Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

7,509 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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Ratings: 7,509 |  Reviews: 3,060
Photo of WJVII
4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass this brew has a nice dark amber color with a 2 finger off white head that left super sticky lacing down the glass. The aroma is very sweet with raisin, some clove, a little malt. The aroma is wonderfully balance. Nice bitter finish to a sweet plum and raisin body. Carbonation is bubbly but not too much. It is just enough to allow your mouth to explore the flavors. This is a great brew that doesn't overpower even with the higher alcohol content. Nice work!

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

2010 release - 12 oz. bottle.

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

Pours a beautiful raspberry-red color with lots of generous carbonation. The color is quite vibrant when held to the light - very appealing! A nice thin and frothy off-white head is released and leaves lots of speckled lacing throughout the whole glass. Smell is interesting. There's some sort of medicinal quality to it, sort of like cough medicine. But besides that, I can detect some grapefruit citrus scents, a good amount of piney hops and caramel malt. A decent myriad of aromas overall.

Anxious to try my first barleywine. Well, this is quite a novelty. It's sweet in taste, like caramel sugary. Straight forwardly sweet, wow. I'm actually surprised. Not bad! After a few seconds, a small amount of bitterness and citrus bite presents itself on the palate and then disappears. I was expecting a little more, but I'm not disappointed! Also, the alcohol isn't much of a factor in the taste either. Not too much of a burn as it goes down. This is actually pretty tasty as you sip occasionally.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth and silky on the palate. Total opposite of its appearance. Not much of an effervescent presence in the mouth. Quite nice and pleasant overall. Drinkability is easy, albeit slow. A possible choice for a nightcap.

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Photo of thecarster1
3.13/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2010 vintage.

a- bottle poured into a snifter, one finger creamy large bubbled head with nice retention, warm amber coloring.

s- really nice, fruity, raspberry, warm caramel malts, alcohol, it smells like it's not playing around.

t- verrry interesting. i've never had anything remotely like this. right off the bat i'm getting cough medicine, honey, raspberry, spices that i'm having a hard time putting my finger on, ample alcohol, sweet, fruity, a hop kick comes in as well. this barleywine is challenging my palate, but after the initial onslaught the taste becomes more plesant.

m- medium bodied and slick.

d- i realize that this is a huge beer, and this 2010 vintage is still very young, i enjoyed it but not immensely. this is my first barleywine and it taxed my palate for sure. i'd be interested to try an aged barleywine to see if it calms down a bit because the alcohol hindered my drinkability some.

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

poured the 12 oz bottle into a classic beer mug.

A pours a almost deep red hue. caramel biege head leaves nice sticky lacing. not super clear, but nice to just look at.

S what I get to the nose is maltiness , the hops almost absent from the armoa.

T: WOW this is a big, full beer. Lots of flavor here. malty backbone is SOLID with a nice citrusy - hoppy bite on the back end, alcohol takes a subtle backseat.

M this is FULL and huge bodied. LOVE this. however this is no session beer, just a bit much. for me 1 or 2 max is enough.

D this

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

I've only had a few barleywines and none of them were the hop-forward 'American style'. I am getting the barleywine maltiness from Bigfoot but also the hoppy element. If one were looking for an English-style barleywine the hops would detract from that. But I am judging it based on what it is, a hop-forward American barleywine.

The taste is caramel and even a bit of chocolate from the malts, followed by a strong piney hop presence. The mouthfeel is medium for the style, fits nicely for this beer. The drinkability is very good for the style. I am drinking it out of a Guinness glass which may subconsciously make me drink it faster. All said and done it is a very decent beer, labels be damned.

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

2010 vintage, poured into a snifter. Consumed at cellar temp.

A: Pours out with a deep copper hue, clear, a few bubbles. Moderate tan head with nice retention and lacing on the glass.

S: You can smell the alcohol first and foremost. Some dark fruits, plums, raisins, follow with a very subtle caramel whiff.

T: Taste is pretty similar to the smell. Big, bold, malty body with a bitter citrus hop finish. Not too aggressively hopped as some fresh barley wines tend to be. Tastes great! Not a whole lot of complexity, just a plain and simple barley wine style ale done perfectly.

M: Moderate carbonation. Nothing unappealing about the mouthfeel.

D: For me, this is a 1-2 and done. A little on the boozy side. This is the first vintage I will be aging, so I will see how some time mellows out the hotness.

Overall, considering price and accessibility, a great barley wine to seek out. Strongly recommended.

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Photo of jacobseyb
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage poured a golden brown into a tumbler, head was average with minimal lacing. Aroma is very well balanced, with sweet malts and citrus hops leading the charge. Taste is nicely balanced as well, good sweetness from the malts with some citrus flavors on the finish. Medium to full bodied feel, little syrupy, with some oilyness to complete. Very drinkable Barleywine with great characteristics.

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

Nice US barleywine, consistent and pleasing with a fair sense of balance.

Presentation: 12 oz brown bottle. Front label offers within the Sierra Nevada branded frame a cartoonish mountain scene with a miner/gold digger and a mule looking at footprints that lead to the bigfoot in the forest. Shows year (2010), and Alc. by Vol. (9.6%). Served in a snifter.

A - Deep amber to amber brown pour, with a good creamy head, fair retention and a few strokes of lacing.

S - Fruity and hoppy nose over a caramel sweetness.

T - Taste follows with a hefty hoppy profile coating the sweetness, fruity and malty sweet notes. The hoppiness works without being overpowering although in this fresh version is a touch too forward.

M - Medium to medium-full body with medium carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel.

D - Works well, a bit rough still to make it a memorable sipper but it would seem to be heading in that direction.

Notes: Quite a few years since I tried this, also fresh at the time and it seems about right if memory doesn't fail me. It´s a bit raw just right away. It´s still nice but a some aging might round it up nicely, maybe even a few months could do the trick to push it a bit not needing to reach a year in the cellar, which would not be a bad thing either.

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


A: reddish brown, with a white head.

S: a very nice hoppy aroma. citrus, hints of pine, and some toffee.

T: it is bitter, hoppy, and you also have th caramel malt in the taste.

M: medium body with medium carbonation.

D: a very good barleywine. i will continue to buy this one when it comes out.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.52/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes on 7/12/09 of a 2009 vintage.

A - deep, clear ruby red with 1.5" off-white bubbly head. Light trails of lace, good head retention. 4.0

S - rich, earthy, and piney hops. Touch of grapefruit, fruity and sweet caramel, bit of vinous-ness, rumlike aroma. 4.5

T - this is huge. Lots of caramel and toffee. Sweetness of amber malt, touch of dates, and a hoppy, earthy complexity. Lots of hops here, mainly pine sap and grapefruit. Alcohol is barely discernible in the finish. 4.5

M - thick and full bodied, relaxed carbonation is perfect for an American barleywine. 5.0

D - if I didn't know it was 9.6%, I would drink this much more quickly than I did. Excellent. 4.5

Overall - This is an excellent example of an American barleywine. It has just enough fruits and complexity to keep it from being a DIPA. Sierra Nevada does it again. *applause*

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Photo of lovindahops
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from tap into pint glass

A- reddish amber with super smooth head

S- mixed fruit, grapefruit, and floral hops. The scent is very sweet and the alcohol is well hidden.

T- delicious taste combo of grapefruit and sweet and bitter hops. The taste has me craving more

M- crisp and slightly carbonated

D- this brew lives up to the hype. It's probably one of the better drinks I have had

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Photo of bnes09
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was very excited to finally try this after searching for so long. My expectations were fulfilled and then some.

Pours a thick ruby-amber color which is mostly opaque. Thick, creamy light tan head blankets the brew and sticks to the glass. Unrelenting head retention as well.

Putting your nose up to the glass is like being buried in a mountain of hops. The fruity, pine-like aroma is intoxicating.

Raw and robust grapefruit and piney hops explode in your mouth from even the smallest sip. Although raw and powerful, the hops do not make the flavor unpleasant. Malt provides support and balance with a maple and caramel sweetness and a thick, somewhat syrupy texture. Let it sit for a while and the bitterness mellows out to give a sweet, fruity character reminiscent of cherry and prunes. Hops latch onto the back of the tongue for a bittersweet, citrusy aftertaste.

A brawny, full-bodied brew with mild carbonation. Sticky texture at first and very drying.

I enjoy the way this doesn't follow the sweet stereotype so common among stronger ales. Huge and complex hop flavor yet still balanced with a solid malt backbone. A masterpiece in brewing! Savor with the utmost care and respect.

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Photo of MetalHopHead6
4.31/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot is a great experience; it's heavy, thick, bitter, and sweet.

It poured a beautiful dark copper with a massive thick tan head. It left a wall of thick lace on the glass. The smell and taste were dominated by boozy dark fruit. The feel was thick, chewy, and extremely bitter.

Bigfoot is perfect on a cool Spring evening. It's fruity and fills the senses. It excites and warms and is filled with the lively promise of Spring.

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Photo of feelmefoam
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 Bigfoot Barleywine, I've heard good things, here goes:

Nice pfffft as I popped off the cap; the beer pours a dark burgundy color with lighter burnt orange highlights when held up to the light, fairly opaque. Nearly two fingers of head rises up off the top of the liquid here, it's off-white and hangs around for quite a while, leaving some really nice lacing around the glass.

The smell, while interesting, needs a little bit more spunk in my opinion. Big, toasty caramel malts abound throughout the nose while pine and citrus dance around in the background. A bit of alcohol can be detected, too, though not an unpleasant amount.

At first, Bigfoot's taste follows the nose to a T. Those big ole' caramel and toasted malts are battling it out, giving a sweet and roasty flavor up front. Unlike the nose, though, the hops do not stay in the background for long. They come up fast, swinging hard and beating back the maltiness with a distinct citrus and pine rush that is full of juicy flavor without being overly bitter. This is a slugfest between malt and hops that is pretty damn enjoyable.

With a body that's a few notches above medium and a light, effervescent amount of carbonation, Bigfoot stays fairly smooth and creamy, an easy sipper with a bit of pleasant (not harsh) alcohol warmth to finish things up.

Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale is all about being Big and Brash. Lots of malt, lots of hops, lots of things I like. The only detractors from drinkability is the ABV and thickness of the beer. I'm satisfied with just having one. Brutal but soft and lovable, Bigfoot is certainly a beverage to try from a brewery that has yet to disappoint me.

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

Served on-tap at Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia, MD into a 12oz.snifter at the appropriate temperature (03/26/10).

A: Pours a rather dark and murky golden brown, a thin cap of off-white foam that left faint lacing on the inside of the glass.

S: Aroma was not as strong as I expected and I got a lot of malt from it and just some hints of citrus hops and pine.

T: Taste was nice, but a bit subdued consisting of some roasted malt, citrus and pine hops, along with some toffee, caramel, and alcohol. Nice, but not quite as rich as I was expecting.

M: Thick, rich, and creamy feel with smooth carbonation and a pleasant tinge of alcohol.

D: For a 9.6% American Barleywine, this went down with no problem.

Overall this was nice American Barleywine, but I preferred the taste of this in the bottle.

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Photo of sk8man121
3.99/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage 12 oz bottle poured into snifter.

A: Pours a rich, deep mahogany with barely any head. Settles into an earthy brown with no opacity.

S: Not much of a nose on this. Ethanol, some roasted malts, hops and citrus.

T: What the nose lacks is more than made up for by the taste. Very dry, with hops & alcohol taking the forefront. The aftertaste consists of citrus and dark fruit.

M: Very thick, creamy and resiny. Carbonation is quite strong and could perhaps benefit from a year or two in the cellar to mellow.

D: At 9.6% and almost 400 calories, this is definitely a "one or two" kinda beer, although the alcohol is not exactly in your face. I've got three in the cellar and look forward to tasting these at 6 month intervals.

Very nice if you are a fan of the style.

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Photo of drewba
3.81/5  rDev -8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - pours a nice large frothy head and heavy lacing throughout.

S - great aroma, you can really smell the cascade hops.

T - Due to the high amount of bitter and huge hop presence the malt taste was nearly devoid to me. The hops are a nice piney and earthy taste. The end is a nice dry boozy taste with a touch of fruit.

M - Fantastic carbonation and a nice creamy feeling while drinking.

D - Very enjoyable, especially with a meal. Though hard to sustain at 9.6%.

I bought this as a single and I'm definitely going back for more to throw in the ol' cellar.

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Photo of mjw2808
3.55/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice mahogany color with a small white head that left a good but of lacing. The nose is very hoppy with a lot of fruity citrus notes. Balanced out with some malt. A little boozy too. The taste is hoppy at first with citrus notes in it but balanced out well with malt. Reminds me a little of an IPA. A big taste of alcohol when it goes down, not subtle at all.

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Photo of callmescraps
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 Vintage (fresh). Was curious, surprised I hadn't reviewed this yet.

Appearance- A lovely deep amber color. Sort of a deep ruby. Lots of tan, thick, foamy head. Laces very nicely. An excellent looking beer.

Smell- Burnt sugar. Lots of maltiness. Some spicy hops as well. A little boozy.

Taste- Great gobs of burnt sugar. It's quite sweet, balanced by the hoppiness on the finish. Tons of caramel. Lots of malt, plenty of hops. Honestly chewy. Certainly hot. Sweet, bitter, burnt follow.

Mouthfeel- A little too syrupy.

Drinkability- One or two, tops.

This is an interesting beer. Certainly hoppier than expected. Just a ton of burnt caramel maltiness. Very bitter finish, and plenty of raw alcohol. A real burn on this one. Not my favorite. Will certainly be interested in some nice aged ones.

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Photo of mjaskula
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2009 vintage: Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. A thick lightly tan head develops over an amber red beer. There is heavy lacing as the beer is drunk. This is my first barleywine, so I wasn't sure what to expect. It smells hoppy and sweet. The taste is sweet with hints of apple followed by a huge hop assault. The strong hop bitterness and dryness remains on the palate almost unpleasantly long.

2010 vintage (2010/03/31):
Appearance is the same as 2009. Aroma is full of fresh hops and sweet molasses. Flavor has plenty of hop flavor and bitterness. Sweetness has some apple sweetness as well as some darker molasses flavor. There is a touch of alcohol warmth. Mouthfeel is somewhat syrupy but dries up well. It's a heavy beer, so I wouldn't want to drink that many of them in a sitting.

After almost a year in the fridge the 2010 has smoothed out nicely compared with a fresh 2011. The hop flavor and aroma are disappearing, but bitterness is still strong. Aroma in general is sweeter.

2011 vintage (2011/03/11):
Seems basically the same as i noted in previous years, but I didn't think 'apple' this time.

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

2010 Vintage

Pour - beautiful auburn liquid fills the glass with tiny effervescence streaming upwards forming a luxurious head that I am tempted to float that cap on for the sake of science. When held to the light it is a sight to behold, some truly great colors come out.

Aroma - sweet and tart green apples, canned pears, sticky piney hops, burnt sugar, caramel candies and some nose tingling alcohol all come out. As this is a fresh bottle there is no oxidization smell and it is not overly sweet.

Taste - nice crisp and bitter flavors abound from the first sip. My mouth is full of strong hop flavor, warming alcohol, burnt sugars, astringent pine and grapefruit along with dark sweet fruits (plums especially).

Overall - I love this beer fresh, its hoppy and has some nice dark fruit flavors and lots of complexity but yet is so easy to drink and enjoy without too much thought. Easily my favorite beer from Sierra Nevada (sorry Torpedo). After some age it mellows and the harshness of the alcohol and the hops really get smoothed out. Fresh or cellared, its a wonderful brew.

Would I buy more of it? - I will buy some every year and I will forever try to save some for more than one year. That seems to be something I can not accomplish.

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Photo of JordonHoltzman
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

my first barley wine!

pours an amber color. an off white one finger head that froths. laces well.
a good malt aroma, with dried fruit, a little grape.
taste sweet, malty, and fruity. from the name barley wine, i didn't know what to think other than it would taste completely different from other styles, however its not terribly unique. its sweet, and i can taste the alcohol, and the mouthfeel is alright, a little more carbonated than preferred.
good experience for my first barley wine. to be honest i thought i wouldn't like it because i don't like wine... but it isn't like wine.... obviously.

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Photo of BeerGodz
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Look: Med amber color, big frothy head, sticky lacing

Smell: Dried fruit, malt, citrus, wood

Taste: Up Front: Brown sugar, caramel, orange, pine, grass, bread, cinnamon. Finish: earthy, hoppy, spicy, dates, alcohol

Mouthfeel: Creamy, chewy, slight carbonation

Drinkability: At 9.6 ABV, it's not the most potent barley wine out there, but that's OK with me, cause I might have another!

Overall Impression: WOAH! This is one complex beer! It's malty up front and has a nice hoppy finish, but there is so much going on here! This is one beer that makes me wish winter would never end! I might have to sneak one of these on a cool summer night!

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

Reviewed from my notes. I was served a 22oz chalice from a keg dated 2008. The beer is a very dark ruby color; it's almost brown. It's opaque and hazy. A tan head of small bubbles rests atop the beer. It has a sweet malty alcohol aroma. I'm picking up notes of raspberries and toffee. There is still a lot of hop and alcohol in the taste, even after two years of aging. There is a kiss of bitterness, but it doesn't linger too long. There is some sugary sweetness still present, but not nearly as much as fresh strong beers. There is a biscuit-like quality up front, but it is different from the Belgian wheats that I associate with this trait. It has a medium to heavy body. Not much carbonation is left, but a lot of stickiness remains. The alcohol in the aftertaste limits my drinkability. This is a large pour and I'll have a hard time finishing it. This is a beer that is better to focus on; make it the only beer of the evening, or least only pair it with easily sessionable beers.

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

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle with 2010 on the cap. On the case box it has bottled on date 12/30/09. This beer is still quite fresh. Poured a dark amber color with about a half finger of head. Heavy sugary, brown sugar smell. Heavy hoppy flavor. Very warming flavor from the alcohol. Malt flavor makes this somewhat balanced. Very drinkable. Pairing well with some homemade BBQ ribs.

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Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 7,509 ratings.
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