Big Worse | Mikkeller ApS

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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 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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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a true oddity, and perhaps the first mikkeller beer that didnt blow me away. it pours a cloudy light amber to red color with a ton of big yeast particles floating around and finally settling to the bottom. there is almost no head. the nose is alcohol and caramel english malt. flavor is the same, but spiced up a bit from the yeast. it feels like the right mix of flavors for fall, but the alcohol is strong and caustic, and it hurts the overall product. the mouthfeel would be great without the alcohol burn. its got a nice full body but is well carbonated and therefore seems to dance in the mouth, even with all that sediment. the booze just kills it though, warm on the way down too. overall a very unique take on a barleywine, but not somehting i will spend 15 dollars on again. although, my local shop has the red wine version too, which might be nice to try. we'll see...

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Photo of allouez86
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark amber pour with a small off-white head. A small amount of lacing remains on the snifter.

Smell: Hops are still present, small hint of caramel and brown sugar. The smell of alcohol is also quite present. Smells like an American Barleywine should.

Taste: Very similar to the nose. The hops aren't quite as present as I would've expected based on the smell but they are still there. The sugar and caramel are still there, along with the alcohol. There's a slight hint of soapiness in the taste and this is something that I have come across before in this style. It's not unpleasant but something I've noticed before, could just me my palate.

Mouthfeel: It's a medium bodied barleywine, slightly sticky and properly carbonated.

Overall: I thought this was better than previous reviews would have me believe. Perhaps since it's a Mikkeller brew hopes were higher by for some people. Is it my favorite American barleywine ever? No. Is it something I would drink again? Yes. The price may be slightly high for the size of the bottle but I would recommend giving this beer a shot.

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Photo of Hopswagger
4.02/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

P:  Dark brownish amber body with a thin frothy khaki head that fades quick. Massive loads of swimming worms that I miss judged the pour and dumped all the yeast in the glass.  Spiderweb lacing on the edges.  

S:  Heavy roasted malts and thick caramel. Super rich and decadent.  Mostly earthy hops and yeasty bread, sourdough, coconut, sour skim milk, hazelnuts, hints of bitter cooking cocoa, and Chinese 5 spice. Hops may have faded a bit but not sure how old this bottle is. 

T/M:  Thick and syrupy feel with delicate carbonation and chalky yeast.  Taste follows the nose with notes of aged malts, over ripe mushy bananas,  green apples peels, soured milk, burnt barley, roasted caramel, coconut, and nuts.  The hops are there but I assume this bottle is aged a bit due to the dialed down hops and aged taste of the malt. Starts sweet and ends with a dry earthy hop bitterness and grapefruit.  Complex flavors that mix well to create a balanced and rich barley wine. ABV is very well hidden and has a nice warming sensation.  Starts to bite back once warmed. 

O:  From reading some reviews I was kind of bummed, but after tasting this for myself I can say it surprised me. This is far better than expected, granted its outrageously overpriced, but that aside its fantastically complex and Well blended. The yeast settlement was rather large and chunky but not at all a ruiner.  If the price was cheaper I would buy this on a regular basis but it's too steep for my pockets. Well done. 

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours coppery brown with a small head.
Loads of malt shows through in the aroma, with overt caramel, dried figs, orange marmalade, and light port notes. Also some soft spicy and herbal notes.
Flavours are just as malty, with big rich syrupy, bready malt along with some dried fruit. Later some light grapefruit notes follow through along with accompanying bitterness.
Carbonation is perfectly soft, body seems overtly syrupy though.

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

I finally bought a bottle of this, and am drinking the whole thing alone while playing video games online with Drewba. Best way to hangout with other BAs and not share your beer. All 12oz for me.

The pour is flat, totally still, which makes it look murky and not like beer. Color is dark amber.
The nose has alcohol and fig notes. Dark date like fruits is the picture.
I can not really talk about the flavors with out noting the mouthfeel and how still it is, as that really makes the flavors pop less and more rounded. once again alcohol soaked dates and figs, this drinks just "like a fine red wine" (gasp). I do not find much hops at all, and wondering how this comes off as "american" in style.
Mouth feel is coating and drawn out on the finish, a long evening sipper.

I sipped this for about 3 hours, yes, 12oz for 3 hours. i enjoyed drinking it at that pace, it was enjoyable and i would savor an evening with it again, but it is a bit expensive for what it really is.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.23/5  rDev -13.9%
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.

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Photo of Jsenay
3.15/5  rDev -16%
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.

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Photo of brentk56
2.54/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a cola brown color without a head; no carbonation means no lacing

Smell: Prunes, leather, some earthy funk

Taste: Brown bread devolving into a pruney funk; a bit of tartness builds, after the swallow and leaves a tannic leathery character in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Moderate body, rather flabby, with no carbonation

Overall: Not sure of the age of this bottle as I got it as an extra in a recent trade (cannot remember who sent it) but am rather disappointed in this beer, regardless of bottling date as a Barleywine should hold up better than this one has

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.33/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 375mL bottle into a Koningshoeven chalice. Stamped 02/07/12. Bottled 7 February 2012? Best before that date?

A: No head whatsoever. A dull, rich brown. Mahogany, but translucent.

S: Smells like a barleywine. Sticky sweet malts, toffee, English hops, mild citrus, and moderate alcohol.

T/M/O: Meh. It's pretty decent. Thick-sweet, and very flat, with no carbonation whatsoever. Rich grape juice and trace caramel. Not very satisfying. A pretty damn boring barleywine, all told. Not one of Mikkeller's greater beers. Sweet and flat, with very little depth of flavour or mouthfeel.

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Photo of cmoody91
3.52/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into pint glass.

A: Thick hazy molasses color with almost no head.

S: Sweet fresh ground coffee, raisin, molasses, rum soaked cherries.

T: Very hot, cherry, almost medicinal. Hops, pine, grapefruit, toffee, rich and sticky sweet. Finish is harsh but overall nice flavor.

M: Oily, sticky, boozy.

O: Just ok, definitely a sipper and felt near the end like I was just trying to get through it, not something I look for in a $10 a bottle beer.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.1/5  rDev -17.3%
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.

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Photo of ADZA
3.86/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this on growler and it pours an impressive very dark non see through mahogany hue and leaves a three finger creamy moon faced head and lacing everywhere,the smell is hoppy as with aromas of pine,grapefruit,orange zest,xmas pudding and toffee and to be quite honest very similar to a DIPA,the mouthfeel is just full bodied and warming with tastes of burnt toffee,boozy alcohol,marzipan,caramel treacle,fruitcake and finished with a candied citrus bittersweetness thats more sweet than bitter and overall its a nice enough drop but probably a little hoppier than your usual Barleywines cheers.

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Photo of 51mmz0rz
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12.7 oz bottle into a Sam Smith pint.

A: Copper body, slightly hazy, great big off white head, nice tight bubbles, good retention.

S: Big sweetness and hop mix.

T: Nicely balanced, maybe a bit on the hoppy side.

M: Not bad, but feels a little thin in the mouth, but sticks around anyway.

D: Greatly drinkable and balanced for such a big beer.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.15/5  rDev -16%
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.


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Photo of Devoidb
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark caramel color with very little carbonation

S- Smells of toffee/ peanut brittle. Nice and sweet with some "booze" hints towards the end.

T- deliciously rich burnt caramel taste, not as "hot" on the palate as I was expecting. I find it to be very drinkable, especially for a barleywine.

M- Pretty light body, which is a plus in my opinion.

O- I can only imagine how smooth and balanced it will become overtime. I'll sure be picking up another one of these to age.

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Photo of mrfrancis
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark, murky amber with no head.

S: Aromas of toffee, caramel, raisins, figs, prunes, and alcohol fill the nose.

T: Notes of toffee, caramel, dark bread, mild cocoa, prunes, raisins, figs, and earthy, mildly citrusy hops are balanced by warming alcohol. The finish is intense and long with toffee, dried fruit, and mild hop flavors.

M: Full-bodied and initially slick. The finish is decidedly sticky. Feels slightly watery for the style. Alcohol makes its presence known, but is not quite as forceful as some other examples of this style.

O: I find this to be a nice barleywine. I particularly love the fruity, sweet flavor profile and the fact that the hops don't overwhelm all of the malt and alcohol flavors. I just wish the body were a bit fuller...

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Photo of korguy123
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into snifter, left the dregs in the bottle.

A- Murky brown pour with just a thin beige ring and spotty lacing.

S- Floral hops with touches of pine and candied sugar. Slight strawberries and slight alcohol.

T- Sweet roasted malts, dry bitter hops. Candy sugar and zero hint of the 12%. Dry bitter finish.

M- Thin to medium bodied. Prickly carbonation and sticky on the lips.

O- Quite impressive. It doesn't have the Mikkeller signature boozy taste. Good flavor, good aroma and decent price.

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Photo of HardTarget
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Caged and artificially corked bottle puts up a struggle. A tepid pop and first pour shows a murky brown glass with a hint of what we'll graciously call a halo. Not much to look at. It even sounds off, no heavy syrup pour to show authority, more of a watery splash in the glass.

Nose gives up some rummy raisins and a hint of Belgian yeast. Plumy like a quad but some well grounded earthy and piney hops bring it back to a Barleywine style.

Taste gives all the nose promises with a few bonuses. Rich almost candied malt provides a deep base flavor that slowly overcomes the potent hops.

Little to no carbonation in the swallow, just a medium light body with a ribbon of alcoholic numbing.

People that drink barleywine do it for their own reasons. For some it's high end malt liquor. For others; beer multiplied. Me? I like to hide them away, forget about them for a decade and break them out on a cold and rainy Tuesday. This would stand up well, as it's already almost flat and has lots of both malt and hops. May grab another for the cellar.

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Photo of CopeTech
4.14/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Barleywine style, a little more hopped than a triple.
Yeast remnants swirled up with the end of the bottle.
But a nice strong barley wine.
Better served cold to dampen the Mikkeller extra credit habit.

Good looking, with a lasting head, deep amber color.
The yeast dregs don't add much to the hop centric drive and rich imperial body.

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

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a pint glass, didn't see a best on date but it was a green bottle. This pours a very yeast dreg filled hazy brown, with a very frofty thick tan head. The smells are very fruity, full of sweet malts, some caramel and a little hops. The feel is pretty thick. The taste is pretty good, a load of sweet fruit and caramel malts, a bit of hop bitterness and a little alcohol burn on the way down. Overall this was pretty good and worth getting, but honestly bigfoot at the same price for a 6 pack as a single bottle of this is better and a better deal.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had the Big Worse in a shaker pint.

Appearance- The cappuccino creamy head is an off-white, three-finger number. It looks great! There are lots of bubbles in the smooth cap and retention is very decent. This thing roiled like it came out of a nitro tap.

The body is a perfect match to a mulled apple cider. It even pours thick like one. And wow talk about sheet lace!

Smell- There is a distinct brandy like smell to the nose. Some cherries and maybe even a little prune is there. The hops present are piney and a little grassy. It is a barleywine all right!

Taste- The drink has some fruity notes up front: cherry, green apple, lemon, and some brandy character. The mid-drink and finish really picks up on the bittering hops.

They are really piney and hop oil is really present. Fresh barleywines are still good, but age would really help this one showcase the fruity profiles even more.

Mouth feel- Pretty good medium body and okay coating. The best aspect of the feel has to be how creamy the beer is. Even the slightly dry finish does not do much in the face of the creamy factor.

Overall- A very enjoyable barleywine that will only get better with age.

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Photo of whatthehull
3.87/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


A - deep swampy brown, tons of sediment, no head at all and some sticky lacing

S - very fruity, sweet, malty, booze, slght hops. Red and white wines. Funk, nice yeast, sugary dried fruits, oak, fresh cut branches and some citrus

T - tons of sweet, nice mellow but savory earth, wood and flowers, more white than red wine flavored, great malt flavors, huge booze, but very nice booze, more sweet, hugely fruity, floral hops and a yeast funk that is very tasty

M - medium body, medium complexity, decent balance, low acidity and medium plus finish

D - huge ale, sweet and boozy, would stay away from this if big ales aren't your style, I think it is so tasty and almost refreshing

Final thought - $14 is high but at 12% and yummy it is worth a try

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Photo of maximumu13
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown almost caramel with almost no carbonation but a ton of sediment

S: Rich sweet smell very malty

T: At first the taste is very bland and then all of a sudden an explosion of flavor. All of the sweetness i expected from the malt a fruity roundness and a little bit of bitterness in the finish.

O :Nothing I wouldnt expect from Mikkeller a delicious multifaceted beer but i dont think i could drink more then one

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