Big Worst
Mikkeller ApS

Big WorstBig Worst
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American Barleywine
Ranked #334
Ranked #28,294
3.77 | pDev: 15.92%
Mikkeller ApS
Very Good
Big WorstBig Worst
Notes: First Batch: 17.6% ABV January 2010
Second Batch: 18.5% ABV March 2011

Brewed at De Proefbrouwerij.
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Reviews: 55 | Ratings: 113
Photo of FLima
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Golden crystal color with a thin head.
Aroma with notes of brie cheese and white grapes.
Sweet flavor with notes of candied oranges, herbal hops, Cointreau liquor.
Full liquorish body with flat carbonation.
Barley Wine with lots of Cointreau liquor and white grapes notes.

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Photo of Rutager
3.89/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A big thank you to Gothgargoyle for this! Holdbar til 22/03/20

Appearance. Pours a murky orange-brown with a thin khaki head that fades to a lasting collar.

Smell. Nice caramel and oak barrel with a little old barrel funk. There's a little citrus and orchard frutiness going on as well. Nice.

Taste. Wow. Citrus rinds and caramel, coconut and toasted oak, some sharp alcohol, oily bitter hops that last on the tongue. Interesting with big flavours going on.

Mouthfeel. Fairly full bodied, low carbonation.

Overall. Sweet, boozy, hoppy, tons of barrel. It's an assault on the palate but nothing really outputting about it. Always fun to try something different.

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Photo of DIM
3.54/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 1

If you are going to sell flat beer, skip the pretentious cork and cage for christ's sake. Don't make me use a pair of pliers to get the fucking cork out of the bottle. A standard cap would work just fine.

a: This was a clear, dark mahogany color. This was dead flat, it poured with no head.

s: Strong warmth, but not obnoxious heat coming out of this one. I found honey, sherry, faint soy sauce, rubbing alcohol, caramel, and cherry cough syrup.

t: Cough syrup comes to mind first, but this is pleasant enough overall. Warm but not hot sherry, sugary Raisin Bran raisins, alittle soy sauce around the edges, and some lingering sticky sweetness.

m: Thick and heavy. Not horrible for the style, but some buubles would have been nice.

o: Not bad overall. Interesting flavors, but this is over priced. I regret the purchase.

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Photo of Dope
3.69/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I assume this is batch 1, 17.6% ABV. Dated 07/12/19, I assume "best by".

A: Pours a murky, rusty brown. No head other than a handful of bubbles as it is poured, which quickly disappear. No lacing of course.

S: Sickly sweet with a freight train of caramel. Some toffee with lots of dark fruit, raisin stands out the most by far. Hints of molasses. Very strong and sharp and extremely boozy.

T: Fruity up front with the raisin and perhaps fig and grape. Loads and loads of caramel, burnt sugars and toffee. Ends mainly with toffee lingering into a long lasting boozy aftertaste.

M: Thick doesn't cut it. Very heavy and with no carbonation; it's like drinking syrup. Tough to drink, can barely sip it.

O: What a strange brew. There's nothing "wrong" with it, it's basically a huge yet simple barleywine. Super boozy, alcohol is not hidden at all. No carbonation too - makes it very tough to drink though, a sipper for sure. Maybe cellar this one for a few decades and see how it comes out. I think it has potential.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 375mL bottle into a Koningshoevn chalice. Batch #1 (January 2012) brewed at 17.6%.

A: No head. Mud brown and not very pretty. Opaque.

S: Flat (dead) yeast. Caramel malt. Alcohol. Brown sugar. Like an old Old Ale.

T/M: Mmm. Big, sweet, and smooth. Apples and brown sugar; like a brandy or spiced cider. No carbonation whatsoever. The aftertaste is lingering and almost sticky-sweet. Almost (but not quite) oppressive.

O: The numbers in this review don't do the overall beer justice, but it's actually really nice, if quite sweet. Recommended. Drinkable. Tasty. Impressively large.

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Photo of dbossman
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Gold and clear with just a touch of head; lacing is surprisingly good

S: So boozy; so much alcohol with a touch of butter; lots of grains but God, this beer is boozy

T: So much booze--even a bit of smokey scotch flavors; this is grainy and it burns--wow, does it burn; boozy, buttery, grainy, and awesome

F: Decently carbonated; fairly creamy

O: Holy crap, this is a big, boozy beer, and I love it; I'm not sure what style this actually is but I love this boozy, grainy glass of awesomeness

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Photo of BostonHops
3.27/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

having paid princely sums for mikkeller's offerings in the past and come away underwhelmed, here's hoping that'll change.

12.7oz corked and caged bottle served in a snifter.

pours a murky, dark amber tone with no trace of head whatsoever. this is a huge beer, so i don't hold that against it completely, but i'm nervous; not a fan of undercarbonated beers.

the aroma isn't among the more potent barleywines i've whiffed but i get notes of sweet maltiness/candied sugar, a touch of hops, and plenty of booze. taste is ok, mostly following the nose. candied fruit/sugar, caramel, a bit a spice, and an earthiness. not bad. there is nice degree of complexity which i feel is overshadowed by the heat.

pretty full-bodied with very low carbonation. all in all there are some enjoyable elements to this beer but in the end i'm not blown away. again, the steep price tag fails to deliver a beer worthy of it.

originally reviewed: 01-04-2011

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Photo of Mebuzzard
2.97/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is a doozy of a beer. The abv is not hidden, and is in-yo-face.

Pours a light golden color. Not much head on this one. No lacing. Looks filmy.

Booze in the nose. Some glazed doughnut. Apricot. Peaches? Then booze again.

Nothing bad in the taste, it's just not good. Very sweet, very boozy. Apricots soaked in white rum and sugar. No real feel to it, but to save the rating from a '1', it doesn't burn...much.
No hops whatsoever. Will not have again unless it has 20 years on it. Drain pour

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Photo of Rickythejeweler
4.67/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Second batch, 18.5%

A - Clear light orange, no head, no lacing.

S - Piney, resin, ginger, lemon zest, grains, yeast.

T - Candi sugar, white grapes, orange zest, piney hops, resin, light tropical fruits, nectarine, light grains, alcohol is suprisingly hidden very well.

M - Full bodied, thick, crisp low moderate carbonation, warming alcohol, dry finish.

O - Outrageous! Mikkeller done did it again! Thoroughly enjoyed this experience!

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Photo of Ratman197
4.36/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375 ml bottle from Wine and Cheese Place poured a clear peach with a lingering ring of ivory foam. Aromas of alcohol, carmel, fruittiness and pepper. Mouthfeel was medium bodied and smooth with a warming finish. Flavors of carmel, peach, white pepper and orange with a smooth warming lingering fruity finish.

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Photo of jale
2.11/5  rDev -44%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Had on ta at Crunchys

A: Pours gold with only a bubble or two of white head.

S: Like I just walked into a nail salon. Big acetone and solvent in the nose followed by some malt and alcohol.

T: Like drinking sweet malty nail polish remover. I get little hop flavor in this unlike advertised. Alcohol heat is there.

M: sticky and cloying with low carbonation.

O: This is a horrible tasting beer.

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Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 13oz bottle into Delirium Tremens snifter.

A. Pours maybe a centimeter of head. Lacing left on the side of the glass after swirling like wine or liquor. No head so no retention. Color is a really cloudy brown with a tint of orange.

S. Smells like a big bad ass barleywine. Alcohol, caramel malt, brown sugar, molasses, raisins, figs, toffee. Really nice sweet smelling boozey barleywine. Has a nice dark fruit smell, that not all barleywines have.

T. Tastes like a big bad ass barleywine. There is no ignoring the booze in this monster. After alcohol, I get caramel, brown sugar, raisins, molasses, alcohol, some dark fruit, almost a bit of sour cherry, and then a little bit of alcohol.

M. Mouthfeel is actually pretty thin for a beer this big, I would describe it as medium bodied. Lingering tongue, lip coating sweetness. As expected very low carbonation.

O. Overall, this is a big ol beer. Lots of flavors going on if you can get past all the booze. Wish I had a second one that I could age for, well I guess I could age it for as long as I wanted. Would like to see what some considerable time would do to this massive beer though. Easier drinking than some similar ABV beers I have had.

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Photo of minterro
3.59/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes at Crunchy’s in East Lansing.

A & S: White grapes and alcohol sweetness in the scent. Mainly dominated by booziness. Clear yellow-orange. Clear head was there in wisps when received but went away relatively quick to nothing but specks and a ring, no lacing except when swilled which resulted in wine like legs.

T & M: Not much hops as advertised in the description. fruity pretty high carbonation, crisp. Very sweet alcohol aftertaste. Fairly Thin bodied. When warmed a little sweeter and easier to drink. Alcohol isn’t well hidden in either the taste or the nose.

O: Trying to be unbiased because Barley wines are not normally my forte, but I don’t really like this beer all that much. Not upset that I tried it cause it was the highest ABV beer I’ve ever rated, but I wouldn’t get it again.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

poured from small cork & cage bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Murky & muddy brown beer that almost lookslike a really dark apple cider. Has some floaties in the beer too! No head even after aggressive head.

Smell: super sweet caramel, honey, dark fruits and heavy booze.

Taste: sweet malts upfront. Caramel, raisins, and pears. Lots of booze thats has a bitter taste to it that seems to linger into the finish.

Mouthfeel: full bodied beer with very little carbonation. Surprisingly smooth without much of an alcoholic burn until it warms up to room temperature. Impressive considering the ABV is over 18%.

Overall: This beer is just too hot right now. It was okay, but I probably would not by this beer.

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Photo of StlHopHead77
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage

A-Pours out a thick and lightly hazy but vibrant orangish,yellow with a rapidly dying,1 inch crown of stark white that left spotty lacing and alcohol "legs" on the glass.

S-Apricot brandy,peach preserves,caramelized grains,golden raisin and orange zest with a little blonde tobacco as well.Boozey but not obnoxiously so.

T-Sweet grains,booze,candied orange and cherry,more blonde tobacco and peach or nectarine like a moscato but seriously fortified.

M-A little hot but still tasty.Medium/full bodied with a concentrated sweetness and fruity alcohol notes.Lasting burn and subtle bitterness on the finish.

O-This is a decent extreme beer but I would choose a Samaels or a Beast before I drank this again.Happy to have tried it but the price does not match the quality.

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Photo of Ghenna
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a NB chalice. Wet straw clolor, white head, low retention.

Smells sweet, fruity, and boozy.

My first notion when I drink this is that it is a port- a lighter colored citrus port. It actually reminds me a lot of a late harvest reisling.

It's hard to think of something to say about this one. Despite being nearly 19% it is (relatively) drinkable. It tastes nice and has a less thick mouthfeel than a North Coast Old Stock. Its flavor profile though kind of puts it outside of the realm of beer- it is just too heavy and lacks the nuance that I get with beer. The flavors that it has, are just too strong and cover up the other parts that I expect to find in a beer.

I'm glad that I snagged this when I saw it- it is hard to make a beer at this ABV, I might even snag another to age for 10 years, but there are quite a few beers that I would get before this one again.

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ Brewforia Beer Market, Bound Crossing ID. 4oz poured into what looks like a brandy snifter.

A: Fairly clear, light orange colored body, hardly any white head (expected) but what is there settles into an attractive ring. As one would expect the alcohol legs are off the chart.

S: Honestly, quite pleasant for a beer this big. Sweet and sugary for sure; apples, caramel malt, candy sugar, perfume, sweet flowers, and the booze, although it's all relatively complimentary and the alcohol isn't overwhelming.

T: Sweet alcohol, toffee, flowery perfume (not herbal), honey...pretty hot alcohol-wise but not overwhelming.

MF: Fairly thin but viscous body. Quite drying. It's not hard to drink per-se but I don't need more than four ounces.

O: Qute nice for an extreme beer. My first Mikkeller, and it didn't disappoint. Reminds me a LOT of two year old 120 Minute IPA.

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Photo of daledeee
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12.7 oz. of 18.5%. One should be enough. I have had this at 45F for about 6 months.

This pours a minimal head with a bright gold clear body. Not any lacing either.

Nose is alcohol and fruit: a mixture of pear, apple and apricot.

Taste is apricot and brandy. It might be coming across as brandy as this is seriously strong beer. It really warms your throat. It is somewhat numbing as you drink it. Pretty sweet and heavy but not a lot of carbonation. As it warms I notice more complexity such as malts with orange and caramel and it was more drinkable. This was worth a try, but even I have my limits; pretty boozy.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle. Sampled alongside the Bourbon edition.

This beer was dramatically different as it warmed. I am including the warmer review first, which is what I am rating. The other review will follow.

The beer pours a very clear yellow color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the vanilla and almonds with some apricot and orange notes. The flavor is more of the same, with a lot of orange and apricots. There are also some flora hops and some alcohol in the flavor. Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation.

Now, for the review when the beer was cold.

The aroma is full of nail polish remover and some strong sake notes. The flavor is that of a sake, with some almond and strong alcohol notes. There is also a little bit of toffee mixed in.

The moral of this story is let this beer warm to near room temperature before you drink it.

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Photo of snpub540
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a murky brown hue with absolutely no head. Got some yeasty beasties floating around in there.

Smell is mostly fruity esters with some caramel note and dark dried fruit. A little vinous as well.

Taste is sweet upfront with a nice raisin and fig flavor. Alcohol is a little hot but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel is thin for such a big beer. Alcohol is definately there and makes this a slow drinker. I'm glad I got to try this and it gave me a good little buzz.

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Photo of BlackWednesday
4.14/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

hazed foxy red beer with medium, sligthly yellowish head as whipped eggwhite. Fruity aromas jumping out of the glass, especially passion fruit, also mango, orange, grapefruit, white grapes. And USA hops, getting drier, hopbales like. Very fruity bittersweet flavour; bitter oranges, kumquats, grapefruit, pineapple- and strawberryesters. Caramel, toffee, maple syrup and fusels. Oh, and some hops... Alcoholwarming, very slick-oily. Fiery, yet drinkable. Warming up, benzeneFruitester bomb, superbly hopped, yet adequate malts. Mikkeller seems to get better every month... though this one reminds me of Mikkels’ first homebrew Barley Wine I ever tasted.

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Photo of AmericanGothic
4.8/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a goblet at Red's.

A; Clear, golden orange, one finger of off-white head. Lightest barleywine I've even seen. Beautiful.

S: Fruity esters and a little citrus, sort of a Belgian profile overall. Quite nice.

T: Holy cow. Lots of fruit, banana and port, like a strong tripel, with a little pepper. I could drink this forerer.

M: Light and extremely smooth. Suave.

O: Fantastic. This is Christmas in a glass, and it's only June. Oh golly, go get some. There was a two glass limit at Red's, and I was tempted to introduce myself to strangers just to get them to buy me a third because I couldn't think of stopping at two. Yum.

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4.24/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle into tulip.

A: The body pours a rich copper hue, with no head formation at the start and the slight amount of carbonation bubbles form a thin ring around the top of the glass, that holds on very slightly. The levels of carbonation in the body are very minimal.

S: The aroma is surprisingly low in intensity and has a smooth caramel note. Hops have faded out and a rich malt element is present.

T/M: The first taste brings a warm and welcoming sweetness to the palate, a very rich malt character, with a nice alcohol presence, that doesn't tend to be hot or overpowering. The mouthfeel is smooth and silky. Finish is a very prolonged lingering effect and robust in malt character.

O: wow overall, a very mellow high ABV barley wine, on that pushes the limit of even a real wine. I found it to be very enjoyable and something that I would frequent, as it has great smooth flavors and a rich backbone.

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Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
3.17/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big worst Mikkeller, Barleywine 18.5%

A: Murky melted raisin brown with some light chocolate hues, strange dark orange at the edges, minimal carbonation and lacing. Like a cup of majestic lakewater.

S: Tons of dark figs, raisins, dates, some plums and a HUGE alcoholic waft that clear cuts your olfactory like strip miners. The heat is present and accounted for in an overriding way.

T: The taste delivers its dark fruits with a similar character to a quad but with less maltiness. It has huge dark fruits and a slight caramel character to it but I would say the most overdone aspect is the heat fro the alcohol which storms across your palate like a bull in a China shop. One gulp I swallowed too aggresively and got warm spit in my lower jaw like when you are about to gag. I can handle Chocolate Rain and The Beast and other big hitters, the problem with this beer is its onesided rampage on your palate. It is too thin for the caged alcohol Raptor that it seeks to tag along to the event.

M: The mouthfeel is relatively thin and has moderate coating, this is a bad thing because it is like putting a jockey in the place of a lion trainer. As a result the only thing that I can really focus on is getting the huge alcohol down. I would say this is less a problem with me being a pampered prep school beer boy and more a problem of balance on the part of Mikkeller.

D: I guess this depends on how masochistic you are and how badly you want to endure multiple floggings just to enjoy some dark fruit splendor. Take a bottle Three Philosophers, then pour three shots of whiskey into it, you have yourself a bottle of Big Worst. I can see some highbrown frat kids at Princeton drinking this in excess for both domestic accolades and highbrow marks. Its complete disregard for my gag zones puts even one 12oz bottle on the no-fly list.

Narrative: These first dates never go well, oh sure, everyone keeps looking, but what am I supposed to do? LEAVE HIM IN HIS KENNEL ALL EVENING? Sure, go ahead and judge, I know this is Olive Garden, I know he is a Rottweiler, but I AM SORRY IS IT YOUR BUSINESS HOW I SPEND MY MONEY? This tour of Italy is delicious but I can't help but wonder if they are going to make me pay for the tablecloth that he is destroying. Michael is totally unable to control the fear on his face, how uncompromising of him. Here we are at a lovely Italian dinner and all he can complain about is how much it will cost to replace his tattered Banana Republic slacks. I WONT GET RID OF A MEMBER OF MY FAMILY MICHAEL, how dare you ask me to do something like that. Sure, I could have chained him outside, taken him to obedience classes, or maybe kept him under a bit more discipline but I feel like, if someone can't love Hephaestus, they can't love me. What is a pair of khakis and a destroyed table cloth compared to an everlasting love and a 250 lbs. watchdog? CHECK PLEASE.

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Photo of brotherloco
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

375ml capped w/ white foil. No date information. 18.5% ABV. From everything I've read, this must be the second batch.

Pours a surprisingly bright and clear golden orange. A small amount of floating sediment and a ring of off-white foam.

Smells quite fruity. I get apples, pears, bananas... Belgian sugar. Some spirit notes as well, particularly vodka and gin. I guess that is the booze sneaking through, but it blends well with the overall aroma.

Taste is intense and smacks you right in the palate. Those sweet fruits are right up front, particularly banana. Very sugary sweet maple syrup middle. The finish is a biting sting on the tongue. Alcohol doesn't seem to interfere with the flavor, but you heat up quick from this one.

As you might expect, this beer feels quite syrupy in the mouth. The sweetness lingers for a long time and encourages slow sipping. That's a pretty good idea given the incredibly high ABV.

A really nice and powerful beer. Just be sure to have a big glass of water next to it.

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Big Worst from Mikkeller ApS
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 113 ratings