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Photo of hopphead31415
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I had been meaning to try this beer for a while as an avid Sierra Nevada fan. I should have tried it sooner as it is excellent. It does pack a powerful 9.6% ABV so be careful, but it is quite drinkable for such a strong brew and remember it is after all a barely wine. And lastly, this particular bottle pack that I picked up was almost 8 months cellared, so take that into account as you consider my review.

Look-It pours a reddish copper dark amber color that glints in the light with molten golden color hues. The head is delicate and quickly dissipates due to the sugar content. The lacing is also almost nonexistent, but that is to be expected. The color more than makes up for the lack of those other attributes.

Smell-It has a complex and strong malt-forward smell with yeast components as well as molasses, toffee, caramel, spices, pine, and maybe some bread pudding.

Taste-The hops are definitely present, but are equally balanced by a plethora of sweet dark fruits like candied cherry, plums, and smoked cedar. I also get walnuts and a nutty spice that reminds me of Christmas. The hops shine through strongest at the end with a heavy pine resin and maybe some clementine or grapefruit.

Mouthfeel-It is quite heavy, but not overwhelming and mildly syrupy with little carbonation. You get a sticky oil feeling that lingers like a hoppy resin at the end. It drinks so crisply for a powerful 9.6% brew and is really easy to finish.

Overall-This brew is excellent and belongs in front of a fancy movie scene which features a log cabin in the middle of the woods in a blizzard with a man holding a crystal goblet filled with this variety sitting in front of a big fireplace in a red leather chair perched upon a bear rug while absent-mindedly petting a bloodhound and smoking a Cuban cigar.

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Photo of mmmbeer89
3.01/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

a very bitter taste with little sweetness to offset the bitterness. you get used to the taste after awhile (i bought a 4-pack) but definately not a great tasting beer.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a wine glass. Packed on 12/18/14. This is my first ever barleywine, so here goes nothing!

LOOK: Clear, lightly reddish brown with a thin finger of off white head that leaves some lacing.

SMELL: Generically speaking, big complex malt and yeast aromas mixed with a big hop presence. Individually, I can smell molasses, caramel, toffee, some spices, tons of pine, and a hint of grapefruit and raisins. On to the taste!

TASTE: A massive intermingling of hops and malt. Caramel, toffee, brown sugar, toasted coconut, walnuts, gingerbread, and fruit cake galore, but kept in check by just enough bitterness. There's a rich, dark fruit presence--some cherries, plums, and raisins. Finishes hoppy with heavy pine and grapefruit. I love it!

FEEL: Medium-heavy mouthfeel with moderate carbonation and a sticky hop oil aftertaste. Drinks incredibly easy for 9.6% ABV.

OVERALL: I love this beer! I'm glad my first trying a barleywine was a good experience. This beer is both heavy as all get out, yet quite easy to drink at the same time. Simultaneously super malty and super hoppy. Complex and flavorful. This beer will definitely see my fridge again.

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Photo of sammorito
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

pours a dark clear amber with an off-white head
-bread and caramel. a little bit of citrus
in the beginning i get a lot of malt and caramel. then i get a little bit of grapefruit and lots of hop at the end
medium carbonation,medium body
great beer. easy to drink.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 7,461 ratings.
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