Big Worse | Mikkeller ApS

very good
249 Reviews
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Big WorseBig Worse

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

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.

Added by Viggo on 11-25-2007

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Reviews: 249 | Ratings: 414
Photo of Onslow
5/5  rDev +33.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

wow, what a truly beautiful full delicious brew, why oh why! good i want to cry.. "I wish it were winter so I could freeze it into ice blocks and skate on it and melt it in the spring time and drink it! " ...abv works perfectly ...amazing stuff ..."good blow this is" ..only my second ever perfect 5!

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Photo of HappyRasmith
4.79/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

To be fair, I pulled this out of my basement after cellaring for 6 years..I served this in a Tulip glass
This aged better than most barley wines I have currently in stock. The balance was perfect, the mouth-feel very enjoyable and the finish was out of this world. I wish I had the foresight to have cellared more than this one. I will be looking for this again. It was well worth the 6 year waiting period

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Photo of amneziak
4.67/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Big Worse pours rather syrupy and has a somewhat unpleasant color that is brownish orange and murky. I'm assuming because there is so much alcohol in this one that this is probably why there is virtually no head forming on top. You do get a small amount of creamy tan colored head, but it disappears almost as quickly as it forms. The lacing, on the other hand, is a monster. It hangs on to the side of the glass and won't let go; pretty impressive viscosity here.

Smell: After putting your nose in the glass, you can tell this is just a huge beer. Right away you are met with an intense pungent aroma from the malt and hops. There are also lots of dried prunes and raisins in the nose that are accompanied (in a good way) with the smell of cooked sauerkraut. To put it bluntly, Big Worse smells like Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot on serious steroids.

Taste: Oh my goodness this is a huge beer in just about every way possible! It's everything I like about a strong beer; just massive all around. There is quite a bit of sweetness coming from the malt and a nice pungent hop presence. There are not a lot of aromatic hops used here, only bittering hops that run deep into the brew. And while there is a mountain of flavor in this bottle, there is still not enough to fully mask the alcohol that keeps making an appearance.

Mouthfeel: This is a very well-balanced beer. If someone were to argue with me and say it is way too sweet I don't know that I could completely disagree. What I will say, however, is that there is enough bitterness from the hops to be able to withstand the sweetness. I will warn you that if you drink anything after this (aside from maybe an Imperial Stout) you are likely not to taste it because Big Worse will demolish your palate for the evening.

Overall: Mikkeller always seems to satisfy. Now I can't say that I've had a ton of Barleywines, but I can tell you of those I've had this is easily the best. In fact, it's one of the better beers I've had this month. I will most definitely be purchasing a couple more of these to hang on to for a while. Last, I'm really happy with the portion size of the beer. I get tired of drinking bombers by myself and feeling warn out at the end. At just a touch of 12 ounces, this is the perfect amount of beer for one setting.

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Photo of ryandurka
4.6/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

this beer rocks. its 12 percent, so its strong, ie barley beer. unlike most beers this strong, this beer is not rough and has a smooth taste. no afterburn. if you can find this beer its worth the expensive price. you wont be disappointed. stranglely the taste is almost soft and thats wild for a 12 percent-er.

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Photo of brew3crew
4.59/5  rDev +22.4%
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

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Photo of dreadnatty08
4.57/5  rDev +21.9%
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.

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Photo of OldPenguinHunter
4.57/5  rDev +21.9%
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...).

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.55/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - a murky iced-tea color with a creamy, thinnish head of a scant finger. It's lightly tanned and is putting big sticky bubbles on the side of the glass.

Aroma - syrupy sweet aroma, like fruitcake drenched in blackberry brandy. Dark and fruity, and quite heady.

Taste - sweet, fruity, and hot. A little funkiness and solvent flavor mid-palate. Raisins, figs, molasses, all the essentials. Chocolate notes emerge with warming. Licorice on the swallow and plenty of abv warmth through to the finish.

Mouthfeel - not real big for a barleywine. Ample carbonation is good, and it has a smooth feel.

Drinkability - a delicious nightcap and kudos to anyone with enough foresight to have picked up some of these to cellar, they should be delicious in years to come.

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Photo of NEhophead
4.54/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12.7 fl oz green bottle; caged & corked, wrapped in silver foil. Served in a goblet.
The corked is marked: 14 08/11.

Pours a champagne-highlighted, dirty/murky oak in color. A delicate, carbonation-driven yet creamy head; decent durability as a filmy sheet giving the noticeable carbonation. No lasting, noticeable lace.

Rich, creamy toffee and caramel. Intense, yet inviting alcohol presence that really adds something to the rich, near chocolate-like aromas. Fig, brandy-soaked raisin and plum. Sweet, caramelized brown sugar. Unbelievably intense; yet balanced, dynamic aromas.

Caramelized brown sugar sweetness up front that is not as sweet as the aroma leads one to expect. This is partially do a cutting, tart citrus flavors that include: green apple, sour white grape, grapefruit, and orange. The alcohol presence is pretty hefty, but it is only really obvious once the tartness wanes. The finish is very warming with an addition of naturally creamy vanilla and mild honey. A lot of great flavors are going on here; however, this barleywine still tastes a little young.

Full in body; primarily creamy; however, at mid-sip when the alcohol comes to the forefront, a wave of gaseous heat takes hold.

Wow, what a flavorful, dynamic, intense, and rounded Barleywine! Although this one is excellent right now, laying this one down for another two years would most likely make it world class. This one surely has opened my eyes to Mikkeller.

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Photo of JamesMcPolin
4.51/5  rDev +20.3%
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.

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Photo of peabody
4.47/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a very cloudy brown that light is not penetrating. Two fingers of suds with lacing around the rim of the snifter.
Smell is very strong. Sour apple and orange peel with a caramel raisin sweet aroma.
Taste is very sweet and a little alcoholy. A black bitterness that drys out the mouth finishes this off right before the alcohol burn hits the chest.
This is quite a strong drink but a little weak in the mouthfeel department. It seems that the flavor leaves way to quickly even though that fact makes you want to take another drink. Beware of the 12% though.

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Photo of jdubjacket
4.47/5  rDev +19.2%
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.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.47/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

03/10/09- Purchased at Holiday Wine Cellars in Escondido, CA.

Presentation- 12.7oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into my Tripel Karmeliet tulip.

Appearance- Lightly murky sedimented caramel colored pour. 1/2 inch head which subsides quickly. Leaves some very light lace markings including spotting and some other various marks.

Smell- Very rich nose alcohol, woodsy notes, rasins, sugar and caramel.

Taste- Rich with caramel notes. Alcohol is present, but not in the forefront. Hops are pine flavored and noticeable. Really tastes like a combo of English and American Barleywine. More malty than anything with some light dark fruit flavors.

Mouthfeel- Sweetness fades quickly leaving an alcohol and hoppy aftertaste. Lower carbonation level.

Drinkability- Sometimes I wish BA could rate in tenths of a point rather than 1/2's. Might not have rated it quite as high if that was the case. The one thing I would have liked was a longer lasting aftertaste of the caramel sweetness. As is, still a very good, even headed towards great barleywine. Think the $12 I paid was a bit too high though.

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Photo of Atron67
4.47/5  rDev +19.2%
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

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.46/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel snifter glass.

A - 4.75 - Poured a deep, dark ruby-orange color. Formed an easy 2 finger, medium tan colored head. Impressive head potential for the high ABV, low head retention. Whispy lacing.
S - 4.25 - Boozey, peach, mango, hops, peach syrup and honey.
T - 4.5 - Surprised how well balanced this is. Sweet arrival of pineapple, peach, mango and hops upfront, ends on a bitter-honey finish. The bitterness at the end is NOT a hoppy one, it is what I can only explain as bitter honey. The bitterness perfectly balances and rounds out the initial upfront sweetness.
F - 4.5 - Good medium/full mouthfeel.
O - 4.5 - A very good representation of the barleywine style. Well balanced flavor.

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Photo of BBeerL
4.45/5  rDev +18.7%
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

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Photo of BasementDweller
4.42/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Pours a nice orange-amber. Aroma is full, estery, of fruit steeped in mild brandy, and just a hint of woodiness. Definitely got my mouth watering. Just a hint of syrup on the palate makes for a full body. Flavor is of overripe pears, apples and plums, intoxicatingly sweet but not cloying by any means. High ABV warms the belly. Finish takes forever. I held my glass for a full two minutes before taking another sip, which worked out well because with a little warmth, this beer is outstanding. Finish was woody with licorice notes and a pervading undertone of plums and dates. Wonderful brew.

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Photo of avalon07
4.42/5  rDev +17.9%
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.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.42/5  rDev +17.9%
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.

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Photo of sfoley333
4.4/5  rDev +17.3%
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.

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Photo of jgap
4.39/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle with some age on it. Pours a classic barleywine brown into a stone old guardian mug. No head. Smell is toasty toffee and a hint of old hops. Taste is very sweet toffee and caramel. It's buttery smooth yet clean. Very complex. This fades to an old, faded hoppiness. The alcohol has blended extremely well. I would really like to try a young bottle to compare it to. Very good beer, extremely drinkable

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Photo of RoBotGod
4.38/5  rDev +16.8%
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.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.37/5  rDev +16.5%
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!

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.37/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Big Worse might just be big better from its juicy malt dominance and hoppy aspirations that capture the sweet grain character that's so prized in English Barleywines but with the lupulin rebuttal from citrusy American hops.

Starting with a brilliant and glowing ruby color, the snifter simply glows like a night light. Mildly hazed, the color is of deep amber honey in mesmerizing fashion. Capped with a dainty off-white head, its creme skirts the glass evenly until later in the session when it reduces to a collar along the glass.

Bursting with malt sweetness, the nose is chocked full of maple, buckwheat, molasses, toffee, and nuttiness. Its hearty sweetness nearly whets the mouth from its aromatics alone. A firm hop undertow peaks through with dried citrus peels and pine needles for a strong hop scaffolding although the scent is certainly malt-centric.

Likewise, the sweetness from malt is strong, seductive, and runs the gamut from maple syrup and brittle to bread crust and sorghum. Strong buckwheat honey toffee, pistachios, and fresh sweet tobacco keep the waves of sultry sweetness coming. A late rise of hops reveal a supportive balance with grapefruit and orange peel, pine and fresh grass, and with a deeply resinous bitterness that assists the sweetness with a malty-dry finish and alcohol flavors of spiced rum

Incredibly bold and even chewy at first, the beer seeps into the soft tissues of the mouth with its sultry sweetness in true dessert-like fashion- easily replacing port wines as after dinner digestives. Rich with residual sweetness, the late rise of alcohol spice and drying hops signal closure and extends well into aftertaste.

Reading the date-stamped reviews of others, its apparent that Mikkeller has gotten better at making this beer. It's an incredible American-style Barleywine that captures the preferred malt character of hearty English examples. Its a bright and highly rewarding ale for nightcapping any evening.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
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.


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Big Worse from Mikkeller ApS
3.75 out of 5 based on 414 ratings.
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