Big Worse | Mikkeller ApS

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Big WorseBig Worse
Very Good
423 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: 423 |  Reviews: 250
Photo of duff247
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Photo of Trappissed
3.26/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Like others have said, this isn't going to win any beauty contests. No head and no lacing, and looks like a cross between cola and a brown ale, and possibly dark diarrhea. Unfortunately it also lacks in most areas, although there are some improvements compared to the appearance. Smells boozy, with brown sugar and prunes.

Taste is very malty, with the same characteristics I was getting in the smell. Also toffee and some peppery spice. Mouthfeel is appropriate for the style. A little syrupy, with an acceptable amount of carbonation. Despite the negativity, the drinkability actually doesn't suffer that much. It's a decent sipper and an obviously unique Barleywine.

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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 Etan
3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
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 ToddT
3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

L- Hazy medium brown with lots of sediment floating in it and no head at all. There is no lace left on the glass as I drink this one.

S- Dark candied fruit, cherries, raisin, fig, molasses, and a slightly sour background note.

T- Candied fruit and a giant wash of astringent alcohol, wow that was not pleasant at all. Not sure I'm going to like this one. It does improve as it warms but that first sip was a bit brutal. Not near as alcoholic or astringent now that I'm halfway through.

M- Medium in body and no applicable carbonation. The finish is a mix of alcohol heat and sour fruit.

O- It gets better as I finish it, not sure if the taste is improving or the 12.0% ABV has kicked in.

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Photo of TheBlackMallard
3.29/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper with a small tan head.

Smell is grassy, herbal, fruity, and belgian-like. Not the belgian smell I like either.

Taste: It leads with typical barleywine flavors, crystal malts, dark fruits, and finishes with alcohol. Thin and grainy, I'm not very impressed.

Big Worse: Worse than most barleywines that cost a lot less. I don't think this is bad but it's not worth the $8.99 I paid for it.

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Photo of biegaman
3.29/5  rDev -13%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Apparently I needn't worry about pouring any yeast slop into my glass - at some point over the last few years while laying perfectly still and undisturbed in my cold cellar the yeast somehow consummately fused itself into the beer. Or maybe I made that conjugation happen when struggling to extract the (abnormally long, synthetic and stubborn) cork. Whatever the case, this brownish liquid is sludgy, flat and butt ugly.

It took one whiff for me to realize what I had just gotten myself into. To those who like to have their palate smacked around by brute bitterness and senseless alcohol, this should be a real treat. For me, I'm slightly put-off. Stiff alcohol vapors blend none too favorably with the (now briny and musty) scent of piny, tropically fruity hops. The malts smell utterly debilitated and stink like rotted pear and fig compote. Looks like it's go big or go home!

...or maybe not. The beer isn't nearly as obnoxious as I first thought. Only narrowly chilled it confesses little of the stated 12% ABV listed on its label. The malts, while sapped and overworked due to the constraints of a heavy hop bill and double-digit alcohol, keep their dignity with a fig-y/prune-y/jam-y flavour and buttery, molasses-like sweetness. The hops too seem a little worse for wear, but haven't lost all their tropical, zesty qualities.

I couldn't remember exactly how long ago I bought this bottle but the date printed on the cork (that my hand all but rubbed off when wrestling to get it out) had mid-August 2011 as the best before date, which confirms that this has a few good years of age under its belt. Initial reviews were unfavorable so I opted to wait in hopes that it would improve. Which it has in some ways. Mind you, it has also degraded in other ways.

Oxidation and a soy sauce-like element at some point made their home in this green glass bottle. The hops, as mention earlier, have also seen better days. That said, aging this beer was as much a choice as it was a necessity - in hindsight I prefer the more aggressive, more severe Big Worse to this more passive, devitalized version. Then again, in hindsight, I probably wouldn't have forked out the $10+ dollars for a 375ml bottle of either!

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Photo of Schreibeers
3.3/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown, with some dark red tint. No head

S: Booze is the most prevalent at the nose, with some sweet maltiness. Smells smooth and nice. Smells nicer after a couple of sips.

T: Nice, I really like this beer. At first you get a little booziness, but it is not your typical "hot". The booziness is accompanied by a nice sweet roasted maltiness almost a toffee like flavor. There is some distant bitterness, but the alcohol and sweet sugars seem to keep this beer in balance. There is not much of a finish in this beer. I like a barley wine to have some staying power, but this seems a little thin.

M: Sooth, medium body. As you drink the beer really sticks to your mouth but seems to disapear quite quickly.

D: Overall, I do like this beer, but seems a little thin for a barley wine. The toffee sweetness makes this beer drinkable for the style.

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Photo of WilsonLiu
3.3/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of Beaver13
3.31/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

12.7 oz bottle, caged and corked. Pours a murky dark tea color with a thin off white head that quickly diminishes to a thin film and small collar.

The aroma is sweet candy-like caramel, melon and spicy alcohol
The flavor is sweet sugary caramel and dark fruits/melon with a big burnt bitter alcoholic burn at the finish. The mouthfeel is medium and slightly watery with low carbonation.

Overall, a big bitter barley wine. It's not very balanced at all and too alcoholic for me.

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Photo of russpowell
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a reddish caramel with 1+ finger of tan head. Very good head retention & above average lacing, with loads of viscosity

S: Piney hops & caramel, some booze after it warms.

Leaf& grapefruitty hops & alcohol up front. More boozey warmth as this warms, some citrussy hops, plus piney hops & dryness. Finishes with a little fruttyness, more dryness, bunches of leafy hops & honey notes, plus caramel

MF: Slick with low carbonation, thin for the ABV, although the alcohol let's you know what's going on, very warming if you can deal with the heat!

Drinks just average, too damn hot alcohol-wise. sit on this at least 2 years or you just have a crude OTT American Barley wine

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
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 biga7346
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
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 lovelyallen
3.36/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 1 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Interesting beer...

Served in a snifter from a 12oz bottle.

A: Pours a murky swamp brown. 0 head, 0 lacing. Its a pretty ugly beer.

S: Threw me for a loop. This thing smells phenomenal. Up front is figs, dates, rich wood, and a nice sugary smell that really makes me want to dive into it.

T: Okay, bizarre. Its got some of the dark fruit notes that can be found in the nose, but they never really punch you in the face. The flavors are there, I just wish they were more prominent.

M: Extremely thin w/zero carbonation. I think I may have gotten an under carbonated bottle. Quite a let down in this department.

Overall: I wish this tasted like it smelled. End of story.

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Photo of ChadQuest
3.36/5  rDev -11.1%
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 Dope
3.37/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: A ruddy, brownish-red pour. Like the color of rust. Big tan head that fades slowly, leaving just the lightest bits of lacing here and there. Extreme amount of sediment. To the point that I actually poured this through a strainer and a coffee filter (maybe the second time I've ever done this). It was horrible, one of the worst I've seen.

S: Big caramel malt with pungent raisin and apples. Hints of molasses and brown sugar. Boozy.

T: Raisiny throughout. Lots of bread, just a little toasty. Toffee, brown sugar and some resinous bitterness in the finish. A bit dry in the finish, oddly enough.

M: Heavy and thick for sure.

O: A simple and strong barleywine. Honestly I liked Big Worst better, it was better balanced and tastier in general, despite being flat. This one is pretty "meh".

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Photo of tpd975
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought this on awhile back and was hankering for a Barleywine. Here goes nothing.

A: Rip the foil, undo the cage, and pop the faux cork from the bottle without a sound. Pours pretty vicious with tons of bubbles and an average head. Spotty lacing as the contents disappear.

S: Tons of big bold sweet malts. Brown sugar, and some pine.

T: Big warming brew. Tons of sweetness right up front. Big bold pine flavors with hints of brown sugar, figs, and a bit of booze.

M: Medium bodied, yet clingy to the mouth and tongue.

D: Not real high on the drinkability scale, but what barleywine is.

Overall: I have not been overly impressed with the Mikeller brews. Don't get me wrong they are not bad, but for the price you just don't get the bang for your buck. Still waiting to try Beer Geek though as it's my favorite sytle and many rave about it. I can't wait to be the judge.

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Photo of roundthewaygirls
3.39/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured from a bottle into a wine glass.

A: burnt sienna, hazy, a little light gets through.

S: fruity, figs or dates. spices.

T: hot booze in my stomach. caramel. sticky sweet.

M: thinner than expected, well carbonated.

O: disappointing coming from mikkeller. the flavors weren't particularly complex. the mouth feel was a little thin. barleywine is one of my favorite styles and mikkeller is one of my favorite brewers, but this one missed its mark.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.39/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I got this in a trade with rustydiamond. Thanks Rusty!

It pours from foiled, caged and corked 12.7oz bottle(cork say 14/08/11) a clear deep amber with a 1 finger head of foam. Lots of lacing here and the head retention is better than average for the style.

The smell is malty foremost followed by some fruit and some slight bitterness.

The taste is huge. Lots of caramel malt starts things off but from there, I get an infusion of hops, mostly citrus, and a big kick of alcohol. Wheww...this is a mighty powerful brew and all of the 12%abv seems to be right there, in your face...err...mouth. Lots of warming to be had here so I'm only going to take *very* small sips.

A few sips later and the malt seems to have taken a sweeter route and taking on a more English style BW personna and that's a good thing in my book but the alcohol is kind of ruinning it for me. And just when I say that, the bitterness from the hops kicks it up a notch again...weird how the flavours seem to change for me from sip to sip.

It's going to be tough for me to rate this beer but one thing I know for sure, in its curent state, it's certainly not all that drinkable for me but I *am* glad I got to try it.

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Photo of Birmz
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of brewcrew76
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Cork reads 14/8/11

A - Pours a rhubarb, crimson red with a slim tan head.

S - Sweet caramel malt with a touch of alcohol.

T - Boozy and sweet with caramel, brown sugar and some citrus from the hops.

M - Medium mouthfeel, maybe a bit thin for a barleywine, with a warming alcohol.

D - The sweet caramel & citrus flavors give it a candy like taste that is not very appealing.

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.41/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bigger worse than what? Pours a ruby red color with decent clarity. A good pour leaves a rocky head with some bigger bubbles. Ok retention and lacing.

The nose is either young or brewed with stressed yeast. Lots of fusels and solvent alcohol characteristics. Some limited amounts of complex malt aromas. A underlining sugary sweetness. Some lighter grassy and spicy hop aromas. Hard to get past the alcohol nose.

The taste is tamed down a bit. Still has a big alcohol kick, which to certain point is ok for style, but still. The malt characteristic really comes out with some complexity. Nice caramel backing with hints of brown sugar and pecan pie (yea kind of odd). Lighter notes of dates and prunes. Some hints of floral and citrus notes. There is a odd yeasty note that I associate with stressed yeast but not as bad versus the aroma.

The body is big with a under carbonation feel. Overall, needs kidding at 12%. Maybe the fusels will go away with time. But still has potential for now.

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Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Courtesy of some dude on RB, thanks. Pours clear copper with tan head. The aroma is grainy, alcohol, pale fruity esters and a bit uninspired. It isn't rich and inviting as a lot of barleywines tend to be. The flavor is herbal, hoppy, alcohol and some mild sweet malts. The hops are pine and grass. There's pale malts followed by a decent dose of an alcohol tingle near the finish. I will re-rate this beer with several years of age.

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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 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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Big Worse from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 3.78 out of 5 with 423 ratings