Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale is an American Barleywine by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. that blends piney and herbal hops with biscuit, caramel, dark fruit, and booze.

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Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale is an American Barleywine that’s brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and for the purposes of this craft beer review, the ale was served in a snifter from a 12 oz. bottle.

Packaging art for the Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Packaging art for the Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

What You Need to Know

The Bigfoot Barleywine is a classic. Legendary, even. But more on that below. For now, what you need to know is that this big beer is packed with heaps of whole-cone Pacific Northwest hops and is balanced by a hefty, bittersweet malty backbone. So how is this icon of craft brewing? Let’s get to the review.


The Barleywine pours a clear ruby red and is topped by an inch-thick cap of frothy cream-colored foam that shows fair retention. Gobs of residue coat the sides of the glass during consumption. Soapy bubbles continuously top the ale.

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The aroma features a mixed scent of fresh hoppy pine, some caramel, and booze.


Biscuit malt leads the palate that sweetens in the middle with flavors of raisin and toffee. Pine and herbal hops finish off the tasting with a lingering bitterness; rounded out with sweet caramel and a hint of booze.

Label art for the Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Label art for the Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.


Its feel is smooth, slightly sticky, and finishes dryly with a moderate astringency. The body is a shade over medium and has less-than-moderate carbonation. Its high alcohol content lends warmth.

The First of its Kind

The Bigfoot Barleywine is truly an original. It’s recipe is based on the English Barleywine but as expected from a brewery like Sierra Nevada, it’s loaded with more hops, malt, and booze. First brewed back in 1983, the Bigfoot Barleywine became a cult classic over the years. It had won numerous awards, and was so popular, other breweries crafted their own interpretations, and thus, the American Barleywine style was born.


The Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale has a solid appearance and the aroma is pleasant and persistent. Its bitterness is a little harsh at first but once the beer warms its balance improves and becomes much more flavorful. A high ABV is managed well. Not quite as complex as the better Barleywines, but the Bigfoot by Sierra Nevada is still a tasty treat.

Recommended Pairings

Sierra Nevada recommends the following food pairings with their Bigfoot Barleywine: bread Pudding, mission figs, Medjool dates, and pungent blue cheese.

Watch the Video

Excited to try the Bigfoot Barleywine yourself? Or maybe just rock out with the mythical beast? Check out the video below.

Have You Tried the Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale?

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