1. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $14.99 (US/print only). Offer ends April 30. Subscribe now! (Because great beer deserves great stories AND readers.)

Arctic Devil Barley Wine - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Arctic Devil Barley WineArctic Devil Barley Wine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,110 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,110
Reviews: 347
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.24%
Wants: 965
Gots: 286 | FT: 39
Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co. visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  13.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 03-24-2005

Arctic Devil Barley Wine, aptly named after the ferocious wolverine of the north, is an English-style (meaning malt-inclined) barley wine. Though the recipe and process for Arctic Devil have evolved over the years, it is brewed once a year then aged in oak barrels for several months before the entire batch is blended, bottled and released.

In its youth, Arctic Devil gnarls and snarls its way across the palate. Containing this beast of a beer for long periods in oak barrels--some having previously aged port, wine or whiskey--tames the unleashed malt and fierce hop flavors, melding and mellowing this powerful liquid into an incredible elixir worthy of a brewer's table.

Each annual batch of Arctic Devil Barley Wine represents the brewers' resolve to create an intriguing and sought-after barley wine by precisely brewing to well-designed specifications, carefully selecting the type and combination of barrels to use for aging, and meticulously checking the beer as it ages. Distinct nuance and complexity are contributed by the wood's previous tenants, resulting in unique flavor profiles in each batch that continue to change over time. We invite you to savor Arctic Devil Barley Wine upon its release then cellar some for future enjoyment.

20 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 1,110 | Reviews: 347
Photo of snaotheus
4.07/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2015-04-19
22oz bottle split between a pair of snifters. 218 D-1 1153 is the bottle code.

Pours turbid grayish brown with a very small head. Very little carbonation. Smell is mild -- bourbon, yeast, fruit.Not sure what fruit. I seem to get a little pear or apple and a little plum or cherry.

Taste is a blast in the face compared to the aroma. Bourbon and brown sugar, nutty, alcohol. Vanilla. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel is smooth and almost velvety. Overall, the taste is very good, and the rest of the beer doesn't live up to it. Would still definitely drink it again.

Photo of KennyHubbard
4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very tasty. Fruity and smooth. I wish I could get a hold of a bottle or two.

Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Brewed in 2011, opened Mar 2015

Appearance – Pours a dark clear ruby copper color with a small head, no visible carbonation, and light lacing.

Smell – A pleasant barley wine scent, with lots of oak, caramel, brown sugar, and booze.

Taste – Caramel, malt, and booze.

Mouthfeel – Very smooth and creamy with light carbonation. Though it had a little booziness to it, it didn’t feel like 13.2%.

Drinkability – This is a nice barley wine. Surprisingly easy to finish a 22oz bottle at 13.2%.

Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

3000th review! 22 ounce bottle into snifter; 2014 vintage, bottled in late 2013. Pours hazy dark ruby red color with a 1 finger fairly dense khaki head with solid retention, that reduces to a small spotty lace cap that lingers. Slight spotty lacing on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, plum, fig, caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, coconut, vanilla, bourbon, oak, leather, light chocolate, and oak/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/toasted malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel notes; with good strength. Light-moderate booziness as it warms, but not too bad. Taste of big raisin, plum, fig, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, toast, coconut, brown sugar, molasses, brown bread, bourbon, oak, vanilla, leather, light chocolate, and oak/toasted earthiness. Light oaky bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, fig, caramel, butterscotch, molasses, toffee, toast, coconut, vanilla, brown sugar, bourbon, oak, leather, light chocolate, and oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; with an awesome malt/yeast/barrel balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy, fairly slick, and slightly syrupy/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light-moderate warming lingering after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic barrel aged English barelywine style. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; and smooth to sip on for the huge ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

Photo of mychalg9
4.49/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A little hot but still tasty

Photo of Beersnake1
4.74/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage. Poured from fridge temp to a tulip. Look is a beautiful murky brown with some good carbonation. Smell is amazing - strong caramel. Vanilla, sweetness, and a bit of bourbon. Taste is absolutely incredible and follows the nose. Plenty of caramel and barrel coming through, with some nice brown sugar. Truly amazing. Mouth feel is great. Overall, this is a phenomenal BA barley wine.

Photo of kevanb
4.46/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle, 2014 vintage, poured into a Midnight Sun snifter. Enjoyed on 2.3.15, reviewed from Tasting Journal.

The beer pours a dark burgundy color, hazy and opaque, fairly thick, but with light garnet and ruby hues and a thin, khaki head about a finger high with no retention or lace. The aroma is really nice, big brown sugar, toffee and fig, oaky bourbon with cherry, prune and nice lingering caramel that is nice and rich, very smooth and decadent. The flavors echo the aroma, brown sugar, fig, cherry, caramel, rich, smooth grain, hearty and earthy, prune, raisin, chewy oak, soft, smooth bourbon. The stone fruit component is really nice and adds a lot of complexity to the sweeter and richer caramel and brown sugar flavors. The mouthfeel is a bit thinner than I'd like, though it's definitely smooth and coating, medium body with a decent finish, that does lack a bit of character.


Verdict: A really nice Barrel Aged Barleywine, definitely one of the more complex and balanced takes on the style, though I wish the body had a bit more gusto. Perfect for sipping and sharing, and an excellent beer for a cold winter's night.

Photo of brayton
5/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Outstanding beer one of the best barley wine's I've had

Photo of AndyCowles75
3.25/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Too is sweet for me

Photo of mabermud
4.44/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is a nice barley wine that was made with skill. Super, deep brown body. Thin, mocha head. Exceptional smell of toffee and caramel. Tastes of toffee, caramel, molasses, and chocolate. Viscous mouth feel. This is a barley wine to look forward to every year. It is special.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.26/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a deep dark cloudy brown color ale with a small dark brown foamy head with light retention and some minimal lacing. Aroma of toffee, residual brown sugar and caramelized malt is pretty awesome. Taste is also dominated by toffee with some brown sugar notes and caramelized malt. All rough edges have been rounded by the bourbon notes with light vanilla notes also noticeable. Body is full with limited filtration and a good amount of carbonation. This beer has so many layers of complexity while retaining such a good amount of drinkability. Really amazing beer that I wish I could try on a regular basis.

Photo of mothman
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Very solid ba bwine. Tons of barrel flavors. Coconut, vanilla, bourbon, oak, caramel, chocolate. Lots of great flavors here.

Photo of vfgccp
4.45/5  rDev +1.8%

2013 bottle, opened Sept. 2014

A – Stellar looking barleywine. Deep cranberry and sienna body with golden ruby and black cherry highlights. Beige white head pours half a finger high.

S – Wonderfully smooth. Great golden raisin note with peat moss, sweet molasses, prune, oak, cream soda, light vanilla, caramel, and heavy cream.

T – Sweeter than I expected (even for an English barleywine), but still outstandingly bold and delicious. Black cherry, molasses, smooth melted caramel, vanilla, oak, and woody hops with a creamy gingerbread finish.

M – Full bodied and relatively smooth while maintaining a pleasantly barleywine-esque boozy warmth.

O – An outstanding brew. This just might be the 4th best barleywine I've had to date, behind Sucaba, Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine, and BCB Barleywine.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
4.45 Arctic Devil
--- -Jay- -Jon- -Anth- -Vin- -Avg- Weight
A - 4.75 4.75 ------- 4.75 4.75 10%
S - 5.00 4.75 ------- 4.75 4.83 20%
T - 4.25 4.25 ------- 4.25 4.25 40%
M - 4.30 4.00 ------- 4.25 4.18 10%
O - 4.40 4.40 ------- 4.50 4.43 20%

Photo of gcamparone
4.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pouted from a 22 oz bomber into a Zwak glass. Thanks Keith for hooking me up with this!

Appearance - pours a hazy maroon-amber body with a thick off white head that reduces quickly to leave no lacing or retention. Some settling

Smell - tons of vanilla, toffee, butterscotch, cookie dough, some bourbon, caramel, honey, molasses. Sweet and inviting.

Taste - upfront I get molasses and vanilla, butterscotch, bourbon, the follow through has some coffee and roastyness. The finish is sugar cookies, very sweet and syrupy. Not much alcohol detected at all.

Mouthfeel - medium - heavy body, low carbonation

What an outstanding representation of a barleywine - complex, balanced, and sip demanding. The bourbon barrels really add tons of flavor to this beer. Seek it out.

Photo of beerdrifter
4.54/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in a great trade with Evan! An aggressive pour yields a caramel-colored two finger head with decent retention and great lacing. Dark brown, nearly black pour is probably the darkest Barley Wine I've seen. Rich, bold nose with huge dark fruits, bourbon, and oak along with hints of vanilla, figs, toffee, raisins, and sweet brown bread. The taste follows suit with tons of oak and dark fruits along with hints of vanilla, maple, butterscotch, subtle chocolate, molasses, brown bread, and toffee. The mouthfeel is thick and syrupy, but creamy smooth with a subtle warming finish. The 13.4% ABV is nowhere to be found for this unbelievably drinkable beer. Overall, this is a world class Barley Wine. Bold, flavorful, complex, and extremely drinkable. It's time to start trading for more...

Photo of pjkelley82
4.71/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow... just wow...

Poured from bottle into snifter. About 50-55 degrees.

A- leather brown with ruby highlights, semi transparent. Nice 1 in antique white head, rocky. Went away fairly quick and left a ring for a short time before that faded away as well.

S-Honestly, theres too much going on, in a good way. Figs, dates, caramel, dark bread, almond, vanilla, Malt, slight bourbon scent. Butterscotch, candied plums.

T- just delightfull. Same as the nose. Dominated by the figs and dates with sweet bourbon and a slight alcohol kick at the end.

M-thick and slick, not too sticky or heavy. Light to medium carbonation. A little hot going down.

O-this is a mans drink. I always let my buddies who aren't into craft beer always try the barleywines and always they look at me like im crazy. Im in love with English style brews as in old ales, stouts and barleywines. This is a spot on english style barleywine. Malt foward with lots of fruit. I was surprised by this brew. I now have to have a side by side with bourbon county barleywine as I feel this has a slight edge for my taste.

Photo of Jwale73
4.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours the color of cola with a frothy, loose, tan-colored head that slowly dissipates into a soapy slick. Nose reveals toffee, figs, and burnt sugar. Taste consistent with nose with a light, residual ethanol presence that cuts the sweetness. Mouthfeel is light-medium with an even carbonation. This has been a long-time want of mine and I was not disappointed. Top notch - wish I had more.

Photo of timc100
4.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 Vintage -

Very bourbon dominated. Aroma of strong caramel, soaked oak, slight vanilla, coconut, straight bourbon whiskey. Slighter vinous fruit notes. Taste similarly dominated with bourbon, great rich barrel notes, caramel, booze. Mouthfeel is slick, smother, very low carbonation. Fantastic barrel aged english style barleywine

Photo of Vonerichs
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark reddish-brown-rusty color with a fluffy off white head. Great retention.

It smells so good. Almonds, vanilla, oak, caramel. Very pronounced aroma.

Tastes even better. What a fantastic beer. Tons of vanilla, like wafers with vanilla cream. Toasted almond. Caramel and butterscotch. The oak is front and center.

Moderate carbonation and a mouthful of a round, soft and smooth body. So smooth.

This one blew me away and is an absolute must try. Seek it out.

Photo of crewfan16
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 22 oz bomber into a central waters snifter. Got in a trade earlier this year. 2014 vintage

a- pours hazy burnt orange color. light off-white head. low carbonation

s- caramel, vanilla, some oakey bourbon sweetness, some fruit, maybe raisin

t- lots of malty sweetness and booze. again with the caramel and vanilla. as it warms, more dark raisin and bourbon sweetness comes out. light hop presence on the finish. really tasty

m- booze is definitely present...gives off a bit of an after burn but isnt overwhelming by any means. sticky sweet feel. minimum carbonation. very lingering finish. just what i would expect from a beer like this

overall, a very very good example of a BA barleywine. I really wish I had a few more of these to put in the cellar to see how that booze mellows. Would definitely seek this one out again.

Photo of ThickNStout
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from BeerShip.com. No bottling date but this is the January 2014 vintage. Served in a Three Floyds teku.

Pours tawny chestnut with a half finger of dirty sand hued head. The foam settles to a modest halo that leaves almost nothing in the way of lace.

Smells of bourbon, caramel, mild vanilla, brown sugar, some dark fruits and a whiff of booze. Aromas deepen as it warms, making it even more inviting.

Taste follows the nose well with it's delicious sweet layers of toffee, bourbon, caramel, vanilla, raisins, butterscotch, brown sugar, hints of currants, earthy burnt oak, leather, bread pudding, faint toast and an appropriately present but not overpowering boozeyness. Every sip reveals a new combination of flavors, particularly as it settles closer to room temperature. Outstanding.

Delightfuly viscous, fairly heavy and almost syrupy feel with fairly soft yet tingly carbonation. Sweet, lingering aftertaste with bourbon infused vanilla, toffee pudding and caramel coating the tongue.

Absolutely fantastic. One of the best English barleywines that I've had. I'm very happy to have procured multiple bottles to enjoy again both soon and as it ages. This is one of an elite few that I would say is truly worth seeking out.

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.41/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: strong brown color. Fairly strong clarity. A small half finger tannish head. That fades fairly quickly to nothing.

Smell:vanilla, bourbon, maple syrup, sweet malts. Toffee and caramel malts. Strong booze. Hints of figs and raisins.

Taste: opens with figs and raisins. Transitions to vanilla and bourbon. Ends with toffee and caramel malts. Maple syrup plays in throughout.

Mouthfeel: thick and syrupy. Sweet, but with a bit of boozy warmth.

Overall: a very nice big and boozy bourbon beer. Great balance between barrel and non barrel characters. I really like the mapley tastes I get throughout. A worthwhile and delicious beer

Photo of dar482
4.72/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in a dark reddish copper brown.

The beer has sweet bourbon, lots of caramel and toffee, a hint of nuttiness, some vanilla. The middle has cherry skin There is some tobacco, oak, woodiness, earthy, and bourbon on the finish.

The mouthfeel is silky smooth without being syrupy. It's chewy and gorgeous. The alcohol is very hidden and tastes more towards at 10% beer.

Absolutely delicious barrel aged barleywine. One of the best I've had.

Photo of kdahnke123
4.56/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter at cellar temperature.
A - Pours a cloudy amber color with half a finger of short lived head. A small amount of lacing results.
S - Smells of bourbon, vanilla, carmel and toasted oak.
T - Carmel, bourbon, sweet malt with little hops and a nice candy finish.
M - Nice coating mouthfeel, next to no carbonation, lingers in the mouth long after swallowing.
O - One of the top 5 barley wines I have tasted. Highly recommended.

Photo of BillRoth
4.54/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can't speak to previous batches. Have heard of this BW for years, but finally have a chance to try thanks to Paul 510a.
Poured out a rich amber ruby pour with a full shipped cream head. Head dissipated as expected but not quickly and left a notable lace in the glass. Impression was this one was well made.
So far so good.
Aroma was good. Some caramel and nougat like aromas. Hint of dried fruit, but more a hint of syrup. Hint of vanilla.Hops very subdued. Difficult to identify. but not piney or citrusy. Suggested European hops...Kent? Goldings?. Shouldn't be surprised if an English BW.
At this point I knew I had a good beer, but still looking for the "wow.
OK...Wow! The flavor is just spectacular, and it just kept getting better as it warmed. Huge hits of caramel, toffee and dark cane syrup. Mild hop bitterness just kept the beer from being a sugar bomb. Craftfully blended and matured. As the beer warmed the oak and vanilla took over, and the beer reached another level. it was just sublime.
The mouth feel was full and creamy. Thicker than your typical English BW, but pleasant not overwhelming. It seemed perfectly aligned with the big beer it was. The alcohol while big, was not too big. No harshness, just warming. It just seemed exactly the right level.
Overall, started as a very good beer, but ended as a beer just about perfect for its style and claims.
I'm going hope I get more from this batch, but will look forward to more regardless of year.
Well done!

to view more.
Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,110 ratings.