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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

963 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 963
Reviews: 335
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 8.22%
Wants: 936
Gots: 258 | FT: 38
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: 963 | Reviews: 335 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev -11%

Bomber shared over lunch. Dark brown, bubbly initial head. Although the alcohol isn't very apparent, this is strong and calls for food, It's a sipper. Cinammon and spice and nutty barleywine. Full mouthfeel. Flavorful winter warmer crossover, very good.

Sammy, Jun 04, 2006
Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev -3%

t0rin0, Nov 22, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%

Thanks to Skuter for sharing this one with me!

2011 vintage.

Pours a murky brown with a khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots and streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, dark fruits, and wood aromas. Taste is the same but there is a more noticeable wood and whisky presence in the flavor. This beer has a very nice mouthfeel with a good crispness and medium body. Overall, this is a very good barleywine with some awesome aromas and flavors.

UCLABrewN84, Mar 25, 2012
Photo of djrn2
4.25/5  rDev -3%

djrn2, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
4.63/5  rDev +5.7%

2008 edition shared by SonicAlligator at the Sexual Chocolate release.

Pours a dark chestnut brown with a small, tight head. Loads of things going on in the aroma department: bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and bits of dark fruit. Taste is very similar, with the barrel-aging really coming through; love the combo that Midnight Sun has done. Unbelievably lush mouthfeel--super creamy with the perfect tint of alcohol warmth (which was quite necessary waiting out there in line). Great drinkability. One of my all-time favorite barleywines.

Thorpe429, Feb 10, 2010
Photo of nmann08
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

nmann08, Jun 27, 2012
Photo of zestar
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

zestar, Nov 20, 2013
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -14.4%

acurtis, May 27, 2013
Photo of brentk56
4.1/5  rDev -6.4%

2007 bottling

Appearance: With a hard pour the beer raises a minimal head that squatts on the hazy tea-brown liquid; fading quickly to a ringlet, it leaves some leggy lacing behind

Smell: Toffee, figs, mulled cider spicing and discernable alcohol, even after four years

Taste: The toffee and fig flavors jump out from the moment the liquid touches the tongue, with bigger fruit, earthy hop and burning alcohol elements arriving shortly thereafter; in the finish, the sweet and fruity flavors blend with a pipe tobacco character to provide a complex finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation; plenty of warmth, still

Overall: A very nice English Barleywine, indeed, though it doesn't jump out at me as being extraordinary; perhaps it has something to do with the age, though this is still quite potent

I cannot remember who sent it to me as I kept this one in the cellar for quite some time; thanks to whomever

brentk56, Aug 04, 2011
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.85/5  rDev +10.7%

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.

BuckeyeNation, May 22, 2007
Photo of BEERchitect
4.53/5  rDev +3.4%

Alas, the longly anticipated Arctic Devil Barleywine. Richly malted, complex, and with a formitable hop counterpart the beer lives up to its lofty expectations.

A very hazy rusty color and medium haze give a rich and weighted look. Sprinkles of yeast can be found floating about. Ivory stanined roam forms a sturdy head early on and fades over its own weight to a sheet of lace across the surface and glass. A pretty good look.

Aromas steal the show with a balanced and rich flavor of molassas, toffee, and brown sugar. Throw in an estery flank of prunes, dates, figs, raisons, and rummy spiciness. A vinous note of sherry with red wines give a mildly tart balance to the rich fruits and malts. Lightly herbal (tea-like) character gives a modest glimpse into the hop balance. Barleywines just don't carry a much better aroma.

Flavors pick up where the aroma leaves off. But along with those delicate and rich flavors that resemble port wine, brandy, and cognac; the flavors pack on a balanced bitterness that in one sip seems to balance the beer well, while in the next seems to detract from the seductive sweetness. Alcohol bite adds to the sweetness while it's spicy taste seems to intensify a bit too much and interrupts the malt sweetness- tasting a bit like cough syrups at times. However, the initial malty-fruity interplay is too good to ignore.

Weighted, rich, and robust, the beer takes on a bit texture at the on onset. But the beer's chewy texture is quick waivering, in favor of alcoholic heat, assertive hop/alcohol bite, and a bit of scratchy texture in the back of the throat. Dry late but also alcoholic, still leaving plenty of malty stickiness on the mouth's surfaces.

An outstanding Barleywine of the English variety, but its only the rougher alcohols and bitey bitterness that keeps it from world class status.

Thanks Auroracrisis!

BEERchitect, Nov 03, 2010
Photo of mikesgroove
4.38/5  rDev 0%

Picked this one up in the Barley wine BIF recently and needless to say I was thrilled to get it. I had been looking for this one forever so when I finally had it, did not take long for me to get it chilled down and into a glass. Served at cellar temperature in a Terrapin snifter while watching cloverfield last night.

Appearance - This one poured a very nice, and very dark brown. Very thick looking on the pour with a minimum amount of head coming up through it. A bout a half inch of off white foam rose up through it, but then quickly settled down into a thin film, which itself then faded into nothing after a minute. Touch of side glass lacing could be seen.

Smell - The aroma was loaded down with bourbon. This shocked me a bit at first, in a good way, but nonetheless. Lots of spices in the nose here as well. Hints of raisins and figs, light earthy, roasted malts and a good touch of alcohol. Very complex nose, and unique for the style.

Taste - The flavor was a wonderful surprise. Rich tastes of oak and vanilla, hints of roasted malts and caramel. Lots of bourbon like flavors swirling around. Very tight and nicely done. A bit of alcohol, just enough to thicken it up a bit. A really nice and very full barley wine. Finish was strong, with a healthy dose of bourbon and spice lingering in the mouth for what seemed like forever.

Mouthfeel - A super full Mouthfeel, much bigger then most barley wines out there. Creamy with ample carbonation, this was just absolutely wonderful. A really fantastically put together beer.

Drinkability - The quintessential sipper, I thoroughly enjoyed going on with this one for a good long while. An interesting take on the style, but highly shippable and most of the 10% was extremely well hidden.

Overall I thought this was an outstanding selection from MS. Really a top notch beer here. Not so much a barley wine as it was a bit bigger then that. Very good though and something that I will look to buy a few to cellar.

mikesgroove, Jun 21, 2008
Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev -3%

Texasfan549, Feb 10, 2013
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -8.7%

kjkinsey, Jan 29, 2013
Photo of womencantsail
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%

A big thanks to Kevin for opening this one during the Bruery 2nd Anniversary.

A: The pour is a slightly hazy dark amber color with a medium off-white head on it.

S: A really top notch bouquet on this one. Rich caramel, toffee, burnt sugar, and dark fruits. Some bourbon, vanilla, and some more caramel for good measure.

T: The sweetness is certainly present, but it is not cloying at all. The caramelized and "burnt" sugar flavors offer some balance and interact wonderfully with the cherries, plums, and vanilla.

M: A smooth and silky mouthfeel, nearly chewy but not syrupy. A low to moderate carbonation and a pleasant alcohol warmth.

D: Easily one of the best barleywines I've had and one of my new favorites.

womencantsail, May 24, 2010
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

ygtbsm94, Jan 11, 2012
Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +14.2%

spycow, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -14.4%

GRG1313, Feb 09, 2013
Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev -8.7%

kylehay2004, May 29, 2014
Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev -3%

jaydoc, Jun 08, 2014
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.3/5  rDev -1.8%

Okay, so I was a bit hasty. I was just so eager to finally crack open the bottle of Arctic Devil that I made no note of its production year. Now, this beer was received in a trade waaay back in early 2008 (mid-February, IIRC). So, if we suppose it was, at the time, a current bottle, it was from the November 2007 release, making it a 2007 vintage. Let's roll with that!

2007 Vintage.

Appearance: Pours a delicately hazy, deep, russet-hued body with a thin, wispy, ecru-colored head.

Smell: Strong, sweet-smelling malt aroma with plenty of dark caramel, toasted toffee, and brown sugar. While there is a ripe plum and dried fig fruit character, it's simply bursting at the seems with a rich cherry fruitiness. There's even room enough for vanilla, damp oaken barrels, and some nose-tingling alcoholic wafts.

Taste: Thickly sweet and oh-so delectable dark caramel ice cream topping flavor garnished with a pinch of hearty cinnamon and brown sugar. Plenty of fruitiness, and, as with the nose, it's big on the cherries! Drizzle of Grade A maple syrup straight from Vermont. Touches of vanilla and lightly tannic oak wood. An earthy bitterness melds in well with the rest of the brew. Now, mind you, there's an ample amount of alcohol warmth coursing through this brew, but, thanks to the assertive maltiness, it prevents it from coming across as overly hot. Finishes long with plenty of drying alcohol and an enduring maltiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is both silky and smooth.

Drinkability: Another skillful release from Midnight Sun. Barleywines are addicting enough on their own, but Arctic Devil takes it to a whole new level of hedonistic indulgence. Overall, an exemplary brew!

ChainGangGuy, May 30, 2009
Photo of Knapp85
4.25/5  rDev -3%

Knapp85, Nov 16, 2013
Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev -7.5%

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 westcoastbeerlvr
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
4.33/5  rDev -1.1%

Served in a clear plastic cup.

High five to yeahnatenelson for sharing this 2008 vintage bottle during DLD!

Now that I think about it, though, I'm pretty sure I gave that high five away before this was cracked. Meh, worth it regardless. It (the beer, o' course) pours a cloudy sunset russet-amber topped by a half-finger of dark sandy foam. The nose comprises caramel, vanilla, toffee, mild maple syrup, and butterscotch. The taste holds notes of toffee, chocolate, oak, vanilla, light orange peel, light mandarin orange syrup, and butterscotch. The body is a hefty-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a kinda dry finish. Overall, a very tasty b-wine, one that a few years seems to have done wonders for.

TMoney2591, May 03, 2011
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Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 963 ratings.