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A Deal With The Devil - Anchorage Brewing Company

Not Rated.
A Deal With The DevilA Deal With The Devil

Educational use only; do not reuse.

102 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 102
Hads: 773
Avg: 4.44
pDev: 26.13%
Wants: 640
Gots: 306 | FT: 43
Brewed by:
Anchorage Brewing Company visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  17.30% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: HuskyinPDX on 01-29-2013

Barleywine style ale brewed with Galaxy Hops. A starting gravity of 37 Plato. Aged eleven months in Cognac barrels.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 102 | Hads: 773
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.24/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Saxmusik45 for sharing this one at Oneinchaway's tasting.

Batch # 2. Bottled December 2014.

Pours a murky orange-brown with a foamy beige head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of caramel, toffee, fruit, cognac, wood, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, and cognac flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with great aromas and super sweet but tasty flavors.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.7/5  rDev +5.9%

Not meant for the faint of heart- this massive taste of ale is a high testiment to what ale can be and not of what it should be. With its high succulent charm and slow-sipping rewards, patience is rewarded in such high culinary delight.

A Deal With The Devil shows a highly viscous weight with its decant. Layering upon the glass with such sugary weight, it seems to crawl into the glass all by itself. Its tawny mahogany color gives way to a breadth of aromas that stimulate the senses with brown sugar, toffee, molasses and sweet fruity booze. Those cognac tendencies show full force as the flavors favor grape, caramel, umami and black-strap molasses.

As the middle unfolds, the booze-soaken fruits of apples, dates, figs, raisons, plumb, cherry and peach are all represented, but done so in a dried and pleasantly oxidized kind of way. With such tang, heat and sweetness, that session easily gravitates to a sipping session rather than a drinking one.

And as the most subtle of sips latch onto the taste buds, its finish is long-lasting, deeply saturating and luxurious on the palate as each decadent sip reaches deeper and deeper into the taste buds for a lasting dessert-like slumber.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.16/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

BOTTLE: 750ml. Brown glass. Great label art (screen-print style). Pry-off pressure cap.

Shared by a friend at a bottle share. Thanks, Collins!

Reviewed live at low altitude in Austin, TX. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Vintage: December 2014. Batch #2.
ABV: None listed.
Style: Cognac barrel aged barleywine.
Serving temp: Chilled. Allowed to warm over the course of consumption.
Serving vessel: Goblet.
Expectations: Sky-high given its current perfect 100 rating and #82 ranking in the Top 250.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: None. No lacing.

BODY: Dark red with brown hues. No yeast particles or hop sediment is visible.

AROMA: Cognac punches through, absolutely. Caramel. Caramalts. A kiss of marshmallow. Treacle. Hints of apple. Toffee. Loads of malt sweetness. A kiss of cherry. Some vague fruit.

Aromatic intensity: average.

Suggests a boozy imbalanced beer.

TASTE: Too sweet, but its candied vibe works. Caramel, marshmallow, treacle/unrefined sugars, hints of toffee, caramalt, amber malts, brown malts, and cognac. The cognac barrel is nice and interesting, and the marshmallow works, but overall its imbalanced, with the unrefined sugars lending a rough-around-the-edges sweetness that hides the booze but betrays the lack of adequately attenuated yeast. Green apple and vague fruit round out the wanting flavour profile.

Depth of flavour: Average.
Flavour duration: Average.
Flavour intensity: Average.
Flavour amplitude: Average.

For a barrel aged brew, it's surprisingly simplistic, lacking intricacy - in terms of both the base and the barrel. This build is cohesive, but the beer as a whole is far from gestalt. No hop profile, yeast character, of off-notes come through.

TEXTURE: Not as syrupy or sticky as I anticipated. Certainly, there's some boozy warmth, but it's not off-putting. Full-bodied, smooth, and wet. Adequately carbonated.

Not oily, gushed, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

This texture fails to elevate the beer and doesn't accentuate the taste particularly well.

OVERALL: Huge thanks to Collins for the bottle share, but I wouldn't seek this out again, and I'm a bit taken aback it's this high on the Top 250 list (and that it's present at all); this emperor has no clothes. Maybe those spending the $38.00 USD a bottle just convince themselves it's great, but as drinkable as it is for the high ABV the flavour just isn't there. Way too sweet. Needs intricacy and subtlety.

As it warms, the cognac emerges more, making it more interesting - but there's still not a harmony of barrel to base. An above average barleywine, sure. Definitely a sipper.


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Photo of drewone
3.97/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very disapointing, such high expectstions yet soooo sweet. Makes Black Tuesday look like a pool sipper, anchorage has done better. Wish had more barrel character. Too much sugars.

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Photo of chinchill
3.74/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Large shared bottle.

Spicy and dark fruit notes in the nose. Hints of brandy.

Body seems a bit light but is fairly smooth for the very high ABV.

Nice complexity. A bit boozy in the finish.

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Photo of mothman
4.72/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

#3000 on BA

Oak, coconut, and a heavy dose of vanilla. Sweet, but smooth. Raisins and brown sugar. Caramel The cognac is hard to find unless you let it warm and look for it in the finish. Reminds me of Remy Martin or Hennessy,. The abv is well hidden and no where to be found.

This drinks so easy and is incredibly smooth. Such a complex beer. I wish I had lots of bottles of this one.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.55/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle from Churchkey in D.C. Split with a few buddies.

The beer looks like a muddy cola. Brownish gray and murky with an inch of thick, khaki hued cap. Not a very nice looking beer. However, every other aspect of the beer (all of the important attributes) is fantastic.

The aroma brings the cognac front and center. Additional notes of toffee, oak, booze, leather, brown sugar. Fabulous flavor, carrying every delectable whiff of the aroma into the taste. Rich and smooth. Delicate on the palate with a gentle, silky finish. 17.3% abv?!? Dangerously drinkable. Teeming with flavor, this is a beer to sip and savor. A top notch example of the style. I'd love to have this again sometime.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.43/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. Batch #2.

Comes out of the bottle an interesting dark copper orange, then fills with a murky sense of dark rust red and brown, with maybe a bit of mahogany and chestnut colors. No head creation at all on this thing, barely a pencil thin collar around the edges and faint tan. There's hardly even a top to this beer at all either. Sort of looks a little lifeless on arrival.

Aroma really reminds me of King Henry but better. A sense of fruit cake like action, but more citrus and zesty in character. Hints of thick orange, nice warmth but not overly boozy or even hot, mixed in with apricot and nectarine and maybe even a touch of peach in there also. It's big and powerful, but it's also masking much of any other character, and there's virtually no barrel like notes going on here either. It is however, very stunning.

Palate on first sip is very sweet rush of fruit, with an unbelievably thick body. Huge thick rushing oils that feel cold and stuck in your palate. Mid palate fills with much fruit cherry, grape, and then citrus warmth, with huge jammy quality. Mild sensing action of zest and concentrate cherry like brandy. Warmth brings out more hop bitterness just barely, but the sugary aspect gets into lots of brandy sweetness that really starts to mellow out with some warmth. Coats all over incredibly, like a marmalade sweetness on your lips, maybe even some grapefruit hiding in there.

This beer is very hard to put into words. A pretty impressive creation. If the sweetness was just toned down this thing would just be out of this world.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.02/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Batch #1, December 2013.

Appearance - Wow. It pours like fake milk in a cereal commercial. Murky reddish brown. Small khaki head. Thin collar.

Smell - Cognac. Dark caramel. Oak. Lots of brown sugar.

Taste - Viscous caramel. Cognac. Sharp fruitiness. Apples. Grape. Then brown sugar. Oaky finish. Thick syrupy sweetness. It's even a little hoppy.

Mouthfeel - This is thicker than any beer I've ever had. Medium low carbonation. Not very boozy, though.

Overall - This is serious. Good, but really sweet.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.44/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

2014 Bottle from Mike’s Barleywine tasting, thanks for the opportunity! Rich sweet fruit and caramel. Sticky syrupy sweet mouthfeel. Hides the alcohol content extremely well with just a wisp on the nose. A bit too sweet for my taste.

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Photo of John_M
4.49/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.56/5  rDev +2.7%
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!

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.8/5  rDev +8.1%

bottle, thanks Scott.

dark reddish brown. caramel, dark fruit nose. taste reminiscent of aged utopias. raisin, caramel, cognac. ABV extremely well hidden. a top 2 barleywine for me. thick, smooth, creamy, awesome!

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Photo of Rhettroactive
2.87/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 1.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Simply not the beer I was expecting. Thin, looks like what'll come out of my ass tomorrow and smells like malted white chocolate milk balls. Only way I'd have this again, if I was looking to tie one on.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.75/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Deep amber color with creamy beige head. Aroma fills the room with dried figs, dates and raisins. Taste is definitely on the sweet side but not cloying at all. Same dried fruits with the cognac notes underneath. Body is heavy and syrupy. Alcohol is extremely well hidden. I would have never guessed it has such a high ABV. One of the best barleywines I ever had.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.46/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750ml batch #2 bottle poured into brandy snifter a ways back (from notes) thanks alpineclimber for the bottle

A darker then expected, brownish amber when held to the light, a little tan foam but little retention and no lace but at this ABV that's what I expect, some legs and visible bubbles looks like a big one alright

S I get the cognac but not much wood, maple, brown sugar, some fruit I can't place, ju jubes, its boozy but I wouldn't guess its such a monster, some caramel apple, vanilla, honey, some rum soaked raisins, plenty going on

T still lots of cognac, slightly more wood, sugar of all sorts, candy like, there's booze but fairly well managed all things considered, some sponge toffee, fruit liqueur maybe cherry? hard to place the fruit in this one, more toffee, more cognac, its tasty but a sipper no doubt

M very thick and syrupy, a couple bubbles here and there, my lips are stuck together but a little oily on the palate, there's heat but its mellow, booze hits your chest and brain pretty fast though, caramel and cognac linger

O this one will ruin you in a hurry, massive but well executed and surprisingly easy to drink. Its one of those beers that I'd like to try again in a decade, this one could really go the distance IMO.

Its a good thing my wife likes BW because I'm a little over my head trying to take this one on solo, would work well in a 250ml or maybe I should just make some friends.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.7/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle brought back by my sister from Anchorage.

Pours like a thick, syrupy pile of mud. Like seriously, this stuff just crawled out of the bottle- it looks unbelievably thick. There's a thin layer of something that looks like molasses or maple syrup on the top of the beer. There's a very small layer of foam of bubbles that could pass as a head, I suppose, with a very small amount of lacing.

Smells quite sweet, with caramelized sugar, sweet caramel, cognac, vanilla, oak, toffee, and dark fruits.

The only drawback here is the intense sweetness- it's not off-putting, but it does keep it from being the absolutely god-tier barleywine I'd thought it would be. Beyond the sweet, intense caramelized sugar factor here, there's a good amount of niceties to be found underneath- molasses, maple syrup, dark fruits, a herbal character that honestly reminds me of aquavit, caramel, toffee, raisins, plums, blackberries, port, bourbon and sweet cognac. It's got a bit of sherry character that sort of suggests oxidation, but I know it can't be at this point.

If I was given this blind, I honestly wouldn't have been able to pick out the specific barrel it was in, because I got notes of cognac, sherry, bourbon, and port at different points.

This is probably the thickest beer I've ever had, it literally drinks like syrup. The mouthfeel is so sticky, so gloopy, so thick and delicious. I feel like I took a bath in maple syrup after drinking this. There's a very low level of carbonation. Despite the hefty ABV (which isn't noticeable, at all), and the intense flavors, it's very drinkable. It was not hard to split the bottle with a friend, and finish my half.

This is a really awesome achievement in brewing. If the sweetness was toned down a bit, and some of the residual sugars fermented out, this would be basically perfect. As it is, it's near perfect, though.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.29/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. The most expensive beer I have bought. Oh Hell, tax returns were last week. As this beer falls into my glass I marvel at the visually noticeable viscosity. A Deal pours a dark copper color. Body is turbid and deep. As I agitate the glass, I can only gather a thin slice of tan, creamy foam. Spots and dots of lacing with legs like wine. Poured cold and allowed to warm. At its coldest, I get a cognac richness that is new to my senses. With warmth, the flavors don't necessarily change, they just become richer. Incredibly sweet smelling. Booze infused apples and dark fruits. Caramel and brown sugar by the gallon. Dry wood. Some wet, sugar-dipped tropical hops. One of the richest, sweetest aromas. The flavor is just as sweet as the nose suggested. Cognac really expresses itself. Lots of apple flavor. Caramel-coated figs, plums and raisins. A boozy woodiness. As it warms, it reminds me more and more of port wine. The Galaxy hops even raise a tentative hand here. Finishes with a ridiculous sweetness. Like drinking maple syrup. Softer carbonation. This beer's sweetness is so aggressive that I can't even taste the huge amount of booze hidden here. The flavor coats my palate and never leaves. A Deal With The Devil is incredibly ambitious. Cognac and probably 700 grams of sugar. I'm happy I went for it...just kidding, this beer was very overpriced.

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Photo of dar482
4.59/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The beer hits of loads of cognac throughout, almost like a dessert wine or liqueur. Up front, some dark fruit and figs, then onto lots of almost cloying sweetness of toffee and caramel. The beer is full bodied and offers flavor throughout.

On the sweeter side of the style, but wonderfully complex.

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Photo of lupercmda
4.85/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured deep brown with very little carbonation. Smells of figs, and plums and raisins. Tastes the same with nice vanilla and oak tastes. A fabulous beers that I could drink again and again.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.69/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Delirium Tremens snifter. Back label says DEC/2014 Batch #2

A- Pours a reddish medium brown color with a 1/4 inch light tan head that retains well before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and some wisps of sheer surface foam. Resilient lacing leaves tiny clots behind.

S- Total dark fruit in yo face. Raisins, figs, plums, molasses, it's all there. Big booze presence as well. Also some burnt sugar.

T- Brings out all the excellence of fortified wine with notes of brown sugar, caramel, toffee and more molasses. Definitely on the sweeter side with some vanilla tones. Pecan/walnut aftertaste. Woody flavor comes through as it warms. All-in-all, still has that American Barleywine flavor profile as the hops are there even after the aging and the malt profile is that of such.

M- Incredibly silky smooth and luscious. Also thick and sticky at the same time, like a fortified wine. Medium-low carbonation and a body leaning toward the fuller side.

O- One of the most complex beers I've ever had. Contains the flavors of both port and barleywine in the best of ways. So dangerously drinkable, you'd better be sharing a bottle with a friend if you know what's good for you. I'd like to see more beers like this where it shares the "wine" aspects of barleywine and fortified wine through barrel-aging.

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Photo of mrn1ceguy
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A very enjoyable beer, the cognac barrel adds an interesting presence to go with the strong barleywine characteristics. The cognac adds a smoothness but without the boozy flavors you get from bourbon or rum barrels.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.39/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750mL bottle.

Cola-dark and impenetrable. No head.

Smells like 17%. Blast of fruity booze. Flat and sweet.

Not nearly as strong or sweet as anticipated. Really rich, deep, and full. Mouth-coating and marvelous. Dark fruits, hints of spice. Stewed and delicious. Carmelized brown sugar. Lingering, tobacco-esque finish. Big and bizarre and rewarding.

This is a sipper and a sharer, but this beer is very nice. Highly recommended. Would love to encounter again.

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A Deal With The Devil from Anchorage Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 102 ratings.