Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Bigfoot Barleywine-Style AleBigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale
7,610 Ratings
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:
Bigfoot is a beast of a beer, brimming with bold flavors of bittersweet malt and heaps of aggressive whole-cone Pacific Northwest hops. First introduced in the winter of 1983, Bigfoot is a cult-classic beer brewed in the barleywine style, meaning a strong, robust, bruiser of a beer with the refined intensity of a wine. Bigfoot is prized by beer collectors for its supreme cellarability. Under the proper conditions, it can age like a fine wine, developing new flavors and character as it matures in the bottle. Each new release or “expedition” is vintage dated. Collect your own and see the flavors develop and progress.

Added by kbub6f on 02-06-1998

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,610 |  Reviews: 3,098
Photo of SynthetikReality95
4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of jbfarris
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Sauced4life
4.64/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Drinking a 2016 so my numbers are based on 2 years aged. Delicious sauce either way and only gets better with years on them. Had a 2013 the other day and that was by far the best BF I've had so far.

 198 characters

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

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

Photo of andrewh995
3.67/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a slightly hazy ruby red with a small off white head. Smells of malt and caramel. Tastes of sweet caramel, booze, malt, hops, and dark fruits. Medium-heavy creamy body with medium carbonation. Overall this is a good barleywine but flavor is very muted compared to most barleywines that I am used to drinking.

 315 characters

Photo of Kevinpitts
3.25/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Ob512316
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Snowcrash000
3.71/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep amber, coppery coloration with a medium, creamy head. Smells of caramel malt and grassy hops, with a hint of toffee, dark fruit and pine. Taste is a nice balance of caramel, bready malt and citrus, piney hops, with a certain grainy, grassy, earthy quality. Notes of toffee, dark fruit, chocolate and pine. This is my first Barley Wine, and I'm not sure what to make of it, to be honest. It kinda reminds me of a strong American Amber Ale, but a little more mellow, with more earthy, grainy notes. Its high ABV is actually hidden rather nicely, except for a slight warming presence, but balance is not quite to my taste. Not bad, but not really for me either.

 671 characters

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

Photo of beercat11
4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2018 version. Have had this offering every year the past 10 years and still look forward to it's release. The main reason I go out of my way for the SN barley wine is the hop profile of course. Might not be as traditional as many other barley wines but that is exactly why I like it so much. It pours a nice reddish brown with a nice fluffy head and leaves a nice sticky lace all the way down the snifter as it's consumed. I like to swirl the sediment on the bottom of the bottle to get that hazy appearance and add a little more head potential from the yeast, also puts some bread dough in the mix if you look for it. The balance of the hops and the malt is just right for my taste, Sweet caramel with a touch of pine seems perfect and almost too easy to drink. Alcohol is almost non present. I chill the beer cold like any other IPA and take my time sipping it to enjoy the other flavors that unravel as it warms. Molasses and candied yams come to mind later on. Not too heavy going down due to the mid range tiny bubble carbonation profile. Bitterness is present somewhere in the middle to end. Balance is the key to this treat and that's why it works in the this years version as well, as it should and as it has in all earlier vintages. Cheers

 1,248 characters

Photo of BenHoppy
4.41/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Having had this many times but currently having a 2018 fresh bottle poured into a snifter:

L: more amber ruby, cherry red than remembered but still looks delicious. Also is brown but depends on angle and lighting. Minimal head that turns to super thin lacing

A: deathtone hoppy alcohol faint malts with a bit of sweetness

T: citrus caramel, earthy hops mixed with floral nutty toffee along with grassy, malts, pine notes. But on the sweet side yet can clearly tell you're dealing with a Bigfoot monster.

F: pine bitterness, medium to heavy, smooth subtle warming booze

O: delicious and have amother 2018 as well as a 2017, 2016, and 2014 barrel aged in my cellar. But even fresh this beer is amazing.

 716 characters

Photo of SABERG
4.16/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle labelled 2017, bottled on 12/28/16 into the test glass
A - Beautiful copper color, excellent clarity, rather aggressive carbonation. The cap of off white is creamy and last forever.
S - Hot hops in the nose, cascade and burnt butter, notes of toffee, and light charrd oak
T - Follows the nose well, no surprises, add to the nose some orange reduction and a bit of light tobacco
M - Medium in body, just right in slick feel, Carbonation does an excellent job cleaning up
O - A classic for sure, I expect this will simmer down with a year or two resting.

 573 characters

Photo of tp1962
1.18/5  rDev -71.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Very disappointing for me. I don’t care for hoppy beer. Feel mislead. Not how I envision a barley wine should taste. I feel like I just wasted $12

148 characters

Photo of huthuty
4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A deep amber with a medium head
Smell is sweet with some piney hops detectable
Taste is extremely dense with hops and alcohol
Apart from the hop element it seems light for the alcohol content, this is like a hops liquor as opposed to a malt liquor

 252 characters

Photo of Ochs0314
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of robebo44
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Gasp262
2.75/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Disappointing. Hoppy, astringent, very unpleasant aftertaste and mouthfeel, even for sipping. This did not grow on me over the course of the bottle.

 150 characters

Photo of bb-magic
3.64/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Photo of ntraft
1.58/5  rDev -61.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

2018 Edition

I had this many years ago (2008) and it was a major milestone on my journey into the world of beer. It was unlike anything I had ever tried before and even in years hence I continued to regard it as a remarkable example of barleywine. Today I saw it while in the checkout line, and on a whim decided to grab a six-pack.

With this latest effort, Sierra Nevada has utterly destroyed this previously-cherished offering.

The description on the bottle already had me a bit worried: "heaps of whole-cone, Pacific Northwest hops." Huh?! What do hops have to do with a barleywine?? They're an afterthought.

Look: Head sticks to the glass, and color is the deep reddish hue that I would expect. Does not bear the same cloudiness that I remember from previous iterations, however.

Smell: Fairly unremarkable. There's a hint of the old Bigfoot deep down somewhere in there, with vanishingly faint notes of raisin and dark fruits under the cacophony of hop oils. I practically have to touch my nose to the liquid to sense it.

Taste: It has not a trace of the sweet raisin flavor I originally fell in love with. The previously rich, syrupy malt has been utterly demolished by an astringent, choking load of hops that has me clearing my throat and chugging water. And for that bitterness I'm not even rewarded with the citrus earthiness of the typical IPA.

Feel: Doesn't have the rich creaminess that it had in previous years. Otherwise unremarkable.

Overall: Literally, what is the point of this beer?? It is literally pointless. It has no place in the world. There are plenty of double IPAs in the world. Why did they need to make one that didn't have the malty sweetness to backup those hops?? They should be ashamed of themselves. They have destroyed something that used to be a cornerstone of Great Beer. This is on the order of the destruction of Palmyra, the ancient World Heritage site which has has recently been ravaged by Syrian conflict.

 1,956 characters

Photo of McFinniganOfTheFinnigans
2.84/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Bigfoot 2018.

The overall appeal of Sierra Nevada has never been for me. Bigfoot is a bland example of what a Barleywine is. Oh wow. Hops. Celebration is better and that ain't saying much by any means.

I'd say chalky, but I'd attribute that to the overall hop character and a drastic lack of maltiness. Sad really.

I'd never ask for my money back, but if you handed me this beer and called it good? Probably going to judge you really hard.

What do I think this is closer to? A dubble passed off as a Barleywine if that makes any sense.

 540 characters

Photo of sjrider
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This '18 version pours a deep mahogany with a lot of lacing . Quite a bit hoppier than I remember ,haven't had one in years. Unmistakably Sierra Nevada -familiar malt and yeast profile. Quite nice for as fresh as it is , a late evening sipper.Will drink a couple more fresh and age the other 3 for something to look forward to. A robust and tasty beer.

 352 characters

Photo of AyatollahGold
3.61/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of everyhumanist
3.92/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5


10 characters

Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 7,610 ratings