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

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3,023 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: 3,023 | Ratings: 7,406
Photo of gotbeer
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 edition this time around. It's still as great as I remember it, much like my last review. Huge citrus, piney hops with a massive malt profile to balance it out. A little alcohol at the end, but well hidden for a brew of this ABV. All in all- one of the great barleywines, I should say, beers out there.

I look forward to this one every year, and I would be completely happy to drink only this on a regular basis. A truly incredible beer.

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

12oz. 06 expedition. Have heard so much great stuff about this beer, hope it doesn't dissapoint. Love the artwork on both outside and also comic on inside of cap.
Pours nice rich dark amber shade, nice quarter inch head quickly dissapates to just an oily patch in the middle of my snifter, but nice ring remains around the outside.
A nice aroma of hops and bisquity malt, some oily pine resin present but not overwhelming. A more subdued aroma than I was anticpating.

Wow, the malt and hops both very aggressive upfront, me likes. A very bitter finish, warms the back of my toungue and throat. I quickly want to quaf this again...here we go. An excellent balence of intense hops with a strong malt backbone. A definate medicinal bitterness is left warming your mouth long after you swallow..The alcohol is there but not overpowering. Yes, this is a great barleywine. Will return to one next year and there year after.

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Photo of Drew966
4.68/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The 2005 edition of Bigfoot Ale pours a hazy orange with a small tan head. The aroma, while good, doesn't even begin to hint at the bomb of taste sensation that is about to go off in your mouth. This is definitely an American take on the barleywine style with aggressive hopping that makes for a very tasty brew. Higly recommmended, worth seeking out for those who like a hoppy version of the barleywine style.

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

2006 edition.

The beer poured into the glass clear medium amber with an off-white and frothy head which rose well and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was fruity and fresh with a piney and resinous citrus hop presence. The hops were fresh and even a bit floral with a background of maltiness, caramel most notable. The fruitines was orange and grapefruit hop characteristics.

The flavor was nicely achieved with a strong malt backbone of caramel malt. The bittering was resinous and piney with more citrus fruity character. While the balance of the flavor was decidedly bitter, the malt presence was very well done and made for a great flavor profile.

The finish was dry with lasting piney and resinous hop bittering and flavor long into the aftertaste. The body was full. The carbonation level made for an easy drinking beer and alcohol only really played a factor in the warming that occurred after consumption.

12 ounce bottle.

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

2006 Bigfoot: First point, I am partial to barleywines as a style. Even with that said I love this beer as a hopped-up, strong full barleywine.
Leaves some lacing. slightly sticky bittersweetness, warm with alcohol (9.6% ABV), very full bodied, still drinkable. I recommend you pick some up. Enjoy with food.
Could be good as a base in a food recipe? I smell a separate post...or are those ribs??

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Photo of rodrot
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004 expedition. This beer poured a hazy, reddish-brown color into my imperial pint glass. Wonderful hoppy, fruity aromas waft from the glass. The taste is incredible as always for this beer, but since it has been aging for a couple of years, the intense hoppiness has subdued quite a bit. The hops are definitely present and still quite aggressive with every taste, but the malt and sweetness is more pronounced now. This brew has rounded out pretty well and I'm looking forward to picking up some fresh 2006 expedition in NC this year. I love this beer aged or fresh, makes no difference to me. A world classic.

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

2005 edition.
What a great Barleywine!
I was looking for something good for cold-weather and I stumbled upon this brew at a small store.
Cherry-red with mahogany highlights. In the light, definitely very reddish.
Smell is VERY hoppy. For a barleywine, only Hog Heaven has more hop character. Remniscent of their celebration Ale, Actually. Beyond the initial wave of hops, there's a definitey fruity smell.
Flavor is sweet, with a little bitterness on the back end. Hop bitterness is there, but not really that strong. It's actually much sweeter than the smell lets on. A spot-on barleyine flavor. Reminds me a little of brandied cherries. Hops come through in the finish, but luckily don't steal the show. They're more there in the smell. Alcohol is definitely there for warmth and a little extra malty sweetness. Not as sweet as some BW's, but definitely not as much of a hop bomb as the smell implies.
Mouthfeel is just right. Not too thick or thin.
Drinkability is limited by the alcohol. At nearly 10%, I can't see drinking more than 2 of these in one sitting without getting tipsy or numbing your buds. With that said, that's the way the style SHOULD work!

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Photo of mcowgill
4.67/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Bought a 6 pack of this beer a year ago. I was thankful to see it on the bottom shelf in a really dark location. Drank 5 of them in the first month or so. Saved this one until now. This last one is simply amazing to me. The beer poured a nice amber color with a small head that dissipated quickly. The smell is a very intense mixture of very strong hops, pine, fruit, and alcohol. The taste was a very bitter hoppiness initially and then the malts kicked in. Nice! It was quite intense but I loved it. Some might say the drinkability is tough but I say its really good. Definitely would behoove anyone to sip this beer slowly over time though. Tried the 2006 at the Winter Jubilee towards the end so I was not fit to review it.

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Photo of nvsblman
4.82/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2005 edition

Pours an amber color with about half a finger of fizzy head. A little bit of lacing as I drink it. The aroma is full of hops but also very noticeable is the toffee, chocolate, and caramel. Loads of flavor with this one. Citrus and pine from the hops, caramel sweetness, and a little toffee. I know this one is supposed to age well, but I can't imagine this getting any better. Full and creamy mouthfeel. This is scary easy to drink with it's strength.

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Photo of whynot44
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Full bodied, slightly hazy mahogany red color with a moderate tan head.

Aroma is pine, citrus and fruit with a sweet malt base.

Taste is in the same vein, serious hops assault - grapefruit, pine and herbal hops overlaying a sweet, fruity, caramel malt with a definite alcohol touch underneath and a bit of brandy character.

Slick almost oily feel, long-lasting aftertaste combines malt sweetness, hops and alcohol warmth. would go well with hearty food, but is probably best saved for "after dinner" relaxation.

Not good for "chugfest," at 9.6% ABV you could be in trouble early. I'm not sure this stuff even belongs in the same beverage class as "Macro" beers. If you are looking for something a little more substantial, this is it.

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Photo of badbeer
4.44/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep caramel color with a quarter inch tan head leaving very good lacing. Smell has a presence of caramel and malty tones as well as a strong hop presence, hops leaving a piney aroma. Taste begins with dark fruit and maltiness, then the hops kick in with a taste of pine, also has a bit of an alcohol warming in the end. Mouthfeel is full bodied and slick, nice carbonation. As far as drinkability is concerned it's very tastey, however, be careful as it packs a wallop.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.92/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Though I don't believe that the different years of this brew should be lumped together, here is my review of the '05

Appearance: The beer poured a cloudy reddish brown color with only a 1/4" head of tannish bubbles at first pour. The head only retained for about a minute or so, and left a still glass of liquid in its wake.

Aroma: The aroma is really vinous this year! There is a whole lot of rich red wine aroma that almost dominates the malt. There are hops in spades here also. I hardly know what to mention first. There are some rich citrusy and plum notes. Man, There is a lot going on in the aroma of this beer...more so than I recall in previous years.

Taste: The flavor is really bold! There is a whole lot of spiciness form the alcohol. The flavor is much more mild than the aroma would suggest. There is a whole bunch of malt, but the Sierra guys aren't shy with their hops. Though this beer is super malty, it still finishes hoppy. Amazing!

Opinion: I really like this beer for the most part, but this particular year is definitely balanced way more toward the bitter than I have noticed in previous years. There is much more hop presence to this beer, and at this point, it is a bit harsh...so I almost think that they changed the profile of their liquor. This is still good, and it will be interesting to see how it turns out in a couple years.

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

I had a pint of the 2004 last night at the Barley Pub in Dover NH.

It was dark amber almost brown with a very small (but thick) head. It had a wonderful aroma to it. I couldn’t help to take a big whiff and enjoy just the smell first. Definitely some citrus notes but not too strong. The taste didn’t disappoint either. The alcohol bite hit first then hops punch with the spices all at once. I enjoyed the alcohol bite but my roommate wished he went with the ’02 they had which we were told had a slightly smoother taste. Definitely a thick mouth coating beer. And as my bartender mentioned it is a gentleman sipping beer and got better as the pint warmed. I might have to go back tonight to try the ‘02

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Photo of Ahhdball
3.55/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brown, clear with no head. Slick residue along the pint edge giving me the impression of the weight of the beer.
Brown sugar, molasass, orange rhine, slight ginger smell.
Alcohol hit first, then a hop sting, sweet malt recovered, dark fruit and then more hoppy bitterness.
Slick oily, as indicated above.
I coul dhave this again but I've had better.

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Photo of BassBone
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer can be summed up in one little palindromic word.... WOW!

2005 issue poured on-tap at Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena. It poured a rich, deep amber with a two-finger fluffy head that stuck with the beer almost to the end. Incredible lacing that stuck around even longer.

The first sniff was so magnificent I had to sit for five minutes smelling the thing. Full of rich hops and subtle spices it was simply entrancing.

The first taste did not dissapoint. Rich and hoppy. I sipped slowly. It only improved as it warmed. I managed to make the pint last close to an hour.

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

2004 vintage. A perfect beer.

Deep amber-copper hued beer, with a nice, sustaining off-white head.

Raisins, sea air and soy in the smell. Sweet, yet not cloying. Very clean.

Slightly sweet rock candy up front. By mid-tongue the hops catch up. Raspy bitterness lingers on the back of the tongue. Much less green than the last time I had it. Light roast lingers with hops and shoots out the nose.

Rounded, almost creamy mouthfeel with ample bitterness, this is a very quaffable brew.

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Photo of Xadoor
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a 2005 vintage bottle. Poured a dark amber colour with very little head. Aroma was mild, but smelled of ripe fruit and sweet malts. Higher alcohol was detectable in the nose. The flavour started sweet with fruit flavours and dark chocolate malts, but it finished very dry and bitter. A nice warming affect was also provide by the high ABV. I think this beer would definitely age really well, but was certainly drinkable now. I may have to purchase more to cellar and compare to next year's.

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Photo of scooter231
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruby hazed red color, with little head. Smells quite sweet- orange rind, citrusy, almost a pinesol thing going on. Tastes piney as well- along with more citrus. Bitter hops playing a large part too. A light malty sweet background with hints of caramel, toastedness, and fruityness.

Mouthfeel is bubbly and slick, wet, very wet. Alcohol is very well hidden in here- sneaky, very sneaky. A tasty thing that will knock you on your bum if you don't keep track of how many you've had...

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Photo of Shovelbum
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2005 edition according to the cap (that’s this year). No other indication of date.

A beautiful ½” tan head over a hazy deep amber colored body. Great lace and decent retention. Wonderful mixture of caramel malt and floral hop aromas. Caramel and vinous fruit flavors upfront give way to a substantial citric hop bite and finishes with a touch of alcohol and lingering hop bitterness. Sweet but not cloying. Full-bodied. Light carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel with a drying bitter hoppy aftertaste.

This beer is fully loaded with agenerous malt profile and even more generous hop addition. Alcohol is noticeable, but doesn’t detract despite its impressive percentage. I’ll check back after I cellar the rest of this six pack. I could see the bitterness dropping a little which would make the malt shine even more and achieve a better balance. However, unaged this is still a tasty brew.

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Photo of nlmartin
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer was served in my trusty 20 ounce wine gobblet.

Appearance: The beer pours a dirty brown color. The head was brief and off white. The lacing made tracings down the glass.

Smell: This beer has a sweet malty smell up front. Then it breaks into piney, woody spicy hops.

Taste: The beer starts bitter hoppy with wood piney, spicy hops. The beer goes malty sweet bread briefly and then redirects to bitter hops.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer is well carbonated and helps this beer drain from the glass rapidly. This is a full bodied barley wine. Has a very nice warming alcohol kick.

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Photo of kingjames1
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I decided to try this again after my previous dismal review. Surely SN's barleywine isn't THAT bad. Maybe my bottle was funky. Maybe I was off.

I tried it again, and, I wasn't too surprised to discover that the taste was far smoother than I had previously experienced. Rich malts showed up. Yes the hops jump up and smack you, but this time, I don't mind the smack! Lovely barleywine and I can't wait to enjoy this further down the line, letting the 2005 continue to improve with age.

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

2005 Vintage. This brew pours a cloudy blood red color. The head is large is flufy and off-white. The lacing is long lasting and thorough. The aroma is of citrus hops, white some floral, and piney notes. The sip is juicy and hoppy, with a piney finish. The mouthfeel is half way between medium and full bodied. Overall, this is a pretty good barleywine, that has potential to age well.

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

Deep brown amber body almost has a copper glow. Head is a good 2 inches thick and full of tan bubbles. Head lasts quite a while and leaves decent lace.

Nose is vibrant and wonderful, very enticing. Sweet dark ripened fruits, and a celebration of spices and hops, almost vintage port like.

Long rich malty feel is sweet as it first enters the mouth. Palate is hoppy spice filled goodness. A backround of overripe grapes and plum are present also.

An incredibley complex brew that is a joy to drink. Mouthfeel is loud but welcome. A great beer!

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 1995.
This was the last year Bigfoot was produced at 12% ABV, and held up well for a ten year (almost 11) old.
Light mahogany body with a tan head that still held its own.
Subdued earthy spruce notes with mild dusty paper in the nose.
Dried up malt with fruit skins and a stale cookie. Finishes warmly.
Fullish body, still chewy and bitter.
Bigfoot is a bit tired after his long journey.
Where once he was hugely hoppy and strong, he is now ready for retirement.
The malt is now a bit grainy and woody, with light papery notes.
Bitterness is subdued and hop flavors have tapered off.
Vineous and very drinkable, alcohol well hidden.
Finishes somewhat quick and slightly astringent, with dried fruits.

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Photo of metallistout
4.87/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I have been hearing about this beer for so long.

Pours a red ruby, maybe slightly lighter, but the room is kind of dark. THe head is very foamy and thick, suprisingly for a beer with a huge ABV.

Hints of floral scents and sweet malts. A little bit of a fruit smell, and a definate alcohol smell.

Very strong and powerful, something you have to drink kind of slowly to appreciate all of the different flavors going on, plus it will knock you on your ass if you slam this one.Tons of hops biting your tastebuds and holding on as the sweet malt kind of passes by. Definately taste the fruit, alcohol and the malt, but mostly dominated by the hops.(I'm in Heaven)

This beer is only for the serious. I would not try this if you have never had a barley wine or a strong ale.

Good damn job Sierra Nevada.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 7,406 ratings.
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