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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,581 |  Reviews: 3,088
Photo of Running4beer
4.19/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Dated 2003

Very deep reddish/amber color, medium off white head that you can see diminish right before your eyes. The arouma was unreal, excellent smell of hops and hints of fruit. I couldn't wait to taste this. The mouthfeel had a smooth creamy feel to it which was good. Initialy you can taste the citris flavors then the change to hops and bitters. The drinkability wasn't to my liken but it was an exceptional beer.

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

2003 batch
This beer was very difficult for me. Being a big hophead this was awesome, but the taste was something my palate could not readily deal with. The pour was a spectacular deep red, like the color of sunset with an almost yellow head. The smell was all hops with a great lime aroma that dominated. The taste though was too strong for me. Now I can drink strong beers no problem, but the alcohol on this beer was not hidden at all. There was nice hops in the aftertaste, but my mouth was dominated the alcohol. Tasted almost medicinal like a harsh cough syrup. The mouthfeel was exceptionaly creamy. I will surely try this again, but I am not sure if I will feel any differently.

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Photo of jeffboo
4.85/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A classic beer and label from the boys in Chico. This bottle is vintage 1998, found, I'm guessing at Blue Max Liquor in Burnsville,MN this year. The aging had alot to do with this review. The balance between hops,malt and alcohol could have only occurred with a prolonged aging. The flavors here are the reason we age certain brews.

This beer is a dark ruby color with nice tan head for a barleywine of this strength.The aroma? HOPS- pow. Ok now that I've regained my senses, there is also brown sugar,earth,vanilla,chocolate,oakwood,and more and more HOPS.

The flavors are stunning- fine tobacco,vanilla,oak,maple syrup and an alcohol with hop bitterness finish. The flavors are well rounded and the body is, strangely, medium- which makes it even more enjoyable to drink.I think single malt lovers would love the complexity of this beer, and so smooth for almost 10% abv. I have been doing some barleywine tasting this winter and this one really stands out.Highly recommended- try to age a few.

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Photo of CSimon
4.48/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 Bottle:

Still a little green, but it will come around. They always do.

Pour: Beautiful. A little haze, a perfect 3/4 inch head formed in the 12 oz goblet. Brussel lace held its form on one side of the glass.

Smell: Lots of booze, lots of hops. Maybe a little leather? Some citrus and vanilla, too.

Taste: Hops, hops, hops. And, some hops, too. Bitterness. Burnt grapefruit, if there is such a thing. Maybe some grass and earth, too.

Mouthfeel: Thin. But, that is partly my fault, as I was too impatient to allow it to warm up enough. Mouthfeel will imporve with time.

In sum, a great beer that promises to get even better with time.

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Photo of goz
3.2/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2003 Bottle: Pours a slightly hazy ruby, maybe more mahogany in color. Head is large and tan, slowly diminishes and leaves sheets of lace. Aroma is room filling with piney hops, some slight fruity/malty sweetness sneaks in, but is overpowered by the hops. Flavor is pretty much the same, it's almost all hops, lots of citrus (grapefruit), and strongly bitter. Again, some fruity and malty sweetness comes through, but the hops just smack it down. I consider myself a hophead, but this seemed a little too one-dimensional for me at the moment. We'll see how it is after having some time to mingle in the bottle for a while.

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Photo of paceyourself
3.99/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2003. I think i just sat here and took in all the aromas for 20-25 minutes before i had a drink. This is probably the best smelling barley wine i know of with a citrus grapefruit,pine and floral odors. A tart alcohol taste dominates the caramel and dried fruit flavors. For the style this is very drinkable, not just in the winter but all year round. Iv'e enjoyed Bigfoot many times at the end of a hot summer night.

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Photo of MJR
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2003-dated bottle.

Appearance: Pours a lovely, reddish amber color with a 'yeast ghost' floating around the middle of the glass. A light tan head starts off a full inch tall and shrinks to a steady, and persistant, cap. This brew leaves tons of lace down the side of the glass.

Smell: Tons of raw, pungent hop aroma with the highlights being pine and citrus. There's a malt backbone, but it's buried underneath all the hops. A touch of alcohol is there as well. Very raw and unrefined...I love it.

Taste: Starts with a 'wham-bam-thank-you-maam!' explosion of hop flavor and bitterness. This one is still young and out of control! Just like the aroma, it's all pine and citrus (lots of grapefruit) here. After the initial bitter onslaught, the malt makes it's presence known, and comes across as caramel and fruity. Towards the end, the hop flavor changes into a slighty burnt flavor. Finishes with a rush of warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Very syrupy and rich with a medium mouthfeel. Finishes dry...

Drinkability: Hmmm...this is where this brew takes it on the nose. I'd love to sit here and kill the whole six-pack, but tomorrow morning would be rough. Still, it's a killer beer, and one of the best barleywines to be found...

While it could benefit from a year or two in the cellar to smooth out the rough edges, I love it as it is!!

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

The first time I had this beer was the 2001 batch. It was huge and sloppy in its delivery of flavors ranging from citrus and grapefruit to carmal and hops. It was comperable to a small fireworks display going off on my palette. The beer overall seemed like it should be aged a bit and thats exactly what we did.
Holy crap what a difference! After aging it for a year and a month (couldn't wait any longer!!)
The flavors balanced out perfectly. Good dark saturated amber color and a great carmel hop nose lead the rush of smooth flavors. First a bit apple/malt which led to hops then caramel finishing with a grapefruit punch and smooth dark finish.. yeah I said smooth and barley wine in the same paragraph! I drank this in a pint and not a snifter. I feel this is a decent beer to be aged for a year unless you like a kamakazee barley wine.. then this is right up your alley!

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Photo of LarryKemp
3.92/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This Barleywine poured very dark with a nice stand of off white head. The head retention was very good and the lace clung to the side of the brandy sniffter glass. The hoppiness grabbed your nose and you knew you were in for a hoppy beer. The hops were very strong but were offset somewhat by the sweetness of the malts. BUT the hops won the battle and lingered on the tongue LONG after the liquid was swallowed. The mouthfeel was disappointing for such a strong beer. Maybe the hops were so dominate the mouthfeel was lost but I never was aware of the liquid. It was a very drinkable barleywine and I would recommend this to folks wanting to try a beer to understand the style.

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Photo of beerluvr
4.94/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2003 bottling:

Pours with a very nice rocky, foamy light tan head that settles on top of lovely crimson colored liquid with minute yeasties in suspension. Nose is a massive bouquet of fresh flowery resiny hops and bready, sweet and roasted malts. Taste is a mouthcoating melange of syrupy maltiness immediately followed by an all-out assault of hoppy bitters and then a wash of solvent alcohols. The hoppiness mixes with the malt to create a wonderful bittersweetness, then drys out to a tremendously hoppy and long finish. It doesn't get much better than this stuff right here!

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 Vintage: Nice nose to this one, with a firm malty base, fruity notes of apple and grape, a bit of alcohol, and of course, coming form Sierra Nevada, some citric/piney hops. Appearance is a hazy cherry red, with almost no head at all. Taste is malt-dominated, very fruity, with a mildly spicy but mostly warming alcohol, and a piney hop finish. Medium-full body with a dry finish and a lingering citric bitter and somewhat sugary aftertaste. Quite nice!

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Photo of Bierman9
4.83/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Watching some football tonight (09JAN10) and having the last of my 2005 and 2006 Bigfoots (Bigfeet??). Lots of malt in there... toffee and caramel... very English-like these days; quite tasty... Just one 2004 left... :-( Cheers!!

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Raising my last 2003 vintage today (11NOV09) in honor of our Vets! At about 6.75 years old, the appearance is still top-shelf. Chestnut colored with a thin, tan head. Aroma has lots of caramel and toffee, and there's still some piney hop action present. Smooth and silky on the tongue, and the body is still solid. Immediate flavors on the palate are caramel and toffee malts, but there's still a huge, resiny, citrussy hop character present, after all these years. Leaning much more towards an English style BW these days, but still verry nice! Thnx Vets!!

*** ***

2007 vintage, side-by-side with a 2006
(17MAR07)... the '07 is clear, garnet-hued, while, surprisingly, the '06 looks darker and opaque. No sediment found in the bottle... odd... Aroma of the '07 is verry hoppy, while the '06 has gone a bit down the malty route, reminding me a lot of an Old Ho. Both exceedingly smooth and nicely bodied. Flavor-wise, the fresh '07 is sappy, resiny, piney... lining the mouth with lupulins... the hops in the '06 are still in-yer-face, though toffee-ish malt stands out quite easily, and tastily. Verry tasty, on both counts, though I think I like the fresh, hoppier '07 version. Same ratings across the board... (Btw...still have 2x '03, 2x '04, 2x '05, plus lots of '06 and '07 in the cellar fridge). Prosit!!

overall: 4.85
appearance: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 5

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2006 vintage (31JAN06) - Super chestnut/garnet hue... clear... no sediment in any of the 5x bottles I've had so far... Creamy, tan head... thins yet sticks beautifully to the glass. Aroma still hop-laden, yet not citrussy as before.... lots of caramel/toffee... plus rindy hops. Smooth, creamy, almost full-bodied. A chewy delight! Caramel malty sweetness initially.... then a heavy dose of resiny/piney/oily hops which get applied lacquer-like to the insides of the mouth and cling there lovingly... Superb this year; absolutely superb! Same scores as 2003 version. Prosit!!

*** ***

2005 vintage (23NOV07) - 2.75 years old. Still has a chestnut/mahogany, though this one has some cloudiness, from the yeasties swirled in.... Thin, beige head... nice lace.... Toffee nose combined with some citrus... rindy/piney action... Lovely mouthfeel.... solid medium+ body, and smooth on the tongue.... Nice malt.... can we say toffee and caramel too often? Solid citrus hop action.... resiny still, coats the throat... lingering maltiness, al-la Victory Old Ho or another Brit style BW.... still a very good bier.... have 1 more left from '05.... Prosit!!

2003 vintage (23NOV07) - 4.75 years later... My 2nd to last of this year... Color's the can that change? Still nice lacing.... Aroma now is all caramel and toffee.... Can you say maltified? Solid mouthfeel, as always.... Flavor? Some malt there, though nothing in the way of what the aroma suggests. Nose says this is all-malt, in the English style. Tongue says there's some toffee, but then there's still a lot of rindy, piney hop action going on, coating the tongue and throat with lupulins. Still quite hoppy, though with a lead-off blast of toffee-ish/caramel malts. Yummy!! (No new ratings, as this is 4.5+ years old...) Oh, btw, Happy Birthday Dad!!

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2003 vintage (02MAR03) - Color is a rich chestnut/mahogany hue, with a prodigious, tan head. Lacing is top-notch! Aroma is heavy on the citrusy hops (Cascade?) and superb! The mouthfeel is dee-lish-shuss!!! Full-bodied and silky smooth! Oh yeah!! Unsure what I was writing about last year (dark fruit??) but this is hop-heaven!! There is some residual sweetness from the malt, but it's all grapefruity hops from there on in! And I can STILL taste them long after finishing the sip. They just linger and linger.... What staying power! (If only I...) Sorry... This is a fabulous bier, and still young, too! I had initially put aside 3 bottles of '02 last year for cellaring....but then 1 day last summer I said "wtf!" and quaffed all 3!!! Oh well.... a couple of these '03 babes are in the cellar now! Be patient, Bierman!! I'll definitely get more, though (especially at $6.99/six). (5.0/4.5/5.0/4.5/5.0 = 4.85) Prosit!!!

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2002 vintage. This baby was lovely. Had the pleasure of experiencing her on tap (03Mar02), and, just recently (07APR02), from the bottle. Inviting dark brown color with a fine creamy head. Love the aroma: Strong whiffs of dark fruit and some alcohol. Great mouthfeel; medium-full body and great smoothness. Great flavor of those dark fruits, alcohol and hops thrown in. Super mix! Really....for a barleywine...lots o' hops....what a combo!!! Great brew!!! Way good stuff! (4.5/4.5/4.5/5.0/4.5 = 4.55)


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

2002 Vintage. Color is a hazy ruby/amber with a thick creamy off-white head. Tantalizing aroma consists of cherry (or other fruit), malt, citrusy hops and a touch of brandy. Mouthfeel is full-bodied, crisp and oh-so smooth. The sweet fruitiness is balanced well with the malt flavors. Finish is a where the hops seem to really make their presence known. Alcohol is there and the effects certainly start to kick in about half-way through, but the taste is hidden very well. SN Bigfoot is one of the better and easy drinking barley wines out there.

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Photo of Dmann
4.73/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, what a great Barleywine! I had heard a lot of good things about the Bigfoot but have now just gotten around to trying it. This is the 2003 vintage. It poured a very dark copper color with a great tan color head that lasted quite awhile for a barleywine head. The dominant aromas were of corse hops, and then beneath that was a fruity, floral scent. I let this beer warm a bit before drinking, and the flavor was great. It reminded me of the SN celebration ale, but with way more alchohol and more malty sweetness. As soon as it hits your mouth, you get the blast of hops, then the sweetness sneaks in followed by the warming feeling of the alchohol. As far as barleywines go, this is right up there with Stone's Old Guardian for the best you can get.

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Photo of budgood1
4.87/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2002 vintage. sampled close to room temperature.

a cellared treat for me. it's with much anticipation that i finally get to try a bigfoot!

bigfoot pours out a thick and murky brownish amber colour. a half inch foamy head quickly settles down to a fine lace. aromas of mostly fruited malts dominate, followed by those delicious northwest hops. surprisingly enough, my nostrils aren't pierced by the hop load. upon tasting, i'm met by an amazingly balanced fruity and caramel malt load, backed up with some bitter hopping that tingles the taste buds and provides a pleasant hop taste treat. the only evidence of alcohol is the quick warming sensation i perceive after a few sips. malty up front, smooth creamy body in the middle, mellow hop bitterness in the end, and a bitter hop and a slight alcohol kick in the finish/aftertaste.

i am blown away in how delicious this is. big and bold, mellow and balanced. a great brew!

a huge thanks to frank4sail for sending this my way!

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Photo of BeerAngel
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazed amber/tea color with a modest light tan head. The aromas are malty, biscuity, and fruity with light alcohol and hop notes. It smells awesome and makes my mouth water just anticipating the first taste! The taste has strong alcohol presence and fades into a citrus hopped smack right in the tasters. The light biscuity and malty taste in the background are nice to be able to detect, but aren’t as noticeable as they could be or even perhaps, should be. I feel like aging this could make these flavors more balanced, so I will save back a couple bottles for this purpose. The mouthfeel is a nice medium body and unfortunately with the large alcohol presence, the drinkability score won’t be what I had hoped. This is still a very nice brew with lots of complexity, yet it’s unbalanced flavors should come together very nicely with a little more time in the bottle. Cheers!

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Photo of stoutman
4.7/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma of liquorice, grapes, hops, some malt, pine, alcohol and cinnamon. The pour is a very bright red when viewed by a lamp with a tannish-orangey head that laced nicely and stuck around. The taste grabs hold with a citrusy bite right from the start... liquoricey, nice malty aftertones, and a tasty hop finish. Warm alcohol feeling in the belly and the back of the throat - just like a barleywine!.

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

2003, Color is dark brown/indian red. The head is very thick and likes to hang out. Just a small whiff and hops hops in the aroma, very bittersweet. This beer definitely required some adjustment of my palate. It was way too overly hoppy at first. But as I got into it, and it warmed, it was still hoppy of course, but much more enjoyable. Thick and kind of syrupy in way, this full bodied brew has some kick! I haven't tried many barleywines yet, but they will probably grow on me. This one wasn't too drinkable to me. I enjoyed the hoppy flavor as it warmed though. The alcohol didn't seem evident for being so high. Definitely a kick ass brew, something that I'm sure I'll grow to enjoy more.

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Photo of Bruiser81
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

02 batch

This beer poured a deep amber-gold with a nice white head that reduced down to a thin layer on top of the brew. The smell is complex with a fruity smell with obvious alcohol aroma's and plenty of hops. The taste starts out a bit sweet but that is quickly overwhelmed by the warmth of the alcohol. The finish and aftertaste is all crisp hops with a constant lingering of the alcohol. This beer has a definite warming effect. I'm not sure what kind of hops are used but they are not really bitter, almost more of a grassy taste. Not bad at all, I probably couldn't drink a great deal of this at one time but isn't bad every once in a while.

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


Pours out dark dark redish amber with a beautiful tan head. This is a strong brew. A good brew. The hops are certainly king here, but the fruity malt gives much yang to said ying. Complex. This is the best SN brew out there. If you see it, pick up a sixer.

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Photo of doho95fu
4.85/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am not the biggest barleywine fan (or so I thought), so I was not even going to buy a six pack of this beer when it came in at my local beer store - but luckily I did. The color is deep reddish brown with a tan creamy head and minimal lacing. The beer appears slighly cloudy and lower in carbonation. The smell is of hops, alcohol and maybe peaches, surely some sort of fruit. The flavor is hoppy as well, with fruitiness and some citrus tones in there. The alcohol level does come out in the taste department, but not in a negative way. There is that little heat sensation from the ABV and then its back to the flavor. The brew is smooth with a long and obvious hops finish. Great brew!!! Cool bottlecap too.

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

This brew pours a hazy copper color with a creamy 3 finger head that last the duration. A fine sexy lace is left behind. Hops are strong in the aroma catagory here, along witha cherry fruitiness that is complimented by the maltiness that is present. There are many different complex layer in this beer, I am so glad I got a case of this stuff dor next year. The hops are bitter, which was to my suprise and I am thankful of that. The finish is dry and clean just the way I imagined.


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

Bigfoot 2003 just arrived at my favorite store and followed me home. Deep garnet in color with a dense tan head that has the consistency of shaving cream.

A very sharp hoppy aroma with notes of caramel make for a bittersweet nose. Slightly grassy too.

Flavor is very hop driven. More like an IPA than a barleywine at first. As the beer warms and my palate adjusts, I taste fruits in abundance: lemon peel, orange, grapefruit and caramelized apricots.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy with dead on carbonation.

Drinkability is a toss-up...While I'd love to have another right now, I may regret it. I'm hoping I have the willpower to keep this beast locked in my cellar for a season to see how it mellows.

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Photo of PhantomVodoo
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reddish brown in color with a brown head.
Nice aroma. Citrusy hops jump out at you with roasted malts and a fruity character in the background.

Sweet roasted malts up front followed by citrusy hops middle to end. Has a fruitiness to the flavor. Aggresively hopped; they make their presence well known. Finishes pretty good as the alcohol seems to be fairly well hidden for a barleywine.

Good, creamy mouthfeel.
Good drinkability.
Overall a good beer with a huge malt and hops profile.

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

Fresh, 2003 bottle. Ol' Sasquatch is still under the cap, sittin havin a brew w/ the boyz around the campfire.
Tawny amber with an orange glow, sticky, pale yellow head stays with the beer to the end leaving butterscotch trails behind. Slightly subdued aromas; vodka and freshly peeled tangerines, earth and flowers- unmistakably Sierra Nevada. Lush and smooth, full mouth feel going in, rich caramel malt weighs heavy on the tongue. Hop flavors of pine and grapefruit mix w/ alcohol then serious bitterness and throat heating alcohol finishes it off. Long, lingering, resinous hop dryness. SN concentrates it's Classic flavor profile in this amazing barleywine.

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