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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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Photo of Alieniloquium


3.08/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

375 mL bottle poured into a CBS snifter. No bottle date. Capped, not cork and caged.

Appearance - Hazy and downright chunky burnt amber body. Transparent until the huge chunks of sediment start flowing into the glass. I stopped when it got to be too much and I still had over an inch of beer in the bottle. Ridiculous.

Smell - Toffee, caramel, and huge hop aromas. Pine and a touch of grapefruit. Fair bit of booze.

Taste - Abrasive taste, but the flavors aren't bad. Hop bitterness akin to the aroma with toffee and caramel. A vinous quality to it that leads to a harsh and somewhat dry finish. Extremely boozy in the flavor.

Mouthfeel - Rough drinker. Boozy and tannic. Not undrinkable, but slow and a bit unpleasant. Dry and rough in the finish. Leaves me smacking my lips looking for the flavor of the beer to wash away the feeling.

Overall - Inexcusable amounts of sediment. Am I supposed to pour it in? Or save it for a hideous second glass? At $10 a bottle, it's a travesty to have to leave 15% behind. That said, the beer itself isn't awful, but I'm not about to buy it or drink it again.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2012 01:40:54 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of ADZA


3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this on growler and it pours an impressive very dark non see through mahogany hue and leaves a three finger creamy moon faced head and lacing everywhere,the smell is hoppy as with aromas of pine,grapefruit,orange zest,xmas pudding and toffee and to be quite honest very similar to a DIPA,the mouthfeel is just full bodied and warming with tastes of burnt toffee,boozy alcohol,marzipan,caramel treacle,fruitcake and finished with a candied citrus bittersweetness thats more sweet than bitter and overall its a nice enough drop but probably a little hoppier than your usual Barleywines cheers.

Serving type: growler

05-11-2012 08:18:39 | More by ADZA
Photo of 51mmz0rz

New Jersey

4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12.7 oz bottle into a Sam Smith pint.

A: Copper body, slightly hazy, great big off white head, nice tight bubbles, good retention.

S: Big sweetness and hop mix.

T: Nicely balanced, maybe a bit on the hoppy side.

M: Not bad, but feels a little thin in the mouth, but sticks around anyway.

D: Greatly drinkable and balanced for such a big beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2012 07:13:37 | More by 51mmz0rz
Photo of kojevergas


3.13/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12.7 fl oz green glass bottle with standard pressure cap acquired at Wades Wines in Westlake Village, California. Cost was $11.49 plus tax. ABV 12.00%. Listed as a Barley-Wine Style Ale. Served into an EKU 28 stem-snifter in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are extraordinarily high; Mikkeller is me favourite brewery in the world (if we can call it one) and I adore barleywines. I am a bit perturbed by the green glass, Mikkel must surely know better. I'm tempted to blame De Proef. I also wonder why a standard pressure cap was chosen rather than a cork, though I harbour no suspicions of quality reduction as a result of the production choice.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger head of slight cream, dark white (yes, dark white...) colour as near to tan as it can get without brown hues, good thickness, great lacing, and one minute retention - altogether impressive for its 12.00% ABV. After the head recedes, the laced ring about the edges of the glass maintains for some time. Colour is a chestnut caramel amber; quasitransparent with some translucence. No floating yeast particles are visible, but I'm on the top half of the bottle still. The colour is vibrant and appealing. No bubble show is present, though no beer in the style has yet to produce one in my experience.

Sm: Cherry fruit esters, a fair amount of unexpected fruity hops with some hints of light bitterness but rather mild floral character, clean well layered malts, cream, a fresh pine hop note, back-end hints of some sort of darker fruit - perhaps fig or plum or thereabouts (more likely fig), and no caramel. Yeast is notably absent. No alcohol comes through. A mild to moderate aroma all around, and certainly a pleasant one. Refined, clean, and inviting. I'm excited to try it, though I'm wary of the hop content as I don't generally approve of hoppiness in barleywines (such beers tend to beg to be aged merely to tame the hops inexplicably).

T: Cherry, heavy hop content with altogether more of a bitter bite than I would like, clean well layered malts, slight hints of pine, and lilac. No yeast or alcohol comes through. Overly hoppy for my tastes. Complex, but of limited subtlety. Enjoyable. Pretty decently balanced and built. I just don't understand hoppy barleywines, but that said it's much better than something like Sierra Nevada's offerings. Too bitter.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some pleasant underlying cream. Suits the flavours nicely. Adequate thickness and carbonation. A bit of a slight chewy character that works for it. Some dryness and coarseness from the hops helps round out the mouthfeel, though the finish is entirely too coarse.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable, but far from the quality I expect from Mikkeller. I find it far too hoppy for a barleywine, and consequently I wouldn't get it again unless it was very well aged. Pricey for what it is, but I liked it. Hides its ABV very well.


Serving type: bottle

05-06-2012 07:12:46 | More by kojevergas
Photo of Devoidb

4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark caramel color with very little carbonation

S- Smells of toffee/ peanut brittle. Nice and sweet with some "booze" hints towards the end.

T- deliciously rich burnt caramel taste, not as "hot" on the palate as I was expecting. I find it to be very drinkable, especially for a barleywine.

M- Pretty light body, which is a plus in my opinion.

O- I can only imagine how smooth and balanced it will become overtime. I'll sure be picking up another one of these to age.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2012 04:27:45 | More by Devoidb
Photo of mrfrancis


4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark, murky amber with no head.

S: Aromas of toffee, caramel, raisins, figs, prunes, and alcohol fill the nose.

T: Notes of toffee, caramel, dark bread, mild cocoa, prunes, raisins, figs, and earthy, mildly citrusy hops are balanced by warming alcohol. The finish is intense and long with toffee, dried fruit, and mild hop flavors.

M: Full-bodied and initially slick. The finish is decidedly sticky. Feels slightly watery for the style. Alcohol makes its presence known, but is not quite as forceful as some other examples of this style.

O: I find this to be a nice barleywine. I particularly love the fruity, sweet flavor profile and the fact that the hops don't overwhelm all of the malt and alcohol flavors. I just wish the body were a bit fuller...

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2012 13:24:30 | More by mrfrancis
Photo of korguy123

Ontario (Canada)

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

Bottle into snifter, left the dregs in the bottle.

A- Murky brown pour with just a thin beige ring and spotty lacing.

S- Floral hops with touches of pine and candied sugar. Slight strawberries and slight alcohol.

T- Sweet roasted malts, dry bitter hops. Candy sugar and zero hint of the 12%. Dry bitter finish.

M- Thin to medium bodied. Prickly carbonation and sticky on the lips.

O- Quite impressive. It doesn't have the Mikkeller signature boozy taste. Good flavor, good aroma and decent price.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2012 00:31:52 | More by korguy123
Photo of HardTarget


4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Caged and artificially corked bottle puts up a struggle. A tepid pop and first pour shows a murky brown glass with a hint of what we'll graciously call a halo. Not much to look at. It even sounds off, no heavy syrup pour to show authority, more of a watery splash in the glass.

Nose gives up some rummy raisins and a hint of Belgian yeast. Plumy like a quad but some well grounded earthy and piney hops bring it back to a Barleywine style.

Taste gives all the nose promises with a few bonuses. Rich almost candied malt provides a deep base flavor that slowly overcomes the potent hops.

Little to no carbonation in the swallow, just a medium light body with a ribbon of alcoholic numbing.

People that drink barleywine do it for their own reasons. For some it's high end malt liquor. For others; beer multiplied. Me? I like to hide them away, forget about them for a decade and break them out on a cold and rainy Tuesday. This would stand up well, as it's already almost flat and has lots of both malt and hops. May grab another for the cellar.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2012 01:15:47 | More by HardTarget
Photo of CopeTech


4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Barleywine style, a little more hopped than a triple.
Yeast remnants swirled up with the end of the bottle.
But a nice strong barley wine.
Better served cold to dampen the Mikkeller extra credit habit.

Good looking, with a lasting head, deep amber color.
The yeast dregs don't add much to the hop centric drive and rich imperial body.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2012 01:56:08 | More by CopeTech
Photo of DavidST


4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a pint glass, didn't see a best on date but it was a green bottle. This pours a very yeast dreg filled hazy brown, with a very frofty thick tan head. The smells are very fruity, full of sweet malts, some caramel and a little hops. The feel is pretty thick. The taste is pretty good, a load of sweet fruit and caramel malts, a bit of hop bitterness and a little alcohol burn on the way down. Overall this was pretty good and worth getting, but honestly bigfoot at the same price for a 6 pack as a single bottle of this is better and a better deal.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2012 04:38:56 | More by DavidST
Photo of Pintofbrown


4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had the Big Worse in a shaker pint.

Appearance- The cappuccino creamy head is an off-white, three-finger number. It looks great! There are lots of bubbles in the smooth cap and retention is very decent. This thing roiled like it came out of a nitro tap.

The body is a perfect match to a mulled apple cider. It even pours thick like one. And wow talk about sheet lace!

Smell- There is a distinct brandy like smell to the nose. Some cherries and maybe even a little prune is there. The hops present are piney and a little grassy. It is a barleywine all right!

Taste- The drink has some fruity notes up front: cherry, green apple, lemon, and some brandy character. The mid-drink and finish really picks up on the bittering hops.

They are really piney and hop oil is really present. Fresh barleywines are still good, but age would really help this one showcase the fruity profiles even more.

Mouth feel- Pretty good medium body and okay coating. The best aspect of the feel has to be how creamy the beer is. Even the slightly dry finish does not do much in the face of the creamy factor.

Overall- A very enjoyable barleywine that will only get better with age.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2011 01:45:38 | More by Pintofbrown
Photo of whatthehull


3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


A - deep swampy brown, tons of sediment, no head at all and some sticky lacing

S - very fruity, sweet, malty, booze, slght hops. Red and white wines. Funk, nice yeast, sugary dried fruits, oak, fresh cut branches and some citrus

T - tons of sweet, nice mellow but savory earth, wood and flowers, more white than red wine flavored, great malt flavors, huge booze, but very nice booze, more sweet, hugely fruity, floral hops and a yeast funk that is very tasty

M - medium body, medium complexity, decent balance, low acidity and medium plus finish

D - huge ale, sweet and boozy, would stay away from this if big ales aren't your style, I think it is so tasty and almost refreshing

Final thought - $14 is high but at 12% and yummy it is worth a try

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2011 10:07:44 | More by whatthehull
Photo of maximumu13


3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown almost caramel with almost no carbonation but a ton of sediment

S: Rich sweet smell very malty

T: At first the taste is very bland and then all of a sudden an explosion of flavor. All of the sweetness i expected from the malt a fruity roundness and a little bit of bitterness in the finish.

O :Nothing I wouldnt expect from Mikkeller a delicious multifaceted beer but i dont think i could drink more then one

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2011 09:12:58 | More by maximumu13
Photo of cindyjeffsmith


3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance: slightly hazy copper. decent head lingers considering she's 12%.
smell: Caramel sprinkled with hops. This has the smell of a beer that may be great given some age. Not sure of the vintage. Couldn't find it on the bottle. Bought it in June of this year.
taste: A little thin. Like the nose, caramel with some hops, a slight bitterness in the finish.
mouthfeel: a bit thin, slightly oily.
overall: picked up a half case of these in June, so interested to see what age will do with this.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2011 22:50:46 | More by cindyjeffsmith
Photo of fostachild

Ontario (Canada)

2.73/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

best before 02/07/12

pours a dark burgundy/brown colour with absolutely zero head.

smells sweet, has some fruit, molasses, and alcohol aromas.

taste is okay with some similar characteristics as the smell. didn't find this to have the best balance, with each sip being either too sweet or too boozy. overall kinda disappointed, it was sort of drinkable but not that enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2011 01:48:51 | More by fostachild
Photo of hmf05


4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep orange color. Semi-hazy but I can see through to the other side. Head is a thin ring of lace, but I do see tiny bubbles stuck to the glass and rising to the surface. I can see sediment in the bottle so I poured this very slowly as to not disturb the yeast. I succeeded. Aroma is toffee, caramel, pine, and some faint citrus. Smells very sweet. I like this so far. Starts off cloying in the mouth. Tons of caramel sweetness comes first, then comes the toffee. The brew then takes a complete 180 and morphs into a nice pine flavor that leaves a dry finish in the mouth. Overall, incredible beer. The alcohol is there in the taste, but not overly boozy. The nice dry finish keeps this from being too sweet. Surprisingly balanced. Definitely different from other barley wines out there, but that makes it memorable.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2011 05:54:51 | More by hmf05
Photo of Yagman3000

New York

4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a .375 bottle into a goblet.

Appears a bit lighter in color than I would have imagined for a 12% barley wine. It looks rusty... With browns and oranges. There's pretty much no head here - just some bubbles around the rim.

Smells from its barrel aging. There's a leathery oaky warm smell to it with a little sting... Possibly still running a bit warm.

Tastes less from the bourbon than I would have thought. Classic barley wine flavors at play here. Some figgy caramel stands out.

Mouthfeel is well balanced. Just effervescent enough with a decently viscous tongue coating.

Overall I liked this beer but remember a little more bourbon barrel presence the last time I tried it.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2011 23:57:39 | More by Yagman3000
Photo of ZenAgnostic


3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12.7 fl oz bottle poured into a tulip. No date. Bartender said it's probably a 2011.

Appearance - Medium cloudy brown body. Thin white lace with good stick and visible sediment.

Smell - Tons of dark, overripe fruit. Extreme banana. Sweet. Plenty of alcohol.

Taste - Very tart and bitter. Very strong. Smokey.

Mouthfeel - Very astringent.

Overall Drinkability - This thing kicks you in the mouth with out even a noticeable hop presence.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2011 22:26:35 | More by ZenAgnostic
Photo of biga7346


3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an oversized Duvel tulip.

A: Poured flat, brownish, crimson, very flat and still, red ruby hues

N: Pie cherries, pie crust, crescent rolls, sugary fruits like kiwi, very ripe banana, some pineapple; juicy savory like aromas, some vinegar, metallic all covered in some serious booziness.

T/M: Very smooth, oily mouthfeel; brandy, cooking sherry, big caramel and toffee notes but not cloying. I don't think this has stood up very well to the test of time, it has aged in my cellar for probably two years. Some fig, caramelized sugar, irony, mineral water. The finish is an interesting mix of semi-sweet chocolate chips, powdered sugar, some smoke and charred oak.

D: Mikkeller beers can be hit or miss in my experience, this kinda falls in between, interesting take on an American barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2011 01:51:27 | More by biga7346
Photo of eric5bellies


3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Drank on tap at Sail & Anchor, Fremantle.

A - Pours a cloudy dark honey colour with a white head that reduces to a film.

S - Quite a sweet boozy aroma with some spicy citrus fruits.

T - White Port type flavours of sweet grape flavours, with some mild caramel and burnt brown sugar. Very boozy.

M - Full body with medium carbonation.

O - The boozy flavour is not hidden enough and dominates the flavour.

Serving type: on-tap

10-10-2011 13:48:32 | More by eric5bellies
Photo of dansmcd


4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Mid-brown in colour and murky. Very thin head on pour, then none by the time Im back at my table. Minimal lacing.

S - Dark and sweet. Treacle, roasted malt, sweet honey, dark berries and stone fruit.

T - Overripe fruit flavours, roasted malt, subtle grassy hops in the background.

M - Full body, low carbonation, some burn from the 12% abv.

O - Powerful, dark, sweet, delicious. Needs a sharp cheese to partner up with for maximum results.

Serving type: on-tap

10-03-2011 00:51:48 | More by dansmcd
Photo of Arbitrator


2.33/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass. Thanks, Craig.

A: Pours a nearly still, clear amber-ruby body.

S: Strong oxidation (sherry and cardboard), pine, earth, toffee.

T: Tastes much the same: here, sherry dominates and melds with toffee against a strong, clashing bitterness of pine and earth. There's a mild flavor of orange rind.

M: This is heavy and mildly boozy.

O: I'm always happy when someone brings a Mikkeller beer to a tasting. I can't think of a more consistently awful brewery, and I feel I don't rate harshly enough most of the time. This brewery is a good way to bring that average town. Usually $15 a pop for bottled garbage. Still, this one is unpleasant but not totally irredeemable. For Mikkeller, it's even good.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2011 06:07:59 | More by Arbitrator
Photo of JayS2629


3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lets see how this goes, because I had to double check I had the same beer everyone was talking about. Same name and label, but mine looks nothing like the clear maple syrup with no head one person mentioned. Many others said no head. Did they fix this before I got my bottle or what happened?

My beer poured a dark, murky, opaque mahogany color with a gigantic, creamy tan head that took forever to fade and leaves chunky lacing down the side. My foam looks like a root beer float it is so solid and creamy looking. Lets see if it smells like everyone else described.

Deep malts, and boozy, alcohol. Woody, oak like hints, dark fruit like dates and plum. Some hearty, earthy tones beneath a big toffee, brown sugar, and rich caramel layer. Pine, and leather notes with some grassy and floral elements. Complex, rich and inviting.

The taste has loads of dark fruit and brown sugar on the front and leaves a chalky, aspirin like bitter finish. It goes from plums and dark sugar to smooth caramel and toffee, a litle cocoa note and then quickly fades into grassy, floral notes. The bitter finish fades after a few sips and helps the boozy edge disappear. It gets better as it warms.

Chewy, creamy and malty.

Nicely balanced, sweet with bitter finish. Good barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2011 23:45:19 | More by JayS2629
Photo of DaveHS


4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2008.

A-Pours translucent maple syrup brown without any visible traces of carbonation.

S-Sweet aromas of overripe plum and treacle. Wafts of toffee and crushed walnuts. Thin, sharp phenols push through the initial wave of sweetness, reminding you this is still a 12% beer.

T/M-If I had to guess, I would've thought this was around ten years old. Completely flat, with a soft, mellow body and a sweet, thin finish. The flavor profile is in line with what I expect from a classic barley wine. Port wine-like body and grapey sweetness, burnt brown sugar, overripe fruit. The lingering finish reveals notes of leather and damp hay.

O-Three years seems to be the sweet spot on this one. It hasn't been hurt by lack of carbonation. There's a slight edge of oxidation creeping in, so if you have any 2008 bottles lying around, now would be a good time to open them.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2011 22:38:29 | More by DaveHS
Photo of Knapp85


3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out as a brown colored liquid with a very small amount of head. The head that was there vanished really fast. The smell of the beer has some nice sweet dark fruit aromas, some are a little more pungent but it's a unique aroma. The taste of the beer has a good amount of hops that tingle the tongue while the sweetness of the beer unfolds. The mouthfeel wasn't too bad here but I feel it could have been better. Overall this beer wasn't too bad, I'd like to get a fresher bottle sometime.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2011 05:19:25 | More by Knapp85
Big Worse from Mikkeller ApS
85 out of 100 based on 350 ratings.