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Big Worse - Mikkeller ApS

Big WorseBig Worse

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

350 Ratings
no score

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

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS visit their website

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
Brewed at De Proefbrouwerij.

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

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


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

A: This poured an opaque mahogany with chunky sediment and moderate tan head.
S: It smelled like strong orange and floral hops and sweet caramel, with some minerals and dried mango and honey wheat.
T: It tasted like sharp orange and floral and metallic hops, with sweet caramel and toffee and milk chocolate malt and honey wheat bread. It had a clean but strong bittersweet aftertaste with alcohol warming.
M: It was slightly thick with some carbonation. Decent body.
D: This was a very potent barleywine, with bold and tasty flavors. The body was ok, but it was pretty hot, so it must be sipped. Age would probably really help mellow and integrate the flavors. It was still enjoyable fresh, but not excellent.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2011 19:53:04 | More by Pencible
Photo of ArrogantB


2.05/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I had been eyeing this beer for awhile so when I saw it on sale for $6 I snatched it. Big mistake. Reddish-brown cor with no head and no carbonation whatsoever. Smells oxidized, old, like really old cake or something. The taste is cardboard, sugar, just not good at all. Mikkeller is just too hit or miss for me with the misses outweighing the hits by far.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2011 16:21:13 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of broken22


3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I expect to now know what to expect with the beer. I never know with Mikkeller.

Pours out looking like caramel with no head to speak of and that's pouring right down the middle of the glass. The beer already looks intimidating. The smell is like candied alcoholic dates. I imagine most peoples would just abandon this beer already at this point. Expecting a mouth surprise I take my first sip. Wow the bitters attack my mouth before I even swallow. The flavor is not what I was expecting. The beer tastes like raisins and sweetened hops. There is a bitterness that then lightly rolls over you mouth. The beer is lighter than I thought it would be but still definitely full bodied. There is very little carbonation in this thing.

Overall I am very pleased with this beer. I was worried that it was going to be a round house kick in the mouth or make me grow a full beard by the time I was done drinking it. I would imagine this beer is still not for everyone. Not my favorite Mikkeller beer but I still like it.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2011 04:48:46 | More by broken22
Photo of dgilks


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

Dark mahogany colour with no head. A touch disappointing as beer with this level of alcohol can keep a head.

Dark crusty bread, toffee and caramel dominate the malt profile with an earthy hop character adding balance.

Smooth, dark caramel. Toffee. Nuts. Sugar. I find it off that this is called an American Barleywine as the malt profile is distinctly English and the hop character is muted enough for it to be an English BW.

Moderately-full body with low carbonation. Think, silky and smooth.

On the whole it isn’t a bad beer but it falls a little flat.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2011 03:22:32 | More by dgilks
Photo of AmericanGothic


4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12.7 oz bottle into a Unibroue tulip.

A: Pours a hazy copper orange color with two finger of pale tan head. Good retention and lace.

S: Mellow bready malt, a bit understated.

T: Stewed dark fruits, bread pudding and mellow port. Quite deep and rich.

M: Smooth and very creamy.

O: A delicious beer. Not at the same level as Big Worst, but still a delight. Alcohol nearly imperceptible. Worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2011 04:15:27 | More by AmericanGothic
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

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

thick brown, though you can see some light through it, no head and a nice lace top it off. Smell is hopped for sure, but with a subtle sugary undertone, and a hint of alcohol too. Taste is not very strong at all. There is the natural piney hoppness you would expect from a barley wine, but not too strong, there is also a sugary, nuttiness about it as well. The alcohol is there, and that keeps this a sipper. It is actually nicely carbonated, and not harsh going down, has the warm feeling on the way. Overall this was a good brew,

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2011 01:28:05 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of thedoubler55

New Jersey

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

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Rustic brown cherry color, lots of head at the top that left some slight lacing around the glass.

S: Strong scent of caramel, brown sugar, and dark malts, and hops.

T: Wild Barleywine, very malty up front with a kick of bitterness from the hops at the tailend, good taste of caramel up front as well.

M: Not to much carbonation a bit dry.

O: Not to bad, sat well with me, would not mind drinking another, easy drinker

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2011 12:57:47 | More by thedoubler55
Photo of dcloeren


1.45/5  rDev -61.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This was the worst beer I ever had hands down. I honestly have nothing positive to say about it. Poured a murky brown/rust color. Smelled of sweet malt and tart fruits. I thought maybe the name "Big Worse" was them being ironic or clever but apparently they were just being up front with everyone. This beer is the WORST beer ever. I almost felt bad for my sink for pouring it in there. I would have dumped it outside but I didnt have any weeds in my yard to kill at the time.


Serving type: bottle

06-17-2011 19:36:44 | More by dcloeren
Photo of Arenbeer


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

12.7oz bottle thanks to Kstrickler

Served at fridge temperature into a goblet glass

A- Pours a nice deep blood reddish brown with literally no head at all but some really nice alcohol feet on the side of the glass.

S- Sweet caramel malts and toffee with a bitter hops and some dark fruits.

T- Spitting image of the nose. Strong sweet caramel and toffee with some bitterness from the hops and belgian yeast characters in there. Dark fruits come out with burnt sugars and a slight alcohol presence but hidden very well.

M- Medium bodied with not much carbonation with a nice slight bitter finish.


Serving type: bottle

05-22-2011 04:06:24 | More by Arenbeer
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

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

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a rusty color and thick, murky, muddy texture. Lots of floaties. There was an inch of foamy, head that quickly dissipated. Good lacing.

S: A strong, sharp aroma of hops, malt, and caramel.

T: Tasted of caramel, lots of hops and a bit malt in the finish. Much more robust than most American Barleywines. It's a big flavor with a just enough of an alcohol bite to be enjoyable.

M: An average amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is a surprisingly easy to drink beer. Not the most physically attractive beer, but drinkable nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2011 13:09:52 | More by avalon07
Photo of brotherloco


3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

375ml C&C bottle.

Pretty tough to get the cork out of this one and not much of a pop.

Pours an irish coffee colored dark brown with a sloppy beige head. Some floating sediment.

Smells much like a english barleywine with a tinge of Belgian yeast and sugar. Malty dark fruit notes. A bit boozy.

Taste is semi-sweet malt with an ample amount of bitterness to balance it. Still getting some of that Belgian candi sugar. Vinegary dried fruits, slightly metallic. Booze in the finish, but honestly not as strong as you'd expect for 12%

Medium bodied but a bit thin in the mouth with low carbonation.

Overall I like the flavor of this beer, but it isn't backed up as well by the supporting elements. I've got the Bourbon Barrel edition sitting in the cellar, will try that soon.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2011 01:11:37 | More by brotherloco
Photo of JamesMcPolin


4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark and very cloudy/chunky. Looks promising.

Extremely aromatic. Nose is straight up English toffee! Caramel. Candied/sugary/dried fruits like dates and prunes.

Similar to the nose. Dried sweetened raisins. Burnt brown sugar.

Seemingly light for 12%! A nice gentle heat as it warms.

Room temperature notes – add licorice and molasses to the nose. And as my hand on the snifter takes it even warmer than room temp (approaching 80 degrees) I’m getting hints of oak and vanilla in the taste.

Killer brew. A bit over priced like all Mikkeller’s but still very happy with the purchase.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2011 03:20:46 | More by JamesMcPolin
Photo of capeannbass36


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

A- Pours like muddy water. Flat. No head. Some sediment. Not pretty, that's for sure.

S- Sweet malt, raisins, maybe a little molasses.

T- Similar to smell, slightly less pronounced. Boozy for sure.

M- Very low carbonation, almost none. Warm finish.

D- One, maybe two. Pretty potent stuff.

Overall, not a bad drink. Just wish it had a little more carbonation. Was kind of like drinking an ugly looking wine.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2011 15:11:04 | More by capeannbass36
Photo of Thorpe429


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

2009 bottle opened by bmanning. Served in a Bruery tulip.

Pours an ugly brown color with loads of sediment toward the bottom of the bottle. No head or lacing. The nose carried caramel, toffee, cherry, and dark fruits. There was a bit of light booze in the background as well. The flavor focused on malt sweetness with some mild fruit. Caramel held throughout, as well as a bit of alcohol. Medium body and slightly boozy. Not bad at all.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2011 16:49:11 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of siradmiralnelson


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

Poured from 12.7oz bottle into Globe glass.

A. Poured 2 finger head. Really good retention. Thick lacing. Color is a murky dark brown.

S. Big caramel malt smell. Really nice barleywine smell. Brown sugar, candy. Has some maple and vanilla. Some alcohol aroma.

T. Taste is pretty smooth. Not the depth of malt flavors that I was expecting from the aroma. Pretty solid caramel malt base. Brown sugar, carmel, maple flavor. Not much hop taste at all. Pretty smooth for 12%

M. Mouthfeel actually felt a bit thin for me. Medium/low carbonation. Lingering sweetness.

O. Overall pretty solid barleywine. Too thin of mouthfeel for me. Flavor was not as complex as some of the best.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2011 22:41:13 | More by siradmiralnelson
Photo of rarbring


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

The beer is foggy brown, grey nuances, nearly no head. Many curtains though.

The smell is mainly vinous and dried fruits, figs, dates, some yeast.

A sweetness upfront, raisins, sherry and port wine, some bitterness.

Very little carbonation, soft and oily, some alcoholic feeling.

A bit to sweet, wonder if it will develop a better balance over time. Tasted at a beer sampling at De Klomp, Linköping, Sweden.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2011 15:44:33 | More by rarbring
Photo of OldPenguinHunter


4.58/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

I had this after a few months of staring at it in my beer fridge, poured into a Duvel glass.

A: A nice dark caramel color, pours a finger and a half of head, in which the lacing is all that is left after a minute or so, my buddy's pored 3 (he poured pretty quick though).
S: The smell is redolent of caramel apples, oak, vanilla, and a bit of 12yr Glenlivet scotch, or candied fruits. Very appetizing and it does fill the room.
T: This was just amazing, a great beer, soft and spicy, heavy with alcohol. The taste matches the smell profile. I was having this with some gorgonzola dolce, pears and warm walnuts, the best dessert ever, and pairing with this beer.
M: Sort of typical of barley wines, heavy and boozy. soft carbonation.
D: The only reason why I put this at a 3 is because, if you plan on drinking more than one, you're gonna be thrashed. The beer gets to be overwhelming in both alcohol and flavor, (the sweetness gets to my tum-tum.)

Overall, this is a great beer, whenever I come across it, I usually buy two or three bottles and drink them over the course of a few months, unless greedy guests come over empty-handed and thirsty (you know who you are...).

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2011 23:06:25 | More by OldPenguinHunter
Photo of metter98

New York

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

A: The beer is clear amber in color and poured with a thin off-white head.
S: There are aromas of candi sugar and alcohol in the nose.
T: The taste is relatively sweet and has flavors of candi sugars and spices. There is a light amount of bitterness in the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and a bit syrupy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. The finish has some warming from the alcohol.
D: There's no way that I could drink more than one fo these in a sitting because of its strong alcohol content.

Serving type: on-tap

03-08-2011 04:12:27 | More by metter98
Photo of Schreibeers

South Carolina

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

A: Dark brown, with some dark red tint. No head

S: Booze is the most prevalent at the nose, with some sweet maltiness. Smells smooth and nice. Smells nicer after a couple of sips.

T: Nice, I really like this beer. At first you get a little booziness, but it is not your typical "hot". The booziness is accompanied by a nice sweet roasted maltiness almost a toffee like flavor. There is some distant bitterness, but the alcohol and sweet sugars seem to keep this beer in balance. There is not much of a finish in this beer. I like a barley wine to have some staying power, but this seems a little thin.

M: Sooth, medium body. As you drink the beer really sticks to your mouth but seems to disapear quite quickly.

D: Overall, I do like this beer, but seems a little thin for a barley wine. The toffee sweetness makes this beer drinkable for the style.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2011 20:35:34 | More by Schreibeers
Photo of July2Nov


3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dirty brown with a very thin lace.

Smell: Buttery, toffee like...a bit sour and a bit sweet. Smelling some anise as well.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Much like the smell indicated...but with more alcohol coming through. Really wonderful aftertaste that reminds me of sweet bread. Got some molasses flavoring that comes through. The more it gets toward room temp...the better the flavors come out and it gets a bit more milder.

Drinkability: At 12% this is certainly a one a done...but a good one and done. Thank you again Mikkeller for such a good brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2011 05:55:32 | More by July2Nov
Photo of CuriousMonk


2.98/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap at ChurchKey in Washington, DC. Poured into a snifter glass. Served beer near room temperature which is the norm at ChurchKey. Pours an opaque caramel brown with a surprisingly big beige head that recedes slowly, leaving streaks of lacing and legs after each swirl. The aroma has heavy alcoholic hops than I was expecting with a biting citrus zing and plenty of underlying caramel malts. Maybe even some caramelized esters (apples) as well. The taste is hefty with more alcohol burn even more so than the aroma suggests. The citrus hops are there but give way to the massive sugary sweetness of the malt backbone. The finish has a serious alcohol burn and a scathing bitterness, both of which limit the drinkability. The mouthfeel is sticky and thick, almost syrupy but with a ton of alcohol. This is a massively sweet and boozy barleywine that is definitely not the most drinkable I've had in the style. Abrasive but tasty stuff. This barleywine is definitely not for the faint of heart...

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2011 21:56:48 | More by CuriousMonk
Photo of SkeeterHawk


3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

OK, I got this review at the recommendation of the guy "Robert" (I believe) from Spec's in the Woodlands. I paid nearly $12 for this one frickin' bottle, so I sure hope that it is worth it. i don't have a problem with that if the beer is absolutely outstanding, but we are getting up to the world famous Belgian Strong Dark category for me to shell out this much for a beer. Damn, it sounds like I have set myself up for a let-down already...I sure hope not. Let's see...

Appearance: Pours a pretty murky brown color with no head at all after a pretty conservative pour. I was hoping to keep the carbonation in the liquid, but this is a bit much as I would like to see something at least. As still as it is, it looks like a glass of wine in my glass...just brown and murky-like wine.

Aroma: The aroma has strong peppery alcohol notes to go along with some malt, but there is a defined dryness that seems like it is barrel aging. I don't know if this beer is barrel aged, but it sure smells like it. I do get some reserved hops in the nose that seem like they may be bordering on citrusy, like they are American hops, but this is muted by the wood aromatics.

Taste: The beer is a lot more fruity than I thought it would be from the aroma. There are a lot of fruits that you don't normally get in a beer like this, like apricots in particular. You don't get to pick the fruit out for long as the aggressive alcohol comes in quick and gives you some spice to enjoy up-front and then a defined warming to linger long after the sip. The beer itself is a whole lot thinner and easier to drink than I thought it would be from the aroma. There really is no carbonation to speak of, but the alcohol makes it come across the palate pretty quickly...but leaving it mark. As you cleanse your palate with water and keep sipping the beer as it warms, the flavor profile keeps changing. Now it is coming across rather sweet on the lips with notes of slightly burnt honey, but now there is more hop bitterness becoming noticeable.

Opinion: Well, overall this is really a pretty good beer, so I have been pleasantly surprised. That said, I don't really think that it is worth the price you pay for it...but it is ready to drink right now...so how much is that worth to you? Most Barley Wines, especially American styles are green as heck when they hit the shelves, so you have to let them sit for at least a couple years before they stop making you make a face after your first sip. This beer isn't like that and is ready now. Not having to wait may be worth the $6 to $8 more a bottle that you are paying, that is up to you. This is a good beer, and one that is worth drinking. I imagine that you could cellar it, but I don't think that it would do much for it.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2011 04:31:42 | More by SkeeterHawk
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

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

Apparently I needn't worry about pouring any yeast slop into my glass - at some point over the last few years while laying perfectly still and undisturbed in my cold cellar the yeast somehow consummately fused itself into the beer. Or maybe I made that conjugation happen when struggling to extract the (abnormally long, synthetic and stubborn) cork. Whatever the case, this brownish liquid is sludgy, flat and butt ugly.

It took one whiff for me to realize what I had just gotten myself into. To those who like to have their palate smacked around by brute bitterness and senseless alcohol, this should be a real treat. For me, I'm slightly put-off. Stiff alcohol vapors blend none too favorably with the (now briny and musty) scent of piny, tropically fruity hops. The malts smell utterly debilitated and stink like rotted pear and fig compote. Looks like it's go big or go home!

...or maybe not. The beer isn't nearly as obnoxious as I first thought. Only narrowly chilled it confesses little of the stated 12% ABV listed on its label. The malts, while sapped and overworked due to the constraints of a heavy hop bill and double-digit alcohol, keep their dignity with a fig-y/prune-y/jam-y flavour and buttery, molasses-like sweetness. The hops too seem a little worse for wear, but haven't lost all their tropical, zesty qualities.

I couldn't remember exactly how long ago I bought this bottle but the date printed on the cork (that my hand all but rubbed off when wrestling to get it out) had mid-August 2011 as the best before date, which confirms that this has a few good years of age under its belt. Initial reviews were unfavorable so I opted to wait in hopes that it would improve. Which it has in some ways. Mind you, it has also degraded in other ways.

Oxidation and a soy sauce-like element at some point made their home in this green glass bottle. The hops, as mention earlier, have also seen better days. That said, aging this beer was as much a choice as it was a necessity - in hindsight I prefer the more aggressive, more severe Big Worse to this more passive, devitalized version. Then again, in hindsight, I probably wouldn't have forked out the $10+ dollars for a 375ml bottle of either!

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2011 22:07:21 | More by biegaman
Photo of brew3crew


4.58/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Nice white head that leaves lacing. Translucent Brown
S-Nice fruity flavor mixed with some malt. very nice
T-Different from what i expected when reading label. tastes like it smells, Very fruity
M-Medium body and crisp clean finish
D-Very drinkable. Taste was gone in no time

Serving type: on-tap

02-05-2011 15:32:03 | More by brew3crew
Photo of The3rdbeer


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

Poured out of an old bottle that I've had cellaring for almost a year now, first time trying it very impressed, but not shocking for a Mikkeller. Poured into a Bruery tulip glass served at 54°F

A- Surprisingly a very reddish copper color with a little bit of sediment, looks to be delicious, also poured a little vigorously I got a nice 1 1/2 fingers of head that subsided with in a minute or so with some nice lacing sticking around.

S- It was hard to really get a grasp on it at first, Its very mellow but faintly caramelized fruit, booze, and dark molasses.

T- Really rolls into the flavors nicely, starts off with a zing of booze than gets mellow and nice with a breadyness along with dark molasses and some mellow bitterness tied in with caramelized fruit that works with the ever present booze perfectly.

M- plays around in all the right places(thats what she said) but it rolls right in with a nice viscosity and lite carbonation and that zing of warmth but just right, leaving my mouth dry but salivating for more

D- Over all I love it! I recommend sitting on it in the right atmosphere for at least a year looking at these other reviews, I am a huge barleywine fan and this made my expectations, not to hot but just right. Perfect night cap.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2011 07:37:01 | More by The3rdbeer
Big Worse from Mikkeller ApS
85 out of 100 based on 350 ratings.