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

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3,021 Reviews
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style AleSierra Nevada Bigfoot 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: 3,021 | Ratings: 7,398
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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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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Photo of overnightstorms
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured in a teku

2013 (fresh)

A- beautiful ruby amber, inviting carbonation. Huge head with super sticky lacing. 

S- pine, grapefruit, a bit of alcohol, slight candy sweetness (salt water taffy?).

T- hops are upfront. Fresh pine and grapefruit citrus (just like the aroma). Transitions to smooth bready maltiness. Fresh baked sour dough bread. Delicious bitter after taste hangs around. Refreshing and savory at the same time.

F- just as the lace sticks to the glass, this beer is sticky and lip smacking. Medium bodied. 

O- Just about perfect (perfect will be in a year). This is a great american barley wine. Perfect blend of traditional maltiness and alcohol mixed with delicious dry pine hop flavors. Can't wait for things to mellow out over the year, its gonna be hard to save!

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

A-Pours a dark amber color with copper highlights around the edges. 1.5 fingers of foamy head with good retention considering 9.6% ABV.

S-Rich, sticky caramel malt sweetness comes out strong. Lots of hop presence as expected, big resinous pine and orange citric character. Alcohol is definitely present on the aroma but kept in check.

T-Rich caramel malt presence starts it on a sweet note, bitterness comes in quick and strong. loads of piny hop flavors reminiscent of chewing on a mouthful of needles. Lemon and orange flavors provide a citrus complement to the hop backbone, did I mention bitterness? Comes in very strong and lasts long into the finish with a mildly soapy component. As with the aroma, some alcohol spice and heat are present but it doesn't run amok.

M- Full bodied, moderate carbonation pleasantly prickles on the tongue without overwhelming any of the taste.

0-A great brew with tremendous flavor and bitterness. Steer very clear if bitter beers aren't your thing, otherwise give it a try.

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Photo of ctylinebeer
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into teku glasss. 12/4/14 bottling date.

L - dark ruby red color. Hazy hue with some yeast sediment. Two finger head, light medium lacing.

S - pine, caramel malts, fresh flowers. Alcohol gives off a Windex aroma, which is a compliment. Aromas come out when at room temperature.

T - caramel, chocolate, roasted barley, super pine hops. Slight sweetness up front but bitter pine finish

F - big beer. Velvety texture. Slight alcohol lingering in the tongue but balanced by the bitterness.

O - very bitter for a barleywine. 50/50 sweet and bitter. Not sure if keeping it refridgerated did anything to the aging but it tastes the same as a new bottle.

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

Born on date of Jan 06, 2006. Poured into a pint glass.

A - Deep reddish brown with a creamy 1" tan head that sits around for a while. As I drink the lacing covers my pint glass beautifully.

S - Malty and sweet. Very malty and sweet with a big hop nose as well. This smells like a rich rich beer. Fruity and earthy hop aroma.

T - Sweet brown sugar maltiness up front.. piny, resiny, fruity hop bitterness on the back with an alcoholic bite that's not all that bad which kinda surprises me. It really reminds me of SNCA which is one of my favorite IPA's.

M - Creamy and smooth. Slight dry alcohol aftertaste but not overly so for a barleywine.

D - This is the first time I've tried the Bigfoot barleywines from SN and plan on stocking each year's offerings. This is an excellent beer. I can't wait to try it again in a year or two.

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

Vintage 2005- not too fresh, not too old? Let's pop the cap and check it out...

It pours a mostly clear rich yet vivid brownish copper color with a dense tannish two-finger head.

Aroma is big- huge hops (resiny, citrusy) dominate but they are backed up by lots of caramel malt. I also pick up a blackberry-and-cream quality, hints of cocoa and, of course, alcohol.

Flavor is powerful- tons of malt and caramel at first, but the cocoa, berries and some nuts come right on afterwards. There is a gigantic bitterness cutting right through it all and there is a lingering finish of orange peel and alcohol.

I'm loving this beer right now- some of its abrasiveness of youth is gone and that lets some more complex characteristics come through, yet there is still some fire there as well.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a 6-pack of this. 2009 vintage.

A- Pours a nice earthy brown with a moderate head.

S- Hops and malt sweetness out the wazoo. Fresh, floral hops.

T- Amazing. Hops and malt are here at 110%. With the intense flavors, you hardly notice the high ABV. I taste grapefruit hops, caramelized malts, and bitter hops in the end. Very very good... nay...great!

M- Amazing. Great beer balance helps hide the 9.6% ABV. Malts help bring the whole shebang together.

D- Moderate to insanely high depending on your preference for in-your-face brews. An intense brew.. not for the timid. Still, I think this beer goes down with ease. I've put off this one for a while, and can't for the life of me think of why. SN puts out quality beer, and this one shows it in spades. Bravo!

I plan to make this one a staple in my fridge. This is the first beer in a while to knock my socks off. Amazing!

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

12oz bottle purchased at Ryan's Party Store in Port Huron, MI. 2011 Vintage.

Pours a hazy deep amber hue with one finger of frothy, cream-coloured head and several strands of lacing on the tulip glass. Great appearance.

Smell is plum, caramelized apple, toast, piney, floral and citrusy hops, toffee, ethanol, grassy earthiness, molasses, perfume, cherry, and melon. Huge aromas here.

Taste follows the nose with rich layers of caramel, raisin, molasses, toast, candy apple, toffee, melon, and a big blast of juicy, citric, and boldly bitter hops. Scrumptious.

Mouthfeel is thick, viscous, full-bodied, juicy middle, massive prickly and astringent hop bitterness precedes a bone dry finish that lingers for quite a while.

Overall, this succulent American barleywine is one of my all-time favourite beers. Bigfoot's gargantuan hop profile beautifully compliments its chewy and complex malt backbone. The alcohol provides a pleasant warming kick that never overwhelms the palate. A delicious and near-perfect extreme ale.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 Vintage. Fresh
Granted, my tastes have changed over the past few years, but this one taste the best of all of the Bigfoots I've had.
Crack the top and immediately get hit with the very fresh smell of citrus and pine hops.
Pours golden amber in the glass with a half finger of off white that melts very slowly to very, very sticky lacing. A nice map traces the drink down the glass.
The tongue is hit with sweet amber malts and brown sugar with citrus hops all at once....swallow slowly and go through phases of sweet malt, brown sugar, then grapefruit peel hops....pink grapefruit....more grapefruit peel...then a nice drying with only a hint of the sugars left.
Creamy mouthfeel.
The perfect American barleywine?
Damn close.

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Photo of Jjski
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Full disclosure- I am 1/2 Sasquatch and 1/2Welsh and 1/2 Irish. This was once my favorite beer. We Sasquatch receive no financial compensation for promoting a beer with our name on the label.

Vintage 2012 Cellar pull. Age on this beer is beautiful
A- hazy dark amber, not transparent.
S-Carmel, toast, citrus hops
T- Carmel. orange rind or grapefruit
M- perfectly slick, smooth, thick and bubbly
O- immense beer, one that actually makes me sip. There are not many that do.
Warm Carmel yet astringent. My taste has shifted to English Barleywines, but in the American style: this is a champion. Hops omnipresent yet balanced by huge grain profile. As I'm typing this, the last sips was over 5 minutes ago and my palate is still locked on to the flavor and sending positive signals to the taste center in my battered cerebral cortex.

Straight up, no barrel aging, all guns blazing, hellion of a BW.

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Photo of Matt1553
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Served this beer at a holiday party, and it was a big hit. A perfect warming beer for a cold evening. Hops predominate the flavor profile, which I appreciate. A few extra months of aging, however, may help this beer to mellow out. Highly recommended.

Rating: 9.3

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2015 - bottled 12/11/14 and i've had in my fridge for between 2-3 months.
2016- bottled 12/4/15 and i picked up 2 4packs in early Januar i think.
2014-bottled 1/12/14. bought it in March 2016 at $8.99 a 4pack. 2 in the fridge and 2 in the basement.

pours a deep mahogany with a thick head. with more age it looks much more like cider.

smell is sweet, nice balanced aroma. solid aroma, nice mix of malt and hops. not overly sweet but a nice subtle sweetness.

great taste, great balance of sweetness and bitterness. finishes bitter and dry but somehow different than an IPA finish. smooth and easy drinking.

REVIEW OF 2016 fresh Bigfoot (bottled 12/4/15 and in my fridge for a few months now, it's 3/21/16):
-certainly more bold than the 11 month old 2015, this certainly mellows with age. which is why i bought 2 4packs, 1 for now and 1 for later. also my local store was selling 2014 Bigfoot for the same price as 2016 Bigfoot so i picked it up to test out.
-the hops are much more prevalent than the aged barleywine, a nice strong ale almost Brown Shugga flavor to it.

2014: much more mellow. looks like cider. very malty yet has subtle and beautiful hop flavor. and has an amazing flavor. this is amazing with age, holy shit. i'm keeping my 2016 bottles in my cellar for a while now. slight char to it as well. really fantastic.

i am enjoying this! a great barleywine. a great balance, i enjoy the combination this beer has between sweetness and bitterness. almost has a slight barrel taste to it. a great beer, my new favorite barleywine.

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Photo of FenwaySquid
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 12 oz. brown short-necked bottle, the label proclaim this to be their 25th Expedition and the neck label says 2008, poured into a Chimay chalice.

Appearance: Pours a clear deep ruby red colorcarbonation rising at the center of the chalice. The head formed small, a little less than one finger, and faded into a thin layer.

Aroma: Citrus and piney hops along with some sweet malts, mainly caramel.

Taste: The first thing I get is the hops, bitter citrus and piney hops in all their glory. Some caramel and toasted malts come through in the middle, but remain in the background. The finish is bitter and spicy hops with some alcohol warming.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied but smooth, you definitely feel the alcohol. The carbonation balanced out very well.

Overall: An all around great beer, there's no other way to put it. You have to really like hops to enjoy it (as is the case with most Sierra Nevada brews) but if you're a hophead this one's a must. I've got a one year old bottle in my cellar. I'll review that one soon and see what's changed.

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Photo of chimaybier
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorite Barley Wines. I just had Lagunitas' Gnarly Wine 2 days ago, and it is hoppier than that one. I always look forward to the Spring when Sierra Nevada puts out its latest batch of Bigfoot. One minor complaint- they should have stayed with the old cartoonish label. I loved that! Very drinkable...



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Photo of ragekage23
4.64/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: very rich amber color with a frothy one inch head.

S: probably one of the best smelling beers: very hoppy, very fruity.

T: starts with hoppy, bitter taste, follows with a nice citrus, and end with one of the most prominent berry flavors i've tasted in a long time. the alcohol is very prominent.

M: more of a medium body mouthfeel, i think.

D: Ok, I'll be honest, this is my first barley wine, but if this is a forecast of things to come then this beer is one of the finest i've tasted.

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Photo of atone315
4.64/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2013 bottle, opened 2 years after bottling. Poured into 10oz taster, beer doesn't produce nearly as much head as freshly bottled Bigfoot. Age has knocked off just the right amount of hoppiness, this is tasting perfect right now. When this beer comes out, buy a case....drink one a month til the next batch comes out, then drink one a year. Thank me later.

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Photo of SublimeZero
4.64/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a solid Barleywine Ale. The color is a deep amber with a tan head giving forth to a bouquet of floral aromatics. As the deep amber liquid strikes the palate it yeals flavors of malty and a hint of sweetness due to left over malt sugars witch is quickly balanced with hop bitterness with the finish of hoppy radiance and floral tones.

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Photo of Trooper92292
4.64/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2013- smooth and excellent taste. Bitter level very balanced and acceptable. My favorite year.
2014 - hops not overpowering and taste lasts on palate.
2015 - Strong on the hops, a great taste but aging would definitely help it. As aging this beers always does. This has the darkest color for some reason out of the three.

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 7,398 ratings.
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