Big Worse | Mikkeller ApS

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Big WorseBig Worse
Very Good
420 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

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Ratings: 420 |  Reviews: 249
Photo of Grabbin2nd
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From Notes: 3/26/09
Big Worse B-wine
12% Abv.
12.7 oz. bottle into NB Snifter

Appearance= Pours a 1 1/2 finger tan head. A little murky brown. Nice lacing around the glass. I like the color!

Smell= A little sweetness on the nose. Smells like a really creamy, sweet B-wine.

Taste= First off, a little sweet. Second of all, it has a good flavor. At first I was turned off by the creamy sweetness, now I'm coming around. Better as it warms up. Alcohol is completely hidden.

Mouthfeel= Creamy mouthfeel as I expected. It does finish thin though...Good mouthfeel, lingers...

Drinkability= A sipper, not a quaffer. Even though the alcohol is hidden, you feel it as the beer goes down. Good B-wine, a little creamy and sweet for me.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: From the bottle poured a medium caramel apple, in the glass appeared dark cherry-plum. A soft cushy 1 finger sandstone head sits atop with amazing retention. Beneath the deep coloring lied a nice turbidity of suspend yeasty matter creating a murky atmosphere. A spongey coating trickles the glass wall on the way down.

S: ripe, dark fruit, alcohol and some sugary, dry grapefruit peels. A good maltiness backs things out, moderate in strength.

T: For flavor dark ripe fruit with a alcohol warming starts things off. Sugary plums, deep caramelized malt and dry apples combined with a bittering hoppiness of grapefruit and pine come through midway through the palate. Cola, and black licorice are also noted here before a zinger of spicy alcohol spices and heats things up for a finish. Afterthoughts of wet coffee grinds gently linger behind after the swallow providing for a nice fade. The mouthful was full, malty and smooth with an flat carbonation adding to the fullness.

M: The mouthful as well as the flavor were the 2 strongest points here, elevating the overall status of this drink. A pleasure to taste, as well to behold and savor.

D: Initially it came off boozy after the first sip, after a few more you just wont be able to put this one down while you marvel at the eloquent flavor and texture it has to offer. Excellent example per style, a beautifully downer in spite of its 12.0%abv, which would make your wish you could drink more then you really should.

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Photo of brokenleadedcask
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Received as an extra in a trade with Bosse. Thank you! Written from notes.

Since this bottle came from the other side of the pond, it has no English. When sampling this beer it doesn't present the 12% ABV in the mouth. The alcohol hit me in the belly like a fine Scotch or Bourbon. The color of the body is a touch darker than some other Barleywines but had the usual minimal head. Smells sweet, with notes of port, hops and orange. It has a beautiful taste balance of bitter hops and a sense of old ale. Highly sweet but not sticky or syrupy with a buttery character. Upon first trying it the alcohol is very present but fades to smooth caramel. This sucker is too hot, I mean it's on FIRE!! I should have sat on this one for 2 to 4 years. It reminds me of DFH 120 min. Too hot to drink fresh.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Once we have a war there is only one thing to do. It must be won. For defeat brings worse things than any that can ever happen in war."

--Ernest Hemingway

Seriously murky caramel brown with flashes of coral red and juicy orange when backlit with sunshine. The lid is small in size and golden ecru in color. It looks better once it settles, and is gracing the glass with a short, ragged collar of lace.

Not that it matters much, but the nose is more English than American. Then again, the beer is from a Danish brewery and is brewed in Belgium, so where does that leave us? Each sniff delivers an acceptably powerful blast of medium-dark fruit swimming in dark caramel sauce and citrus zest. Here's hoping the alcohol is as well-hidden on the palate.

This is an English barleywine all the way, no matter what hops were used. I had second thoughts about pulling the cork once the foil was removed and the date (14/08/11) came into view. I probably should have aged this bad boy another year at least. Even though it's a teensy bit rough right now, it isn't hot. It's still good beer that will probably be even better this time next year.

The malt profile is more brown than golden or amber, thanks to what must be a significant amount of CaraMunich. It gives the beer a heavily toasted and earthy character that is reminiscent of a good, rich doppelbock. Ripe figs are present as well. The American hops are still kickin with authority, adding flavors of candied orange and lemon peel, along with loads of finishing bitterness.

Actually, two years of rest would probably have been perfect. It tastes like there's some hidden complexity that is being frustrated by too much of an alcohol presence. $9.99 is a bit much for 375 ml of beer, but I just might pick up another bottle to see what aging can accomplish. Drinkability (at the moment) suffers a little.

Mikkeller's stated aim was to brew a 'simple yet heavy' beer. Even though they failed to achieve the latter, the mouthfeel is right about where most English barleywines live. At least those that aren't ultra sappy and sticky. It's still a fraction too light, with just the right amount of subtle carbonation.

Big Worse is big in some respects and not so big in others. It isn't the best barleywine that I've ever had, but it's far from the worst. Bottom line: this is an enjoyable Danish-Belgian sipper that is probably optimal at whatever date is printed on the cork.

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Photo of gordavidson
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Deep red brown that is pretty cloudy. The white head is thin and splotchy. This would look baller with a big head.

S- Caramel, toffee, pine, citrus, and a nice dose of alcohol. A little bit of fruit. Pretty deep and enjoyable.

T- Pine, caramel, citrus, oak, and alcohol. Slightly metallic and a bit sour. This may be fantastic with some more years on it.

M- Metallic, harsh, and a little thin. The carbonation level isn't bad.

D- A sipper for sure. Harsh and could probably use some age. Most definitely not worth the money these are going for though.

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Photo of Jablonski
2.56/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours a copper color into a pint glass. Small head, but good lacing. The first thing I notice about the smell is that it's a bit boozy, but it's not that strong. There is also some caramel and pear (?) as well. The candy sugar is strong in the taste, but there is an alcohol taste that begins to dominate as the beer warms. Initially I thought I could get used to it, but about halfway through I still wasn't enjoying this beer. The mouthfeel is good, but the taste just make this not that drinkable of a beer. It's not worth the price in my book.

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Photo of jgap
4.39/5  rDev +16.1%
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 amneziak
4.67/5  rDev +23.5%
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 brendan13
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark amber colour, slightly hazy. Poured into a tulip glass with a few centimetres of off white head. Lots of big patchy lacing left down the glass.
S - Up front is some herbal & woody notes. A touch of piney hops. Dark fruit malt aroma as well.
T - Taste is earthy & herbal with dark fruit and sweet caramel maltiness.
M - Medium bodied, minimal carbonation. Warming alcohol.
D - Quite a tasty beer but nothing I'd rush to buy again.

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Photo of NEhophead
4.54/5  rDev +20.1%
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 coldmeat23
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

GLASS: 22 oz. Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees

Pours a good, thick, copper color with amber highlights. Very thin head of tan foam forms and retreats, quickly. It leaves a thin film. Lacing is thick, but quite slippery.

Rich caramel malts are dominant. A nice butteriness. Wood notes. Raisins and dates drizzled with molasses. A slight earthiness and a hint of spice.

Man is this rich!
Huge butterey caramel presence. Big maltiness. Good presence of dark fruits. Sweetness of candi sugars. Very light touch of spiciness. Slight kiss of hops, like pine.
Not overly complex, but simple can be damn tasty sometimes.

Very smooth and creamy. Excellent carbonation level. Not quite full-bodied, but almost. Just shy of velvet-like.

It hides it's 12% ABV very well. It's just too rich and decadent to be consumed in mass quantities, though. Other than that, it's quite drinkable.
(Although it's classified as an 'american style barleywine', it's not so out-of-balance with the hops. Like most 'american' BW's are, these days.)

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Photo of jim1904
4.26/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Hey, I also picked this up at Holiday! What a co-een-kee-deenk.

Poured at 52, 53ish degrees from a 12.7oz corked/caged bottle into a pint. Cork smelled delicious. Woody and herbaceous.

A: Deep amber, almost opaque-looking unless you hold it up to a light. Little itty bitty head, surprising because I gave this a fairly aggressive pour and it seems pretty sparkley.

S: Same as the cork, but with a much more prominent caramel undertone. Very sweet, not boozy at all, oakey, a little peppery.

T: Hides 12% unbelievably well. I'm astonished, really. Big, huge, bold malt in the front. Definitely some of that noticeable candi sugar tang. A whiff of hops in the finish. Not terribly complex, but definitely gigantic.

M: Smooth, thick, just the right amount of carbonation. Perfect body for a high-grav BW.

D: Really, the best thing about this beer is how well it hides the alcohol. I'm not saying that it's a session beer by any means, it's definitely a dessert beer. Meant to be savored.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.47/5  rDev +18.3%
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 rallison
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1ish year old bottle.

A: Dark brown with a very minimal head and low carbonation.

S: Burnt caramel, raisins, molasses.

T: Age seems to have helped this beer out. Generous amounts of sticky caramel, raisins and similar coat the tongue. Slightly rough hops break through as well. The 12% is still quite evident and warms toward the end. Finishes with some molasses.

M: Thick and coating with low carbonation. A sipper, but not too bad.

D: Decently drinkable.

Better than I was expecting - it would seem a year of age improves this beer.

Edit: After drinking some more I am finding the beer a bit too cloying..some more carbonation would be nice.

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Photo of mjd83goblue
3.04/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Sampled from a bottle. Can't remember what I paid, but I'm guessing at least 7-8 bucks for the 12+ ozs.

Pours a murky and cloudy brown. Kind of looks like sewer water.

Smell is booze at the forefront. Can tell this is going to be sweet and malty already.

Quite fruity, with berries, raisins, and the like. Sweet and malty. Warming from the booze. Hops are certainly not overpowering like some American style BW's. Not overly complex though.

Mouthful is full but not cloying at all. Perhaps the best attribute of this beer.

Overall, decent but nothing special. Borders on being a boozy mess, but doesn't quite sink that far. So far, not seeing what the Mikeller hype is all about, especially at the prices they charge.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The off-white head rises an impressive half inch for its style over a muddy brown beer that puts up a film on my Hoegarten Snifter.

Strong brandy fumes carry raisins, followed by roasted malt, moderate spruce and earthly notes. As it warms, this one reveals figs and a hint of fermented cherries.

The flavor of this Barleywine closely follows its aroma, tilted toward the raisins and away from the brandy. A quick, powerful finish brings back the brandy.

This one is full-bodied and viscous. It is dry as a bone with only a touch of carbonation, while the alcohol is very present without any warming.

Mikkeller's take on Barleywine is a fine example, to be certain, and I'll finish this bottle tonight. However, being so very dry, it will sip, sip, sip away into the night as it warms me up with a book and simple contemplation.

Aged nine months in the cellar.

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

Pours a cloudy amber color with minimal head. Lack of clarity reminds me of some of my own brewings.

Smell seems woody. Hard to really nail this one down, there's something there I can't identify.

The alcohol is fairly evident, a bit hot even; taste seems to be somewhat sweet.

Worth it for the experience, probably wouldn't purchase this again though. Can't remember what I paid for this bottle, seems like it was on the high-end. As far as barley wines go, probably not my favorite. I'd rather pickup a 6 of Bigfoot instead.

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Photo of BrewerB
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Opaque, light brown, with a light tan head. Noticeable viscosity. Did not clear when warmed.

S - Intense fruity esters: raisin or fig. Alcohol not as apparent as expected (good thing).

T - Striking grape-like malt character (melanoidin). Fig and raisin also show in the taste. Bitterness is present but very mild (to a fault). Finish is sweet.

M - Medium light bodied with low carbonation. A non-effervescent sipping beer yet lighter than desired.

D - A little rich; not chugging it. Greater bitterness and a drier finish could improve drinkability, bro.

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Photo of 100floods
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased in November or December at City Beer. I have been debating opening this because the general word is to hold off for a bit. However, City Beer is known to cellar a beer or two and then release it, but then again, all the Scandinavian brews have only just been showing up en mass. Does that mean he's been hording them, or they fresh on the street? Who cares.

Pours a dark, slightly murky amber with a white/tan head. I can't smell much in the glass, but the bottle has lingering sweet malts which is all I can smell. Absolutely no carbonation on the radar.

This big brew tastes a sweet malts and some hops that I can't put my finger on. More malt that hops, but just barely. A sweet pine/tree after taste matched with some kind of applejuice/alcoholic cider deal happening too, not expected at all, but still decent. I think I'm starting to see why people say to hold off on this one.

Definitely not a bad one, haven't had many danish barley wines, Norway and Sweden have some better ones I think. I'm more curious as to the storage of this beer. Unfortunately there's no indicator of when this was made, no batch #, no date. Still a good beer to warm you up.

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Photo of BasementDweller
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
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 LilBeerDoctor
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Reviewed on 7/29/08. Bottle. Pours a murky medium-dark brown with no real head. Aroma of raisin and dark fruits. Flavor of raisins, alcohol, acidity, sweet apple skins. Heavy and sweet, tough to drink. I'm not quite a fan of these aged barleywines. This was better than some, but I still didn't enjoy it.
6/3/7/3/13 (3.2/5)

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Photo of magictrokini
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours murky brown with a short off-white head. Alcoholic candy in the nose. Some wood, pine needles, and lots of brown sugar. Taste is liquor-esque. Sweet and tangy up front with resin and grapefruit/orange-slice candy flavors. Oaky-brandy notes follow with a bit of carmelized apples and figs. The alcohol burn takes hold, giving it a cognac finish. Awesome beer.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours amber-brown with almost no head.

Nose has aroma reminding me of holiday nuts, brown spices, and overall clear suggestions that this will be sweet tasting.

Starts of malty to caramel sweet, rounded with raisins and background citrus, finishing softly warm with the alcohol largely subdued. A medicinal, menthol like quality is present also.

One of the more easy drinking, accessible examples of a barleywine that I've sampled recently.

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

12.7 ounce corked and caged bottle purchased from Liquid Solutions for about nine dollars, has been in my cellar for about six months, best before date of 2011, poured into my small Stone sampling glass tonight

A-Murky medium brown with some red tint, small 1/4 inch head with thick beige bubbles, did not last long at all, minimal retention, no lacing
S-Big toffee, large malt presence, some caramel, cooked vegetables, milk chocolate, faint hoppiness, sugar, roasted nuts, grassy accents, and dark fruits
T-Starts off with a sweet malt flavor, fades into the same vegetal presence I smelled but they are mixed with fruits this time, finish is pretty sweet and full of booze, gets fruitier as time goes on with some plums and figs, toffee and caramel make themselves more known as it warms as well, by the end there is a mix of fruit and malt that gives the tongue a big sting with alcohol, could have used hops for balance but that is not what this barleywine was going for
M-Hot, stinging, sweet, and fruity mouthfeel, medium bodied that is on the thicker side, very low level of carbonation, taste lingers
D-Could not finish the bottle on my own, twelve percent is not hidden and is strong, stuff packs a punch, wish it was smoother, more age might help that, eight ounces was an appropriate serving for this one

A barleywine from Denmark, that was enough to make me curious about this one, I have enjoyed most Mikkeller brews I have had in the past and this was no exception, glad I got to try it and the Shelton Brothers were able to import this into the states, would not spend the money again but still worth checking out

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Photo of srandycarter
3.94/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy medium to dark brown. Not much head at all. Thin, leggish lacing.

S - Cooked fruit, booze, dark sugary stuff.

T - Taste matches smell, but even more pronounced in the mouth.

M - Medium body, sufficient carb, good coating, nice balance.

D - I like this one. Would have more than one if not careful.

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Big Worse from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 3.78 out of 5 with 420 ratings