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Arctic Devil Barley Wine - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Arctic Devil Barley WineArctic Devil Barley Wine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

990 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 990
Reviews: 335
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 8.22%
Wants: 943
Gots: 260 | FT: 36
Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co. visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  13.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: Todd on 03-24-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 990 | Reviews: 335 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by portia99:
Photo of portia99
4.33/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle (2008 Vintage) received a long while back from alaskajoe in a great trade. Thanks! Poured into a Brooklyn snifter. Pulled this out so many times to share and never got to it. Couldn't wait any longer...cold night in front of the fire.

A - Bottle opens with a smallish muddy pop. A fairly aggressive pour into the middle of the glass yields an equally muddy body of nearly opaque brown color that is a step above the yeasty remains found at the bottom of a carboy of homebrew. A finger of cream colored, somewhat loose bubbled foam lingers briefly and falls to the surface.

S - Sweet smelling overall with definite notes of molasses and brown sugar. Whiskey is also quite up front in the aroma with some booziness and some nice hints of vanilla and caramel. As it warms the whiskey really starts to take hold and becomes more potent.

T - As expected from the aroma, whiskey takes a strong role in the flavors as well. I'm getting strong hits of whiskey up front backed solidly by some sweetness of varying types - lots of burnt, caramelized sugar - creme brulee'ish, some molasses too. There's also a touch of smokiness and dark roasted malt that pushes towards a coffee-like bitterness but doesn't quite get there. Not really getting much for hops but this ends up being rather well balanced and not nearly as much of a malt bomb as I expected. The whiskey really seems to offset the sugary aspects quite well.

M - Body is medium/full with a low level carbonation just strong enough to let you know its alive...like a low level pulse but lingers close to a lifeless state. Initially I get a tingle on the lips from each sip - but that quickly disappears and leaves behind largely just whiskey flavors and really not that much heat. Booziness is really well controlled here. Actually ends up being quite a smooth drinker through the entire bottle - rather surprised in a very positive way.

O - Obviously this beer has a decent amount of hype behind it (and plenty of good ratings with it), but I've also heard several rather negative experiences with this too. Came into this with high hopes but prepared to be disappointed. Although not the perfect barleywine for me, this trended towards meeting the hype. Really well balanced with sugars and alcohol in control without being disguised to the point that one could down this quickly with unexpected results. For me the highlight of this beer is the well placed and lingering creme brulee effect. I can almost imagine the crunch and crackle of the burnt sugar coating on top of the dessert...really, really nice effect. This absolutely makes this beer for me. The overall balance and complexity are just bonuses - quite like a dessert in a glass for me.

portia99, Dec 14, 2011
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

oberon, Dec 10, 2005
Photo of RoyalT
4.1/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

RoyalT, Sep 06, 2005
Photo of DanGeo
4.25/5  rDev -3%

DanGeo, Aug 30, 2013
Photo of tectactoe
4.31/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

tectactoe, Feb 10, 2013
Photo of brownbeer
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

brownbeer, Feb 14, 2014
Photo of SanFranJake
4.25/5  rDev -3%

SanFranJake, Feb 15, 2014
Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

SkiBum22, Mar 04, 2014
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

orbitalr0x, Jan 23, 2010
Photo of NWer
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

NWer, Aug 23, 2013
Photo of warnerry
4.25/5  rDev -3%

warnerry, Dec 22, 2013
Photo of Callmecoon
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

Callmecoon, Mar 22, 2012
Photo of megamass
5/5  rDev +14.2%

megamass, Mar 25, 2012
Photo of tjthresh
3.68/5  rDev -16%
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.

tjthresh, Oct 09, 2009
Photo of warriorsoul
4.65/5  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.

warriorsoul, May 27, 2006
Photo of mctizzz
4/5  rDev -8.7%

mctizzz, Jun 20, 2013
Photo of JupiterJesus
5/5  rDev +14.2%

JupiterJesus, Feb 15, 2012
Photo of BigE90
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

BigE90, Apr 18, 2014
Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.78/5  rDev +9.1%
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!

SkinnyElvis, Dec 16, 2006
Photo of Prospero
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

Prospero, Feb 25, 2013
Photo of jaminjohnson
4/5  rDev -8.7%

jaminjohnson, Aug 20, 2013
Photo of kingcrowing
3.73/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into a sampler. 2010 vintage.

Pours a deep ruby amber with a small brown head. Nose is malty and sweet, a bit of cardboard .

Taste is sweet, sharp a bit of oxidation but super tasty and a bit tart
Really crisp and quit drinkable. Mouthfeel is creamy and rich.

kingcrowing, Feb 11, 2012
Photo of bpfrush
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

bpfrush, Mar 12, 2012
Photo of obiwan_k3n00bi
3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

obiwan_k3n00bi, Mar 10, 2014
Photo of ehammond1
4.43/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2011)

Thanks for opening this with me, baybassboy!

Dark chestnut in color, with a small, tightly bubbled light khaki colored head that remains a small ring round the top of the beer for the duration. Small bubbles dot the glass.

Rich, sweet, malt-forward aroma of caramel, oak, earth, candied sugars, and dark fruits. Complex.

The flavor follows the aroma, and the alcohol is marvelously well hidden. The sweet, earthy, and fruity malt characters play nicely against the wood. Complete and very nice.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Fantastic.

ehammond1, Jun 24, 2012
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Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 990 ratings.