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Big Worse - Mikkeller ApS

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Big WorseBig Worse

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very good

399 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 399
Reviews: 244
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 15.65%
Wants: 20
Gots: 58 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS visit their website

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Viggo on 11-25-2007

Brewed at De Proefbrouwerij.

Ingredients: Water, malt (pils and caramunich), candy sugar, hops (nugget, cascade and centennial) and ale yeast.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 399 | Reviews: 244
Photo of dreadnatty08
4.57/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Synthetic cork which I inadvertently wiped off the bottling date. Pours a medium dark amber color, slight haze with a half inch of tan head that quickly dissipates to a covering with some nice tracing. Aroma is such a sticky caramel, toasty malt bomb for sure. Just so deep and biscuity with a bent towards raisin, but not quite so fruity. Esters are rather restrained for a 12% brew. Slight chocolate touch in the aroma too. On the palate, the malts are just overpowering. I don't know what malt they use in their beer but it's just unbelievable, certainly something I've never tried. This is perhaps the richest beer I've ever had if I had to call a beer rich. Minimally carbonated with a smooth mouthfeel and a slight hop twang in the finish really rounds this beer well, in addition to a 12%abv that is well hidden. Regardless of the other reviews, I think this is one of the most solid commercial barley wines out there today.

Photo of cjgator3
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Corked and caged 12.7oz bottle poured into a pint glass. The bottle is wrapped in a silver wrapping and is corked with a synthetic cork. 14/08/11 printed on the cork, I am assuming that is the best before date. Pours a murky brownish amber color with alight tan head. The aroma is very malty with some caramel, leather and alcohol soaked fruits. The taste much like the aroma focuses on the malt. There is also a big leather like presence, it is almost like chewing on a leather boot. Finally, the hops make their presence felt in the finish. Overall, Mikkeller Big Worse is a pretty solid barleywine that seems like it would age very nicely. This is a sipper for sure, but the bottle isn't as big as it appears.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was served in a tulip glass. It was a ruby red color with a small tan head that quickly disappeared. The beer was actually pretty still. It had a dark fruit aroma, as well as a little caramel. Interesting aroma. The taste was fruity, prunes/raisins. A little warming spice from the alcohol. Maybe a touch too sharp for me, but still a nice beer.

Photo of weeare138
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to egajdzis for this...
Appears a dark amber with steady streams of CO2 rising to the top of the glass. The small, off-white head slowly fades into a gentle cap. Scattered spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of caramel, cocoa, yeasty dough, ripened dark fruits, citrus, and dates.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a mix of caramel and apricots, along with other ripened fruit coming to the forefront of this barleywine.
Mouthfeel is a little thin with a low level of carbonation and brown sugar lingering. There is also a small level of heat coming from the abv in this one. This one should age a bit more before trying.

Photo of Atron67
4.47/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a 375 bottle i got from pimpp in a trade. looks pretty good like the label. not a fan of these 375 bottles for 10 dollars though, it better be pretty damn good

A- come through the tulip glass a ruby red, although it looked tawny colored as it poured. pretty surprized by the color considering the abv and all. probably pretty tought to get something that light for so much alcohol, not the biggest of heads, however its pretty fizzy and a cm or so of head built up and gave it a nice look. faded pretty quickly but stuck to the glass a decent amount. body is pretty foggy as well lots of haze

S- very fruity, strikes me as being brett infused, some dark fruits, figs & cherry, sourness. not exactly the english or amaerican barleywine type of beer, reminds me of the sprecher which uses the forbidden forest yeast to give it a huge fruit charachter. very delicious smelling

T- not so fizzy as it looked, very fine carbonation that was mostly gone by the time it took me to type up the above. incredibly smooth, mellow maltiness where the fruit play over the tongue as the warmth of the alcohol spreads. same fruit nots as above, however a little more muted than I would have expected. the hops almost keep it from being sweet, there is a light sweetness however but i think that is more a factor from the hops not coming in till later while the maltiness is there right away. works pretty well for the beer and is pretty damn delicious. very smooth clean finish, again realy surprizing considering we are dealing with a 12 % abv

M- pretty thick, very fine carbonation, clean palate althogh not excessively so and still leaves some flavor lingering on the tongue

D- pretty damn good, remarkable beer, however considering the trade need and the high price to start, prolly not gonna see this again.

props to the brewer for this one

Photo of irishkyle21
4.32/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A great Barleywine to have on a cool spring night. The beer leaves some nice traces of lacing as I sip and settle in for the night. Has a brownish copper color.

Smells of fruits, lots of hops (with a good amount of malt to keep it evenly balanced to a certain point), sweetness, alcohol and a woody spicy scent.

Tastes of sweet malts, hops, alcohol and fruits. I was very surprised when my girlfriend brought this back from Premier Gourmet for me.

Photo of merlin48
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12.7 oz green bottle pours into a snifter a hazy copper body with a small beige head that quickly falls to a cap. Some sparse spotty lace is left behind.

Aroma boasts bold notes of chewy caramel and fresh citrusy grapefruit.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with subdued carbonation and some spicy alcohol burn.

Taste has a dominant citrus rind bitterness. Some spicy alcohol burn suggests this one might need some maturation. Underlying malt backbone is sturdy and offers up some caramel sweetness. A mildly sweet citrusy orange presence appears midway through but quickly yields to the dominant hop bitterness.

Definitely an American style barleywine with assertive hop bitterness. A bit hot at this stage with an alcohol burn that is a bit distracting.

Photo of mortarit
3.84/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Well I just found out that this was a barleywine. So it should be interesting because I am not fond of them. However I am fond of Mikkeller brews.

The color difference hit me first. Dark golden amber with a haze that I haven't seen in beers.

The smell is welcoming invite to want to have a drink.

Lacing isn't really there at all.

Taste has a soft burn when applied to the tongue. I taste woody favors.

Honestly, I am not a barleywine person, yet. I do know that this was a great example of one.

Photo of beersabound
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

All around a very tasty BW. Pours an active, full head over a ruddy chestnut sipper. The aroma gives off lots of caramel malt and earthy hops, alcohol (a very little rubbing but mostly whisky type), and a handful of green apples. This one tastes a little young and would hold up to some aging. The flavor starts sweet in the front like toffee and quickly shows its hop prowess. Waves of resiny hops combine with alcohol throughout to the finish. This aggressive bounty is held up stalwartly by malt minions. The mouthfeel is a little too effervescent at first but it mellows as the tasting went on. Damn good BW; could use some aging but even for $10/bottle it's worth the admission price.

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

a: This was a clear amber copper color with golden highlights. It poured with a small off-white head that faded quickly.

s: There is a big hop nose here, smelling mostly citric. Lots of lemon with some orange and a bit of pine as well. Malts that smell of simple syrup, yeasty cherry smells, and alcohol round things out.

t: Fresh, aggressive, acidic hops that taste mostly of orange and pineapple with some prickly pine dominate throughout. Some sugary, peaty malts and cherry flavors do manage to peek through. This was very good overall, but the finish was a bit rough. Some cloying sweetness mixes with some raw alcohol.

m: The body was great, but I thought this was a little under-carbonated.

d: There isn't anything subtle here. This is big, full-flavored, and pretty damned good. At $10 for 375ml however, this will be my only bottle.

Photo of barefootbrewer
4.14/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy brown with little to no head.

S: Raisons, malt, Belgian candy?, slightly sour. The aroma is very complex. I couldn't keep my nose out of the glass.

T: Malty and sweet in the beginning leading way to a slight sourness. The alcohol is very noticeable.

M: Medium to full. It leaves a slick feel on the throat. Sticky.

D: Although there is an alcohol punch, there is something compelling about this beer. This would make a great all-night sipper.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From a green bottle...hmmm...pours a cloudy amber tea color with a very smallish off white head that melts quickly to a faint ring and mist on the top of the beer.

Aroma is sweet, sweet, amber malts and dark raisins.

Taste is sweet candied malt, dark fruits, extra dark sugars, and then lots of hot alcohol. Lots.

I don't notice the hops in this one although they may be hidden in the hot alcohol finish.

A nice beer to get drunk on...or go to sleep with. Right now (relatively new) it's a bit hot and a lot sweet.

Photo of TheBlackMallard
3.29/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper with a small tan head.

Smell is grassy, herbal, fruity, and belgian-like. Not the belgian smell I like either.

Taste: It leads with typical barleywine flavors, crystal malts, dark fruits, and finishes with alcohol. Thin and grainy, I'm not very impressed.

Big Worse: Worse than most barleywines that cost a lot less. I don't think this is bad but it's not worth the $8.99 I paid for it.

Photo of brewcrew76
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Cork reads 14/8/11

A - Pours a rhubarb, crimson red with a slim tan head.

S - Sweet caramel malt with a touch of alcohol.

T - Boozy and sweet with caramel, brown sugar and some citrus from the hops.

M - Medium mouthfeel, maybe a bit thin for a barleywine, with a warming alcohol.

D - The sweet caramel & citrus flavors give it a candy like taste that is not very appealing.

Photo of deepsouth
4.19/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this beer poured a cloudy brown with now and and a few bubbles. nothing special to look at for sure. the smell is butterscotch, caramel, a bit doughy and faint hops. the alcohol is very present in the nose. the taste is sweet on the front end, tasting like burn pitted fruits. it's also a bit on the sour side. i also detect apricot perhaps. i am really digging this english style barley wine as i seem to enjoy the sweetness versus the hop onslaught you get from the american barleywines. overall, this is a great beer and an all night sipper. i think i could drink a couple over a night, but a third would probably plant me in the ground. i plan on putting a couple of these back for down the road. another fine offering from mikkeller.

Photo of Oxymoron
3.41/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bigger worse than what? Pours a ruby red color with decent clarity. A good pour leaves a rocky head with some bigger bubbles. Ok retention and lacing.

The nose is either young or brewed with stressed yeast. Lots of fusels and solvent alcohol characteristics. Some limited amounts of complex malt aromas. A underlining sugary sweetness. Some lighter grassy and spicy hop aromas. Hard to get past the alcohol nose.

The taste is tamed down a bit. Still has a big alcohol kick, which to certain point is ok for style, but still. The malt characteristic really comes out with some complexity. Nice caramel backing with hints of brown sugar and pecan pie (yea kind of odd). Lighter notes of dates and prunes. Some hints of floral and citrus notes. There is a odd yeasty note that I associate with stressed yeast but not as bad versus the aroma.

The body is big with a under carbonation feel. Overall, needs age...no kidding at 12%. Maybe the fusels will go away with time. But still has potential for now.

Photo of NCSUdo
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12.7 oz bottle

A: Pours a deep brown under a medium sized off white head. Some lace and spotty retention.

S: Smells of sweet malt, caramel, and grassy hops. A bit of an alcohol twang to it, but it's more like a spirit then just alcohol.

T: This one is good. Sweet, caramel, spices, little bit of chocolate, some bitterness, spicy alcohol and some citrus hops.

M/D: Full bodied, carbonation low, slightly creamy. Alcohol is very warm which is appropriate I feel. Drinkability is good for such a big beer. A pretty good barleywine.

Sidenote: The cork smells a lot like pine.

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

Awright, Big Worse, I bought you, finally, and now, I'm a gonna drink you up, doggone it!

Into a gold-rimmed Ommegang chalice you go...showing a murky deep crimson hue....slim head holding court on top.

Aroma: Belgian funk, oddly enough, smelled it when I uncorked it...oh, wait, is that because this "American" barleywine from a Danish microbrew was brewed in Belgium? Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice, quite forgetting her grammar...wild and weird...dark and twisted...

Taste it, now...malty, with an odd...dang, I don't know! This is peculiar! Like a saison mixed with an old ale! There's so much Belgian funk that doesn't normally sit with a barleywine, of any kind.

12 % abv. 12.7 oz bottle that I paid, what?, $9 for??? Something close to it, anyway...lately, I've been looking at these Scandanavian micros, spilling the coin, and thinking I've spent all that to learn that northern European brewers can make beer as good as American micros? I could have spent the money from that bottle on a 6-pack from Sierra Nevada or Anchor or a 4-pack of Surly.

This changes that a little, the mouthfeel is thinnish, grainier...but, still, has me thinking more Belgian than British or American, let alone Danish!
Don't brew at DeProef if you don't want to taste like De Proef, seems to be the lesson here!
I really wanted to taste something like Bigfoot or Old Foghorn or Thomas Hardy's...I got something like that, but mixed with a saison or a tripel...weird...not bad, just ...weird.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.1/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Corked and caged with a date of 14/13/11 stamped on the cork. 12.7 oz green bottle.

Dispensed into a small pint glass. Appears a cloudy, hazy, burnt amber color with a tiny white head with a good bit of lacing.

Aroma is quite hoppy and sweet smelling as well. Closer in aroma to an Englsih BW instead of an American version as the hops are earthy and slightly fruity. Nice caramel aromas and plenty of biscuity smells as well.

Sweet up front but also a nice hop smack as well. Sweetness makes way for a bitter hop bite that creates a nice sensation on the tongue. Quite alcoholic as well. Lots and lots of maltiness. Plenty of hop bitterness but the hop flavor was pretty subdued. This one was almost over the top malty for the style. More sweetness in the finish.

I wasnt too hot on this one. I would call this more of an English BW and it fits that style well. However, for an american version, it seems to be too sweet. ABV is very warming. Very sweet overall. Not my cup of tea, but not bad overall I suppose. I have on of these cellared so I really hope it improves and mellows out a bit of the sweetness.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Fonefan: Poured a deep lightly hazy copper color ale with a nice foamy head with medium retention and no lacing. Aroma of citrusy hops is dominating with some light pear and some alcohol. Taste is a mix between some grapefruit hops, light caramel malt with phenols of alcohol. Medium body with average carbonation and some apparent alcohol which I didn't appreciate. Interesting take on the American barleywine style with a nice hops combination but I could do without all that alcohol.

Photo of WVbeergeek
1.83/5  rDev -51.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Appears a deep murky blood orange red brown in color with a large beige head dwindles down to fine even lacing. Aroma is tart with ripened fruit soaked in raw fusel alcohol. Abundant hop notes intertwined in the luscious malt character brings the aromatics around full character. Flavor is unsynchronized with raw hop bitterness, astringent alcohol, and overly sweet candy sugar additions might as well package this one in forties and sell in the 7/11 down the street. This is extreme beer at it's worse, might as well call this one the skullsplitter. After a half glass my eyes are blurring and my temples are buzzing, I feel like I just got done reinsulating my attic as my skin becomes warm and flush and my nose burns from the alcohol fumes. As you can see I'm not going to add to the hype of this brewery, I will give their other brews a shot. Mouthfeel is astringent in every aspect coats the palate with earthy hop oils, hot alcohol, and overtly sweet sugars in the malt profile causing me to want to go scrape my tongue. Literally causes my gag reflex to work, so let's motion to kick this one out of the UN of beers. Drinkability is shite the worst beer I've had in a long time, by the way nice synthetic cork maybe those brewers can use this one as a substitute butt plug, because this beer tastes like ass.

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

Picked up a couple of bottles of this a few weeks ago. Stuck it in the back of the fridge and forgot I had it. Was taking stock and found the bottles, and, as it turns out, not a moment too soon.

Poured into my Stella chalice. Pours a rich, dark color. Frankly, it's the color that beer should be.

Smell is very rich and sweet. I'm sure that's partially the alcohol, but the complexity of the beer begins to come out through the nose.

The full potential of the beer is realized at the first sip. The beer is very complex. Definitely one of the sweeter bareywines I've ever had. The flavor is very balanced.

The mouthfeel is very rich and full. This beer is good enough to eat.

An absolutely outstanding barleywine. I am definitely pumped about this brew. Highly recommend.

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

Pours a translucent dark red amber color with a wispy tan lead that's gone in a flash. Little lacing present. The smell is very nice. It's been way too long since my last barleywine. The aroma has that classic caramel malt and a little molasses. You can smell how rich the body is going to be, then you get a whiff of a malt alcohol. Little carbonation, the mouth feel is full without being syrupy and very smooth with a solid tang from the alcohol. No doubt this one's a sipper. The 12% ABV provides a distinct warming effect. The flavor has a lot in common with the nose, but it doesn't line up exactly for me. What ever it is also lingers some and I just can't put my finger on it. The best that I can do is say that the alcohol burn might be stepping on the sweeter side of the malt. Thanks drunkmonk for the opportunity!!

Photo of GbVDave
4.37/5  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!

Photo of Metalmonk
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
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!

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Big Worse from Mikkeller ApS
85 out of 100 based on 399 ratings.