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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,501 |  Reviews: 3,058
Photo of fields336
4.71/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle poured into my SN snifter.

reviewed on 6/17/11

A: Dark amber, brown color with creamy one finger head dissipates slowly, leaving rings of lacing.

S: Dark fruits amidst a hoppy blast. Almost DIPA-like. Can smell the alcohol behind it

T: wow, extremely hoppy. West coast style, piney and citrus hops present. Blasted with hops, behind that is a dark fruity almost winey taste including alcoholy undertone.

M:Creamy, almost chewy, then hops and carbonation blast it away, making you forget about anything else.

O: Just an excellent beer. I'm not well versed in barleywines admittedly, but this is one of the best. This is almost DIPA-like, and i love it.

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Photo of EnJeiBee
4.04/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a coppery brown color with an off white 1-finger head that had great retention and lacing

S - Very piney hop aroma combined with a large caramel malt backbone, neither of the scents seemed to dominate the other

T - Piney citrus flavors alongside toasty caramel malts. The alcohol didn't make it's presence known in my opinion, but I had a few others give it a taste and that was what they noticed right off of the bat

M - It had a much lighter mouthfeel than I would've expected from the style. It was lightly carbonated and finished pretty cleanly

O - I feel like this would be a great beer to introduce people to the barleywine style. The ABV makes it a sipper, but I could definitely spend a night drinking this.

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

This beer pours a hazy orange brown color with an offwhite head that left some pretty good lace on the sides. It smells of rich and burnt caramel, toasted malts, and a bit of booze. The bottle was from 2009 so I'm guessing it's mellowed a little bit and I like how the booze cuts through the sweetness a little bit. It tastes really good as well, great caramel and hops with a chewy consistency. I highly recommend this as it was a very enjoyable experience for something that is not a super rare whale.

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

On-tap at the Carolina Ale House, Greenville, SC, May 2011:

The beer appeared a deep copper color, but clear and with a thin, white head that dissipated too quickly. I would probably lie some of the blame on the bartender who poured the beer. The beer had a big pine hops aroma, with some hints of some citrus and some malt. The taste is rich and heavy on the pine hops, but also with some nice hints of the malts as well. The beer had a heavy feel to it, dense and almost chewy with a heavy bitter aftertaste. Overall, the beer lacks some drinkability due to the high ABV, but that is not to say that the beer is not drinkable. If I was able, I would have had a couple. A very good beer and one that I will most certainly try again.

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Photo of beerman21
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Edition Bottle

Pours as deep copper color big carbonation not overly active. Foamy off white head that dissipates to a fairly thin lace. You can tell this is a big high gravity beer just by looking at it.

Smell- Pine, deep sugary grapefruit, has kind of a deep forest pine smell. lil rummy with butterscotch flavor odors peak through the pine scents. Good by not great smelling brew.

T-Brown sugar, pine, grapefruit, hops really come through and have a nice bright bitterness.

M- coats the mouth well has a good balance of sweetness and huge bitter hop bite.

o- love this beer has become a northern Ca classic and one that i look forward to every spring. Highly recommend it to someone who wants a different take on barley wines.

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

2011 Vintage.

A= clean copper with a very hefty foaming active beige head about 3 fingers, had to let it settle to finish pouring into a pint glass. Day #2- more settled from 36 hours refrigeration I suppose, less foamy head but still great lacing.

S= centuries of Americans have used this at holidays to pine-scent entire buildings... just kidding. Huge pine pine pine! But with some citrus too so it's not just nostril-burning pine. After about a minute or less as the head starts to settle, very nice rich malts join in. Magical. Day #2- more quickly balanced from settling in the fridge, less pine and a more complex and beautiful bouquet of a nose.

T= definitely pine, with citrus hops and also a slightly thick creamy feeling with very rich sweet caramel roasted malts. Adequate carbonation. Day #2- almost chewy on the malts this time, and even more complex in flavor. The barleywine traits are much more apparent.

M= despite the hops overload the mouth feel mellows out into a very rich malts and hops bitters combination. Day #2- ditto.

O= at 9.6%ABV it's a sit and sip beer but very drinkable at that. Maybe good with roasted red meats or smoked turkey. Day #2- Going okay with Wasabi peanuts, sorta.

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

First had: cask conditioned at Ebenezer's Pub, Lovell, ME

This was a 2002 batch, cellared for 9 years, and served on tap at Ebenezer's. It definitely picked up some interesting flavors in the cellaring process that made it distinct from the fresh batch I had the day before.

Poured a dark maroon-amber with more haze than its younger brother, to the point where it was pretty much opaque. Still sweet with rich malts, with rich coffee tones appearing, pine resin, dark fruits, a very woody quality, and a definite alcohol burn. Heavy mouthfeel, but not quite full-bodied. Strong, but drinkable...though perhaps one serving is enough.

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Photo of d4114
4.92/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 bottle 6-13-11

A- Deep red body, perfectly clear; big light tan head; Really nice looking beer

S- Big hop aroma with a equally big caramel aroma. Very rich inviting smell.

T- Followed nose closely but is more complex; Big malt flavor that has a burnt caramel to it, backed up by a huge hop presence.

M- Medium-heavy; Thick and heavy but light and smooth enough for you to want to keep drinking it.

O- Awesome beer; Really drinkable bigger beer. One of the best in the style I have had.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage...

Pours a clear orange amber color, quick poof of off-white head, gone wuickly leaving splotchy bubbles and some sticky spots on the side of the galss. Scent is dominated by piney hops, moderate amounts of citrus (orange) and herbal hops, some astringent qualities before the malt even arrives. Malt scent is very sweet and syrupy. Taste is as the scent would have predicted... hop forward, warm burn of alcohol and a big syrupy like sweetness. Full bodied, heavy on the palate, lingering astringency and warmth. While a very nice beer - this pupy definitely needs some age - overly hoppy and boozy, will hunt out a vintage bottle or age the next recent one i see for comparison.

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Photo of cavedave
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage

Pours a clear dark amber with red hghlights, topped by an immense and thick dark beige head. Plenty of clingy lace slathers the glass.

Smell has plenty of piney and citrus hop, with some caramel/toffee/breadiness, floral, herbaly tart, and wee hints of alcohol spice rounding it into a dynamite aroma.

It is a high strength taste, starting with sweet caramel/toffee and light alcohol and bread, quickly grabbing some piney and herbal bitter. Citrus kicks in, some bitter orange peel and tangerine to go with the bitter pith. This carries the sip into an ending of sweet spicy alcohol and piney citrus bitter. More pithy-bitter than most barleywines I have tasted. Nice.

Quite light in mouth for such a full flavor, viscous but less than seems possible, perhaps a bit less than optimal, and low carb. despite its look. Fine finish worthy of an IPA, and on par with the hoppiest modern American BW's.

This is a fine BW, highly recommended, and a definite candidate for the cellar, though with a year on it it is in my wheelhouse right now.

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

2011 12oz bottle poured into tulip glass

This is a beer that really need some age. I had a bottle a few weeks ago from 2008, it was smooth and beautiful.

Today I had a 2011 bottle, it was bitter and harsh.
A: Dark brown with minimal head
S: Toffee, caramel, hops
T: Hop bitterness and some burnt sugars in the background
M: Minimal carbonation, moderately think feel
O: As a young barleywine the hops are over powering and put this out of balance, but knowing Bigfoot, it will mellow and come around to a great beer with time. This is a beer that certainly has depth and complexity, but at this point I can't find it behind the hops.

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

Side by side 2011 and 2007 release. Review scores are for the fresh stuff, but I will note differences in each area.

A: Pours a dark translucent reddish amber, with a fair amount of foamy eggshell white head. Retains well, and leaves a fair amount of lacing. Quite a lot of head for a barleywine. The 2007 is darker and closer to opaque, more an inky brown than red. It's also got much less head, and just clumps stick around on the surface and around the edge of the glass.

S: Malty, almost candy-like sweetness, so concentrated it's almost pungent. Hops are present, but somewhat buried. 2007 is tamer in its sweetness, but deeper and more complex. The aged version is much nicer.

T: Similar concentrated sweetness, but not quite so overpowering, as the hops offer more to balance things out. Nothing subtle about the flavors here. The 2007 is again much more layered; less of a huge sweet kick in the tongue, and less hoppy, though there's still a fair sized bitter note towards the finish.

M: Full body, medium prickly carbonation. The 2007 is still full body but a bit smoother overall.

Overall the young version is good, but the aged version is very good. Both are very big beers, but time softens many of the less subtle notes into something more layered and cohesive.

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

Bottle from a six-pack poured into a snifter

A: beautiful amber color, slight haze, with a nice head that dissipates to thin lacing

S: sweet figs, honey, and some really nice tropical fruit brightness...a little bit of mango, pineapple, and well defined citrus

T: mmm...wonderful sweetness (but not cloying), a really nice pronounced bitterness, sweet and smooth fig flavor, notes of honey, and bright citrus notes on the finish

M: smooth and silky with medium carbonation, no complaints here and perfect for the style

O: wonderful American-style barleywine, nice hoppiness with just the right amount of sweetness, definitely a sipper but nicely complex and not overwhelming...really excellent

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

2011 poured into a snifter.

A - Dark red/mahogany-colored with a half inch of beige head. Retention that lasts throughout the session and a good amount of lacing.

S - Raisins and grapes dominate the fruity aspect of this beer. Bitter hops are prevalent as well and it possesses a strong malt backbone. Some alcohol is present here.

T - This beer is on the sweeter side and the raisins really come through here. The hop bitterness is present in the aftertaste, but it lets the alcohol filter through. Some spicy notes as well such as cinnamon and brown sugar.

M - Definitely a full-bodied brew that does not hide the alcohol well. The hoppy character lingers on the aftertaste as is with most SN beers.

O - Definitely a dessert beer. Overall a fantastic beer and representation of the favorite barleywine at the time of purchase and to age as well. I had it at a SN beer dinner at the Willamantic Brewing Company paired with Bigfoot infused ice cream!

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Photo of RankRefugee88
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

A - Deep amber color, glaring through the lamp. White frothy head that doesn't retain for too long, but leaves heavy lacing.

S - Very strong and bitter up front. Caramel is present. Very alcoholic smell. Citrusy and piney.

T - Very strong taste. Extremely bitter, but in a good way. This barleywine really makes your taste buds stand on end. Also very hoppy, with sweet malty goodness towards the end. Very boozy, but relaxing and warming.

M - Smooth and carbonated, almost perfect carbonation for this style. Sticky and chewy, yummy. I can only take very small sips of this beer, it's the way that it's meant to be.

O - Overall I love it. So sweet and malty. After a few of these I feel really good. Such a nice beer. One of the most powerful tasting beers I've ever had.

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Photo of iDrinknewglarus
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Note: I am reviewing the 2011 bottle, it is at least 3-4 months old kept in the fridge.

A: Reddish-brown. Nice creamy looking head that dies down to form a thin cap over the beer. For a beer of this ABV, it even laces pretty well. Not hazy at all.

S: Huge notes of pine and grapefruit. I even get some sweet, caramel almost sugary malty notes. Maybe just the faintest note of cranberry. It smells quite dry from the alcohol.

T: The initial taste confirms the copious amounts of hops used. There is a slightly sweet malt flavor in the background throughout, but it is really dominated by the hop flavor and bitterness. It leaves my mouth and lips sticky. The aftertaste lingers forever with a bitter, charred wood/burnt coffee kind of taste. Alcohol is well masked.

M: Not a whole lot of carbonation; but still has a medium-heavy mouthfeel.

This is my third bottle out of the six pack, and I must say I really like the way this beer is done. I'm a hop head so I really dig the hop forward taste of this barleywine. Oh yeah, and it can't be beat for the price. I'm going to age the rest of the three and taste them a year apart and see how the profile changes.

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

Poured out of a 12 oz. bottle marked 2011 into my Duvel tulip.

A – Poured an amber color with a orangish tan two finger head frothy head

S – Good hopy smell with some nice pine mixed in. Touch of citrus sweetness,

T – A malty, roasty flavor to start. Piney resin flavor follows with some mellow bitterness. Citrus flavors. Touch of sweetness at the close with a nice boozy flavor that warms you up.

M – Medium to heavy bodied. Medium carbonation. Alcohol again leaves a nice warm clean feel in your mouth.

O – Good barley wine indeed. I could have a couple but a few would sit you down in a hurry.

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Photo of eric5bellies
3.91/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage

A - Pours a deep clear copper colour with a two fingered off White fluffy head that retains well and laces.

S - Slightly subdued piney aromas, also some burnt sugars.

T - Has some nice bitterness to a dominant Grapefruit flavour. The booze kicks in and the malts don't really turn up on this one.

M - Medium body and low carbonation

O - The bitterness is a little too intense and the beer is a little one dimensional in that respect. Having said that, this still represents a decent ABW

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Photo of doughanson78
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Re-reviewed on 9-18-2011. Original review was C+ (3.2).

A: Deep copper. Nice hints of red. One+ finger, fluffy yellowish head. Big bubbles in head. Great lacing. Head really never goes away.

S: Big piney hops. Little ashy. Some citrus hops, grapefruit mainly. Some caramel malts fighting to get through. A touch of spices.

T: Big caramel sweetness upfront. It comes through much more than the smell did. Towards the finish a big piney bitterness comes through.

M: Medium-bodied. Medium to high carbonation. Very creamy. Slightly dry finish. A light alcohol warming.

O: Very good Barleywine for how available and how cheap it is. First time I had it the hops overwhelmed me. Granted that was early on in my craft beer endeavor. I've got a 6-pack of 2011 and 2010 to age.

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

A-Deep mahogany color with large white creamy head. Really nice

S-Really intense smell of barley and hops. Really prominent and robust

T-Really strong, robust great taste. Very bitter in a good way. Nice blend of spices as well

M-Since in your mouth pretty heavy. Nice spice and medium carbonation

O-Very good beer. Only my second barelywine so i am not up to date on what it should taste like but happy to be expanding my palate for this style. Very fun beer to drink

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Photo of JayAre46
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle love it fresh love it aged
A - poured down the middle into a maudite tulip, shows a deep ruby mahogany transparent color with a 2 finger fluffy off white head that immediately shows great lacing.

A - big sweet notes of citrus, dark fruits and sugared candy, molasses with good hop presence infused, caramel malt stance, this aroma is not huge but it is very precise and not messy at all extremely grasping

T - follows the nose with a much bigger hop presence, a burnt caramel flavor, dark fruit covered with molasses, smooth transition into the hoppy bitterness, a caramelized sugar is present with a pecan dryness do they call those pralines? one over my favorite barley-wines especially with the huge hop profile.

M - medium to full body, the moderate carbonation level is perfect, the time gives it much more of creamy feel that this one doesn't possess yet but is still great.

O - again one of my favorite barley-wines, will consume and purchase this upon every release. im not sure if i like this one aged more or fresh they are both great to me maybe 5 years is the best but i wouldn't know. drink it

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Photo of Arbitrationer
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a golden to amber/copper. Good head retention and a very nice lace in the glass.

Smell - Smells of citrus and hops with a lingering honey smell in the back.

Taste - Starts bitter, very hop forward and citrusy followed by a delicious sweet malty finish. The finish is a light malt tasting similar to cereal.

Mouthfeel - Slightly creamy, nice light carbonation.

Overall - Very impressed. Nice and hoppy with a delicious malty finish. Exactly what a barlywine should be.

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

2011 bottle that poured with a respectable, dense beigish-orange head that very slowy reduced to a wispy cap. Thick sheets of sticky lacings coat the glass. Color is a combination deep amber and dark orange with a very heavy, viscous haze....almost like carbonation bubbles frozen in suspension. Heavy but smooth with a light resinous, yet creamy feel. Aromas are not as intense as I expected, but a nice balance of citrus orange and sugary sweet caramel malt with a hint of pine and biscuit. Intense citrus and pine hop flavors in the front. Citrus flavors slowly fade as the pine hop bitterness intensifies through the finish. The hop flavors ride an intensely sweet malty backbone from beginning to end. Long lasting pine bitter hoppiness with alcoholic heat clearly showing at the finish. Depsite the intense sweet and bitter flavors, the feel and slowly evolving flavors provide a mellowness to this brew.

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Photo of 1Adam12
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle. Pours a reddish orange. Nice 1 inch head, lasted the entire glass. Nose smells sweet. I can smell malt and citrus, oranges maybe. Tastes just like it smells, sweet followed by malt. Very refreshing. A sipper because of the sweetness. Moderately creamy mouthfeel. Nicely balanced hops. Medium carbonation. This is the first Sierra Nevada brew i've had beside SNPA and their porter, and this has made me change my opinion of the brewery. I put 2 bottles in the cellar to see what happens. I can only see this getting better with a year or 2 on it.

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

2011 vintage 12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada Imperial Pint Glass at slightly less than room temperature. Initial opening attempt with toe-nail clippers leaves my thumb slightly bloody and I make an excuse to head upstairs for the bottle opener.

A- Pours an appealing mahogany that is fairly consistent and pleasant to gaze upon. Head fades quickly but the lacing that remains is lasting and satisfying. A faint layer of bubbles provides carbonated promise.

S- Several huffs provide my admittedly untrained nose with the scent of citrusy sweetness, largely pine and caramel. Very enjoyable. Definitely makes one want to move on to the tasting portion of the sample.

T- Very similar to the nose and only slightly less satisfying. Begins with a crisp (muted by alcohol) hoppiness that quickly becomes malty sweetness. The ending sensation is one of hop bitterness with a bit of alcohol heat.

M- It's medium to thick-bodied, while still going down easy. Carbonation is close to perfect. The alcohol is still present, I think time will be beneficial.

O- For the content and the style, very drinkable. This years is still slightly hot, and I'm looking forward to aging a few bottles, but there's a reason I had to buy another six-pack tonight, very drinkable fresh. I can only imagine it'll improve with some additional time.

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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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