Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

3,048 Reviews
Bigfoot Barleywine-Style AleBigfoot 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 3,048 | Ratings: 7,479
Photo of q33jeff
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75


Bottle (12/11/14) to snifter.

LOOK: medium brown, Big off white head fades slowly to lacing.

AROMA: wood, brandy, apple,

TASTE: wood, ash, bread, yeast, touch of smoke, charred malt.

FEEL: Pretty creamy, medium to full bodied. Chemical warming late, more so as it physically warms.

Right there, but not quite as smooth as I would like.


 371 characters

Photo of patre_tim
3.86/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Ruby amber and mostly hazy with a dust storm of sediment in the middle of the glass. Topped with 2 fingers of beige head. Nice, layered lacing.

Creme brulee, citrusy hop cones, sweet and syrupy, like brown rice syrup. Light toasted notes.

Creme brulee, toasted notes, a solid sweetness, complex toasted notes, sometimes wafting in like the smoke from a camp fire. There are hints of hops which have fallen off, clean linen, and definite alcohol presence. Theres that sort of stinky foot I often find in barley wines as well.

Thick and syrupy body, surprisingly foamy and smooth carbonation.

Left a little long at 2 years, I wish to try this one fresh. Up to par for sure in the style, just not getting the hops. I left it in the cottage cabinet for 2 years in my parents basement, drinking it on arrival for my first time in 2 years in Canada. 2014 Bottle, drank Sept 21st 2016 .

 890 characters

Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Pours a beautiful dark orange red with a billowing three finger head of khaki foam.

Smell: Dry dark red fruits like dates and raisins. Raspberries and cherries. Rich caramel malt. Orange pith and huge notes of pine resin. Notes of cotton candy.

Taste: Hard to describe. Very astringent with notes of bitter pine sap and grapefruit upfront. The sweetness of the malt slowly creeps in - it's quite savory and chewy. Gradually the flavors of dark red fruits set in, revealing notes of strawberry, sugarplums and raisins. There's a delicious maple syrup/brown sugar presence too.

Feel: Medium with light carbonation. Alcoholic.

Overall: This isn't my go to style of beer, so take my rating with a grain of salt, but I do enjoy a nice Barleywine from time to time. This one makes for a good beer to slowly sip and savor over the course of an evening.

On a side note, the barrel aged version is infinitely better. The time spent in the barrel rounding out some of the harsh edges and really elevating a "great" beer to the rank of "world class".

 1,051 characters

Photo of Jraiona
4.14/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle packaged 1/6/16 poured into a Nordic. Presented a deep copper color with a very full frothy head which lingered for some time. The aroma was of hop with some underlying fruity/sweet notes along with some booziness. The taste was abundantly hoppy but with a surprising sweetness on the back end. In spite of its higher ABV it did not come across as being overly boozy and to me had a silk like mouthfeel. Another winner from SN.

 440 characters

Photo of Bulabeers
3.92/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

L: Beautiful brown amber with a frothy finger in cream colored head
S: Pear, faint sweetness
T: Complex layers of sweet malts backed up with a healthy dose of hop bitterness
F: Smooth full bodied beer
O: Great barleywine.

 221 characters

Photo of TrueOregonian
3.2/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Smell is very fruity on this one. I get pear, apple, grape, raspberry. The smell is very pleasant.
The taste is similar to the smell, you get I very strong fruity taste to it and a boozy after taste.
I'm gonna let the rest of this 4 pack sit and try them after they have aged a bit longer. O1/2016 pckg date

 309 characters

Photo of Riff
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a shaker glass. Color is a milk chocolate brown with a tan head about a finger thick. Smells of blackstrap molasses and oranges. Taste has a bitterness throughout it, malt up, reminiscent of rye 'n' injun bread (corn and rye bread made with molasses), fades into orange zest and brown sugar. Finish lingers for a while on the tongue. Medium to full body beer, thick and creamy that easily rolls about the tongue. This is just some downright good stuff.

 476 characters

Photo of stevoj
3.96/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

My first barley wine review (from 2013), at first look and whiff, a dubbel comes to mind. Malt is more prevalent though, some dried fruit, slightly metallic finish. This is a sensory delight, a lot going on here. Enjoying this immensely.

 237 characters

Photo of erk0607
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Dark, copper orange with a decent head that lingers for a minute or two, then turns to lacing and floats like a slick on top.
Smell:Oranges and strawberries, sugar, hops
Taste: Strong malt presence and hop bitterness. Not quite DIPA, but it conjures up many of the same taste attributes. Red berries and citrus zest, along with a bit of citrus peel bitterness.
Feel: Slick. Heavy. Smoot. Almost creamy. Definitely let this one warm up. Very fine carbonation.
Overall: Not an overbearing alcohol presence although you get some heat. It's a slow sipper that packs a ton of flavor. Would I get again? Probably not, but if I were given one, I'd have no qualms about having another.

 688 characters

Photo of AleMan66
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I poured this from a bottle into a clear teardrop glass. It pours a perfect dark brown with a two finger light brown head. About the nicest color I've seen. I understand why this beer is rated so high; in its class it's excellent. I'm just not a huge fan of the style. Still, I recognize its probably great in its class.

 325 characters

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

Deep brown in color with a murky complexion. There's a fingernail of beige resting on top. The aroma is a massive dose of sweet malt with notes of fog and dates. I taste a massive wallop of sweet malt with a slightly bitter aftertaste. The mouth was chewy, thick, any d warm with alcohol. This was a 2013 edition.

 318 characters

Photo of leaddog
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 vintage

Appearance - Pours a copper with three fingers of foamy tan head.

Smell - bready caramel malts, citrus and piney hops, hint of pine resin, hint of grapefruit peel, and hint of soapiness.

Taste - Bready caramel malts followed by the bitter citrus and piney hops. The hint of pine resin, grapefruit peel, and soapiness finish the brew off.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes with a pleasant lingering bitterness from the hops.

Overall - A stellar American Barleywine that showcase the hops very well. The malts act as a nice supporting cast to the brew. An enjoyable brew from the folks at Sierra Nevada.

 648 characters

Photo of pezhead_79
3.92/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is a 2015 vintage drank on May 26, 2016

While not a fan of barleywine style ales in particular, this was a very enjoyable beer. The color is a shiny copper and it keeps a flavorful head throughout the drinking time. While I prefer stouts and am not likely to seek this out again, I am interested in seeing how the rest of the bottles age.

 346 characters

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

I'm not a fan of this style generally, but I couldn't pass up on a 2014 bottle of this I found in a bottle shop. Body is a reddish mahogany color with a rocky, off-white head. Not much lacing or head retention here but I wouldn't expect that from a higher alcohol beer. Smells like over ripe fruit, caramel, and alcohol. Taste is super complex, I actually had some taste bud fatigue afterwards. Lots of dark fruit (raisins, plums), very rich caramel, wood, smoke, chocolate,'s also much hoppier than I thought it would be, although I imagine some of that's faded by now. Getting some resinous and citrus type bitterness. It's overall extremely sweet, but the hops add enough bitterness to keep it from feeling too heavy. It's a good thing too, because this beer borders on a syrupy mouthfeel and needs all the lightening up it can get. Not unpleasantly syrupy in small doses (this isn't a beer you want to exactly chug anyway), and overall pretty smooth and creamy considering the ABV. Alcohol presence is definitely noticeable, a little like scotch. This is one of the more extreme beers I've tried and it isn't something I would want to drink more than once a year, but I can appreciate how intricate the flavors here are.

 1,238 characters

Photo of Squire123
4.31/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Beautiful deep red amber gold, light cap, moderate lacing.

Aroma: An admixture of stuff which to me combines a rich, malt forward brew with Oloroso Sherry notes. Not sweet, nor dry, but a very complex melange of very nice things.

Taste: Malt, yes, malt with an advanced college degree. Too complex for simple notes to stand out yet hops are present supporting the rich malt, no hint of roasted malt bitterness but the same full malt character of a good Stout without really tasting anything like a Stout. There is the dark fruit ripeness of a great Belgian, fullness of a Doppelbock, yet something entirely different as if the best of Old World strong beers came to our shores and became changed, updated, without giving up the heritage.

Texture: Full bordering on fuller.

Overall: An excellent brew, something for the connoisseur yet very approachable for the curious minded amateur.

 907 characters

Photo of RickyS
4.11/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Hazy caramel color, with beige head that dissipates quite fast. The aroma is dominated by sweet malts, marzipan, grape peel and almonds. Only tasting the beer a very distinctive hop character is added to this ensemble, which lasts is a very long and dry finish. Medium carbonation. Excellent ale.

 296 characters

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

12oz bottle poured into tulip.

Pours a deep, dark, hazy orange-red with one thin finger of tan head that leaves tropical island archipelago lace as it recedes.

Smells of stewed blood oranges, sweet caramel malt, raisin, citrus zest and pine resin.

Tastes of more spicy bittersweet orange, caramel apple, boozy raisins and a lot of piney hops.

Feels rich and smooth. Full bodied with creamy carbonation. Finishes long and dry.

Verdict: Vigorously recommended. Big and satisfying.

 483 characters

Photo of dfconnor
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Maybe the best barleywine ale I have ever had. Not overly sweet. The sweetness is well-tempered by the bittering hops. Robust flavor that is well-balanced. One of my new favorites.

 184 characters

Photo of gee0001
4.46/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Love it!

This is a well balance beer!! There is a ton of Barley (as expected) blended with a mild hoppy taste. Feels great in the mouth. Smells great in the glass. Nice tan head. Some sticky lace. Amber and cloudy in glass.

Just a great beer. Will definitely buy it again.

 284 characters

Photo of hophugger
3.35/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Decent look, head and lacing. Aroma is hoppy. I was amazed that this beer(2015) was so hoppy. Not being a barleywine fan, I was a fan of this because of the hops. A nice sweetnees up front and malty and a great hop finish..

 223 characters

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

Dark brownish orange pour with a thick foamy head and lingering thin lacing while drinking. Medium bodied with a thick malty IPA flavor. Reminded me of the Celebration Fresh Hop IPA actually, but just a little better.

Using the Begnel formula, the Alcohol Score is 12 oz. x 9.6% = 115.2, or 2.3 Bud Lights.

 309 characters

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

Poured from 12 oz bottle into pint glass. 2016 vintage.

Appearance: Copper-brown, opaque. Pours with a nice tan head that dissipates slowly.

Smell: Nice hop aroma, largely citrus, but some earthy hops are noticeable.

Taste: Smooth. Nice hop flavor right off the bat, followed by a caramel malt flavor. For such a big beer the alcohol is absurdly well blend.

Mouthful: Very nice smooth body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: This is an outstanding American Barleywine. Nicely hopped, but not over-hopped. For such a big beer its very well blend.

 546 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
4.36/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Well here is Bigfoot review #3000. Pours a brown and dark reddish color. Good head on it, off white 3/4". Massive hoppy aroma, Cascade, chinook.

Taste substantial malts, lots of caramel and toffee, but definitely unsweetened. Giant hop amounts. So good, evolves into something sweeter. Sticky when warm, but a massive hop blast. Can make you forget how strong it is until it is too late. Very bitter, but all those malt notes keep it from being problematic, in fact, this beer is quite awesome. Been drinking this for 20 years. Never gonna stop. Unless they stop 4/6 packing it.

 594 characters

Photo of TH28
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. 12/4/15 bottle date. Appearance: Reddish brown in color, slight haze, and a beige khaki foam head. Aroma: Rich maltiness of bread crusts and toffee. Light citrusy hop aromas as well. Taste: Deep, rich maltiness. Bready and caramel up front, giving way to more of a toasty and toffee flavor. Sharp, strong bitterness hits on the back end with citrus and pine. Overall flavors are very fresh and sharp. Mouthfeel: Medium heavy body with some chewiness, with a light carbonation. Strong alcohol heat. Finish: Sharp flavor of the beer lasts long past the swallow. Malt forward for sure, with some caramel and toast, as well as a strong resinous bitterness. Overall: The label is absolutely right, this is a beast of a beer. Strong, rich, boozy maltiness from the start with multiple layers of caramel, bread, toast, and toffee. Citric hop bitterness is very strong and does a good job of standing up to the malt. This beer is 4 months old, and the intensity is very high, almost overpowering. Looking forward to trying another Bigfoot at 1 year and seeing how it softens and develops different flavors

 1,110 characters

Photo of MacMalt
4.04/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass. It pours a hazy reddish-brown with a small, milk-white head and minimal lacing. It smells of caramel, raisin, and malt, with some floral hops.You can also smell the alcohol. The first taste is dark, sweet fruit (raisin, cherry), followed by malt, pine, and then a very hoppy, bitter finish. This ale is quite thick and syrupy in its feel and it seems boozier than its 9.6% ABV would indicate. Overall, it is a good example of an American Barleywine, although I prefer the less bitter, English style.

 527 characters

Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 7,479 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.