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

This is a tasty Barley Wine-Style Ale. It pours to a nice amber color. Its nose is one of malt and spice. Your every sip is hit with a blast of alcohlic warmth and spicy-bitterness. Overall, this is an excellent beer that is sure to keep you warm on a cold winter night.

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Photo of allboutbierge
4.82/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

BAM! Bigfoot's hops whacks you across the nose as soon as you crack the bottle. This beer makes you stop caring about the world. The head holds for quite some time, and the lace sticks on the side of the glass throughout the lifespan of the beverage. This is one of the heaviest laces i've ever seen! There is a very heavy hoppy taste present. For a high alcohol beer, bigfoot hides it well. It provides a slight warmth that makes it quite enjoyable on a winter afternoon. There is no better brew after a hard day of skiing. The egyptians did something right when the 1st brewed barley-wine. Now I realize how they built the pyrimads without the wheel.

5KD favorite.

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Photo of Suds
4.87/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

In spring 2001 I bought two cases of this beer and set several bottles aside. It was terrific then, and has only improved with age. Deep burgundy color with a single finger tan head and beautiful, clingy lace. The aroma is sublime. Intense malt and intense hops. The forceful hop bitterness has mellowed with age, and seemed to merge with the overall character of the beer. I love the hop finish....still goes on forever. Alcohol is more hidden than when the beer was young, but still provides warming. What a wonderful beer!!!!!

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

After the chill haze cleared (I served it too cold) the body was a deep ruby. Head is light beige and nicely creamy. Aroma is good crisp citrus peel hops. Surprisingly low bitterness when cold for such a strong hop aroma. The hops come out stronger as the beer warms giving the beer a nice bitter finish. Mildly sweet malt dominates early on. Some chocolate, which surprises me from a comparatively light colored beer. Also has a distinct breadiness to the flavor. Can't say anything bad about this beer.

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

Okay, this is only maybe my 2nd or third barleywine. It poured an amber color and formed a nice light tan head that left some lace. The aroma was of hops, fruit,some alcohol and caramel. The taste was definately of hops, with some caramel and a slight indication of alcohol. The finish was a bit bitter and dry. So far this is best one I have tried so far.

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

I'm usually the first to say that I find Sierra products over-rated, the Pale is pretty tame and the Stout has weird sour flavors to my tongue. But this is a brew...

Amber color, hazy with an impressive head of 1/2 inch. Smell is complex -- hop oil, candied fruit, residual slight sugarcane sweetness. Flavor is marvelously all over the map. Hoppy, peach and plum in brandy, and a finale of gravelly grapefruit citrus that could scour the sink. That the brew is very drinkable is testament to the malts even keeping up. Mouthcoating, mutating flavors, and a potential for mellowing over time -- what else do you need in a beer?

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Photo of StevieW
3.43/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The third barleywine I have tried and really not for me. I understand the complexities of this beer, but I didn't find it enjoyable. Pours a deep brown with ruby shades, soft tan head that fades away. Very strong bitter hop smell. Taste is dominated by the same overly bitter hops presence. Thin feel due to very noticable high alcohol.Can't get over the bitter, acrid taste. I can see where this is appreciated in colder climate as a sipper, but in that case, I would just have a nice scotch. IMO, a bit overrated and not a top 10 beer. I will store one and revisit it next winter, as for the other 4, if anyone wants them, let me know........

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Photo of Pegasus
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cloudy amber brown with a truly massive head that lingers until the end, slight carbonation. The head is wonderfully creamy with lots of sticky lace, no other beer that I have tried can compare. Very potent aroma in which strong hops dominate, but sweet caramel malt, bitter citrus, pine sap, and alcohol are noticable as well. Hops throughly dominate the taste with strong bitterness that does not really linger, and also impart flavors of pine and bitter grapefruit. Malty sweetness is also present, it plays well against the contrasting alcohol flavors. The alcohol notes are very potent and quite warming. Dark fruit notes finish out the flavor. The mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy. Should be consumed carefully and with respect, due both to its stunning quality and its potency. This incredible beer will no doubt will only improve with a couple of years of aging.

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

2001: Hell yeah! A bit raw, but expected for such a young big beer. Lay this baby down for some years and you'll have a totally different beer ... but back to this one.

Dark copper, with a nice patchy foam head. Killer aroma of aggressive hops with a citric sting. A very creamy and smooth beer. Flavour is initially overrun by hops (grapefruity, piney, salty, leafy and raw as all hell), then the big malt sweetness (a tad treacle-like) and alcohol flavours kick in to smooth things out. Fruity? yes. Oh, and by the way, the alcohol is very present, warming and dangerous.

Treat this beer with the utmost respect ... sip and savour.

Anyone look at the inside of the cap? Gotta love that image of 2 campers sitting down with BigFoot and having some brews over a campfire. Hell yeah!

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

Pours a deep reddish-brown color, with a minimal off-white colored head. On the nose are sweet fruity aromas, alcohol, and slight citric hop. Mouth feel is fairly smooth. There is an immense malt front on the palate with sweet fruit undertones in the middle. I really enjoyed the brew…I’m wondering if this is why I woke up feeling like someone had hit me in the head with a brick last night, or was it the EKU 28 I had before that? Anyway…great stuff…

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Photo of tigerpaws
2.85/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer just wasn't for me, could for sure tell the alcohol content was there by the aroma. My main drawback was the sweetness, I just didn't care for it. But on its defense I have had many friends who recommend it highly. Me though only drank it all because I hate alcohol abuse and wasting beer is just that..............CHEERS

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

Pours a bright amber with a rocky off-white head. Smell is hops, hop oil, hops, light malt, and some barely perceptible alcohol. The first flavors on the tongue are of extreme hops. The hops stay all the way through but are floating on a tide of sweet caramel maltiness for most of the taste. Some dark fruits are also evident in the malt flavors. Creamy, slightly thick syrupy mouthfeel but still very drinkable. If this brew is this good after a couple months I can't wait to see what it is going to be like in a few years.

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Photo of bmills1608
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, dark red, somewhat hazy, slightly white tan head developes nicely and sticks with the brew in a small scale through out.

Nose is prickly hoppy with lots of earthy bitterness combined with malty sweetness

Taste is predominatley sweet, malty, with dried fruits (prune and raisen) but totally balanced with a real blast of deep bitterness that keeps the sweet in check. The alcohol is noticable but not overwhelming.

Very Powerful stuff.

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Photo of frank4sail
4.88/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2002, I have saved this beer (6 pack) with anticipation for my 100th review.. and man was it worth it... Perfect color for style between copper and medium brown. Nice thick brown head. Sweet initial taste, but then bam! an explosion of balanced bitterness... the finish is one of silky smooth orange rind.

In between sips my mind is reminded (by my tongue) of campari. It is a luring seductive bitterness. Hops is a gift from god and the brewers of SN understand that fact very well.... I can't wait to taste this again in the fall when it becomes even smoother and more complex. Be careful you will not notice the killer ABV..

sweet malt nose with fresh crisp hops. Dark ruby color with a sticky beige head and lace which is lasting. Slight ripe fruit smell as well. Original bitter grapefruit taste which slowly reaches around the tongue with s sweet malty backbone. Up front it has a smooth fuller mouth. The tongue is left dry on the tip and wet and watery on the back. A liitle too up front in its bitterness but that should mellow with age.

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

I've been looking for this beer ever since it stormed onto the top beers right out of the gate. While this is certainly a good barleywine, it didn't knock my socks of like I hoped. Nice murky brown appearance, with a good head for a BW. Hops tickles the nose, and the first sip is packed with resin hops. Prune and caramel follow, with a well moderated bittersweetness. There was a raw alcohol note present, which I attribute to the beer's youth, and this may mellow out in a while.

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Photo of ZAP
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Perhaps the most balanced BW I have had to date. Orangish in color with a frothy head...Aroma is not as strong as expected but the hops are evident...The hops hit the buds
immediately but a good malty backbone to this as well. some alcohol evident on the taste early in the beer, but it mellows and you'd never guess the potency later on. some darker fruit flavors and good hopping but not quite as complex or flavorful as expected. Very, very balanced though so maybe that is why the strong flavors are not shining though entirely(I still gave it a 4.5 on taste, but I expected to go 5.0)..must have a heavy malt load to balance the hops..smooth and easy drinking....the second bottle poured a head like a root beer float (Maybe the first one hit me too hard and I blew the pour)..creamy lace sticks to glass from top to bottom...the best overall barley wine I have had, but not the most intensely flavored..

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Photo of Jordan
5/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Heady fruity and spicey and alchoholic aromas. A very thick malt rush start, then a semi-bitter rind/citrus peel coarseness is abrasive on the palate. Alchoholic notes. Complex and overflowing with a rich character. This has been a very difficult brew to find here in Fresno, CA.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.82/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice looking burgandy. Although not necessary, there is a light tannish head. Smell is beautifully bitter. First indication: this beer has been dry hopped abundantly. When that first drop of beer hits the tongue you know you're in for an amazing brew experience. The malt backbone in this fairly evident even though this brew is insanely hopped. Great citrus hop tones. Great bitterness that lingers for a while and then fades gradually. This is the kind of hop bite that I love. (Maybe centenial or nugget??) This was the first barleywine that I tried (2 years ago) and remains my favorite after tasting many, many more.

2001 bottling: Pours a deep burgandy which is a bit murky. Oily bitter hops on the nose. The slight off-white head has some retention and laces nicely. Even after a year, I can still perceive a HIGH OCTANE bitter bite and some alcohol on the tongue. A bit surprising it's still this intense. This baby could age easily for several more years. As with most Bigfoots that I have tried, this beer does have good balance. There is a solid malt backing, but the hops are the entree here. This is a Top Tier Barleywine.

2000 bottling: Pours a clear mahogany with a very slight head. Beautiful bitter hop notes mixed with sweet caramel malt on the nose. This beer is medium to full bodied. It has a nice refined bitterness and hoppiness. Not nearly as over-the-top bitter as fresh samples of this same brew. The malt tones are really starting to show. And they are really nice. Sweet caramel malt. There is still some noticeable alcohol on the palate as well. Don't be fooled however. Even after 2 years of cellaring, this beer is still all about the hops and bitterness.

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Photo of mickeymac
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is happiness in a glass. It starts with a big beautiful head. The color is a nice deep ared. The aroma and taste of the hops seems a bit overwhelming at first, but everything starts to work together very well after a few sips. The 2002 is my first Bigfoot. However, this one doesn't seem to leave much room for improvement.

I just tried the '03 BF and found it to be similar to a young '02. Recently, I've had a chance to sample some leftover '02 Bigfoots and they've aged very well. The hop bitterness is still very much up front, but it has mellowed a bit, as has the alcohol smell and taste. I imagine that the '03 will hold up as well.

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Photo of sprinkle
4.44/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hop heads delight,This beer is huge on the nose,by using the four C's of hops minus Columus.Nice copper/garnet in color.The powerful taste goes right along with the nose,rich hops,toffee and a nice balancing sweetness that does a pretty good job of masking the 9.6% abv

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

IMHO, it doesn't get much better than this. I didn't find this too bitter like some of the other reviewers. Make no mistake the hops are huge, but they're countered with big malt and alcohol. This was an awesome nightcap and I'm looking forward to my next. The time is right for this fine brew.

2001 Vintage: Had this on tap recently. Flavorful, deliciously strong but very drinkable.

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Photo of marc77
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful ruby hue w/ good clarity. The thick initial head settles to a modest but creamy and persistent off - white one that leaves lace all down the glass. Gorgeous & appetizing in appearance. Citrusy, piney, bold American hop nose from the four C's (minus Columbus) dominate the nose, but caramel malt, fusels, toffee, subtle fruitiness and a touch of diacetyl add considerable complxity to the aroma. Superlative in all aspects of hops-- bitterness is high but clean, and the hop flavor and aroma is wonderfully assertive. Although the hops hit hard, there is considerable malt complexity & sweetness that contends well w/ the hop profile, but, alas malt does lose in the end. Bigfoot finishes with hop bitterness and a bit of residual sweetness on the tongue, plus mellow alcohol warmth in the throat. Just delicious & intense. There is a wonderful bittersweet taste you get when you lick your lips after each sip. I am satiated and my taste bud receptors are saturated.

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

2003. I'm a little less keen on Sasquatch this year. Nevertheless, this is a quintessential BW in terms of price and availability.

Condensed notes:
Chocolate and caramel dipped toasted pumpernickel bread covered in pine (or should I say PINE PINE PINE) needles and salt. The saltiness is what catches me here. Good heft. Alcohol is noticed but nearly flavorless, as it blends its gin-like bitterness with the masking hops. Good stuff still.

Since last year, I have been convinced that Bigfoot and Sierra Nevada are overrated. Things began to change recently when I had their stout (again) and realized I liked it. Perhaps my crusade against SN was flawed??
Bigfoot was a must buy in order to figure out where I stand on this matter. As I said, I hadn't been too excited about it in the past (not that I DIDN'T like it previously, I just thought it was overly praised).
Well, keep the praise coming for the 2002 batch. Nostril- and taste bud-exploding goodness. Pine and citrus and all sorts of other flavors prancing about widely both in the aroma and in the mouth. The malt keeps things in check, but not too strickly, there is alot of room for the flavor and alcohol content to fool around. That is what makes this beer so tantalizing: there is so much going on in it.
That sound you hear is me jumping on the SN (and Bigfoot) bandwagon.
It will be fun to see how this batch ages (if I can keep my hands off them for long enough).
rating 2002: 4.7

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Photo of ColForbin
5/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2002 Vintage (reviewed 2/25/02): Can I give a beer five 5.0s? If any beer deserves it it is Bigfoot. The hops are all over this beer, but it has the malt and alcohol content to balance it out. I believe Sierra Nevada was the first brewery to realize that a strong beer didn't have to be sweet (i.e. most Belgians). If you've been turned off by the sweetness of most high-alcohol beers, Bigfoot is for you. A true American classic.

2004 Vintage (reviewed 3/1/04):The 2004 vintage of Bigfoot pours with a thick creamy, hoppy, head, reaching the top of an imperial pint glass. It fades to an inch-thick head with a lot of staying power. The beer is a deep ruby red. The nose is full of piney, floral hops. Taste is full of oily hops, with a thick body presumably from malt, but I can't taste a bit of it. Maybe a brief malt hint in the aftertaste underneath a boatload of hop bitterness. Scarily drinkable. I'm yet again reminded why I consider this my favorite beer.

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Photo of QXSTER1
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I had this on draught at one of what has to be the premiere beer bar in Pittsburgh, Fathead's. It poured dark reddish gold with a dense, creamy white head, which I find unusual for a barleywine. The aroma spoke of a hopheads dream exploding with Cascades and grapefruit. To try and balance this beer must have been a daunting task but Sierra Nevada succeeded in my mind. Toasted malt, apricot, some toffee sweetness over the aforementioned hops and then the alcohol kick. Superb.

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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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