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Arctic Devil Barley Wine - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Arctic Devil Barley WineArctic Devil Barley Wine

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,094 Ratings
THE BROS
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Ratings: 1,094
Reviews: 346
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.24%
Wants: 959
Gots: 276 | FT: 37
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
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Ratings: 1,094 | Reviews: 346
Photo of mquartuccio87
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

Photo of CADMixes
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

Photo of deekyn
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

Photo of BeerTruth
3.52/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got this one from mashmaster on RB.

22 oz. bomber poured into a snifter. Month and week bottled notched on the side of the glass.

Pours a murky deep brown with a fast one finger khaki colored head that disappears into almost nothing. Mediocre spotty lacing clings to the sides of the glass. Smell is dominated by the malts. Mostly dark fruits in the nose; dates, raisins, fig, and overripe cherries. Leather and pipe tobacco leaves add an interesting aroma as well. A good dose of booze can be detected in each whiff too. Taste starts off with a strong alcohol sting followed by syrupy caramel malts and earth. Midway, more booze with licorice, molasses, and brown sugar. The finish burns the back of my throat with spice and rich nutty flavors. Malt monster from start to finish lacking the bitterness to balance it out. Big body and a strong sting from, what else, but the alcohol along with a flowing carbonation. The 10% is clearly there, and if I didn't know ahead of time, I would have guessed it was upwards of 15%. Ugh, I gotta go run and get a Zantac...

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.52/5  rDev -19.5%
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.

Photo of AleWatcher
3.55/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared by Dunt. 2008 vintage.
reviewed from notes.

pours a nice rustic burgendy color. toffee colored head is loose and lazy. some decent lacing.
nose is deep rich malts. just a plethora of sweet toffee, caramel, some crystal malt perhaps... The hops have practivcally all faded at this point. No real bitterness to speak of. The beer is really sweet, but comes across pretty nice.
Certainly one that is fun to drink-- a nice little treat from the cellar!
The body is thick and full with ample carbonation.
Quite tasty.
Is this a go-to barleywine? nah.
But will I enjoy this glass? hell yeah.

Photo of bunnyhustle
3.6/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I'm very confused first of all because my bottle says its 10% abv and here its 13%. Probably just different years I'm guessing. Pours virtually black but upon closer inspection its more of a deep, deep, deep mahogany color. Light tan head, 2 finger, with good retention and lacing. Smell is rich of caramel, vanilla, sweet syrup and cream. A bit of booze too. Taste is similar. Very rich flavors of cream, caramel, sweet syrup, vanilla, some light coffee. Very thick and full, you could probably use a spoon with this stuff. Velvety and creamy as it goes down, strong warming sensation too. Overalll a good and complex beer. A little sweeter than I prefer. I think if there were a little more hops present, which I detected none of, this would be a great beer. But for now I'll just say its good.

Photo of buyyourfreedom
3.61/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Photo of rvdoorn
3.62/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage. Bought from crackedkettle.
Look: Pours an amber-brown color with a almost no head, leaving a messy lacing.
Smell: Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, dark fruits, orange zest, some bourbon and alcohol. This smells promising.
Taste: Toffee, brown sugar, caramel, dark fruits and sharp alcohol. Some bitter hoppy aftertaste with some hints of anise. This beer is nice, but a bit too unbalanced, it burns….
Mouthfeel: low carbonation, medium-thick body
Overall: Nice beer, bit to sharp and unbalanced though.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.62/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at Beachwood I, 2010 vintage

A: Pours a light mahogany, good lace with a long lasting off-white head.

S: Great nose. Full of vanilla bean and oak, brown sugar.

T: Lots of malt flavour, the IBUs being 20 I expect it. Vanilla, wood tannin, toffee, light berry. Bit of an unappetizing sugar character to this, but the other flavours are quite good.

M: Full-bodied, rich, definitely cloying at places, a sipper.

O: This is a barleywine that's still incredibly young, this certainly needs 2-3 years to dry out and possibly become really good. Right now it's just adequate.

Photo of maximum12
3.67/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to WriterLJBerg for hooking me up with this barleywine in a great summertime trade. Now that the weather is, at least theoretically, turning colder here on the Frigid Plain, time to bust this one out. Although I'd happily have barleywines in June, too. Opened, poured, & split with my lovely wife.

Poured into our wide-screen Free The Hops snifters, looks like red-tinged Mississippi River mud (minus the condom wrappers & empty Mountain Dew bottles). Smell is as expected, good chits of bourbon, malts, caramel, a little oak & fruits. Nice.

Artic Devil follows the path blazed by the odors. Big caramel's been hitting the gym, with the whiskey spotting it. Malts lend an otherworldly sweetness underneath. There's vanilla, oak, raisin brand crunch. Terrifically thick & chewy, like a big piece of beer-soaked oak. But there's an earthiness to the finish that limits how high this one goes for me, washing out the flavors & making them less sharp, distinct.

Overall? Like this, good beer. Without the dirtiness, this one would rise to a whole 'nuther level for me. So close.

Photo of tjthresh
3.68/5  rDev -15.8%
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.

Photo of tewaris
3.68/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Arctic Devil (2011 vintage)
Poured into a snifter. Thanks Dan.

Dark and rusty with good head. Ripe fruit, burnt sugar and dark caramel. Great barrel notes in the taste, dried fruits and chocolate. Good mouthfeel too. Very smooth with a good barrel character and a good beer overall. However, it seems to more about barrels and less about the base. Didn't really stack up to other barleywines at the tasting.

4, 3.5, 3.5, 4, 4

Photo of Derek
3.69/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Turbid chestnut brown with a light tan head, tiny ring of retention has a little leg.

S: Dark raisins, figs, sponge-toffee, marmalade, sherry, beer nuts and a light spicing.

T: Alcohol forward; a little overly boozy. Figs, dark raisins, prunes, maraschino cherries, brown sugar, sponge toffee, marmalade, roasted nuts, hints of cocao, resiny bitterness, a little over-the-top for an English Barleywine.

M: Full body has some residual sweetness, modest carbonation.

D: A bold sipper.

Over-rated.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.7/5  rDev -15.3%
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.

Photo of ArmedsouthernEr
3.7/5  rDev -15.3%

Photo of mdaschaf
3.71/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2011 Vintage. Review from notes.

A: Pours a brown color with a small tan head on top that quickly reduces leaving a thin ring on top. Minimal lacing.

S: Sort of vegetal, a little caramel and and brown sugar. Some dark fruit mixed in.

T: The flavor is a bit better than the aroma, but was hoping for more. Others who had previously had it said it had certainly fallen off. Caramel and toffee with some brown sugar with a bit of the vegetalness coming back.

M: Medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

O: Really had high hopes, might have just had a bad bottle, or one that might have been a little too old? Will hopefully have this one again and will rereview if needed.

Photo of John_M
3.71/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had the 2006 version of this beer at the 2007 Hard Liver festival at Brower's.

This was the first time I had this beer on tap, having previously tried it out of the bottle. Usually I prefer draft versions of beer, but this one might be better out of the bottle. No matter, it was still an excellent beer.

I believe this beer received honorable mention from the judges at this festival.

This beer was much darker then the other beers, and had something of smokey quality that none of the other beers had. Muted nose, but on the palate one got flavors of cola, caramel, and smoke. The beer was fairly viscuous, and was quite sweet. It ended with a long, smooth finish, with a hint of bitterness at the end. A good beer, but not as fine as I remembered.

Photo of RedDiamond
3.72/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The label indicates a bottling date of November, 2004, making my Arctic Devil 16 months old at the time I drank it. I noted a strong ETOH aroma intermixed with warm fruitiness. The diminished carbonation yielded virtually no head or lace. The body was dark russet brown and placid.

Taste is comparable to sherry wine with a warm alcoholic flush to the tongue and belly. The sweet aperitif contours with fruity complexity were a pleasure to indulge. The alcohol at first comes across as slightly intrusive, even after 16 months. But this effect tends to fade before long (or is that just me getting hammered?)

Overall, a fine sipping beer with strong character though not a heavy hitter.

Photo of jtladner
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of kbuzz
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of BColton1
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of ReeseMax3
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

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Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,094 ratings.