1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

1,011 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,011
Reviews: 336
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.47%
Wants: 934
Gots: 261 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,011 | Reviews: 336 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KYGunner
4.24/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The pours like a barley wine should with a high degree of thickness and a firm foamy head. The color was a cloudy mahogany an it laced brilliantly.

Not surprisingly this has a lot of barley and wine aromas. The barley is easily distinguishable while the wine aromas are not alcohol strong but more fermented grape. I get a little raisin light caramel malt and an end of light fudge.

The flavor is very chocolatey with a little bit of smoke. Barley grain, dark fruit and a hint of anise make an appearance at the end.

The feel is downright velvety with not a stitch of the high ABV to be felt.

KYGunner, Jan 06, 2014
Photo of jkball01
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

jkball01, Jan 06, 2014
Photo of bum732
4.61/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

S: Rich maltiness, caramel candy, bourbon sweetness

L: Very dark brown, bordering on black, light tan head that dissipates

T: Intense toffee brittle sweetness with a rich maltiness. Low bitterness, bourbon sweetness comes through next. Touch of chocolate and maybe a hint of coffee roastiness. Butterscotch into the finish. Finishes semi-sweet with some oak.

M: Medium full body, medium low carbonation.

Great stuff, just a fantastic BA barleywine.

bum732, Jan 06, 2014
Photo of ThatsThatDude
5/5  rDev +14.4%

ThatsThatDude, Jan 05, 2014
Photo of unclejazz
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

unclejazz, Jan 05, 2014
Photo of birchstick
4.5/5  rDev +3%

birchstick, Jan 05, 2014
Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
4/5  rDev -8.5%

TheBeerAlmanac, Jan 04, 2014
Photo of egrace84
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

egrace84, Jan 01, 2014
Photo of 1Sundown2C
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

1Sundown2C, Jan 01, 2014
Photo of nuckbuc
4.5/5  rDev +3%

nuckbuc, Dec 28, 2013
Photo of DCon
4.5/5  rDev +3%

DCon, Dec 25, 2013
Photo of warnerry
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

warnerry, Dec 22, 2013
Photo of ironchefmiyagi13
4.71/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2012 Vintage

Dark like a stout and simple, quickly evaporating head

Aroma is fantastic. Lots of vanilla, bourbon, toffee/caramel, molasses and a little port-like vinous note in the background.

So much is happening on the palate. Big bourbon gently numbs the taste buds with vanilla, sweet maple syrup and toffee with a little oak giving a long, long, long finish. Definitely a sipper but at 13% it goes down quicker than I thought it would.

Nice carbonation and a body that is not too sticky and syrupy. Not as amazing as King Henry, but definitely in the top 5 Barleywines I have ever had the pleasure to drink. King Henry>Great>Arctic Devil>Sucaba.

Aging this for a year PROPERLY really did a trick.

ironchefmiyagi13, Dec 20, 2013
Photo of cbutova
4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Notes taken live at our huge Barleywine tasting last weekend. So glad I randomly found this in NYC last year. 2012 bottle drank in December 2013. (~1.25 years or so old).

A- Somewhat hazy dark amber bodied, bordering on ruby red with a small frothy and creamy off-white head. Falls fairly quickly to a creamy ring around the edges. Lacing is spotty but there are a good deal of those spots and lots of legs after each sip.

S- Super smoothed out Bourbon barrels atop a big old syrup laden Barleywine. Almost semi-tart dark red fruits come to mind as well as spiced raisin. Nice oak, vanilla and caramel.

T- Bourbon comes to life a bit more here but still kept in check by the huge malty Barleywine base brew. Peppery Bourbon is nice and the barrels give off nice oak and vanilla dessert notes. Toffee, raisins, caramel, spicy yeast, dark fruits from the English yeast. The complexity between the yeast, malts and barrels is balanced and intense.

MF- Moderately high carbonation for the style but it works out nicely and reminds me of some Stouts carbonation level. Good heat from the alcohol but not even close to 13.4% (in flavor and feel). Thick bodied with a good creaminess with agitation.

This beer is pretty unique to me after having more than a few Bourbon barrel Barleywines. The bourbon flavor is unique, it has a peppery feel but only mixes and does not dominate the flavor. The English yeast only makes it all the better with a great raisiny dark fruit spiced feel.

cbutova, Dec 18, 2013
Photo of CharlatanSin
4.5/5  rDev +3%

CharlatanSin, Dec 16, 2013
Photo of xnicknj
4.5/5  rDev +3%

xnicknj, Dec 16, 2013
Photo of Nunya
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

Nunya, Dec 15, 2013
Photo of kbrown
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

kbrown, Dec 15, 2013
Photo of MrNate
4/5  rDev -8.5%

MrNate, Dec 15, 2013
Photo of nickapalooza86
4.94/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to KangarooAdam59 for this one!

Pours a deep murky brownish amber

Smell is toffee, caramel, bourbon, vanilla, oak, figs, raisons, dark fruit, black licorice, slight earthy hop character which is very light.

Taste is incredible sweet toffee, dark fruit plum and fig most prevelant, caramel, oak, light earthy hop bitterness, char, vanilla, bourbon, light chocolate note, black licorice, roasty malt character, finishes sweet but not overly so.

Mouthfeel is full, light to medium carbonation, slightly drying on the finish.

Holy cow, how have I never heard of this beer mentioned when people are talking about the best of the best in Barrel Barleywines, I think this may be it. I rated Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine a perfect 5 and go through at least a case of it a year. But this is just as good if not better holy cow I am truly thankful for the opportunity to try this beer.

nickapalooza86, Dec 13, 2013
Photo of Docrock
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Docrock, Dec 13, 2013
Photo of tom10101
4/5  rDev -8.5%

tom10101, Dec 12, 2013
Photo of Drknight
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Drknight, Dec 11, 2013
Photo of TheBrewo
4.63/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

We crack the top on a 2012 bomber of this beast, pouring a brew of deep ruby mahogany into our large tasting snifters. It offers a one finger head of creamy, ghostly eggnog colored bubbles on a rough pour. This shows nice retention for the style, fading into archipelago lacing, with aggregates and dust across the top of the liquid. The high abv affords legs when the beer is swirled. A chill haze cuts clarity, but no sediment is noted. Carbonation appears to be slow but pervasive. The aroma is rich and deep, with soft and lightly solventy booze fumes of bourbon, bright buttery diacetyls, sweet pales, heavy caramel, and soured English brown malts, salted caramel, dried figs and raisins, warm oaky woodiness, candy corns, coconut and plum fruitiness, bready biscuits, molasses and toffee syrups, cotton candy sugars, and mild floral hop oils. With warmth the ethanol takes on a sweeter, more grapey and wine-like character. Our first impression is that the flavoring is downright fantastic, with heavy, intense complexity, and a suitably chewy feel to the delivery. As we sip, the taste opens up with sugary sweet caramel and toffee cloy, heavily toasted pale and caramel maltiness, sharp coppery metallics, vanilla and almond extracts, hard butterscotch candies, brandy-soaked raisins, fermented sweet red grapes, oily butters, heavily mossed oakiness, and light banana ester sweetness. The middle comes to a peak with melted caramel sauce, coconut flesh and milk, sunflower seediness, bourbon heat, lemon zest, Tootsie Roll chewiness, soy sauce, heavily toasted and roasted caramel and English brown sours, chalky brown sugar sweetness, and light phenolic chemical bite. The end washes with enhanced but cleansing sweetness of apple cider, cooked caramel and salt water taffy, oaked woodiness, maple syrup, vinegar acidity, cane sugar, clean leathers, shoe shine polish, sweet ethanol, clover honey, black tea tannins, and essence of marigold. The aftertaste breathes of cherry, plum, and pear fruitiness, brandy, peaty scotch, and bourbon booziness, light campfire smoke, fusel booziness with warmth, almond oils, banana esters, bitter floral hops, drying oak, sour fermented violet grapes, phenolic plastics, toffee stickiness, figgy muck, musk, and corn husk. The body is full, velvety, and chewy, while carbonation is medium. Each sip gives heavy slurp and smack, with lighter creaminess or froth. Finish to the lips is sticky and infinite. The mouth is coated in oiliness in its entirety, with nice dryness and warmth to slowly sizzle the wetness away. No major astringency is ever palpated. The abv is big, but the beer drinks so, so smoothly.

Overall, the most enjoyable things about this brew were its aroma and flavoring. It is extremely hard to peg a top component for this beer, as everything about it sings beautifully and strictly to style, all while satiating and appeasing the drinker. The aroma is deep, rich, and sweet, and the flavoring follows exactly as it should in those footprints. The booze is heavy but subdued, and neither hot nor harsh at any point. The bourbon is glorious, oaky, and musky, just boasting what a proper barrel aging could do for a beer. The feel is what really takes this beer to other-worldly status, with velvety crush, silky smoothness, and buttery slide across the oropharynx. Even with excessive warmth, the Arctic Devil remains firm to its promises, with the complexity of it all extending this tasting beyond two hours. This is one of the best English barleywines we’ve ever come across, and again, while that is partly due to its impeccable execution of recipe and style, the unique, heavily warming, and rich Alaskan flair makes for an incredible, unforgettable experience that will not soon be forgotten.

TheBrewo, Dec 08, 2013
Photo of dwitt24
4/5  rDev -8.5%

dwitt24, Dec 07, 2013
Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,011 ratings.