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

252 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Barrel-AgedSierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Barrel-Aged

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

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 252 | Ratings: 1,303
Photo of hreb
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 Expedition Barrel-Aged Bigfoot barley wine. Aged somewhat, obvious. Pours slick and viscous, like smooth caramel, falling into my Chimay chalice. No head formed. Aroma is rich and intoxicating with sweet malt and vanilla rich from the oak. Flavor is more assertive, with a strong American barleywine profile up front, and the dull bitterness of baking cocoa in the middle of my tongue. Gradually that melts away and reveals the (comparatively subtle) oaky vanilla profile has soaked into every corner of my mouth. Just a hint of alcohol burn in the back of the mouth, and then it's all gone -- remarkably clean finish. With a little age on it, barrel aged bigfoot is an impressively layered beer. And yeah, I do get a bit of that coconut. Enjoyable and quite drinkable even at 11.9%.

750 mL, 2015.

 813 characters

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

2015 bottle poured march 2017

Pours a brownish amber, thin cream head

Massive oak nose, a little vanilla, some bourbon

Taste is overpowering oak, burnt sugar, a little molasses

Slightly oily, little carbonation

Overall, disappointing. I didn't taste it fresh, but I'm not impressed after 2 years of aging. The barrels didn't seem charred (I got mostly fresh oak, not much caramelization, bourbon), and it was overpowering. Perhaps I'm spoiled by Firestone and the Bruery's BA beers

 488 characters

Photo of ovaltine
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a HUUUUUGE beer, appropriately enough. It follows the base beer - dark copper color, tan head, and the aromas have the base beer, especially the caramel and toffee and the resiny hops.

Where this steers away from the base beer, obviously, is the barrel, which is very present on the nose and in the taste, but not in a negative way - the vanilla and oak mix well with the base beer to create a new beer that is most excellent.

I sat on this for two years, and I'm glad I did, because it aged really well. Just a pleasure to drink on a cold Minnesota evening.

 570 characters

Photo of infinitebruner
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

October 25, 2016

750 ml bottle, tulip glass

A – Deep, brilliant mahogany, and extraordinarily clear. Almost two inches of off-white to light tan foam, frothy, which leaves significant legs and lacing as it recedes.

S – Resin, treacle, chewy molasses, a blast of vanilla, crème brulee, caramel. Some straight bourbon notes, along with stone fruit, peach pits.

T – A lot of alcohol here, fruity and slightly floral. Molasses and vanilla are massive. Some resin, apple, and caramel. Not as complex as the nose.

M – Still highly bitter, prominent so throughout, despite the barrel aging. Malt sweetness and a warm, nearing hot, alcohol bite. Somewhat thick, though not as chewy/viscous as other examples, comes across more as a “triple IPA” than a barleywine. Somewhat tannic, dry on the finish.

O – A very strong entry in the barrel aged barleywine category, but lacks complexity on the flavor, and seems to be missing something on the mouthfeel.

 976 characters

Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Pours a murky reddish brown with a one finger off white head. Tons of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is caramel, vanilla, coconut and whiskey.

T - The taste starts sweet with vanilla, caramel, toffee and coconut followed by some piney hops. The finish is oak and whiskey barrel.

M - Heavy body with medium carbonation. Soft creamy mouthfeel with a dry finish.

O - This is a solid beer. The flavors are heavy on the piney hops and oak. Not something i'd buy often but I'm glad I tried it.

 489 characters

Photo of PA-Michigander
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

To be fair to this beer, this was a 2013 bottle, and I have not had this beer fresh to do a comparison. There didn't seem to be any defects from it aging three years.

 167 characters

Photo of ClavisAurea
4.39/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 Vintage served chilled in a wine glass.

The pour was very smooth with not a lot of carbonation. Nose was whisky, coconut, walnuts, sweet malts and a hint of hop character. Taste follows the nose exactly. I really enjoyed this beer. I do think it was worth the price of admission.

 285 characters

Photo of StArnoldFan
3.28/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I just don't feel like this beer is any good. Bitter and malty with not much else going on. I don't get much of any whiskey notes at all. Just tastes like an old malty barleywine. I'm pretty pissed I spent $25+ on this and wasted a year aging it. I won't ever buy this beer again.

 280 characters

Photo of GuyFawkes
3.92/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage; drank 3/25/14 @ Fischman's.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Murky orange rust color.

Khaki head; minimal lace.

Caramel & booze nose.

Thick mouthfeel.

Dill pickle, caramel & a hint of chocolate flavors. Unique, for sure, but over-the-top & a touch cloying. Another year, perhaps?

 308 characters

Photo of SHODriver
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Initial Bottle Release

A: Poured into a snifter to a nice reddish brown topped by a finger of dense off white head that fades to a small collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing.
S: Smells of caramel malts and old piney hops with some whiskey barrel notes of caramel and vanilla
T: Taste is caramel and oak with some vanilla as well. Aged hops bring some slight pine and bitterness. The beer also has some sweet coconut notes. Swallow is more oak and caramel with some lingering old hop bitterness with a little pine and earthiness
M: This beer has a smooth and a body on the heavier side of medium. The level of carbonation is soft but adequate and the beer has an oily but drying finish
O: Overall this one is pretty good. It has some good oaky notes that play well with the base beer but I'd have liked for a little more barrel influence. Alcohol is hidden fairly well too. Definitely one to try if you can find it.

 946 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 dar482
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer comes in deep amber color.

The aroma hits of caramelly sweetness, woody bitterness, toasted oak, vanilla, toasted coconut.

The flavor follows with toasted oak and coconut flavor, hints of dried date, with a medium plus bitterness of woodiness and the Bigfoot base coming through.

 290 characters

Photo of gandres
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

4 pack from Costco, 22 ounce bottle poured to wine glass
Sight: Brown hazy liquid, dark tan foam, quickly disappears
Smell: aroma of grains
Taste: low bitterness, hint of sweetness
Aroma: long finish, alcohol comes out
Overall: very good beer, ok to repeat but not look for
Drank: 9/22/2016 8:33 PM

 301 characters

Photo of BucannonXC5
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Type: 24-oz. bottle
Glass: AleSmith Barrel-Aged Reserve snifter glass
From: Costco in Goleta (Santa Barbara), Calif.
Price: $7.50 ($30 for a High Altitude variety 4-pack)
Purchased: May 29, 2016
Consumed: Aug. 5, 2016
Reviewed as: American Barleywine
Misc.: Packaged on March 29, 2016 at 10:12 a.m. PT; ABV is actually 11.6 pct.

This was the crown jewel out of the four I got from the high altitude four-pack for $30 at Costco, down from a previous price I saw for $40 at Barons. Would be extremely disappointed if this wasn’t the best of the four I tried. Gave the non-BA version a 4.30.

Poured a light brown, clear color with two fingers of frothy, khaki head. Lots of bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass. Good spotty lacing. Very good retention. (Sight - 4.25)

Smelled bourbon, chocolate, oaky wood, tobacco, fig, vanilla, maple syrup, sugary caramel and toffee. (Smell - 4.25)

A bit hot on the tongue initially. Also got boozy bourbon, oaky wood, vanilla, earthy tobacco, fig, caramel, dry maple syrup, toasted toffee and unknown hops. (Taste - 4.00)

Medium body. Sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, woody, warming finish. (Feel - 4.00)

This was good, but not as good as I thought it would be. I prefer the base version more. NOTE: Digging it more two days later. Jumped it from a 4.00 to a 4.25. (Overall - 4.25)

4.13 | 92 | A-

 1,361 characters

Photo of Troy-Hawaii
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of a variety 4-pack 24 oz. bottle $29.99 Costco
Dark brown amber color
Heavy mouth feel
Medium carbonation
Strong bourbon characteristics, definitely a beer to be sipped to be enjoyed. A beer to be shared because drinking it all yourself might be a bit too much due to its strong flavors. Glad to try it once, probably not again for a long while.

 354 characters

Photo of neenerzig
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky enough to get 2 bottles of the 2015 edition of this beer. Cracked one open tonight. Poured into my snifter glass, this beer pours a clear, dark amber color with bright ruby highlights when held up to the light. Has a slightly off-white, tan head that's about an inch thick when poured that settles a thick ring lining the inside of the glass along with a big cluster swirl of a film layer of foam that covers about half the beer's surface. Decent lacing. Aromas of tasted caramel malts, toffee, vanilla, and hints of dates and figs along with a nice oaked, bourbon booze smell. The taste is pretty much the same, with nicely toasted caramel malt sweetness that gives way to a nice vanilla and toffee presence followed by a wonderful oaked bourbon presence that provides a bit of a burn that gives way to the aforementioned dates and figs. All of this is rounded out with a slight earthy and floral hop presence. Has a fairly crisp and prickly, also smooth, slightly chewy and sticky, full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Has a decently smooth, clean finish. Dangerously drinkable for a beer with this beer's ABV %. A real winner here for sure!


 1,186 characters

Photo of Harrison8
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear rich plum-burgundy with a thick khaki head. Head retention is moderate, with no lacing left behind. It is a shade darker, and also clearer, than regular Big Foot. The Big Foot Barleywine carries notes of caramel, toffee, dark fruits, and toasted and nutty malts. The barrel aged version adds in notes of oak, bourbon, and alcohol, which are almost overwhelming. It certainly smells much heavier than the base beer. A sip of this barrel aged barleywine opens up a huge complexity of flavors, with oak, and bourbon opening it up. While the aroma's bourbon has a bit of a burn, the taste is smooth and well balanced. Notes of caramel, toffee, and nutty malt back up the rounded barrel aged opening. Mouth feel is bubbly, with a little bit of a sting, but otherwise nice. It has a medium to medium-full consistency depending on serving temperature. Overall, it's a sublime barleywine, but it certainly carries a lot more weight and complexity than its non-barrel aged brother. It's complexities are well managed and flavorful though.

Served in a 12oz snifter. Drinking side-by-side with 2016 Big Foot.

 1,112 characters

Photo of PerfecTool
4.66/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this at the brewery in NC. This is a very unique beer. Barley wines in general are pretty unique for me, but adding the bourbon flavor really adds some complexity. It's rather boozy but goes down smooth. One of the best tasting beers I've ever had.

 254 characters

Photo of TheSixthRing
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours clear and dark amber in color with a sandstone, bubbly two-finger width head with fair retention, dissipating to a thin, mostly broken layers of suds across the surface. No notable lacing.

Smell - Sweet. Caramel, lots of oak, a hint of vanilla and a quite a bit of bourbon booziness once it warms.

Taste - Follows the nose. Loads of caramel and sweet oaky flavors with subtle vanilla. Some earthy, leafy hop character. Deeper oak notes and bourbon carries through in the finish, along with the aforementioned flavors.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied with moderate carbonation. Fair smoothness with a dry finish.

Overall - Smoother and a bit sweeter than the regular Bigfoot, especially considering the relative age. That said, it's not worth the price. Definitely better as it hits room temperature. Not sure I'd drop $20 on a single bottle, but $30 for that 4-pack variety they had at Costco might make me stop and pause for a moment.

 950 characters

Photo of kalosjakar
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015, cellared for approx. 6+ months.

Murky rust looking with an off white, slightly creamy head.

Aroma: whisky, vanilla, oak, caramel, dark fruits, mild boozy factor.

Taste: i get moderate bitter hops and oak up front, sweet malt, vanilla, whisky aftertaste. Boozy bite at the end.

 287 characters

Photo of corby112
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy dark mahogany color with deep amber/copper colored edges and a two finger off-white head that quickly settles. Decent retention lasting most of the way through with sporadic streaks of soapy lacing left behind.

Sweet and boozy aroma with prominent complex barrel characteristics nicely integrated into the earthy hops, leathery malt and vinous fruit notes of the base beer. Very nice barrel presence with charred oak, sweet spirit, toasted coconut, mallow and silky vanilla bean. Very complex, not just generic booze/whiskey. Underneath, there's subtle grassy hop resins along with burnt sugar, caramel, toffee and vinous sweetness. Hints of fig, date, raisin and plum. Smells really good.

Medium body and slightly oily/viscous with strong barrel character that's very nicely integrated into the base. Similar to the aroma but not quite as impressive. Oak and spicy whiskey is stronger than expected and the silky, luscious coconut and vanilla/mallow notes found in the nose are pretty subtle. Still, this beer is complex and enjoyable especially if you like quality whiskey flavor in your BA beers. Plenty of spirit flavor and boozy sweetness but there's little to no heat. Complexity makes it a bit of a sipper but it's surprisingly easy to drink at 12.2%. Thankfully the barrel is well integrated without obliterating the flavors of the base. Dry bitter resins up front with grassy pine and sticky buds quickly countered by sweet caramel malt, toffee, light chocolate, burnt sugar, shaved coconut and vinous sweetness. Lots of dark fruit with plum, grape, currant, date, fig and raisin. Slightly earthy and leathery with a faint tobacco presence complimenting the hops and balancing the sweetness. Overall, a flavorful complex beer that's well balanced and easy to drink.

 1,805 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 Givemebeer
4.26/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 Bigfoot: Cellared for over 1 year

Look: Beautiful beer. Deep amber ruby colored and clear. Nice lacing. Oozes class.

S: Figs, prunes, plums, and as stated on the bottle raisins coconut and vanilla also present. Good strong complex aroma.

T: Oh this is a bit boozy. Not too boozy - reminds you that this one is definitely a sipper. The balance is pretty incredible on this one. Dark fruits lead off on the palate before shifting to the barrel qualities. The alcohol comes through at the end leaving a warming feeling.

M: Full bodied and tamed carbonation.

O: One classy sipper from Sierra Nevada. Beautiful bottle and as expected fine product inside the bottle as well. Happy to have bought this rather expensive beer and cellared it for a year.

 763 characters

Photo of GOBLIN
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is a sipper if there ever was one. I was expecting a big huge boozy beer. Although you have take it easy with this one, it's truly a well put together barley wine. Big on malt, hops and bourbon. Very warming and smooth. Wish I had another bottle of this for sure.

 268 characters

Photo of stratusjeans
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

'14 version on tap at Brouwers.

Just has the '16 non-BA version last week. Don't have them side by side but similar appearance by memory. Smell is sweeter, still some hops but more caramel. Taste is balanced but still strong hop presence. Surprising for a 2 year old brew. Subtle whiskey and noticeable booziness. Caramel and strong lingering bitterness on the finish.

Mouthfeel is thicker than the original but on the medium low end for BA beers. Very pleasant and not heavy though which adds to drinkability.

Overall I like it a lot and the barrel aging compliments the base beer quite well.

 603 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Barrel-Aged from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 1,303 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.