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

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3,021 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: 3,021 | Ratings: 7,398
Photo of Myotus
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 bottle
Poured at 48°F from a 12oz bottle into a snifter. Allowed to warm up to 50°F before consuming.
LOOK: Pours with a fingers worth of khaki foam that dissipates into a quarter fingers worth of off-white foam within 45 seconds. Ruby in color with a hint of cloudiness. Rising bubbles are medium in size and scarce in quantity. Lacing is thin and subtle.
SMELL: Strong aromas of piney hops, mangos, papaya, apricots, and peaches entangle with subtle caramel and plum aromas.
TASTE: The initial taste is a simultaneous bombardment of all the aromas, but as strong flavors. Unexpected and nearly overpowering, but my taste buds love it. Strong flavors of brown sugar (weren't detected in the smell) and mild flavors of bitter hops enter act 2 as mango, papaya, apricot, and peach flavors grow slightly stronger.
FEEL: Full-bodied and moderately carbonated. Goes down somewhat smooth while clinging to the back of the throat like syrup. Finishes horribly dry.

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

For my first official Beer Advocate beer review, I’ve pulled out a special beer for a special occasion. This is the last 2013 Bigfoot Barleywine that I have been holding on to as my first attempt at cellaring/aging a beer. Thinking back to 2013 when I first bad this beer, I remember the strong and biting bitterness of the hops and warmth from the alcohol that overwhelmed my palate at the time. As time and experience with other beers have developed my palate, I am really looking forward to what time has done to this cornerstone of a beer for me. So here we go!
Look: 12 oz bottle poured semi-aggressively into a tulip glass, a beautiful rich mahogany red with two fingers of a light tan head, a few floaties that have settled from aging. Tight and pillowy at first, the head dissipates to a half inch of larger soapy bubbles in the center and creamy froth around the rim after about five minutes, leaving wonderful lacing.
Smell: Immediately caramel hits the nose, with very ripe dark fruits following. Hints of sweet raisins and port wine. Hardly any traces of citrus or piney hops. A completely different creature after 3 years.
Taste: Caramel, cream, vanilla, leather, dark candied fruits. Maybe a nice mild aromatic pipe tobacco? The booze is nowhere to be found in such a big beer compared to its younger self. Only slightly resinous with a hint of mature pine. Really a lovely sweetness like a fresh warm fruitcake. The perfect amount of sweetness and balanced bitterness.
Feel: So very smooth and creamy. Perfectly balanced and still a great medium carbonation. Such a soft and subtle bitterness that lingers on the middle and back of my tongue before disappearing like a dream. It coats the mouth and leaves a delicate bitterness aftertaste reminiscent of citrus, like subtle grapefruit pith.
Overall: One of the most lovely beers I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy. The harsh bitterness and sharp edges from 2013 have smoothed and mellowed over time, making this a treat to enjoy on a stormy February evening. It is amazing what time can do to a beer. Being my first (and only at the moment) beer to have aged, I can’t wait to grab a few more bottles of various others to store away for another few years. While I would rate the young and raw version of this beer a 3.43, the 3 year aged version has blown me away beyond my expectations 5/5.

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

First of this year's release. Pours dark red with an off-white head. Great lacing. Hops up front, then opens up with some....damn this is a good beer!

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

Just happened to have my computer while I was drinking a glass of this, so call it fate. Here goes my first official BeerAdvocate review.

Look: Gorgeous just barely off-white and silky head sits atop. About an inch of head and isn't going anywhere soon. The liquid a deep ruby with brown tones. This is a beautiful beer!

Smell: Some alcohol phenols and hops on the first sniff. Delve a little deeper and some dark fruits and maltiness pop up. Sweet and enticing aroma.

Taste: A complex one on the tastebuds. First hit is that fresh-hop bite. As it moves over the palate the sweetness opens up and dark fruits (raisins, plums, figs) come to mind. After-taste has it giving way to how big this beer is, although well-hidden, as it warms your body.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, just right for this beer. The mouthfeel is silky and smooth and dangerously drinkable for almost being 10%

Overall: Couldn't be happier having this beer as my first official BA-review. Just a lovely offering on the style, and you can't ask for much more with how available it is. Sierra Nevada after all these years is still making some excellent stuff. Happy to store a few bottles each year to see how they age and develop.

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Photo of Wer34truh
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Has a moderately light brown color, with a almost non-existent head.

Smells of sweet malts, subtle tones of citra, and dried fruits.

Taste is surprisingly subtle. There are clear notes of pine, grainy sweetness, dried fruit, and grapefruit. But for the most part, this is an incredibly drinkable barleywine. Almost intimating so for being 9.6%. Mouthfeel is surprisingly light and it has a distinctly creamy body.

I have to admit that this is very much still a style I'm growing accustomed to. Yet, every sip of this makes me long for more. This is an absolutely incredible beer, which combines the malty characteristics of most American strong ales, with the nuance and sweetness of a juicy harvest IPA. This is cool.

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.74/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is my first barleywine ever, and well... It wans't what I was expecting at all!! It's insanely hoppy, I thought it would be more and toffee and malt forward but it's really hop forward!

Amazing stuff!!

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Photo of geodonnokepyo
3.89/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

bottled 12/31/14

look: hazy amber/brown, frothy head, good retention
smell: caramel, pine, citrus
taste: caramel, wood, slight fruitiness
feel: fullish body, finishes really bitter

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

Bottled on 12/11/15
LOOKS: Poured into a snifter, gets a bout a half inch of tan foamy head that dissipates quickly. Very dark amber to almost mahogany in a appearance. Great carbonation when you rock the glass from side to side. Leaves alcohol legs down the glass. Spotty lacing.
AROMA: Floral, alcohol, sherry, port wine like. Brown sugar, a little citrus, dark dried fruit, and some bready malts.
TASTE: Sherry like. Dried fruits, and bready...like fruitcake. Bitter citrus rind. Very wine like. Good blend of sweet and bitter.
MOUTHFEEL: Very dry all the way through the sip. Very good carbonation, not overkill.
OVERALL: A very nice sipper. Has a very pleasant taste that reminds me of sipping a fine sherry or dessert wine, but that carbonation really helps bring out the flavors.

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Photo of Bonkinishwa
4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale. 9.6% ABV. 12oz bottle into a snifter. 2015 edition.

Look: Body is a rich amber hue, with a two finger tan head from an aggressive pour.

Smell: Floral hops balanced by sweet malts, with some tones of caramel, sour fruits, and molasses.

Feel: Medium bodied with a lot of carbonation, while still being pretty smooth.

Taste: Sweet malts and sour fruits up front, but soon drowned out by bitter hops and caramel, which all blend into the aftertaste. Some minor alcohol taste is present, without being boozy, and without burning.

Overall: This is my first Barleywine style of beer, without being barrel aged. Pretty enjoyable, with a great balance of bitter hops and sweet malts. The ABV of this beer is concealed pretty well, although still noticeable.

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

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

L: Pours a clear deep ruby mahogany color. Thick creamy off-white head with delicate lacing.

S: Brown sugar and molasses mingling with piney hops.

T/F: Malty and smooth... caramel, brown sugar, and raisins. Strong hop presence so fits right in with the West Coast barleywine's. Evergreen and mild citrus. Creamy on the mouthfeel and warming. High ABV and it shows... but enough balance to keep it tasteful.

O: A big west coast barleywine that stacks up with the best of them. Great for a cold winter night and looking forward to seeing what a year in the cellar does for this guy. Great beer from a top-notch brewery.

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Photo of Dragginballs76
4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours deep red caramel color with thick tan head that lasts forever excellent lacing.

Smell - Big hop notes some sweet malts I get a little grapefruit as well.

Taste - good hop flavors the alcohol is well hidden malts show through as well also getting the pine bitter a little.

Feel - medium bodied little dry very smooth little burn from the alcohol and bitterness but in a good way.

Overall an amazing beer I will have many more times.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.16/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy, ruddy brown with thin tan head. Aroma is fantastic - malty with booze and a touch of piney hop. Flavor has a more pronounced bitter that takes the forefront, with slight malt sweetness almost balancing. I find this just a little rough on the palette between the bitter and the booze, but the liquid is very smooth, low carbonation, and slightly cloying - all of which I enjoy.

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Photo of oldn00b
4.44/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours ruby red with a thick, 4" frothy cream colored head. Incredible lacing and great retention.

Nose is hop, malt, caramel, vanilla, and booze.

Flavor is just a spot on america barleywine. That perfect balance of huge bitter with massive sweetness - warming boozy note works perfectly.

Feel is fantastic - carbonation level doesn't add too much bitterness, appropriately lifts this dense brew off the palate. Finish is long on the bitter which just makes the next sip happen faster.

This is a fantastic beer - for the price and availability it's nearly impossible to beat. Those aspects factor into the high marks but it truly is a world class brew.

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

2015 "vintage," bottled 12/31/14, tasted January 2016, in a Libbey tulip glass, 45–50°F.
Clear dark amber with a one-finger head that dissipated in a few minutes but regenerated with each swirl. Potent fragrance filled the air around the glass at once to a radius of several feet.
Flavor dominated by the piney element in the Chinook hops, which floated over the malt base without integrating with it. Will appeal to those who appreciate prominent Pacific northwest hops.
Weighty mouthfeel, beverage coated the throat.
Overpowered the homemade burrito I paired it with, but it was nice with a dessert of Medjool dates. Sweetness of the dates took some edge off the hoppiness and brought out the malt.

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

From Uvinum. In Teku glass. Watching Sons of Anarchy 5x01. Amazing aroma. Great taste. A bit alcoholic but with a nice touch of bitterness that compensates it.

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

12.4.2014 bottle poured into a tulip; pours rich ruby malt color with generous and lingering head. Smell is bread, malt, caramel, toffee, hops. Taste is sweet, malt, rich bread and then to hops and slightly bitter finish and feint abv bite. The hops have held on surprisingly well after 13 months of cellaring; it'll be fun to see how much they hold on after a while longer. The mouth is fantastic--smooth, creamy, very nicely carbonated.

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Photo of car2052
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle packaged on 12/4/14 to snifter.

A: Pours a cloudy muddy red, with ample carbonation and a tan head that sticks around.
S: Bran, grape juice, cream, and spiced bread.
T: Toffee and caramel cream flavors open up to a cherry and grape fruitiness. Ends with some hop bitterness even after a year in the bottle.
M: Medium-full.
O: Nice. Hop flavor still preserved, but great malt flavors as well.

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Photo of Ahypercube
4.61/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow, SN never ceases to amaze me.

L: Pours a rich, dark reddish caramel color, like coca cola. Two-fingers of thick, luscious, toasted cream-colored head, which builds slowly and lasts well, leaving rather attractive cocoa-colored lacing. A beautiful brew.

S: Molasses, caramel, alcohol, candied dark fruit (Plum, raspberry, cherry, etc), toasted rye bread, and a nutty whole-grain scent; a little hint of piney hops, and a clean grapefruit rind presence.

T: Those bitter hoppy flavors are much more noticeable, with the avalanche of malty, caramelly, toasty sweetness cascading over the bitter skeleton, fleshed out with a sugary blackberry-jam-on-toast flavor. Almost just like a stout, but missing the coffee and chocolate. Definitely something I enjoyed immensely. I would pair with any pastry, or a rich stew, or simply cheese and crackers.

F: Someone commented that the mouthfeel was a little thin. I'm rather blown away by this comment, as it seems as thick as could be possibly expected for the ABV. A lot like Torpedo IPA, but thicker and bitterer.

O: Excellent. If this is any sort of example, I'd say barleywines are definitely a thing I enjoy. Glad to encounter this magnificent brew and I hope to find more of its kind in the future!

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

Clear mahogany color with brownish head. Aroma has nice caramel malts but also some earthy and resiny hops. Taste starts slightly sweet with caramel and dark bread notes and gets hoppy and bitter towards the finish. Aftertaste is quite bitter and dry. Really classic, american style barleywine taste profile.

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

12 oz bottle with a packaged date of 01/28/15. Sipped from a tulip by a bonfire just shy of a year later. May not have actually aged for the full year as was bought cold about a week ago, so who knows how long it actually spent out of refrigeration.

L: Pours a slightly hazy deep orange-red with yellow highlights, which transforms into an absolutely gorgeous ruby red by firelight. Active carbonation leaves a thin but persistent ring of off-white head leaving reasonably sticky lacing on par for the hoppiness and ABV.

S: Sugary caramel malts and grapefruity citrus hops are the primary aromatic notes, along with a healthy dose of pine. Alcohol is present in the nose and increases as the beer warms. I'm also detecting a bit of a burnt wood quality, but I am fairly certain that's just the bonfire...

T: Sweet and malty, as a barleywine should be. Grapefruit, lemon, pine, and a light whole-cone grassiness from the hops, and in good quantity; this is unlikely to have sat anywhere near room temperature for an appreciable time over this past year. Astringent bitterness persists throughout the taste and the alcohol is quite noticeable but not overly harsh, especially considering how relatively young this bottle is. Some fruity esters and phenolic components are detectable but kept in check. A mild barrel-like quality on the backend alongside lingering pine resin.

F: Medium-bodied and a bit on the watery side for a barleywine. Hopefully will thicken with some aging. Carbonation is solid and prickly, giving the dominant hops a good kick in the cones.

O: This is a solid barleywine and not bad for a young specimen. Looking forward to seeing what a little age will do to this beer, especially considering the relatively light mouthfeel, fairly strong alcohol presence, and boisterous hop intensity. The rest of the four pack is already put away in the "cellar", and I may just grab another quartet to join them before the imminent 2016 release.

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Photo of taters21
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep orange amber color with a 2 finger tan head that lasts, beautiful.
Smells more like an ipa, fresh pine and citrus notes dominate, slight toffee notes.
Starts with sweet malt, toffee, caramel, then dank hops grow stronger towards the finish, which is dry.
Mouthfeel is full with little carbonation, dry.
Overall good, as are all Sierra Nevada beers I've ever had but underwhelming to me, as I experienced little complexity here, however it isn't boozy at all, so points there.

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2015 - bottled 12/11/14 and i've had in my fridge for between 2-3 months.
2016- bottled 12/4/15 and i picked up 2 4packs in early Januar i think.
2014-bottled 1/12/14. bought it in March 2016 at $8.99 a 4pack. 2 in the fridge and 2 in the basement.

pours a deep mahogany with a thick head. with more age it looks much more like cider.

smell is sweet, nice balanced aroma. solid aroma, nice mix of malt and hops. not overly sweet but a nice subtle sweetness.

great taste, great balance of sweetness and bitterness. finishes bitter and dry but somehow different than an IPA finish. smooth and easy drinking.

REVIEW OF 2016 fresh Bigfoot (bottled 12/4/15 and in my fridge for a few months now, it's 3/21/16):
-certainly more bold than the 11 month old 2015, this certainly mellows with age. which is why i bought 2 4packs, 1 for now and 1 for later. also my local store was selling 2014 Bigfoot for the same price as 2016 Bigfoot so i picked it up to test out.
-the hops are much more prevalent than the aged barleywine, a nice strong ale almost Brown Shugga flavor to it.

2014: much more mellow. looks like cider. very malty yet has subtle and beautiful hop flavor. and has an amazing flavor. this is amazing with age, holy shit. i'm keeping my 2016 bottles in my cellar for a while now. slight char to it as well. really fantastic.

i am enjoying this! a great barleywine. a great balance, i enjoy the combination this beer has between sweetness and bitterness. almost has a slight barrel taste to it. a great beer, my new favorite barleywine.

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

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. You can start smelling this beer while pouring it into the glass. Strong fruity smell. Very complex taste. Hoppy with an alcohol finish but not overpowering. Not very bitter. Glad I finally tried it but not my style. Cheers!

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Photo of Dravin
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured aggressively into a Duvel tulip. Bottle dated 12/04/14.

Look -- Three fingers of tight light khaki head reduce to a single finger that lingers. It has nice lacing and the color of the body of the beer is a slightly murky deep amber.

Smell -- Resinous hop aroma with very faint hints of grapefruit in the back. Caramel sweetness coming through and absolute no hint of booze. I'm sure the hops have faded since the beer is a year old but there is still plenty left in the tank.

Taste -- Similar to the nose, resinous hops with faint grapefruit, caramel, and lots of bitterness. The booze hides once again.

Feel -- Low carbonation, possibly partial due to the aggressive pour, and a medium body. It has heft without being cloying. It's just a delight to sip on feeling wise.

Overall -- A nice hoppy barelywine that has aged just fine. It hide the boozes like a ninja so combined with how sippable it is it could easily sneak up on you if you weren't prepared. Overall it's just a damn nice barleywine.

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Photo of Easton70
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I tasted this after a Belgian sour so I perhaps didn't get the full effect of the Big Foot. But, it has a huge flavour: sour, sweet, a bid hoppy kick and tons of alcoholic punch. A great beer.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 7,398 ratings.
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