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Big Worse | Mikkeller ApS

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85
very good
247 Reviews
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Big WorseBig Worse
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Mikkeller ApS
Denmark
mikkeller.dk

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
247
Ratings:
411
Avg:
3.75
pDev:
20%
 
 
Wants:
25
Gots:
64
For Trade:
2
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Reviews: 247 | Ratings: 411
Photo of GuyFawkes
3.51/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Unknown vintage; drank 6/6/15 @ the Yarchives.

Poured from Murky orange/red/brown appearance.

A rough pour yielded a big khaki head; a curtain of bubbly lace.

Sweet caramel & spiced apple cider notes in the nose.

Thick, sticky mouthfeel.

Apple cider & sweet caramel flavors up front; soured hop finish. Booze heat emerged as this warmed. A bit like dunking a caramel apple in apple cider; odd & not very enjoyable.

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Photo of TruePerception
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Two and a half fingers of pancake batter colored head. Light sheeting. Thin, yet multi layered lacing. Orange-brown in the glass. Murky yellow-orange in the dimple.

S: Caramel, bread dough, a touch of licorice. Slight earth. Nutmeg, tree sap. Pumpkin. Dirt.

T/MF: A bit over hopped. Hops and tree sap dominate. Slight pumpkin and nutmeg. Faint ash, char, and licorice. Perfume along the olfactory areas in the back of the throat. Disappointing, to say the least.

Poured from a 375ml bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

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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 superspak
4.23/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375 ml bottle into snifter, best before 12/17/2019. Pours slightly hazy dark ruby red/brownish color with a 1 finger dense light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Awesome appearance. Aromas of big grapefruit, orange peel, pineapple, mango, raisin, plum, pine, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, light nuttiness, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of citrus/pine hops, fruity yeast, and dark/bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big grapefruit, orange peel, pineapple, mango, raisin, plum, pine, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, light nuttiness, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Moderate pine/citrus rind bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, orange peel, pineapple, mango, raisin, plum, pine, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, light nuttiness, and herbal/floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/pine hops, fruity yeast, and dark/bready malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero astringent hop flavors after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from bitterness that increases through the glass. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately sticky/resinous, and creamy/bready balanced mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic American barleywine! All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/pine hops, fruity yeast, and dark/bready malt flavors; and very smooth and easy to sip on for the big ABV. Definitely English yeast and malt flavors going on, but it still stays true to the American style on the aggressive citrus/pine hop character. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a hazy, slightly red orange with a fine half finger khaki head with good retention and lots of lacing. Classic barleywine aroma of caramel malt, dried and fresh light stone fruit, leaning towards apricot, light citrus, a tad boozy. Flavor is caramel and candi malt, orange family citrus, light stone fruit, especially peach, citrusy light hop finish, slightly sweet and boozy. Medium bodied with a good creaminess; nice mouth feel. A nice combination of stone fruit and citrus flavors in this barleywine; the citrus is less common and works quite nicely. The ABV is fairly well covered, but the intense fruit flavors and sweetness make this almost taste like an aperitif. If I read the date code correctly, this is a year old bottle and it tastes like it has a little age on it. Fortunately no skunking from the hideous green bottle. A very enjoyable, nicely made barleywine that has a welcome orangy citrus component to the taste. The price point is quite high, so I hope this gets brewed at their new location in California; at domestic prices, I'd buy this again happily.

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Photo of mynie
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Marked down (!!!!) at a Massachusetts liquor store, which means it either spilled on the floor and they poured it back into the bottle or else it is more than 8 years old. Seriously: this place was recently selling De Dolle Ora Bier bottles that were from 2006, and those they only marked a down a buck. This was priced down three whole dollars. So I'm guessing this is ancient. But at 12%, maybe it'll wear its age nicely. Or maybe not.

Poured into a .2l Mikkeller and Friends wine glass I got in Reykjavik. It's very hazy, the color of a cheap chocolate easter bunny, with a tight brown head that dissipates quickly.

Smells of intense bourbon and very old, very boozy, very syrupy barley. Not a bad combination, really: the sweetness of the aged grain rubs well against the whiskey burn.

Tastes remarkably smooth. Nicely aged. Light bourbon up front--more evoked than actual--moving quickly into an aged, boozy blend of barleywine flavors: vanilla, raisin, toffee, brown sugar, and pine. This tastes a lot more like an EBW than an ABW, even though the hop profile is strictly American the malt is like biscuits.

While it's good, it's nothing special.

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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 dcmchew
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber with a big fluffy beige head, leaving lots of messy specks as it recedes slowly.
Big citrus hop character in the smell, "green" also, with sweet peach jam, nice tropical fruit, some honey-ish floral notes, but also toast and strong alcohol.
A really interesting mix of hops and alcohol in the start, pretty hard to name it, not simply herbal liqueur. Spicy, grassy, piney, surprisingly early. Still, there's a lot of fruit too, with peach, blood orange, pink grapefruit, mango, overripe pineapple. Lots of citrus peel and pith. Sticky caramel for a while, bit of biscuit, but the finish is dried up by bitter (and slightly "English") hop.
Aftertaste is hoppy, fruity (still quite diverse, with lingering citrus, tropical fruit and peach) and mildly malty sweetness. Medium, sticky body, light fizz. Alcohol is hidden entirely.
Great balance between tasty hops and solid malts, both really rich and strong, without one overpowering the other.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.21/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - The beer was a handsome golden color with a slight white head.

Smell - Sweetness is noted in the aroma. It borders on being syrupy.

Taste - My initial impression is a syrupy sweetness. Other impressions include nuts, grass, tropical fruit, and a nice little burn in the finish.

Feel - The mouthfeel is emblematic of a barleywine.

Overall - Despite a lot of negativity, I really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of i4ourgot
3.23/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

To start off this was a beer that was aged in a plastic keg for a year. I had to ask the bartender if it was the barrel aged or the normal big worse. Very boozy not smooth at all lots of hot alcohol in it. I would like to try this beer out of the bottle maybe sitting in plastic for a year was not a good idea. The boozy whiskey like flavor kinda drowned out everything in this beer. The head was non existent and the only aroma I could get was alcohol notes. This beer definitely needs a second try for me.

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Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
1/5  rDev -73.3%

I certainly hope this was just a bad bottle because, if it wasn't, my-oh-my is this a terrible beer. The beer itself wasn't all too well-carbonated. The cork didn't come out with much of a pop either. I hope it's just a bad bottle for Mikkeller's sake.

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Photo of Nostrajonus
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Cloudy amber pour, head is non existent.

S- Watery malt, sweet, very boozy!

T- This is sweet on the way in, and hot on the way down. Molasses overshadows caramel malts with a warm boozey finish.

M-Thick and sticky, no carbonation whatsoever.

O-By far the highest abv I've seen in a barleywine; this brew is a one hitter quitter! I love everything Mikkeller does...brilliance in brewing!

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Photo of clayrock81
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a brownish body with moderate head and lace and textbook aroma of citric, earthy hops and a hearty malt aroma of both bready, roasted malts and sweet malt. A good barleywine and mostly holds up, but it seems at some points the alcohol make it a tad bitter or burning on the backend. Overall, the hops give it citric zip and spice and the sweet malts make themselves known, and it has a little stickiness and tart/dark fruit edge. It is a good beer, designed to be a sipper, that just a has a couple of small chinks in the armor or else it'd be one of the betters ones out there.

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Photo of BMMillsy
2.49/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 1.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.25

Bottle courtesy of beastmaster. Pours cloudy opaque brown with no head. Aroma of biscuits, toffee, malt, brown sugar, molasses, hints of vanilla and bourbon even though not bourbon barrel aged. Taste is watery big bready malt and booze. Turpentiney, and thinner than expected. Lots of chewey sediment. No carbonation. Vodka burn. Was not ready for this after Chocolate Rain and some other beers tonight.

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Photo of roundthewaygirls
3.39/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured from a bottle into a wine glass.

A: burnt sienna, hazy, a little light gets through.

S: fruity, figs or dates. spices.

T: hot booze in my stomach. caramel. sticky sweet.

M: thinner than expected, well carbonated.

O: disappointing coming from mikkeller. the flavors weren't particularly complex. the mouth feel was a little thin. barleywine is one of my favorite styles and mikkeller is one of my favorite brewers, but this one missed its mark.

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Photo of CommanderOfAwesome
2.24/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

2009 vintage poured into a snifter.

A: Pours flat, with a dark caramel with a red hue. Literally no carbonation.

S: Oxidation reigns supreme, with strong fuselage notes. Getting some bad church wine, grapes on this.

T: Strong red grapes, tastes more like a wine than a beer. Grainy texture to it. Bleh, oh man this is bad.

M: Medium mouthfeel, alcohol is prevalent. Strong sweet finish that coats the mouth.

O: Total bummer. I found this "gem" in the back of a cooler at Ledgers with the price tag showing that they recieved it in Feb of 2009. I knew this was an old beer when I got into it, but figured if it's sitting back in the fridge it would be worth a shot. Man was I wrong. Got about 2 sips in before I drain poured it. All well, live and learn. Worth the risk.

 779 characters

Photo of ToddT
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
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.

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Photo of CruisaC
3.09/5  rDev -17.6%
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.

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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 timc100
4.29/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A great example of a beer where the hops well - not perfectly, but did not leave a stale off-tasting beverage.

A: Pours a classic barleywine murky brown. Sits a slightly hazy dark amber with a clingy beige head.

S: Huge caramel and caramelized dark fruits. Toffee, butterscotch, and slightly muddled aged hops. Intense and very sweet and resinous

T: Big and sweet. Follows the nose closely, but a bit messy. Really tasty

P: Incredibly chewy, lingers for a while, leaves a resinous gloss in the mouth.

O: Really nice barleywine, would love to try fresh.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle poured into tulip 11/16/12 from notes

A clear reddish amber with a thick stream of bubbles feeding a surprisingly large three finger tan head that slowly falls to a thin film leaving a few random patches

S lots of brown sugar and caramel, rum soaked raisins and dark bread, some candied citrus but I can't pinpoint it, no booze is rather impressive considering it's 12%

T a little sweet even compared to the nose with a strange yeast profile and more candied fruit, has a little sour apple and although its decent I preferred the nose

M syrupy and sticky with good carbonation, some faint heat but I'd never guess it's as strong as it is, candied fruit on the finish with a little spicy bread

O a good strong BW with well concealed booze, not something for everyday drinking but a decent cold evening sipper

I had this sitting around for a while and finally got around to drinking it, I almost wish I had someone to share it with but what can you do

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Photo of Dope
3.37/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: A ruddy, brownish-red pour. Like the color of rust. Big tan head that fades slowly, leaving just the lightest bits of lacing here and there. Extreme amount of sediment. To the point that I actually poured this through a strainer and a coffee filter (maybe the second time I've ever done this). It was horrible, one of the worst I've seen.

S: Big caramel malt with pungent raisin and apples. Hints of molasses and brown sugar. Boozy.

T: Raisiny throughout. Lots of bread, just a little toasty. Toffee, brown sugar and some resinous bitterness in the finish. A bit dry in the finish, oddly enough.

M: Heavy and thick for sure.

O: A simple and strong barleywine. Honestly I liked Big Worst better, it was better balanced and tastier in general, despite being flat. This one is pretty "meh".

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Photo of lovelyallen
3.36/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 1 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Interesting beer...

Served in a snifter from a 12oz bottle.

A: Pours a murky swamp brown. 0 head, 0 lacing. Its a pretty ugly beer.

S: Threw me for a loop. This thing smells phenomenal. Up front is figs, dates, rich wood, and a nice sugary smell that really makes me want to dive into it.

T: Okay, bizarre. Its got some of the dark fruit notes that can be found in the nose, but they never really punch you in the face. The flavors are there, I just wish they were more prominent.

M: Extremely thin w/zero carbonation. I think I may have gotten an under carbonated bottle. Quite a let down in this department.

Overall: I wish this tasted like it smelled. End of story.

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Photo of Etan
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12.7oz bottle, synthetic cork, into a tulip. Not sure when this is from.

A: Very ugly beer. Murky cola brown, no head.

S: Plenty of dark fruits, raisiny oxidation, sugary caramel.

T: Dark fruits, light roasted grain, prune, spice a bit of smokiness to it, caramel. A bit oxidized.

M: Flat, syrupy.

O: Not quite as bad as I expected from the pour, but not very good.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle.

This beer pours a murky, dark golden amber hue, with one finger of foamy, bubbly beige head, which leaves some mesa profile lace around the glass as it duly recedes.

It smells caramel, toffee, bread pudding, drunken raisins, citrus cream, some floral, piney hops, and a soft, sweet booze warming. The taste is more sweet, sugary caramel malt, further toffee/treacle/nougat candy bar, overripe banana and generic black fruit, bitter grapefruit and orange rind, though rather muddled, a slight old cellar mustiness, and a swirling, tingling warmth.

The carbonation is up for the task, and no slouch in its supportive duty, a tad spritzy, even. The body is a hefty medium-full weight, and actually quite smooth. It finishes sweet, duh, though the big caramel and friends malt does seem to ease off somewhat, letting the fruitinesss - both inherent and hop-borne - step up. The big ABV just maintains its sly standoffishness.

Wow, a pretty easy-drinking Yankee barleywine, if there ever was. Big, brash, but somehow subtle at the same rate, with a deftly integrated upsized alcohol quotient. Totally worth giving a go, especially given our early winter. November 1, really?

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Big Worse from Mikkeller ApS
3.75 out of 5 based on 411 ratings.
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