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Big Worse - Mikkeller ApS

Not Rated.
Big WorseBig Worse

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

359 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 359
Reviews: 237
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 15.65%
Wants: 19
Gots: 46 | 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)
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Ratings: 359 | Reviews: 237 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of billshmeinke


2.93/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

Pours an incredibly dark brown color with lots of big bubbles from a hard pour that become a ring of foam around the edge of the glass.

Smell is incredibly malt forward with hints of caramel and toffee. There's also a sort of musty cheese like old ale scent in there as well. As I am not a fan of that sort of super old ale scent, and it is not typical in a barleywine I'm gonna have to give some minus points.

The taste is better. There is caramel/toffee, apple, and raisin intense malt sweetness. Then herbal/leafy hops add a bit of bitterness. That musty/cheese old ale flavor is there too. Furthermore, some cork and earthy flavors, but the bottle has a fake cork so I don't know why a cork flavor would be in there. Overall taste is a bit overly syrupy sweet.

Thick, full bodied, syrupy and coating with very low carbonation.

Very much a sipper. I wish I had a friend here to help me polish this off, because it's really not doing it for me. It seriously has much more in common with an English Old Ale than an American Barleywine. I probably would have given it higher marks if it were classified as an old ale.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2010 05:04:33 | More by billshmeinke
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 KingHenry


3/5  rDev -20.4%

02-21-2012 23:51:22 | More by KingHenry
Photo of TexAggie011


3/5  rDev -20.4%

01-31-2012 01:19:15 | More by TexAggie011
Photo of Exiled


3/5  rDev -20.4%

11-14-2011 18:51:51 | More by Exiled
Photo of bhir


3/5  rDev -20.4%

12-20-2011 02:41:45 | More by bhir
Photo of Texasfan549


3/5  rDev -20.4%

12-21-2011 20:12:06 | More by Texasfan549
Photo of mcallister


3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2007 22:22:54 | More by mcallister
Photo of jnezda


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

This was one of the few barley wines that I have tried and also only my second Mikkeller. I was not overly impressed but did enjoy the drink but perhaps not for the price. 12.7oz corked bottle opened with almost no discernible pop. I shared with a girlfriend who has a lessor appreciation of beer than me so I may not have taken good enough notes but did notice this beer was very murky dark brown and poured with almost no head. For such a small amount of there was a touch of lacing. The smell was sort of similar to a dubbel with some tone of sugar and fruit and a certain background of alcohol. The barley wine made no effort to hide the high ABV and the lack of carbonation was apparent. The taste was surprisingly mild despite the alcohol and the fruit and sweet tones came out. There is certainly a time and paring for this beer and I look forward to trying it again pared well with dinner.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2009 06:31:24 | More by jnezda
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2009 04:22:03 | More by mjd83goblue
Photo of LilBeerDoctor

New York

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)

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2008 14:30:31 | More by LilBeerDoctor
Photo of drpimento


3.05/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Got this bottle at Sam's in Chicago a few months ago. Pours with no head and so no lace. Color is a very cloudy brown with amber highlights. Aroma is dark ripe fruits and vanilla, a little oak, and caramel. Flavor is about the same. Body is decent except it's almost flat. Only ever had one still beer I liked: Sam Adams Utopias. Finishi is shorter than I woulda thought. Not a session beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2009 01:54:50 | More by drpimento
Photo of Alieniloquium


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serving type: bottle

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


3.08/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from non corked bottle (regular cap) into a brandy snifter

A - Pours a deep amber color. Has light carbonation and a head that dissipates within a minute. No sediment left at the bottom from bottle.

S - Smells of rich malt. Dark fruit, mainly plums and apricot. Slight smell of molasses and raisins with a very rich hint of dark brown sugar.

T - Tastes like plums and raisins soaked in alcohol. As it warms the alcohol becomes very intense as well as the hops.

M - Filmy. Hops are on the heavy side so it dries out the mouth almost immediately, all while leaving a sticky molasses/honey feel behind.

O - OK. But, won't be going out of my way to buy again. I will be aging a bottle for a year and will report back the differences. However, if you're looking for something delicious right out of the glass, Mikkeller has many more great offerings available.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2012 23:17:20 | More by Jsenay
Photo of SaCkErZ9


3.08/5  rDev -18.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2008 22:27:33 | More by SaCkErZ9
Photo of CruisaC


3.11/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up on sale for ~$4 a bottle. Figured I'd give it a try.

Pours dead, no head, no carbonation. Uh-oh. Still as night in the glass. Dark brown

Smells like raisins, chalky vitamins, malt extract.

Taste very clean initially but soon a raisin meets astringent tastes follows. Not great. Not much good going on here.

Pretty thin, not helped by the fact at there's no carbonation. That may be ok for the occasional HOTD release (bourbon Fred), but this falls into Lost Abbey territory and not in a good way

I won't be finishing this. Pretty disappointing. I've got another bottle but I'm not too excited to give it another shot.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2013 01:47:24 | More by CruisaC
Photo of kojevergas


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Serving type: bottle

05-06-2012 07:12:46 | More by kojevergas
Photo of Sean9689


3.2/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2007 vintage, thanks Cory. Shared at Perennial.

A - Pours a reddish/caramel-color, off-white head, thin collar.

S - Booze is smooth from the cellaring, dark fruits, burnt sugars. There's a decent amount of oxidization coming off the nose, and I think this one is past its prime.

T - Yep, lots of oxidization and harsh medicinal notes. It's not undrinkable, but was probably over-the-hill about 1.5 years ago (or so). Dark fruits, burnt sugars, oak, caramel. Booze is really well-hidden from the age. Finish is sweet and slightly harsh.

M - Medium to full body, good carbonation, creamy finish.

O - I could imagine a 2009 bottle being really good at this point, but the 2007 vintage is well past its prime. Cool to try, but wouldn't have it again. I suggest you open anything from 2009/2008/2007 ASAP.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2012 16:54:39 | More by Sean9689
Photo of SShelly


3.2/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of the least appealing pours ive ever seen from a comercial b-wine, cloudy, chunky, no head, no lacing, moderate brown color.

Aroma is a big burst of sweet malt, zero hops, a little bit of alcohol.

Flavor is giant sweet malt with a subtle balancing bitterness, really waited to strong to the malt for an A. B-wine IMO.

Lots of warming, full mouthfeel, I actually rated this well in drinkability because its not a bad beer, it just is way off the mark for the style and is visually unappealing.

ADD- oh and WTF is with the super extra long cork...wtf.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2010 21:08:51 | More by SShelly
Photo of BMoney575


3.23/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled on 4-8-10
Best before 8-14-11

Pours dark brown, extremely cloudy and viscous, with no head whatsoever. Very intense.

Smell is very aged, spicy hops and alcohol. If you look harder, notes of clove, burnt sugar, and toffee are in there too. Enjoyable, but not a pungent as I'd hoped.

Taste is all booze, sharp bitterness, and not much else. At the very end is a slight toffee aftertaste, but it still can't compete. Disappointing to say the least.

Mouthfeel is only decent, a good thickness but almost completely flat.

Drinkability is also not very good, the mouthfeel is hard to cope with and the bitterness becomes tiring.

Overall, maybe I waited too long, but I won't be buying this again.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2010 21:45:14 | More by BMoney575
Photo of mcdonald422


3.25/5  rDev -13.8%

02-05-2013 03:25:58 | More by mcdonald422
Photo of duff247


3.25/5  rDev -13.8%

07-18-2013 04:47:11 | More by duff247
Photo of Trappissed


3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Like others have said, this isn't going to win any beauty contests. No head and no lacing, and looks like a cross between cola and a brown ale, and possibly dark diarrhea. Unfortunately it also lacks in most areas, although there are some improvements compared to the appearance. Smells boozy, with brown sugar and prunes.

Taste is very malty, with the same characteristics I was getting in the smell. Also toffee and some peppery spice. Mouthfeel is appropriate for the style. A little syrupy, with an acceptable amount of carbonation. Despite the negativity, the drinkability actually doesn't suffer that much. It's a decent sipper and an obviously unique Barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2009 22:45:35 | More by Trappissed
Photo of ToddT


3.26/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

L- Hazy medium brown with lots of sediment floating in it and no head at all. There is no lace left on the glass as I drink this one.

S- Dark candied fruit, cherries, raisin, fig, molasses, and a slightly sour background note.

T- Candied fruit and a giant wash of astringent alcohol, wow that was not pleasant at all. Not sure I'm going to like this one. It does improve as it warms but that first sip was a bit brutal. Not near as alcoholic or astringent now that I'm halfway through.

M- Medium in body and no applicable carbonation. The finish is a mix of alcohol heat and sour fruit.

O- It gets better as I finish it, not sure if the taste is improving or the 12.0% ABV has kicked in.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2013 02:43:54 | More by ToddT
Photo of russpowell


3.28/5  rDev -13%
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

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2008 05:18:30 | More by russpowell
Big Worse from Mikkeller ApS
85 out of 100 based on 359 ratings.