Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

3,048 Reviews
Bigfoot Barleywine-Style AleBigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale

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

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.60%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 02-06-1998

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Reviews: 3,048 | Ratings: 7,478
Photo of TheycallmeTim
2.42/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

2009 vintage poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an Ommegang chalice.

A--Pours up an auburn-like reddish brown with a thin fingernail of creme colored head that dies quickly to skim. Nice spidwereb, though, on the surface that does lace a bit.

S--Umm, like an IPA? Orange, grapefruit, and pine. Maybe some candied cherries wafting up from the malt but the sweeter notes that should be rising and making for a fruit cocktail in my nostrils just aren't there. This may just be too young.

T--Umm, again--like an IPA with too much malt in it? Sorry to be repetitive,, but this is kinda boring. It's just hops, hops, hops, tons of bitter resinous pine and citrus in the beginning, middle, and end of the flavor profile. Some malt does sneak into the middle in the form of cognac-soaked raisins, which is nice, but why should the malt have to go creepin? This is a barleywine, fer Chrissakes. Just an overload of hops IMO, without anything earthy, medicinal, or a variety of dark fruits to open up on the palate. Instead you gotta dig for complexity, and not much turns up, at least fresh.

M&D--Sierra Nevada never disappoints me on the mouthfeel, and this one is no exception, as it's pure creamy heaven. The drinkability in my eyes is terrible, however, as this to me tastes like liquid heartburn.

Hopheads rejoice! Anyone who thinks MORE MORE MORE doesn't equal better better better, might want to lay off this one. Or lay it down for a year or two. Lemme know how it goes, as I won't be buying any more of this.

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Photo of Devi0us
2.43/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

2011 vintage

A- Poured a deep copper color with a thick 2 finger off-white head that had a prolonged stay.

S- Massive hop aroma, somewhat piney. Nothing else going on here.

T- This badboy is bitter as fuck. All I can taste is hoppy bitterness with a bitter beer face. Taste more like an IPA  with 300 IBU than a Barley Wine to me.

M- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O- This was hyped up big time by a friend of mine. I should smack him silly. This was a rather unpleasant experience that I wish to NOT ever experience again.

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Photo of semihobo
2.5/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Bigfoot 2005 Expedition. This got aged in mixed conditions, but I wanted to let it sit, since the consensus was that it would mellow out after a year. My 2nd American Barleywine, I didn't like Old Horizontal much but I figured I'd take another shot.

Opened the bottle and thought I'd spilled paint thinner. Eesh! A clear, dark red / mahogany brown that looks like it means business. Lousy head retention.

Smells like hops. What an understatement. oooof hop oils and alcohol are the nose. Oily and resinous, bitter scent, no florals or citrus, more on the pine side. Maybe a hint of sweetness from malts but who knows, the hops have all the power here.

Tastes of dark, burnt, molasses hops. Lots of burned sugar/caramel. Very oily. The hops mask the alcohol well, at least. Fairly sweet and malty backbone, making this hop bomb different than a DIPA. Hops are all the way on the bittering side. Hints of raisins and liquor. 5 lbs of hops and a long island iced tea in a pint glass, almost.

Mouthfeel is thick, resiny, syrupy. Low carbonation. Aftertaste of hops is biting and leaves a slick on the tongue.

Tough to get through one of these. There is a major lack of balance and the alcohol is needlessly high. It's fine that Sierra Nevada was going for that, and I like pushing the envelope, but it isn't fun to drink and it doesn't taste that good.

This one is just for the hopheads ... I drank it at 55 degrees or so, if you aren't a hophead maybe chill it a little more to subdue the flavor -- some really nasty metallic off flavors came out as I drank it. My score would have been much lower had I not been rating within the style.

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Photo of BeerNinja007
2.54/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12oz single obtained for $2.75 at The Beer Store in Nashua, NH. 2013 vintage so this is pretty fresh, feels like I'm robbing the cradle. Code 3004217:53. Served cold in a tulip.

A: Hard pour gives 3/4" of dense orange-tan head, looks like a memory foam mattress. Bright clear cherry red brew.

S: Bright candy sweetness. Just a little mixed hop aroma. Not a whole lot going on in the nose while cold. Maybe it'll wake up as it warms. *later* The only new thing I'm getting now is hot solventy alcohol. Or maybe that's just me smelling my own breath.

T: Gigantic peppery alcohol easily overwhelms everything else, very disappointing. This REALLY needs some age to smooth it out. Hard to get much more than that out of it, it's completely dominated by EtOH solventy heat from start to finish.

M: Moderate viscosity but finishes very dry from the alcohol. Soft carbonation.

O: I hate to rate it this poorly, but I calls 'em like I sees 'em and therefore I have no choice. I've had other vintages and it's been a good brew, but this one is just not enjoyable. Don't drink it young.

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Photo of bylerteck
2.56/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from Beer Deluxe. From notes.

A - Poured dark red and bright. Mild carbonation, one finger of off white head. A ring of lace and film of retention.

S - Hops were present. Booze as well. Fairly weak and not overly impressive or inviting.

T - Hops, seemed mild. Booze and perhaps a touch of toffee. More like the classic booze/hop American Barleywine thing going on.

M - Extremely rough finish. Mild carbonation and full body. Hard bitterness.

O/D - Not something I'd seek out again. Almost no malt profile combined with an alcoholic hop drink. Not my thing.

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Photo of psyco1
2.59/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

This was an '04
It pours a dark red-brown with a tan head, almost like a brown ale.

The smell's just too darn hoppy for me.

The taste was similar to the smell. Hops with sweet and a lot of bitter. Reminded me of some soap I've tasted.

Ok, there's a substantial feel to it, more full than most beers.

I could only drink about half of one.Maybe barleywines aren't for me. I'll hide away the rest of the six for a year and see what that does for it.

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Photo of Gunslinger711
2.6/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2011 version.

Poured into a goblet.

I'm going to agree with a few other reviews here and keep it short. This beer tastes a lot more like a Strong Ale or an IPA. There's not too much wine presence here at all. In the taste, in the mouthfeel, in the smell. Getting a lot of hops. If you're looking for a good example of the style, look elsewhere.

All in all, beer is drinkable, but not very barleywineish. A few people have told me this beer is awesome aged a few years, I might have to give that a try, but not impressed right now.

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Photo of gromis
2.66/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours an amber color with a pretty good head considering the strength of the beer. Good lacing.

Nose is piney hops.

Taste is piney hops with slight orange.

I'm not a hophead, so I rated the taste and drinkability lower. I've had other barleywines that I have enjoyed that were not so hoppy.

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Photo of Brunite
2.68/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: A nice looking beer with a decent head. Color is a deep blood orange.

S: Hops! This smells like an IPA.

T: Bitter. The hops dominate with a followup from the alcohol. Strong...not pleasant. Also sweetness.

M: Medium body.

O: I guess I just am not a fan of the style. I drink beer for flavor and balance. This is just too much alcohol for my taste. I love other high ABV's, like DIPA's and RIS's where there is balance and the ABV hidden. This makes no bones about what it packs....too much for my tastes in a beer.

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Photo of seeswo
2.68/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2007 vintage being reviewed. Bigfoot is an American Barleywine, meaning hop forward...I love barleywine and I love IPAs/ DIPAs and I don't like this beer at all. It just doesn't taste very good.

Pours an acceptable color and smells or a wee bit of caramel and delicious, but mostly hops and booze! (yes, still a bit of booze 3 years later).

The mouthfeel is thin with hops just oppressively attached to the tongue. What the heck, I thought I was drinking a barleywine? ugh...

Taste is...not so good. Like, a small bit of barleywine flavor, malt and deliciousness, but pushed away quickly by hops I cannot even fathom are still there 3 years later. They just don't belong. Wow, i thought I was going to love this beer and I really don't like it.

It's not really all that seems to take on the bad characteristics of a barleywine and a dipa. I must be missing something because this is not good and it was aged 3 years appropriately (I can trace its origin).

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Photo of Geegmasta
2.69/5  rDev -35%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

2014, poured into a tulip glass

Appearance - Pours smooth with a crimson/orange body. A very small head accumulates at the top which is stark white compared to the depth of the body. Head recedes fairly quickly leaving a ring around the glass.

Smell - Mildly sweet with hints of a hoppy character. Nothing really stands out.

Taste - Consistent hop undertone hits first and remains for the duration. Roasted malt character shines through after the first second and slowly dies out. Finishes dry and the pine hops are clinging to your tongue until the next sip. There's a bit of zest in there too, from some spicing, but I can't put my finger on it. Too much hop for my liking. No real hint at the 9.6% ABV.

Mouthfeel - Smooth with little carbonation.

Overall - I was excited to see Sierra Nevada with a barleywine styled ale. Hoping it would be along the same quality as their Narwhal stout, I brought home the 4-pack. Honestly, I'm disappointed. The hop character was too obvious and strong for my liking. There was no sweetness that I tend to be used to with barleywines. Roasted malts gave me an inkling of hope but they couldn't shine through enough due to the bitterness of the hops. Oh well, ya win some ya lose some!

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Photo of Robertgc
2.73/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Although I can see the draw to this beer, I simply cannot get past the hoppiness. Smell is good, even very good. Taste beyond the hops is quite good, but my personal preference says no. Lacing on the glass is quite good, and the head is quite nice for a while. Mouthfeel is good. Good carbonation.

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Photo of Offa
2.73/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

This is a very bitter barleywine with good qualities and rich, fruity barleywine character that to me ends up being largely ruined by sharp, clashing bitterness in the end. I had the 2008 vinatge, purchased in Feb08 and stored until April 09, when I drank it, in anticipation of the strong hops. Even so, the hops still came out far too bitter and intense.

Deep copper and faintly hazy, it has a medium tan head with orange hue, very slowly shrinking to a thin, foamy ring and wisps with a little lace.

The aroma is grapefruity-piney hops, very flowery, with candied lemon, fruit, caramleized grapes, raisiny-pruny alcohol. It smells a bit similar to Lagunitas Brown Shugga or Lucky 13, yet more "barleywine" like with a defintie English barleywine character underneath.

The taste is somewhat similar, rich flavour and body with burnt, winey fruit, smokey wood and earth, caramelized burnt orange peel and grapefruit - a rich, sweet barleywine with definite English-barleywine undertones - but then a sharp, mouth-puckering, intense citrusy bitterness takes over near the finish, clashing around and drowning out the rest in the finish, lingering and sticking to the mouth. It doesn't have a drying feel because of the otherwise rich chracter and feel, but it made me extremely thirsty after drinking only about 6 ounces. The feel is rather rich, oily and frothy like many other barleywines I've had. Ultimately, the one-note, intense hop bitterness dorwns out everything else. I waned to like it but just couldn't.

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Photo of ggilman
2.74/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2011 bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A - An inch of dense cream-colored foam sits atop a beautiful ruby colored ale.

S - Sweet caramel malt.

T - Heavy malt flavor. Almost cough syrup-like. Bitter finish, with a burnt sugar aftertaste.

M & D - Syrupy, decent carbonation.

I'm not a huge fan of Barleywines, but have come across a few that I like a lot. This isn't one of them.

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Photo of jclark42796
2.75/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This is my first barley wine so wasn't sure what to expect. Color and smell reminded me of a Dogfish head Red and White (not sure why that is classified as witbier), which I really like. Love the smell, but this beer is way too bitter for me. Someone mentioned a DFH 120min, probably would agree with that.

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Photo of mikul93
2.76/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Poured a dark reddish brown with a healthy head.

S- A lot of hops with hints of caramel.

T- I taste the fruit at the beginning and then the hops just kick your ass. I love hops, but this is a bit overwhelming. I really enjoy the initial flavors I get, but then the hops just leave this bitter taste in your mouth and it lingers.

M- Actually very light with good carbonation. Surprised.

O- Not a fan of this barley wine. Maybe if it was aged for a year or so, the hops would mellow out, but Bigfoot fresh is not for me. I have another one that I will age and review again next year.

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Photo of lionchow
2.76/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours an attractive, mildly hazy light amber with a thin white head.

Aroma is of a medicinal plasticy, alcohol with an herbal hoppiness.

Flavor is immediately unappealing. Alcohol and hops dominate and meld together in a not particularly enjoyable way. Hops are herbal, menthol, and very bitter. Malt is low to none, with a very slight caramel sweetness.

Mouthfeel is dry which, when combined with the hops and alcohol make it seem muddled.

Overall not enjoyable at all.

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Photo of fscottkey
2.79/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

A: Dark brown - lighter than root beer - but pretty ddark. Forms a nice white cap of 1 finger head. The head has legs and sticks around.

S: I got very little - maybe a slight waft of hops.

T: Strong, really strong alcohol. Like a shot of liquor. Boom it is in your face. I expected some subtly and some fruit flavors etc. Alcohol front, middle and end.

M: Towards the end it was nice and coating - decent mouthfeel.

O: Like liquor for beer drinkers. It is just straight up alcohol flavor. I will try a different one in thiis variety - but if they are the same then this isn't for me.

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Photo of rickyleepotts
2.8/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

I had this beer last year, and I really liked it. I like this style. I am a sucker for sweets, and I remember this one being sweet. It was interesting to read this beer is good both fresh and aged. I think I am going to get 4 bottles, hold 2 to drink in 3 years and hold 2 to drink in 10 years. Not sure I can keep beers around that long, but I am going to try! Next time I am at Total Wine & More I will grab some more. Might need to find a new cellar, though!

When I went to the fridge, it was either this or the Celebration Ale. I figured we could drink this one because it's a big beer over 10% ABV, and it's Phoenix Open week here in the Valley. Everyone is drinking beer, so I figured we would too! Had a beer today on hole 16 and got to watch Phil miss the green. Everyone was yelling and giving him a hard time. Welcome to the Waste Management Phoenix Open!

In the Glass: It has a nice color to it. You can't really see through it, and the head is thin producing a very nice sticky lace. Beers like this are usually thick, and while this doesn't have that appearance in the glass, I can tell you from experience this has a nice, thick mouthfeel.

Nose: This beer smells like melted butter. It has a nice sweetness to it, as well. This is right from the fridge, and barleywines usually smell and taste better as they heat up. I am going to let this sit for a little bit, and take my last drink at room temperature. I poured myself another beer to help me through the waiting period!

Flavor: That is the flavor I remember. However, this one seems a little more hoppy than I remember. It's not as sweet as I remember. Like I said, I am drinking this cold… but that shouldn't bring out that much hoppy flavor. The finish (and I will get to that) reminds me of an IPA. I wonder what they changed with this release. Do they change the recipe every year?

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is not as thick as I remember. Look at me… recalling my experience the last time I drank this. I am also not blown away with the finish. Again, I will l get to that. The beer is a little more carbonated than I remember, and it's also not as thick as I remember. Barleywines are not supposed to have bubbles… I want thick, flat malty goodness from a barleywine. Not champagne bubbles and a hoppy finish.

Aftertaste: Did they change the recipe and make an IPA? I am serious… this tastes like an IPA. Every swallow is loaded with hops, and I am having a hard time figuring out why this is better fresh. This will, with time, mellow out. But man, this is not very good. I am actually a little disappointed in this offering. Considering I like this last year, I had some big expectations. Boo Sierra Nevada, BOO!

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - The bottle says: "Bigfoot is a beast of a beer, brimming with flavor from massive amounts in roasted malt and spicy hops; brewed in the barleywine style, with a rich bittersweet body and whole-cone Pacific Northwest hops.

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Photo of thequeen711
2.8/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sierra Nevada Big Foot Barleywine style at 9.6% ABV...not to shabby a brew, however, me not appreciating the hop nose, and lightly fruity mouthfeel, this is an extremely hoppy barleywine. It takes a special nose and gullet to appreciate this fine brew, and I can't say I did.

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Photo of Hoagie1973
2.83/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured a deep reddish amber with a two finger rocky head. Head continued to expand after the pour was over. Good sticky lacing left in wide rings.

Has a layered hop aroma. Piney, woody/earthy, and citric.

Hop flavor/bitterness is dominant and aggressive. Too much so. Theres a flash of caramel malt sweetness that's a bit bready, but that fades quickly into a long and bitter finish that's a mix of alcohol and more hops. Bitterness increases and becomes more oily long into the aftertaste. Nice warming alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy.

Overall I was able still to enjoy it. Hops are way overdone in my opinion though. Drinkability is low due to the harshness and acidity. You can actually still taste hops in your mouth for the rest of the evening. And this is the only beer I've ever had that gives me heinous farts and an unpleasant morning shit after only one bottle. I'm going to cellar a few bottles and see what happens.

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Photo of CIBoy10
2.83/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I just did not like this beer. The booze wasn't even slightly masked, and the mouthfeel was so heavy I felt like an anvil was going down my throat. Maybe barleywine isn't my thing, but I love all of Sierra Nevada's other beers.

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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 DocJitsu
2.86/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear copper color with a foamy taupe head. The taupe suds lace the glass as the beer is consumed. Orange and grapefruit citrus bouquet with some notes of toffee. The nose is rather absent. Taste is vile. It probably wouldn't taste so bad if not magnified by the mouthfeel. There's an overwhelming hop sourness that dominates the big malt one expects to experience in a barleywine. The piney hop resin coats the palate and continues to invade the senses well after the finish. I want my money back.

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Photo of Boppar
2.89/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Vintage 2005 bottle poured into my trusty pint glass. This is a gorgeous beer. It is a deep orange color, almost red. There is an impressive three fingers of head, which sticks around for awhile. Good lacing, great head retention.

When I popped the top and began to pour, my entire kitchen started to smell like pumpkins. This is a very pungent beer. But more than anything, when you get your nose right down in the glass and takea good whiff, this beer smells like honey. Maybe honey witha little pine resin in it, but mostly honey. At first it is intriguing, but the smell becomes borderline cloying (if a smell can be coying).

The taste is sort of like being kicked in the mouth three different times in three different ways. First, there's the carbonated, alcoholic kick. Then there's a veritable depth charge of maltiness (read: almost cloying), then there's a massive hoppy dry finish. While all three of these categories seem overdone in their own stage, I like the interim periods. The malty backbone comes as a sweet relief after the initial onslought, and the hops come to the rescue once the maltiness becomes too much.

More specifically: the maltiness is accompanied by the taste of pumpkins and acorn squash. There is a very nice mid-palate smokiness that transitions between the maltiness and the hoppy finish, and in many ways, the smokiness is the saving grace of this beer.

The overall taste of this beer is really a shame, because it has some intense and interesting flavors in all aspects, but they just don't seem to be balanced. The hops don't balance the huge malt presence, they just pour salt in the wound that is your palate.

In terms of mouthfeel, this beer is incredibly viscous. I'd say "chewy" as well, but it really seems like it doesn't want to be chewed. Imagine chewing molasses. It just wouldn't work.

Drinkability? Let me put it to you this way: I've been nursing this puppy for over an hour, and I've got about 4 oz left. For the trecord, there is still a very nice layer of lace on top.

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Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 7,478 ratings.
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