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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.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,046 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,046
Reviews: 339
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.47%
Wants: 951
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 3146Tony
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of GeezLynn
4.04/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Arctic Devil 2008 bottle lugged back from the source several years back.

A: Murky dark crimson brown with an expectedly smallish(given its age) white head.
S: Caramel, singed brown sugar, nutty brown malt, brandy. Barrel characters nicely apparent.
T: A little buttery and woody, with some sharp burnt caramel flavors. Still pretty rough with plenty of bitterness balancing any sweetness left at this point. Midway through my snifter as the taste buds adjust to the alcohol singeing, blackberry and plum flavors show up through the heavy bitterness. A trace of vanilla shows a times, but is pretty well covered. Finish is bitter and tannic with noticeable alcohol, somewhat similar to a dry red wine.
M: Medium bodied and slightly sticky, with low carbonation.

Wow. Four years still hasn’t tamed this critter much. I knew from previous experience that this was an aggressive BW and being partial to aged English barleywines, figured with some time to cool off this would be primo stuff. Apparently I need to give the other ones more time. Certainly a quality beer (as always with Midnight Sun), but a bit of a thrash metal mosh pit in the mouth.

Photo of FosterJM
4.08/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1647th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
22oz

2011 Vintage
Purchased from El Cerrito Liquor, Corona, CA

App- When I poured this out. It was very thick and dense. It was the color of crimson mixed with ambers and golds. A good center was there with some radiating highlights around the edges. A good 1-1/2" head was there and was a bit of a tan/khaki color. A good bit of cling and lace was retained as it slid. A little bit of bubbles remained on the surface as well like a soda would.

Smell- I was expecting a little bit more integration and deep layering on this one. I am learning very quickly that for a barleywine I much prefer bourbon vs. whiskey. The whiskey barrel does add a nice amount of booze and charry oak, but too much prickly aroma behind it. A little bit of a deep malt with a hint of creamy sweetness behind it. A little bitter hops on a strong pull.

Taste- I thought it was good. It was good, it wasnt great. There are a lot of other Barleywines out there that are a bit better. However, most of those are preference because I enjoy bourbon english BW's vs. Whiskey. So with that. This had a good deep malt backbone and the base barleywine did come out well. The barrel added a good depth of flavor with a bit of oak char, a bit of prickly spirit flavor and a strong booze flavor.

Mouth- A very full medium body with a strong medium carbonation. As it warmed from the 55F I poured at it did start a bit thin. A little prickly carbonation. As it time when by it was more lush and creamy and then went into that full carbonation. The more upfront residual flavors were the whiskey and the base malts.

Drink- I enjoyed this. I got a new job yesterday and opened something nice. I was hoping this was some sort of a KH killer that I finally had my hands on. It wasnt. Not to say it wasn't a good beer. Just expected more. Its good, but not great. I think I prefer Abacus to this.

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

22oz (2011 vintage) into a tulip. Pours a murky amber-mahogany, beige head that settles to a ring of foam.

Aroma is bourbon, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, rum-soaked raisins, a nice earthy nutty quality on the swirl.

Taste is complex and buttery. Sweet residual sugars, booze, oak, vanilla, caramel, toffee, rich pipe tobacco. Fermented dark fruit.

Mouthfeel is sticky and slick, chewy.

Overall a decadent bourbony malt bomb, a great sipper of a beer.

Photo of laymansbeerfan
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.82/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a perfect pint. 2008 vintage.

4.0 A: Clear darker amber color. Aggressive pour yielded just one finger of light brown creamy/frothy head. Retention is okay given the ABV and a short ring of lacing is left.

4.5 S: Nose on this is divine. Perfect mix between the barrel and the beer. Bourbon is fruity, leathery, and lightly earthy. Oak and vanilla with no tannic astringency. The base offers a ton of caramel, moderate toffee, tobacco, raisin, dates, prunes, sugar plums, and apple. Sweet sugary maltiness, molasses, and some toastiness. Alcohol is non-existent.

3.5 T: Taste is a bit of a let down after experiencing the nose. Don't get me wrong, it's still tasty, but the mouthfeel is a bit too thin, which causes issues in the taste. Basically, the taste isn't as potent as I'd like. Same flavors as in the nose, just less intensity. Leathery bourbon, earthiness, and light fruits. Caramel, toffee, tobacco, raisin are strongest. Prunes, sugar plum, molasses, and toastiness next. Apple underneath. Moderately sweet with just a light booziness. Borderline 4.0.

3.0 M: Lighter medium to medium body. Good moderate carbonation, especially for a beer this old. Missing creaminess and body. If this were a bit thicker, the taste would be better too.

4.0 D: It's a good beer that just has one fatal flaw. Great flavors, but I need more maltiness when I'm drinking a barleywine. I'll have to try this fresh sometime.

Photo of metalgdog
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Auztan
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

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

2011 vintage.

Pours a coppery brown, with a cap of lighter brown foam and patchy lacing here and there. Complex aroma; toffee and brown sugar; a hint of maple; whiskey and wood; lots of dark fruit like plums, raisins, and figs.

The flavor is equally complex. The most surprising and memorable note was that of maple; there also a good deal of brown sugar/toffee flavor and caramel, more fruit, and plenty of bourbon boozines. Alcohol present but not overly aggressive in the flavor; more noticed as a pleasant warmth in the belly after the swallow.

Medium bodied, perhaps a little thinner than anticipated. Would benefit from a bit more heft, in my estimation. Medium carbonation, quite smooth and silky.

A very nice barrel-aged barleywine that falls perhaps a hair short of the best in class. Wish I had been able to try past vintages; also wish I had more than the single bottle to so I could sock a few away for aging.

Photo of funkel81
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of sToTko
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of AleApostle
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of vrbulldog22
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of caskstrength
4.38/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Have had several of the 2011 vintage, just not in the same league as the 2008. Flavors more subdued. As it warms, some of the wonderfulness from 2008 peeks through, but it's not like I remember it. Still a very good beer, just couldn't replicate the awesomeness this time around. Adjusted the score down.
---
original review: 4.95
2008 vintage, 22oz bottle. Barrel aged barleywine, midnight sun...drum role please. Attacking this bomber alone.

Pours dark red/brown with bubbly carbonation that quickly disappears, white ring remains.

The smells: Cherries, port wine, bourbon, multiple dark ripened fruits. Tobacco. Leather. Carmelized sugars.
Complexity defined. I smelled, then smelled some more. I didn't want to drink, I was worried it couldn't live up.

But it did. Alcohol more present, which is OK, works well with everything going on here. No solvents, deep rich alcohol mixing with everything mentioned above.

Thick, viscous, just enough carbonation to keep it from being too heavy. Slides down the throat, assaulting every last taste bud it can find.

A bourbon barrel barleywine sipper that I had a hard time sipping. I'd put my money on this against any barleywine, no matter the whale status.

Photo of kawilliams81
3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage. Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a 8 oz snifter.

A- pours a dark amber, near brown, with a 1 finger light tan head. Small blotches and bubbles on the glass.

S- brown sugar, maple, vanilla, green apple, bourbon

T- sweet toffee, brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla, tart apple, some vino notes.

M- medium body and carbonation. Not as thick or syrupy as other top tier Bab barleywines.

O- good BA Barleywine but nothing outstanding. If you get a chance definitely worth a try but don't trade your first born for it.

Photo of vissai
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Hessian257
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Kaydogg
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Prost76
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of s1ckboy
4.12/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottle with about a year of age on it.

A - Orange/Red body, 1/2 finger of of white head.

S - Oak, bourbon, dark fruits, sweet.

T - Oak, booze (not necessarily bourbon), figs, red wine.

M - Surprisingly light mouthfeel, smooth carbonation

Vey good, was expecting more given it's reputation.

Photo of Kopfschuss
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of Duff27
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Inch tall off white head on a dark but translucent "mohageny" colored body. Very nice head retention for the style. Some lacing.

Sweet boozy bourbon goodness, not overdone though.

Caramel maltiness, low to nil hop presence duhhh. Alcohol burn going down...I know it says 13+%abv and that's about what it translates too.

Medium to medium-thick mouthfeel. Lower carbonation.

Overall well balanced English barleywine and barrel notes. I don't know if I was looking forward to this more than I should have but it's a small let down even as its at the bottom of the top tier of its style. What?

Photo of stakem
4.07/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Paper notes from quite awhile back. Thanks go to Kegatron for sharing this 2007 vintage with a couple of us. Bomber into a tulip, the brew appears a deep ruby amber with a tan head that fades leaving a ring around the perimeter of the glass. When held to the light, it shows some green and yellowish clarity around the edges. A light swirl brings a half finger of yellowish stained cap back to the surface.

The smell of this brew included some orange citrus character mixed with a fruity alcohol inclusion that hints towards raisins and a floral component. More sniffs bring out a citrus element that contrasts the maltiness that smells of toffee and molasses. There is a faint hint of cardboard-like oxidation which is no distracting but it adds an interesting layer of complexity.

The taste is boozy for 5 years old. Flavors of raisin and toffee get a significant accent of alcohol esters. Just like the aroma indicated, there is a mild presence of oxidation across the backend that blends nicely into an aftertaste of fruity and floral mixed with a bit of biscuit to bready grain.

This is a medium bodied brew with a light level of carbonation. It is a bold boozy sipper that is quite enjoyable. I am very appreciative to have the chance to sit down and enjoy a significantly sized pour of this aged beauty. However, just like my initial thoughts of this brew when i had a small sampling some time ago, it lacks just a bit in body. I found the aromatics to be much more complex than the flavor as well. Thanks again Heath!

Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -8.5%

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