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Big Worse - Mikkeller ApS

Big WorseBig Worse

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

350 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 350
Reviews: 237
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 15.92%

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS visit their website

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
Brewed at De Proefbrouwerij.

Ingredients: Water, malt (pils and caramunich), candy sugar, hops (nugget, cascade and centennial) and ale yeast.

(Beer added by: Viggo on 11-25-2007)
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Ratings: 350 | Reviews: 237 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Nostrajonus


3.96/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Cloudy amber pour, head is non existent.

S- Watery malt, sweet, very boozy!

T- This is sweet on the way in, and hot on the way down. Molasses overshadows caramel malts with a warm boozey finish.

M-Thick and sticky, no carbonation whatsoever.

O-By far the highest abv I've seen in a barleywine; this brew is a one hitter quitter! I love everything Mikkeller does...brilliance in brewing!

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2014 23:33:04 | More by Nostrajonus
Photo of clayrock81


3.81/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a brownish body with moderate head and lace and textbook aroma of citric, earthy hops and a hearty malt aroma of both bready, roasted malts and sweet malt. A good barleywine and mostly holds up, but it seems at some points the alcohol make it a tad bitter or burning on the backend. Overall, the hops give it citric zip and spice and the sweet malts make themselves known, and it has a little stickiness and tart/dark fruit edge. It is a good beer, designed to be a sipper, that just a has a couple of small chinks in the armor or else it'd be one of the betters ones out there.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2013 22:29:39 | More by clayrock81
Photo of BMMillsy


2.41/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 1.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.25

Bottle courtesy of beastmaster. Pours cloudy opaque brown with no head. Aroma of biscuits, toffee, malt, brown sugar, molasses, hints of vanilla and bourbon even though not bourbon barrel aged. Taste is watery big bready malt and booze. Turpentiney, and thinner than expected. Lots of chewey sediment. No carbonation. Vodka burn. Was not ready for this after Chocolate Rain and some other beers tonight.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2013 01:02:49 | More by BMMillsy
Photo of roundthewaygirls


3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured from a bottle into a wine glass.

A: burnt sienna, hazy, a little light gets through.

S: fruity, figs or dates. spices.

T: hot booze in my stomach. caramel. sticky sweet.

M: thinner than expected, well carbonated.

O: disappointing coming from mikkeller. the flavors weren't particularly complex. the mouth feel was a little thin. barleywine is one of my favorite styles and mikkeller is one of my favorite brewers, but this one missed its mark.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2013 21:26:53 | More by roundthewaygirls
Photo of superspak


3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

375 ml bottle into snifter, best before 3/18/2014. Pours very hazy and cloudy dark brown color with no head or carbonation; plastic corks never work. Aromas of big raisin, apple, caramel, molasses, toast, toffee, brown bread, chocolate, roasted malt, floral, and roasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity and malty notes; with good strength. Taste of raisin, apple, caramel, molasses, toast, toffee, brown bread, chocolate, light roast, floral, and toasted earthiness; some slight oxidation but barely noticeable. No bitterness; with lingering notes of raisin, caramel, toast, toffee, molasses, brown bread, chocolate, light roast, and toasted earthiness. Nice flavor balance and complexity of malt flavors with moderate fruity notes; with no cloying sweetness present after the finish. Zero carbonation and medium-full bodied; with slick and fairly syrupy mouthfeel that is ok, but very slow to sip on. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this this a solid barleywine. Some nice complexity and balance of malt flavors; probably would have scored quite a bit higher if it actually had carbonation, but thankfully not much oxidation was present. An enjoyable sipper.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2013 04:13:07 | More by superspak
Photo of CommanderOfAwesome


2.23/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

2009 vintage poured into a snifter.

A: Pours flat, with a dark caramel with a red hue. Literally no carbonation.

S: Oxidation reigns supreme, with strong fuselage notes. Getting some bad church wine, grapes on this.

T: Strong red grapes, tastes more like a wine than a beer. Grainy texture to it. Bleh, oh man this is bad.

M: Medium mouthfeel, alcohol is prevalent. Strong sweet finish that coats the mouth.

O: Total bummer. I found this "gem" in the back of a cooler at Ledgers with the price tag showing that they recieved it in Feb of 2009. I knew this was an old beer when I got into it, but figured if it's sitting back in the fridge it would be worth a shot. Man was I wrong. Got about 2 sips in before I drain poured it. All well, live and learn. Worth the risk.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2013 05:45:19 | More by CommanderOfAwesome
Photo of ToddT


3.26/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

L- Hazy medium brown with lots of sediment floating in it and no head at all. There is no lace left on the glass as I drink this one.

S- Dark candied fruit, cherries, raisin, fig, molasses, and a slightly sour background note.

T- Candied fruit and a giant wash of astringent alcohol, wow that was not pleasant at all. Not sure I'm going to like this one. It does improve as it warms but that first sip was a bit brutal. Not near as alcoholic or astringent now that I'm halfway through.

M- Medium in body and no applicable carbonation. The finish is a mix of alcohol heat and sour fruit.

O- It gets better as I finish it, not sure if the taste is improving or the 12.0% ABV has kicked in.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2013 02:43:54 | More by ToddT
Photo of CruisaC


3.11/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up on sale for ~$4 a bottle. Figured I'd give it a try.

Pours dead, no head, no carbonation. Uh-oh. Still as night in the glass. Dark brown

Smells like raisins, chalky vitamins, malt extract.

Taste very clean initially but soon a raisin meets astringent tastes follows. Not great. Not much good going on here.

Pretty thin, not helped by the fact at there's no carbonation. That may be ok for the occasional HOTD release (bourbon Fred), but this falls into Lost Abbey territory and not in a good way

I won't be finishing this. Pretty disappointing. I've got another bottle but I'm not too excited to give it another shot.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2013 01:47:24 | More by CruisaC
Photo of BEERchitect


4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Big Worse might just be big better from its juicy malt dominance and hoppy aspirations that capture the sweet grain character that's so prized in English Barleywines but with the lupulin rebuttal from citrusy American hops.

Starting with a brilliant and glowing ruby color, the snifter simply glows like a night light. Mildly hazed, the color is of deep amber honey in mesmerizing fashion. Capped with a dainty off-white head, its creme skirts the glass evenly until later in the session when it reduces to a collar along the glass.

Bursting with malt sweetness, the nose is chocked full of maple, buckwheat, molasses, toffee, and nuttiness. Its hearty sweetness nearly whets the mouth from its aromatics alone. A firm hop undertow peaks through with dried citrus peels and pine needles for a strong hop scaffolding although the scent is certainly malt-centric.

Likewise, the sweetness from malt is strong, seductive, and runs the gamut from maple syrup and brittle to bread crust and sorghum. Strong buckwheat honey toffee, pistachios, and fresh sweet tobacco keep the waves of sultry sweetness coming. A late rise of hops reveal a supportive balance with grapefruit and orange peel, pine and fresh grass, and with a deeply resinous bitterness that assists the sweetness with a malty-dry finish and alcohol flavors of spiced rum

Incredibly bold and even chewy at first, the beer seeps into the soft tissues of the mouth with its sultry sweetness in true dessert-like fashion- easily replacing port wines as after dinner digestives. Rich with residual sweetness, the late rise of alcohol spice and drying hops signal closure and extends well into aftertaste.

Reading the date-stamped reviews of others, its apparent that Mikkeller has gotten better at making this beer. It's an incredible American-style Barleywine that captures the preferred malt character of hearty English examples. Its a bright and highly rewarding ale for nightcapping any evening.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2013 17:28:19 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of timc100


4.29/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A great example of a beer where the hops well - not perfectly, but did not leave a stale off-tasting beverage.

A: Pours a classic barleywine murky brown. Sits a slightly hazy dark amber with a clingy beige head.

S: Huge caramel and caramelized dark fruits. Toffee, butterscotch, and slightly muddled aged hops. Intense and very sweet and resinous

T: Big and sweet. Follows the nose closely, but a bit messy. Really tasty

P: Incredibly chewy, lingers for a while, leaves a resinous gloss in the mouth.

O: Really nice barleywine, would love to try fresh.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2013 01:23:21 | More by timc100
Photo of wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle poured into tulip 11/16/12 from notes

A clear reddish amber with a thick stream of bubbles feeding a surprisingly large three finger tan head that slowly falls to a thin film leaving a few random patches

S lots of brown sugar and caramel, rum soaked raisins and dark bread, some candied citrus but I can't pinpoint it, no booze is rather impressive considering it's 12%

T a little sweet even compared to the nose with a strange yeast profile and more candied fruit, has a little sour apple and although its decent I preferred the nose

M syrupy and sticky with good carbonation, some faint heat but I'd never guess it's as strong as it is, candied fruit on the finish with a little spicy bread

O a good strong BW with well concealed booze, not something for everyday drinking but a decent cold evening sipper

I had this sitting around for a while and finally got around to drinking it, I almost wish I had someone to share it with but what can you do

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2013 00:13:30 | More by wordemupg
Photo of Dope


3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: A ruddy, brownish-red pour. Like the color of rust. Big tan head that fades slowly, leaving just the lightest bits of lacing here and there. Extreme amount of sediment. To the point that I actually poured this through a strainer and a coffee filter (maybe the second time I've ever done this). It was horrible, one of the worst I've seen.

S: Big caramel malt with pungent raisin and apples. Hints of molasses and brown sugar. Boozy.

T: Raisiny throughout. Lots of bread, just a little toasty. Toffee, brown sugar and some resinous bitterness in the finish. A bit dry in the finish, oddly enough.

M: Heavy and thick for sure.

O: A simple and strong barleywine. Honestly I liked Big Worst better, it was better balanced and tastier in general, despite being flat. This one is pretty "meh".

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2012 06:09:45 | More by Dope
Photo of lovelyallen

3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 1 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Interesting beer...

Served in a snifter from a 12oz bottle.

A: Pours a murky swamp brown. 0 head, 0 lacing. Its a pretty ugly beer.

S: Threw me for a loop. This thing smells phenomenal. Up front is figs, dates, rich wood, and a nice sugary smell that really makes me want to dive into it.

T: Okay, bizarre. Its got some of the dark fruit notes that can be found in the nose, but they never really punch you in the face. The flavors are there, I just wish they were more prominent.

M: Extremely thin w/zero carbonation. I think I may have gotten an under carbonated bottle. Quite a let down in this department.

Overall: I wish this tasted like it smelled. End of story.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2012 03:15:40 | More by lovelyallen
Photo of Etan


3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12.7oz bottle, synthetic cork, into a tulip. Not sure when this is from.

A: Very ugly beer. Murky cola brown, no head.

S: Plenty of dark fruits, raisiny oxidation, sugary caramel.

T: Dark fruits, light roasted grain, prune, spice a bit of smokiness to it, caramel. A bit oxidized.

M: Flat, syrupy.

O: Not quite as bad as I expected from the pour, but not very good.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2012 01:36:45 | More by Etan
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle.

This beer pours a murky, dark golden amber hue, with one finger of foamy, bubbly beige head, which leaves some mesa profile lace around the glass as it duly recedes.

It smells caramel, toffee, bread pudding, drunken raisins, citrus cream, some floral, piney hops, and a soft, sweet booze warming. The taste is more sweet, sugary caramel malt, further toffee/treacle/nougat candy bar, overripe banana and generic black fruit, bitter grapefruit and orange rind, though rather muddled, a slight old cellar mustiness, and a swirling, tingling warmth.

The carbonation is up for the task, and no slouch in its supportive duty, a tad spritzy, even. The body is a hefty medium-full weight, and actually quite smooth. It finishes sweet, duh, though the big caramel and friends malt does seem to ease off somewhat, letting the fruitinesss - both inherent and hop-borne - step up. The big ABV just maintains its sly standoffishness.

Wow, a pretty easy-drinking Yankee barleywine, if there ever was. Big, brash, but somehow subtle at the same rate, with a deftly integrated upsized alcohol quotient. Totally worth giving a go, especially given our early winter. November 1, really?

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2012 20:08:03 | More by biboergosum
Photo of StonedTrippin


3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a true oddity, and perhaps the first mikkeller beer that didnt blow me away. it pours a cloudy light amber to red color with a ton of big yeast particles floating around and finally settling to the bottom. there is almost no head. the nose is alcohol and caramel english malt. flavor is the same, but spiced up a bit from the yeast. it feels like the right mix of flavors for fall, but the alcohol is strong and caustic, and it hurts the overall product. the mouthfeel would be great without the alcohol burn. its got a nice full body but is well carbonated and therefore seems to dance in the mouth, even with all that sediment. the booze just kills it though, warm on the way down too. overall a very unique take on a barleywine, but not somehting i will spend 15 dollars on again. although, my local shop has the red wine version too, which might be nice to try. we'll see...

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2012 17:47:18 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of allouez86


3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark amber pour with a small off-white head. A small amount of lacing remains on the snifter.

Smell: Hops are still present, small hint of caramel and brown sugar. The smell of alcohol is also quite present. Smells like an American Barleywine should.

Taste: Very similar to the nose. The hops aren't quite as present as I would've expected based on the smell but they are still there. The sugar and caramel are still there, along with the alcohol. There's a slight hint of soapiness in the taste and this is something that I have come across before in this style. It's not unpleasant but something I've noticed before, could just me my palate.

Mouthfeel: It's a medium bodied barleywine, slightly sticky and properly carbonated.

Overall: I thought this was better than previous reviews would have me believe. Perhaps since it's a Mikkeller brew hopes were higher by for some people. Is it my favorite American barleywine ever? No. Is it something I would drink again? Yes. The price may be slightly high for the size of the bottle but I would recommend giving this beer a shot.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2012 00:18:35 | More by allouez86
Photo of Hopswagger

South Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

P:  Dark brownish amber body with a thin frothy khaki head that fades quick. Massive loads of swimming worms that I miss judged the pour and dumped all the yeast in the glass.  Spiderweb lacing on the edges.  

S:  Heavy roasted malts and thick caramel. Super rich and decadent.  Mostly earthy hops and yeasty bread, sourdough, coconut, sour skim milk, hazelnuts, hints of bitter cooking cocoa, and Chinese 5 spice. Hops may have faded a bit but not sure how old this bottle is. 

T/M:  Thick and syrupy feel with delicate carbonation and chalky yeast.  Taste follows the nose with notes of aged malts, over ripe mushy bananas,  green apples peels, soured milk, burnt barley, roasted caramel, coconut, and nuts.  The hops are there but I assume this bottle is aged a bit due to the dialed down hops and aged taste of the malt. Starts sweet and ends with a dry earthy hop bitterness and grapefruit.  Complex flavors that mix well to create a balanced and rich barley wine. ABV is very well hidden and has a nice warming sensation.  Starts to bite back once warmed. 

O:  From reading some reviews I was kind of bummed, but after tasting this for myself I can say it surprised me. This is far better than expected, granted its outrageously overpriced, but that aside its fantastically complex and Well blended. The yeast settlement was rather large and chunky but not at all a ruiner.  If the price was cheaper I would buy this on a regular basis but it's too steep for my pockets. Well done. 

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2012 03:21:47 | More by Hopswagger
Photo of CrazyDavros


3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours coppery brown with a small head.
Loads of malt shows through in the aroma, with overt caramel, dried figs, orange marmalade, and light port notes. Also some soft spicy and herbal notes.
Flavours are just as malty, with big rich syrupy, bready malt along with some dried fruit. Later some light grapefruit notes follow through along with accompanying bitterness.
Carbonation is perfectly soft, body seems overtly syrupy though.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2012 10:19:07 | More by CrazyDavros
Photo of ChadQuest


3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I finally bought a bottle of this, and am drinking the whole thing alone while playing video games online with Drewba. Best way to hangout with other BAs and not share your beer. All 12oz for me.

The pour is flat, totally still, which makes it look murky and not like beer. Color is dark amber.
The nose has alcohol and fig notes. Dark date like fruits is the picture.
I can not really talk about the flavors with out noting the mouthfeel and how still it is, as that really makes the flavors pop less and more rounded. once again alcohol soaked dates and figs, this drinks just "like a fine red wine" (gasp). I do not find much hops at all, and wondering how this comes off as "american" in style.
Mouth feel is coating and drawn out on the finish, a long evening sipper.

I sipped this for about 3 hours, yes, 12oz for 3 hours. i enjoyed drinking it at that pace, it was enjoyable and i would savor an evening with it again, but it is a bit expensive for what it really is.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2012 04:47:42 | More by ChadQuest
Photo of Sean9689


3.2/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2007 vintage, thanks Cory. Shared at Perennial.

A - Pours a reddish/caramel-color, off-white head, thin collar.

S - Booze is smooth from the cellaring, dark fruits, burnt sugars. There's a decent amount of oxidization coming off the nose, and I think this one is past its prime.

T - Yep, lots of oxidization and harsh medicinal notes. It's not undrinkable, but was probably over-the-hill about 1.5 years ago (or so). Dark fruits, burnt sugars, oak, caramel. Booze is really well-hidden from the age. Finish is sweet and slightly harsh.

M - Medium to full body, good carbonation, creamy finish.

O - I could imagine a 2009 bottle being really good at this point, but the 2007 vintage is well past its prime. Cool to try, but wouldn't have it again. I suggest you open anything from 2009/2008/2007 ASAP.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2012 16:54:39 | More by Sean9689
Photo of Jsenay


3.08/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from non corked bottle (regular cap) into a brandy snifter

A - Pours a deep amber color. Has light carbonation and a head that dissipates within a minute. No sediment left at the bottom from bottle.

S - Smells of rich malt. Dark fruit, mainly plums and apricot. Slight smell of molasses and raisins with a very rich hint of dark brown sugar.

T - Tastes like plums and raisins soaked in alcohol. As it warms the alcohol becomes very intense as well as the hops.

M - Filmy. Hops are on the heavy side so it dries out the mouth almost immediately, all while leaving a sticky molasses/honey feel behind.

O - OK. But, won't be going out of my way to buy again. I will be aging a bottle for a year and will report back the differences. However, if you're looking for something delicious right out of the glass, Mikkeller has many more great offerings available.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2012 23:17:20 | More by Jsenay
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

2.53/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a cola brown color without a head; no carbonation means no lacing

Smell: Prunes, leather, some earthy funk

Taste: Brown bread devolving into a pruney funk; a bit of tartness builds, after the swallow and leaves a tannic leathery character in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Moderate body, rather flabby, with no carbonation

Overall: Not sure of the age of this bottle as I got it as an extra in a recent trade (cannot remember who sent it) but am rather disappointed in this beer, regardless of bottling date as a Barleywine should hold up better than this one has

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2012 00:47:29 | More by brentk56
Photo of AgentMunky


3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 375mL bottle into a Koningshoeven chalice. Stamped 02/07/12. Bottled 7 February 2012? Best before that date?

A: No head whatsoever. A dull, rich brown. Mahogany, but translucent.

S: Smells like a barleywine. Sticky sweet malts, toffee, English hops, mild citrus, and moderate alcohol.

T/M/O: Meh. It's pretty decent. Thick-sweet, and very flat, with no carbonation whatsoever. Rich grape juice and trace caramel. Not very satisfying. A pretty damn boring barleywine, all told. Not one of Mikkeller's greater beers. Sweet and flat, with very little depth of flavour or mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2012 06:06:21 | More by AgentMunky
Photo of cmoody91


3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into pint glass.

A: Thick hazy molasses color with almost no head.

S: Sweet fresh ground coffee, raisin, molasses, rum soaked cherries.

T: Very hot, cherry, almost medicinal. Hops, pine, grapefruit, toffee, rich and sticky sweet. Finish is harsh but overall nice flavor.

M: Oily, sticky, boozy.

O: Just ok, definitely a sipper and felt near the end like I was just trying to get through it, not something I look for in a $10 a bottle beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2012 03:03:18 | More by cmoody91
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Big Worse from Mikkeller ApS
85 out of 100 based on 350 ratings.