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:
22.22%
 
 
Wants:
179
Gots:
626
For Trade:
73
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 244 | Ratings: 1,275
Photo of MUTINY
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a review of the 2015 edition.

750ml corked & caged bottle into my Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a hazy deep-amber/brown that shows more interesting reddish characteristics when held up to direct light. A fairly vigorous pour yields 1" of just off-white head that definitely lingers. Retention & lacing are both above-average.

S: Deep pitted fruit characters immediately grabbed my attention. Fig & date are both present along with hints of brighter berry characteristics. The Bourbon aspect is very subtle here on the nose, but quite pleasant. Brown sugar & what I'd characterize as roasted toffee help to round things out. The overall tone of the nose is somewhat sweet but deeply layered & mesmerizing.

T: Very similar to the nose with the addition of a much stronger Bourbon note. It leads with semi-sweet chocolate, vanilla & a healthy dose of pitted fruits that were present on the nose. The mid palate is unmistakeably boozy & Bourbony without much additional development of flavor. The finish is rather bitter & a pleasant change of pace from anything else that this brew has shown up to this point. Additional new flavors present themselves in the finish, most notably walnut, almond & cinnamon. It's really quite good save for the slightly one-note doldrums of the mid palate.

M: Arguably overcarbed yet delicate. The body presents only a portion of large maltiness that I feel would really benefit this brew. It is quite rich yet in my opinion not dense enough. It finishes slick & actually a bit crisp.

O: This is a subtle & logical improvement on the standard SN Bigfoot. This brew produces a deeper nose & a larger swath of flavor characteristics. I'm really rather impressed.

 1,717 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 Trilogy31
4.59/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Hoping i am in the right place for this beer as it it appears i am the first to review the newly released 750 bottled version. A slow hiss as i pull the cork, this brew pours a brilliant amber ruby hue with a beige finger of creamy foam - stunning looking. The nose is a beauty as well, bourbon barrel booze esters, caramel, nougat, vanillin. Also bright sugar plums and sticky toffee along with dates and booze soaked figs. Very complex on the nose with a lot of booze as well. The taste is not quite to the level of the nose with the alcohol hiding up some more of the noses nuanced characteristics. Brings oloroso sherry, rye whiskey as well as irish whiskey, somehwhat grainy and drying. The finish is somewhat tannic and very boozy, cannot imagine how amazing this will be in two years after having time to mellow and all the flavors to integrate.

 852 characters

Photo of Chcshammonde
4.86/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Epic BA version of an already great beer. Enjoyed with some beer nerd friends and this was a big hit. Vanilla, bourbon, hop, caramel, and malt flavors abound.

 164 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 mnphish
4.39/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Geeked out when this beer was announced and it has been sitting in my cellar for too long, time to indulge. It pours darker than regular bigfoot with a sizable head that disappears within a minute. This beer reminds me very much of Central Waters barrel aged barleywine.

While the hops have faded, the malts certainly have not. Huge oak, vanilla, caramel, and bourbon notes on the nose. The taste follows suit with a sweet boozy vanilla punch. The heat and barrel pretty much cover up any sort of hops or citrus to be had, which is ok by me.

This is a heavy barleywine that should stand the test of time. Very happy I got my hands on a few of these gems.

 657 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 joefuzz
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours just like regular Bigfoot, deep ruby with a small slightly off white head. Smells of piney hops and some slight whiskey. Taste is hop forward with that great Bigfoot malt bill complimented very nicely by a slight vanilla/marshmallow aftertaste and some decent alcohol heat. The barrel doesn't overpower the base beer it is pretty much the perfect blend. Mouthfeel is perfect for a barleywine with just the right amount of carbonation. Regular Bigfoot is one of my favorite barleywines and I had thought that there was no room for improvement but this has taken me by suprise. Sierra Nevada has done wonders for the craft beer community for decades and this is just another great example of them pushing into the future.

 725 characters

Photo of Awolter
4.82/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage drank in mid September 2015. Strong toffee, caramel, oak, bourbon. Some bitterness left, not much. A delightful treat. Put a few years on it and it's spectacular. I absolutely love this beer.

 204 characters

Photo of JebBeerFish
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thus far, the biggest difference between smell and taste for a beer. Smells quite sweet in a vanilla caramel way, like a really nice English Barley Wine, but taste is much hoppier, although significantly less hoppy then regular Bigfoot. While better than the regular Bigfoot, I prefer my barley wines to be sweeter.

 315 characters

Photo of DonDirkA
4.57/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The nose is similar to the original only in the background, right up front it is definitely barrel aged. Bourbon, vanilla, toasted coconut, oak, caramel, molasses, a hint of piney hops and some booziness. The bourbon barrel comes forward REALLY strong in the taste. Toasted coconut, oak, bourbon, caramel, pine hops, vanilla, some citrus and sweet roasted, caramel malts. I like the more pronounced malts of the barrel-aged version as opposed to the standard Bigfoot. The hops are much more muted and subtle. Medium to full body, low but proper carbonation, very smooth, not too boozey and a sweet, somewhat chewy mouthfeel. I could drink this all the time whereas the original is a bit rougher, in my opinion.

 710 characters

Photo of Justin_Neff
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Dark copper color with a 2 finger head. Great lacing that sticks on the glass throughout the entire drink. The foamy lacing sticks around the brew for the whole drink. Nice and fluffy.

S: Whhhiskey! Hints of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, dark fruits, and butter. Good.

T: More whiskey. Lots of malt. Caramel - more than the nose suggests. Some oak. Finishes with some hop bitterness.

M: Full body and very creamy. Low carbonation.

O: Couldn't believe when my dad showed up at my doorstep in Ohio this morning and told me he came across a bottle of this in Indiana. I truly owe him, as this one was worth the hype. Thanks Pops!! Great balance of flavor, smell, and body.

 677 characters

Photo of BenwayPHD
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, reddish brown with a light brown thin head. The nose is robust and delicious. Whiskey and booze right up front. Toffee, vanilla, pepper, mild citrus, Hawaiian Punch. The flavor is really nice. A bit more subtle than other barrel aged barleywine I've had. The mouth feel is a bit too thin, but still nice.

 319 characters

Photo of KBS
3.89/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Hopcat. Was underwhelmed with this beer. Was expecting something at least close to BCBW or Central Waters BBBW but it wasn't close. Felt quite thin and didn't live up to my expectations for the style.

 210 characters

Photo of twage04
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in sierra nevada asheville's restaurant in a flight. If I had a full pint I might have been in trouble. Dark raisins and booze dominate with some hint of bourbon? Very complex and savory, I'm looking forward to saving the bottle I snatched up to see how it tastes after some aging, if I can resist opening it sooner.

 323 characters

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

The hopiness of the standard Bigfoot is greatly diminished and is replaced by a sweet heat. The alcohol is quite obvious in the aftertaste, which should diminish in time. There is a syrupy sweetness which may not appeal to some.

 228 characters

Photo of Sparty1224
4.49/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Serving: 1 Pt 9.4 Fl. oz. bomber poured into a Founder's CBS snifter. Bottled on 1/22/15, making this just under a month old.

A: Pours a dark ruby-red color, pretty clear. Just a thin ring of white head laces the beer.

S: Lots of vanilla, oak, molasses. Some maple-candy sweetness in there as well. Picking up some licorice and candied red apples too. The whiskey barrel isn't huge on the nose, but it's definitely there.

T: Vanilla, oak, rich maple syrup. Some caramel and raison notes as well. Big, big hop presence here in the finish. Lots of dank, piney, resinous qualities to it. Quite bitter actually.

M: Nice and full, good carbonation for a barrel-aged beer. Very hot and boozy on the finish, with quite a lingering bitterness.

O: I remember being very fond of this beer back when it first came out in 2013... but that was before I had tried BCBBW. I love regular Bigfoot, and in general I prefer the very hop-forward American-style barleywines. But when it comes to throwing them into barrels, I think you have to go English-style. The smooth, malty flavors just work so much better in the barrel. This beer still feels very hot, hoppy and undercooked, even after a year in a barrel. Also, the barrel character isn't huge here. BCBBW is in 3rd-use barrels, and the barrel is way more present there. This is a very nicely done beer, and it's just what I expected from barrel-aging Bigfoot. But I just really prefer BA English-style BW's so much more, and this leaves me wanting a bit.

Recommendation: A bit easier to come by in 2015 compared to 2013, so get on it while you can, it's totally worth it.

 1,620 characters

Photo of beerfootfreak
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Delicious but still a little young. You can smell the bourbon along with notes of coconut and slight vanilla. The taste is smooth without much burn. Primary taste is coconut followed by vanilla and a little dark fruit. Great version of a great beer, can't wait till next year when I open my second.

 298 characters

Photo of Jjski
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Properly cellared in the cave for 1 year, due to initial reports of it being hot. That is certainly not the case anymore. Pulled from cellar and drank at 52 degrees Fahrenheit

A-tawny brown with red highlights , head quickly dissipates

S-Caramel , citrus (oranges) whiskey

T-not as bold as I expected. Warm caramel malt, sweet citrus and hops. Well integrated. Barrel oak, minimal whiskey

M- not thick, slightly less than syrupy, like a DIPA

O- I was hoping for a bit more complexity, but the cohesive natures belies the strong alcohol content. Smooth at 1 year. An outstanding barley wine. Is it epic? IMHO not quite. Hoppy indeed, but not at all bitter. The lingering hops on the palate is a pleasant, aged experience. Sort of like Burton Baton. I like oak aged DIPAs, and disdain bitter puckering hops. This is very balanced.

Paired with American cuisine: Hot Dogs, whole wheat penne, and peas ( left over from feeding the kids)

 940 characters

Photo of Nietzsches_Horse
4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I found this to be a perfectly competent, even very nice, barrel-aged American Barleywine. But, in terms of taste and, certainly, value, I'd always choose 2 4-packs of regular Bigfoot over one bottle of this .

 210 characters

Photo of mschind
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 edition that I've been cellaring for about a year. Time for something special to close out Sacramento Beer Week!

A- Pours a murky reddish brown color into a snifter. It seemed to clear a bit as it warmed up. Low but appropriate carbonation for this style leaving no head to speak of.

S- So many layers here; oak, bourbon, malt, dark cherry and just a hint of sherry.

T- Starts out malty sweet and then moves across the entire spectrum of typical barley wine flavors. There is a slight alcohol bite throughout, enough to remind you of what you are dealing with but not hot.More hops flavor than other offerings and I really appreciated the slightly bitter finish which kept things balanced.

M- Medium to full body with just enough carbonation to keep it from being syrupy.

O- A perfect Sunday sipper.

 809 characters

Photo of olfolxholme
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into Deschutes tulip snifter

A - Beautiful, clear, dark ruby beer pours with about 1 finger of crisp white foam. Really gorgeous when held to the light. Slight head retention, good lacing.

S - Everything I was hoping to smell here. Great barrel aged character, chocolatey barley - these overpower the hops that I normally associate with Bigfoot.

T - Oak whiskey barrel and sweet barley forward. Chocolatey. A nice bitterness. Great taste.

M - Nicely carbonated, good amount of oiliness, just the right amount of burn. Very refreshing.

O - So. Good. There were a lot of things to love about this beer, and it definitely did not disappoint. I really hope they can continue to release this year after year. It is an EXCELLENT barleywine, and a great contender in the current barrel-aging craze. Absolutely worth trying. Buy two or three bottles, try to cellar at least one.

51

 893 characters

Photo of evanforbeer
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice chestnut-brown with off-white head

Nose: raisins, oaky caramel and toffee, bourbon heat. Nice, not over-powering

Taste: starts with nice warm vanilla and oak with dark fruitiness. Rich toasted flavors of coconut and caramel emerge and bourbon with slight orange peel hoppiness trying to bust through, dried dark cherry. Bourbon on the back end comes through clear With some more vanilla warmth

Feel: warm, delicate, heat, slightly light-bodied, rich, crazy smooth finish

Very nice. With a wonderful flavor profile, my one negative note is the body, seems pretty light on the palate for a barrel aged barleywine, though that increases its drinkability. However, the balance of barrel and beer seems to be spot on-it's there but not overpowering, brings out great nuances of the beer

 799 characters

Photo of johnnieoz
4.51/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Boxing Day brew.
Same lovely amber maple syrup hues as regular Bigfoot with a smaller off white crown. Oaky aroma, somewhat muted. Taste? Taste! Absolutely magnificent barrel-aging in effect - vanilla, caramel, woody hops. I can't recall having had a smoother beer. It coats the palate with all those flavors thanks to the subdued carbonation. Perhaps it's because I know and love the base beer, but this is one of best beers I've ever had. Kudos Sierra Nevada & please make it available every once in a while.

 511 characters

Photo of kdahnke123
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2015 Poured into a snifter at cellar temperature.
A - A clear amber color with a large amount of head which dissipates to a long lasting lacing.
S - Honey and floral notes with bourbon and hops on the finish.
T - Oak, malt, honey and a bite of hops on the finish.
M - Moderate mouthfeel with plenty of carbonation.
O - The base Bigfoot has had the hops tempered down a couple of notches while the time in wood has added some character and complexity.

 450 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