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Big Worse | Mikkeller ApS

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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: 246 | Ratings: 410
Photo of Yagman3000
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a .375 bottle into a goblet.

Appears a bit lighter in color than I would have imagined for a 12% barley wine. It looks rusty... With browns and oranges. There's pretty much no head here - just some bubbles around the rim.

Smells from its barrel aging. There's a leathery oaky warm smell to it with a little sting... Possibly still running a bit warm.

Tastes less from the bourbon than I would have thought. Classic barley wine flavors at play here. Some figgy caramel stands out.

Mouthfeel is well balanced. Just effervescent enough with a decently viscous tongue coating.

Overall I liked this beer but remember a little more bourbon barrel presence the last time I tried it.

 697 characters

Photo of ZenAgnostic
3.54/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12.7 fl oz bottle poured into a tulip. No date. Bartender said it's probably a 2011.

Appearance - Medium cloudy brown body. Thin white lace with good stick and visible sediment.

Smell - Tons of dark, overripe fruit. Extreme banana. Sweet. Plenty of alcohol.

Taste - Very tart and bitter. Very strong. Smokey.

Mouthfeel - Very astringent.

Overall Drinkability - This thing kicks you in the mouth with out even a noticeable hop presence.

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Photo of biga7346
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an oversized Duvel tulip.

A: Poured flat, brownish, crimson, very flat and still, red ruby hues

N: Pie cherries, pie crust, crescent rolls, sugary fruits like kiwi, very ripe banana, some pineapple; juicy savory like aromas, some vinegar, metallic all covered in some serious booziness.

T/M: Very smooth, oily mouthfeel; brandy, cooking sherry, big caramel and toffee notes but not cloying. I don't think this has stood up very well to the test of time, it has aged in my cellar for probably two years. Some fig, caramelized sugar, irony, mineral water. The finish is an interesting mix of semi-sweet chocolate chips, powdered sugar, some smoke and charred oak.

D: Mikkeller beers can be hit or miss in my experience, this kinda falls in between, interesting take on an American barleywine.

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Photo of eric5bellies
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Drank on tap at Sail & Anchor, Fremantle.

A - Pours a cloudy dark honey colour with a white head that reduces to a film.

S - Quite a sweet boozy aroma with some spicy citrus fruits.

T - White Port type flavours of sweet grape flavours, with some mild caramel and burnt brown sugar. Very boozy.

M - Full body with medium carbonation.

O - The boozy flavour is not hidden enough and dominates the flavour.

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Photo of dansmcd
4.06/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Mid-brown in colour and murky. Very thin head on pour, then none by the time Im back at my table. Minimal lacing.

S - Dark and sweet. Treacle, roasted malt, sweet honey, dark berries and stone fruit.

T - Overripe fruit flavours, roasted malt, subtle grassy hops in the background.

M - Full body, low carbonation, some burn from the 12% abv.

O - Powerful, dark, sweet, delicious. Needs a sharp cheese to partner up with for maximum results.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.32/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass. Thanks, Craig.

A: Pours a nearly still, clear amber-ruby body.

S: Strong oxidation (sherry and cardboard), pine, earth, toffee.

T: Tastes much the same: here, sherry dominates and melds with toffee against a strong, clashing bitterness of pine and earth. There's a mild flavor of orange rind.

M: This is heavy and mildly boozy.

O: I'm always happy when someone brings a Mikkeller beer to a tasting. I can't think of a more consistently awful brewery, and I feel I don't rate harshly enough most of the time. This brewery is a good way to bring that average town. Usually $15 a pop for bottled garbage. Still, this one is unpleasant but not totally irredeemable. For Mikkeller, it's even good.

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Photo of JayS2629
3.86/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lets see how this goes, because I had to double check I had the same beer everyone was talking about. Same name and label, but mine looks nothing like the clear maple syrup with no head one person mentioned. Many others said no head. Did they fix this before I got my bottle or what happened?

My beer poured a dark, murky, opaque mahogany color with a gigantic, creamy tan head that took forever to fade and leaves chunky lacing down the side. My foam looks like a root beer float it is so solid and creamy looking. Lets see if it smells like everyone else described.

Deep malts, and boozy, alcohol. Woody, oak like hints, dark fruit like dates and plum. Some hearty, earthy tones beneath a big toffee, brown sugar, and rich caramel layer. Pine, and leather notes with some grassy and floral elements. Complex, rich and inviting.

The taste has loads of dark fruit and brown sugar on the front and leaves a chalky, aspirin like bitter finish. It goes from plums and dark sugar to smooth caramel and toffee, a litle cocoa note and then quickly fades into grassy, floral notes. The bitter finish fades after a few sips and helps the boozy edge disappear. It gets better as it warms.

Chewy, creamy and malty.

Nicely balanced, sweet with bitter finish. Good barleywine.

 1,271 characters

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

Vintage 2008.

A-Pours translucent maple syrup brown without any visible traces of carbonation.

S-Sweet aromas of overripe plum and treacle. Wafts of toffee and crushed walnuts. Thin, sharp phenols push through the initial wave of sweetness, reminding you this is still a 12% beer.

T/M-If I had to guess, I would've thought this was around ten years old. Completely flat, with a soft, mellow body and a sweet, thin finish. The flavor profile is in line with what I expect from a classic barley wine. Port wine-like body and grapey sweetness, burnt brown sugar, overripe fruit. The lingering finish reveals notes of leather and damp hay.

O-Three years seems to be the sweet spot on this one. It hasn't been hurt by lack of carbonation. There's a slight edge of oxidation creeping in, so if you have any 2008 bottles lying around, now would be a good time to open them.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out as a brown colored liquid with a very small amount of head. The head that was there vanished really fast. The smell of the beer has some nice sweet dark fruit aromas, some are a little more pungent but it's a unique aroma. The taste of the beer has a good amount of hops that tingle the tongue while the sweetness of the beer unfolds. The mouthfeel wasn't too bad here but I feel it could have been better. Overall this beer wasn't too bad, I'd like to get a fresher bottle sometime.

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Photo of Pencible
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: This poured an opaque mahogany with chunky sediment and moderate tan head.
S: It smelled like strong orange and floral hops and sweet caramel, with some minerals and dried mango and honey wheat.
T: It tasted like sharp orange and floral and metallic hops, with sweet caramel and toffee and milk chocolate malt and honey wheat bread. It had a clean but strong bittersweet aftertaste with alcohol warming.
M: It was slightly thick with some carbonation. Decent body.
D: This was a very potent barleywine, with bold and tasty flavors. The body was ok, but it was pretty hot, so it must be sipped. Age would probably really help mellow and integrate the flavors. It was still enjoyable fresh, but not excellent.

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Photo of ArrogantB
2.06/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I had been eyeing this beer for awhile so when I saw it on sale for $6 I snatched it. Big mistake. Reddish-brown cor with no head and no carbonation whatsoever. Smells oxidized, old, like really old cake or something. The taste is cardboard, sugar, just not good at all. Mikkeller is just too hit or miss for me with the misses outweighing the hits by far.

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Photo of broken22
3.66/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I expect to now know what to expect with the beer. I never know with Mikkeller.

Pours out looking like caramel with no head to speak of and that's pouring right down the middle of the glass. The beer already looks intimidating. The smell is like candied alcoholic dates. I imagine most peoples would just abandon this beer already at this point. Expecting a mouth surprise I take my first sip. Wow the bitters attack my mouth before I even swallow. The flavor is not what I was expecting. The beer tastes like raisins and sweetened hops. There is a bitterness that then lightly rolls over you mouth. The beer is lighter than I thought it would be but still definitely full bodied. There is very little carbonation in this thing.

Overall I am very pleased with this beer. I was worried that it was going to be a round house kick in the mouth or make me grow a full beard by the time I was done drinking it. I would imagine this beer is still not for everyone. Not my favorite Mikkeller beer but I still like it.

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Photo of dgilks
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark mahogany colour with no head. A touch disappointing as beer with this level of alcohol can keep a head.

Dark crusty bread, toffee and caramel dominate the malt profile with an earthy hop character adding balance.

Smooth, dark caramel. Toffee. Nuts. Sugar. I find it off that this is called an American Barleywine as the malt profile is distinctly English and the hop character is muted enough for it to be an English BW.

Moderately-full body with low carbonation. Think, silky and smooth.

On the whole it isn’t a bad beer but it falls a little flat.

 560 characters

Photo of AmericanGothic
4.18/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12.7 oz bottle into a Unibroue tulip.

A: Pours a hazy copper orange color with two finger of pale tan head. Good retention and lace.

S: Mellow bready malt, a bit understated.

T: Stewed dark fruits, bread pudding and mellow port. Quite deep and rich.

M: Smooth and very creamy.

O: A delicious beer. Not at the same level as Big Worst, but still a delight. Alcohol nearly imperceptible. Worth seeking out.

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

thick brown, though you can see some light through it, no head and a nice lace top it off. Smell is hopped for sure, but with a subtle sugary undertone, and a hint of alcohol too. Taste is not very strong at all. There is the natural piney hoppness you would expect from a barley wine, but not too strong, there is also a sugary, nuttiness about it as well. The alcohol is there, and that keeps this a sipper. It is actually nicely carbonated, and not harsh going down, has the warm feeling on the way. Overall this was a good brew,

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Photo of thedoubler55
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Rustic brown cherry color, lots of head at the top that left some slight lacing around the glass.

S: Strong scent of caramel, brown sugar, and dark malts, and hops.

T: Wild Barleywine, very malty up front with a kick of bitterness from the hops at the tailend, good taste of caramel up front as well.

M: Not to much carbonation a bit dry.

O: Not to bad, sat well with me, would not mind drinking another, easy drinker

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Photo of dcloeren
1.54/5  rDev -58.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This was the worst beer I ever had hands down. I honestly have nothing positive to say about it. Poured a murky brown/rust color. Smelled of sweet malt and tart fruits. I thought maybe the name "Big Worse" was them being ironic or clever but apparently they were just being up front with everyone. This beer is the WORST beer ever. I almost felt bad for my sink for pouring it in there. I would have dumped it outside but I didnt have any weeds in my yard to kill at the time.


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Photo of Arenbeer
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12.7oz bottle thanks to Kstrickler

Served at fridge temperature into a goblet glass

A- Pours a nice deep blood reddish brown with literally no head at all but some really nice alcohol feet on the side of the glass.

S- Sweet caramel malts and toffee with a bitter hops and some dark fruits.

T- Spitting image of the nose. Strong sweet caramel and toffee with some bitterness from the hops and belgian yeast characters in there. Dark fruits come out with burnt sugars and a slight alcohol presence but hidden very well.

M- Medium bodied with not much carbonation with a nice slight bitter finish.


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Photo of avalon07
4.42/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a rusty color and thick, murky, muddy texture. Lots of floaties. There was an inch of foamy, head that quickly dissipated. Good lacing.

S: A strong, sharp aroma of hops, malt, and caramel.

T: Tasted of caramel, lots of hops and a bit malt in the finish. Much more robust than most American Barleywines. It's a big flavor with a just enough of an alcohol bite to be enjoyable.

M: An average amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is a surprisingly easy to drink beer. Not the most physically attractive beer, but drinkable nonetheless.

 608 characters

Photo of brotherloco
3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

375ml C&C bottle.

Pretty tough to get the cork out of this one and not much of a pop.

Pours an irish coffee colored dark brown with a sloppy beige head. Some floating sediment.

Smells much like a english barleywine with a tinge of Belgian yeast and sugar. Malty dark fruit notes. A bit boozy.

Taste is semi-sweet malt with an ample amount of bitterness to balance it. Still getting some of that Belgian candi sugar. Vinegary dried fruits, slightly metallic. Booze in the finish, but honestly not as strong as you'd expect for 12%

Medium bodied but a bit thin in the mouth with low carbonation.

Overall I like the flavor of this beer, but it isn't backed up as well by the supporting elements. I've got the Bourbon Barrel edition sitting in the cellar, will try that soon.

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Photo of JamesMcPolin
4.51/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark and very cloudy/chunky. Looks promising.

Extremely aromatic. Nose is straight up English toffee! Caramel. Candied/sugary/dried fruits like dates and prunes.

Similar to the nose. Dried sweetened raisins. Burnt brown sugar.

Seemingly light for 12%! A nice gentle heat as it warms.

Room temperature notes – add licorice and molasses to the nose. And as my hand on the snifter takes it even warmer than room temp (approaching 80 degrees) I’m getting hints of oak and vanilla in the taste.

Killer brew. A bit over priced like all Mikkeller’s but still very happy with the purchase.

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Photo of capeannbass36
3.47/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours like muddy water. Flat. No head. Some sediment. Not pretty, that's for sure.

S- Sweet malt, raisins, maybe a little molasses.

T- Similar to smell, slightly less pronounced. Boozy for sure.

M- Very low carbonation, almost none. Warm finish.

D- One, maybe two. Pretty potent stuff.

Overall, not a bad drink. Just wish it had a little more carbonation. Was kind of like drinking an ugly looking wine.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 bottle opened by bmanning. Served in a Bruery tulip.

Pours an ugly brown color with loads of sediment toward the bottom of the bottle. No head or lacing. The nose carried caramel, toffee, cherry, and dark fruits. There was a bit of light booze in the background as well. The flavor focused on malt sweetness with some mild fruit. Caramel held throughout, as well as a bit of alcohol. Medium body and slightly boozy. Not bad at all.

 437 characters

Photo of siradmiralnelson
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12.7oz bottle into Globe glass.

A. Poured 2 finger head. Really good retention. Thick lacing. Color is a murky dark brown.

S. Big caramel malt smell. Really nice barleywine smell. Brown sugar, candy. Has some maple and vanilla. Some alcohol aroma.

T. Taste is pretty smooth. Not the depth of malt flavors that I was expecting from the aroma. Pretty solid caramel malt base. Brown sugar, carmel, maple flavor. Not much hop taste at all. Pretty smooth for 12%

M. Mouthfeel actually felt a bit thin for me. Medium/low carbonation. Lingering sweetness.

O. Overall pretty solid barleywine. Too thin of mouthfeel for me. Flavor was not as complex as some of the best.

 680 characters

Photo of rarbring
3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer is foggy brown, grey nuances, nearly no head. Many curtains though.

The smell is mainly vinous and dried fruits, figs, dates, some yeast.

A sweetness upfront, raisins, sherry and port wine, some bitterness.

Very little carbonation, soft and oily, some alcoholic feeling.

A bit to sweet, wonder if it will develop a better balance over time. Tasted at a beer sampling at De Klomp, Linköping, Sweden.

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Big Worse from Mikkeller ApS
3.75 out of 5 based on 410 ratings.
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