Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Barrel-Aged | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding
244 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Barrel-AgedSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Barrel-Aged
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Callenak on 12-05-2006

BEER STATS
Reviews:
244
Ratings:
1,275
Avg:
4.14
pDev:
9.66%
 
 
Wants:
178
Gots:
626
For Trade:
73
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 244 | Ratings: 1,275
Photo of cpetrone84
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is transparent ruby red with lots of a tight tan head. Nose has lots of oak and vanilla, notes of caramel and some cooked brown sugar, light berry sweetness behind. Taste has more malt depth, chocolate, caramel, roasted malt and brown sugar, light berry sweetness and a fair bit of bitterness. Body is full with moderate carbonation and a chewy feel.

 355 characters

Photo of HalfFull
3.87/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A 'fresh' pour of the 2015 barrel aged BigFoot In hand, and a study as for 'should I buy more and bury them for later use'....

The pour is solid with some ruby highdlights and offered up a somewhat lingering foam cap. Nose is still slightly hoppy, and malty with muddled caramel and with a light woody edge and an occassional waft of ethanol. Aroma is a bit subdued overall with regard to expectations but decent. Not a 'wet barrel' aroma by any means.

Taste follows with more muddled caramel and stone fruit notes. Bourbon notes are minimal yet I get more fresh oak and a light touch of vanilla. Feel is a bit thin yet lingers moderately for what seems to be a rather dry finish for the style. No doubt this beer will develop more balance over a year or two but as it stands I don't think I'll be taking on any more.

Warming helps out across the board for this brew; letting more expressive notes reveal themselves on the aroma and giving the feel a fuller body.

2015 Expedition release @ 11.9%

 1,004 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.86/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Hearty murky orange pour that looks lighter than bigfoot base's solid brown color. Good almost half inch head, much less from a whiskey barrel beer. Sierra Nevada always knows how to make a pretty beer.

Aroma was fuckin' hot as shit. Whoof. Some citrus and toffee apparent.

Taste was also super warm, vanilla, wood, obvious whiskey effect. This base beer has to be different from normal bigfoot. Real hoppy and caramel-y in the mouthfeel as well. Should be interesting to see where these go with a few seasons under their belt.

 539 characters

Photo of Moose90
3.86/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served On-Tap

A — Pours a dark ruby hued brown into the glass. A late forming dark brown colored head forms and leaves behind some oily spots of lacing with each sip.

S — Smell is incredible, bouquet of dark fruit, plums, figs, dates, raisins, balanced with a semi-sweet vanilla, Bourbon, oak, cinnamon, and bitter chocolate note, slightly warming.

T — Taste is deep and rich with notes of leather, tobacco, cinnamon, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, oak, Bourbon, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, rich and sweet, lightly boozy.

M — Full-bodied, rich, cloying almost, heavy, but that comes with the territory with a beer of this stature.

O — Very good overall, just what you would expect it to be, take a solid beer, throw it in Bourbon barrels, what could go wrong? Nothing, this is quite nice.

 804 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.84/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Small pop when I removed the cork, it pours a clear dark reddish brown with a small amount of foam that shrinks to a ring around the glass.

The smell is of bourbon, vanilla, caramel malt that has a burnt character to it.

The taste is stronger than I even thought it would be. Bourbon is inmy face big time. Next big thing is the burnt/charred taste I mentioned in the smell.

Setting down with the flavours at hand, delicious notes of vanilla make a partial rescue to the flavour overload.

The mouthfeel, to me, is much lighter than expected and I reckon that's a good thing.

Overall, it is a cool brew to try, especially considering how limited a distro, I'm guessing it sees, but it needs time to mellow out like its little brother.

Edit: I forgot to mention that this is the newly released 2015 and is 11.9% abv. And as the beer warmed, the base beer's hoppiness came through.

 890 characters

Photo of ShoeIn-BrewWin
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very heavy on flavors. Bigfoot is very piney, not for the faint of heart. I like it but just like I said about Narwhal, it could be toned down just a bit; not accessible for most beer drinkers

 193 characters

Photo of CHickman
3.82/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2015 Expedition: Pours dark copper mahogany brown color with a thick creamy 2 finger tan head that was full of tiny bubbles and faded very, very slowly leaving excellent lacing coasting the sides and foamy rings as it went down. The lacing was outstanding.

Smells of whiskey up front mixed with piney hops and oak barrels where the wood notes give out vanilla, char and red wine and resemble bourbon as much as whiskey. The booze in the nose takes away from the base beer’s hoppy and caramel sweetness leaving more of the barrel and wood earthy notes, as well as bourbon, coconut, roasted nuts and some toffee. I like the standard Bigfoot nose better as the hops seem sweeter, more fresh hop oily and enjoyable to inhale.

Tastes of booze, oak, toasted coconut, roasted grains, whiskey, rye, pine needles, vanilla, dark fruit, tea leaf, charred wood, dry floral hops, cocoa powder and chalky yeast. There is some sweetness and a lot of syrup-like tones from the brown sugar, bourbon and oak character, but the liquor is so dominant that it almost erases the hops that normally control the standard Bigfoot profile. This is a completely different beer due to the barrel aging, but perhaps I popped the cork too soon since it’s still rough around the edges and too boozy at this point. Some age may mellow it and let more of the vanilla and sweetness to come through, but at this stage it’s a whiskey/bourbon centric brew that overpowers the hops. As it warms it seems that more booze and earthy barrel flavors come out.

Mouthfeel is slick and creamy even though the booze is hot and almost harsh, with a chewy, medium body, mild carbonation and a slightly bitter, boozy finish that trails off with roasted grains, toasted coconut, burnt toffee and charred and oaky barrel notes like the mash grains from a bourbon were added into the mix. You have to like hard alcohol if you’re going to take on this beer.

I cracked this open tonight to see if I’d want to get another bottle to age while they are still available in my area, but at the price point of $20-22 per bomber I’m not sure I will get another one. Overall it was a good beer, but I was hoping for a great beer. Worth a shot, especially if you like heavy booze in your barleywine.

 2,255 characters

Photo of mjpolzin
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Not as good as I had hoped. I don't love regular Bigfoot but thought maybe the barrel aging would add more. It was very sweet which mixed weirdly with the hops. Very little whiskey flavor.

 188 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the brewery taproom in NC.
Beautiful clear copies colored body is topped by a surprisingly durable head.
This has a bit more input from the barrel aging than I prefer. The barleywine base is not completely masked but is dominated.

Feel: Too much heat in the feel; this would certainly benefit from some aging.

 320 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.77/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I have had a few of these now, but wanted to give a bottle a proper review.

Pours with a short lasting khaki head... and only has spotty lacing... the brew is polished deep amber.

Christ it is amazing how hoppy this is... thick resinous pine combines with caramel, lite vanilla and dry toast... pretty damn boozy, not from the barrels but from the 12%.. with warmth, I get something that I associate with coconut.

More barrel presence on the palate helps balance out the hoppiness... again, thicker caramel and vanilla.. hints of dried cherry.. as it warms up, the oak gets a bit drying, almost like a tannic quality... long bitter bite on the finish clashes too much with the barrel presence and the hefty

A lighter than expected carbonation accentuates an already pretty thick brew.

Honestly, a bit of a mess right now, but the bones of a great BA BW are there.. but it is going to take a long sleep in the cellar to round out the flavors/aromas. The hops and the barrel qualities fight each other too much right now.

4/3.75/3.75/3.75/3.75

 1,047 characters

Photo of uvachief
3.77/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle into a pint glass. Poured more brown than amber red. Big fluffy more brown than tan head as well. Smells like wet Piney hops instead of a sugary barley wine. Tastes more earthy as well. Thin like most barley wines. You do get bourbon on the front and back. Tastes like a barrel aged barley wine but needs a tad bit more sweetness for me. Not bad at all. Just not great.

 389 characters

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2015 750mL bottle served into a snifter.

Three and a half fingers of pillow-like, chewy, light oatmeal-colored head preside over a dark amber and brown body. Lace streaks about the glass as the head slowly recedes. 4.75

Smells awfully similar to the non-BA, floral, caramel-heavy and tinged with booze. Something perfume-like is highly present on the nose and I'm not so keen on it. But the vanilla that emerges as I sit waiting to dive in for a drink is a nice exit. 3.5

Tobacco, leather, and oak hang on my tongue after the first sip and let me know the finish is excellent, but I have to now figure out everything that preceded these flavors. Well, sweet caramel, raisin and combined oatmeal cookie lead things off, but this blissful taste is rudely interrupted by a perfume-like hop injection. It's not completely ruinous but certainly diminishes an otherwise sweet treat entrance. Interestingly, by taking a smaller sip I reduce the perfume presence and allow for more oatmeal cookie, tobacco, oak, vanilla, caramel and the like. There are a number of flavors that are outstanding here. 3.75

Just as that perfume messes with the taste it also has an impact on the feel, making for an overly hopped, harsh bite. Fortunately, there's excellent smoothness wrapped around this perfume to make for a smooth creamy brew with a slight bourbon-like quality. 3.75

I think there's an excellent bee here with more age but it's rough around the edges fresh. I picked up multiples so I'll have the opportunity to revisit some years down the line.

 1,543 characters

Photo of ShareANevada
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Shocked to see 'Aged Bigfoot' on the tap list at the Beer Engine in cleveland. 5 bucks a snifter. A steal if you ask me.

Talking to the bartender, turns out this 2 year old is barrel aged.
Being a monstrous Bigfoot fan, and especially aged bigfoot, I
obviously could not resist. (Of all nights, I was wearing a bigfoot tee shirt, i was virtually obligated)

The barrel comes off very strong. The beer is incredibly smooth, which has been my experience with older vintage bigfoots. Especially for the alcohol, major smooth here.

The barrel seemed to overpower the beer a bit, to me, and obviously when you're talking barleywine, thats not a minor thing.

Overall the beer was very good, would definitely drink it again, it just was a hair off of what I would have really liked in this beer.

To me, and I love huge, huge flavorful beers, the barrel just needed to be turned down a notch so this exceptional brew gets to show itself off a bit more.

 952 characters

Photo of ThickNStout
3.74/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750mL bottle from Total Wine (Kennesaw, GA). 15.99. Bottled 01/13. Served in an Ommegang tulip.

Pours deep garnet with one and a half finger off white head. Plenty of patchy lacing.

Smells of piney hips, whiskey and toffee.

The hops and whiskey battle for dominance. Pine, whiskey, citrus rind, toffee, oak, burnt caramel and booze infused dark fruits.

Medium full, oily feel with a good bit of carbonation. Long bitter, boozey aftertaste.

A nice new take on Bigfoot. The whiskey compliments as supposed to competes. It's definately worth a try if you can land a bottle.

 580 characters

Photo of tectactoe
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Jeff for cracking this one open and sharing, saved me from having to search the city for it. Pours a murky, deep-amber color, nearly copper and almost on the verge of being called raw sienna. The light-tan head settles rather quickly and leaves very spotting lacing on the edges of my glass.

Light whiskey and bourbon on the nose - more standout-ish on its own, rather than integrated into the rest of the aromas. Slight wood and oak with some sweet plums, crispy burnt vanilla, and brown sugar. It's hard to remember how similar this is to the regular Bigfoot, but I believe this one packs a more powerful punch. Of course, that's to be expected, given the whiskey barrel aging and all.

The taste is full of brown sugar and an underlying bourbon heat that starts off on the smaller side, but crescendos throughout the sip and actually becomes quite hot. Sweet figs and dates which tasted like they were soaked in a bourbon bath for years. The malt provides a huge caramel and molasses backbone which becomes washed out a bit by the booze and fruits.

This one is also quite hoppy, and if I recall correctly, the original Bigfoot had a nice hop profile to it as well. They seem even a bit stronger, here. Ashy and leafy, providing a small amount of bitterness to the aftertaste, which is largely dominated by boozy dark fruits and wet wood. Thick body all around with a slick and sticky mouth feel, medium carbonation.

A nice addition to regular Bigfoot, although the whiskey barrel aging made this one quite hot and somewhat difficult to easily drink. Hopefully this one will become more readily available, because I'd like to pick up a few more and age them to see if it blunts the heat a little. Thanks again to Jeff for this one.

 1,748 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2015 bottle didn't have much carbonation when opened

Pours a slightly hazed orange/caramel with a pinky of tan head. Average head retention & lacing

S: Faint whisky smell, a little figgyness

T: Figgyness, leafy hops, a little bit of whiskey. Whisky, raisins & figs as this warms, a little bit of leafy hops as well, toffee and vanilla as well, plus dryness. Finishes dry, jammy with figs, raisins & cakeyness

MF: Medium bodied, damn near zero carbonation. Carbonation picks up as this warms, becomes very warming

Drinks alright, was expecting much more, perhaps tied to the carbonation? Got better as it warmed

 623 characters

Photo of deford
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 750 into a Firestone Walker Snifter.

L-Looks like Coke after the ice has melted. Nice thick head that lasts for a minute or two.

S- Definite Whiskey, hoppy pine thing going on. Maybe a sense of impending sweetness even...kinda cool...

T- Sweet vanilla to start. Bitter oaky whiskey to finish...

F- Medium to full with little carbonation feel.

0- Not as good as I'd hoped, pretty nice but not worth the cost of admission just yet...maybe some time would help??? The bitterness really attacks the back of the tongue as it warms...I wouldn't mind something just a bit smoother and sweeter....maybe I just need to open up a Stickee Monkee....

 652 characters

Photo of n2185
3.71/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: pours a clear dark copper with a finger of beige head that fades into a thin ring with a little lacing.

S: tons of oak with whiskey, vanilla, caramel, and citrus hops dominate the nose with a fair amount of booze.

T: similar to the aroma, tons of oak and woody tanin flavors with whiskey, caramel, and vanilla. There is also a moderate hoppy bitterness with a fair amount of booziness.

M: medium-thick body with medium carbonation, this beer avoids being sticky sweet by being boozy and hoppy.

O: a solid beer overall, but a bit overwhelmingly boozy. Maybe in a year or two it was more balanced.

 602 characters

Photo of john0721
3.69/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

1 PT 9.4 OZ bottle, 2015 vintage, poured into a tulip.

Cast Wood and Fruit in the nose.

Sweet malty, cookie, caramel, toffee, vanilla, cast wood, with subtle whiskey.

The body was lighter than expected.

A good beer worth a try if you like Big Foot.

 253 characters

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

4.5 A: Clear deep amber color. Two fingers of beige frothy/creamy head. Retention is good given the ABV and a finger of lacing is left.

4.0 S: Oh boy, the barrel has had it's way with this. Exquisitely potent leather with a hint of charcoal. Tobacco, raisin, plum, melon. Oak with supple tannins and vanillins. Caramel and toffee. Resiny hops with herbal and earthy notes. Barrel forward nose that smells great.

3.5 T: Again this is mostly barrel and unfortunately I can taste the whiskey more than the beer. Again tons of leather, tobacco, and raisin. Plum, oak, and vanilla next followed by caramel and toffee. Herbal and earthy hop flavors. Moderate bitterness.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Lightly creamy with a tannic finish.

3.5 D: This sure if something. It's a whole hell of a lot of whiskey. I would prefer the barrel to complement the beer rather than dictate it.

 940 characters

Photo of FunkyMacGroovin
3.66/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle, bottle states "Aged in oak whiskey casks for over a year." Dark amber in color, with a vigorous pour yielding a 1-finger head that dissipates quickly and leaves little lacing. Surprisingly muted aroma - light woody characteristics, and a hint of fusel alcohol. Flavor is overwhelmingly barrel and booze-dominated; tons of wood and alcoholic heat with sweet malt flavors only making a cursory appearance. No hop flavor to speak of. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy, though there is very little carbonation.

Bottom line: if you like booze-bombs, open one of these ASAP. Otherwise, I'd suggest sitting on this for a while before opening. Definitely has potential.

 671 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
3.6/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle, 2015 vintage, 11.9% ABV. Served in a DFH snifter, the beer pours a murky brownish/ruby red color with about an inch light tan head that stayed around for a very long time. There's also a good amount of lacing. The brew smells like vanilla, bourbon, dark fruit, toffee, oak and a bit of chocolate. However, the taste isn't as nice as the aroma. There's an unpleasant medicinal bitter flavor that luckily weakened somewhat the longer I drank it, along with some dark fruit, vanilla, bourbon, brown sugar and booziness noticeable. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's syrupy and has a decent amount of carbonation. I didn't have any problem finishing the bottle, but I didn't like that medicinal flavor in this brew at all. At $19.99 a bottle I'll pass on this in the future at that price. I'll just stick with regular Bigfoot instead.

 855 characters

Photo of beerhan
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'll keep this brief.

A-Poured two fingers into a Teku glass, small head, light brown syrupy, ruby color

S-Candy, medicinal aroma with minimal vanilla lingering.

T-Meh, I am not sure what is going on here. The bigfoot flavor keeps trying to shine through but it is almost like there is a barrier from the barrel blocking it and this sort of vanilla sheath prevents it from permeating.

M-This was the 2015 batch, it felt boozier and less crisp than the last batch. The alcohol really hits you fast but at least the carbonation is almost nonexistent.

O-Not worth the $18.99 price tag. I wanted to revisit this one so I bit the bullet. I just do not see the point of putting this in a 750ml bottle when they have the capacity to sell 375ml 4 packs. After this and the Barrel Aged Narwhal I am going to look for better options than Sierra Nevada for barrel aged high gravity beers (at least in this price range).

Bottle label 5/5 --this was probably the biggest factor in me deciding to pick this up.

 1,003 characters

Photo of gillagorilla
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a mini snifter out of a bottle at Max's ($7)

A: Deep brown. Minimal head. (not good lighting at Max's)

S: Sweet barley with just hints of pine. Barrel notes on the nose.

T: Sweet. Weird whiskey notes permeate. Odd flavors, which are almost off. Lots of oak. There is a lot of barrel here and not in a good way. The Bigfoot I know and love is lost in there. I was expecting a sublime presentation like they achieved with BA Narwhal (hadn't even had Narwhal before I had it on tap).

M: Thick, almost viscous.

O: I had missed out on buying a bottle of this early on before I had even had Bigfoot (I think) but I wasn't shelling out $16 for a 750 back then. Then, I heard they had a bottle at Frisco's for $25 and on-site consumption. Finally, it just randomly popped up on tap at Max's for a Sierra Nevada Pint Night (score). I'm glad I didn't bounce on the other opportunities because this one did not live up to the hype for me. I had been looking for it for a while, and it was sub-par. My friend had a bottle in his cellar and he said to be wary and that it won't be what you expect and he was right. Save your money and just age a case of regular Bigfoot every year.

 1,183 characters

Photo of harrymel
3.57/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Didn't think I'd get any of this - low and behold I scored seven bottles today.

Toasted hazelnut with a light etching of creamy foam. Smells are initially boozy and harsh, allow this one to open for a good 10 minutes. then you'll be rewarded with vanilla, nougat, whiskey barrel, caramel, hops are still in there, but profoundly subdued. Taste ranges from boozy, to sweet to bitter all in the same mouthful. I get lots of sharp alcohol early, then a deep malty character accented with syrup, spiced rum, bitterness, pine sap, toffee and some bits of plum. The body is thinner than I'd prefer, and the carb a little hi with a wet finish.

Make no mistake, the barrel added to the intensity of this beer. The barrel did not, however, tone down the beast, only changed the hairdoo. This beer is fucking hardcore. I am really surprised it was in the barrel for over a year, as the beer still seems a little rough around the edges (something I respect in a fresh Bigfoot) but with the added potential the whiskey barrel added to the overall depth.

 1,043 characters

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Barrel-Aged from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 1,275 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe