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Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Bigfoot Barleywine-Style AleBigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale
7,531 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,531 |  Reviews: 3,070
Photo of KevinBrewer
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Beautiful dark amber in color with yellow hues around the edges. 1/2 inch off-white head that dissipates to a fine layer of foam. Plenty of lacing all the way down.

N: Wow! A beautiful floral bouquet of hops fills the nostrils. A moderate melon fruitiness and honey blend perfectly with the hops, and the perfect touch of biscuity malt supports it all. I get a stinging touch of alcohol when I swirl the glass vigorously before smelling.

T: Bitter and floral hops up front with a light sweet maltiness underneath. Melon in the background with a touch of orange blossom honey. The bitterness lasts throughout and is the dominating flavor. Bitterness is a little harsh, but not bad. This is a great barleywine, but I can tell it will get much better with age.

M: Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, and a bone-dry finish.

D: At 9.6% ABV, one is the perfect amount. Very enjoyable. Drinkability is appropriate for the style.

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Photo of bbeerman
4.48/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A..Beautiful dark honey brown color. Decent head retention and very nice lace throughout the glass.

S..A good scent. Much like other Barleywines I have enjoyed; nothing exceptionally unique, but inviting nonetheless.

T..Wow -- this is easily the best barleywine I have had yet. Complex malt and hops flavors with hints of roasted nuts perhaps? Deliciously sweet.

M..Considering the 9.6% ABV, this beer is not at all drying. Full bodied on the mouth with a slight warming quality.

D..Easy enough to drink that I could consider this a session beer, albeit a somewhat short session at nearly 10%. Smooth and refreshing I must say. I am very impressed with this barleywine and I look forward to my next six pack.

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

Sample is from a 2006 bottle. Apearance is a cloudy tea like brown with a toffee head that retains over the time. Smell is somewhat bland and doughlike. Taste is sweet and follows with a alcohol bitterness. Initial moutfeel is loaded with carbonation with a bit of malty smoothness. I received this one in a trade and enjoyed it but I believe it may improve with time.

I haven't journied into the barleywine style since I first started drinking craft brew about 3-4 years ago and I have just discovered I was missing a wonderful style. I just happened to pickup a single 08' that was available at the local while on a hunt for torpedo.

A- Similar to that of many a DIPA I've enjoyed. A cloudy dark amber with a very generous head which leaves a heavy coating of lacing

S- Very tropical with a strong alcohol presence

T- Rasberry with a bitter lemon finish and a bit of harsh alcohol

D- One pint over a few hours was very nice. A six pack would last me a while and I can understand why many cellar the

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Photo of drxandy
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'09 edition, 12oz to standard pint, pours a deep golden reddish copper, cream colored head fades to nice lacing

smells of delicious hop resins, heavy syrupy malts, mmm!

taste is of sweet heavy biscuit caramel malts, bam hop punch, awesome blend of hops, bitter grassy grapefruity citric, creamy malt, dry and resiny aftertaste, smoothly balanced but leaning toward the hop end until their flavors die out with aging, one of my favorite american barleywines and required to keep in the cellar even though it's so good fresh.

mouthfeel is thick and delicious, love the hops fresh and zesty, resinous on the aftertaste, citrus hangs in there, creamy malty sweetness, sessionable? not so much unless you expect to get drunk but the flavors are so good its hard to not want another.

Can't wait to see my vertical build :D

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

2008 Vintage - 25th Anniversary Edition - sampled 18/03/09

Luscious raspberry puree with a bit of cantaloupe polish near the bottom end - if I worked in the cosmetic industry I'd be sure to have a lipstick made in this colour. The beer has such a healthy glow when held up to the light, the rosy brilliance is striking. The scantiness of head manages to provide outline but largely denies the beer of contrast.

The bitterness of the beer can be sensed from the smell at first instance. Pungent, earthy hops bombard the nasal passage with a cannonball of grassy vines, bitter serum and crushed up tree bark. This is much less the zest of citrus than it is the piths. There is something very inelegant about this scent that I don't remember noting in the best smelling Barleywines. (Note: I've revisited and upped the marks, this is delicious!)

The flavour is dominated by a very harshly roasted malt bill. It tastes as though the grains and their husks are still in tact. Notes of burnt toffee, dark chocolate and dried fruits unfold. Given the richness in the colour I'm surprised the beer isn't more sweet (I know from experience the sweeter caramel malts will come forth more once the hops begin to fade).

Speaking of those little lupullin pellets, they impart a discernibly earthy character as well as a grapefruit pith so bitter it will cause your cheeks to suck in (this wouldn't be a classic West Coast staple if it didn't have a little citrus!) American Barleywines age well but also drink wonderfully young when the copious level of hoping is on full display.

But on that note, I think I personally prefer this Barleywine aged. Like the creature after whom it's named, I find the beer a little beastly and brute at a young age. Unlike him, however, the alcohol can often be seen in plain sight. Not to say it doesn't have some camouflage (caramel drizzle and candied fruits) but I was hoping not to have spotted it.

Having sampled previous vintages and older bottles, I can be fairly assured that all my qualms with this batch should fade as it matures over time. The fact that the beer is still this tempestuous at age 1 tells me it'll be fine to hold up over the long haul. Indeed, I always look forward to revisiting this beer and have never finished the glass anything but satisfied.

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Photo of kkosmoski
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The new 2009 vintage served into a snifter glass. A very nice looking ale in the glass - clear light red color with a dense cream colored head on top. A very pungent, raw hop aroma comes off of this. Grass, pine, lemon, toast and caramel are all in the nose. The flavor starts out fruity with hints of orange and sugary dried fruits. After the initial fruity sweetness, a firm, citrusy bitterness grabs ahold. Some toast and maybe a bit of light roast try to budge in toward the finish, but they are squashed down pretty quickly by the crushing bitterness. A sticky citrus bitterness remains in the aftertaste and really doesn't go anywhere between sips. Feel in the mouth is thick with a moderate carbonation. I feel like the fresher this beer is, the harder it is to drink, not to say that I don't like it, just from a drinkability standpoint.

The bigfoot is an increadibly complex and intriguing ale. While the hop aromas are very nice fresh, I think that the bitterness is a little too raw and brash. It is alot better drinking around 6-12 months in my opinion. The rest of the sixer will be resting in the cellar for a while.

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Photo of Liverpool08
3.81/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My first venture into Barley wine styles. Pours a dep ruby red with beige foamy head. Nice lacing that hangs around. First odor is hops and a little pine. Taste of hops, pine, definately alcohol, and a little bit of honey. Coats the mouth with a slick oily feel. Very drinkible for this high of a ABV. Also get a little bitterness thats left in the mouth after several sips.
Overall an interesting beer. I think I will hold on to the others and see how it ages.

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Photo of mralphabet
3.03/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Wonderful dark ruby red color, about a fingers worth of head, nice lacing that sticks around.

S: I'm catching a great deal of hops, some faint hints of something wine like and some pine and malt.

T: Boy this is more hoppy than I thought it might be.... it really kicks you in the face.. Hops, Malt, dry bitterness.... and alcohol. Not my up of tea!!

M: Full bodied with a creamyness, very filling.... little to no carbonation.

D: This one is a one beer type for me.. The high ABV is right there and being full bodied makes it very filling. This is one of my first Barleywine beers and it is really not for me.

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

Pours a medium to deep reddish-brown with a finger-thick short-lasting darkish tan head. Looks like lots of lacing will stick around.

Nose is sweet malts, hops, spices, and a touch of alcohol.

On the tongue I get caramel, vanilla, spices, and hops, with hints of chocolate and pine on the finish. The hop presence is very smooth and well-balanced, almost like its pre-aged. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is full-bodied... very thick and creamy, with carbonation right in the middle. Finish is sweet and piney. It's a big beer, so while a sipper, it's one that you will want to keep sipping.

Tonight Bigfoot joins Celebration as one of my favorite Sierra Nevada beers. This is great.

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Photo of bamadog
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I guess I finally worked up the courage to try this offering from Sierra Nevada. I eyed it up a few times and just decided it was time. Poured from the bottle into a trusty pint glass.

Appearance: A nice deep ruby color - not quite what I was expecting as I thought it would be a little lighter. 1/2 finger head appeared, but that slipped quickly into a firm skim that seemed a little chewy. No real carbonation to speak of and the beer appears to be very clear and free of sediment. Firm lacing and oil coat the sides of the glass on the swirl.

Smell: Strong hop present, bitter and piney. a slight floral bouquet to it as well. The hops are a nice touch - I've read that this an especially hoppy barleywine, and those reviews were clearly not holding anything back. I'm excited because I find that in these bigger beers that bitterness is sometimes subdued by a malty/carmelly sweetness.

Taste: Wow. Hops are super present and this comes across wonderfully bitter with an earthy/piney attribute and aftertaste. There is a malty/honey-like sweetness in there as well, and a strong presence of alcohol. I like the hoppiness, but I've been told this really mellows with age so I'm strongly considering picking some more up to wax and wait about a year to see what happens...

Mouthfeel: Feels very thick and full in the mouth - chewy. Mouth warms tremendously as well from the alcohol combined with the awesome bitterness that's present. Leaves a syrupy/oily coating throughout the mouth.

Drinkability: I should explain the lower number here: this is an amazing beer and I truly enjoyed it, but the ABV is too big for me to drink much, and the sweetness becomes a little sickly sweet to me after the end of the glass. It's part of the style and I recognize that, but my personal preference is certainly being considered here too.

Overall I strongly recommend this - but it's not something that I think I could endulge in often.

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

I poured this delicious ale from bottle to pint glass, slightly chilled (in fridge for only 1 1/2 hours). The head formed nicely just above three fingers and slowly settled to a clear, rich copper-red color between drinks. The ale left strong distinct, lacing that gave a good history of my drinks. It had a strong hop aroma that carried from start to finish, with a very sweet bouquet. The mouthfeel was great with a balanced amount of bitterness for the aftertaste. I savored each drink but I do recommend drinking this one slowly. This was a very tasty ale and I was suprised when I discovered the ABV was upward of 9%! Cheers!

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glorious looking beer. 2+ fingers of beige head... Creamy with lots of structure.
Deep amber color with a depth that is fascinating. Nice clarity, but it LOOKS thick... Some ruby or iced Tea tones. Good looking beer. The retention on the head is unreal. The head was floating above the rim of the glass for quite some time. Creamy...Insane thick lacing everywhere.. Need windshield wipers to see into the glass once the beer has been consumed

I am shocked by the aggressive hop aroma. I am so excited I don't know what to do.... Big Citrus and floral notes... Wow... Glorious....

Love at first sip... If DFH 120 came to mind, would I be a lunatic? This is so much more hoppy then I imagined.... Thank God I tried this fresh... HUGE, BIG and perfectly balanced. There is sweetness and depth of malt. But the hop punch counteracts this perfectly. I get more of a straight grapefruit pith finish.... Tastes fresh from front to back... Funny the more I enjoyed the beer the more pine resin flavor/feel I sensed.

Thick and almost syrupy mouth feel. A sipper for sure. But a joy...

Well it would be tough to have two for sure. But, one is enough....

Just awesome....

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

Bottle into red wine glass. 2009, and super fresh.

Pours a slightly hazy copper-brown, a bit on the red side, with a fluffy off-white head that doesn't last too long.

Nose is piney and resiny, with a citrus and caramel coming on strong as well. Hops come through just a bit green, wonderfully fresh smelling. Some alcohol heat coming through too.

Taste is full and rich up front, with sweet, toasty caramel malt sitting underneath a blanket of green, resiny pine bitterness, with rich, sweet citrus where the two aspects meet. Finish is long, lightly bitter, and toasty.

Mouthfeel is smooth, syrupy, and with a light underlying carbonation that perks this slow sipper up just enough.

For what it is, this beer is dangerously quaffable. The alcohol is subtle and doesn't slow you down a bit, and the freshness makes for an unbelievably balanced brew.

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Photo of Jimbo87
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009. In a snifter.

Clear copper, big pale head.

Smells like a hoppy pale ale or IPA. citrusy.

Taste: faint sweetness, then hops, lots of citrus hops. As it warms, malt comes through a bit more, but still subdued. Alcohol is big in the taste, but not more than normal for this style. Slightest butter taste as it warms further. Volatile in your mouth, residual bitterness on back of tongue. Sweeter as it warms. Also more tangy and ever so slightly soapy.

Mouthfeel is very good. good carbonation. some substantial body to it. Volatile and hot from all the alcohol, but not enough to make it unpleasant really.

Drinkability: Pretty huge. Apparently I don't hate barleywines, I just hate Old Horizontal. Or maybe I just like bigfoot. Still, this is nowhere near my favorite style, but at least I know I can enjoy this style.

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Photo of Seanibus
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours deep coppery amber with a big, fluffy slightly tan head that falls to long, luxurious lacing. The aroma is hoppy and sweet malty, with cherry, plum, and the slight aroma of fresh cut grass. The flavor is sweet and spicy, with a bit of cinnamon and pepper and a lovely deep, sour cherry flavor that plays right into the mouth-puckering bitterness at the back of the tongue. The alcohol is present but muted behind the malty power of the beer. It finishes with a long, slow peppery burn down the tongue. The mouthfeel is clingy and beautiful.

This is a seductively drinkable sucker-punch. I love this beer - perhaps my favorite barley wine and certainly my favorite of the Sierra Nevada line.

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Photo of ahalloin
4.26/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a beautiful golden amber color with a huge creamy head with little effort on my part. This is quite possibly the most beautiful looking beer I have ever seen!! Bubbles are still rising from the depths as the head recedes slightly.

The smell is a powerful dose of fruity citrus, grapefruit, pineapple hops sitting on a bed of melted caramel. The hops dominate. There is also a grassy leafy note to the smell, like the hops were added to my glass along with the beer.

The taste is big! Huge dose of caramel malts up front with some notes of fruity and maple sweetness. The back end is a display for the hops. Pine, citrus, pineapple, grass,... it is all in here! The finish is somewhat medicinal with a noticeable amount of alcohol.

The mouthfeel is good with a fairly good amount of carbonation.

Drinkability? Do you like to get kicked in the face with flavor? I do, drink up!

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Photo of Phillyduke
3.63/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

*** 2002 RELEASE (Tasted 03/11/2009)***
Received this beer in a BIF from a friend in California. I'm a bit concerned about oxidation with the screw-top cap, but I'm hoping for the best...here goes!

A: Poured into a snifter leaving a fair amount of sediment in the bottle. Beer is a murky mahogany brown with a thin tan head that dissipates quickly, leaving only a few soapy bubbles on the surface. Very little lacing to speak of. This is a beer that has certainly settled out. - 4.0

S: Heavy, rich doughy malts with the noticeable presence of alcohol. Slightly sweet. A faint hint of dark dried fruit. Hops are all but gone. Not getting any oxidation though [that's a good thing!] - 3.5

T/M: Sadly, I think this one has passed its prime. It didn't go bad during its 8+ years in the cellar, but the flavor profile's no longer there. Taste is thin and diluted, with the most prevalent flavors being the alcohol and caramel malt. Sweetness does pick up towards the end, and does a nice job of covering up the alcohol. What flavor there is smooth and creamy (and enjoyable considering I'm drinking an 8-year old beer). Feel is thick, syrupy and a bit flat...but still rich. Finish is subtle and sweet, but the faintest twinge of bitterness lingers on the palate. - 3.5/3.5

D/O: For a vintage beer, I was pleasantly surprised with how well this held up. Having had many releases of Bigfoot, however, I was disappointed to see how far this had faded. I'm not sure how long people are aging their Barleywines, but I think 8 years may be a bit too long for this one if you want to get the robust flavor this beer is known for. - 4.0

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Photo of TheBear11D
4.67/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a fairly clear dark amber that is dark enough to prevent being able to see through. Has a thick light tan, long lasting head.

Smells of floral hop goodness with some pine. Very earthy containing an abundance of bold smells which can perhaps be attributed to the high ABV.

Strong dry pine and floral hops. Starts off strong only to grow stronger. The ABV is noticeable, but not overly so as it blends pretty well in the hops. There is some noticeable malt but the hops still stand out.

Thicker than anticipated. Is slightly similar to syrup in feel, a bit lighter. Sharp but suiting for the taste.

While the beer is strong, it's also full of flavor. Easily something worth having, but something to sip and enjoy.

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Photo of CHSLBrew
3.92/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter.

A-Copper brew, quite clear. Light tan head, meager retention.

S-Big piney, resinous hop aromas with waves of grapefruit. Malts are bready, slightly toasty.

T-Very malty: toasty, bready, semi-sweet. Mucho bitterness to balance it all. Really, it's quite bitter. Hop character is herbal, resiny and thick. Finishes bitter and semi-sweet.

M-Warming in my throat and in my stomach, but this alcohol character is very smooth. Full, bitter body. Carbonation is appropriately low.

D-Decent drinkability. Not the best barleywine I've had, but quite tasty. Perhaps a little less complex than I desired.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this fresh from the tap at Spike's last night. Served in a large snifter.

Appearance: Clear, deep, mahogany-colored body with foamy, khaki head that retains decently and leaves TONS of web-like, crystalline lacing on the walls of the glass.

Smell: Moist pine, resinous hops, molasses, some earth, and possibly some doughy malts to round it out. Seemed a bit faint.

Taste: Brace yourself for a big smack of bitter, oily, hops. Sticky, mucky, hop gunk everywhere! (I mean that in a good way.) An assortment of other flavors join the mix as well: wet, chewy, pine; oak; molasses; doughy malts; spices; and a nice alcoholic burn. WhooOO, this beer is a bitch! Beware rookies!

Mouthfeel: Chewy as hell and sticky to boot. Makes me think of hop taffy (if there were such a thing). Covers the entire mouth instantly and finishes pretty dry. There's also a good deal of mouth warming and numbing, as should be expected from a beer that's nearly 10%.

Drinkability: Though this was delicious, fresh Bigfoot is not terribly drinkable. Prepare yourself for a punch in the face, kick in the pants, and/or twist of the nipples. Thick, bitter, and strong as hell. I will be ordering this again.

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Photo of endincolorado
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- orange-red-amber body with almost orangey cream colored head and good lacing

Smell- Big hops aromas, resin, lots of citrus, slight astringency, lightly sweet malt in background

Taste- Powerful hop-bitterness with more citrus, orange-peel and pine, sweet malt to balance well alcohol warms as it goes down before crisp fruit-like finish.

Mouthfeel- Excellent, medium mouthfeel with creamy carbonated texture.

D- Hops pack quite a punch here, so much that one or two might be enough for now, but I'm eager to set some aside to age for future tasting.

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Photo of dukew456
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

09 bottle, "aged" a tiny bit (2 months) in the back of my refrigerator.

Pours into my Duvel tulip a a great garnet color with a tan, one finger head, that sticks around for a second then becomes a nice cap, leaving great lacing as it shrinks. This one's a looker.

Smells initially of resiny and floral hops, which give way to a sweet and tangy scent, with plenty of alcohol mixed in there and backing it up.

This beer tastes like what I would expect Sierra Nevada's barleywine to taste like. Much hoppier than what I think of as a barleywine, but incredibly complex. The hops hit initially, then give way to a malty sweet and alcoholic tinge. Prety darn tasty.

I wish I had a real beer cellar to let this calm down a bit, but still a great beer deserving of its cult following.

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Photo of Gump
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale 2009
Ample head, light khaki color that holds up well.
Beer is a amber/ruby red color.
Syrup and molasses dominate the aroma. Hops are also present.

Great carbonation creates a brisk mouthfeel. Medium body.
Flavors of carmel and apple.
The aggressive hops really shine through in the end, leaving my mouth feel as I've just eaten an apple.
A slight medicinal, antiseptic quality too in the aftertaste.
You have to like hops to enjoy this beer.

Easily drinkable.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ruby caramel with a massive bubbly white head on top. Takes a few minutes to pour this one out. Great retention. Leaves globs of sticky lacing to sides of glass. Smells of hops, strawberries, and alcohol.

Mouthfeel was a tad thin and watery. I wanted this to be thicker as it is a bigger beer. Decent carbonation present. Taste is right up front with some hop bitterness, but finishes smooth and sweet with caramelly goodness. Slight boozy quality to it, but that is expected. Decent Barleywine. I'd drink it again...and I plan to.

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Photo of mizzourah
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured into a goblet. Has a beautiful dark ruby red color with a decent off-white head. Plenty of lacing.

S- I pick up some pines and definite hops.

T- The hops kick you in the face right up front, with a strong spicy flavor. There is a sweet, malty taste in the middle, but then the hops take over again. It ends with a somewhat dry bitterness and a hint of citrus.

M- It is very creamy and full, but somewhat low on carbonation.

D- Even though it comes in at 9.6%, Bigfoot is very easy to drink. The alcohol is well hidden.

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Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 7,531 ratings
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