Arctic Devil Barley Wine - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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Arctic Devil Barley WineArctic Devil Barley Wine

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

348 Reviews
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Reviews: 348
Hads: 1,161
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 7.82%
Wants: 974
Gots: 289 | FT: 39
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 348 | Hads: 1,161
Photo of thetomG
3.78/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep orange/reddish/amber color.

Thin layer of dense white foam for head.

Primarily dark fruits, malts and some earthy notes in the nose.

Good solid bitterness in the flavor, with a solid amount of heat from the alcohol in the finish.

Well carbonated, but full bodied and smooth mouthfeel.

The warmth from the alcohol and its overall intense flavors make this one a bit of a sipper for me, but I would try it again anytime. (428 characters)

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

07/09/08. - - Courtesy of tpd975. Pours amber with tan head. The aroma is big and inviting with caramel and rich dark fruity esters of grapes, plums and sweet berries before it heats up a bit. The taste is rich and yummy but does have some alcohol welling up. I get creamy caramel candy and some nutty roasty malts. Then the big dark fruitiness comes in and rides into the finish along with a warming alcohol sensation. Leaves a sweet lip smacking feeling behind. <br /><br /> Sampled at the O-Town throwdown. This beer has a nearly opaque copper color with thin tan head. The aroma is pretty big with lots of dark fruitiness and with hints of caramel and sweet malts. There also seems to be some whisky and alcohol in the background. The flavor is delicious barleywine dark and shriveled fruit flavors with a whisky and sweet caramel under currents. It ends sweet, syrupy and rather nice. (901 characters)

Photo of darklordlager
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Midnight Sun Arctic Devil 2008 13.2%

A: Poured into a tulip a dark, ruddy amber. Tan head that fades relatively quickly, but can be roused with a vigorous swirl of the glass.

S: A barrage of aromas greet the nose: dark fruit, caramel, whiskey, oak/vanilla. "Clean/fresh" malt character to it as well.

T: Sweet, rich malt. Dark fruit, somewhat reminiscent of sticky toffee pudding. Whiskey works its way in mid-palate, and becomes more intense into the aftertaste. Lightly tannic finish with rounded oak character.

M: Rich, velvetty mouthfeel with low-medium carbonation. Perfect for this beer.

D: This definitely drinks smoother than the listing on the label advertises. While it is a great barleywine, I believe I would prefer CWBBBW and TPS/MoAS over this. Now I'm interested in how this would be fresh... (814 characters)

Photo of iadler
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to exitmusic00 for cracking this bottle open for our blind barleywine tasting. 2011 bottle. From notes.

A- Pours a translucent ruby red with a thin off white head that leaves adequate lacing behind.

S- Very fruity upfront with notes of raspberries, cherry, plumb, fig and raisins. Brown sugar emerges with oak and burnt caramel following.

T- Oak and vanilla upfront with plumb, raisins, cherries and fig and caramel following with some toasted marshmallow at the finish.

M- Medium carbonation and full smooth body with the high abv being hidden very well.

O- One of my favorite barleywines at the tasting, behind King Henry of course. Would love to grab a few more of these to set down for a bit. Very impressed. (728 characters)

Photo of PerHops
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- reddish brown color with a thin head and visible carbonation.

S- Alcohol right off the bat. Doesn't by any means shock me at 13 percent, but the other times I've had this it hasn't been as evident. Oak, bourbon, cherries, chocolate, tobacco, leather.

T- Maple syrup, chocolate, dark fruits, hops. Almost no alcohol noticeable when cold. Such a wonderful depth of flavors. I can't think of a better beer for a cold winter night.

M- Medium high carbonation, but it has a nice overall feel

O- This is the best barley wine I've tried. Fantastic. (550 characters)

Photo of boralyl
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to AKBelgianBeast for this one. The bottle is dated Jan 2008.

A - Pours about 1/2 finger of tan head that settles quickly leaving a ring. The beer is a very dark amber color that almost looks purple. It's dark enough that not much light comes through.

S - The aroma is nice and complex, brown sugar, sherry, dark fruits and a definite alcohol smell.

M - A full-bodied beer with a thick syrupy feel to it. It is nicely carbonated for the style.

T - A large array of flavors in this complex beast. It begins with some sweet malts, followed by a brandy alcohol flavor. Next up are a small amount of hops to help balance the malts. A warm alcohol feel works it's way down and the after taste is of sweet brown sugar.

A very unique brew for sure. This is my first English Barley Wine and I have to say it certainly hasn't let me down. With that being said I don't think this is really my type of beer, more of those every once and a while brews. It's huge at around 14%, so after the bomber is done you've got a nice little buzz on. I'd definitely recommend sipping on this one to take the time to enjoy it's flavors. (1,124 characters)

Photo of jethrodium
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650 ml bottle. 2011 vintage. Pours a golden copper with a small tan head that settles to a ring and leaves a decent amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is big coconut, some brandy and red wine, bourbon, vanilla, and caramel. The initial taste is sweet with coconut and caramel. There is also brandy, oak, bourbon, and toffee. The finish has some light alcohol. Full bodied but not syrupy. Low carbonation. Great beer. Lots of flavors going on and everything comes together quite nicely. (491 characters)

Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
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! (326 characters)

Photo of DaveJanssen
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split a 22 3 ways. Poured into red wine glasses. Reviewed 9/9/10. 2008 vintage.

Ap: Smooth whiskey and oak, caramel and toffee, strong alcohol, smooth citrus oriented fruit, dark hints, candy sweetness, *perfumey alcohol, mild pineapple, *restrained cinnamon, brown sugar

Ap: Tan medium head good retention, fine haze pink amber, legs, light lace

T: Rich malt, caramel, whiskey, oak, smooth full malt, sweet but good, malt not too complex, pleasant woodiness, date, esters, mild earthy spice, GREAT CARAMEL, mild pineapple, *candy, *cookie dough, toasty, *rye bread, *restrained cinnamon, raisins, prunes, mild chocolate

M: Warming alcohol, burn hints, heavy body, low carb, alcohol increases with warmth but balances beer

O: Excellent example of an english barleywine, alcohol is appropriate, hard to drink a lot of, *no oxidation, *whiskey character melds great with the beer, a sipping beer, *increadible

* = ideas form fellow tasters (943 characters)

Photo of abuliarose
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark ruby body with thin creamy head that devolves into a ring fed by lacy bubbles. Enjoying this one out of my Rock Art tulip. Smells like candied fig (fig molasses, anyone?) with a little burnt caramel and some decent alcohol presence. In effect, smells like dessert!

Tastes sweet and smooth with fine, tingly carbonation. Medium to heavy-bodied in a grade B maple syrup way. Lots of dried dark fruit presence. Caramel malts come out nicely. A lot of sherry likeness, maybe even a little bourbon. I guess that's the aging process coming through. Some wine character in the aftertaste. Many flavors; this brew has a nice depth to it. Very slippery on the tongue. Quite warming. Not what I would consider to be highly drinkable... though I find it highly sip-able. Carbonation lightens it a fair amount, but not enough to cut through the syrupiness. Would like to try this on french toast.

My only wish: for it to come in smaller bottles. Or with a hinge cap. Otherwise, it's quite yummy. (998 characters)

Photo of tjthresh
3.68/5  rDev -15.4%
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. (254 characters)

Photo of kbeals
3.48/5  rDev -20%
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! (759 characters)

Photo of mikecharley
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Haven't done a review in a while, so please excuse the rough nature of this one, as it is done live. '11 vintage, Taking this one down solo (probably a bad choice)

Pours a dark copper, with some brown notes in there, one finger head that quickly fades. No real lacing, but what do you expect for a 13% beast

Smells really good. Some wine, whiskey, barrel, vanilla, coconut, marshmallow, nuttiness. All melding nicely

Taste really does a good job delivering on the promise of the nose, as it tastes fan-fucking-tastic. The marshmallow is really good. I would explain this as a BB4D with a little more depth to the nose and flavor. Great brew. Nice full mouth too.

I would rank this the second best Barley Wine I've had, only behind Alpine Great. (748 characters)

Photo of youradhere
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2010 version. Pours orange, whit head. Smells of apples, green granny smith kind. Tastes the same, with some caramel like what is found in cracker jack. Medium high mouth feel, medium carbonation, drinkability is high. Very enjoyable barley wine, I can't believe I haven't had it before! (287 characters)

Photo of orcasteve
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into my duvel tulip glass, poured a rich thick borwn that cant be seen through, a rich creamy five finger head rises to the top and stays awhile, the smell is rich grain and alchoal with a sweet fig overtone, the flavor is figs, hazelnuts, molasses, honney, sweet malt, a hint of folaral hops then malt for days. this hides the alochal well and is a beer that i would love to get more of (394 characters)

Photo of mikeyv35
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Date: 05/31/2010
Type: 22oz. Bottle
Vintage: 2008
Glassware: Portsmouth Tulip

Poured a brown mahoghany in color w/ a skim coat light brown head w/ little to no lacing. Nose was of toffee, caramel, dark fruits, and light tobacco. Taste was the same as the nose w/ a great bitter hop backbone that balances out the brew nicely. Mouthfeel was medium bodied and the tobacco and flavors really hung on the palate. Drinkability was my only drawback on this brew, as the booziness really started to get to me before I was finished w/ my snifter. If the ABV was kicked down a notch or two, I would have rated this brew as world class. Overall, great flavors and aromas, but pretty disappointed at how hot it was at even two years of age. (730 characters)

Photo of urwithdave
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing from notes 2008 vintage. Thanks Gabe! Poured into a over sized wine glass.

A- pours very dark brown with ruby highlights when held up to light. 2 fingers of a tan head that recedes to a thin ring. Some lacing left on my glass.

A- wow really nice. Big malts with no detection of any hops at all. Smells very sweet. Molasses leads the way with some oaky notes. There is a nutty aroma that kicks in as it warms. There is also a slight hint of booze present.

T- nice! Very sweet with brown sugar, toffee, and molasses in charge. The oak and nuts that I got in the nose come out in nice fashion. There is also vanilla and a hint of bourbon present. This just explodes with different flavors as it warms.

M-on the thicker side. Nice amount of carbonation. There is a slight burn that I feel in the back of my throat, but it's pleasent. It finishes sweet and oaky.

D- one of those beers that u open when u want to really take your time drinking it. I enjoyed sipping on this for about an hour. I was really impressed at the complexity of it. The flavors really transform as the beer warms. A heavenly experience. I have one more left that I will be putting a little time on. I would highly suggest u seek this out. (1,226 characters)

Photo of timc100
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 Vintage -

Very bourbon dominated. Aroma of strong caramel, soaked oak, slight vanilla, coconut, straight bourbon whiskey. Slighter vinous fruit notes. Taste similarly dominated with bourbon, great rich barrel notes, caramel, booze. Mouthfeel is slick, smother, very low carbonation. Fantastic barrel aged english style barleywine (336 characters)

Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Brewed in 2011, opened Mar 2015

Appearance – Pours a dark clear ruby copper color with a small head, no visible carbonation, and light lacing.

Smell – A pleasant barley wine scent, with lots of oak, caramel, brown sugar, and booze.

Taste – Caramel, malt, and booze.

Mouthfeel – Very smooth and creamy with light carbonation. Though it had a little booziness to it, it didn’t feel like 13.2%.

Drinkability – This is a nice barley wine. Surprisingly easy to finish a 22oz bottle at 13.2%. (506 characters)

Photo of Kuaff
4.61/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A 2013 bomber poured into a snifter, at cellar temperature, of course. It's 13.4% ABV this year.

Midnight Sun's Arctic Devil Barley Wine has about as much of a head as can be expected from a beast of its kind. It's very small (maybe a half-finger), tan in color, and dissipates to a swirling sheet of film (in which I can see lively carbonation) relatively quickly. At first glance, I thought the beer to be a deep ruby, but dark mahogany is a better term for it. It isn't totally transparent, but it's pretty clear. A rugged-lookin' ale!

The aroma is simply wonderful. It smells of vanilla, butterscotch, and caramel, with a little dark fruit and bourbon.

Just about everything in the smell is also in the taste. It took me a while to think of what this reminds me of, and then it hit me: salted caramel! It's sweet like caramel candy, but there are other things in here that are complementing the sweetness in a similar manner to salt. It might be the little bit of bitter hops and breadiness that comes out in the aftertaste. There IS some alcohol heat as well, but it doesn't really detract from anything at all, and hey, it's 13.4%. With the intense taste and the high ABV, this one demands to be sipped. Overall, outstanding.

The mouthfeel is really awesome as well. High carbonation, buttery creaminess, and stickiness which I can feel on my lips... it all comes together to create an excellent feel for an English barleywine like this one.

Arctic Devil is aptly named after the wild and vivacious wolverine , for it presents a snarling (but sophisticated) blend of bold flavors in a natural-feeling harmony. This is one of the best offerings from a brewery which has a LOT of fantastic beers. Totally wicked. (1,722 characters)

Photo of schwaeh
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle sent to me by scotchboy. Gotta give a big thanks for this one.

A: Deep red-brown color. Nice off-white head form quickly and fades just as fast. Good legs and light lacing.

S: Bright, sweet, hoppy aroma. Lots of caramel malts. Maybe some spices, none that I can individually pick out. Hops and fruits stand out here.

T: The whiskey is relaxed and real sweet. It's very fruity and bright for the style. Sweet caramel, real soft whiskey. The hoppiest barleywine we've had so far, not real bitter but nice hop flavor. Nice woody vanilla makes this beer great.

M: Soft and smooth with a fluffy feel. Medium-heavy body.

O: A great barleywine. It kinda sucks that it followed king henry but this guy fought really hard to stand amongst the top of the crop. Great stuff. Nice woody vanilla makes this stuff great, it's an awesome flavor in this. Awesome flavors. (873 characters)

Photo of abfraser
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to waltonc for sharing this

A: Nice dark brown amber with a decent sized tan head. This one looks like its going to be thick.

S: Amazing. Pure sweet caramel malt. By smell alone, you know this is going to be a fantastic one.

T/M: This is all high alcohol caramel malt, with a nice fruit flavor in the background. I prefer these English-style barleywine's more than the "American" variety because of this strong malt profile. A lot of other barleywines are dominated by hoppy bitterness, which I'm not a fan of as much in these types of beers. Mouth is a little thick. But this is hardly syrupy or cloying.

D: I could drink this as much as I was physically capable. Great stuff. (688 characters)

Photo of Gfunk720
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage. Thanks to Bill for this bottle.

A- A warm glowing ruby brown color. Pours with a mild slight off white head. The head retreats quickly to a ring around the glass. No lacing.

S- I get mostly notes of sweet malt, caramel, whiskey, and oak. There is some evidence of hops but nothing crazy. This is gonna be good.

T- Wow, one of the smoothest barleywines I've had. Very complex at the same time though. Prodominant notes of caramel, dark fruit. Whiskey and oak then become present, but it's not overdone. A little boozy, with hints of vanilla.

M- Very lightly carbed, could be due to the age. The mouthfeel and body though are great. The complex flavors just dance around in your mouth.

O- I really loved the smoothness and ease of consumption of this beeer, I just kept wanting more and more. I'd love to try a bottle that was a little fresher, and see what it is like. Will definitely seek out again.

-Gfunk (926 characters)

Photo of Donnie2112
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured the bomber into my Brooklyn chalice. 2010 batch

Looks like: This barleywine is dark amber with a thin layer of head that retains decently

Smells like: Very sweet, raisins, brown sugar, molasses on the nose.

Tastes like: Starts as sweet as the nose, then there is a bit of sourness, but not at all offensive. A hair of green apple mixed into all of the sweet dark fruit and sugar flavors. This beer finishes a bit on the dry side with just a hint of citric hoppiness, and the light peppery burn of alcohol.

Feels like: It's a meal in a glass really, full, thick, sticky, oily and delicious. There is moderate carbonation and it's just enough to make the whole thing pop

Really nice offering, the complexity of the flavor profile really makes this beer shine, it's got the right amount of big sticky malt flavor and the right amount of hops. I actually would classify this as an American Barleywine, plenty of hops but not overbearing, lots of sugary, sticky goodness. I'd say this guy is too hoppy to be an English style BW and far too sweet to be a DIPA. (1,067 characters)

Photo of Wadsey
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Arctic Devil

Bottled the last week of November 2008. Hard-poured in a DFH signature glass. 

A: The beer itself is colored deep ruby and has wonderful clarity. A tight nitro-looking head forms initially, but gradually subsides, leaving splotchy lacing. Lazy bubbles drift to surface. 

S: Caramel and light brown sugar mixed with leathery notes and cinnamon. As the beer opens up, some dark fruit and damp wood are detectible. Gingerbread, too. 

T: Arctic Devil doesn't taste the way I thought it would. Caramel and candied dark fruits lead the way. Then the barrel aging reveals itself with whiskey, cinnamon and a hint of vanilla. Bitterness takes over, clearing a path for a dry woody finish. Cola on the tail end. A little leather throughout. 

M: The beer's big body and moderate carbonation work together for a somewhat syrupy mouthfeel. Alcohol definitely warms throat and belly. 

D: I have a feeling I'm catching the Arctic Devil in it's adolescence. He has shaking off some of the youthful edge of barrel-aging but has yet to mellow into a proper English Barleywine. A fascinating sipping beer. (1,114 characters)

Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 348 ratings.