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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

929 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 929
Reviews: 333
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 8.22%
Wants: 933
Gots: 251 | 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: 929 | Reviews: 333 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of chippo33
chippo33

Vermont

4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

04-04-2013 01:00:51 | More by chippo33
Photo of twiggamortis420
twiggamortis420

Texas

4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle courtesy of Libby pours a hazed brown color with a nice tan head. Moderate retention and surprisingly large bubbles.

Nose is caramel for alchies! Maybe some Bit-O-Honey and Chic-O-Stick sweetness thrown in for good measure...man, this beer smells like a candy store run by alcoholics.

Taste is molasses, fresh maple syrup, alcohol and caramel. Soooo smooth and very easy to drink. The malts are rich and have a perfect flow to them. Mouthfeel is rich, but not overly thick or cloying. Wonderful beer...classic even. One of the best barleywines I have had in some time.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2013 22:15:57 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of DefenCorps
DefenCorps

Oregon

4.58/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got a couple of bottles of this, one from joe1510 in the LNBA BIF, and mhewes, as an extra of all things. Both bottles are the 2007 vintage, clocking in at 10%.

Deep reddish brown with a dense, light brown head that recedes to a disk, leaving a little lace. Reddish brown highlights are present. The nose is excellent. I didn't really know this was as barrel aged as it was. Bourbon is present and quite noticeable, along with some booze. The malt character is excellent. Mild tart fruits with dates and raisins, a mild nutty aroma, a little creamy cocoa, almost. Rich leather, tobacco and molasses (shisha ). The dark fruit character is excellent and quite unique, the dates, brown sugar, raisins and palm sugar, and works quite brilliantly with the leather. As it warms up, it makes me think of orange peel dipped in chocolate.

Opening with a blend of brown sugar, toffee, palm sugar, dates and leather . The bourbon is a little more reserved on the palate, with an almost vinous boozy character. In fact, the fruitiness and the booze coupled with the malt base makes this more vinous than bourbon. Hops have faded, they just aren't noticeable here. The mid-palate has some caramel and toffee, and leather appears too. The leather and the tannins work really well, lingering on into the finish. Medium in body with soft carbonation, this feels excellent on the palate. The finish is wonderful, earthy, leathery, tannic and mildly fruity. The tannins also do have a mild walnut character. Despite the booziness, the alcohol is very well hidden. Drinking this 22oz bottle is going to be no problem. In some ways, it makes me think of the Brandy Old Stock. Easily among the top 3 barleywines I've had, beautifully structured

**Edit 4 July 2013**

Yes, it's summer, but here in Oregon, it's 60F outside right now. This is the 08 vintage, 10% ABV.

Earth, tobacco, raisin and some bourbon are present on the nose. Moderately vinous with a definite grape skin tannin character present. The palate is smooth and glorious (in feel, at least), with a nice blend of sweetness, earth, tobacco and some sherry. Oxidation is starting to kick in, with a slight dullness present. Moderately nutty (walnut, in particular), along with some umami flavors (black olives, strange as that may sound). Wonderful body, full, smooth, creamy and supple, this is softly carbonated and is very delicious. I do wish I drank this about 18 months back, though.
4/4/4.75

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2010 03:37:46 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of claspada
claspada

New Jersey

4.48/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Adding 2011 version sampled early Spring 2012. Aromas is definitely more whiskey forward but by no means boozy or as spirit forward as I have sampled in the past. Flavor is also quite similar but still much more barrel flavor than the aged version. Really well integrated and still the top Barleywine on the planet for my money.

2007 Vintage, ABV listed at 10.0%.

Pours a murky and muddy chestnut brown; one finger tan head which recedes quite rapidly leaving minimal lacing. Cannot see light through this big boy like I could with Mirror Mirror last night.

The aromas begin lots or dark rich caramel maltiness and dark fruitiness (cherries and figs mainly). No hops what-so-ever but after 5 years what do you expect. As it warms you get some darker chocolate and roasted toffee and a little honey sweetness and a note of alcohol but it's a barleywine so it's acceptable.

The tastes begin with chewy caramel candy sweet malts and lesser but still prevalent toffee and milk chocolate. Reminds me a little of a piece of Werther's Original candy actually. Wow this is super complex. As it warms you can detect a little of the dark fruit which I noted in the aroma (dates and figs) but as soon as you pick them out the caramelized malts take over again and then some toffee and more milk chocolate and honey sweet flavors. Now I am getting some strong maple flavors, crazy! I am glad I had this as my first beer of the night because I can truly appreciate it's beauty and greatness. Although there was a slight booziness on the nose, there is zero in the taste. Also not much barrel, but it was blended with non-barreled beer, plus the age, no I deduct no points for that, in fact I am giving more credit. Some many flavors from the blended/different barrels used, wow... just wow.

Mouthfeel is stupidly full and heavy but somehow not syrupy at all which is amazing given the minimal carbonation (which I usually hate but it works for this beer). Decadent is the word that comes to mind as I am drinking this; definitely a sipper to be enjoyed (I didn't say you have to share it, I have no intention to, just quaff and enjoy). Silky smooth and somehow finishes dry despite all the sweet and delicious maltiness. Only with the last sip can I detect a little booziness, but it's really warm at this point because I enjoyed/savored this over a long period of time.

Overall I have had two of the best barleywines in my life back-to-back nights (last night was Mirror Mirror 2009, uninfected version) but I think, no I know, this tops it. Wow, so so so highly recommended and worth trading for.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2011 23:38:22 | More by claspada
Photo of RoyalT
RoyalT

Ohio

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2005 01:37:03 | More by RoyalT
Photo of Cynic-ale
Cynic-ale

Ohio

4/5  rDev -8.7%

03-23-2014 01:34:15 | More by Cynic-ale
Photo of gford217
gford217

Georgia

4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, deep copper with a two-finger buttery head which linger throughout and leaves sporadic lacing. Aroma is big on dark fruits, figs and raisins mainly, and caramel malts. Alcohol burn really comes out as it warms. Taste is big and roasty, with dark fruits dominating. Toffee and caramel malts are present throughout with a definite alcohol burn and a hint of oak in the finish. Mouthfeel is incredible and silky smooth with strong carbonation. This is definitely a sipper and a fantastic barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2008 03:04:05 | More by gford217
Photo of bsuedekum
bsuedekum

Missouri

4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

11-14-2011 09:30:36 | More by bsuedekum
Photo of Duff27
Duff27

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Inch tall off white head on a dark but translucent "mohageny" colored body. Very nice head retention for the style. Some lacing.

Sweet boozy bourbon goodness, not overdone though.

Caramel maltiness, low to nil hop presence duhhh. Alcohol burn going down...I know it says 13+%abv and that's about what it translates too.

Medium to medium-thick mouthfeel. Lower carbonation.

Overall well balanced English barleywine and barrel notes. I don't know if I was looking forward to this more than I should have but it's a small let down even as its at the bottom of the top tier of its style. What?

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2012 02:06:47 | More by Duff27
Photo of illidurit
illidurit

California

4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

05 bottle sampled at the RBSG 08 Grand Tasting. Big thanks to whoever brought it. Pours golden brown with a tan head that leaves wet spotty lacing. Deep caramel aroma with some leafiness. Tobacco? Hops? Flavor is toffee based, with notes of prune, molasses, berries, and wood. Finish is earthy with some vanilla. Full bodied with a very smooth mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2008 20:48:55 | More by illidurit
Photo of francisweizen
francisweizen

Alaska

4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark ruddy, muddy, dirty, cola coloured brown with a fizzy, fizzly head that dies out quickly. Aromas are all raisins, dark fruits, plums, residual sugars, and not really a hint of booze. Impressive. Taste follows suit with plenty of malty dark fruit flavors, and candied spicy flavors. Rum raisin cake, maybe? This is really like an old ale, not so much of a barleywine, but hey, who's keepin' score? Mouthfeel is medium bodied and drinkability is pretty good as well. A nice one from AK.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2005 20:20:35 | More by francisweizen
Photo of popery
popery

California

4.43/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From notes, 12/9/10. Bottle. 2010 version. Among the very best barleywines that I’ve tried. This is sit-down-and-take-a-moment good, and I can imagine it getting better with age. The pour is clear ruby with a tiny head. It’s fairly viscous, though not quite as much as you might expect from a 14% abv beer. All sorts of flavors come out in the aroma and taste. There’s an enormous English caramel/toffee malt flavor marbled with a ton of fruitiness. Lots of raisins, plums, peaches, dates and cherries. On top of that, there are great flavors of vanilla, mint, oak, leather and subtle barrel notes. There’s just a touch of hop bitterness in the finish to pull it back from cloying territory. This is a deeply flavored beer that oozes luxury and craftsmanship. Mouthfeel is full and smooth. It coats the mouth pleasantly, but I’ve had lots of stickier, boozier beers that aren’t nearly the size of this one. Midnight Sun knows their stuff and really hit one out of the park with this beer. I might be scoring this a bit low in anticipation of trying an aged bottle in a few years.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2013 07:45:11 | More by popery
Photo of DmanGTR
DmanGTR

Florida

4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

04-14-2014 12:55:22 | More by DmanGTR
Photo of KAF
KAF

Iowa

4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

01-17-2012 21:27:00 | More by KAF
Photo of Jwale73
Jwale73

Rhode Island

4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours the color of cola with a frothy, loose, tan-colored head that slowly dissipates into a soapy slick. Nose reveals toffee, figs, and burnt sugar. Taste consistent with nose with a light, residual ethanol presence that cuts the sweetness. Mouthfeel is light-medium with an even carbonation. This has been a long-time want of mine and I was not disappointed. Top notch - wish I had more.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2014 01:14:12 | More by Jwale73
Photo of whartontallboy
whartontallboy

New York

5/5  rDev +14.2%

01-14-2012 02:05:57 | More by whartontallboy
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber of the 08 vintage into a Weyerbacher tulip. Huge thanks to Matt for sharing this long-time want.

A: Clear dark reddish-brown body underneath a finger of fine tan head that settles into a ring. Nice.

S: Sweet, lightly oxidized aroma that just screams English Barleywine: sherry, toffee, brown sugar, and a touch of slightly spicy chocolate. Wow. This smells absolutely amazing.

T: Rich, smooth, and lovely. Very sweet, very complex, and awesome: tons of raisin, toffee, butterscotch, and caramel. Sticky sweet aftertaste. I love it, but the sweetness gets a trifle overbearing. Just a trifle, though, and for the style that's ok by me.

M: Smooth, slick full body. Nice viscosity, low carbonation. Lovely.

D: This can't be considered truly drinkable in any objective sense, but I still want more and more. It's insanely sweet, but somehow the sweetness doesn't come along with any booziness at all. Impressive.

Notes: This is my new benchmark for English Barleywines - it absolutely blew 99 J.W. Lees Harvest out of the water, imbuing its intense malt sweetness with a stunning plethora of nuanced, complex flavors. I could be happy smelling this for hours on end - it's that rich, that amazing. I really hope I get to drink this again someday.

Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2011 01:17:17 | More by woosterbill
Photo of aasher
aasher

Indiana

4.25/5  rDev -3%

01-19-2013 17:52:20 | More by aasher
Photo of ArrogantB
ArrogantB

Colorado

4.22/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been sitting on this bottle for the last three months and decided today is a good day to drink it. It is very dark, brown with ruby edges. The smell is sweet with alcohol tinges. The taste is very sweet malts, delicious but thick and syrupy with an almost cognac-like flavor. There is a slight vanilla flavor which I assume is from the barrels. This beer is definitely an English style barleywine, very malt-forward. The alcohol leaves a burn.

12/21/08 2007 vintage

still very malty sweet, good english barleywine, pricey but will probably age very well, also much stronger than 10%...

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2008 03:51:19 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

4.78/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. 2008 Vintage. Huge thanks to beerwolf77 for sharing this one! Been a longtime want for me personally.

(A)- Pours a deep dark burnt caramel color that produced a good tan colored head for the ABV that dissipated down to froth.

(S)- A nice rich caramel sweetness. Hints at fig, raisin, and brown sugar. Honey subtle sweetness; toffee too.

(T)- So smooth! Rich and sweet with very similar characters from the smell; caramel and toffee with fig, honey, and brown sugar. Has a very subtle yet sexy dry oak finish.

(M)- A nice mellow carbonation level. Very sweet and rich, but so smooth and easy on the palate despite the huge 13.4% ABV.

(D)- A fantastic Barleywine. Sweet and rich but so smooth for how boozy this is SUPPOSED to be, but is the opposite. Being around 3 years old, this has even more life left in it for the future. Just amazing stuff that is drinking very well currently.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2011 01:30:33 | More by sweemzander
Photo of Lare453
Lare453

Florida

4.25/5  rDev -3%

03-07-2014 05:52:26 | More by Lare453
Photo of FosterJM
FosterJM

California

4.08/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1647th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
22oz

2011 Vintage
Purchased from El Cerrito Liquor, Corona, CA

App- When I poured this out. It was very thick and dense. It was the color of crimson mixed with ambers and golds. A good center was there with some radiating highlights around the edges. A good 1-1/2" head was there and was a bit of a tan/khaki color. A good bit of cling and lace was retained as it slid. A little bit of bubbles remained on the surface as well like a soda would.

Smell- I was expecting a little bit more integration and deep layering on this one. I am learning very quickly that for a barleywine I much prefer bourbon vs. whiskey. The whiskey barrel does add a nice amount of booze and charry oak, but too much prickly aroma behind it. A little bit of a deep malt with a hint of creamy sweetness behind it. A little bitter hops on a strong pull.

Taste- I thought it was good. It was good, it wasnt great. There are a lot of other Barleywines out there that are a bit better. However, most of those are preference because I enjoy bourbon english BW's vs. Whiskey. So with that. This had a good deep malt backbone and the base barleywine did come out well. The barrel added a good depth of flavor with a bit of oak char, a bit of prickly spirit flavor and a strong booze flavor.

Mouth- A very full medium body with a strong medium carbonation. As it warmed from the 55F I poured at it did start a bit thin. A little prickly carbonation. As it time when by it was more lush and creamy and then went into that full carbonation. The more upfront residual flavors were the whiskey and the base malts.

Drink- I enjoyed this. I got a new job yesterday and opened something nice. I was hoping this was some sort of a KH killer that I finally had my hands on. It wasnt. Not to say it wasn't a good beer. Just expected more. Its good, but not great. I think I prefer Abacus to this.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2012 17:08:24 | More by FosterJM
Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
TheBeerAlmanac

Kentucky

4/5  rDev -8.7%

01-04-2014 20:08:42 | More by TheBeerAlmanac
Photo of rudzud
rudzud

Massachusetts

4.15/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received in a trade 2011 Vintage.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice crystal clear deep coppery mahogany hue with a nice one finger off white head that fades to leave a nice thin blanket.

S - Nice sweet (but not too sweet) malts and soft oak with good whiskey notes. Quite faint throughout.

T - Slightly hot, but to be expected. Softer, sweet malts light caramel and toffee, gentle oak and whiskey. Some nice intermingling but again its all rather light with some alcohol in the background.

M - Mouthfeel is spot on. Nicely carbonated here with those prickly bubbles keeping it up off the tongue. As it warms though it gets a bit thin.

O - Overall this was a good barleywine. Not great, just good. Slightly disappointed here, for the trouble it is to get Anchorage brews I had higher expectations for this one. There are readily available barleywines on the market I can get at a fraction.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2012 02:19:42 | More by rudzud
Photo of tpd975
tpd975

Florida

4.63/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a rustic brown color with tints of red shining thru. The head is huge, brown, and puffy. The retention is wonderful and some lace is noted.

S: Whoa boy this is one boozy monster. Tons of bourbon and oak in the nose. Beneath the booze hides caramel malt, toffee, a hint of hops and spice.

T: Wow what a suprise. Not boozy at all considering the ABV. The nose makes you think this one is going to be booze booze booze, but its not. This one is wonderful. The sweet malts really come out and shine here. Lots of caramel and toffee. A bit of butter rum candy and a splash of spice. There were some citrus hops in there for balance, but overall this one is packed with malty goodness.

M: THICK... almost syrup like.

D: Extremely good for the style and ABV. I could have enjoyed an entire bomber myself.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2008 15:40:32 | More by tpd975
Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 929 ratings.