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December 18, 2012 - BeerMistress
For those of you who have been listening to the chronicle of my adventures on the Beer Mistress’s Microview Review, you know that I am skeptical about Barley Wine. Yes, it’s a beer. But it pretty much never tastes like a beer because typically, they’re so sweet that I just find them syrupy and too dessert-y to be refreshing.
I have been receiving some flack from the beer lovers in my life, and have decided that this winter, the winter of 2012, shall be the winter of the Barley Wine...until I either start to like them, or I have tried all of them and can make an honest judgment.
This small beer was more expensive than I was expecting, and yet it makes sense, because at 12%ABV, a small bottle is all that is needed. The sketch style artwork says MIKKELLER Big – Worse.
Mikkeller was one of the first discoveries of mine in the world of craft beer. Mikkeller is a whole different level of “microbrew” called a gypsy brewer. And I realize that the word GYPSY isn’t used all that often anymore but when it comes to world class brewers, that’s been all the rage lately.
I took a class on Gypsy Brewers back in June. I learned that their world is unpredictable. They are brave brewers producing a high end product without a facility, without a brewery behind them, without roots. Mikkeller is one of the best of the best. He’s a Demark native with a back pocket full of talent. He aims to “brew beer that challenges the concept of good beer and moves people.”
Mikkeller’s Big Worse isn’t too dark when it pours. It isn’t just deep purple as I was expecting, but it’s more rich dark brown. It seems a bit heavy, it isn’t bubbly or light. It smells deep, rich, and bitter.
Yes, the barley wine is sweet, but praise Mikkeller, it is also deep, and flavorful. There’s even a bit of bitterness on the finish. The flavors are rich, ripe stone fruits, bitter lilacs, and juicy honey. Nothing about it says heavy, dessert cordial. Instead this “beer” is light but flavorful, sweet but refreshing.
I will says, YES. I see the draw in a creative, ambitious beer such as this one, but I would hesitate taking that as a green light for all barley wines. Mikkeller is a leader in the industry, and as a leading brewer, he took this barley wine to the next level. Level one Barley Wine badge- achieved.
Mikkeller - Big WORSE