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A Deal With The Devil - Anchorage Brewing Company

A Deal With The Devil
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BA SCORE
100
world-class

65 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 65
Reviews: 12
rAvg: 4.65
pDev: 7.31%


Brewed by:
Anchorage Brewing Company visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  17.30% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Barleywine style ale brewed with Galaxy Hops. A starting gravity of 37 Plato. Aged eleven months in Cognac barrels.

(Beer added by: HuskyinPDX on 01-29-2013)
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Ratings: 65 | Reviews: 12 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of sprucetip
sprucetip

Alaska

4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, only one full review of the amazing beer since October? A month ago I saw a whole pallet of it, wrapped in plastic and ready to be shipped south, in the Anchorage Brewing Company's facility. And some other pallets had already moved in that direction. I couldn't find a bottle of it for sale in Anchorage, though I had only missed the release by having been a week late getting home and not arranging for a proxy buyer.

The narrative of the scoring review is from notes in a dimly lit bar. Humpy's. While having a conversation with a friendly feller whose name I don't remember and who dropped $10 for an 8oz pour of this 2013 DWTD after I told him what I was drinking, and offered him a sip. ..

Continue reading after the scoring sections for a good story that beer geeks should enjoy….

In low light it is unclear whether or not it is murky. In retrospect, i doubt it. It appears to be mahogany in color and has little head or visible activity. Still, it's quite attractive.

I first notice plentiful boozy esters, but the often associated boozy heat is minimal. Earlier I find the aroma vaguely fruity, citrus and with the caramel elusive but detectable. Later the caramel becomes more prominent and cherry fruitiness emerges too.

It tastes surprisingly hoppy up front, thru the middle and even into the finish. That hoppiness includes some citrusy hop flavor as well as some mild bitterness. Other elements include cherry/fruity tartness, and the rich caramel sweetness that balances perfectly.

Perfect carbonation, high viscosity, rich and with a full body. Wicked smooth.

This is an extraordinary beer from an extraordinary brewer.

So I’m on my way home to Alaska. My buddy in Iowa has some of this beer he made over a year ago that is pretty flipping good. Though he has never had M, he modeled it after M based on things he had read. It kinda reminds me of Hebrew Jubilation 16. It weighed in at around 14.5%. So he put some in a bottle for me, with the plan that I would go see Gabe at Anchorage Brewing, share the homebrew with him, and maybe get some feedback and tips on the brew. That all came to pass. Gabe liked it, said “I dig it.” Then came the feedback. The oak and bourbon were a little overdone. Then the advice. Next time oak/bourbon part of the batch and not the other part. Then blend it together. Even play with different proportions in a glass before blending the whole batch, and use that experience to guide future decisions. It’s pretty cool that Gabe took the time to do this, and show me around. Again. He’d gotten a whole bunch more huge oak fermenters since the last time I was in there. He showed me the last pallet of DWTD that was about to be shipped to the states. I mentioned that I missed the release and had a nice vertical of Bourbon County with me (08, 09, 10, 12) that I’d be willing to trade if he knew anyone that had any. He found me a bottle and we commenced the deal. Then he told me that last years was on tap at Humpy’s and he’d had a glass with his lunch. I made a bee line over there to try it. The bottle I traded for will go back to Iowa and be shared with my friend who sent the homebrew attempt at M. Good story? … And the good news is that he is making exponentially more DWTD next year. I forget how much, but orders of magnitude more. He had to rent another building to hold all the barrels.

Serving type: on-tap

03-25-2014 04:44:55 | More by sprucetip
Photo of Vincent_bros
Vincent_bros

New Hampshire

4.8/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I had this at "The Festival" in Portland, ME this summer. They were in the first few stalls on the left as you enetered. Out of the whole festival this is the beer that sticks with me.

It's a punishment for such a good beer to pack SUCH a whallop. Let me make this very clear, a 12 oz serving of this beer is a good buzz for an average sized adult male. 2 and you're in for a wild night.

Admitted this was the last beer of the show, but it should have been the first! This hands down is the best barely wine I have ever had. Beautiful dark plum flavor balanced by richness of the alcohol makes an amazing pairing. It's like being a kid again and looking up at the starry sky on an ink black night and relaizing how incredibly complex the universe is. You don't drink this beer, you embrace it in the deepest hug you can and hold on for the ride.

Serving type: on-tap

10-12-2013 01:06:00 | More by Vincent_bros
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

4.58/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A : My first bwine from HL 2013 poured a cloudy burgundy caramel like color with a small dirty tan cap leaving a nice little collar around the edge of the glass.

S: Big esidual sweetness on the nose; candy, caramel, cognac with some chocolate covered raisins and figs. A nice, pronounced Earthiness lends a hand on the nose as does some tame vanilla

T: Big sweetness meets big booze upfront, the flavor rumble royal picks up and body slams the palate with dark fruits in the way of figs, dates, raisins, some dark cherries, caramel, toffee. The booze is very well disguised and is it ever so dangerous! Layers upon layers of decadence, flavor and sweetness. The finish is a little hot and sweet from cognac but nice, warming and coating on the way down. A true dessert beer.

M: Big ol body on this mofo but it seems to get a little hotter on the back end, the longer it sits on the palate which gives a thin appearance at times. This beer was still all heart though!

O: Fantastic. I would love to have more of this in a bigger serving to accurately judge because 3oz was just not enough!

Serving type: on-tap

03-26-2013 22:27:30 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of ReeseMax3
ReeseMax3

Pennsylvania

4.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had on tap at Amsterdam Cafe in Anchorage. Just heard that the real name for this beer is " A Deal with the Devil". The name is fitting. I have no reservations saying that this is the best barley wine I have ever had, hands down, bar none, not even close. This beer needs to be bottled! I can't even explain in words how indulgent this beer is. Mouthfeel is smooth as butter. As smooth as any oatmeal stout but thicker and a little chewy. It's got that dark ripe ripe fruit and malty taste of a barely wine but just more dank. The flavors are so balanced it is ridiculous. It also tastes of rich toffee, caramel, malt, and wood. A little more boozy as it warms but barely. My mouth and lips are numb from all the alcohol. A real treat.

Serving type: on-tap

02-10-2013 03:23:29 | More by ReeseMax3
Photo of Reswald
Reswald

Alaska

4.94/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This monster of a beer had an Original Gravity of 1152, resulting in an ABV of 17.3%, making it easily the strongest beer ever brewed in Alaska. It took over 4000 pounds of malt to brew this beer, and four separate 3.5 hours boils to fill just two 110 gallon used cognac barrels. Gabe Fletcher brewed it back in February and then let it age in the wood for over 8 months. What's even more amazing is that this is a single malt, single hop beer, quite unusual for a barley wine. So how does it taste?

In a word: Amazing! No, make that two words: Freakin' Amazing! First off, tasting it, you would never believe that it is north of 17% alcohol. It is so smooth and deep that I would have guess more like 12% tops. It is incredibly complex, with a balance and depth of flavor profile that has to be experienced to be believed. I first tasted it the day before the Great Alaska Beer & Barley Wine Festival and I immediately knew it would win first place; it was just that good. Once again Gabe Fletcher has pulled off a brewing masterpiece. A Deal with the Devil indeed. I'm starting to wonder if he didn't meet a certain gentleman at the crossroads late one night and make a deal for the power to brew these sort of beers. After all, if Robert Johnson could do it to learn how to play the guitar, why not a brewer?

Serving type: on-tap

02-04-2013 02:01:54 | More by Reswald
Photo of HuskyinPDX
HuskyinPDX

Washington

4.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Humpy's in Anchorage.
Barleywine aged in French Cognac barrels from the 1960s.

A - Served a murky Carmel brown with ruby streaks. A light tan head forms and move to the edges, but never fully fades.

S - Red wine, oak, Carmel, toffee, raisins, cherry. Lots going on already.

T - It starts with lots of red wine and dark fruits, the the wood and Carmel flavors come in, then warm vanilla sweeps in at the end. Very layered an good.

D - Silky smooth and the alcohol is so well hidden. Light carbonation and a medium to heavy body as expected.

O - I first heard about this beer from Gabe last summer. It was brewed for the AK Barleywine fest, which I missed. I was very happy to hear that this was still on. Very good and I am thankful that I got a shot to try this.

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2013 00:53:47 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin

Colorado

4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

an enormous barleywine type here, aged in cognac. an i thought between the staves was cognac heavy! ha! this is next level, ultra rich and decadent and intense. indian brown in color with about as much viscosity as ive seen in a beer. not much head, but a small ring of tan lace along the edge of my glass. it smells like cognac, with that sweet wine property, tons of oak, and an enormous grain bill that must assuredly add some leftover sugar to this. i feel the beer before i taste it, what an incredible texture to this, velvety smooth, slippery, but with a gigantic body, hard to even swallow this in big sips its so heavy, up there with the heaviest beers ive had really, as far as body is concerned, its almost not fully liquid, like maple syrup or something. burnt sugar and vanilla and cognac are the dominant flavors, and although it is quite sweet, i dont find it nasty and cloying and over the top. the wood mellows it all out. i am amazed at just how smooth this beer is, i mean, for 17% abv and change, its hardly hot in the slightest, and certainly doesnt reek of big booze and feel like a fusel bomb. certainly a bomber of this would light up even the most seasoned of drinkers, but is a beer to be shared anyhow. extremely impressed with such a big barleywine, and would take this over the likes of bourbon county and others, the texture is special.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2014 15:05:47 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of johnmichaelsen
johnmichaelsen

Oregon

4.49/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Heard that Bier Stein got in a case, and that they were going to do 4 ounce pours for "only" $6 a pop. So I hustled right on down to get my fair share of abuse.

The beer pours an impressive tawny brown color with very good head retention and good lacing. The beer is every bit as impressive on the nose, as I picked up considerable milk chocolate, cherry prune, vanilla and toffee. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely in this decadently rich beer. The beer is almost viscuous on the palate, and mouthfeel is soft,creamy and very full. The finish is also quite long in this sweet, rich beer, and I'm amazed by how well the alcohol is integrated into the flavor profile. Yes, you can tell it's a big beer, but there's no heat or heaviness on the palate from the 17% abv.

A very impressive beer, and while enjoyable, the beer was so rich, 4 ounces was more than enough. Nevertheless, this is one of the better barleywines I've had in quite some time.

One of the more amusing comments I heard from the manager at Bier Stein (Dave) pertained to the beer's drinkability. He noted that you really couldn't tell this was a 17% abv. beer, that it really drank like a beer with only 12% abv. I suppose that's true, but 12% or 17%, this is a sizeable BW with some serious alcohol to it.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2014 16:32:27 | More by johnmichaelsen
Photo of artoolemomo
artoolemomo

Oregon

4.45/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Received with a tiny bit of head. The head is a creamy light beige with hints of tan and light burnt umber while the body is a deep chestnut brown that shows hints of beige and khaki in the light.

Nose- This is absolutely delicious. This hits all the notes you want a barleywine to hit and I'm surprised that this is described as an American barleywine because it doesn't smell like one. Huge notes of toffee, caramel, coconut, and vanilla. Light notes of chocolate and cocoa. Even minor butterscotch. I really enjoy smelling this beer so much that it's almost a shame to drink it.

Taste- Dominated by leather on the front and this leather continues to permeate through the flavor profile. Some tobacco. The intense malt notes of the aroma sit in the middle and while they are all there they don't seem to have the presence that they had on the aroma. Definite vanilla, toffee, and caramel. Slight butterscotch- minimal notes of chocolate and cocoa. The hops that seem to characterize this as an American barleywine come through stronger than they did on the noes. Slight woodiness with citrus notes that build to candied fruits on the finish. This is definitely a great beer but I think that I prefer Abacus. It's been sometime since I've had Abacus so I'm comparing from memory. I could compare side by side but the 5.50 for a 4 oz pour is too much in my opinion. This does hide the alcohol quite well but it is there. It seems more like a 12% than a 17%. Slight burnt caramel that tends toward popcorn. Definitely the best American barleywine out there and without a doubt, a great beer. I think the slight hop presence mars what could be a brilliant beer but that's mostly my preference for English barleywines.

Mouthfeel- Between medium bodied and heavy bodied with some carbonation and tons of syrup to the texture. This makes it seem thicker than it is.

Drinkability- This is a very dangerous beer. There is an alcohol presence but not 17%. I don't know if I would spend 30 on a bottle for myself but if I did, it would go down too quick. Great deal as a part of the Upper Lip flight.

Overall- Definitely a great beer but I don't think I can rank it as high as most have. This is partially a result of style but I do truly think that it isn't as good as Abacus. A must try, especially if you can get a small pour.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2014 17:35:34 | More by artoolemomo
Photo of anteater
anteater

Oregon

4.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

4oz pour from a bottle

A: Dark brown with a good amount of carbonation and a thin tan head

S: Heaven. Such deep and rich notes of caramel, oak, vanilla, molasses and maple.

T: A very small sip is all you need for an absolutely explosion of flavor. Rich caramel, molasses, oak and lots of maple syrup. The alcohol is ridiculously well hidden, and although you don't taste the burn of it, you do get a very pleasant mouth numbing sensation from this beer. It really takes over every part of your mouth.

M: So thick and luxurious, but the carbonation is still very present which makes the mouthfeel on this beer amazing and special.

O: When I walked out the door to go to the bar and try this beer, I had a feeling that this might unseat my previously favorite beer or at least match it. Most of the time, those types of feelings are inaccurate, but in this case it was dead on. This beer meets the hype. Holy shit. Its amazing!

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2014 02:16:57 | More by anteater
Photo of derftron
derftron

Oregon

4.93/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle pouring at Belmont Station

Two 5 oz pours

Smell is of dark liquor, dark furits, figs, bourbon, cognac, maple syrup, carmel, and just thickness

had a slight head that goes away fairly quick. off white

mouthfeel is thick and slightly carbonated. coats the mouth and throat for a few minutes after swallowing..

taste/overall - this is a new standard for barley wines and barrel aged beer in general for me. over 17% and I feel I could drink it for hours (unless my liver quit working). so smooth and luxurious with a depth of flavors that is remarkable. Had not even heard of this beer 3 days ago and heard about this tasting. after reading about it I knew I had to try it and I am very glad I did. sounds like this stuff never comes around. higher alcohol and even better balanced that Sucaba which is damn impressive. they balanced the booze and the cognac barrel flavor so well with this beer and in the end all you taste is a cornocopia of flavors from dates, carmel, figs, bourbon/cognac, maple syrup, etc.. I really hope they put more of these out for sale some day as I will not forget this beer.

As a side note: the only bummer was the extreme price gauging done by Belmont Station with this tasting. I know this beer is expensive, but $10 for a 4-5oz pour??? that sucked, but oh well.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2014 16:42:23 | More by derftron
Photo of TheBrewViking
TheBrewViking

Alaska

4.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 32oz growler into a snifter. Appearance is dark brown with ruby highlights around the edges. A thin white ring of bubbles form around the edges of the glass.

Smelling this beer is addicting. Smells of vanilla, oak, cognac, toffee and raisins. Wow

Taste follows the nose. Starts with vanilla and oak, then the sweet flavors of cognac toffee and dark fruits. Very complex and very balanced. Absolutely no hint of the 17.3% alcohol.

Mouthfeel is sticky. very light carbonation.

I didn't get to try this at the Alaska beer and Barleywine fest but I was very excited when I saw it at my local beer warehouse. I will definitely be first in line for this next year at the GABBF. Thanks for making this amazing beer Gabe, please put this in bottles

Serving type: growler

02-06-2013 05:07:32 | More by TheBrewViking
A Deal With The Devil from Anchorage Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.