Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
92
outstanding
3,037 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
sierra-nevada.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
3,037
Ratings:
7,458
Avg:
4.14
pDev:
11.35%
 
 
Wants:
410
Gots:
1,819
For Trade:
72
User Reviews
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Reviews: 3,037 | Ratings: 7,458
Photo of guinness72384
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ok. This is my first review on BA, so I thought i would review one of the best beers i've had yet.

My buddy brought over a bottle of the 2007 a couple weeks ago for me to try.

Served in a standard pint glass. Appearance was great, that dark red/amber color with a nice 1" head. Smelled quite hoppy with a little bit of fruit in there. Taste was exceptional. If you are Hop-Junkie like I am, this is the beer for you. The flavor is quite similar to the smell, full bodied and very hoppy with some hints of fruit in there. Much smoother than I had expected, as i've had other high percentage beers that did'nt go down nearly as smooth. I anticipate I will be drinking alot of this beer in the future. I would highly recommend this beer to anyone who can appreciate the taste of great beer.

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

1998 - opened August 2005: Still pours with voracity after 7 years of sitting. Color sits an opaque looking chestnut brown with a deep reddish glow. Finger high head of heavy yellow stained froth that sits for a pertinent duration. A thin collar keeps and the lacing is somewhat glaring and spotty with a small ink blob curtain sticking closer to the liquids' edge.

Aroma is nothin' but smoothed out pine soaked hop oily heat with a medley of tender roasted malts and grains that inlay a bordline scotch-like girth.

Taste is wonderfully smoothed over. The hops still play the main host as a load of pine oils and resin soaked leaves sit among a toasted molasses and roasted edge of malts. Heat is perfectly intertwined as the roasty stuff drys off the end leaving lots of oily hop residue, slight tobacco spice, and plenty of other spicy alcoholic nuances floating across the palate with weight as it finishes.

Feel is fairly rich, quite warm, both in the throat and belly, more so in the throat. Body is still fairly thick and heavy with a hop sided realm of oily heat and resins. Smooth but a bit rough edged; even still? Warmth is f*ckin' awesome to behold. Its perfect.

Drinkability is through the the roof on this aged wonderment. Even with its warmth its just lovely to sip and sip and sip and sip. This didn't last long in the snifter. A could see myself drinking a few more before bedtime no prob.
Bigfoot is always a pleasure a good time after its release. This was no different and stays true to the Barleywine nature of aging. Especially when done this well.

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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 washburnkid
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2009 bigfoot.

A: Over a finger of creamy beige head; body is a reddish-brown and amber mixture with copper tones along the edges. Beautiful head retention that refuses to leave me. I've been nursing this beer for an hour and the head is still sticking at the very top of the glass. So incredible.
S: Heavy herbal aromas with the pine that is reminiscent of Torpedo. Florals deeper in the aroma though not as strong as the other scents. Some hints of malts on the nose.
T: At first, the flavors include incredibly hoppy and bitter notes, including florals that just dominate my palate. The bitter flavor is someone charred or burnt at different points in the sip. There's a malty backbone that, in the beginning, provides an intense syrupy sweetness that balances the hop and bitter presence. Eventually this sugar shop sweetness just dominates, leaving the hops to cry for attention.
M: Heavy, syrupy body that is carbonated just right and leaves a ton of malty residue in my mouth.
D: This beer is tricky. It starts out so hoppy but the sweetness just completely takes over, making this beer wonderful for dessert. Next time, I'll split a bottle for after dinner--mostly because of the immense sweetness that pulls through. I'd love to know what this beer tastes like after a couple of years. Get it while you can!

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

2002

Poured the darkest brown imaginable with tints of amber. Nice half finger head despite it being over 4 years old. Even with the age, the hop aroma leapt from the bottle like a caged tiger. Lowering my nose to the glass I can smell syrupy caramel, meek cherry, sweet grapefruit and pine. In the taste dept, the caramel syrup and bare chocolate take center stage but are definitely competing with powerful hoppy pine and grapefruit. Finish is pleasingly bitter. The age has really smoothed this one out. I'm glad because I really like the malt on this one. Mouth is as thick and chewy as ever. I'm glad to know I can get Bigfoot this old almost whenever I want. In all likelihood I'll want it all the time.

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Photo of wl0307
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 Vintage/25th Expedition! BB 25/01/09, served cool in Tripel Karmeliet's long-stemmed, flower-bulb shaped sniffer.

A: the colour comes dark ruby, with a decent but not fierce input of carbonation and a lovely, thick and creamy dark beige froth that lasts extremely well, leaving even lacing as it slowly retreats.
S: superb, like a DIPA, the aroma bursts with Cascade's bouquet of sweet citrus and overripe lychee fruits, syrupy+creamy caramely malts, really dense honey-ish notes, and random inputs of dates, fat (preserved) cherries and figs. A swirl gives rise to a very mild edge of fruit esters as of ripened pears, but not quite assertive as a traditional English Barley Wine, due to the heavy presence of US hops on the balance. The overall aroma is intensely perfumy and hoppy, yet balanced and complex at the same time.
T: a lubricating slurp of marvelously flowery, piney and lychee-ish juicy hops plus rich caramely malts precedes a rather soothing edge of tangy+tannic bitterness, as of dried citrus/grapefruits and stems of semi-fermented teas; as the bitter palate prevails, the rich yet belated fruitiness consisting of longan-fruits, nectar and rum-soaked sultanas manages to chime in. In the finish, aromatic Chinese tea-leaves, hop oil and perfume linger with the 3D grapefruit bitterness and an herbal "bite", in an assertive but still elegant manner.
M&D: softly carbonated, full-bodied yet ever so easy to drink due to the attenuated alcoholic feel, this beer is uncompromisingly hoppy, bold, bitter, and tannic-dry, actually much more in line with the style of a DIPA (or "Triple" IPA?). I can't see the point of branding any ale "American-(something)" if only it is extra- or over-hopped with American hop varieties, which hardly merits a new beer category IMO, but the experiment in this bottle is truly sublime all the same. I haven't forgotten the initial shock and eventual, extreme joy when I first tasted the 2005 Vintage - my first ever experience with an American Barley Wine, while the performance of this bottle connects me to that fond memory just seamlessly and ever so vividly! To me, this is a world-class heavy ale.

* Tasting Date: 16/11/2005
Got this beer at the UTOBEER beer stall in the Borough Market, London. On the cap it says "Bigfoot 2005 expedition", so that's Vintage 2005 I believe. Apart from that there's no freshness info. on the bottle.
4.5 A: served in a goblet, it comes with a slightly hazy, ruby hue; I manage to pour an extremely thick and fluffy off-white head which "egg-shell cracks" ever so slowly, leaving different layers of fine lacing; pretty static body, as far as my eye-sight could manage. Looking nearly perfect, like a glass of port if without the foam.
4.5 S: as wildly malty as incredibly hoppy--hallmark of oily, fat hops (Cascade?) reminiscent of the heavier American IPA/DIPA even...; after swirling, a flow of intoxicating, intense and mixed aroma comes through, with intense aroma of caramel (liquid form), sharp pine-wood smell, preserved prunes, dried longan-fruits, over-ripened lychees, a dash of orange syrup, and (maybe) a sprinkle of cinnamon or other spices. Overall, the aroma, despite its thick, even syrupy texture, shows great complexity and depth.
4.5 T&4.5 M: thick, syrupy and oily texture of fruity malts pours in, almost immediately bringing on board a wave of powerful bitterness so tannic and herbal it transforms the impression of the nose in no time! Lots of dried fruits as identified in the aroma, all wrapped between the mighty oily hops and underlying bitter taste. The tannic bitterness lingers too well, like the kind of mouthfeel you get whilst wrongly crushing grapeseeds b/w your teeth; but this one goes even deeper down the throat, well balancing the undesirable sugary and alcoholic aftertaste. 120%-bodied and fuller-than-full-flavoured barley wine it is, with a thick mouthfeel supported by tiny bubbly texture of carbonation--just about right.
5 D: this is my first-ever bottle of American barley wine, and it's incredibly delicious as well as surprisingly balanced. It's so different from those English barley wines I've tried which tend to taste "older" and mellower. In a sense, it bears much resemblance to other types of American ales maybe thanks to the bulk of strongly-scented hops used in this ale, even reminding me of some fantastic characters of SN's own Celebration Ale, but of course this one is of different type. Overall, this is a good digestif to replace a vintage port for me this winter. Though it's not something to savour for more than one bottle, I think the "drinkability"--overall performance, satisfaction vis-a-vis expectation--is sublime. I shall buy some more bottles for ageing and see if it indeed improves with age like a port~~

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Photo of Tilley4
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2006 bottle. I wonder if the low reviews come from those who don't let this one mature for a while.This is one damn fine beer. I wasn't sure what to expect with this one since I've never had a barley wine before but this was the perfect blend of malt and hops. It was a beautiful brown, amber color with a little fluffy head. It smelled very hoppy with an underlying note of malt and something dark and rich.

I was extremely happy with this beer. The first drink was very hoppy with a bitter aftertaste that lingered FOREVER afterwards. As the beer warmed, it got maltier and maltier and very rich.

This rates right up there tastewise with the Ayinger Celebrator and the Dogfish Head 90 Minute which I think are both excellent beers. The store I bought this from had 5 more left and they have my name written all over them. I'm on the way to grab these!

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Photo of jadpsu
4.61/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

In Laurel MS.
Pours cloudy in a rich looking redish Amber. Has a malty tan head with pretty good retention and all around side laceing.
Aroma of stingent hops of pine and acedic fruit, and maltiness.
Taste: Leads with the stringent, acedic hops, tart and bitter and nice. Some caramel malts add to the balance and enjoyment as its 9.6% ABV stirs up the warmth while not being noticed in the smell or the taste. I like that
Thick on the palate. Finishes extra, extra dry. Excellent!

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Photo of Brob245
4.61/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - dark amber color, light carmel color head with very good lacing.

Smell - hints of carmel and dark chocolate.

Taste - rich malt profile with dark chocolate and coffee overtones. Nice mild hop finish.

Mouthfeel - nice and rich but very drinkable with a lingering hop finish.

Overall - great barleywine.

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Photo of Ahypercube
4.61/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow, SN never ceases to amaze me.

L: Pours a rich, dark reddish caramel color, like coca cola. Two-fingers of thick, luscious, toasted cream-colored head, which builds slowly and lasts well, leaving rather attractive cocoa-colored lacing. A beautiful brew.

S: Molasses, caramel, alcohol, candied dark fruit (Plum, raspberry, cherry, etc), toasted rye bread, and a nutty whole-grain scent; a little hint of piney hops, and a clean grapefruit rind presence.

T: Those bitter hoppy flavors are much more noticeable, with the avalanche of malty, caramelly, toasty sweetness cascading over the bitter skeleton, fleshed out with a sugary blackberry-jam-on-toast flavor. Almost just like a stout, but missing the coffee and chocolate. Definitely something I enjoyed immensely. I would pair with any pastry, or a rich stew, or simply cheese and crackers.

F: Someone commented that the mouthfeel was a little thin. I'm rather blown away by this comment, as it seems as thick as could be possibly expected for the ABV. A lot like Torpedo IPA, but thicker and bitterer.

O: Excellent. If this is any sort of example, I'd say barleywines are definitely a thing I enjoy. Glad to encounter this magnificent brew and I hope to find more of its kind in the future!

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Photo of LloydDobler
4.61/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage
One of my favorites, and possibly my favorite of the style. I DO, however, prefer the fresher batches. They just have more of a hoppy "pop" to them.

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Photo of badgustav
4.61/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The hop bite lasts quite long in this beer, months in even. The malt balances it out after a sip or two, but it remains less sweet than many barleywines. This adds to the (dangerous) drinkability of this beer

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Photo of FitnessForBeer
4.61/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage

A: Pours a golden brown color, finger worth of thick tan head, slightly cloudy
S: hoppy, malty smelling, burnt caramel, alittle grassy, theres other stuff in there but i cant seem to distinguish what
T: sweet burnt caramel, some hop bitterness, alcohol present, rich, spicy with fruity flavors, lemony,
M: heavy bodied, goes really great with this big beer
O: i really need to start aging some of this, i really want to try one with a couple years age

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 Expedition:

After a long wait I finally get to try the Bigfoot...the only bottled SN brew I've yet to try and my first barleywine as well! This pours a beautiful deep mahogany amber red with a small half inch head. Looks great in my SN snifter glass. The smell has some lovely caramel malt notes with a huge hop presence. Some candied fruit tones come through...plums..raisins. The alcohol is there as well...very complex smell that keeps my nose going back for more.

The first sip is massive!! The rich caramel malts intertwine magically with the wonderfully piney, citrusy hops. The fruit tones come through on the palate as well. Sweet and bitter play a tug of war and it seems like it ends up a tie...everyone wins. If there is a nectar of life then this may very well be it. A very complex brew that is best sipped. I love the biterness on the back of the palate. I just can't believe I haven't tried this sooner!

Mouthfeel is excellent. Not too thin, not too syrupy....this goes down smooth...almost too smooth for 9.6%abv. Carbonation is just right. As for drinkability...I'd imagine I could have a few of these on a cold night...probably no more than two..but overall it's a damn tasty brew that does not dissapoint. SN has been one of my faves before ever trying Bigfoot...and now after trying it they've just gone up another notch in my book. I got a few more in the cellar...let's see what happens...

Thanks to Ninjaworm for the opportunity to sample this fine brew.

2005 Expedition - 3-29-05:

Hops are more upfront in the nose than the 2004...citric and piney with the same strong malty background. Nice creamy two finger head. First sip brings a rush of bitter hoppy goodness...definetly "green"...but in a good way, especially for the hopheads. A nice caramel nut chewy malt background. Just a tasty, enjoyable brew again this year. Good full mouthfeel and quite drinkable. I have a sixer saved for when I go camping this summer...can't wait for that!

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bigfoot 2011 vintage. A 350ml bottle with a BB of Jan 2012 - cracked it just in time (although I imagine this one cellars well). Acquired from my local beer specialist and stored in my fridge.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. A deep reddish-amber with medium carbonation. Very hazy and translucent. Yields a decent head of creamy, light beige foam that hangs around for a few minutes before subsiding to a frothy surface layer. Intense aroma of piny hops followed by sweet malt and yeast. Notes of resin and citrus. A warming background whiff of alcohol. The blend of hops and malt borders perfection.

Tastes of intense bitter pine underpinned by a sweet malt backbone. Powerful aromatic hops - notes of pine resin and citrus. Hints of yeast in the distant background. A boozy note upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is intensely tingly and astringent, but also thick and smooth. Great body - neither too thick nor too thin. Aftertaste of pine and malt - I'll be tasting this at breakfast!

Wow - what a brew! Huge flavour and aroma, yet the hops and malt sit well together. The body is nice as well, great for the style. Overall, a world-class brew. If you have the opportunity to try it, don't pass it up!

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Photo of asabreed
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2002. Into a tulip. Here we go, ya'll.

Appearance: Amber with some dark brown, or is it the other way around? A bit of sediment floating in the bottom. Still after four years there's not much head, but it swirls up nicely, and the lacing spiders a bit around the glass. I still think after ten years, however, the beer, from the style, wouldn't really have a huge head or fantastic lacing.

Smell: Lots of good stuff from the malts over a few years. The hops take a kind of backseat, while the malt complexity is huge. Slight chocolate, then caramel, raspberries, and vanilla dominate. And atop all is a sherry-like sharpness, tartness, and alcoholic bite in the nose. I think this is maybe STILL too young; this has much potential as is. Getting better for sure.

Taste: I did not know this would happen, and it makes me think that I need to really start cellaring beers for much longer (which I'm at least attempting to do). Since the hops, as in the nose, take a backseat to the malt, that's not the only thing--the malt character has gotten insanely complex. I can describe it fairly easily, though the taste is much more ornate: silk chocolate raspberry cheesecake drizzled with vanilla and caramel. Sound crazy? Sure, and I don't even believe it myself really, in a way. But here's the thing, the hops are still in there, and though they have a slight bite to them, I'd say a six year-old bottle, or maybe seven, should be tops for this, or hell, maybe ten. But either way, this vintage four-year is amazing. Wonderfully complex things have developed, and I hope I can keep the 4 bottles of 2005 in my cellar for a while.

Mouthfeel: Still full, thick, velvety, but cloying. I don't know how this would change, especially since the carbonation's going to be less and less as the years go by. No complaints here at all, though.

Drinkability: This is the earliest vintage I think I've ever had, and I'm beyond impressed. Hopefully all the brews I decided to save will keep doing what this is doing. I like it green, but damn this gets much better, so if you have bottles that are four years old with some to spare, I'd certainly say crack one open. But if there's one left, well, you make the decision.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 10 year old cellared bottle (1995). As I work my way through my cellared beers I find alot of disappointments, and this one might just be the worst. I've had 30 and 50 year old beers that were better. This is like a bad homebrew. Or, perhaps, maybe I'm just missing that big assult of hop and malt that the Bigfoot offers? Nah, this has just gone to hell in a handbasket...

Oxidation has clearly taken full effect, and although it enhances the caramelish aspect of the maltiness to some extent, there's a sherry note in the finish that combines with the alcohol, and perhaps a bit of piney hops, to leaves a rather unpleasant aftertaste.

The sherry appears in the nose as well, along with alcohol, but it doesn't really detract there. It lends an almond note, and there's also some coconut that's quite nice as well.

It pours an absolutely crystal clear ruby brown, but it has lost carbonation, and there's not really a head to it, just a big bubbled but thin collar.

The body is somewhat thinned, and it's clear that there's a touch more alcohol. Some sublime phenols (or are they higher alcohols?) seem to be present as well.

Overall, most of the bitterness, and some of the piney hops remain, but without the malty sweetness to back it up. I'd have thought the hops would soften more, but what I got is just a shriveled corpse of the beautiful fresh hop vibrance that once was.

Perhaps this one bottle didn't hold up and there are others that are OK; but I'd say, as I've always said, Bigfoot isn't really for aging.... it just holds well. I'll take mine fresh (or within 3 years, thanks!).

That said, my score for this bottle when calculated was a pathetic 3.0; but that's not fair as it's an aged bottle, and so I've included my original scores from the bottle I had back in '02.

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Photo of Janderson91
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally a Bigfoot sighting! This one was bottled on the 348th day of 2010 at 5:05pm. Enjoyed on 03/22/11. Last year was my first Bigfoot experience so I've been looking forward to this one for a while.

A - This is a great looking beer. A deep, slightly cloudy, red color with a good one finger off-white head. A small head covering the top of the beer remains for the entirety of the bottle. Leaves a wall of lacing around the sides.

S - Piney, resiney hop aroma that I've come to expect from Sierra Nevada. Some sweet and nutty malts are there for sure but this is fresh enough that the hops are still dominant. Smells excellent.

T - Sticky sweet malts up front then a huge pine bitterness comes. Very bitter through the middle. Nice and balanced finish with some syrupy malt flavor and a nice crisp hop flavor that lingers long after each sip. Seriously toes the Barleywine/DIPA line.

M - Mouthfeel is near perfect for the style. Thick and almost syrupy but with good carbonation that balances it out.

O - Overall, this is a near perfect beer. Never had it with any age on it, so I may be revisiting this review in a few years.

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Photo of SPLITGRIN
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown amber body almost has a copper glow. Head is a good 2 inches thick and full of tan bubbles. Head lasts quite a while and leaves decent lace.

Nose is vibrant and wonderful, very enticing. Sweet dark ripened fruits, and a celebration of spices and hops, almost vintage port like.

Long rich malty feel is sweet as it first enters the mouth. Palate is hoppy spice filled goodness. A backround of overripe grapes and plum are present also.

An incredibley complex brew that is a joy to drink. Mouthfeel is loud but welcome. A great beer!

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Photo of umustdrink
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 bottle.
9 months later, it's definitely improved from aging.

A - Deep ruby red color, a very bright red color when held to light, some bubbly carbonation visible as well. Rocky offwhite head fades to a patchy eighth inch. Tons of lacing strips line the tulip glass.

S - Still a very pungent smell but the hops have mellowed out. Smell is now dominated by sharp caramely toasted malts, coffee and dark raisiny fruits. Alcohol is detectable but not overwhelming. Overall, typical barleywine smell but with an elevated hop character and noticeable coffee.

T/M - Taste begins with a very oily texture, toasty coffee maltiness comes in with some light fruity hops. A good hit of carbonation and we get more of the same malty and hoppy flavors as before. Hops get more intense, then lighten up and were left with an interesting finish of piny hops alternating with roasted coffee flavors.

D - A very good barleywine, not too much alcohol so it's pretty easy to drink. Also, an awesome example of an aging-friendly beer. I will be getting more of this to keep in my closet for as long as I can stand.

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Photo of donniecuffs
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Let me preface this review by saying that I do not usually care for barleywines. Not that the style is a bad one, but moreso because I find that brewers in general tend to make this style so syrupy and sweet that it makes me feel like I am drinking flavored maple syrup.

Anyway, I recently sampled the 2004 vintage on tap, and it was delightful. It poured a nice reddish-brown, with a thin off-white head, little lacing, and little carbonation, if any. The smell was a poutpourri of both dark fruit (date, raisin, plum) and citrus (red orange, lime, pink grapefruit), as well as some malty biscuit, and the flavor revealed all of these in more generous quantities. However the flavor was not overpoweringly sweet, and the mouthfeel, while thick-bodied, was not syrupy. This might be one of the only sessionable barleywines I have ever come across, but of course beware the alcohol content.

Final note...of course the five year-old nature of this brew most likely smoothened out the feel and flavor, so I'd like to try and sample a more recent vintage to discern the aging effect.

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Photo of etaggie09
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

appearance: ruby amber with a light tan head that starts out great, and dwindles to a tiny cap that won't let go.

aroma: rich, fruity, and earthy like a spicy, sweet licorice tobbaco. fusel alcohol tells you this thing's jet fuel and i can't wait to drink it. Lovely herbacious, bready scent to the whole thing that is absolutely intoxicating all on its own.

taste: sweet and fruit at first, but like a soft breeze on desert sand, the bitterness lifts away the sweetness gently and settles itself into the tastebuds, daring you to take another sip. apple and pear with grapefruit rind. It smells and tastes like a pie. Wonderfully classic American Barleywine flavor.

mouthfeel: couldn't be better. rich, smooth, and buttery. if you're going to drink a beer, drink a thick one, damnit.

drinkability: oh this is a powerful one. One of these is enough to melt away all the tension and stress of a day and replace it with pure, blissful relaxation. Thank you Sierra Nevada

notes: a great barleywine, but I still think Old Ruffian is my favorite so far.

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Photo of Fugazme
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very thick pour... dark brown/orange highlights. Head is a dense 1/2" type with tan and off-white lacing. Glass stick is tremendous with slow peaks and an awesome look.

Aroma is citrus, everywhere... some alcohol with grass and pine... some slight malt/sweet floral.

Earthly bitter and orange with pine on the taste... alcohol and caramel... bitterness lingers forever.

Creamy, smooth mouthfeel.

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Photo of bigkahunas4
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 Poured 12 oz bottle into my snifter.

A: Poured a honey brown with decent finger head. Opaque through, transparent on edgers

S: Very fruity, strong hints of honey, slight caramel. I think I'm really going to enjoy this.

T: Wow. Awesome. Very complex - lots of things happening. Begins with a bready maltiness, and fruit characteristics really just start jumping out. Finishes with a perfect balance of sweet hops. Can't stress how good the balance is. High ABV is quite masked.

Aroma is interestingly more on the malty end, with the taste more on the hoppy side.

M: Solid carbonation - I'd prefer just a touch thicker.

D: Really enjoy this brew.. though a high ABV - I could certainly sip a few of these throughout an evening.

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Photo of mjurney
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 edition.

A: Deep dark amber color with light tan color head.
S: Citrus/fruity, floral, spice, sweet caramel, hint of maple. Very nice aroma.
T: Ooh very hoppy. Strong citrus and floral flavor from the hops, sweet caramel and hint of brown sugar from the malts.
M: Medium-heavy bodied. Nice oily mouthfeel. Dry and fruity finish.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 7,458 ratings.
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