Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Bigfoot Barleywine-Style AleBigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale
7,605 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,605 |  Reviews: 3,098
Photo of JackRWatkins
2.27/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

A: clear dark ruby, persistent, creamy 1 finger head
S: weak, subtle sweetness as well as a touch of salt and caramel
T: hop bitterness up front, heavy malt presence, some caramel malts, has the toasty character of a red ale, has a filling and juicy body but not a fruity character, detected a very (incredibly so, could've imagined it) subtle touch of lychee
M: subtle dryness lent by hop character
O: would likely be enjoyable with some age on it but to me there is no real pay off here, its hop character is assertive but everything else is either pushing the hop bitterness or disappointingly subdued, would not drink it fresh again

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Photo of mnstorm99
2.28/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

12 oz. bottle poured into a 22 oz. globe wine glass.
Oh Boy, I hope this one ages well (I guess I have wasted $10 on worse things).
Good looking copper beer with a nice JUST off white 1 finger head that sticks well, and laces better.
Aroma is a very nice strong fruity and spicy hops, quite a bit of promise here, reminds me of something from when I was a child I just can't place it.
Taste, Ouch nice flash of hops and fruits, but before they even make much of an appearance the alchohol burn just won't go away. I was guessing this beer to be around 12%, but then I come here to see it is only 9.6% with that kind of burn, this is poor craftsmanship IMHO.
Mouthfeel is burning overly carbonated and thin. I could hardly finish one of these, not going to have another until after a few months downstairs.

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Photo of Jdecarol
2.29/5  rDev -44.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I love hops in my beers but this thing is not balanced at all. I is nothing but bitter kicking in the back of your throat. Moon shine goes down smoother.

Looks great though but that doesn't make it easier to drink. I'm going to sit on it for a few months and revisit it after it mellows. Hopefully the aging doesn't destroy the hop flavor and just mellows the bitterness.

I had this last year but it was bought around june, maybe the extra months sitting on a shelf made it more palatable or they just hop bombed it this year.

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Photo of macpfb03
2.31/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Photo of Jwaks
2.32/5  rDev -44%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Serving : 12oz bottle with 2007 on the cap, no freshness date.

Significant effort is required on the pour to squeeze a finger thick head from this vibrant orange tinted amber brew. Spirited very fine bubbles sprint up through the low viscosity body to meet a scant white frothy cap ringed by a thin sticky white lace.

Overwhelmingly pungeant, bitter hop aromas assult the nose quickly followed by odors of ripe viney fruit and strong solvents. Subtle aromas of malt and bread break free from the overpowering and dominant hoppy and solvent character.

Young, rough and raucous, this beer thrashes the palate with intense, unrelenting bitter hops and unripe vinous fruits that just won't give up even in the aftertaste. Green, leafy hops, lots of lemon zest, and a healthy dose of warming, peppery alcohol hit the tongue on the dry, long-lasting finish. Wow, this beer's bitter, vinous character hits you like a ton of bricks, it has the finesse and grace of a 40 ton truck. It is entirely unbalanced leaning heavily toward hops and bitterness, where are the malts and barely?

Very tough and chewy in the mouth, it is medium to full bodied with a great ability to coat the palate. With so much bitterness, leafy hops and slightly sour viney fruit this one is far from smooth and creamy.

Wow. This was a surprise after reading all the sterling reviews of this brew. I have a feeling this one will require at least six months to a year of cellar age to shed its youthful vibrance and begin to be drinkable.


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Photo of M_chav
2.33/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.25

Photo of bobhits
2.33/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Pours a decent head given the abv and the style but it quickly dissipates. The body is a deep ruby color with a huge amount of clarity. There is still enough density here to remind me that yes it is a deep big barely wine.

The nose is a blast of hops, biting the nose and quickly mellowing to a huge thick powerful caramel malt. The best barely wines I've had carried tone more complexity and depth. This reminds me of a slightly higher malt double IPA.

Alcohol, and some kind of dying funk to finish this one off. Amazingly dry and lacking any real sweetness that the nose indicates should be here. Finishes with a huge amount of dry bitterness. As I'm drinking this that finishes that put me off earlier has dissipated a great deal, but still this is absurdly over powering without the flavor to back it.

My mouth has been dried out, burned, and overwhelmed by intense flavors, yet not in the way I'm used to seeing.

Will this age? Certainly! That said this is just awful for a fresh barely wine from anywhere. I haven't had any since 08 and before that 06 and I recall both being a good bit better. That said I never have and certainly don't know understand the hype surrounding this beer. Completely unbalanced and underwhelming.

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Photo of SaveWaterDrinkBeers
2.35/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Photo of RJLarse
2.36/5  rDev -43%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I went to a local craft beer shop and picked up two of these for tasting. I’ve never had a barley wine before so I wanted to give it a try. This one comes highly recommended. I poured this beer in to a pint tumbler.

A medium dark copper color in the glass, with a creamy off-white head. The head is resilient, and left a medium to heavy lacing on the side of the glass while drinking.

The smell is strong, fruity and hoppy. I also think it smells a little like bourbon or whiskey.

The taste is fairly neutral at first, a little sweet and malty, but once you allow air to join the brew in your mouth it turns quite bitter. The taste of alcohol is present, which gets back to the bourbon/whiskey aroma. The aftertaste is quite strong and bitter as well. The aftertaste lingers for quite a while, and seems to be revived from to time in the mouth even without drinking more of the beer.

The mouth feel of this beer is sharp and biting.

This beer is not particularly drinkable. I found myself drinking this one slowly, and frankly not enjoying it very much. It might go well paired with some sort of robust food to quell the aftertaste. I can’t see myself drinking more than one of these in a blue moon. Perhaps barley wine is an acquired taste? It was better at the end of the glass than the beginning, but I’ll put the other one away for a while.

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Photo of VMWhelan
2.38/5  rDev -42.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

2011 12oz bottle into Sierra Nevada tumbler.

Pours a reddish copper with a two finger off white head.

Smell is very floral with some piney hops and just a bit of malt sweetness. Getting a potpourri of sorts.

Taste is very bitter. Getting a lot of the same potpourri that I got in the scent, as well as some very piney hops. Alcohol is very noticeable.

Mouthfeel is medium with high carbonation.

Drinkability is low. This may be better with age, but it's way too harsh fresh. I'm going to age the other one that I bought for a year or two before I try this one again.

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Photo of FreightTrain
2.39/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A- Dark, brown beer with rapidly dissipating white head.

S- Grapey smell.

T- Taste was like grape drink. Not grape juice; grape drink. Intensely so. Lots of hop bitterness, which is welcome since it cuts through the artificial grape flavor a bit.

M- Mouthfeel was thick and creamy, as you'd expect from a barleywine, nice carbonation.

D- I couldn't finish my pint. The grape/fruitloop flavor was unbearable. It was so bad that at first I thought it had to be the cold (tap) temperature, but it improved only slightly once it reached cellar and then room temperature.

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Photo of jbehlar
2.4/5  rDev -42%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Photo of adamette
2.4/5  rDev -42%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Served in bottle proclaiming that it is the 25th adventure, 2008 version with clean, clear ale glass at Winking Lizard in Mentor, Ohio. I appreciated the fact that I was able to pour it for myself.

A I cm light brown head over a caramel brown, cloudy, opaque body. Very pleasing, inviting.

S Barley and alcohol to the nose. There is a strong grain smell.

T Hops. This was a suprise since I really did not smell that (I smelled it again to see what I had missed and indeed, did not really smell predominate hops like the taste). It reminds me of Great Lakes Brewing Company's Noferastu which I tasted and reviewed this week (I gave it a 2.0 overall) in that it is way too bitter with hops. I really did not like this going in or going down.

M Full, acidic, repulsive.

D Poor due to high ABV, acidic taste, bitter, bitter.

Notes: I respect that Barleywine is supposed to be bitter, hoppy but I just don't like that taste in beer. It is too bitter.

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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 322wingedfoot
2.44/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Photo of KG12
2.5/5  rDev -39.6%

Photo of sonofliberty2
2.5/5  rDev -39.6%

Photo of Markus98
2.5/5  rDev -39.6%

Photo of Tjvan2
2.5/5  rDev -39.6%

Photo of Dave_Treat
2.5/5  rDev -39.6%

Photo of VBWharfRat
2.5/5  rDev -39.6%

Photo of vma
2.5/5  rDev -39.6%

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 Gregg_Kawakami
2.5/5  rDev -39.6%

Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 7,605 ratings