Trip in the Woods: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Vintage Bigfoot
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Trip in the Woods: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Vintage BigfootTrip in the Woods: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Vintage Bigfoot
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Barleywine - American
4.33 | pDev: 5.77%
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Trip in the Woods: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Vintage BigfootTrip in the Woods: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Vintage Bigfoot
Notes: A combination of one-, two-, and three-year Kentucky bourbon barrel aged Bigfoot.
Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 66 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Beersnake1
Beersnake1 from California

4.34/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from fridge temp. Pours a nice golden brown with a good amount of light tan head. Nose is classic Bigfoot, but with a really nice vanilla and toffee theme pushing in. Really nice notes of red grapes, pine needles, and some nuts. The taste is fantastic. Hoppy bitterness upfront, but a really nice sweetness comes in with the bourbon barrels. Toffee, vanilla, raisins, wood, tree sap, leather, bread, and bourbon. Really nice and balanced. Mouthfeel is medium with a nice flavorful mouth coating.

Jun 22, 2020
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titty_mcbitty from Tennessee

4.55/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

(2019 bottle)

A: This one pours a brick brown color with ruby tinges. The head is mocha-colored and fluffs for a second before disappearing.

S: Raisin, toffee, wet barrel, stone fruit. There's an old banana flavor as well.

T: Vanilla, raisin, brown sugar, and barrel are prominent here. That old banana flavor is present as well. As it warms, toffee, molasses, cream soda, and sherry show up. There's a faint floral flavor, presumably from OG Bigfoot.

M: Full-feeling and creamy. Very smooth for the given ABV. The cream soda and wood lie in the throat after a swallow.

O: This is a wonderful and interesting beer! It transforms over time and becomes more complex. The price is a little high, but what else can you ask for from a beaut like this? It's a mixture of one-, two-, and three-year Kentucky bourbon barrel-aged heaven.

Apr 01, 2020
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kojevergas from Louisiana

3.16/5  rDev -27%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

BOTTLE courtesy of Josh - thanks! 750ml brown glass bottle with hood-and-wire cage over a cork. 2019 vintage.

Currently ranked #26 in the top American Barleywines beer list.

Served chilled into stemware.

12.1% ABV. "Ale aged in bourbon barrels." The bourbon that was in the barrel is not called out here, but it does offer that "a combination of one-, two-, and three-year Kentucky bourbon- barrel-aged Bigfoot" was utilized for this blend.

APPEARANCE: Head is off-white with no trace of khaki and fades quickly, succumbing to the 12.1% ABV within 30 seconds without leaving any lacing behind. No boozy "legs" form when I tilt the glass.

Body is a deep auburn...not the most vibrant or vivacious but translucent when backlit and aptly colored for the style.

It's not a standout appearance for a barleywine, but the poor head retention is understandable given the high ABV. No yeast/lees are visible at least in the first pour from the large format bottle.

Appears aptly carbonated. I note no obvious flaws.

AROMA: Heavy sweetness is present owed largely to its dominant notes of dark fruit. Date, prune, fig, molasses, raisin, plum. Has a sherry-like grape note as well. Subdued vanillin is noticeable, probably from the bourbon barrel/oak. Up front, I get brown sugar and bread crust but there's no toastiness, roast, or bitterness to its malt profile. I'd bet on heavy amber malts along with ample 2-row in terms of malt makeup.

The base beer doesn't get eclipsed by the bourbon barrel at least in terms of aroma, which is a nice way of saying the bourbon barrel aromatics are rather reticent...I don't pick up on any coconut, refined white oak, toasted wood, or even really barrel sugars, and the vanillin that's present isn't horribly evocative or rich. For a beer blended from barleywines aged 1-3 years in bourbon barrels, it's surprisingly lacking in terms of overt bourbon aromatics. I'm hoping it tastes more bourbon-forward than it smells...

I find no hop aromatics (true to style) nor any overt off-notes.

TASTE: Rich dark fruit injects ample sweetness up front with undertones of needed toasted malt and burnt sugar catching up in the middle of its flavour profile, though it still manages to finish sweet on notes of prune, raisin, and sherry-like grape/wine...I don't know why I get a sherry/wine flavour but I do. Maybe it's the barrel sugars? Wood tannins? I can't be sure.

As I feared, its bourbon character is barely present...don't expect rich vanillin, toasted white oak, coconut, or even whiskey warmth. I get some woodsy notes but they come across as depleted and aren't recognizably oak. I'd stop short of calling it cardboardy, but it does have that acetic sherry flavour and the seeds of staleness I'd associate with an overaged old ale or barleywine (and concomitant oxidization). Perhaps they aged this too long in barrels? Yet somehow the bourbon didn't take to the base beer.

Treacle, stonefruit, dates, depleted amber malt, neutral 2-row. Orange zest. Red apple skin. Seems underattenuated.

TEXTURE: A bit coarse, a bit dry, depleted, wilted, medium to heavy-bodied, well-carbonated, and fairly thick (though not so much as to make it chewy). Certainly a meal in a glass, but any 12.1% barleywine ought to be. It's rich and viscous, which makes it slow to drink. Acidic and slightly acetic, indicating this would start to take on vinegary notes with only a little aging in the bottle.

Not the delicate mouthfeel I'd expect in a top tier barleywine, and it could do with a softer texture.

OVERALL: Admittedly the appeal of Bigfoot (the base beer) has eluded me despite trying many vintages, but at a minimum I'd hoped this would bring rich bourbon barrel flavours to the table - particularly considering the age statement regarding its constituent Bigfoots (Bigfeet?).

This is a barleywine flirting with an old ale flavour profile, which wouldn't be a bad thing except that its dark fruit emphasis just doesn't work well for me coupled with its almost syrupy mouthfeel. I honestly doubt I'd peg this for bourbon barrel aged if I tried it in a blind taste test. It skimps on the leathery, caramel-redolent, toffee-driven flavours I look for in a great barleywine and fails to commit to bourbon barrel flavours, leaving it wanting to my palate.

It's certainly complex, and I find myself picking out more flavours (is that candied citrus peel? Clove? Licorice? Port?) as I get into my third glass, but despite its many flavours there aren't many I like or that work together in harmony to bring the beer together as a whole.

I'd say this would make for a nice dessert digestif after dinner in place of a Port wine, but taking down the bottle will prove something of a chore and despite its obvious complexity it just doesn't dazzle.

*I will say (four glasses in) that it does develop and improve as it comes to temperature, elevating its subtle orange/marmalade and apple fruit notes to good effect.


Jan 21, 2020
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oberon from North Carolina

4.48/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours into a stemmed glass a deep rich amber with a creamy-like full finger khaki colored head atop that settles slowly into a frothy mass leaving a broken ring behind.A mix of dark fruit,vanilla,and toasted oak in the nose,the fruitiness really stands out,the bourbon/vanilla doesn't beat you over the head but it's presence is there for sure. a bit boozy on the palate but to expected,dark fruit,brown sugar,vanilla/bourbon,and toast make out most of the profile,not much of a hop profile.Some of the 'standard' Bigfoot is there and is familiar but the bells and whistles added are top notch.A great beer.

Nov 20, 2019
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.26/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Reddish brown opaque body with a finger of tan foam. Bourbon and oak lead both the smell and taste. The aromas focus more on the barrel character itself, with some barley, leather, dried candied orange, and rye accenting. Taste is robust in the oak especially, bourbon melds in with the sneaky high citrus hops, dark fruit, ash, leather, barley, molasses and toast. Despite high abv and barrel aging, booziness is kept artfully in check, allowing the wood tannin, barley, malt, and hop textures to play in the mouthfeel, best aspect of the beer hands down.

Nov 19, 2019
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jrc1093 from Connecticut

4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled (presumably) on 3/6/19

Pours an incredibly deep but translucent blood red hue topped with two fingers of tight, pillowy tan foam; stunning retention holds steady throughout the drinking experience, leaving consistent lacing to comprehensively wall the glass while a thick, fluffy foam comprises the collar.

Aroma shows plenty of toffee, grapefruit pith, sugarplum, fig, and raw, resinous pine/evergreen upfront; laced with bourbon, the backing notes bring vanilla, spiced oak, and candied citrus peel; minimal booze presence lightly touches every aspect of the bouquet.

Taste features strong notes of plum, fig, vanilla, and spiced oak, with a lighter bourbon and heavily toasted caramel presence lingering into the mid-palate, where sugarplum gains deeper prominence; grapefruit zest laced with touches of booze mark the finish.

Mouthfeel has a moderate body, sharp with hints if booze and dryly crisp, with a pillowy moderate carbonation; creamy, vaguely syrupy hop bittering progresses smoothly against any booziness along the palate into an understatedly stiff but easy swallow.

An American barleywine that delivers in both the spirit of Sierra Nevada's expectedly understated depth and Bigfoot's boozy aggression; the milder barrel presence softens the edges and invites an approachable sipping experience. I can't say the bourbon presence is extensive enough to completely integrate with the intensity of the base's hop profile, but it's more suggestive influence is plenty to elevate the beer to a subtle refinement.

Nov 19, 2019
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Beejay from Virginia

4.12/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown in color, with a tan head.

S: Big caramel aroma, malty with notes of vanilla, plum, and brown sugar. Perhaps a touch of oxidation, but in that great aged barley wine smell.

T: Caramel, vanilla, and some booze in the finish melding with some earthy bitterness.

M: Medium thick in body moderate to slightly higher carbonation. Slight cling in the finish.

O: Pretty solid beer but the bitterness is just a hint too much, maybe aging it for a few more years would be interesting. Overall very interesting.

Nov 09, 2019
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arizcards from Arizona

4.48/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 750 ml bottle from TW Arrowhead on 8-12-19 for $19.99. Bottled on 3-6-19; consumed on 10-11-19.

Beer poured an amber brown with a beautiful off white head that has some good hang time.

Nose is bourbon forward with some vanilla and leather along with fig notes and citrus from the base beer.

Taste is in your face bourbon with notes of leather and vanilla. Base beer figs and citrus and pine hops blend in nicely. Finish is really well balanced between the sweet malts, hops, and bourbon.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied and very smooth.

Overall a delicious beer that blends nicely together the more you sip on it. Recommended for those that appreciate a boozy flavorful beer!

Oct 11, 2019
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chinchill from South Carolina

4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at The Beer Station (SC).
Wonderful aroma with bourbon, bourbon barrels, caramel, and faint dried fruits - - although it is a bit more woody than optimal for me.
The flavor partially follows the aroma but with less wood and more bourbon.
Very good mix of bitter and sweet.
Smooth, full body with light carbonation and well hidden alcohol.

Oct 03, 2019
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bobhits from Kentucky

4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

The more I get into whisky the more I find these grading systems weird and just flawed.

Look - beer? Ok jokes aside it's a deep amber, dirty, dense, heavy, thick. Lacing is there all be it minimal (I am drinking this in a whisky glass, it's bourbon barrel aged after all).

Smell - hops, aged leather, oak, and just this yeast and barely that have been sitting out and dried and became dusty. Then we have some nice sweet caramel and perhaps a hint of berry.

Taste - The hops have faded, they are still there but way back in the background. The sweetness gets tamed by some oak and also just that old/vintage beer effect where the beer starts to "fall apart" and gives way to these really unique and hard to place flavor elements. You can tell this has been cellared. To the just flavor notes. Toffee, butter scotch, medicinal cherry, oak, leather, cheese (I know weird), vanilla, a hint of vinegar, butter, and just sweet caramel malt.

Feel - creamy given a low (still ok) carbonation amount. Good texture for sure. Not special or exceptional.

Overall - this is darn good beer. I love the aged notes and all the weird and complex flavor notes I get.

Sep 28, 2019
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StraightNoChaser from Georgia

4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

look: Clear bronze. Foamy beige head. Messy lingering lacing that I don't recall in the BA version.
smell: Vanilla, dark fruit, brown sugar, bourbon more muted than i expected given the long aging.
taste: Much like the nose up front. the finish has some of that piney hops I'm used to in BF, going from sweetish up front to mostly dry in the finish with a touch of spice.
overall: damn good barley and barrel treatment.

Sep 20, 2019
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DIM from Pennsylvania

4.77/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I maintain that corks And cages are pretentious as hell, but at least this one was pretty easy to slide out. Curious to know the ratio of 1, 2, and 3 year barrel treatments. Damn, three years in the barrel?!?

Classic aged Bigfoot aromas of sharp toffee, and muddled pine needles are joined by oaky leather and tobacco. The bourbon itself is muted and mellow. I found raisins and port as well. So damn good I accidentally snorted some with my overly exuberant sniffing.

Tastes almost as good and I would use the same descriptors for the most part. The barrel character is less overt bourbon and more leather, tobacco, and raisin, though the spirit is a bit more noticeable on the tongue. My only minor quibble is a bit too much piney bitterness at the finish.

Overall, this is outfuckingstanding. I hope they consider putting similar releases in 4 packs in the future.

Sep 15, 2019
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Noah_Aimar from Oregon

4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap (unless they poured it from bottle when I wasn't looking) at the Sierra Nevada tap room in Chico.

Taste off the bat is a ton of vanilla and bourbon that let you know you're in for a flavor packed and interesting beer. After the initial slap in the face of all the barrel characteristics that this Bigfoot vintage blend was able to get it gets into the deep dark complex flavor profile. Burnt sugar, caramel, dark fruit, it's all there. Seriously though, this blend is showing off a seriously impressive amount of barrel characteristics. If you like bourbon or bourbon barrel aged beers this is 100% a must try.

Feel is creamy with a tiny bit of warmth from the booze. Get a bottle of this and sit on it for a while. Also bitter at 90 IBUs

Aug 20, 2019
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Avitra from Switzerland

4.19/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Chocolate without being a stout. Dark fruit and coffee, but also a little summer fruit and tiny citrus which really helps to balance out. A tiny little of grapefruit bitterness gives a nice ending touch

Aug 19, 2019
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sjrider from California

4.13/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This shit tastes like wood in the best possible boozy way. Long story short my Dad passed yesterday and this seemed the best way to stifle my emotions. Didn't work , but I am looking forward to another year on the 2nd bottle. Ya never know when yer gonna take yer last trip in the woods.

Jul 28, 2019
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cjgiant from District of Columbia

4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours the amber brown of a typical barleywine, with a light chestnut shine at the very edges when held to the light. The lightly rusty tan head built up a little more on one of my two pours and sat upon that pour as I sipped it down. not much lacing.

The nose is more mellow than expected, with the barrel coming out a little more than the base beer. Vanilla and a light bourbon smoke join the earthy/toasty malt base. Strains of barrel wood and pitted fruits (dark cherry and plum) sneak through as well.

Not as thick as I expected, there is a medium heavy weight to it though. There is a bit more carbonation than I expected which helped to lighten things just a tad. The alcohol (be it the beer itself or the effects of the spirit) throws a little burn in back before the beer finishes fairly dry.

The malt profile up front is great, with a caramel sweetness along with medium toast. The vanilla from the barrel feeds a very light sweetness at this point. But the turn comes up fast, and the earthy, tea-like piney hops take the wheel. Underneath I get a little plum, berry, and root spice. This spice is somewhat reminiscent of some spicy rye beers I've had. In the end, the malt flavors mostly wash away, leaving pine and a little bourbon sting. As the beer warms nearer room temp, I get more of a toasted coconut note which seems to be a little bit of the piney hops seeping forward into the malt.

The fact that this was a Bigfoot was not drawn out of the beer by the time in the barrels. However, the beer was nice and smooth, and the bitterness was more mellow than a regular Bigfoot. I appreciate this take on the classic, though I still prefer my barleywines to showcase the malt a bit more.

Jul 14, 2019
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Greywulfken from New York

4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Honeyed amber pour results in a dark mahogany-colored beer in the glass, though some light behind it revealed a clear ruby brown translucence; center-pour produced a thick finger of tan foam that persisted to the end as a fine partial sheet across the surface... Great treatment of a great beer - has the chewy shellacky malts and bitter hops of the classic barleywine, Bigfoot, layered with bourbon and wood airs... Resin and molasses sweetness upfront followed by a drier and more taut finish... As the beer crosses the palate it presents impressions of dark orange peel, bitter cherry, and fleshier tropical notes - all shellacked with resin, tacky and sticky... The barrel woods and bourbon infuse some vanilla caramel and dry oak into the body, and the beer does not finish too sweet, which I appreciated... Medium-full-bodied, modest carbonation, mildly sweet up front, moderately bitter for the most part, lightens on the finish...

Jul 07, 2019
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JRed from New Jersey

4.14/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark molasses brown in body with off-white head. Smells of dark molasses, syrup, cinnamon apple skins, orange skins too? Tastes of molasses, booze-soaked apples, oranges, peaches. Sugar. Some dryness.

Jun 15, 2019
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BeardedWalrus from North Carolina

4.81/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a very dark amber, with a tannish white head supported by a steady stream of bubbles. Nose is oak, light vanilla, sweet malts and hops. Tastes of warming bourbon, vanilla, dark cherries, strong malts, and a more subdued hop presence than expected. Finish is slick, sticky and chewy, with the stickiness staying throughout. Overall the best version of Bigfoot I've ever tried, easily among my top 10 beers.

Jun 04, 2019
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CTHomer from Connecticut

4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: crystal clear; reddish amber in color; with a fairly aggressive pour, a 1 finger tan head that receded to a thin collar; very little lacing;

S: smells big; dark fruit, cherries, oak, vanilla, toffee, and bourbon;

T: tastes just as big; sweet malt for a moment, then it follows the nose;

M: medium to full bodied; light to moderate carbonation; moderately dry finish; ridiculously smooth for 12.1%;

O: sublime;

May 14, 2019
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Roguer from Georgia

4.58/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Smoothest Bigfoot ever. Woody, tons of caramel and earthy, neutral hops. Coconut and vanilla.

Absolutely beautiful beer, crystal clear and dark caramel colored.

Apr 30, 2019
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BEERMILER12 from Maine

4.36/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a mahogany color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a thin cap that leaves decent lacing

S: Bourbon, toasted malt, oak, vanilla, caramel, dark fruit, and light tannins

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with toasted malt, bourbon, vanilla, oak, caramel, and some toffee. Goes into the base a little more with some light pine and earthiness. Dark fruit comes through in the finish

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smoothed out from the barrels and blending

O: An incredible blend of 3 vintages of BBA Bigfoot. Makes for a great sipper on any occasion. Definitely worth grabbing a few bottles

Apr 24, 2019
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.28/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours mahogany colored with a two finger ecru head; spotty lacing but good retention

Smell: Charred oak barrel, Bourbon, caramel and pine with hints of raisin and Maraschino cherry

Taste: Caramel, Maraschino cherry and raisin forward, with the charred oak making a powerful statement; very piney, through the middle, with the Bourbon bringing up the rear

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Overall: Lots of interesting malt tones here that I suspect will benefit from additional aging in the bottle

Apr 24, 2019
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SawDog505 from New Hampshire

4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a 16 oz Hop Slam Snulip glass not sure or care when it was bottled. Pours a very attractive chestnut with a solid finger khaki head that leaves nice thick rings of lace with very solid retention. 4.75

Smell is starts with Oaked vanilla bourbon, char, brown sugar, caramel, dates, and toffee. 4

Taste folllows more pronounced and balanced woody bourbon slaps your palate immediately, with vanilla, dark fruit, caramel, oak, and toffee. 4.25

Mouthfeel is bigger than average, plenty of life for the style and 12.1% ABV, a touch dry and that is expected, and at its heft a very approachable sipper. I will have one in my cellar for sure, for the next Holiday season. 4.25

Overall maybe a little boozier than I prefer, but a very complex and balanced BA Barleywine that demands respect and reminds you why Sierra Nevada is a pioneer in craft beer and filthy rich because of the passion. 4.25

Apr 24, 2019
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larryi86 from Delaware

4.51/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

750 ml bottle poured into a tulip

A- A deep ruby red with a three finger off white head.

S- Piney, citrus, cherries, charred oak, bourbon, some vanilla, toffee, caramel.

T- Caramel, toffee, cherries, bourbon, oak, piney hops, touch of citrus.

M- Smooth, medium body, high carbonation.

O- A great barrel aged version of Bigfoot, everything that I love both fresh and aged Bigfoot comes through and is well balanced.

Apr 23, 2019
Trip in the Woods: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Vintage Bigfoot from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 66 ratings