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

1,141 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,141
Reviews: 351
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.24%
Wants: 977
Gots: 293 | 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: 1,141 | Reviews: 351
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into snifter glass.

reviewed from notes taken on friday 4/14/12.

vintage 2011.

Appearance: brillant copper / gold bodied beer with a solid finger worth of white head. nice lloking beer.

Smell: nice caramel and toffee notes. Barrels notes of vanilla, oak and bourbon are easily detected. Smells delighful.

Taste: Big and sweet malty caramel notes lead this beer off. The barrels are right behind the malt profile. Vanilla, oak, and bourbon are all lingering around, without being overbearing. Just a hinting of hops, this is very malt forward english barleywine.

Mouthfeel: full bodied beer that drinks like its a medium bodied beer. Carbonation is on the low end of moderate. really smooth beer that drink like its are easy beer to drink. No booze burn or harshness from this beer.

Overall: This beer is ready to be drank fresh. Its in my top 3 favorite BA barleywines. Really solid beer from Midnight Sun Brewing! I recommend drinking this slightly higher than room temperature.

Photo of HamFon
4.92/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this at the Walk The Line On Barleywine judge thank-you tasting. It came from my cellar, and vintage 2008.

Wow!

A: clear deep copper with nice slight-off-white head of small bubbles that faded quickly (probably since it's a 10% beer)

S: yummy - all kinds of malt, caramel, English floral and earthy hops, and some dark fruits

T: yummy again - big caramel, toffee, malt, floral, black raisins

M: medium body with lots of malt flavor but not too sweet or cloying

O: This is one of the best English style barleywines I've had - a perfect balance of malt accentuated beer with enough supporting hops to keep it from cloying, and also with some interesting fruitiness that adds more dimensions and complexity.

Photo of schmoopsbeer
4.47/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage
bottle poured in to duvel

Color: It shines a caramel/copper color with a light off-white head that quickly dissolves into a dime thick ring around the glass. No head retention and minor lacing.

Nose: Wow!!!! Caramel,vanilla,bourbon, and mold oak shine. As the beer warms hints of toffee and dried apples appear. Just a wonderful aroma emanates from this beer.

Palate: Regal... yes I said it, this beer is just that... regal. Once this beer hits your tongue it is an elegant presentation of flavor and craftsmanship. For such a high abv this beer is highly drinkable. The alcohol is well masked and the carbonation is just right. Waves of bourbon and caramel hit your taste buds first, followed by the smoothness of the vanilla and the boldness of the oak. Gentle fruit appears as the beer warms adding another level of complexity.

Finish: Warm,smooth, and mildly sweet. the taste of bourbon lingers with hints of vanilla at the back end of the tongue. This beer is at another level... simply outstanding and an achievement in beer making.

Rating: 97/100

Photo of vkv822
3.87/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into tulip snifter.
2011 vintage.

Pours clear, dark red with a bubbly, light toffee head.

Deep oak, caramel, toffee, very light vanilla.

Taste is caramel toffee malts with prominent bourbon notes, slightly boozy harshness.

Medium body, with prickly carbonation, light alcohol burn.

A well done English barleywine. Definitely one of the top-tier in the example, though I felt the booziness became just a bit harsh at times.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.62/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at Beachwood I, 2010 vintage

A: Pours a light mahogany, good lace with a long lasting off-white head.

S: Great nose. Full of vanilla bean and oak, brown sugar.

T: Lots of malt flavour, the IBUs being 20 I expect it. Vanilla, wood tannin, toffee, light berry. Bit of an unappetizing sugar character to this, but the other flavours are quite good.

M: Full-bodied, rich, definitely cloying at places, a sipper.

O: This is a barleywine that's still incredibly young, this certainly needs 2-3 years to dry out and possibly become really good. Right now it's just adequate.

Photo of DoubleJ
4.62/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Closing it out at Beachwood BBQ with a 13% ABV barleywine...from 2010...aged in whiskey barrels....and a 12 ounce pour for $7 (Happy Hour price!). That's smart. On to the beer:

It's shiny brown polish with hues of violet. The head stays up for awhile considering its strength, and it leaves a little of its residue on the glass. One whiff for the nose delivers happiness. Pure happiness. If you like timber, vanilla, toasted marshmallow, and an element of alcohol, it's a very difficult thing to top. It smells so damn good!

The taste is huge as well. The vanilla and wood combo are deadly. You can vaguely taste the spirit that was once aged in the barrels used to age this beer. Brown sugar and molasses make their stamp. For its size the 13% alcohol is hidden well, though that doesn't mean you won't feel a little of its wrath as you drink it. It does provide an orange cough syrup flavor, which could go either way. This beer is full bodied, chewy, and just a little boozy. All things considering, this beer has a good balance and great integration of flavors and elements.

Easy recommendation.

Photo of jethrodium
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

Photo of OneBeertoRTA
4.8/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I bought two cases of 2013 and now that I'm on my last bottle of case #1 I figured a review is well deserving.

Pour- is a dark traditional BBBW color with a good finger in a half of head.

Smell- Nice sweet bourbon, fruit and some mellow malts

Taste- I can tell you after 11 of his brothers that this is an all around fantastic representation of the style. With a healthy abv of 13.4% I can literally taste no heat. Nothing beats one of these bad boys during a laker game or before dinner.

Mouthfeel- Carbonation is perfect and the drinkability second to none in the style

Overall- for a BW and especially BBBW lover this is a fantastic beer. I bought two cases for a reason and haven't traded a single one. Just the right mix of bourbon, oak barrel and traditional barley wine. Drinkable as all hell for the abv and just the right sweetness. Would recommend this to any BBBW lover.

Photo of Dope
4.24/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage.

A: Dark reddish-brown pour with a small tan head that fades pretty quickly. Tiny bits of lacing.

S: Big sweet malty aroma with bourbon heat. Tons of dark fruit. I get cherries, figs, plums and raisins - maybe even grapes. Backed up with loads of almost sickly sweet caramel, brown sugar and a touch of vanilla. Fairly boozy as you might expect. Big, rich and complex. Wonderful.

T: Up front, loads of sweet toffee, caramel, molasses and brown sugar. A little bit of bourbon burn in the middle along with hints of dark fruit throughout. Dries out a little bit with some leather, earthiness and charred oak towards the end - maybe even a bit of cocoa sometimes. Honestly not as bourbon-heavy or boozy as I expected, just a touch of burn for a split second.

M: Big and heavy. Coats the mouth. Surprisingly a little drying on the back end.

O: A huge and complex barleywine for sure. I taste and smell something different every time. The only thing that really detracts is that the bourbon tastes kinda cheap and the appearance is weak (not that that counts for much).

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.44/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Khazadum
4.47/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great lightly scarlet character, sticky lacing....

Greatly sweet, ralcoholic burn, little bit of oak character. It's got this lightly vinuous spicy cheap bourbon burn.

Bright caramel, middle of sweet molasses, bourbon brightness, ans then dried sticks with a cheaper Jack Daniels style whiskey.

Light body, almost medium. A good heat lingers throughout. The finish is too cheap. Uck.

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.47/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 22oz bomber to Portsmouth glass on 3/10/12
*From notes

-- Thanks as always, John --

Vintage 2008

A: Splatter-ass brown in color. To call this beer ugly is a bit of an understatement. A gentle pour yields an ivory .25 finger head that fades quickly. A small white collar rims the glass.

S: Graham cracker and malt. I'm not getting a whole lot of bourbon or spirit quality on the bouquet.

T: Mellow is a good way of putting it. Again, there's not a whole lot of wood, tannin or any type of spirit quality to this properly cellared barleywine. Instead, I get a generous amount of oatmeal cookie and earth. About as low key as you could expect out of a bigger beer like this.

M: Meh. It's doesn't feel bad, per se, it's just not really memorable, either. The carbonation is surprisingly lively for it's old age, and helps to add a bit of complexity to the beer.

O: I don't feel that age has helped Midnight Sun's Arctic Devil, as I can't imagine this is what the brewer intended. If it is, then I must question the hype, as this is about as middle of the road a barleywine as I've ever come across.

Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes.

The beer itself is a full brown color, although it is somewhat transparent. A small off-white head fades to a ring and a swirl of a thin film on top.

The aroma has a bit of ethyl alcohol that is noticeable right away. Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, and a bit of earthy spice come into the nose.

Arctic Devil is definitely sweet up front, but ends up being nicely balanced. Brown sugar is the most prominent sweet flavor. Sweet caramel is also noticeable, and there is some full grainy notes. A bit of peat and spice come in the middle, with a light general bitterness that accompanies a bit of an alcohol presence at the end.

Surprisingly, this has kind of a light body for the style and feels a little watery. The carbonation is on the light side and is a little creamy.

This clearly does not drink like 13.4%, but there is an ethyl alcohol presence that is a bit unappealing at this point. Some age might improve this. The light mouthfeel will most likely not change.

Photo of alexhahn82
4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 -- 13.4%

a: almond brown cloudiness with a very nice .1 finger head.

s: Sweet. raisiny. alcohol. bourbon.

t: bourbon soda! Raisin like flavor up front with a palette drying bourbon finish. excellent.

m: wet to dry! awesome experience with a sweet beginning to dry, dry (in a good way) ending.

Overall: Bourbon Soda, and I use that term in a most positive tone.

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 litheum94
4.47/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage.

Deep, cherry wood body. Small brown head that leaves a thin covet with moderate lacing.

Almonds, toffee and caramel. Very sweet smelling. Some salted meat aromas. Brandy and oak. Awesome smelling!

Lots of toffee and caramel. Salted nuts and some charred oak. A huge assault of sweet and toasted malts. Plums and a little bit of cherry, with some brandy tones. I don't even know if this is aged on brandy barrels, but it had a ton of brandy tones.

This is a great barley wine! Definitely worth the price. This is right up their with King Henry. Excellent.

Photo of mulder1010
5/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 Arctic Devil

Shared with Mr Kennedy
Review #500 YEA!!!

A-- Poured a dark but clear amber. Settled a near black color. Somewhat black and somewhat brown. No ruby with this, just an odd but neat sort of color. One finger light brownish yellow head that had somewhat of a glow to it. Very neat looking. Head fell to film and stuck at film through drinking, leaving a yellow brown film at the bottom of the glass.

S-- Whisky, oak, stewed plumbs, figs, old leather, tobacco, red wine. First time in a long time I thought I was smelling a wine. Excellent.

T-- Whisky, oak, dark fruits, (started to get apricots), leather, tobacco, and port. Whisky and oak drop off and leave a combo of the leather, tobacco, fruits and port. Flavors changed and came in waves.

M-- Thick and rich. Very chewy. Left tannins on my gums. Just warmth from the alcohol, it feels every bit the 13.4 % but hides it in the feel so very well. Well balanced and just plain decadent.

O-- Slow sipper. Glad I shared this as would struggle on a whole bottle of this. Can not think of a barleywine that comes close to this in the complexity and depth that this had. First beer I have had in a long time that afterwards I just have an instant longing to have again. Unreal

Photo of Arbitrator
4.05/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Re-review of 2011 vintage.

A: Pours a clear amber body with quickly-receding tan head.

S: Caramelly bourbon with mild vanilla, leather. It has a strong grape nose (wine? brandy?) along with plums. Oak. I sampled two different bottles and found that one was much less pungent than the other.

T: It is evidently aged in multiple barrels, as there is a mild brandy presence along with bourbon. Vanilla, oak, caramel, toffee. That being said, the beer lacks the complexity of previous vintages. Leather and oxidation are missing, and the booze is noticeable. It's good, but it could be more outstanding given what previous vintages have accomplished.

M: The beer suffers a bit here. My notes of the 2008 vintage mention it being viscous. This vintage is more medium-bodied and less substantial on the palate. The booze is also noticeable as a moderate burn. I don't hate it, but it weakens the beer.

O: I was a big fan of the 2008 vintage, which I gave a 4.93. This one feels rushed in comparison, though I admit some of it is that other competitors have come out and raised the bar. I enjoy this substantially more than Abacus / Sucaba, but it is less bold than King Henry.

~~~~

First bottle: 2008 vintage, purchased with ramnuts' help. Thanks Frank.
Re-review off a 2008 bottle. Thanks Ted.

A: Pours a clear amber body in the glass. Its tan head is composed of fine bubbles that vanish quickly into a moderate collar, leaving no lace.

S: Caramel, whiskey, mild oak, leather, tobacco. A small floral nose. When cold, it reminds me of Old Stock, with a dark fruit presence: grape/raisin (perhaps wine barrels?), plums.

T: Very, very tasty. Caramel, toffee, whiskey, soft tannins. It is a little hoppier than expected, with a floral component. Substantial dark fruits entice my palate: raisins/grapes and plums, giving it a vinous component that I really enjoy. I'd liken it to cognac, actually. I get some "old ale" flavors in the finish, namely leather and tobacco, which are surprising but very welcome and interesting.

M: It's very viscous. Chewy and heavy. Just the lightest warmth, which is impressive for the ABV. I am very glad I didn't try to tackle this beer on my own, though.

D: I try not to use superlatives for effect, so I'm being sincere when I say this is among the best English barleywines I've ever had. I'd drink it again anytime.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottling picked up tonight at Brewforia in Meridian.. Label says 13.40% abv ... shared with the wife... but the Lion's share goes into my small CC goblet.. no real head or lacing.. the brew is a crystal clear deep amber.

Aromas show thick malt .... raisin and dark plum.. figgy and tons of boozy deep wood.... vinous and thick "Mall caramel" ... damn.. tons of vanilla and hefty malts...

Palate is soooo thick and wonderful.. big plum and fig.. dark fruits melt into caramel and figgy jam... slight citrus zest hoppy notes help balance.. dark raisins linger forever on the finish.

Thick and viscous... pretty much perfect right out of the bottle..

I've enjoyed Arctic Devil quite a few times fresh .... but actually prefer to let it age gracefully.

4.5/4.5/4.5/4/4

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

2005 Batch(yep, marked 11/05 on side of bottle, 1st bottled):
A: Poured a golden copper color hybrid with almost a small white cap.

S: Nose is toffee, some bourbon, toffee and caramel

T: Earthy and woody with light caramel and toffee. I felt some of the darker fruits faded, booze was still a bit sharp

M: Mouthfeel is big bodied, lower carbonation

O: Good
///
2007 Batch:
Poured a sluggish copper color with almost no head at all. Nose is caramel, dried fruits, brown sugar candied fruits, vanilla and a very light hint of oak and bourbon. Yeah..all of this from the nose. Taste followed suit. Taste is biiig malts up front. Lots of brown sugar, candied fruit, fruits, with vanilla, oak and bourbon on the finish. Mouthfeel is nice, thick and coating. Sooo drinkable and the mouthfeel is great.
///
2010 batch. Not amongst the best. Demoted this year due to thinner mouthfeel, cardboard smell on nose and less flavor than I recall.

Photo of KevSal
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

wanted something to celebrate my new job, 2011 version poured into 4 wine glassess

a-dark deep ruby red with a thin skin layer of head. i like it a lot

s- huge caramal apple upfront. layers of aroma on this one. wine scents, vanilla and bourbon. candy apple. the flavor is real good but slightly harsh on the palate.

t- caramel and vanilla right upfront and foward. different flavors from the multiple barrels comes through nice. nice hint of wine and port behind the big vanillla, bourbon and young green apple. the alcohol is hidden but the flavors are slightly harsh on the planet

m- much thinner than i was expecting especially for something so big. medium bodied with good carbonation.

o- this is a great ba barleywine. it taste unique, much different than the typical ba barleywine. its still a bit harsh on the tongue but with age i can see this mellow into something spectacular. wish it was a bit smoother

i am a bit bothered that its more expensive than last year, what the heck? price tag is pushing

Photo of kingcrowing
3.7/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into a sampler. 2010 vintage.

Pours a deep ruby amber with a small brown head. Nose is malty and sweet, a bit of cardboard .

Taste is sweet, sharp a bit of oxidation but super tasty and a bit tart
Really crisp and quit drinkable. Mouthfeel is creamy and rich.

Photo of pmarlowe
4.62/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to seeswo for this. Tulip glass.

A: Murky reddish amber, with a film of light sand colored head which fizzles out to a ring. Good retention, no lacing.

S: Fruit-forward (anise, cherry, sugar coated fig), whiskey, toffee, dark chocolate covered cherries, molasses and caramelized sugar. Wow, delicious.

T: Cherry, almost cough syrup like, whiskey barrel (oak, whiskey, cinnamon), a little booze. Finishes tannic and off dry.

M: Medium-full body on medium-light carbonation which is near perfect for the style. A little sticky.

O: Phenomenal. More fruit forward than I was expecting. Oak is pretty subdued, overall, which differs from a lot of BA barleywines.

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

22 oz bomber picked up at Ledgers a year or so ago. Split with buds while watching the Broncos implode. Reddish brown pour with a light tan head. Aromas of oak, caramel, dark fruit and port wine. Flavors of molasses, sweet figs, and vanilla wafers upfront with some whiskey influence on the backside. Smooth and creamy palate with loads of malty sweetness on the finish. Pretty nice overall and a tasty BW.

Photo of portia99
4.29/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle (2008 Vintage) received a long while back from alaskajoe in a great trade. Thanks! Poured into a Brooklyn snifter. Pulled this out so many times to share and never got to it. Couldn't wait any longer...cold night in front of the fire.

A - Bottle opens with a smallish muddy pop. A fairly aggressive pour into the middle of the glass yields an equally muddy body of nearly opaque brown color that is a step above the yeasty remains found at the bottom of a carboy of homebrew. A finger of cream colored, somewhat loose bubbled foam lingers briefly and falls to the surface.

S - Sweet smelling overall with definite notes of molasses and brown sugar. Whiskey is also quite up front in the aroma with some booziness and some nice hints of vanilla and caramel. As it warms the whiskey really starts to take hold and becomes more potent.

T - As expected from the aroma, whiskey takes a strong role in the flavors as well. I'm getting strong hits of whiskey up front backed solidly by some sweetness of varying types - lots of burnt, caramelized sugar - creme brulee'ish, some molasses too. There's also a touch of smokiness and dark roasted malt that pushes towards a coffee-like bitterness but doesn't quite get there. Not really getting much for hops but this ends up being rather well balanced and not nearly as much of a malt bomb as I expected. The whiskey really seems to offset the sugary aspects quite well.

M - Body is medium/full with a low level carbonation just strong enough to let you know its alive...like a low level pulse but lingers close to a lifeless state. Initially I get a tingle on the lips from each sip - but that quickly disappears and leaves behind largely just whiskey flavors and really not that much heat. Booziness is really well controlled here. Actually ends up being quite a smooth drinker through the entire bottle - rather surprised in a very positive way.

O - Obviously this beer has a decent amount of hype behind it (and plenty of good ratings with it), but I've also heard several rather negative experiences with this too. Came into this with high hopes but prepared to be disappointed. Although not the perfect barleywine for me, this trended towards meeting the hype. Really well balanced with sugars and alcohol in control without being disguised to the point that one could down this quickly with unexpected results. For me the highlight of this beer is the well placed and lingering creme brulee effect. I can almost imagine the crunch and crackle of the burnt sugar coating on top of the dessert...really, really nice effect. This absolutely makes this beer for me. The overall balance and complexity are just bonuses - quite like a dessert in a glass for me.

Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,141 ratings.