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Big Worse | Mikkeller ApS

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Big WorseBig Worse
Very Good
417 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 417 |  Reviews: 249
Photo of TMoney2591
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter at ChurchKey.

Did I miss "Big Bad", or do comparatives not translate very well into Danish? Whatever the reason, this barleywine pours a hazy dark amber brown with a halo nof large bubbles for a head. The nose is plum, fig, raisin, molasses, and a small bit of hoppy citrus. The taste holds a strong note of bitter citrus peel, raisins, and the flesh of a mandarin orange (you always get that one fleshy wedge in every can...). The body is a hefty medium, with low carbonation and a lingering, dry bitterness accompanying a slight oral coating. Honestly, not that bad a brew, but not up to my expectations of that crazy Danish gypsy. Hm.

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

A: The pour is a nearly flat amber color with a slight bit of cloudiness and a mild off-white head.

S: Tons of caramel and brown sugar along with a bit of vanilla on the nose. A nice butterscotch aroma as well as a bit of green apples.

T: Wonderfully sweet and caramelly without being cloying. A nice bit of brown sugar, vanilla, and toffee. Really well done for a barleywine and almost no booze.

M: The body is a bit chewy and thick without being syrupy. Low carbonation works well for the style.

D: This has nearly restored my faith in Mikkeller. Big Worse has become a really nice barleywine since the initial release and I wouldn't mind having another.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance -- Pours a deep, opaque mahogany. No head or lacing, but coats the glass pretty well.

Smell -- Big toffee and butterscotch notes, with green apple and some spicy hops far in the background.

Taste -- Toffee, musty apple, raisins, a little bit of sour cherry, herbaceous and spicy hops.

Mouthfeel -- Completely flat. Heavy and viscous, but felt a little light for the style. Alcohol warmth comes up slowly but surely.

Drinkability -- On the whole I don't care for flat beers, but this one still did it for me. So rich and decadent, but with enough bitter, spicy hop flavor to make it enjoyable and prevent it from being too cloying. Might not drink this again, but it certainly didn't waste my time.

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Photo of bruachan
4.09/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

i must have poured this beer from 133 feet above the glass to see if i could get a head. to no avail. deepest darkest brown

that's a rich smelling beer. must have boiled it for days. if there's any grainy malt aromas, there are just as many fruity ones. this is a pungent brew--i'd almost hate to have the massive bouquet coming out of a foamy version

most front-heavy beer i've ever tasted. i could taste it before the liquid hit my tongue: almost as if the flavor arced! (you know, like an electrical charge). figgy fruit up front, with port and bread down the line. the bitterness is assertive to keep things in check (though hardly the dominating feature). getting some nutty stuff towards the end, and a touch of apricot wine?. strong overall

nice Danish brew. i will look out for more of their stuff, for sure

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Photo of urwithdave
3.69/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Casey for breaking this one out at the 110k release.

A- pours murky brown in color. No head or lacing.

A- toffee, apples, malts, and quite a bit of booze.

T- very sweet candy apples. Toffee and caramel. The booze stand out and there is a earthy hop profile that is present.

M- thick and syrupy. A little more carbonation wouldn't have hurt.

D- a sipper for sure.

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Photo of billshmeinke
2.91/5  rDev -23%
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.

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Photo of bheilman
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark color. Darkest barleywine I've ever seen. Not much carbonation nor head. The smell is malt thick. It's like the smell of malt extract used in the quick homebrewing recipes. I guess that is how a dense malt syrup should smell. Somehow the taste comes through to be more complex. It is definitely malt heavy (I may have got an old one). I don't really sense much hops at all. The taste also adds some smokey flavors. It's almost like it has been aged in burnt barrels, but it's not advertised that way and doesn't taste like bourbon at all. The beer has a nice aftertaste but it is too sweet to drink more than half a bottle. Interesting barleywine, with emphasis on the barley, but I like a stronger hop influence.

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Photo of FreshHawk
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark murky, chestnut brown with a red-orange hue on the edges. No head or lacing, just some scant bubbles.

S - Big, sticky sweet, boozy aroma. Rum soaked dark fruit (cherry, berry, date, and fig). Some citrus hops as well. Also a fair amount of dark malt aroma. Very big and boozy beer that is a touch sweet.

T - Lots of dark malt upfront along with a fair amount of dark fruit. This provides a bit of a bread taste and caramel along with a load of the rum soaked dark fruit from the aroma. Then some slight citrus and earthy hops come out along with some more golden fruit, especially apple and pear. Some medicinal and anise flavors come out as well, and lead to the finish of the sip, which is similar to the start. Rum soaked dark fruit and toasted dark malt finishing the sip. Alcohol is fairly present throughout, but it mellows a bit after the beer warms and opens up a bit. Somewhat like an Old Ale taste.

M - Medium to light body (light for the style) with low carbonation. Somewhat of a smooth slick feel, but the finish has a stickiness to it.

D - It got much more drinkable after it warmed up and breathed for awhile as the flavors and alcohol got much smoother. A little too sweet and boozy to be really drinkable; definitely a sipper.

Notes: Best by date: 02/07/12. A decent barleywine that is somewhat like a sweet Old Ale. Was somewhere between an English and American Barleywine with Belgian undertones. Pretty complex flavors with a good balance of fruit and dark malt with a hint of hops. It was an enjoyable sipper, but for the price, there are better options out there. Still probably worth a try.

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Photo of ottovon
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to wolffman17 for this one.

A: coppery brown, no head.

S: alcohol, toffee, and caramel

T: tastes of toffee and fruit(like grapes almost), and some alcohol. but not over powering alcohol.

M: smooth, almost no carbonation. very nice.

D: very good beer. wish i had more.

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Photo of BMoney575
3.27/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.47/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not sure on the vintage, but inflatablechair picked this up for me in Portland a year or two ago... I'm broke and really only want one beer, so let's make it a big one.

Poured into MNFG... caramel brown... hazy... almost no head... very little lacing.

Thick caramel in the nose... boozy... tawny port.

Caramel drenched raisins... too sweet... a bit cloying... seems a bit oxidized... bunch of EtOH burn on the finish.

Thick body... carbonation is almost non existent..

Ehh.... I've had this a couple times in the past and have never been overly impressed and I doubt age is going to help it.


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Photo of zeff80
3.99/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a clear, dark brown color with ruby highlights. It had a small, tan colored head that left soapy trails of lace.

S - What a powerfully sweet aroma. Tons of caramel maltiness blasts your senses.

T - This is a very sweet barleywine with rich caramel flavors. There was a tootsie pop-like flavor to it.

M - It was soft, smooth and had a somewhat sticky mouthfeel. A full-bodied ale.

D - This is a good barleywine, however, it is very big and very sweet.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an oversized wine glass from a 12.7 oz bottle.

A - Pours a muddy and hazy light brown with no head at all.

S - Very sweet and malty aroma with hints of caramel and some white and red grapes. Some cranberries as well. Lots of dark fruits as well. Some yeast aromas.

T - Nice sweetness from the malt is immediately present, some vinous like flavors as well as dark fruits and some nice candy/caramel. Even though its very sweet it gets tapered by some nice hop bitterness on the dry end that also cleans the palate.

M - Full and complex body with a good flavor. The lack of carbonation is kind off a turnoff but still is very good.

D - I gave this s just above average score because even though the beer is good the ABV is string and its not my fave Barleywine.

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Photo of stakem
3.89/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12.7 oz green bottle corked and caged with a date of 2/17/12 on the synthetic cork. Pours a hazy brown color with no head and minimal amount of bubbles make their way to the surface. Nose is a big malt presence reeking of malt sweetness like raisins and dates soaked in whiskey. Little bit of citrus hops on the backend of the aroma. Taste is an assault of alcohol heat upfront with hop bitterness and a punch of smoked malt notes thy finishes with more alcohol warmth and citrus hops. Heavy feel with a very low carbonation level. Quite a good sipper with an interesting smoky/earthy character. I am uncertain if the 2/17/12 date was a best by date; it surely could be cellared at least that long to let that big alcohol taste mellow out. Regardless, nicely done.

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Photo of jlindros
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had as part of the Central New England BA Meetup #2.

A: No carbonation at all! Tommed beer. Hazy dark muddy water brown color.

N: Lots of sweet barley, malts!, maple and brown sugar, molasses, subdued boozy aroma.

T: Sweet! Very sweet. Not too syrupy though, has some caramel, brown sugar, more maple, tons of malts, molasses, slight boozy taste, some bitter hops and spicy.

M: Semi thick, not too syrupy, some heat and boozy burn.

F: Some bitterness lingering, still sweet but dries off well. Heat and booze lingers, some malty sweet molasses lingers as well.

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Photo of brownbeer
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best before 2/7/12. Opens with a gentle "pop" after working the synthetic cork off the top. Glows a bright red color with orange highlights and a thin head.

The aroma is rich and can be smelled from a distance. Candi sugar mingles with sprucy hops, molasses, mint, and alcohol fumes going in and out. Smells better than it tastes.

Low carbonation and high alcohol make for a fairly thick and syrupy beer. Sweet candi sugar, raisin, and a stale hop character. It's a little sweeter than I prefer but it does dry out just enough in the finish to be ok.

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Photo of elniko
3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into tulip glass.

A: Vigorous pour resulted in virtually no head and rather thin lacing. Deep rich brown.

S: Alcohol, figs and raisins, one of the strongest noses that I've encountered in a beer.

T & M: Full bodied, strong malt apparent up front with finish coming across with raisin and chocolate notes.

D: So strong, this is one serious beer. The one bottle was great but there is no way I could have had another bottle.

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Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Green's on Buford in Atlanta. Been looking at this one for a while and finally pulled the trigger.

Pours a hazy chestnut brown color with a very thin off-white head. The head recedes into a thin ring around the glass leaving no lacing but decent legs.

Smells of sticky caramel malts with good amounts of brown sugar and buttered rum aromas.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet caramel malt flavors with hints of milk chocolate and larger amounts of brown sugar. Slightly buttery flavors come into things midway through the sip and carry through to a decidedly sweet ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with very light but sufficient carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall this was about what I expected it to be, just with less hops. Definitely an English barleywine and a good still version. Worth a shot.

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Photo of SShelly
3.19/5  rDev -15.6%
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.

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Photo of Squelch
2.34/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

appearance: opaque, purple hue. no head, no lacing.

Smell: sweet sweet smell. No hops.

Taste: tastes like I'm drinking grain. super sweet. No hops to balance out the sweetness. not to my liking

Mouthfeel: heavy. Hot from the alcohol. Thick and syrupy

Drinkability: a sipper. I didn't like it

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Photo of kzoobrew
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Body has the haziness of apple cider and the color comes close. We will call it a cherry apple cider color. The snifter glows when held to the light, one on the best looking bodies on a Barleywine I have seen. The head is seriously lacking though. Even with a strong pour a razor thin layer of ecru bubbles appear. The almost nonexistent head draws back leaving a ring encompassing the snifter. Surprisingly enough the is lacing, if you want to call it that, and it is sticky.

The aroma consist mostly of heavy caramel, sweet bready malt and dark fruit. A strong showing from the hops are oddly missing. I question the label of American Barleywine, appears in the nose to lean more towards the English version. Booziness is rather brandy like. Aromas combine for a very unified presentation, outstanding nose to this Barleywine.

Booze roles across the tongue at first sip. Certainly not unpleasant but ideally this should not be the first flavor to hit the palate. I am a bit disappointed in the lack of complexity, caramel and run dominate much of the palate. As the tongue adjust to the onslaught of booze, more subtle flavors open up underneath. Sweet ripened dark fruit and subtle citrus tang. Hops finally show up but are severely overwhelmed. Dating information is unavailable on the label or cork, I can only assume this is young. While the flavor is very decent the booze plays to large of a role, time will certainly work to its advantage.

Carbonation is low but there. Full bodied with a syrupy texture. Big Worse rolls across the tongue slowly and the taste clings for a long finish. For the size and style the mouthfeel is spot on.

Big Worse missed the mark in several area in what I am assuming to be a young bottle. With that being said I would revisit this one again. For all its "faults" it is enjoyable. Given 2-5 years I would expect this to be nothing short of outstanding. I like this one but due to its sort comings at this age I have to rate drinkability lower than I would like. I like what Mikkeller does, this one just needs some age.

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Photo of markaberrant
4.21/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - barely made a sound when I pulled out that bitch of a synthetic cap, a few soap bubbles around the edges, hazy/murky light brown colour

S - big malt and fruit, marmalade, cherry, toffee, carmel, rummy, brown sugar, I quite like the aroma

T - lots of toffee, bread pudding, rich and rummy, sticky and syrupy, aftertaste is bready and toasty alcoholic warmth

M - almost zero carbonation, but there is just enough of a hint to give it some life, so despite it's sizeable body it comes off a little watery, but at least it doesn't completely ruin things, alcohol presence is quite obvious, but puts a smile on my face

D - I quite like this for what it is, an incredible english barleywine, pity it wasn't more carbonated

Has a best before of Aug 2011. It's been in my cellar awhile, can't rememeber when I got this, or who from (I think it was Papat444... or possibly Viggo... whoever it was, thanks!).

There are a couple styles that sometimes just bore me to tears, but a beer will come along and remind me why that style can be great. This is one of those cases. I'm sorry, but this is imminently better than any Thomas Hardy's I've tried, in fact, it quite reminds me of the Bushwakker Strathdee Old Barleywine.

Based on the ratings, I didn't exactly have my hopes up, and the flat, murky pour wasn't doing much to change this... so the impressive aroma really got my attention... but still I was skeptical... there had to be something wrong with the flavour to give it such an average score. Thankfully I was dead wrong!!! This is a great, great beer, which made it very easy for me to forgive its shortcomings.

If anyone is sitting on more of these, send them my way!

edit: just read the bottle and I see they used all american hops. Ha! You'll notice my review made no mention of hops whatsoever. Who cares? I didn't miss them one bit. Convince yourself this is an "extreme" english barleywine, and you'll be in heaven.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

375ml plastic cork and caged bottle with a best by date of august 14, 2011 on it drank from my duvel tulip glass.

A- the cork comes out with a faint hiss. a vigorous pour gives me a murky reddish brown colored body with some visible floaters in it. the head is only a few bubbles. no lacing left behind. man, this is probably the worst looking barleywine i have ever encountered.

S- strong odor of sweet bready malts. there is also a large fruit presence in here. raisin/tobacco, plums, figs, apples, and grapes. also something medicinal. the hops seem to have fallen off completely, which is strange for a Mikkeller beer.

T- very sweet. very rich. lots of caramel and fruity malts. pear, apple, grape, raisin/tobacco, and cherries. the alcohol is detectable, but not nearly as bad as i was expecting it to be.

M- thick and syrupy. palate coating. an almost nonexistent level of carbonation that kinda works in this one. moderate warming from the alcohol, but its still very well hidden for something this large. very nice.

D- a slow sipper that is one and done for sure. horribly ugly looking, but you cant always judge a book by its cover. this one is worth a try.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.17/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

12.7oz bottle, purchased @ Nikki's for $8.49. Poured into Chouffe tulip.

A- Aggressive pour... no matter... no head whatsoever. Looks uncarbonated. Few faint bubbles on the surface are gone in 10 seconds. Color is a nice roasty murky brown, though. Light will not pass through this one, looks pretty damn heavy.

S- Deep candied sugars, malts, and a hint of booze. Also getting some fruits.. honeydew melon? What? Something else I can't quite place... hmm... Strawberry jam.

T- Follows the nose. Fruity.. really fruity. Plums, pears, red grapes. Heavy-handed malt and candied sugars make this one pretty sweet. Sweet enough to cover up the ABV, but not overpoweringly or cloyingly sweet... a nice balance. Don't know how old this one is, tastes like it's mellowed a bit. Very enjoyable.

This must be a bit old, as I get none of the hop bite others describe. No matter, it ages wonderfully.

M- Sublime. Smooth, silky, no sign of the 12% ABV... might be the smoothest barleywine I've had ever.

D- Moderate. Took almost 2 hours to finish my glass. But I really dug it. A bit pricey, but totally worth it in my book... Mikkeller amazes me again.

Might just have to pick up a few more bottles, this would be a great 'special occasion' beer.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours murky brown with no head. Not a very attractive beer. The aroma is strong caramel malt with some dark fruit and alcohol. This smells very boozy. Flavor is lots of alcohol and dark fruit. Some raisins and still very boozy. Get some caramel malt. Medium mouthfeel, but too much alcohol to be very drinkable.

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Big Worse from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 3.78 out of 5 with 417 ratings
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