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Arctic Devil Barley Wine - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Arctic Devil Barley WineArctic Devil Barley Wine

Educational use only; do not reuse.

355 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 355
Hads: 1,208
Avg: 4.35
pDev: 15.17%
Wants: 976
Gots: 299 | 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: 355 | Hads: 1,208
Photo of Davepoolesque
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

American BA Barleywine. Definitely has some traditional English Barleywine flavors but less sweet. Toffee, brown sugar, figs, vanilla and white oak. Bitter, dry, long finish. Medium light mouthfeel. Solid brew.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
4.09/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was poured into a snifter.
The appearance was a ruddy hazy almost dark brown color with a light slim finger's worth of off-white head. Lacing slid into the beer.
The smell had some light tobacco, vanilla, sweet figs, cocoa, cake and a light amount of wood.
The taste was centered around the sweetness of the previously mentioned flavors. Tobacco comes back to dry and add some balance. There's a light semi-sweet dry aftertaste and a quick dry finish.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a nice sweet sipping quality to it. Carbonation runs light enough to not detract from the tobacco-esque flavor drying out my tongue.
Overall, I used to live in Alaska and remember sipping this by the fire on cold Winter's nights. Super glad I was able to find a bottle recently to reminisce a little.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bomber poured into a snifter. Been sitting on this for nearly a year.

Pours a cloudy brown/dark caramel color. Think a tootsie roll. Thin frothy pale oatmeal head that develops into a ring of foam and lace on the interior of the glass. 4.25

Delicious aroma. Oatmeal raisin cookie with some bourbon. Sticky fig and vanilla are in the fray as well. 4.25

Got a raisin wine flavor with some spiciness, caramel, grape sucker, and that oatmeal-cookie flavor I find in so many bourbon-barrel aged beers. Vanilla lingers as does some booze taste. 4.25

It's got a sticky mouthfeel that's wet and mildly boozy and kind of reminds me of drinking Frangelico. It's in that vein of a smooth, full-mouthed liquor that still has that solvent bite that reminds you that you're drinking booze and not a child's drink. To be sure though, the booze tastes as if it has receded greatly. 4.25

Another great bourbon barrel-aged barleywine.

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Photo of bgold86
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter glass, pours a nice lightish brown/darkish orange. Sweet dark fruit nose, very typical of an english barley wine. Not a ton of bourbon/vanilla sweetness in the taste, but it's there, dark dried fruits etc. For the price, really not worth it, many bba barley wines meet or exceed this one.

After trying 3 of Midnight Suns top BBA beers, it's apparent that this brewery is a product of hype, their beers are simple mid range, nothing special or of note, but most importantly, the high price (18-19 a bomber) is just not worth it.

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Photo of Hop_God
3.89/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: cloudy ruby brown hazy

S: booze oak brown sugar sour grapes. Raisins.

T: booze. High alcohol taste. Dates. Burnt sugar. Oak. Slightly unfinished.

F: higher carbonation then expected. Lots of raw alcohol Coates the mouth bitter punch

O: surprising how unfinished and alcoholic heat there is Not as impressed as the hype seems to give this.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Straight up delicious. Bomber pours a murky brown with next to no head. Aroma is inviting with bourbon, figs, and toffee. The toffee once again comes through in a strong, enticing way and is coupled with caramel, sweet bread and fruity notes. Silky smooth the whole way down. Bourbon present, but next to no heat.

Overall, this is right there with the best of the BA barleywines I have had. Certainly English style in nature as there is only a very subtle hop presence. Very well done

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Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.71/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Been wanting to try this for quite some time now… Very boozy but also very Carmely and delicious! One of the better barley wines I've had for sure! Would be even better with some age on it!

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Murky brown complexion. Like dirty River water. There's a beige fingernail around the rim. I smell a massively sweet malt bomb. The bitterness of the barley cuts the sweetness. It tastes massively sweet with a heavy malt presence. The mouth is sticky, chewy, thick, and dry.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at The Beer Belly in Albany, NY.

This one pours a slightly murky dark brown, with a small head, and not a whole lot of lacing.

This smells like a huge blast of malty goodness. Lots of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla, and oak- a combination of aromas that make a great BA barleywine, just even more amplified than usual.

The flavors here are so strong and almost concentrated, clearly some high quality malt was used here. Tons of toffee and vanilla, with a good amount of bourbon, caramel, and raw brown sugar. There's a nice vanilla creaminess that's not usually present in barleywines that I certainly dig.

This has a really nicely creamy mouthfeel- don't usually get this level of creaminess out of a barleywine, so it's nice to see here. There's a lower level of carbonation.

One of the better barrel-aged barleywines I've ever had. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

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Photo of GOBLIN
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

An exceptional ba barleywine. Aromas of oak, vanilla, bourbon dominate the nose along with worn leather, raisins, figs, plums and other dark fruits trailing close behind. Spices and another cast of flavor characters playing parts as well. Taste is spot on and similar to the aromas and nothing comes through as harsh . . . as a matter of opinion Arctic Devil's time in the barrel is dialed in perfectly. Aged for about a year and ready for consumption on this rainy, dreary early summer afternoon. Wish I would have drank this this past winter or even had been a just a tad more patient until this next winter. It would have been perfect as a warming beverage to be sipped slowly. As is though, it's drinking fantastic ! I can honestly say this will not just be another "tick" or "notch" but definitely a must seek out again beer.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.79/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a CBS snifter, this elixir from Midnight Sun offers little in the way of carbonation... Wispy and faint.... Lovely aromas of raisins and pineapple.... Very nice...

Absolutely no trace of booze whatsoever.... at 13.20%, that's pretty damn impressive... Very sweet... perhaps a little too much so... almost syrupy at times.... not necessarily cloying but... very sweet... for sure a sipper although not due to the booze... it's the sweetness... feels big in that aspect... not getting any of the bourbon that other reviewers have encountered... there is some oak present though...

World class? In the realm of Sucaba or BCBW? Nope.... it's good... just not, "F@%K, that's delicious!" good... That being said, I am very glad I got to knock this one off of my Wants list. It had been on there for a while and I finally procured this one thanks to a recent trade...(Thanks, Michael!)

Man... very sweet bordering on cloying now after warming some... Not sure what vintage this is but I'm guessing this one is not recent... Good beer though.... Not disappointed, just wish I had shared this one.... It's going to be tough to finish this entire thing....

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Photo of Czarkazm
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage, so about 1 year old. Brown pour but appears dark amber/red up to a light with a very small head consisting of medium sized bubbles. Bouquet includes strong caramel and toffee aromas, with burnt brown sugar, dark fruit, oak, and slight booze. Sticky sweet mouth feel, on the verge of cloying but this is expected in a 13.4% barleywine. More caramel and brown sugar sweetness in the taste, rum soaked raisins, the whiskey comes out more in the flavor along with the oak and vanilla, and a hint of spiciness.

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Photo of snaotheus
4.07/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle split between a pair of snifters. 218 D-1 1153 is the bottle code.

Pours turbid grayish brown with a very small head. Very little carbonation. Smell is mild -- bourbon, yeast, fruit.Not sure what fruit. I seem to get a little pear or apple and a little plum or cherry.

Taste is a blast in the face compared to the aroma. Bourbon and brown sugar, nutty, alcohol. Vanilla. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel is smooth and almost velvety. Overall, the taste is very good, and the rest of the beer doesn't live up to it. Would still definitely drink it again.

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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%.

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

3000th review! 22 ounce bottle into snifter; 2014 vintage, bottled in late 2013. Pours hazy dark ruby red color with a 1 finger fairly dense khaki head with solid retention, that reduces to a small spotty lace cap that lingers. Slight spotty lacing on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, plum, fig, caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, coconut, vanilla, bourbon, oak, leather, light chocolate, and oak/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/toasted malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel notes; with good strength. Light-moderate booziness as it warms, but not too bad. Taste of big raisin, plum, fig, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, toast, coconut, brown sugar, molasses, brown bread, bourbon, oak, vanilla, leather, light chocolate, and oak/toasted earthiness. Light oaky bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, fig, caramel, butterscotch, molasses, toffee, toast, coconut, vanilla, brown sugar, bourbon, oak, leather, light chocolate, and oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; with an awesome malt/yeast/barrel balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy, fairly slick, and slightly syrupy/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light-moderate warming lingering after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic barrel aged English barelywine style. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; and smooth to sip on for the huge ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Beersnake1
4.74/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage. Poured from fridge temp to a tulip. Look is a beautiful murky brown with some good carbonation. Smell is amazing - strong caramel. Vanilla, sweetness, and a bit of bourbon. Taste is absolutely incredible and follows the nose. Plenty of caramel and barrel coming through, with some nice brown sugar. Truly amazing. Mouth feel is great. Overall, this is a phenomenal BA barley wine.

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Photo of kevanb
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle, 2014 vintage, poured into a Midnight Sun snifter. Enjoyed on 2.3.15, reviewed from Tasting Journal.

The beer pours a dark burgundy color, hazy and opaque, fairly thick, but with light garnet and ruby hues and a thin, khaki head about a finger high with no retention or lace. The aroma is really nice, big brown sugar, toffee and fig, oaky bourbon with cherry, prune and nice lingering caramel that is nice and rich, very smooth and decadent. The flavors echo the aroma, brown sugar, fig, cherry, caramel, rich, smooth grain, hearty and earthy, prune, raisin, chewy oak, soft, smooth bourbon. The stone fruit component is really nice and adds a lot of complexity to the sweeter and richer caramel and brown sugar flavors. The mouthfeel is a bit thinner than I'd like, though it's definitely smooth and coating, medium body with a decent finish, that does lack a bit of character.

Verdict: A really nice Barrel Aged Barleywine, definitely one of the more complex and balanced takes on the style, though I wish the body had a bit more gusto. Perfect for sipping and sharing, and an excellent beer for a cold winter's night.

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Photo of mabermud
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is a nice barley wine that was made with skill. Super, deep brown body. Thin, mocha head. Exceptional smell of toffee and caramel. Tastes of toffee, caramel, molasses, and chocolate. Viscous mouth feel. This is a barley wine to look forward to every year. It is special.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a deep dark cloudy brown color ale with a small dark brown foamy head with light retention and some minimal lacing. Aroma of toffee, residual brown sugar and caramelized malt is pretty awesome. Taste is also dominated by toffee with some brown sugar notes and caramelized malt. All rough edges have been rounded by the bourbon notes with light vanilla notes also noticeable. Body is full with limited filtration and a good amount of carbonation. This beer has so many layers of complexity while retaining such a good amount of drinkability. Really amazing beer that I wish I could try on a regular basis.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%

2013 bottle, opened Sept. 2014

A – Stellar looking barleywine. Deep cranberry and sienna body with golden ruby and black cherry highlights. Beige white head pours half a finger high.

S – Wonderfully smooth. Great golden raisin note with peat moss, sweet molasses, prune, oak, cream soda, light vanilla, caramel, and heavy cream.

T – Sweeter than I expected (even for an English barleywine), but still outstandingly bold and delicious. Black cherry, molasses, smooth melted caramel, vanilla, oak, and woody hops with a creamy gingerbread finish.

M – Full bodied and relatively smooth while maintaining a pleasantly barleywine-esque boozy warmth.

O – An outstanding brew. This just might be the 4th best barleywine I've had to date, behind Sucaba, Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine, and BCB Barleywine.

4.45 Arctic Devil
--- -Jay- -Jon- -Anth- -Vin- -Avg- Weight
A - 4.75 4.75 ------- 4.75 4.75 10%
S - 5.00 4.75 ------- 4.75 4.83 20%
T - 4.25 4.25 ------- 4.25 4.25 40%
M - 4.30 4.00 ------- 4.25 4.18 10%
O - 4.40 4.40 ------- 4.50 4.43 20%

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Photo of gcamparone
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pouted from a 22 oz bomber into a Zwak glass. Thanks Keith for hooking me up with this!

Appearance - pours a hazy maroon-amber body with a thick off white head that reduces quickly to leave no lacing or retention. Some settling

Smell - tons of vanilla, toffee, butterscotch, cookie dough, some bourbon, caramel, honey, molasses. Sweet and inviting.

Taste - upfront I get molasses and vanilla, butterscotch, bourbon, the follow through has some coffee and roastyness. The finish is sugar cookies, very sweet and syrupy. Not much alcohol detected at all.

Mouthfeel - medium - heavy body, low carbonation

What an outstanding representation of a barleywine - complex, balanced, and sip demanding. The bourbon barrels really add tons of flavor to this beer. Seek it out.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in a great trade with Evan! An aggressive pour yields a caramel-colored two finger head with decent retention and great lacing. Dark brown, nearly black pour is probably the darkest Barley Wine I've seen. Rich, bold nose with huge dark fruits, bourbon, and oak along with hints of vanilla, figs, toffee, raisins, and sweet brown bread. The taste follows suit with tons of oak and dark fruits along with hints of vanilla, maple, butterscotch, subtle chocolate, molasses, brown bread, and toffee. The mouthfeel is thick and syrupy, but creamy smooth with a subtle warming finish. The 13.4% ABV is nowhere to be found for this unbelievably drinkable beer. Overall, this is a world class Barley Wine. Bold, flavorful, complex, and extremely drinkable. It's time to start trading for more...

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Photo of pjkelley82
4.71/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow... just wow...

Poured from bottle into snifter. About 50-55 degrees.

A- leather brown with ruby highlights, semi transparent. Nice 1 in antique white head, rocky. Went away fairly quick and left a ring for a short time before that faded away as well.

S-Honestly, theres too much going on, in a good way. Figs, dates, caramel, dark bread, almond, vanilla, Malt, slight bourbon scent. Butterscotch, candied plums.

T- just delightfull. Same as the nose. Dominated by the figs and dates with sweet bourbon and a slight alcohol kick at the end.

M-thick and slick, not too sticky or heavy. Light to medium carbonation. A little hot going down.

O-this is a mans drink. I always let my buddies who aren't into craft beer always try the barleywines and always they look at me like im crazy. Im in love with English style brews as in old ales, stouts and barleywines. This is a spot on english style barleywine. Malt foward with lots of fruit. I was surprised by this brew. I now have to have a side by side with bourbon county barleywine as I feel this has a slight edge for my taste.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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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

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Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 355 ratings.