Jun 18, 2015

Sierra Nevada Barrel-Aged Bigfoot

In preparing this review I realized that despite all of the new IPAs, stouts and Belgian-style ales that I purchase (even frequently), there are only a handful that I have to habitually have in the basement. Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot is not only one of them, but is a world-class barleywine all on it’s own — it is incredible fresh or with a several years under its belt. I could only imagine how this Barrel-Aged Bigfoot the second I spied it on shelves.

I’ve had more than my fair share of bourbon barrel aged products before, but I believe this is the first one to have rested in barrels for two years prior to bottling. So to say this is a whiskey-infused, big beer would be an understatement. It’s an aggressively hopped beer, just like it’s smaller sibling and presents a flavor profile that should only get better with age.


The brew pours a rusty copper in color with a small, patchy head of foam that dropped quickly to a thin ring.

Sierra Nevada Barrel-Aged Bigfoot photo


Bourbon and wood fill the nose immediately. Herbal hop notes, booze, caramel, vanilla, a soft hint of cocoa and a touch of pine quickly follow suit.


Whoa. The potent hop punch that this barleywine has always presented hits quickly before fading through a myriad of flavors. This beer plays with your emotions with that hop burst, wood and bourbon-y influence as tobacco, cocoa, a moderate sweetness, vanilla and booze all jump into the flavor pool. The beer is layered and complex without becoming perplexing. Needless to say at 11.9% ABV it is quite warming.


I loved this beer, just as I have thoroughly enjoyed fresh and vintage-dated bottles of the standard Bigfoot. My only hope is that Barrel-Aged Bigfoot ages as magnificently as their 30th Anniversary Jack & Ken’s Ale — a black barleywine that was probably one of the best vintage brews I’ve ever had. Only time will tell.

Rating: 4.5/5

More: , , ,