Big Worse - Mikkeller ApS

Not Rated.
Big WorseBig Worse

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

388 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 388
Reviews: 238
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 15.92%
Wants: 19
Gots: 54 | FT: 2
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)
View: Beers (248) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 388 | Reviews: 238 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of amneziak
4.7/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Big Worse pours rather syrupy and has a somewhat unpleasant color that is brownish orange and murky. I'm assuming because there is so much alcohol in this one that this is probably why there is virtually no head forming on top. You do get a small amount of creamy tan colored head, but it disappears almost as quickly as it forms. The lacing, on the other hand, is a monster. It hangs on to the side of the glass and won't let go; pretty impressive viscosity here.

Smell: After putting your nose in the glass, you can tell this is just a huge beer. Right away you are met with an intense pungent aroma from the malt and hops. There are also lots of dried prunes and raisins in the nose that are accompanied (in a good way) with the smell of cooked sauerkraut. To put it bluntly, Big Worse smells like Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot on serious steroids.

Taste: Oh my goodness this is a huge beer in just about every way possible! It's everything I like about a strong beer; just massive all around. There is quite a bit of sweetness coming from the malt and a nice pungent hop presence. There are not a lot of aromatic hops used here, only bittering hops that run deep into the brew. And while there is a mountain of flavor in this bottle, there is still not enough to fully mask the alcohol that keeps making an appearance.

Mouthfeel: This is a very well-balanced beer. If someone were to argue with me and say it is way too sweet I don't know that I could completely disagree. What I will say, however, is that there is enough bitterness from the hops to be able to withstand the sweetness. I will warn you that if you drink anything after this (aside from maybe an Imperial Stout) you are likely not to taste it because Big Worse will demolish your palate for the evening.

Overall: Mikkeller always seems to satisfy. Now I can't say that I've had a ton of Barleywines, but I can tell you of those I've had this is easily the best. In fact, it's one of the better beers I've had this month. I will most definitely be purchasing a couple more of these to hang on to for a while. Last, I'm really happy with the portion size of the beer. I get tired of drinking bombers by myself and feeling warn out at the end. At just a touch of 12 ounces, this is the perfect amount of beer for one setting.

Photo of brendan13
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark amber colour, slightly hazy. Poured into a tulip glass with a few centimetres of off white head. Lots of big patchy lacing left down the glass.
S - Up front is some herbal & woody notes. A touch of piney hops. Dark fruit malt aroma as well.
T - Taste is earthy & herbal with dark fruit and sweet caramel maltiness.
M - Medium bodied, minimal carbonation. Warming alcohol.
D - Quite a tasty beer but nothing I'd rush to buy again.

Photo of NEhophead
4.53/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12.7 fl oz green bottle; caged & corked, wrapped in silver foil. Served in a goblet.
The corked is marked: 14 08/11.

Pours a champagne-highlighted, dirty/murky oak in color. A delicate, carbonation-driven yet creamy head; decent durability as a filmy sheet giving the noticeable carbonation. No lasting, noticeable lace.

Rich, creamy toffee and caramel. Intense, yet inviting alcohol presence that really adds something to the rich, near chocolate-like aromas. Fig, brandy-soaked raisin and plum. Sweet, caramelized brown sugar. Unbelievably intense; yet balanced, dynamic aromas.

Caramelized brown sugar sweetness up front that is not as sweet as the aroma leads one to expect. This is partially do a cutting, tart citrus flavors that include: green apple, sour white grape, grapefruit, and orange. The alcohol presence is pretty hefty, but it is only really obvious once the tartness wanes. The finish is very warming with an addition of naturally creamy vanilla and mild honey. A lot of great flavors are going on here; however, this barleywine still tastes a little young.

Full in body; primarily creamy; however, at mid-sip when the alcohol comes to the forefront, a wave of gaseous heat takes hold.

Wow, what a flavorful, dynamic, intense, and rounded Barleywine! Although this one is excellent right now, laying this one down for another two years would most likely make it world class. This one surely has opened my eyes to Mikkeller.

Photo of coldmeat23
4.33/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

GLASS: 22 oz. Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees

Pours a good, thick, copper color with amber highlights. Very thin head of tan foam forms and retreats, quickly. It leaves a thin film. Lacing is thick, but quite slippery.

Rich caramel malts are dominant. A nice butteriness. Wood notes. Raisins and dates drizzled with molasses. A slight earthiness and a hint of spice.

Man is this rich!
Huge butterey caramel presence. Big maltiness. Good presence of dark fruits. Sweetness of candi sugars. Very light touch of spiciness. Slight kiss of hops, like pine.
Not overly complex, but simple can be damn tasty sometimes.

Very smooth and creamy. Excellent carbonation level. Not quite full-bodied, but almost. Just shy of velvet-like.

It hides it's 12% ABV very well. It's just too rich and decadent to be consumed in mass quantities, though. Other than that, it's quite drinkable.
(Although it's classified as an 'american style barleywine', it's not so out-of-balance with the hops. Like most 'american' BW's are, these days.)

Photo of jim1904
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Hey, I also picked this up at Holiday! What a co-een-kee-deenk.

Poured at 52, 53ish degrees from a 12.7oz corked/caged bottle into a pint. Cork smelled delicious. Woody and herbaceous.

A: Deep amber, almost opaque-looking unless you hold it up to a light. Little itty bitty head, surprising because I gave this a fairly aggressive pour and it seems pretty sparkley.

S: Same as the cork, but with a much more prominent caramel undertone. Very sweet, not boozy at all, oakey, a little peppery.

T: Hides 12% unbelievably well. I'm astonished, really. Big, huge, bold malt in the front. Definitely some of that noticeable candi sugar tang. A whiff of hops in the finish. Not terribly complex, but definitely gigantic.

M: Smooth, thick, just the right amount of carbonation. Perfect body for a high-grav BW.

D: Really, the best thing about this beer is how well it hides the alcohol. I'm not saying that it's a session beer by any means, it's definitely a dessert beer. Meant to be savored.

Photo of GClarkage
4.47/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

03/10/09- Purchased at Holiday Wine Cellars in Escondido, CA.

Presentation- 12.7oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into my Tripel Karmeliet tulip.

Appearance- Lightly murky sedimented caramel colored pour. 1/2 inch head which subsides quickly. Leaves some very light lace markings including spotting and some other various marks.

Smell- Very rich nose alcohol, woodsy notes, rasins, sugar and caramel.

Taste- Rich with caramel notes. Alcohol is present, but not in the forefront. Hops are pine flavored and noticeable. Really tastes like a combo of English and American Barleywine. More malty than anything with some light dark fruit flavors.

Mouthfeel- Sweetness fades quickly leaving an alcohol and hoppy aftertaste. Lower carbonation level.

Drinkability- Sometimes I wish BA could rate in tenths of a point rather than 1/2's. Might not have rated it quite as high if that was the case. The one thing I would have liked was a longer lasting aftertaste of the caramel sweetness. As is, still a very good, even headed towards great barleywine. Think the $12 I paid was a bit too high though.

Photo of rallison
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1ish year old bottle.

A: Dark brown with a very minimal head and low carbonation.

S: Burnt caramel, raisins, molasses.

T: Age seems to have helped this beer out. Generous amounts of sticky caramel, raisins and similar coat the tongue. Slightly rough hops break through as well. The 12% is still quite evident and warms toward the end. Finishes with some molasses.

M: Thick and coating with low carbonation. A sipper, but not too bad.

D: Decently drinkable.

Better than I was expecting - it would seem a year of age improves this beer.

Edit: After drinking some more I am finding the beer a bit too cloying..some more carbonation would be nice.

Photo of mjd83goblue
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Sampled from a bottle. Can't remember what I paid, but I'm guessing at least 7-8 bucks for the 12+ ozs.

Pours a murky and cloudy brown. Kind of looks like sewer water.

Smell is booze at the forefront. Can tell this is going to be sweet and malty already.

Quite fruity, with berries, raisins, and the like. Sweet and malty. Warming from the booze. Hops are certainly not overpowering like some American style BW's. Not overly complex though.

Mouthful is full but not cloying at all. Perhaps the best attribute of this beer.

Overall, decent but nothing special. Borders on being a boozy mess, but doesn't quite sink that far. So far, not seeing what the Mikeller hype is all about, especially at the prices they charge.

Photo of SLeffler27
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The off-white head rises an impressive half inch for its style over a muddy brown beer that puts up a film on my Hoegarten Snifter.

Strong brandy fumes carry raisins, followed by roasted malt, moderate spruce and earthly notes. As it warms, this one reveals figs and a hint of fermented cherries.

The flavor of this Barleywine closely follows its aroma, tilted toward the raisins and away from the brandy. A quick, powerful finish brings back the brandy.

This one is full-bodied and viscous. It is dry as a bone with only a touch of carbonation, while the alcohol is very present without any warming.

Mikkeller's take on Barleywine is a fine example, to be certain, and I'll finish this bottle tonight. However, being so very dry, it will sip, sip, sip away into the night as it warms me up with a book and simple contemplation.

Aged nine months in the cellar.

Photo of jpalarchio
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy amber color with minimal head. Lack of clarity reminds me of some of my own brewings.

Smell seems woody. Hard to really nail this one down, there's something there I can't identify.

The alcohol is fairly evident, a bit hot even; taste seems to be somewhat sweet.

Worth it for the experience, probably wouldn't purchase this again though. Can't remember what I paid for this bottle, seems like it was on the high-end. As far as barley wines go, probably not my favorite. I'd rather pickup a 6 of Bigfoot instead.

Photo of BrewerB
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Opaque, light brown, with a light tan head. Noticeable viscosity. Did not clear when warmed.

S - Intense fruity esters: raisin or fig. Alcohol not as apparent as expected (good thing).

T - Striking grape-like malt character (melanoidin). Fig and raisin also show in the taste. Bitterness is present but very mild (to a fault). Finish is sweet.

M - Medium light bodied with low carbonation. A non-effervescent sipping beer yet lighter than desired.

D - A little rich; not chugging it. Greater bitterness and a drier finish could improve drinkability, bro.

Photo of 100floods
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased in November or December at City Beer. I have been debating opening this because the general word is to hold off for a bit. However, City Beer is known to cellar a beer or two and then release it, but then again, all the Scandinavian brews have only just been showing up en mass. Does that mean he's been hording them, or they fresh on the street? Who cares.

Pours a dark, slightly murky amber with a white/tan head. I can't smell much in the glass, but the bottle has lingering sweet malts which is all I can smell. Absolutely no carbonation on the radar.

This big brew tastes a sweet malts and some hops that I can't put my finger on. More malt that hops, but just barely. A sweet pine/tree after taste matched with some kind of applejuice/alcoholic cider deal happening too, not expected at all, but still decent. I think I'm starting to see why people say to hold off on this one.

Definitely not a bad one, haven't had many danish barley wines, Norway and Sweden have some better ones I think. I'm more curious as to the storage of this beer. Unfortunately there's no indicator of when this was made, no batch #, no date. Still a good beer to warm you up.

Photo of BasementDweller
4.43/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Pours a nice orange-amber. Aroma is full, estery, of fruit steeped in mild brandy, and just a hint of woodiness. Definitely got my mouth watering. Just a hint of syrup on the palate makes for a full body. Flavor is of overripe pears, apples and plums, intoxicatingly sweet but not cloying by any means. High ABV warms the belly. Finish takes forever. I held my glass for a full two minutes before taking another sip, which worked out well because with a little warmth, this beer is outstanding. Finish was woody with licorice notes and a pervading undertone of plums and dates. Wonderful brew.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Reviewed on 7/29/08. Bottle. Pours a murky medium-dark brown with no real head. Aroma of raisin and dark fruits. Flavor of raisins, alcohol, acidity, sweet apple skins. Heavy and sweet, tough to drink. I'm not quite a fan of these aged barleywines. This was better than some, but I still didn't enjoy it.
6/3/7/3/13 (3.2/5)

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

Pours murky brown with a short off-white head. Alcoholic candy in the nose. Some wood, pine needles, and lots of brown sugar. Taste is liquor-esque. Sweet and tangy up front with resin and grapefruit/orange-slice candy flavors. Oaky-brandy notes follow with a bit of carmelized apples and figs. The alcohol burn takes hold, giving it a cognac finish. Awesome beer.

Photo of yemenmocha
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours amber-brown with almost no head.

Nose has aroma reminding me of holiday nuts, brown spices, and overall clear suggestions that this will be sweet tasting.

Starts of malty to caramel sweet, rounded with raisins and background citrus, finishing softly warm with the alcohol largely subdued. A medicinal, menthol like quality is present also.

One of the more easy drinking, accessible examples of a barleywine that I've sampled recently.

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

12.7 ounce corked and caged bottle purchased from Liquid Solutions for about nine dollars, has been in my cellar for about six months, best before date of 2011, poured into my small Stone sampling glass tonight

A-Murky medium brown with some red tint, small 1/4 inch head with thick beige bubbles, did not last long at all, minimal retention, no lacing
S-Big toffee, large malt presence, some caramel, cooked vegetables, milk chocolate, faint hoppiness, sugar, roasted nuts, grassy accents, and dark fruits
T-Starts off with a sweet malt flavor, fades into the same vegetal presence I smelled but they are mixed with fruits this time, finish is pretty sweet and full of booze, gets fruitier as time goes on with some plums and figs, toffee and caramel make themselves more known as it warms as well, by the end there is a mix of fruit and malt that gives the tongue a big sting with alcohol, could have used hops for balance but that is not what this barleywine was going for
M-Hot, stinging, sweet, and fruity mouthfeel, medium bodied that is on the thicker side, very low level of carbonation, taste lingers
D-Could not finish the bottle on my own, twelve percent is not hidden and is strong, stuff packs a punch, wish it was smoother, more age might help that, eight ounces was an appropriate serving for this one

A barleywine from Denmark, that was enough to make me curious about this one, I have enjoyed most Mikkeller brews I have had in the past and this was no exception, glad I got to try it and the Shelton Brothers were able to import this into the states, would not spend the money again but still worth checking out

Photo of srandycarter
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy medium to dark brown. Not much head at all. Thin, leggish lacing.

S - Cooked fruit, booze, dark sugary stuff.

T - Taste matches smell, but even more pronounced in the mouth.

M - Medium body, sufficient carb, good coating, nice balance.

D - I like this one. Would have more than one if not careful.

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

375ml bottle, corked and caged. Bottle conditioned. Served in a snifter. Poured a hazy copper with a thin off white head. Plenty of piney hops in the aroma along with some alcohol and burnt sugar. Slight oxidation, but in a good way. This is a big beer, lots of malt. Not as bitter as the aroma would suggest. Fruit flavors. I also got a slightly smokey note in the finish. Warming. A nicely balanced barleywine.

Photo of cvfish
2.5/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into a glass from a bottle

A - Settled to a reddish brown color with a white solid head that dissappears quickly

S - Strong scent of alcohol with some fruity overtones

T - Strong bitter tastes, not much else

M - Dry, full bodied mouth that didn't agree with me

D - Wasn't impressed with this barley wine, there were others that I liked better

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm a little hesitant on drinking this. When I popped the cork, well, there was no pop.

A: Poured a deep mahogany color with an off white head about half an inch thick, reduced to a film with little to no lacing. Slightly cloudy, and a few chunks of sediment at the bottom.

S: Raisins, alcohol, some spicy yeasty notes, a whole lot of sweetness, and lots of booze. Some definite whiskey notes, and even a faint reminder of Southern Comfort Liqueor. Very little in the way of hops.

T: Wow, heavy on the malt side of the spectrum. Caramel and figs and other dark fruits really come to the palate on this. Raisins are really coming to mind. Cinnamon flavors linger in there as well. There are some definite spicy flavors from the yeast, and from the alcohol as well. There is definitely a boozey flavor in here. It is not detracting from the beer though. Very little in the way of hops, a slight bitter twinge at the end but overall I think this comes from the dark roasted malts.

M: Warm and dry, this one burns and warms ya up. Perfect for a cold day like today. Pretty smooth in the mouth, it really burns the gullet though. A funky powdery dryness in the mouth, almost like eating powdered cinnamon.

D: I can't really say I'd drink this stuff all night. Half way through this I'm starting to feel a little alcohol coming on. This is a great tasting complex beer that really fits the style well. Maybe on a cold winter night this would go down a little better, but this is really something. Very, very interesting.

Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
2.75/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A little something to help get over my Cubs going down 0-2 in the NLDS. Into a KBS snifter.

A - Dark amber body with one finger of rock head.

S - A bit yeasty, a lot of black current, and a boatload of alcohol in the nose.

T - Fruit sweetness and tartness (blackberry, pear) are very predominate in the entry, with some drier malt to balence it out. Hops are present, but the alcohol seems to trash my mouth so much that it dominates any hops. I was left with a citrus aftertaste that did not go away, and did not compliment the beer at all.

M - Silky body, that becomes prickly with the alcohol.

D - I love Barleywines, the bigger the better... That being said, this lacked many qualities I like in the style. The malt was to dominated by fruits, and everything was blown away by the alcohol, which to me felt much higher than 12%. Can't say this is an brew I would reach for again.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a very clear ruby in color with just a modest head that disipates before the first drink. Smell is plenty of hops, both citrusy and bittering. Taste is the same. Lots of hops and a little malt to try and help the cause. A decent brew, but not a stand out.

Photo of TasteTester
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Been sitting on this one for a while, figured now was as good a time as any.

A-Solid Amber. Very little translucence except around the edges. Pours with a little head, nothing that lasts. No lacing at all.

S-Sour mash right off the bat. Perhaps its raisins and some other fruits. Smells almost as if it would be more like a sour.

T-Bitter, slightly sour. The fruit tones are rather pungent. Not really sure what else to say. Its well balanced.

M-Nothing stands out or sticks to my tongue/mouth.

D-Maybe should have cellared longer or tried it sooner, no way to know now.

Photo of ryandurka
4.6/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

this beer rocks. its 12 percent, so its strong, ie barley beer. unlike most beers this strong, this beer is not rough and has a smooth taste. no afterburn. if you can find this beer its worth the expensive price. you wont be disappointed. stranglely the taste is almost soft and thats wild for a 12 percent-er.

Big Worse from Mikkeller ApS
85 out of 100 based on 388 ratings.