Big Worse | Mikkeller ApS

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Liked This Beer
3.78 w/ 416 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: 416 |  Reviews: 249
Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
2.78/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A little something to help get over my Cubs going down 0-2 in the NLDS. Into a KBS snifter.

A - Dark amber body with one finger of rock head.

S - A bit yeasty, a lot of black current, and a boatload of alcohol in the nose.

T - Fruit sweetness and tartness (blackberry, pear) are very predominate in the entry, with some drier malt to balence it out. Hops are present, but the alcohol seems to trash my mouth so much that it dominates any hops. I was left with a citrus aftertaste that did not go away, and did not compliment the beer at all.

M - Silky body, that becomes prickly with the alcohol.

D - I love Barleywines, the bigger the better... That being said, this lacked many qualities I like in the style. The malt was to dominated by fruits, and everything was blown away by the alcohol, which to me felt much higher than 12%. Can't say this is an brew I would reach for again.

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Photo of corby112
2.78/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From notes:

Pours a very dark, hazy chestnut brown color with slight mahogany edges when held to a light source and a thin yellowish beige head that quickly dissipates without leaving much lacing.

Earthy, leathery malt aroma with subtle earthy hops and faint chocolate but it mostly just smells like sweet booze.

Medium bodied and nicely balanced with a prominent earthy leathery malt character. There are some silky chocolate and toffee notes up front that are countered by a subtle hop bitterness and a very strong hot, boozy alcohol flavor. Sweet with hints of chocolate, toffee, biscuit and caramel but again the alcohol is the prominent flavor and is way too overpowering.

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Photo of kingcrowing
2.9/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

375ml corked & caged bottle poured into an Allagsh tulip.

Pours a dark muddy brown with no head at all - I'm really hoping this isn't flat. Nose is Very booze and sweet/malty. Slight raisin and toffee.

Has a very light carbonation, slightly watery on the finish but still a decent body. It's quite sharp and boozy with a noticeable warming sensation. Taste is a bit unpleasant, more like a wine or something than most barleywines. It's ok but I wouldn't seek it out.

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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 CuriousMonk
2.98/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap at ChurchKey in Washington, DC. Poured into a snifter glass. Served beer near room temperature which is the norm at ChurchKey. Pours an opaque caramel brown with a surprisingly big beige head that recedes slowly, leaving streaks of lacing and legs after each swirl. The aroma has heavy alcoholic hops than I was expecting with a biting citrus zing and plenty of underlying caramel malts. Maybe even some caramelized esters (apples) as well. The taste is hefty with more alcohol burn even more so than the aroma suggests. The citrus hops are there but give way to the massive sugary sweetness of the malt backbone. The finish has a serious alcohol burn and a scathing bitterness, both of which limit the drinkability. The mouthfeel is sticky and thick, almost syrupy but with a ton of alcohol. This is a massively sweet and boozy barleywine that is definitely not the most drinkable I've had in the style. Abrasive but tasty stuff. This barleywine is definitely not for the faint of heart...

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Photo of KingHenry
3/5  rDev -20.6%

Photo of TexAggie011
3/5  rDev -20.6%

Photo of Exiled
3/5  rDev -20.6%

Photo of bhir
3/5  rDev -20.6%

Photo of Texasfan549
3/5  rDev -20.6%

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 mcallister
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ruby red in color with a bit of a sparkle. An off white flimsy head of small stature retents nicely with a foam quilt top.

Lots of fussel in the nose. Dark sugary malts with a large amount of hops. Somewhat thin in overall aroma. A spicey quality from the alocohol really shines through.

This beer needs much more time in the bottle. Alocohol burns big in the mouth, throat and chest. A bit discombobulated with a lacking of balance. Not to say it isn't good but I can only see this getting better, if not it's too bad. Datey raisiny characteristics with only a hint of brown sugar. The bitterness of the hops and alcohol hurt this for me. Mouth is prickly and lively another characteristic I'm not crazy about in a barley wine. Again I really do think this will be a very good beer with at least a year or more in the bottle.

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Photo of drpimento
3.03/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Got this bottle at Sam's in Chicago a few months ago. Pours with no head and so no lace. Color is a very cloudy brown with amber highlights. Aroma is dark ripe fruits and vanilla, a little oak, and caramel. Flavor is about the same. Body is decent except it's almost flat. Only ever had one still beer I liked: Sam Adams Utopias. Finishi is shorter than I woulda thought. Not a session beer.

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

This was one of the few barley wines that I have tried and also only my second Mikkeller. I was not overly impressed but did enjoy the drink but perhaps not for the price. 12.7oz corked bottle opened with almost no discernible pop. I shared with a girlfriend who has a lessor appreciation of beer than me so I may not have taken good enough notes but did notice this beer was very murky dark brown and poured with almost no head. For such a small amount of there was a touch of lacing. The smell was sort of similar to a dubbel with some tone of sugar and fruit and a certain background of alcohol. The barley wine made no effort to hide the high ABV and the lack of carbonation was apparent. The taste was surprisingly mild despite the alcohol and the fruit and sweet tones came out. There is certainly a time and paring for this beer and I look forward to trying it again pared well with dinner.

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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 CruisaC
3.09/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up on sale for ~$4 a bottle. Figured I'd give it a try.

Pours dead, no head, no carbonation. Uh-oh. Still as night in the glass. Dark brown

Smells like raisins, chalky vitamins, malt extract.

Taste very clean initially but soon a raisin meets astringent tastes follows. Not great. Not much good going on here.

Pretty thin, not helped by the fact at there's no carbonation. That may be ok for the occasional HOTD release (bourbon Fred), but this falls into Lost Abbey territory and not in a good way

I won't be finishing this. Pretty disappointing. I've got another bottle but I'm not too excited to give it another shot.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.1/5  rDev -18%
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 SaCkErZ9
3.1/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Corked and caged with a date of 14/13/11 stamped on the cork. 12.7 oz green bottle.

Dispensed into a small pint glass. Appears a cloudy, hazy, burnt amber color with a tiny white head with a good bit of lacing.

Aroma is quite hoppy and sweet smelling as well. Closer in aroma to an Englsih BW instead of an American version as the hops are earthy and slightly fruity. Nice caramel aromas and plenty of biscuity smells as well.

Sweet up front but also a nice hop smack as well. Sweetness makes way for a bitter hop bite that creates a nice sensation on the tongue. Quite alcoholic as well. Lots and lots of maltiness. Plenty of hop bitterness but the hop flavor was pretty subdued. This one was almost over the top malty for the style. More sweetness in the finish.

I wasnt too hot on this one. I would call this more of an English BW and it fits that style well. However, for an american version, it seems to be too sweet. ABV is very warming. Very sweet overall. Not my cup of tea, but not bad overall I suppose. I have on of these cellared so I really hope it improves and mellows out a bit of the sweetness.

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Photo of Jsenay
3.15/5  rDev -16.7%
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 kojevergas
3.15/5  rDev -16.7%
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 TruePerception
3.18/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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

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

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

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

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Photo of 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

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Photo of Sean9689
3.23/5  rDev -14.6%
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 i4ourgot
3.23/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

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

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Photo of mcdonald422
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Big Worse from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 63.7% out of 100 with 416 ratings
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