Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

7,501 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:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 02-06-1998

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,501 |  Reviews: 3,058
Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ok so I did a side by side tasting of a 2011, 2002, 2001, and 1998 and this review is of my favorite of the 4. Let me start off by saying I hated the beer fresh I found it overly hoppy for a barleywine and the flavor not very good.

So this is a review of the 1998 aged 13 years.

Look: Dark mahogany in color and of course no head a slight off white ring at the top of the beer

Smell: Dark fruits raisins plums and a very sweet malt backbone and believe it or not a just note of alcohol still present

Taste: Very very complex and it reminds me a real good belgian dubble. Great dark fruit flavors plums raisin and figs. Age has been very kind to this beer

Mouthfeel: Full body and no carbonation and a bit chewy

Overall: Again time has been great to this beer. The 02' and 01' were really good as well but the 98' was just slightly better. I have a 95' 94' and 93' that I can't wait to try out

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

Poured from bottle into 20oz. pint glass

A-Dark amber/brownish colour. preatty good sized head thats pretty frothy

S-Pine aroma with some citrus. inviting

T/M-really smooth with almost no carbonation. malt at first that ends in a cascade of hoppy goodness

O-Enjoyable. tastes a little less flamboyant than other barleywines i've tried.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- golden brown color with a light tan head and decent lacing

S-yeast and malt aromas with some citrus and pine

T-heavy roasted malt flavor with a rich sweetness that fades to a hoppy finish

F-smooth mediun body with moderate carbonation

O-good flavor and balance, a nice change of pace

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Photo of JMWEB2
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A very dark amber and copper color, solid 2 finger head, some nice lacing, looks great.

S: Hoppy caramel scent, also got a little citrus as well, and the malt is there too.

T: Got the sweetness and caramel, and the hops are rich, some spice as well. Sweetness in the finish gives way as you drink.

M: Medium body, somewhat creamy.

O: Nice clean and crisp, I'm pleasantly surprised. Sierra Nevada did nice job, glad I finally tried it.

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Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2001 vintage tasted on 11/01/11.

Pours murky light brown with a nice amber head.

There are still a lot of hops in the aroma, but after ten years the malts dominate. Lots of similarities to port at this poiint. I love port.

Toffee, sweet bread, some grass and lemon peel hang around in the mouth. Lots of righ character and depth.

The feel is still creamy, surprisingly. Not watery like some older beer can become.

Overall, this was a great experience. Thankfully I have a couple more of this vintage to enjoy later on. This could still go for quite some time.

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Photo of modernartblues
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from Notes, Poured into a Tulip at Prime 16 (late October 2011)---I am assuming a 2010 keg

A: dark red, big white head, excellent lacing

N: hoppy and full bodied malt, classic citrusy Sierra Nevada nose, more DIPA like than barleywine for my money

T: sweet malt is more than balanced by the grapefruit bitterness from the hops, complex and changes as it warms

M: pretty thick, and coats the palate, but enjoyable

O: This is pretty intensely hoppy for a beer brewed almost a year ago. It may not be a barleywine to style, but its probably my favorite barleywine to date. Really enjoyed and will def. be picking up a sixer come 2012.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Vierenner
3.33/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fantastic beer on all fronts except for the sharp hop bite which strikes several seconds after a swallow and sticks around. The mouthfeel and taste are remarkably good. There is a floral sweetness and a bright, exciting flavor ... until the hops take over and ruin the whole experience.

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

2011 bottle

Pours a crystal clear ruby red with a huge off white head that does not go away and laces.

Smells of sweet, caramel malt with some grapefruit, biscuit, and honey notes.

Taste is up front sweet, bready malt with honey notes, some slight fruit character that fades into a hop bitter finish and ends on a sweet note. The hop character is present but somewhat subdued in this now that it has a bit of age on it. Some slight citrus notes from the hops but this one is all about the bready/biscuit character.

Medium bodied with low carbonation work well enough. It is sweet but not cloying, and there is noticeable alcohol.

This beer is a nice hop forward barleywine. At this point the alcohol, sweetness, and hop characteristics have not quite blended making for an odd beer overall. It's in the awkward teen years. I'm hoping it gets through those and ends up a more interesting, satisfying beer. Still, not much to complain about here...

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Photo of Cmack15
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: caramel reddish rust

Aroma: malty fresh grains smell

Taste: malty sweetness hops not really coming through little boozy

Mouthfeel: nice carbonation medium body with a dry finish

Not familiar with this style so it would be unfair for me to say how good or bad a barleywine this is. The abv of this beer would be a nice sipper on a cold night.

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

Bigfoot 2011

A: Pours with a nice foam that takes a few minutes to dissipate. It has a deep cherry, amber color along with some nice mahogany.

S: Smell is a of sweet grapefruit, orange, and some candied tangerine. There is some pine and herbal notes as well.

T: There is a lot of pine, herb, and some lightly sweet malt in the background. There is also some grapefruit to the back end as well.

M: Rich, perfectly carbonated. It also rolls smoothly over the tongue with a rich maltyness.

O: This beer definitely needs some aging to be a barleywine, but right now it is definitely an amazing double IPA. It has a lot of rich hoppiness and some light maltiness. Even after almost a year, this is still extremely hoppy. And while sipping it has a great lacing quality. This beer I think needs at least 3-4 years before it has a nice malty sweetness, but even now it is a hopheads dream, and it's drinking amazingly well!

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

A - Cloudy amber and red color with a tan thick two finger head that sticks around and leaves great lacing, not too many bubbles.

S - Sweet and fruity malt, maybe some raisin and floral/pine hops. Yum!

T - Fruity malt that has some sweetness as the beer warms up and ends with some nice pine bitterness and a big of alcohol that taste very good with the very, kind of a rum raisin thing.

M - Full bodied beer, coats your mouth, low carbonation deliciousness.

O - Great beer that I want during all seasons, out of the bottles seems more sweet and malty than on tap, more hoppy, probably due to the freshness.

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Photo of Gushue3
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bigfoot

Foamy 2 finger head thats not going anywhere. Very nice amber red body with some tiny carbonation bubbles jumping up from the bottom of the glass. As the head recedes theres ample lacing left around my glass. This looks perfect.

Solid bready malt and candied sugars with faded hops in the background.

The hops and malty notes are well balanced with the malt bring a little more forward. Piney bitterness that doesnt overtake the rest of the flavor is upfront along with burnt sugars. The mellow bitterness follows through to the finish along with plenty of sweet malt for balance.
As it warms the piney hops really come out.

The body is on the lighter side of heavy with plenty of smaller carbonation bubbles to make a creamy drink. Leaves the mouth somewhat sticky

Nice stuff. Taste balances really well and looked as good as any other beer I've poured. Cant wait a few more months to snatch up some of the new batch.

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Photo of BlastBeats
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark reddish color with a creamy off-white colored head.. very sticky lacing. Cool label on the bottle.

Smell: raw, piney hops and wafts of alcohol tag-team the nose.

Taste and Mouthfeel: there's a ton of unfettered Northwest hops up front.. followed by a sweet, caramel maltiness. Pine and citric fruits (grapefruit predominately) are thrown in the midst as well.. finishes a bit boozy. Finishes smooth.

Overall: this beer proved to be bigger than I thought it would be. That said, it's a phenomenal beer and I understand why many people identify Bigfoot as the benchmark by which other barleywines are measured.

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Photo of pschul4
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mikennat for the trade! My first ever barleywine so here goes.. Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A- Pours a deep amber with a vigorous 2 finger tan head

S- You can smell the dark fruits the second you open the bottle, I'm a good 12" away from my glass and it's still a strong scent. Very interesting and given my inexperience with barleywines I don't konw what to expect

T- Tons of different flavors just hard to pinpoint one in particular other than the alcohol. It's not a grossly strong alcohol flavor but it is present. Definitely more dark fruits on the back burner

M- Honestly I noticed the mouthfeel before I noticed the taste. So silky smooth in spite of the high ABV. This is the mouthfeel I yearn for in every brew

O- Very glad I got to sample this one and will most likely re-review it once I have more barleywine experience. That being said I am enjoying my first one

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

2011 Bottle, opened just to do a fresh tasting before the others age.

Pours a deep, rich amber color with a foamy tan head that dissipates quickly.

Rich malts across the spectrum, raisins and dates, lots of subtle hop notes, brown bread, and a warm tingle from the alcohol.

Whew, I definitely feel like my breath is hot after the first sip. I fully expected it though as this is not ready for mass consumption. Brown bread and caramel malts up front, raisins, dates, and other dark fruit in the middle, with a strong bitterness through the middle and finish.

Medium to full bodied, lots of resinous characteristics, and smooth carbonation.

Overall this needs to mellow out a bit, but no surprise there. I was surprised at the bitterness. It just lingers on the back of my throat. Get it, age it, enjoy it.

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Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A: Pours a deep garnet with a sticky, full, off-white cap of head.

S: Nice resiny hops jump out of the glass with pine and citrus notes. Sweet caramel and dark fruits back the hops.

T: Nice velvety sweetness pours over the tongue and the heavy hopping leaves a lasting, fruity, not dry bittering.

D: Surprisingly smooth and drinkable for its ABV. Its heavy and a sipper, but is remarkably easy to down.

Overall: What more to say? Its one of the classic American Barleywines. Its pedigree, value, and accessibility are untouchable and it only gets better with age. What's not to love?

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

A- Into the Tulip goes this 2010 bottle. Two finger khaki head extends above a rather dark brown/plum body.
S- Malty sweetness is almost cloying with some citrus hops floating in the background. Dark fruits come to mind.
T- A very deep, sweet flavor of dark fruits is in the forefront only it is well balanced by piny hops on the aftertaste.
M- Heavy. This beer is very syrupy with medium carbonation.
O- This is a really deep beer with many intricate qualities, but it's definitely a sipper.

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Photo of zachariaIPA
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 Bigfoot from the cellar. Pours an hazed-out deep copper with a lingering finger of off-white head. Medium spots of lacing.

Malty, biscuity resiny and hoppy aroma and flavor. Sweetness and bitterness accompanied by a very welcomed boozy warmth, but overall very balanced. Reminds me of Gemini/Unearthly. A very nice drink.

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Photo of DangerDawg
3.89/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

1999 Vintage

Thanks to Scott2269 for bringing this over. Drinking it side by side with the 2011.

A - Pours a deep cloudy brown with no head. Very little carbonation.

S - Smells like raisons and figs. The hop presence thats in the 2011 is totally gone.

T - Tastes exactly like it smells. Very sweet with raisons and figs. Not much like the 2011.

M - Without the carbonation it's not much. A little thicker than water.

Overall this is very good. Bigfoot has always been a favorite barleywine of mine, so having one aged 12 years is great.

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Photo of DividedAvery
3.61/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was expecting a lot out of this beer. Mostly because of all the hype it gets as a cellar beer I guess. Anyways here Isherwood goes:

A: pours a real nice amber color with about a one finger brown sugar cream head.

S: had a cold tonight so its hard to say but a lot of caramel and raisin/fruit is coming through to me

T: nice pine hop flavor with a little bit of raisin in the the finish. The hop lingers nicely in the mouth.

M: nicely carbonated, I bet with a few more months on this it becomes a little smoother and more delicious

Not a bad beer by any means, really enjoyed this. Like I said I expected a little more but overall I really enjoyed this and am looking forward to having some aged bottles in the future.

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Photo of lanamj
4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage shared with friends.

A- Pours a nice caramel brown. Has minimal head and appears somewhat thin. What little head there was dissolves into nothing. This is a very translucent beer.

S- Wow. This has aged very nicely. Fresh Bigfoot has a nice hop aroma, where this vintage bottle's hop aroma has faded and all that is left is beautiful malt aromas. Lots of caramel and molasses. I get some sweet booze towards the end.

T- Nice caramel malts and sweet booze. This is how a barelywine should taste. Not as complex as it is when its fresh but still so nice. Very little booze on this one. The hops find them selves at the very end in the form of a bitter finish.

M- Goes down lovely. Just a little thin but not to thin. The age on this one has calmed the carbonation a little but still present.

O- Glad i got to try an aged version of this, thanks Brawley!! It seems to lose complexity with age but gains character. I feel it starts off as a barleywine "style" ale and becomes a barleywine over time. I love the sweetness to this ale reminds me of so many other great barleywines.

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Photo of cneville
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

Color is a nice, deep amber that appears lighter at the bottom. Head is a light tan and leaves a nice lacing. You can definitely smell the barley here, and there's also an underlying sweetness. When you taste it, the hops are definitely there at first, but fade into a maltiness that really brings the beer together. Mouth feel is a little underwhelming, although the carbonation level is good. This is the first barleywine I've had/reviewed, but it's a style I'll definitely return to, especially with the cold months coming up.

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

12 oz 2011 bottle (bottled 10/07/10 if I'm reading the stamp right) poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Hazy dark copper orange-red with a very thin off-white foam on top. Ring at the edge, tiny thin skin in the middle, but big sheets of persistent lacing all over the glass. Good looking beer.

Smell: Very hoppy. Pine, grapefruit, citrus, and tiny hint of mango, all smashed together and tempered with a bit of malt and just a hint of alcohol as well. More of the malt comes through as the beer warms up.

Taste: Bitter up front, quick malt in the middle, and long lingering pine, grapefruit, and earl gray tea (bergamot in here too) hop finish. Hops mellow out just a tad as beer warms up and a little bit of the malt shows through in the middle, but even then, the hops dominate. This beer is a showcase for the hops and little else.

Mouthfeel: Quick carbonation on the tongue, and then it's gone and replaced with a thick and creamy mouthfeel followed by all that hop oil sticking to the teeth.

Overall / Drinkability: Quite a monster this one. Good but smacks you around the head and shoulders with the hops. A slow sipper for good reason. I wonder what it would be like aged another year since if I've read the date stamp right, it's been about a year in the bottle and it's still massively hoppy. Might try it again sometime or pick up a bottle now and cellar it a year to see if the hop profile changes and the malt comes out more.

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Photo of Rhynes2
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bigfoot is a great name for such a big beer. Pours a nice amberish color with a decent head. A little bit of lacing down the sides as well. The taste definitely has some hop bite to it but nothing overpowering. The malt side of things seems to have a bit a honey with a small dash of caramel. For the price I think it is an outstanding value but as a barley wine i would much prefer a different choice.

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

Split with my husband from a bottle on 9/28/11. I really like barleywines but I'm not sure what to make of this one.

The color is a light to medium amber with a pale tan head, the scent is caramel with.. citrus? I think yes, citrus. I'm not sure how I feel about the combination.

The caramel flavor varies from dry to sweet, a slight carbonation is present a few seconds into tasting it, it moves to a pleasant alcohol warmth.

My husband and I talked about this one for awhile. For some reason I picked it up as very dry and bitter - and he hit the nail on the head when he described it as "APA-ish".

I'm not sure how I feel about this, as I prefer my barleywines generally not this.. .dry? But it's been awhile since I had one, so my memory of others that I've enjoyed could be off. This is a pleasant tasting beer, but not necessarily what I was expecting. I'm not used to this combination of intensely caramel but with a bitter/dry edge to it.

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Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 7,501 ratings.
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