Big Worster | Mikkeller ApS

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Big WorsterBig Worster
79 Ratings
Big WorsterBig Worster

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Lukass on 11-15-2013

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Ratings: 79 |  Reviews: 18
Photo of LiquidAmber
4.26/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a medium golden amber with an odd, very light rose tint. Pours nearly still with only tiny patches and a thin ring around the glass. Aroma of faintly caramel malt, apple and pear, vague hints of stone and light tropical fruit, Belgian yeast, slightly vinous. Flavor is candi malt, orange citrus, honey and vanilla; like the aroma there is a complex, but muddled mixture of fruit on the back of the tongue that lingers. Medium to heavy bodied, mildly syrupy. The aroma did not get me too excited for this as it was a bit muddled, but the flavor is fabulous. It most closely reminds me of a honey braggot with big sweet honey and complex, but unidentifiable fruit flavors. There are suggestions of orange liqueur and fortified white wine. I'm not a big fan of vinous flavors in beer, but I'm enjoying this a lot. Listed as an American barleywine, but I'm not getting much clear hop bitterness nor flavors. But it's a Shelton Brothers import, so the age could be anywhere from a year to many years old. If the latter, it has aged well and ended up as a delightful sweet, deep ale that has more light fruit and orange flavors than the expected plum. Excellent. I'd get another of these if I ever found it. My only complaint, and it’s a big one: no date on the bottle. I really would like to know how much age this has on it to understand the evolution of the flavors. Get your act together Mikkeller! This is worthy of the extra effort to date it.

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Photo of RochefortChris
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Warren2621
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Dutchcraftbeergeek
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Avatar113
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Misanthropy_Sipping
4.79/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

It's been a blustery day. The first snow has fallen. I've been outside in it all for at least half the day without much chance to really warm up. I've been waiting to open this little fella for about 3 years now. I knew this would warm me to the bone. Bought this in Colorado Springs the morning after seeing Mayhem for the first time and having all senses ripped apart by Watain. Kind of feel this day and this beer will be just as memorable as the time in which I picked it up.

Look: Pours heavy and syrupy. Has a beautiful shade and hue of raw honey. Deep gold to amber. The head is minimal, it dissipates quickly and remains as a ring around the edge at the glass with a very thin sheet across the top the eventually fades for the most part.
Smell: Very upfront with the sweetness, vanilla, caramel, and nut tones. You get a bit of honey and dough. There is a subtle tea like sort of thing to it. Alcohol is present in the nose but is blended in well with the honey and vanilla sweetness. I would place this in a similar realm to smelling a good bourbon. I would even say this hints at a bourbon like character. Not in the way that bourbon aging has occurred, but similar hallmarks of bourbon appear on the nose of this beer.
Taste: And likewise in the taste. The vanilla, honey, light caramel, and nutty tones pull together at the end with an astounding dryness that is quite reminiscent of bourbon as the alcohol heat begins to become noticeable in the mouth and throat. There is a touch of pineapple and a fair amount of spice that accompanies this as well. I get a little white tea in the front and a woody astringency that accompanies the alcohol. Really great, full of flavor, and everything is intertwined really well. It probably goes without saying, but, this beer is quite sweet. But the sweetness is well placed with the other components.
Feel: Quite warm. Not surprising considering the ABV, and not at all off-putting. Really reaches into the chest with the warmth. This really is a perfect cold (recovery) day beer. It is a sipper, it is heavy, which is to be expected. A touch syrupy in the mouth and a little tacky, but not too bad. Carbonation is minimal but crisp. I feel like it could maybe be a little less astringent, and maybe a touch less tacky and maybe a hint more creamy. But I am really being picky about this overall. The mouthfeel really is quite good.
Overall: Dang, this is a great beer and was worth holding onto for a day and moment like this. I would easily buy this again should I ever see it. My only regret is that I did not buy even just one more bottle.

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Photo of paulish
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ClavisAurea
2.28/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2

Photo of metter98
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

On-tap at Mugs Alehouse, Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is clear yellow in color and has no visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high white heat that left lots of lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light aromas of malty sweetness are present in the nose.
T: The taste follows the smell and is mostly dominated by flavors of malty sweetness. No alcohol is perceptible.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is a little lighter in color and body compared to other barleywines but does an excellent job at hiding its alcohol.

Serving type: on-tap

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Photo of smithj4
4.11/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Bandi
3.67/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of shirtless_mike
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ajs4bd
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of JohnTurano
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of AlexAfonin
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of PBRmeasap1980
4.34/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 or 2015 vintage. Comes in a 375ml green bottle with a white foil-ed over crown cap. 17.3% ABV. Best before: Imported to the US by the Shelton Bastards. Brewed at De Proef.

A- Glassy tangerine in color, no head to speak of, looks very viscous
S- Cake bater, golden raisins or overly ripe grapes
T- Almost like a champaign/ port mix. Tons of dark fruits for such a light beer. The yeast plays well with this brew. Alcohol is very well hidden for 17.3%
F- Mouth feel of almost a port, viscous and deep
O- Pretty great brew here. Alcohol is huge, so I'm going to stick to a small pour. Very aeromatic and tons of flavors. Almost a brandy or liquor. Crazy good beast

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Photo of Adamostella
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of kojevergas
2.65/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Appears to be a 2015 vintage. Comes in a 375ml green bottle with a white foil-ed over crown cap. 15.7% ABV. Best before: 01/07/25. Brewed with oak flakes and champagne yeast. Imported to the US by the Shelton Bastards. Brewed at De Proef.

Served chilled into stemware. Expectations are rather high since Mikkel is my favourite brewer.

HEAD: ~1.5cm wide. White colour. Nice thick, even consistency. Coats the sides of the glass as it recedes, leaving a thick ring of lacing. Retention is bad - maybe a minute at best - but that's forgivable given the high ABV.

BODY: Vibrant golden orange. Translucent but not really transparent, though it isn't hazy or cloudy. I see no yeast particulate within.

It's almost more of a cidery appearance, but it's quite attractive in general - even if it doesn't really conform to American barleywine style conventions. Definitely more of a blonde barleywine.

AROMA: Ripe fruit is prominent, but it never has that tropical booziness I hate in so many beers. Tangerine, apricot, bright plum, marmalade, orange citrus peel. Malt profile seems rather neutral for a barleywine; I don't find any of the caramel, toastiness, toffee, or marshmallow you might look for in a traditional American barleywine. Hop profile is surprisingly prominent as well, indicating a very Americanized version of the style; it's primarily floral and fruity, but some bitter rind does find its way in. Sparkling effervescent champagne yeast is indicated, but isn't accompanied by any spritzy carbonation or the like. Heavy on the esters, but still somehow clean in its yeast profile.

Aromatic intensity is moderately high. Alcohol warmth is noticeable, but not to such extent you'd suspect this is 15.7% ABV.

It suggests a fruit and hop forward barleywine, but I'm concerned about balanced already...does this have the malt backbone to withstand its formidable hopping?

TASTE & TEXTURE: Heavy on the fruit, as promised by the aroma, but some pesky boozy warmth does creep its way in. Tangerine, candied orange peel (think Triple Sec), some bends tropical. Hop profile isn't as aggressive as I feared, but it's still quite potent for a barleywine (even an American one) - fruity hop character nods towards lychee and bright plum, and is rounded out neatly by the champagne yeast's fruity esters. But champagne yeast's cleanliness is a treat here, keeping the flavour profile even-keeled and straightforward, never venturing into biscuity territory.

The honeyed malt backbone is an interesting approach, giving this an almost mead or braggot-like sweetness that doesn't quite tame the opposing hop bitterness (especially on the finish).

I'll admit I'm not so keen on the blonde barleywine bend of the flavour profile; I'd much prefer dialed-down hops and the usual caramel/toffee/marshmallow build of a conventional barleywine. But it's one of the better blonde barleywines I've had, i only because of its clean, smooth mouthfeel (which is owed equally to the use of oats to smoothen it out and the use of champagne yeast to clean it up). Carbonation is a biteen high, and it's definitely full bodied, coming off hefty and weighty on the palate. Consequently, it's more of a sipper than most barleywines, blonde though it may be.

It's not a simple beer by any means, but the absence of balance here means for all its complexity, it's a bit difficult to fully enjoy.

OVERALL: While I find it overhopped and imbalanced, there are some nice elements showcased here, and those after a very fruit-forward example of the style will be pleased. Its ABV is noticeable and really reduces its drinkability, but I'm glad I tried it - though I wouldn't buy it again. Some drinkers may find it somewhat akin to Delsym, but I'd liken it more to a blonde barleywine cum Triple Sec substitute. I'll finish the bottle solo, but only with maybe an hour's sippery. Not a brew I'd recommend to friends, but those looking for a departure from traditional barleywines might find this is right up their alley. In any case, it's definitely a bottle best split between 2-4 people.


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Photo of dcmchew
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ElGallo
3.73/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Viperman1316
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of bnes09
4.04/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Surprisingly light color. Small bubbles. Malty aroma and flavor with no alcohol burn. Balanced and tasty for such a strong barley wine.

135 characters

Photo of groleau
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of amano_h
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of neenerzig
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On a trip to Kentucky and south western Ohio the wife and I went on back in the spring, I picked up a single 12.7 oz. bottle of this to try. It has been aging in my cellar for about the past 4 1/2 months until tonight when I opted to crack this baby open. Poured into one of my tulip glasses, this beer pours a very cloudy, hazy, medium copper color with a nice amber glow when held up to the light and lots of streams of little bubbles continuously rising to the beer's surface. Has a nice white head that is about 2/3 of an inch thick when poured that settles to a very nice thick ring lining the inside of the glass along with big cluster swirls of surface foam. Pretty solid lacing here. Pungent aromas of has big Belgian yeasts along with quite a boozy quality along with hints of apricot, banana, bready, toasted caramel malts, mango, and Belgian candy sugar. Has a very sweet taste indeed of some tasted caramel malts that gives way to dates, mango, apricot, banana, and Belgian candy sugars. Rounded out with a hint of ginger and clove, which gives it a nice spice bite. But this beer is pretty one dimensional in terms of the flavor profile. No discernible hop presence at all, which is certainly not characteristic for an American Style Barley Wine. The flavor profile slightly reminds me of what happens to bottles of DFH 120 Minute IPA I've had after they've been aged for several years, but it is not to that extreme here. This is almost too sweet for me. The ginger notes certainly do come out more as the beer warms, and in some ways it almost tastes like exactly like a ginger beer after awhile. In some respects this is one of the strangest beers I have ever drank flavor wise. I can't really decide how much I like it per say, and it is certainly unique. The flavor profile certainly isn't offensive or anything like that, it is just that this is so far removed taste wise from any other American Style Barley Wine I have ever had before that I am not sure what to make of it. Has a somewhat crisp, and also quite smooth, frothy, and slightly creamy, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with light to moderate carbonation. Extremely drinkable for a beer that boasts a 17.3% ABV on the label. That's right the bottle I have states that it has an AVB % of 17.3, not 15.7. So apparently they upped the ante a bit with some batches of this one. Perhaps the smoothest, most easy drinking beer with such a high AVB% I've ever had for what that's worth. Has a clean and smooth finish with a slightly dry aftertaste. Worth a try if you happen to come across this. It is certainly unique. I think I'd buy this and drink this again. Maybe age a bottle or 2 for a few years.


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Big Worster from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 4.05 out of 5 with 79 ratings