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Big Worse - Mikkeller ApS

Not Rated.
Big WorseBig Worse

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

376 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 376
Reviews: 237
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 15.34%
Wants: 19
Gots: 52 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 376 | Reviews: 237 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GbVDave
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12.7oz bottle into a St. Feuillien chalice.

Cork dated 14/08/2011

A: Pours a murky rusty-brown color with a small, light-khaki head that leaves some spotty chunks of lace in the glass. Very still and not too much of a "pop" when I popped the cork.

S: Awesome aroma of fresh green apples drenched in caramel, with molassas, cherry, chocolate, and fruity hops. Bit of a metallic boozy smell, as well.

T: Sweet sweet caramel mixed with tangy apple, chocolate covered cherry, vanilla, overripe plums, rum soaked raisins, a bit of piney and citrus-y hops, and a touch of coconut. The boozy alcohol heat isn't intrusive at all, it merely adds a level of rawness that should be in an American Barleywine.

M: Initially, it's big, sweet, and creamy. Then the hops and alcohol hold court and roughen up the mouthfeel and really make you take notice. Excellent sweet and fruity tang at the finish that lasts forever. Very sticky and left a sweet coating in my mouth.

D: This one warms you right up and is definitely a sipper. I loved how the sweetness from the caramel malt helped keep the alcohol from going out of control. This is an excellent beer!

GbVDave, Feb 12, 2008
Photo of Metalmonk
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Despite knowing this would age very well, I didn't have it in the cellar more than 2 days before I just had to pop the cork. Too tempting: a Danish barleywine brewed at the overworked De Proef brewery in Belgium. Received in a very generous trade from msubulldog25.

The rubber "newcork" was harder then hell to get off, producing a barely audible pop. But the beer looks healthy, with a half-inch head of sea foam topping a glowing rust-burgundy color. A layer remains on top throughout, while the rest transforms to tiny lace formations on the glass.

Aroma is almost perfect. Plum, wood, sherry, molasses, and vanilla extract roll through the nostrils in a wondrous way. A slight spikiness from the alcohol emerges, but this is otherwise a beautiful thing for the nose to behold.

Bringing it to the lips and over the tongue, the first impression is of the mouthfeel. Incredibly soft without seeming flat or dead, this velvety creation could taste like New Jersey swampwater and still be drinkable thanks to its attractive texture. Flavors do not surprise, considering they pretty much mirror the aroma. Also throws in real vanilla ice-cream, warming from the alcohol, and a round citrus sweetness on top of the already perceived aromas/flavors. Finish is mildly problematic, just a little green, capping each sip with a woody sourness. Quick-drying.

The too-tart, too-dominant finish alerts that this should be cellared and allowed to chill out a bit. Cork gives a best-by/expiration of 2011, so this is probably still quite young. Still, a treat at any point in its life, I was glad to have tried it and lucky that Brian could spare a bottle. Cheers pal!

Metalmonk, Feb 10, 2008
Photo of Bitterbill
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I got this in a trade with rustydiamond. Thanks Rusty!

It pours from foiled, caged and corked 12.7oz bottle(cork say 14/08/11) a clear deep amber with a 1 finger head of foam. Lots of lacing here and the head retention is better than average for the style.

The smell is malty foremost followed by some fruit and some slight bitterness.

The taste is huge. Lots of caramel malt starts things off but from there, I get an infusion of hops, mostly citrus, and a big kick of alcohol. Wheww...this is a mighty powerful brew and all of the 12%abv seems to be right there, in your face...err...mouth. Lots of warming to be had here so I'm only going to take *very* small sips.

A few sips later and the malt seems to have taken a sweeter route and taking on a more English style BW personna and that's a good thing in my book but the alcohol is kind of ruinning it for me. And just when I say that, the bitterness from the hops kicks it up a notch again...weird how the flavours seem to change for me from sip to sip.

It's going to be tough for me to rate this beer but one thing I know for sure, in its curent state, it's certainly not all that drinkable for me but I *am* glad I got to try it.

Bitterbill, Feb 09, 2008
Photo of cartdan
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

No pop when I pulled the cork out of this one has me a little worried at the start.

The beer pours a murky brown with a medium tan head, so I guess the carbonation is OK after all.

The smell is sweetness, with a good deal of alcohol in the nose. Not too much in the way of hops is noticeable.

Taste is more sweet malt, with good bitterness to back it up. Bitterness might be just a tad strong in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium full. The alcohol warmth comes through pretty strong on this one.

Overall a good beer with no big flaws. I think it would be better with age - the alcohol would calm down some and the bitterness in the finish would fade as well, leaving the sweetness a little more pronounced.

cartdan, Jan 29, 2008
Photo of charlesw
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

At last! A barleywine that actually tastes like one! It's about time! It looks like one, too! Deep amber but obviously you can see through it. Smells maybe a little grassy but big on prunes with maybe hints of malt. Tastes, well, fruity, malty and bitter. But, get this, balanced. Like, totally balanced. Sure, it's a little sweet and a little bitter and a little malty but... This one is balanced. Like crazy good balanced.

I'd give it a higher rating but I'm not thrilled with the slight apricot flavor (probably just they hops they're using - but, hey, whatever). Still, this stuff rocks! Not rocks $10 per 12oz, like I paid, but rocks! If you pay $5 a bottle you're getting a good deal on a good beer.

charlesw, Jan 27, 2008
Photo of BBeerL
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This Barleywine is a very well balanced beer. Most barleywines I tend to drink can be a lot of tangy sweetness and not much else. The are big rich roasted barley flavors up front. Followed by the traditional sweetness, and finish with a sour touch on the end. The big roasted flavors help to balance the big barley wine finish. A great beer, I will be buying it while I still see it around

BBeerL, Jan 27, 2008
Photo of dgallina
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7 ounce green bottle without dating.

Pours into the snifter a nearly-still deep red and brown. No head or lace, with a few slow and small bubbles of carbonation. In the nose, the beer exhibits rich carmel and vanilla notes. with hints of oaky sourness and honey blossom. The flavor is somewhat drier. Begins with toasted caramel and wood notes and develops an herbal hop center and deep warming alcohol finish. The body retains a bit of carbonation; can be deceivingly light initially but becomes syrupy as the beer warms.

dgallina, Jan 27, 2008
Photo of russpowell
3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a reddish caramel with 1+ finger of tan head. Very good head retention & above average lacing, with loads of viscosity

S: Piney hops & caramel, some booze after it warms.

Leaf& grapefruitty hops & alcohol up front. More boozey warmth as this warms, some citrussy hops, plus piney hops & dryness. Finishes with a little fruttyness, more dryness, bunches of leafy hops & honey notes, plus caramel

MF: Slick with low carbonation, thin for the ABV, although the alcohol let's you know what's going on, very warming if you can deal with the heat!

Drinks just average, too damn hot alcohol-wise. sit on this at least 2 years or you just have a crude OTT American Barley wine

russpowell, Jan 23, 2008
Photo of tpd975
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought this on awhile back and was hankering for a Barleywine. Here goes nothing.

A: Rip the foil, undo the cage, and pop the faux cork from the bottle without a sound. Pours pretty vicious with tons of bubbles and an average head. Spotty lacing as the contents disappear.

S: Tons of big bold sweet malts. Brown sugar, and some pine.

T: Big warming brew. Tons of sweetness right up front. Big bold pine flavors with hints of brown sugar, figs, and a bit of booze.

M: Medium bodied, yet clingy to the mouth and tongue.

D: Not real high on the drinkability scale, but what barleywine is.

Overall: I have not been overly impressed with the Mikeller brews. Don't get me wrong they are not bad, but for the price you just don't get the bang for your buck. Still waiting to try Beer Geek though as it's my favorite sytle and many rave about it. I can't wait to be the judge.

tpd975, Jan 23, 2008
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cork Date of August 2011; Sampled January 2008
Pours with a two-finger thick, large bubbled, amber tinged, tan colored head. The beer is a dark amber to plum color and shows an almost brilliantly clear, cranberry color when held up to the light. Quite hoppy in the aroma with notes of citrus, big pine / herbal notes, grapefruit, a touch of lychee, some tangerine, a hint of tropical fruit, some pine tar, woody hops and an herbal note. The finish has some noticeable warming / hot alcohol to it; it is sort of brandy or rum like. The aroma is fruity, even more so than solely from the hop character; aromas of berries and cherries are also noticeable.

Sweet and fruity tasting up front. The beer is quit a bit lighter in body than expected, though it is most certainly a Barley Wine. This finishes with an ample hop bitterness that becomes a bit green and astringent in the long finish (especially when coupled with the lingering, warming alcohol flavors found here). Flavors of orange-citrus oil, grapefruit, tangelo and lychee intermingle with sharp, menthol-like notes, pine flavors and a green herbal note. The fruity hop notes are the larges flavor contributor. Other than the hot alcohol flavors this beer is quite clean. Caramel malts contribute to the hop-fruit flavors, but have a hard time showing up distinctly on their own under the hop onslaught, though there is a touch of toasty malt in the finish.

The hot alcohol really detracts here, it adds a harsh astringency to this brew. This is a huge beer and should last for many years. I wish it was more drinkable right now as a young, super-hoppy Barley Wine though. If you wait a long time between each sip, this can be quite enjoyable, but back to back sips seem to magnify the effects of the hot alcohol on the flavor. In the end this show lots of potential, but is just too young right now.

Gueuzedude, Jan 20, 2008
Photo of shroompod
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Popped the artificial cork without much gas escaping. Small head some lacing.

Smell is very sweet , fruity, detecting some alcohol.

This beer has large hop profile , with some malt character coming through. Alcohol lingers and warms.

Mouthfeel is lightened by the hops but is above medium. Slightly under carbonated.

A sipper for sure , but a well done barley wine.

shroompod, Jan 18, 2008
Photo of RoBotGod
4.4/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The appearance of this beer seem to be run of the mill. It had a decent amount of head but not a whole lot. The nose is where it started to pick up. It had a fruit and floral smell to it with a bit of sweet malts. The color was a dark orange like the color of honey. After a few swigs I start to get a candy apple flavor. Still has a strong floral note and the hops are not so strong they destroy your mouth. The finish goes on for ever. I can taste this beer long after. The acid and malt balance out perfect and even gets better as it warms up. The alcohol is masked. I would have never guessed it 12%. More like a 8%. One of the better high alcohol beers I’ve had. It would be easy to slide a few back in a short amount of time, and then fall down the stairs drunk.

RoBotGod, Jan 17, 2008
Photo of rajendra82
4.43/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, garnet colored body, and a small amount of carbonation brought out the wine aspects of the presentation quite nicely, as did the corked and caged green bottle. The aroma was very fruity, as I could smell plums, cherries, and pear. The taste was complex yet delicate, which is quite a feat for a 12% ABV beer. The fruits that I smelled were soaked in syrup apparently, as the hefty amount of malt made its presence known. The hops were in quite force here as well, because the finish was herbal and bitter. There was a woody dry flavor present in the background, and occasionally a little sourness was apparent as well. At first I was going to rate this a little lower in the taste category, as my first impression was that this was a little bland, but each sip revealed additional layers of complexity, and I was soon won over. A little thinner in the mouth than I typically like barleywines. More American than English in style if you ask me, and reminded me somewhat of Anchor Old Foghorn.

rajendra82, Jan 14, 2008
Photo of Domingo
3.98/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Ah, Mikkeller. They seem to be getting quite a bit of attention because of their style/region challenging items. I didn't really think their Black Hole imperial stout was up to the hype, but this one's quite good.
Pours a brownish color with lots of red highlighting. For a 12% brew it has a pretty decent sized head that laces the glass nicely.
Smells essentially like a typical US barleywine...or perhaps a British one because of the hops being used. Reminds me of brandy with a floral hop bitter kick.
Tastes sweet up front with caramelized fruits, but the hops keep the sweetness in check and give this balance. It has some of the rummy flavor carrying over from the smell, too. There is a little bit of Belgian peppery yeast in there, which shockingly doesn't take this in the wrong direction. It blends nicely. Reminds me a little of a fruitcake.
Mouthfeel's spot on for the US examples. Not too thick, but not watery. It's a sipper, but it's god the consistency of a carbonated liquor.
It's a little strong and boozy for more than a bottle, but I had no problem polishing off an entire bottle myself with dinner.
Not bad at all. It's like a slightly different take on a US Barleywine with some of the English characteristics and Belgian flair, too.
The Danes (although this claims to be from Belgium) would do just fine along the US west coast with this one.
It's a little pricy, but worthwhile for sure.

Domingo, Jan 13, 2008
Photo of AndoBrew
2.55/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

* i did not like this beer, and would never buy it*

app: copper amber, not mythical

Smell: smells like an average bw. nothing bad, nothing exciting.

taste: not good, it is thin and weak then iffy hops, then candy "i spiked the abv with sugar" type taste.

mf: fine

drinkable?: a bit, but not worth the fight to keep it down

AndoBrew, Jan 12, 2008
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber with a decent head that fades to a ring. Big malty aromas overlaid by spice. Sweet and creamy in the nose, but smells relatively dry for a barley wine. Taste is similar- big and spicy with cardomom and anise. Notes of orange and spice cookies round it out. Once again, quite dry for a barleywine. Mouthfeel is slightly tannic, and big and sweet. Pretty drinkable if a little off style- tastes a little more in the old ale or strong ale direction. Alcohol is well hidden.

Georgiabeer, Jan 10, 2008
Photo of hoppymeal
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark copper, clear, with a small effervescent cream head. Aroma is coconut, sweet caramel, raisins, and boozy. There is a hint of leather as well when agitated. Taste shows a nice sugary caramel, raisins, sweet grapes and something that hints at tartness but is overpowered by the malts. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, somewhat thick on the tongue up front, quickly cut by the effervescent carbonation, peppery hoppiness, and biting alcohol that all lead into a drying finish with a malty and caramel sweet aftertaste. A good barleywine that got better farther into it, i think a little age could either do good things or could bring the already boozy alcohol more to the forefront, look forward to seeing what develops.

hoppymeal, Jan 08, 2008
Photo of scruffwhor
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pretty, deep tawny amber, ruby, almost a port color. You can see some bubbling though. Very nice. Looks great in a snifter. The aroma gives off lots of dark fruits with some sweet winey notes as well. The taste is a warm fruity lat. Juicey with figs and prunes with a hint of grapes and currants. The body is heavy and juicey. Great for sipping and swishing around your mouth.

scruffwhor, Jan 07, 2008
Photo of sfoley333
4.4/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12.7 fl oz bottle syn. corked and caged. Poured a ruby reddish brown with a thick off white head. Smell is very similar to double bastard, sweet carmel and raisin mixed with pineapple and citrus. Taste is sweet candied fruits, brown sugar, grapefruit rind, and alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium to full body with a sweet start which keeps it thick and rather dry finish which rounds out the thickness. The 12% alcohol level makes this a sipper but a damn good sipper.

sfoley333, Jan 02, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark murky brown. Nose is minor raisins. Mild alcohol. Almost smells like dirty river water. Flavor is spiked by the alcohol. Robust flavor, but this obviously needs to be laid down for many more years before it‘s in its prime. Feel is good. But like I said, definitely needs some time to mature.

RblWthACoz, Jan 01, 2008
Photo of oberon
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My second stab at a Mikkeller brew I really enjoyed the Stateside IPA,poured into a small tulip glass sort of a slight hazed deep russet color a well formed 2 finger clingy light beige colored head atop it had great lasting power.At first pop of the cork a powerful resiny hop aroma hit me and a smile crossed my face that mixed in with a brown sugar and cakey alcohol fruitiness I knew this was gonna be a doozy.Hmm after a few sips I notice that its not anywhere near as potent as I thought it would be or as bold flavor wise a little watery in the mouthfeel department definently not a big chewey barley wine.Flavors fall a bit flat compared to the aromas dark fruit sweetness mixed with brown sugar and alcohol the hops are much more subdued than what I had imagined and or hoped giving a hint of medicinal-like and white pepper flavors in the finish along with a lasting alcohol sweetness.Maybe as others have suggested cellaring might be the ticket here but it wont help out its lighter mouthfeel,it started out great and kinda peetered out in the finish.

oberon, Dec 14, 2007
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a snifter)
After fighting and fighting with the synthetic cork once it was removed there wasn't even the slightest pop sound.
A- This beer has a deep brown body with a light glow of brown at the base of the glass. There is a sea of microbubbles that glide to the surface supporting a big bubble tan head that has a yellow hue to it and stays sticky before fading to a thick ring.

S- This beer has an earthy resin hop note without the pine qualities followed by a light wet wood and dry caramel note. The finish had a soft citrus quality that reminded me more of yeasty cherry notes than citrus fruit notes.

T-This beer has a soft caramel note with a slight coffee malt bitterness behind it and this develops into a raw sugar taste. There is a light tart citrus finish like dried tangerine rinds but it is pretty light.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has no alcohol heat even when the beer has warmed a bit.

D- This beer has some nice sweetness but nothing to balance or support it. The orange quality at the finish is mysterious but not bold enough to and much interest.

rhoadsrage, Dec 13, 2007
Photo of blitz134
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brilliant, bright ruby red. Perfectly clear. Quarter inch of light tan head on top, quite dense, and really hangs on.

Aroma is kind of simple, light caramel basically with some hints of raisin and fig. Just a touch of floral hops peak through. Kind of unremarkable.

Taste has more going on. Nice malty undertones. Sweet with sugar and caramel. Dark, ripe fruits of raisins and plums. Alcohol is there but under control. Some citrus and floral hints from some hops show through. Pretty good.

Smooth full mouthfeel that coats well and the flavor lingers, a touch of bitterness in the end.

Pretty drinkable too. Not the most complex, but a solid beer, no doubt. Has some rough edges from the hops and alcohol, but it is an American style barleywine, so it is expected. The size of this beer is well hidden, no alcohol hotness at all.

blitz134, Dec 12, 2007
Photo of mcallister
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ruby red in color with a bit of a sparkle. An off white flimsy head of small stature retents nicely with a foam quilt top.

Lots of fussel in the nose. Dark sugary malts with a large amount of hops. Somewhat thin in overall aroma. A spicey quality from the alocohol really shines through.

This beer needs much more time in the bottle. Alocohol burns big in the mouth, throat and chest. A bit discombobulated with a lacking of balance. Not to say it isn't good but I can only see this getting better, if not it's too bad. Datey raisiny characteristics with only a hint of brown sugar. The bitterness of the hops and alcohol hurt this for me. Mouth is prickly and lively another characteristic I'm not crazy about in a barley wine. Again I really do think this will be a very good beer with at least a year or more in the bottle.

mcallister, Dec 09, 2007
Photo of Beaver13
3.3/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

12.7 oz bottle, caged and corked. Pours a murky dark tea color with a thin off white head that quickly diminishes to a thin film and small collar.

The aroma is sweet candy-like caramel, melon and spicy alcohol
The flavor is sweet sugary caramel and dark fruits/melon with a big burnt bitter alcoholic burn at the finish. The mouthfeel is medium and slightly watery with low carbonation.

Overall, a big bitter barley wine. It's not very balanced at all and too alcoholic for me.

Beaver13, Dec 01, 2007
Big Worse from Mikkeller ApS
85 out of 100 based on 376 ratings.