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

3,035 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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 3,035 | Ratings: 7,443
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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..

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy, Amber orange with a small, white head. No carbonation.
Citrus hop an Carmel malt smell. Maybe some dark fruit like cherry and dates and also spice.
Bitter hop with some sting that is softened by armed malt. The fruit I smells sneaks in. Booze is present.
A big mouthfeel in which warming is felt. Funk is present. Obviously a complex beer. Very enjoyable.
Gets smoother as warms. Excellent brew!

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Photo of BigDaddyWarbuxx
3.84/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

First barleywine-style I've ever had, and man is it an experience. Very dark and bitter fruit notes, with a syrupy texture and high alcohol flavor. This is the closest I've come to finding a beer that reminds me of liquor.

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Photo of Marraybay
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: Attractive amber honey color: minimal off white head.

Smell: A little nondescript; Not really getting strong notes
of pine or citrus. Maybe a bit of dankness.

Taste: Wow; This is really good....Almost a reverse DIPA,
in that the initial notes for me are immediately bitter
citrus-pine/booze, then a strong/lingering malty/syrupy
sweetness follows.

Feel: Syrupy; thick.

Overall: Homerun: (at least as of this initial tasting.) Reminds me
of a pumped-up version of my fav DIPA that's been crossed
with a strong, malty wee heavy.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.87/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 4

BOD 12/4/15. Beautiful clear rich dark ruby pour. World class head volume, lacing and uber world class retention.

Outstanding nose of fruit (plum, raisin, grape), caramel and light citrus hops over a subtle spruce spiciness. As it warms, notes of alcohol emerge.

Light medium body with a smooth texture. Below normal carbonation with very little effervescence even in the finish.

The flavor profile is outstanding with balance being the strongest suit. The flavors are rich and deep beginning with bitterness that flows into a nice caramel sweet middle. As the sweetness fades, fruit flavors emerge but don't separate very much. The finish is reasonably astringent as the alcohol becomes uncovered but never becomes dry. A mild pine centered bitterness lingers.

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

Dark amber color with one finger creamy head.

Smells like bitter hops. Some toffee underneath.

Tastes like bitter hops, surprise! Surprisingly unbalanced although it changes a bit as it warms.

Medium, not heavy but full mouthfeel. Extremely long lingering bitterness on the finish.

Certainly the hoppiest Barleywine I've ever had. It's a great representation of how far you can take the style but to me the most interesting thing about this beer is how it will change over time as the hops melt away. Looking forward to one every few months.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.39/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2016 - bottled 12/04/15

Pours a rich amber red with a dense creamy khaki colored head. Smells like stewed plum, dried dark fruit, candied grapefruit and orange citrus, molasses, caramel, vanilla, mild spice, and piney grass. Tastes sweet and bitter with fresh pine, dried fruit, stewed plums, candied caramelized grapefruit and orange citrus, molasses, caramel, vanilla, spice, brown sugar, and dank earthy grass. Feels medium bodied, smooth with moderate carbonation. Overall a real nice brew.

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Photo of dd43
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have not had many barleywine style beers so I was eager to give this category classic a whirl. The beer had a pretty substantial amount of nice looking yellowed white head on top of the rich, well filtered auburn liquid below. Big boozy aromas of caramel and toffee commingled with a pronounced spruce note. The flavor was quite a bit more bitter than I was expecting. This was a fairly fresh 2016 bottle so the hop punch was definitely all up in my grill piece. I would love to get a few more bottles of this to let them age for a while. I want those hops to recede and let the malts shine a lot more. I'm also curious to know where Sierra nevada's rendition of the American barleywine fits in the style bucket. Are they typically quite bitter and hoppy or is Bigfoot an outlier? More delicious research must be done and I'm just the guy to do it.

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Photo of The_Snow_Bird
3.66/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Very dark amber in color with a thick white head on top. Can smell sweet fruits. Taste is very sweet caramel, roasted barley and hoppy bitterness at the finish.

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Photo of tlema1
3.4/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: muddy brown, thin white head
S: not much nose, some malt
T: caramel, malty sweetness with a bitter aftertaste
F: long finish
O: I know this is the gold standard for American BarleyWines, so maybe this style isn't for me

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Photo of dmgallag
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very hop forward barley wine. Not bad, just not what I expected. Not a lot of sweet here, mostly hoppy bitterness. Not an easy drinker, more of a sipper.

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

Pours a rich burgundy, with a foamy white head. A little bit of lacing left behind. Citrus and piney hop notes mingle amidst sweet barley aromas. Very sweet, but bitter. Sweet barley grains and malt notes open up the front end, with bitter, piney hop notes biting off the end. Mouth feel is a little harsh as far as carbonation, but finishes smoothish. A little bit lacking here. Overall, a solid barleywine style ale. The hop presence is notable. Not incredibly sweet due to the hop presence. Still worth trying.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 7,443 ratings.
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