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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

1,046 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,046
Reviews: 339
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.47%
Wants: 950
Gots: 261 | 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: 1,046 | Reviews: 339 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark russet eggplant hue with a deflated thin cap to a collar.

Deep aroma of dark fruit cornicopia fig and plum followed with a brutal assault of dark grain waffle malt and burnt caramalized molasses.

First swigs: Molasses thick, I mean thick! black cherries, caramelized sugar, sticky pastry dough. Fruit figs and dates extreme with a balance of vanilla and almond. Complex hints of soy.

Feel is full bodied tongue coater, gentle restrained carbonation. Pancake mix dry. Sticky lips stick to the glass.

Last swigs: Unlike ANY barelywine. Almost rauch-like. Eating iceing fom the cake. Thanks AKSmokedPorter!

Beer is good. Happy big bold beering.

Photo of Kopfschuss
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of aerozeppl
4.82/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to dmeadows for the share. We did the 2007 and 2008 side by side. The 07 was 10% while the 08 was slightly stronger. Looks like I wrote 1?.4

A: The 07 had more carbonation. The 2008 was a little bit darker. Both are a nice garnet color with some ruby color in there as well. Really a great looking english barleywine.

S: The 07 was so mellow and nice. The 98 is sweeter and a little boozier. More malt. The nose has a ton of malt. The barrel gives it that smooth nose. Just blended everything together.

T: More oak in the 08. More booze as well but still smooth. The thing I could not get over was how smooth the 07 was. Reminded me of a 1998 JW Lees. Just so well balanced. One of the best barleywines I have ever had. Excellent use of barrel aging.

M: Very smooth. Nice carbonation. Both vintages.

D: Amazingly drinkable. Just so smooth. I really loved this beer. Deserves to be in the top 100.

Photo of n2185
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of CrellMoset
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with gford217 - another phenomenally generous crack. Poured into a Terrapin snifter.

Appearance: Hazy, orange red brown - tons of colors, insane - with a great-looking tan head with a very fine, even bubble structure and great retention. Iridescent and oily looking under the light.

Aroma: Tons of alcohol, even more dark fruit and fruity esters - figs, raisins, very vinous and grape-like. There's also smoke and some salty notes, about halfway between cured ham and soy sauce, which become more pronounced as it warms.

Taste: The first thing you notice is how DARK this barleywine is. It's almost part-RIS, part barleywine. Roasted toffee, smoky butterscotch, and other dark, toasted malt notes intermingle with figs, raisins, lighter fruit notes and other sweeter, more traditional barleywine notes. Tons of alcohol, but it's smooth and warm. Crazy, and very interesting.

M: Chewy and thick, oily in places. Amazingly fine-bubbled and even. Very well done.

D: Pungent alcohol on this one, fairly high, but it's very interesting and unique - one of my new favorites of the style.

Photo of WeisGuy
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage

a - pours a deep deep brown with a garnet hue, modest cream colored head, retention around the edges, not much by way of lacing, quite cloudy

s - rum-soaked raisins and plums with a healthy dose of caramel, unexpected dose of bitter, piney hop aroma on the nose as well

t - big sweet caramel malt flavors up front, rum-soaked raisin and plum on the midpalate with more caramel, some light piney hop bitterness balances out the sweetness a little on the finish, alcohol fumes present on the finish as well with the lingering dark fruit component

m - full-bodied, moderate carbonation, well balanced on the finish, strong alcohol warming effect

d - definitely a sipper of a barleywine, but par for the style, alcohol and sweetness aren't as overwhelming as I expected

Overall, a very good English Barleywine. This isn't my favorite style - I lean more toward hoppier American Barleywines - but I found this quite enjoyable. I imagine this would age quite well, but it's drinking quite nicely right now.

Photo of papat444
4.29/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Boozecamel for my first taste of Midnight Sun!

Poured from a 650ml. bottle.

Appearance: Thick, dark brown pour; gorgeous cascading effect of the dark brown foam. Good retention and minimal lacing.

Smell: Vanilla beans, powerful bourbon, heady aroma, some caramel.

Taste: First flavor is like licking caramel followed by oak, bourbon, vanilla, classic barleywine candy flavor, layers of flavor here.

Mouthfeel: Brash yet melts in your mouth, textured yet deceivingly easy to drink.

Overall: This is an excellent barleywine, very fortunate to have tried this.

Photo of brewandbbq
4.54/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004 Vintage

Pours cherry mahogany, lightly translucent, with a shy, eggshell head.
The discreet foam cap falls quick, leaving a whisp edging.
Chewy, rich, complex nose.
Juicy, figgy, raisiny malts with bourbon-steeped cherries.
Aromatics finish with stinging alcohol, citrus fruits, and vanilla.
Thickish body, mild syrup hints, and lingering.
Bitter on the pallet, followed by caramel coated figs, dates, and raisins laced with single malt.
Finishes long and warming, with additional bitterness and a mild brown sugar note.
An exceptional Barleywine.

Photo of HopStoopid120
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of BeerBucks
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of DIPAFAN
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of bcm75
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of SpdKilz
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared at a tasting last night with a few fellow BA’s. 2011 vintage.

Appearance – Pours into a tulip with a relatively clear dark brown color with a hint of off white/tan head that dissipates rather quickly.

Smell – Lots of bourbon and vanilla, caramel, oak, slight molasses, dark fruits such as prunes, and a some hoppy aromas.

Taste – A nice burnt caramel/toffee flavor up front that is sweet but not overly so. The bourbon and oak mixed with vanilla comes next. For as “fresh” of a barleywine as this is (and I know all are unique) it is not overly hoppy which is good (didn’t like the excessive hoppiness in fresh Behemoth). Candied toffee and dark fruits finish up the sip that you want to warm on your tongue to enjoy the full range of flavors. Very nice.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, chewy, moderate carbonation.

Overall – A very good barleywine and one that I could not even taste the alcohol despite it being 13+abv. Glad I have another to lay down.

Photo of thebigredone
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.94/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Unsure of the vintage but this one is labeled as 10% ABV. Thanks to ipa247 (Jeff) for this one. Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a Darkness snifter.

A: Gentle pour yields just a thin ring of frothy lacing around the edge of the glass. Beer is a semi-cloudy clay-brown. Lacing is stringy and thick with moderate cling. Pretty average.

S: Nose is outstandingly aromatic. Toffee, caramel, brown sugar, and some plum and raisin notes. Alcohol is prominent but not enough to cover the robust flavors. Nice.

T: Opens toffee, caramel, and molasses. Brown sugar, honey, plums, and raisin towards the middle along with a sharp alcohol twinge. More toffee and caramel at the end. Alcohol becomes warming and subtle. Finish is molasses and anise with brown sugar in the aftertaste. Super rich and hearty. Great complexity.

M: Full bodied with low carbonation. Oily and filmy in the mouth with good viscosity. Goes down smooth and warm. Finish is messy with a lingering aftertaste. A bit too thick but incredibly rich and smooth.

O: A monster of a beer, Arctic Devil is a meal in a glass. Incredibly robust and complex with a ton of subtle flavors. However, what keeps it from the top tiers is the huge body and alcohol bite towards the middle and end. Age would probably do wonders to this one. Definitely worth trying and older vintages are likely worth their weight in gold!

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.49/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle says 10%...no date so I'm not quite sure of the vintage. Guesstimate 2006 or 2007. Pours into my glass a deeply murky brown with dark red highlights. A small khaki head forms on top and then falls. Aromas start with deep rich malts overflowing with caramel, toffee and a mix of dark fruits. Spicy accents with a bit of woodiness in there as well. Touch of bourbon along with some hops. Vanilla floats in on the back end. Really rich and enticing aroma.

First sip brings a bath of sweet, dense malts upfront that attack the palate. Swirls of caramel, toffee and ripe fruits. Woody, oak accents with a definite kick of bourbon. Vanilla and spice on the way down. Sweet throughout with a nice hoppy bitterness on the finish. Just an awesome barleywine overall.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good steady carbonation. Not overly heavy and ends up being quite a tasty drink. This is a damn tasty barleywine that holds nothing back. A bit on the sweet side but it works and packs a hefty malt punch with a good dose of alcohol to match.

Photo of mentor
4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear red-brown liquid with minimal tan head. Smells cleanish alcohol, brown sugar, soured caramel (from aged oxidation), and dark esters such as raisin.

Tastes wet sweet, nice caramel and buttery with some sherry-like (soured caramel) oxidation. dark fruits heavy in the mouth (fig and brown raisin). Touch of scorch to the toffee. Thick dextrinous mouthfeel, yet dries in the finish. Modest carbonation at best. Yummy.

Photo of mportnoy
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of mrn1ceguy
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Lucnifter
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of josephwa
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of jvillefan
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of bmwats
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into a snifter.

A: Medium, dark brown. Plenty of effervescence clings to the sides of the glass. Pours about a half finger, bubbly, white head. Dissipates quickly leaving a ring of foam around the rim and a smattering of bubbles on the surface. Carbonation, continues to rise throughout. Light, spotty lacing.

S: Molasses, caramel, maple syrup, and milk chocolate. Buttery and nutty.

T: Caramel and milk chocolate prevalent, here. Balanced with a little pungent peaty tone.

M: Thick and syrupy, with a light crispness. Slightly sweet, but too much so, nutty character, high alcohol...unnoticeable.

D: Goes down with less resistance than you'd expect for the high alcohol content. Try to sip, savor, and make it last...it won't be easy.

Atmosphere is really solid. Decent head, nice effervescence, and some slight lacing. Nose is excellent combination of sweet components. Flavor is lightly pungent, and lightly sweet, nutty and syrupy characterized by caramel, milk chocolate, and maple; but heavily sweet... well done. High alcohol content is well disguised. Overall, this is a great quaff.

Photo of UWBadgerFan4Life
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of random846
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,046 ratings.