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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.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

112 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 112
Hads: 836
Avg: 4.47
pDev: 9.17%
Wants: 672
Gots: 317 | FT: 40
Brewed by:
Anchorage Brewing Company
Alaska, United States | website

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 112 | Hads: 836
Photo of johnnnniee
3.44/5  rDev -23%
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 Stevedore
4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Medium dark brown body, half finger white head, minimal retention time, no lacing. Looks pretty much like black coffee, really.

S- Caramel and toffee bomb. As it warms up, you get a bit more of that dry cognac aroma, but make no mistake, there is a lot of molasses-like sweetness in this beer accompanied by a bit of damp oak. As it warms up, I get a bit more of a menthol-like mint aroma that is nice and dry.

F- Incredibly balanced sweet caramel with a good toffee complement and even a bit of sweet tropical fruit. Plenty of molasses. No menthol or mint, but there is a hint of that excessive syrupy brandy sweetness that makes it particularly appealing compared to other barleywines. A bit of dark fruit and raisins as well.

M- Thick bodied, lower carbonation, syrupy but without being cloying. Finish is more of a mild tropical fruit subdued by a ton of sweet molasses and sugar.

O- Phenomenal barleywine. It's much different than King Henry or The K13 which remain my favourite barleywines, but it's almost as good as these are in its own way. Highly recommend.

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Photo of ivegot3Dvision
3.08/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I may have had a bad bottle, but honestly it's so overly sweet it's almost hard to enjoy. I'm quite surprised this had a perfect 100 and is so high in the top 250.

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Photo of Rutager
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Sweet and delicious. My kind of b-wine! Montrealbcr89, you maniac! Boozecamel too, who hooked me up with a bottle. You handsome fellas are too good to me.

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Batch 2. Tulip glass.

A: Pours an opaque, dark amber color tending toward brown, with a few cm of sloppy, fine sand-colored head. Pretty good retention and some dots of lacing.

S: Red and dark dried fruits (plum, raisin, black cherry), rich oak and cognac character, mild toffee, red fruit roll-up, orange vanilla frosting. The fruit comes through nicely and prominently with the oak lending structure.

T: Rich fruit melds with prominent oak and malt, moderate gripping tannins impart an abrupt and almost off flavor. Moderate sweetness.

M: Full bodied, bordering on syrupy, with very light carbonation. Hides the massive ABV well.

O: Very fruit forward barleywine, with the cognac treatment only increasing this rather than providing some vanilla/oak, which is notably absent, to cut the fruitiness. This is decidedly a step down from Sucaba or Bourbon Abominable.

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Photo of draheim
4.71/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

750 (batch #2, December 2014) into a tulip. Pours a hazy deep mahogany w/ a minimal beige head, as would be expected of a 17% barleywine. Leaves a gorgeous fine viscous coat of liquid on the side of the glass when swirled or tipped, and maintains a beautiful layer of carbonation throughout.

Aroma is huge sweet dark fruits, caramel, vanilla, cognac, toffee, leather, tobacco, and just about any other rich decadent superlative you can throw at it. Yet as bold as it is, the aroma is also refined and subtle. This isn't just a big ridiculous beer for the sake of extremes. This is exquisite. Can't wait to taste any longer.

First sip. Oh, so smooth and rich, velvety. The figs/dates, the toffee, the caramel, the vanilla, the cognac, the alcohol all blend and swirl together effortlessly. There's little to no boozy harshness here, this is not a big beer that I need to choke down. This beer is complex, deceptive, seductive ... in a word, devilish. About as close to a true 5 as I'm likely to get... but I want to hold out for a truly perfect beer.

Mouthfeel is thick, velvety, smooth. Coats the palate and holds on. Here's where that fine layer of carbonation sets this beer apart. I've had extra strong beers before that get syrupy and heavy on the palate, that become a chore to drink. This one might do that too, but there's no early indication of it.

Overall, hands down one of the best strong beers I've ever had, and also one of the best beers period. 750mL is obviously a sharing size for this, and unfortunately I have no one to share it with tonight. So I hope by opening it before 5 p.m. I've given myself enough time to savor this one throughout the evening. It really is that good.

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Photo of dar482
4.59/5  rDev +2.7%
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 Mickeyp2814
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

As a Texan living in Alaska the whole Barleywine thing was new to me. Sure we get them in Texas but the experience is totally different. Barleywines are typically a cold weather type of thing so it's not surprising that when reading reviews from people in Austin, TX or Tampa, FL There is a lack of knowledge regarding Barleywines and the low ratings. There is a reason BA gives Deal with the Devil a 100 score and something folks in the before mentioned places do not understand.
This is a must have for anyone that enjoys Barleywine. Sweet and strong and better as it warms. Time only makes Deal with the Devil better so if you can get a bottle hold on to it a couple of years letting it age. Also this is a sipping brew to be shared with friends. A bottle can easily be shared between four or five people.
If you know what good Barleywine is you will appreciate Deal with the Devil. Get it if you get a chance!

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Photo of kojevergas
3.16/5  rDev -29.3%
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.

C+

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Photo of IckyT2012
4.57/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

At over $30, I had to think twice about picking this up. After tasting, I'll be going back to get a bottle to age. I was worried this one would be too sweet, but the barrels really mellow it out. The cognac addition is wonderful. With the weight, it drinks more like a stout than a barleywine. Overall, an exceptional beer. This is neck and neck with Bourbon county for the best barleywine I've ever had.

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Photo of WolfsbaneBloom
4.49/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Wasn't a fan of the nose but the flavor and mouthfeel were fantastic.
Cognac barrel really comes through. Maple syrup, apple, pear, caramel. Velvety smooth with no alcohol burn.

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Photo of mothman
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
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 SteveB24
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look- color is a rich, honey like golden-amber. Pours a half finger of head that settles into beautiful swirls of lacing that dont go away, leaves nice lacing on the glass as well. Also has the coolest looking label i've ever seen.
Smell- grapes, plums, cherries, toffee, vanilla, oak.
Taste-just like the smell, a wonderful, rich blend of candy-like sweet fruitiness blended with the sweet malt characters found in the finest english barleywines. Grapes, plums, cherries, apples, toffee, caramel, honey, vanilla. Zero hint of alcohol.
Feel-full bodied, rich and syrupy, but not oily. Almost no carbonation. Finishes with lip smacking stickiness.
Overall-this beer is unlike I have ever had or could ever have imagines. If you get the chance get it, dont even think just get it!

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Photo of Suds_Suds
4.56/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The nose on this is ridiculous! There is so much going on. I was a little drunk to take notes but this has to be one of the best smelling barleywines I've had. The taste put it over the top. Fantastic! I'm bummed out that I didn't pick up a bottle when it hit the shelves.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
2.87/5  rDev -35.8%
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 iong516
5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Kinda still in the glass, huge toffee and booze aroma, tasted like a toasted marshmellow in a toffee cognac, syrupy, beautifully integrated and well hidden booze. Best BW I've had. b1 shared three ways.

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Photo of lupercmda
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
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 JamesStreet
4.34/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L- poured a muddy, ditchwater brown with gold highlights. Almost like liquid caramel. Not much head other than a few bubbles here and there
S- oh baby! Sweet sugary caramel, molasses, some wood, malty sweetness. Amazing smell.
T- follows the nose for the most part with additional hints of brown sugar and cognac/alcohol. Surprisingly smooth for as hug an ABV.
M- chewy thick, medium carbonation
O- really good BW. One of the better ones I've tasted. The barrel-aging was done right on this one.

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

Batch 1 from December 2013. Big ups to @hawkeyepa for the bottle.

A: Pours a syrupy murky reddish dark brown that turns up a bit of light tan head that quickly recedes. I'm wishing I had a plate of pancakes in front of me.

S: Caramel soaked marshmallows swimming in molten toffee. Some dark raisiny/date aromas. I thought this was 17% abv? No burn at all--the booze is very well hidden.

T: Malty caramel sticky toffee pudding. Woody Brandy/cognac pleasantly surfaces.

F: Creamy, full-bodied feel that coats and lingers long after the sip.

O: Possibly the best Barleywine I've ever had. Hits on all cylinders. Sweet without being cloying and ridiculously drinkable for such a high abv. I'm already seeking this out again and crossing my fingers that batch 2 turned out just as well.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark brown/black and looks totally viscous and flat until a few seconds after pouring when a fleet of tiny bubbles escape towards the beer's surface and briefly hold a centimeter of tan head. I've never seen this phenomenon with a beer before. The nose is super sweet and fruity (mainly grape notes), with toffee, a hint of tobacco, and almost no alcohol. The taste is incredibly decadent with its rich malt backbone, followed by some oak and a slight bitterness in the finish. This may be the most viscous beer I've had to date, it sits like a cement truck of barrel and malt on the palate, and has minimal carbonation, bitterness, or alcohol. I'm very impressed by this beer - it very well may be my favorite BA barleywine - and is totally worth the money.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.54/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dull leathery color, almost not head, but some tan bubbles form but the bubbles don't last. strong alcohol legs as it swirls. it is dark but not quite opaque.

Smell: strong rubbing alcohol scent. cognac, raisins, toffee, some dark fruits.

Taste: opens with a maltiness that is closest to special b. rum and cognac along with other spirits and alcohol. more maltiness comes through with raisins, caramel, toffee and dark fruits, closest to prunes. some nuttiness.

Mouthfeel: thick and syrupy, low carbonation, some alcohol heat but nothing like what is in the taste or smell.

Overall: a good strong and powerful beer but does nothing to keep its booziness down flavors are good but just short of cloying. maybe this one need some time to mellow but as of now, I would give it a pass at this age.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.24/5  rDev -5.1%
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 smakawhat
4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
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 salmo
1.69/5  rDev -62.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Poored into a Culmination Festival Snifters to share with friends.

Appearance: nice ruddy brown color.

Smells like lots of sweet malt.

Tasted like watered down malt extract with little to no hop presence.

Feel was also somewhat sticky.

Overall: quite possibly the most expensive, over rated barley wine in recent history. Sorry Gabe and Jerimiah, this one should have not left the brewery.

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Photo of timc100
4.89/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 2 - Blizzard day beer 2/1/2015

Upon hearing about this beer it was hard to imagine it would be able to come together without being a boozy mess. Somehow Anchorage has done it - it is an incredibly clean, complex and balanced barleywine. Tons of sweet cognac, boozy brandy fruits, very sweet oak with a light dry tannic woodiness, and the fresh crisp galaxy hops round it out very well. On the palate it is incredibly smooth, rich, full and not overly boozy by any means. The flavors do not compete or trample one another, all come together very well. The more it opens up the aroma smells like freshly brandy-finished wood, sweet and very inviting, accompanied by dark chewy caramel, vanilla, and chocolate. On top of everything it is a great looking beer - no head, very very soft carbonation, but looks like a glass of dark cognac.

It's name and wild recipe make it sound like an overly aggressive beer that would punch you in the gut, but it is quite the opposite. Very well crafted and full of interesting and delicious flavor nuances.


Batch 1 cork and caged enjoyed solo 01/03/2016

Very similar to fresh batch 2 with slight oxidation, but pleasant. Tons of refined cognac varnished wood and that brown sugar that comes from a nice subtle cognac-style brandy. Very sweet but for barleywine palates it is very balanced. Tons of sweet dried fruits. Incredible depth of flavor.

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A Deal With The Devil from Anchorage Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 112 ratings.