1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

1,011 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,011
Reviews: 336
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.47%
Wants: 934
Gots: 259 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 1,011 | Reviews: 336 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Desp59
1.75/5  rDev -60%

Desp59, Nov 14, 2014
Photo of BGsWo22
2/5  rDev -54.2%

BGsWo22, Aug 26, 2014
Photo of harrymel
2.53/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled 31JAN13
Pours really dark- like nearly stout. Tan foam and spotty lace
Smells sweet, boozy, nougat, vanilla...actually, this beer is a mess
Taste is sweet booze, vanillas, raisin, marshmallows. Full body with moderate on low carved and a dry, peeling finish. I wasn't happy last time and I'm less impressed now.

Review 08MAR12
3.5/4.5/3.5/2.5/3.5-3.6
Vintage 2011, ABV 13.4%
Pours a dark amber body with fleeting tan head, leaving a sheet of the same. Caramel, vanilla, oak, bourbon, Brandy(?), seafoam, hints of leather and sherry oxidation. Flavor is similar to the nose, but less impressive and there is an alcoholic tinge to the finish. Thin bodied and low carb, the booze is evident on this one and leaves a burn. This is a good beer, but my favorite was the '08, sadly I didn't review back then, but I recall a fuller body and more refined character in the beer. As it stands, I would advise trying this beer, but not really seeking it out particularly hard, unless you're ChadQuest or other peeps that really dig the BA BW's.

harrymel, Feb 22, 2013
Photo of pisano
3/5  rDev -31.4%

pisano, Apr 28, 2014
Photo of Keananmichael5
3/5  rDev -31.4%

Keananmichael5, Apr 08, 2014
Photo of Franch
3/5  rDev -31.4%

Franch, Oct 08, 2013
Photo of CityofBals
3/5  rDev -31.4%

CityofBals, Sep 12, 2013
Photo of tai4ji2x
3.1/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

from liquidsolutions or bottletrek (i forget), by way of stevemcqueenjr.

22oz bomber. there is a notching scheme, marked for january, but is also double-notched for both the 2nd and 5th weeks. no year?

tasted in late april/early may 2009. poured into tulip.

dark brown amber. nearly clear, ruby tones under the light. large, yellowish tan head soon fades to wisps and ring. lacing never sticks.

aroma: caramel, apple and dates, w rum and brandy tones, but also fusels and alcohol. some earthy, faintly fruity hop. diacetyl? more fusel?

taste: rich caramel maltiness with again apple, fig and brandy tones. moderate english hopping with moderate bitterness. but that fusel/diacetyl/whatever note, along with booziness, really cuts into you...

almost viscous and syrupy, with light astringency towards the end. again that weird fusel/chemical/whatever character juts in and distracts. mild to moderate carbonation is neutral in effect.

huh? what is this doing in the top 100, let alone the #1 english BW? or maybe i got a bad bottle?

tai4ji2x, Jun 27, 2009
Photo of charlesw
3.23/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A really interesting barleywine. WAY overpriced. Like, wow. Like... Wow and wow wow overpriced. I'm pissed that I paid so much for it without really noticing. Oh well. Oh. I guess that says how much I liked it, doesn't it? 'Cause, well, I didn't really like it. It's syrupy sweet with little to no bitterness and that alone... Yeah. Only, it's weird. It's not the syrup of a Lee's - it's more like a chocolate syrup. Weird. Only, not really in a good way. Not thrilled with it. Nice and thick. Not opaque enough but really nice head. Too sweet and thick without the bitterness. Well, like an English barleywine. Yawn.

charlesw, Jan 25, 2008
Photo of markasparov
3.25/5  rDev -25.6%

markasparov, Feb 01, 2014
Photo of BarrytheBear
3.25/5  rDev -25.6%

BarrytheBear, Jan 12, 2013
Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
3.38/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 Vintage:

Drank July 7th, 2011 - Split with rfragga77

Not following regular format here...

Not sure if I got a batch variated bottle or if I'm just not at all a fan of English Style Barleywines. Both rfragga77 and I agreed, there was not much barrel to be found at all in this beer. A little thin for the ABV and almost had a green apple flavor along with toffee / brown sugar sweetness.

We both finished the bomber as I paid $20 for it but I'd much rather an Abacus without batting an eye which was agreed upon. (Yes, I understand they are very different animals) It wasn't too hot for the ABV which I'll give it credit for. It didn't finish overly sweet either so if this were your bag...you could finish the bomber solo.

Call it blasphmey if you will, but I just don't get it.

I'd be happy to revisit to see if I bought a "off" bottle but I won't be purchasing another

RBassSFHOPit2ME, Sep 13, 2011
Photo of OWSLEY069
3.4/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy deep amber/ brown-ish color with a small tannish head. In the aroma, dark fruit, raison, fig, and licorice. In the taste, big licorice and fig, with a small bitterness in the end. A smooth and medium mouthfeel, with a dry syrupy and dark fruit aftertaste. Hides the alcohol in flavor, but can feel the burn, yet a bit syrupy.

OWSLEY069, Jul 06, 2008
Photo of sgaloob
3.43/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured refrigerator cold into a Midnight Sun pint glass.

A - Molasses color with amber hues. Clear, in terms of few particles. No head whatsoever.

S - Very malty, smells like sorghum. Light berry aroma. Not particularly flowery/hoppy.

T - Like molasses. Little or no hoppiness. Well balanced considering the high ABV. Slightly bitter finish.

M -Syrupy and thick. This is a meal in a glass. Little carbonation, heavy finish.

D - No more than one pint of this in one sitting.

Bottom line - I'm not very experienced with barleywines, but I'm not crazy about. I would prefer it to be less syrupy, and have the alcohol more present instead. Guaranteed to get you laid, 100% of the time, every time.

sgaloob, Jan 15, 2011
Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.45/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours nearly pitch black with a finger of off white head. This is an extremely dark Barleywine - if given this beer not knowing what it was, I'd think it was a stout based on look. Poor retention, terrible lacing.

S: Strong bourbon, caramel, prunes, and a bit of soy sauce. Burnt sugars are also present. As the beer opens up, I get more and more Quad characteristics. Prunes become more prominent with a bit of orange bitters. Maybe a tad muddled, but this is extremely complex.

T: Woah, booze. This beer is extremely boozy. Also not nearly as sweet as the aroma would suggest. Bourbon is fairly strong here, supported by toffee and a touch of malted milk ball. This is really subdued next to the aroma. This definitely needs some time.

M: Medium thickness with fairly high carbonation.

O: The aroma on this was extremely nice. The taste was not bad, but definitely needs some time. This is extremely boozy and the flavors don't quite meld together. I'm going to let the rest of the bottles sit for a while.

coreyfmcdonald, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of Rhettroactive
3.48/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 22oz bomber to Portsmouth glass on 3/10/12
*From notes

-- Thanks as always, John --

Vintage 2008

A: Splatter-ass brown in color. To call this beer ugly is a bit of an understatement. A gentle pour yields an ivory .25 finger head that fades quickly. A small white collar rims the glass.

S: Graham cracker and malt. I'm not getting a whole lot of bourbon or spirit quality on the bouquet.

T: Mellow is a good way of putting it. Again, there's not a whole lot of wood, tannin or any type of spirit quality to this properly cellared barleywine. Instead, I get a generous amount of oatmeal cookie and earth. About as low key as you could expect out of a bigger beer like this.

M: Meh. It's doesn't feel bad, per se, it's just not really memorable, either. The carbonation is surprisingly lively for it's old age, and helps to add a bit of complexity to the beer.

O: I don't feel that age has helped Midnight Sun's Arctic Devil, as I can't imagine this is what the brewer intended. If it is, then I must question the hype, as this is about as middle of the road a barleywine as I've ever come across.

Rhettroactive, Mar 19, 2012
Photo of kbeals
3.48/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Huge thanks to rhinos00 for getting me this at DLD!!

A- Vigorous pour yields a murky brown brew with a half inch of tan head. Head dissipates down to a crown leaving a small amount of lacing.

S- Vanilla, lots of caramel malts with even a touch of bitterness detectable in the smell. Slight licorice aroma comes into play in the background as well.

T- Licorice seems to dominate up front followed by huge doses of caramel, vanilla and even some chocolate. A bit boozy IMO, not sure of what vintage this is.

M- Nice heavy body with little carbonation. Pretty much what I expected.

D- Well, the booziness and sweetness of this beer got to me after a while. A good beer but there are better examples of the style out there.

Thanks again for this one Alex!

kbeals, Jun 05, 2010
Photo of Jeffo
3.48/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from Stupac in a recent trade. Thanks for doing the dirty work!

From a bomber into a snifter
Vintage: 2011
Aged in American oak whisky barrels

APPEARANCE: Pours a two finger, medium-thick, creamy looking, off-white head with good retention. Dark maroon red in color, clear, with higher levels of carbonation evident. Head eventually fades to a nice full wisp with carbonation ploughing through the top. A good wisp remains until the end and leaves some nice lacing down the glass. Good looking.

SMELL: Caramel malts, dark fruits, like rasins and dates, as well as some spicy and peppery yeast notes. Light hints of whisky and oak from the barrels, but not much. More fruit and light spices. Only medium strength.

TASTE: Caramel and dark fruits with peppery spices up front. Some nice rasins and dates at the swallow, with notes of oak and some boozy whisky as well. Alcohol is very well hidden. Mild but lingering aftertaste of spicy alcohol, oak, and caramel, fruity sweetness. Medium strength flavors and the ABV is well hidden. Quite nice really.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down fine with a little scratch at the back and finishes slightly sticky. Decent feel. A hint of heat lingers, but minimal.

OVERALL: A solid beer that's easy enough to drink, but somewhat lack luster compared to others in the style. The base beer is a little mild, and the barrel aging a little too restrained perhaps. Something worth checking out if you see it, but nothing earth shattering enough to go out of your way for. I'd have it again, but would most likely pick something else first. Thanks again for the trade Stupac. Much appreciated.

Jeffo, Jul 04, 2012
Photo of obiwan_k3n00bi
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

obiwan_k3n00bi, Mar 10, 2014
Photo of emerge077
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

emerge077, Oct 08, 2013
Photo of clubarsky91
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

clubarsky91, Jun 02, 2014
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

ygtbsm94, Jan 11, 2012
Photo of IrishColonial
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

IrishColonial, Mar 13, 2012
Photo of mquartuccio87
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

mquartuccio87, Feb 10, 2014
Photo of CADMixes
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

CADMixes, Feb 25, 2013
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,011 ratings.