Arctic Devil Barley Wine - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 780 | Reviews: 324 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by BuckeyeNation:
4.85/5 rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
Hugely tarnished copper (like an old penny) with raspberry cordial highlights. I'll take it as a good sign that Arctic Devil is incredibly murky to the point of opacity, a much different look than the gemstone-like lucency of most barleywines. The caramel colored cap looked good right after the pour and looks good as it slowly recedes. Too bad the ABV is a lace killer.
The nose is fantastic! I loved what reached me on the pour and I love it just as much up close. As the style dictates, there isn't a whole lot of hoppiness. That's okay because the aroma is incredible without it. Rich caramel, earthy leather and cherry pipe tobacco lead the way.
As I was pretty sure it would be, Arctic Devil is tremendous beer. My first mouthful told me that it's the best English barleywine that has ever entered my glass. Nothing else even comes close. I need more hoppiness than this for perfection to be a consideration, but this beautifully aged ale is very nearly there. I'm not sure if it's just over two years old or just over three.
What a delicious concoction. The brewery must have used a few tons of caramel malt and included 'who know what else' to get the beer to taste this rich and complex. My description of the nose applies on the palate as well, so I think I'll use it again. Stickysweet and bitter and earthy weave around one another like three strands of a supple barleywine rope. Start it out barely cool, like I did, and your tongue just might explode from sensory overload.
I've changed my mind. When a beer nails a style with this degree of precision, when I'd rather sit and savor it than finish the review, that beer deserves the ultimate compliment of a perfect flavor score. I wish I knew what the oak barrels that were used to age this masterpiece previously contained. Midnight Sun says that there are one of three possibilities for each batch: port, wine or whiskey.
Given the sweet, caramelized sugar that is oozing all over my taste buds, I'll go with bourbon whiskey. Then again, there's a fruity vinousness that suggests port. It really doesn't matter in the end. Whatever was used, I hope my next bottle is placed in the same sort of barrel.
I've had bigger mouthfeels, but I don't know that I've had a more silky smooth big mouthfeel than this one. Lucious doesn't quite capture it. How about superduperfreakinamazinglucious? Every other brewer of barleywines should drink this beer and take copious notes.
I must admit, I expected good to great things from Arctic Devil Barley Wine, but I didn't expect the magnum opus that is currently occupying my snifter. If you love great beer, do yourself a favor and do anything it takes to acquire a bomber of this outstanding elixir. This is my new gold standard for the English barleywine style.
Serving type: bottle
05-22-2007 22:53:08 | More by BuckeyeNation
More User Reviews:
4.54/5 rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Poured into snifter.
Appearance is a muddled plume juice brown with tiny tan head that dissipates instantly.
Aroma is dates, figs, plum, prune, English toffee, new leather, unfiltered dark honey, peloncillo, dulce de leche, and deep caramelized sugar.
Taste brings about more of those dark fruits with major prune, fig, and dates. The toffee comes through big as well. You get some port and young Cabernet showcasing that fermenting grape character given off by some English Barleywines and Old Ales. Brown sugar, molasses, and caramel making the scene incognito.
Mouthfeel is where it should be for a Barleywine. Medium body with enough carbonation to lend support in keeping the flavors from overwhelming. A bit more carbonation would do no harm.
Overall a fantastic Barrel-Aged English Barleywine. Can stand with the best of them. Too bad places price gouge this quite a bit. I've seen bottles for 30% less than what I paid.
Serving type: bottle
03-02-2014 01:55:19 | More by MarcWP
4.25/5 rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
Pours a pretty clear dark amber/brown colored ale with a small cream colored foamy head. Ring around the glass during the session and no lacing.
The aroma is great. Brown sugar, wood, vanilla, raisin, caramel, cinnamon, and booze. Almost singe the noise hair aroma. Candied fruits. Really impressed with the aroma. Wasn't sure what the age would do but it seems to have blended nicely.
The taste is very oaky. Big oak and wood taste with some brown sugar, butterscotch, butter, hops and booze burn finish. Tingling of the lips and gums after each sip. The 13.4% abv doesn't lie. Getting some caramel as well, but the flavor almost goes away as soon as it shows itself. Odd. Left with a dry oak aftertaste.
Smooth mouthfeel though it's a little thin.
Overall I think this is a really good barleywine. Great? I dunno. I will definitely try this fresh and see the difference it makes. For me, the beer was a little bland which could have been from the age. The aroma is the best thing about it, though the taste left me a little let down given the love for this brew.
Serving type: bottle
02-17-2014 20:57:22 | More by kaseydad
Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 780 ratings.