Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

Arctic Devil Barley Wine - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Arctic Devil Barley WineArctic Devil Barley Wine

Educational use only; do not reuse.

352 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 352
Hads: 1,187
Avg: 4.35
pDev: 15.17%
Wants: 973
Gots: 297 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 352 | Hads: 1,187
Reviews by iadler:
Photo of iadler
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to exitmusic00 for cracking this bottle open for our blind barleywine tasting. 2011 bottle. From notes.

A- Pours a translucent ruby red with a thin off white head that leaves adequate lacing behind.

S- Very fruity upfront with notes of raspberries, cherry, plumb, fig and raisins. Brown sugar emerges with oak and burnt caramel following.

T- Oak and vanilla upfront with plumb, raisins, cherries and fig and caramel following with some toasted marshmallow at the finish.

M- Medium carbonation and full smooth body with the high abv being hidden very well.

O- One of my favorite barleywines at the tasting, behind King Henry of course. Would love to grab a few more of these to set down for a bit. Very impressed.

 728 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

 1,748 characters

Photo of oberon
4.07/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Before I review I must say beware of this devil it f*ckin will bite you!Just newly bottled on November 5th this bad boy poured a deep amber with a thin off white head,incredible complexities in the aroma vanilla,oak and kentucky whiskey really hits and hits hard really waking up the senses and quite appetizing.Now I really liked the flavors of this beer but whoo they hit ya,very woody and whiskish (if thats a word) with vanilla and caramel standing out as well.The alcohol burn steals the show it actually burned my nose going down.This beer weighs in at 14% alc although the label says 10% that according to the head brewer at Midnight Sun and it feels like more than that.A very good very complex barley wine but these need to be laid down for awhile thats for sure.

 772 characters

Photo of RoyalT
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This one poured a nice, glowing brown in color with an off-white head that frothed up good for a high-octane ABV.

Smell – Man, this is a big ‘un. The huge, roasty malts are thick and boozy. They are drenched in fruity and refined sugars. This nose is almost overpowering. If you like big Barley Wine bouquets, you have to buy this just for the smell.

Taste – The malts from the nose are thick and roasted at the taste as well. The alcohol is sharp but very confident in the flavor profile. The giant table sugars almost make this one feel like an English-style Barley Wine.

Mouthfeel – This one is in between medium and full in the body with a nice, almost stinging alcoholic mouthfeel.

Drinkability – This is not for everyone, but if you like your ABWs big, bold, and boozy (like I do) than this definitely is for you.

Comments – Ms. Skyhand busted out this Barley for her first annual Bring on Da Booze festival, and personally it was the highlight of the evening for me.

 1,008 characters

Photo of DanGeo
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of tectactoe
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2007, big-time thanks to Ed for bringing this one to the tasting and sharing it with the rest of us. Pours a dark mahogany color, 50/50 mix of clarity and haziness, topped off with a small tan-ish head that reduces to a ring around the glass pretty quickly.

Aroma is comprised of a nice meshing of oak, bourbon, sweet plums, black cherries, syrup, brown sugar, molasses, and maple. Lots of things going on here - very sweet and very complex. Malty to the core with no real sign of hops or herbals anywhere, but after six years - can you blame it? Amazing how well everything has held up for being this old, and it shows no real signs of oxidation in the aroma.

Arctic Devil hits the palate thick and muddled with a surprisingly substantial amount of carbonation considering its age. Very sweet up front, but still pretty far from being cloying. It's more of a refined and controlled sweetness, albeit very strong. Brown sugar, molasses, maple, light anise, plums, dates, black cherries. Buttery and creamy smooth on the palate - the bourbon and alcohol is noticeable and warming, and becomes even more so with time.

The finish is full of sweet, candied dark fruits and a mild oakiness. Despite the 13.2% ABV, this one remains pretty damn drinkable, making it very dangerous. Even though the aroma didn't show any, the taste reveals some light oxidation - not nearly enough to hinder or really even matter - I mean goddamn, this shit was six years old!

Big thanks again to Ed for opening this one. It was damn delicious. I have no other Arctic Devils to compare it to, but holy shit, this was super-drinkable for a 13.2% barleywine. Very sweet and woody all around, such a pleasure to drink.

 1,704 characters

Photo of t2grogan
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of brownbeer
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of SanFranJake
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle says 10%...no date so I'm not quite sure of the vintage. Guesstimate 2006 or 2007. Pours into my glass a deeply murky brown with dark red highlights. A small khaki head forms on top and then falls. Aromas start with deep rich malts overflowing with caramel, toffee and a mix of dark fruits. Spicy accents with a bit of woodiness in there as well. Touch of bourbon along with some hops. Vanilla floats in on the back end. Really rich and enticing aroma.

First sip brings a bath of sweet, dense malts upfront that attack the palate. Swirls of caramel, toffee and ripe fruits. Woody, oak accents with a definite kick of bourbon. Vanilla and spice on the way down. Sweet throughout with a nice hoppy bitterness on the finish. Just an awesome barleywine overall.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good steady carbonation. Not overly heavy and ends up being quite a tasty drink. This is a damn tasty barleywine that holds nothing back. A bit on the sweet side but it works and packs a hefty malt punch with a good dose of alcohol to match.

 1,040 characters

Photo of NWer
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of warnerry
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of Callmecoon
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of 77apm
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of megamass
5/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of tjthresh
3.68/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours dark clear brown without much head. Buckets of hops in the nose with chocolate covered caramels. Some nice cherry as well. This thing has tons of hot alcohol, but there's still plenty of malt and hops. Good stuff, but I'd hoped for better.

 254 characters

Photo of warriorsoul
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to beernut7 for this one....not sure of the year, but I believe it is an '04.
Dark rust in color with less than 1/4 finger of off-white head...disappears rapidly and produces no lacing.
Huge raisins in the nose, caramel malt sweetness, mild alcohol.
The taste is insanely flavorful and rich...huge fig/raisin profile with a malty sweetness that is balanced with a bittering hop profile...finishes bittersweet with no lingering aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is thick as any I've tried in the style and the carbonation is sublime.
A definite sipper at 10%, but so fun to consume it is silly.
So glad to get to try this one, as I have never really seeked it out...I just may have to after this experience.

 712 characters

Photo of mctizzz
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of olradetbalder
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of JupiterJesus
5/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of BigE90
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of JC333
4.16/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to beerbeing for a bottle as a gift. I am splitting this bottle with blitheringidiot. This is fantastic. It is classified as an English barley but it is close to an American in taste. Just a little head & is very malty and thick with a hint of sweetness. This is a great sipper. Wow this is good.

Thanks again, Alex!

 326 characters

Photo of Prospero
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 352 ratings.