Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Bigfoot Barleywine-Style AleBigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale
7,581 Ratings
Bigfoot Barleywine-Style AleBigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.60%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bigfoot is a beast of a beer, brimming with bold flavors of bittersweet malt and heaps of aggressive whole-cone Pacific Northwest hops. First introduced in the winter of 1983, Bigfoot is a cult-classic beer brewed in the barleywine style, meaning a strong, robust, bruiser of a beer with the refined intensity of a wine. Bigfoot is prized by beer collectors for its supreme cellarability. Under the proper conditions, it can age like a fine wine, developing new flavors and character as it matures in the bottle. Each new release or “expedition” is vintage dated. Collect your own and see the flavors develop and progress.

Added by kbub6f on 02-06-1998

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,581 |  Reviews: 3,088
Photo of MikeBrandman
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured into a Sam Adams Sensory glass with 2 fingers of mocha brown bubbly head. Huge amount of visible carbonation in a translucent body. Some sediment swirling around in there as well. Overall, this red amber body looks fantastic.

S - Strong smell. Bready and dark fruits. Some alcohol in there too.

T - Big and spicy taste. Wow. Great dark fruit taste. Molasses sweetness, strong hop bitterness. Spice creeps in at the end. No alcohol taste.

MF - Again, big is the first word the comes to mind. Heavy bodied mouthfeel through and through. Carbonation doesn't come to lighten things up either.

D - I think it's a bit too strong to be very drinkable. Then again, I don't think they wanted it to be very drinkable and neither should the style. That into account, it's spot on.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.7/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


I poured into a pint glass to three fingers of tan head. It is copper colored. The aroma is seems balanced between citrusy hops and caramel malt. The taste is frontloaded with hops. They are citrusy and very obvious. The malt that I smelled is overpowered by the hops. I wish I had the willpower to cellar this beer but I'm a needy person. I needed a beer. I think I would prefer it aged with the hops fading.

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

Fantastic pour from a bottle. This is the 2010 seasonal variety. The first thing I noticed was the color, which is a very dark reddish amber. Its probably one of the better looking beers I've seen in awhile. But, as we all know looks are only a fraction of the package. The smell is somewhat sweet, but also a bitterness that definitely comes from the hops. Taste-wise this was just as I've read from previous reviewers--grapefruit hops, with an undertone of sweetness. This one stays on the tongue for a little, and it goes down very smoothly. A bit too smoothly for a nearly 10 ABV :)

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

12oz bottle into a pint glass - 2007 Vintage

A: Pours a super cloudy brownish red with a small creamy tan head that slowly fades to ring leaving some nice lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is full of hops in the first few sniffs but that gives way to a toffee/caramel malty sweetness. The hops have faded quite a bit since this was mainly hops at first.

T: The taste is still full of grapefruit hops but the age has tamed them considerably. There is a good deal of malty sweetness now and a yeasty wine-like quality. The finish is bittered by the hops.

M: The feel is very creamy, thick, and oily. Great stuff...

D: The ABV is high enough to keep this from being a daily drinker but it tastes great. Great beer to age.

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Photo of jt31914
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: 1/2 inch to inch of head with a nice amber color and very good lacing.

S: Hops, honey, barley... the trifecta of awesomeness.

T: Same as smell, hops are pretty strong and barley isn't as strong as I would like, but it's still a really good beer. I prefer this to what I remember of 2009.

M/D: Not overly drinkable and a little harsh, but it sits well in the mouth and is a good beer.

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

Won a bottle during a homebrew contest back in February. Let sit in my fridge since then. Read some reviews and figured I had to try. Bottle I opened was 2010 version. Poured it into a clean snifter glass.

A: pours a darker amber color with lots of sugar or yeast particles in suspension. Great foamy white head that seems to stick around for quite awhile.

S: this thing is loaded with malt and hops. Most other barley wines are too sweet & sugary, but this one has a great hop aroma. Spiciness, pine, & slight citrus shine through. The hops place a nice mask on whatever lies beneath. After swirling around in my glass a bit, I catch a peppermint-like scent.

T: not overly sweet, but syrupy. The alcohol strength definitely shines through. More hops than malt character. Wish there was a tad more malt flavor but I don't mind the hop kick whatsoever.

M: creamy and even bodied. Impressed with how even it is between dry & sweet. Alcohol warming definitely a character.

D: one to be sipped. Very impressed, although this is one to savor and have periodically rather than often

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Photo of nova009
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- a nice dark copper/amber color, about a half finger white head, decent sticky lacing

S- hops and bitter citrus, slight orange notes

T- very very bitter hop taste, grapefruit, citrus, slight alcohol notes

M- medium body with solid carbonation balance, kind of attacks the palate

D- very strong, not my favorite beer in the world but its still a solid barleywine

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Photo of hawks10
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage - Poured into a pint glass...

Pours a creamy dark amber, glowing burnt orange color with a ton of fluffy off-white head which leaves lacing on more of the glass than not...very good looking beer...

Aroma is fantastic...tons of thick caramel and toffee malt sweetness over a healthy dose of fresh piny hops...I already know what this beer has in store, but if this were the first time smelling/tasting this beer, the aroma would be getting me very excited...

You pretty much get what the smell indicated you would...a thick and creamy, malty and hoppy, pretty much all of everything delicious beer. Starts out sweet with all that caramel and toffee malt flavor coming forward...then the hops hit, this is a relatively fresh (In Bigfoot standards) beer and you can really tell. Piny and sticky, bitter but still smooth and balanced from all that malt, the hops are perfect, combining in a great ratio with the malt, making neither aspect too powerful or overshadowing...a bit of heat shows its face after a few sips, something I like in a Barleywine...

Thick and chewy, a very sticky beer. Decent carbonation makes this a lively drink. Good amount of lingering bitterness and alcohol heat...

Given the heat and the calories of this beer [mostly], I will never have more than one in a week!! Definitely enjoyable and one that I buy a lot of every year to cellar...

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Photo of nrbw23
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a mostly clear dark amber color with a fairly thick off white head. Head has good retention and leaves quite a bit of lacing.

S- Smells of toffee, nuts, and dark fruit. Quite a bit of hops here too.

T- This one follows the nose for the most part. Some nice sweet malts but give way to a nice dose of hops. A bit of an alcohol burn here too.

M- Full in body and carbonation is right on.

D- Very easy to drink. I enjoy this one but think its more of a sipper.

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

2010 Bigfoot, 6/20/2010 
Served from 12oz bottle to hefty large  glass  Belgian chalice for aroma appreciation 
9.6 abv, bottled May 21, 2020
4.5/5.0 across...
2010 Bigfoot, 6/20/2010 
Served from 12oz bottle to hefty large glass chalice for maximum aroma appreciation 
9.6 abv, bottled May 21, 2020

Appearance is coppper caramel in color with respectable clarity. Impressive fluffy 2 finger head with enduring rentention and cascading lace.
Aroma is deep toffee malt boozy-ness well supported by fresh hop complexity and notable barleywine candy sweetnees sneaks in.
Tastes as it smells. This is an obviously fresh batch with hop fwd aroma and taste. Deep malt sweetness equally balanced by strong signature hop support.
Mouthfeel is full body, hint of slick texture, medium+ carbo
Drinkability exceeded my skeptical expectations. I was unsure if this would live up to the hype... It's official, Sierra has not let me down yet! An awesome hoppy version as a fresh barleywine, hop support and brave sweetness hide the abv 'enough' and makes a fine example of an American Barleywine with a typical yet desired Sierra signature. One is enjoyable and lays a great foundation for the Torpedo I have awaiting...

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Photo of Elimination
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From notes, bottle to pint

Look Brown, red flares from the side thin head

smell: wine, fruity, sweet and sugary

taste: grape, fruit, malt and sugary with a slight sour. hot and spicy, good but ive had a few other barleywines that seem truer to style. Honestly feels like more of a imperial red taste honestly

Mouth: good but not great, nothing stood out

Drink: is tasty cant deny that, but i couldnt do a lot of these

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

Poured 2010 bottle into my Westy chalice

A: Dark reddish brown with creamy thick head. Head recedes rather quickly. Decent amount of lacing.

S: Caramel sweetness. Light hop aroma.

T: More caramel sweetness with some light hop bitterness, but more sweet than bitter. This beer has a nice overall balance to it. Warm alcohol aftertaste, but with toffee candy flavor.

M: Medium mouthfeel with just a touch of carbonation.

D: This is a deceptive beer. The high alcohol is well hidden behind the sweetness. There is some warming from the alcohol but very appealing and easy to drink down.

Summary: I would easily buy this one again. The barleywine style makes for a very tasty brew. Nice job, Sierra Nevada!

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Photo of JMad
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured a 2010 12oz bottle into a snifter. The bottle was room temperature.

This is an awesome beer, it had a dark amber color, sported an off-white 1 finger head that left a good amount of lacing on the way down.

It smells of piney and floral hops, sweet malt, and just a bit alcoholic.

It tastes of bourbon, piney hops, good amount of bitterness, sweet fig, and malt.

The liquid almost tingles when it hits your tongue, goes down smooth, a little heavy and warming.

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Photo of Brabander
3.41/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this bottle in a trade with SevenB. Thanks for this beer Troy!

Poured in my Struise glass the beer looks very nice, dark with a creamy head. It's a pity that the head disappears after a while.

I smell mostly the barrel in which the beer was lagered. You can actually smell the oak and some whiskey or sherry. Strong smell, a bit too much for me.

The first taste was OK, not my favourite taste but for this type OK. The rest stays average for me. It's an interesting beer but not more than that. Glad that i tasted it.

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Photo of Freethyhops
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a- a bright amber with some deep red tones. a great amount of off-white/cream colored head that shows great retention and leaving heavy lacing. nice clarity on this one, too. really spot on.

s- a rich caramel malt sweetness. a fairly heavy hop influence with some some floral/earthy and slighly citric tones. a bit or breadiness.

t- a very intense mix of rich malt sweetness and a very high level of bitterness. some caramel and fairly heavy breadiness. some big flavors that balance each other exceptionally well. the finish ends slighlty dry with a bit of alcohol in the finish.

m- thick, chewy stuff. a moderate carbonation suits well. the slightest amount of alcohol warming.

d- I can never drink much of any barleywine, so to say I could probably have 2 bottles of this is fairly high praise. at an amazing price point it's a great one to keep around.

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

pours a dirty brown with a good amount of carbonation bubbles. nice, frothy egg-white head that lingers. good lacing down the glass

to me, the nose is mostly sweet malts: caramel, brown sugar, figs...

very sweet and malty on the palate. there is a hoppy bitterness on the finish... really exentuates as the beer warms

full body beer with good carbonation

at 9.6%, fairly drinkable. I had this beer some time back but am glad I waited to review. this beer definitely gets better with age.

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Photo of
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Local Option, Chicago
2008 vintage served in a tulip glass.

This is the first aged barleywine I've had, and drinking it was an eye-opening experience. I don't think I will ever drink a young barleywine again.

Appearance was thick and murky with a head that wouldn't go away. Very nice.

Smells of dark fruits, a little bit of pine coming from the hops, and a little bit of coca-cola. Taste is mostly figs, dates and coke. Bitterness is in perfect proportion. Mouthfeel was excellent - the beer was almost as creamy as the head.

Drinkability is excellent given the Abv. I think that one of these is plenty though.

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Photo of aepb1
3.45/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A- Dark amber with a red/tan head (quite a large head)

S- Malts and floral hops

T- Very hoppy from the get go through the finish with a little caramel malts near the end as well

M- Medium bodied, creamy and good balance of carbonation

D- An assault of hops from the beginning makes this only marginally drinkable repeatedly

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Photo of parris
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Frothy two finger, light brown head. Deep amber color with aggressive carbonation.

Metallic aroma, pine notes. I'd guess west coast hops, but I'd probably be wrong.

This kind of tastes a bit between a barley wine and pale ale. The flavors aren't so much balanced as you taste the barley wine up front, then it finishes like a pale. Pretty good, pretty crisp too.

Pretty thick, big bodied.

I found this beer on a "most harmful drinks in America" blog, it has 330 calories and 32 carbs. If I didn't know that 2 of these has as much calories as a good dinner, I'd probably give it a better drinkability rating, but what I know can't be undone.

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Photo of 33nickadams
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a- Nice reddish color, nice head and lacing

s- Floral and sweet

t- a lot going on, a nice bite at the end of the taste

m- good mouthfeel, a little bitter

d- I bought a six pack, but will only probably have a couple tonight

I have wanted to try this beer for 10 years and I am not disappointed. It reminds me of my favorite beer, 2 hearted.

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

2010 edition

A- Reddish brown color pours with a relatively large off-white head that recedes rather quickly.

S- Sweet malty scent with hops

T- Complex, has a toasted malt backbone with sweeter malts and a variety of hop flavors working their way in. Noticeable alcohol presence that does not negatively effect the taste.

M- decent carbonation and a rather smooth and sticky mouthfeel. Medium body that seemed lighter than I had expected though still not a light beer in any way.

D- Quite easy to drink given how big it is, would maybe drink 2 in a night at the most but just one today is good enough for me. Enjoyable experience to drink.

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Photo of jpittman80
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 version.

A - Pours dark, slightly hazy brown with a finger of off-white head that lasts with some lacing.

S - Citrus and piney hops, caramel malts. Slight alcohol.

T - Amazingly complex. The perfect blend of citrus, pine, roasted malts, and caramel. Some alcohol.

M - Good medium body with a decent amount of carbonation. Good bit of alcohol burn in the throat.

D - For a beer this big and flavorful, you really shouldn't go with more than one. That being said, it's not hard to polish one off!

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Photo of Imsothirsty
3.96/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010, purchased on Jan 20 2010. So 5 months in the cellar

Pours medium brown just a tinge of red. With a half finger tan head.

Nose smells first like yeast, then syrupy malt, then just a little fresh floral hop.

Taste is solid brown sugar malty, a little spice. There is another familiar flavor that I can't put my finger on, but its got a little bitterness and a warming finish.

Medium heavy body with light carbonation, and a pretty strong warming.

Overall its a solid beer, the alcohol comes through pretty strong though and in my opinion its really lacking in hops. Nothing super special to bring me back for more.

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

Appearance -- Pours a translucent ruby red with an abundance of stiff tan head. Lacing is abundant and rocky.

Smell -- An abundance of caramel and butterscotch with some floral hop aroma and some resin. Some alcohol is present in the nose, as to be expected.

Taste -- Very hop forward from the onset, then a lot of dark roastiness and caramel eek out of the wall of resin. Finish is hoppy and asserive with a fair amount of caramel and burnt roast flavors, as well as some alcohol bite.

Mouthfeel -- full-bodied, chewy, and with more carbonation than I am used to with for the style, but somehow it suits this beer quite well.

Drinkability -- This is a whole lot of beer in every way possible. What I really enjoyed about this beer was that even with 90 IBUs it still hits a lot of those prototypical malty, unctuous barleywine notes that makes them so satisfying. The higher carbonation and hop assertiveness really adds to the drinkability for me, as it prevents all of that sweet maltiness from becoming cloying. It's delightful, and absolutely worthy of its reputation.

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Photo of Bizz88
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This 2010 brew poured a nice two finger off white head over a dark amber liquid with lots of sticky lacing. Aromas of hops and sweet carmel malts with slight citrus hints. Hoppy citrus malts on the tongue with a light grapefruit rind finish. A bitter sweet infusion. Medium bodied creaminess with light carbonation. An awesome brew that would probably do even better with a little ageing time. Very drinkable.

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Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 7,581 ratings