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

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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
sierranevada.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
Ratings:
1,313
Reviews:
259
Avg:
4.14
pDev:
9.66%
 
 
Wants:
178
Gots:
609
For Trade:
70
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,313 |  Reviews: 259
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of Texasfan549
3.81/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to AndresR for sharing this one at jmgrub's tasting.

Pours a clear dark orange with a foamy beige head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, toffee, whiskey, and wood. Taste is much the same with a hoppy finish and an alcohol kick. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a great smell and a hoppy flavor I wasn't quite expecting from a barrel aged beer.

 622 characters

Photo of GRG1313
2.81/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

I cannot simply use the "Had" feature for this one. I personally find this beer far different than several reviews and figured I'd put forth a voice with which some others may agree.

Pours a clear brownish red with a khaki head and is nice looking.

Nose is a juxtaposition of fresh "IPA pineapple" hops and malt and burnt sugar. Neither is proper for style - both "mixed together" makes for one of the really few terribly unbalanced noses I've smelled. The hops character is great; the malt/carmel character is great - they do not marry well.

Mouthfeel is creamy, rich and nicely carbonated but relatively meaningless when fighting with the nose, flavor profile and finish.

Flavors are citrus/pine hops overlapping and fighting with burnt-sugar/carmel and malty tones. There is no one following the other; there is no "over tone" or "undertone." These are just two conflicting, unbalanced, disjointed flavor profiles that make for a conflicting and confusing drink. There is a character of "carbonated whiskey," . .strong whiskey, that is pervasive and not appealing. There is such an assertive alcohol presence that some of the sweetness in the nose is clearly the alcohol and the actual taste of the whiskey/alcohol seems much more than 12.2% abv. (Not that 12.2% is low....it just tastes like its about 80 proof! i.e. 40% abv!)

The finish follows the flavor profile - same comments - very confusing.

This one is just not for me. JMO

 1,445 characters

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.41/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

one of the better american barleywines around, if it even still is around at all. this is just awesome. deep mahogany, almost ruby red in color, the richest of ambers, hazy but not dirty looking, and hanging on to a short half inch of just off white bubbles. the nose is great, still hanging in there with bigfoots characteristic hop intensity, but its mellowed from the oak, and from the first whiff, an intense and wonderful barrel character is evident. i get a lot of vanilla and toasted marshmallow, a pronounced nuttiness, maybe almond, and a nice molasses sweetness among the charred oak. the flavor comes in waves, bigfoot first, which is huge for me in barreled beers, i get the hops in the middle with the grain before it. the grain doesnt provide as much sweetness as the whiskey does i dont think, but all the nuance is wonderful. vanilla for sure, maple syrup, brown sugar, and still the hops, which play well with the oak. the alcohol is invisible even at ambient temperature, and the carbonation is just enough to keep it alive and moving. i drank this way too fast, a sign of how elegant it is really, and a testament to how not thick it is. not syrupy or dense or even filling, a great texture in a style that is usually candy teeth. i dig this a lot, extremely impressed by its degree of refinement, and would love to sit on a bottle of this for awhile, although the hops presence makes this special and it may fade off in time. truly world class example of a barrel aged strong ale.

 1,500 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of Knapp85
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out as a mahogany brown color with a thin white head that fades quickly leaving no retention or lacing. The beer appears to be pretty thick, due to the syrupy residue on the glass. The smell of the beer is pretty boozy, definitely a high octane brew with the help of that barrel aging pouring out of it. The taste of the beer is malty, sweet, it's got some bitterness to it along with a subtle whiskey flavor in the mix as well. The mouthfeel of the beer was smooth and boozy with a light carbonation. Overall it's a big beer, and sure to please any fan of the regular Bigfoot. Worth trying.

 603 characters

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of metter98
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle at Mugs Alehouse, Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is very hazy dark brownish amber in color. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of toasted oak and vanilla are present in the nose along with hints of caramel malts.
T: The taste mostly follows the smell and has lots of flavors imparted by the whiskey barrel aging, except that the hops are a bit stronger and lend a light amount of bitterness and slight hints of pine resin.
M: It feels full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The alcohol lends some warming to the mouthfeel.
O: The whiskey barrel aging really mellows out the strong dose of resinous hops that you would normally expect from a Bigfoot. It's not difficult do drink because most of the alcohol is hidden from the taste (except what you perceive from the whiskey).

Note: 2013 Expedition.

 968 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Credit for the American-style barleywine can be largely, if not solely attributed to Sierra Nevada and their Bigfoot Barleywine. Its taken thirty years of recipe formulation and execution and over a decade of barrel aged technique to achieve the seduction of taste that this bottle delivers.

Its tawny brown pour provides highlights of mahogany, ruby, and maroon just as soon as the beer releases its slightly yellowish foam. Mostly clear in color, the beer's sheer darkness prevents it from being see-through. Capped by that ultra-creamy froth, the beer retains exceptional for its high alcohol and barrel-aged character, all the while lacing randomly and intricately as the beer fades.

Maple syrup, oak, and incredible whisky are the boldest scents to entice the olfactory senses, but a secondary rise of dark pitted fruit, kettle caramelized toffee, toast, citrus peels and vanilla often times rival the more overt scents. Its a very lush and inviting set of aromas that seem to meld together beautifully.

Robust sweetness of caramelized malts provide a healthy and heaping dose of toffee, maple, and caramel. But just as the sweetness takes on port-like proportions, the fruit notes of plumb, raisin, currant, dates, grapes, and figs take hold and turn the beer slightly tart and savory. Aged oak, vanilla, and malt starches provide a mild creamy taste that teases the middle palate with notions of milkshake. But finishing with an overwhelming sense of whisky is peppery, coconut-like, moderate citrusy bitterness and strongly of barrel-infused alcohol for a taste that takes the original Bigfoot right out of orbit.

Full bodied without question, however the beer has a certain lightness due to how the whisky barrel smoothed out the textures, mellowed the hops, and tamed the alcohols somewhat. But a gradient lessening of malt sweetness allows the stronger alcohols to cut through the malt and usher in a balanced, warm, and malty-dry finish.

I'm rather surprised of how much the barrels diealed down the hops and rounded out the malts to sherry-like or port-like savoriness and complexity. But with the influx of bourbon barrel aged beers, I have become accustomed to expect more bourbon character than this simplified whisky flavor provided. Even still, its a world class barleywine that more resembles English versions than the standard Bigfoot provides.

 2,369 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.19/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

2013 vintage 750ml brown glass bottle with branded black hood-and-wire cap over a branded cork acquired in SoCal earlier this year and served into an EKU 28 stem-snifter in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given its current 93 rating, but I'm not a big fan of the base beer. Reviewed as a barleywine because the label describes it as such.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a half finger wide head of white colour which recedes inside 20 seconds, leaving no lacing.

Body colour is an orange-red of average vibrance. Translucent but nontransparent. No floating yeast particles/sediment is visible.

Overall, it's an appealing if standard appearance for a barleywine (barrel aged or otherwise). I'm optimistic.

Sm: Faint vanilla. Simplistic oak notes (no rich toasted character or the like). Coconut. Marshmallow. Amber malts. Biscuit malt. Tame timid hop character has a light presence. I get more a bourbon than a whiskey character; there's none of the spice or bite of a whiskey. Some burnt sugar. Caramel. Bread crust.

It's a pleasant aroma of mild strength, and hints at some nice complexity. I'm looking forward to trying it. It absolutely has a superior aroma to the base beer.

No yeast character or overt boozy alcohol is detectable.

T: Marshmallow, light graham cracker, bread crust, amber malts, some faint alcohol warmth, light vanilla, light burnt sugar, raisin, buried coconut (when I search for it), and some well-integrated whiskey. Maple syrup. Toffee. Candied sugars. Ample caramel. It's certainly sweet, but not cloying. Flirts with a red port wine character, but never quite commits. Admittedly, the barrel notes are pretty tame, and don't seem to develop the base beer's flavour profile all that much. It isn't all that whiskey-evocative; in fact, it isn't all that evocative in general. I'm a bit underwhelmed.

The highlight for me is the coconut.

Decent balance. The build is cohesive, but not gestalt. Depth of flavour is shockingly low for a barrel aged barleywine. Average duration and intensity of flavour. It's got nice complexity, but little subtlety, nuance, or intricacy. Each note feels very surface. It's not layered, but rather feels pretty flat.

No yeast character comes through.

Mf: Smooth. The wetness/dryness balance is a bit off, with it feeling like stale cardboard at some points in the structure and being perfectly fine in others. Full-bodied and thick. Overcarbonated. Supple. Has a warm presence on the palate. Never feels quite right. The texture suits the taste generally well, but feels far from custom-tailored to it. A biteen syrupy. Sticky.

Not oily, gushed, harsh, or astringent.

Dr: It's a bit too boozy to be as drinkable as it needs to be. It's better than the base beer, but still underwhelms. I continue to be shocked by Sierra Nevada's high reputation given this is the usual level of quality of their beers. I'm shocked by its 93 rating and wouldn't buy it again. I wouldn't recommend it to friends, and while I'll finish the bottle with some effort, it's far from remarkable. It'll get you drunk.

C+

 3,314 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sampled last night at Sheffields with EehaiCJ.

Small snifter, around 8-10oz. pour. Dark crimson highlights, with a compact head of light tan foam.

Aroma is big on the bourbon. Plenty of vanilla, tobacco, and mild whiskey vapors when swirled. It lasts for the half-hour duration of the tiny globular glass. Some sprucey hops squeeze through underneath, reminding me of the original Bigfoot character.

Big boozy whiskey dominates, plenty of vanilla bean, maple syrup, caramel toffee, and peppery alcohol at the end, with a lingering hop bite. It feels viscous and syrupy a little, but with some carbonation. This was very enjoyable, but the high ABV put the brakes on another one. Very potent in small doses.

2013 bottle: whiffs of coconut, big brown sugar and caramel, wet wood, lingering bitterness. Lots of dry oak, traces of dry piney hops from the base beer.

 867 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a burnt orange color with a modest head that fades rather quickly

Smell: Caramel and dried fruit (raisin) blend with the vanilla and oak tones from the barrel; rather boozy aromatics

Taste: Caramel, raisin and coconut flavors, up front, with the hops becoming assertive in the middle; piney and resinous in the finish, with considerable sweet tones; the impact of the Bourbon barrel creates a subtle blend with the hops; considerable warmth in the gullet

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: A reasonably impressive beer - the barrel-aging tones down the bitter qualities of the underlying beer

 644 characters

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of zeff80
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of largadeer
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of superspak
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2700th review! 750 ml bottle into snifter; 2013 vintage, bottled in late 2012. Pours lightly hazy dark ruby red color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big caramel, toffee, toast, raisin, plum, fig, molasses, vanilla, brown sugar, coconut, oak, bourbon, citrus zest, herbal, light pine, and toast/oak earthiness. Fantastic aromas with awesome complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and light-moderate citrus/pine hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, toffee, toast, raisin, plum, fig, molasses, vanilla, brown sugar, coconut, oak, bourbon, citrus zest, herbal, light pine, and toast/oak earthiness. Fair amount of pine/oaky bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, toast, raisin, plum, fig, molasses, vanilla, brown sugar, coconut, oak, bourbon, citrus zest, herbal, light pine, and toast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity, balance, and robustness of big dark/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and light-moderate citrus/pine hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and fairly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome barrel aged barleywine. All around great complexity and balance of dark/bready malt, bourbon barrel, and light-moderate citrus/pine hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the huge ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,704 characters

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Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale - Barrel-Aged from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.14 out of 5 based on 1,313 ratings.
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