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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

964 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 964
Reviews: 335
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 8.22%
Wants: 936
Gots: 256 | 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
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Ratings: 964 | Reviews: 335 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nrbw23
4.48/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark mahogany brown color with a few light tan bubbles for a head. Very light lacing if any at all.

S- Picking up caramel and bready malts, light bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark fruits, and brown sugar.

T- Tastes is caramel malts, bourbon, oak, toffee, vanilla, sweet dark fruit, sugar, and alcohol. A good amount of barrel here too.

M- Fuller side of medium and carbonation was pretty light.

O- This is a very solid brew for sure. A good balance of everything and pretty complex as well.

nrbw23, May 15, 2012
Photo of starrdogg
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Jon for sharing this one. Newest batch.

Beer pours a reddish-brown with a thin white head and nice lacing. Smell is a nice nutty/toffee aroma with a little bit of booze in the background. Flavor is a nicely balanced mix of toffee malts and a little bit of hops with some oak in there. Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied. Overall, this beer is good, but it's not nearly as good as some of the past vintages I've had. Maybe this beer needs some age to be truly great.

starrdogg, May 12, 2012
Photo of sliverX
4/5  rDev -8.7%

sliverX, May 06, 2012
Photo of PerHops
4.63/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- reddish brown color with a thin head and visible carbonation.

S- Alcohol right off the bat. Doesn't by any means shock me at 13 percent, but the other times I've had this it hasn't been as evident. Oak, bourbon, cherries, chocolate, tobacco, leather.

T- Maple syrup, chocolate, dark fruits, hops. Almost no alcohol noticeable when cold. Such a wonderful depth of flavors. I can't think of a better beer for a cold winter night.

M- Medium high carbonation, but it has a nice overall feel

O- This is the best barley wine I've tried. Fantastic.

PerHops, May 06, 2012
Photo of jdense
4.33/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle from Fred Meyer Hawthorne PDX, shared with colleague to celebrate end of a very tough week 5.4.12. 2011 vintage, 13.4% ABV listed on bottle.

Half finger tan head, uneven size bubbles, fairly quick dissipation with above average lacing over reddish amber clear body, a few streams of slow rising bubbles. Prominent toasty oak notes, rich malt backbone, Maris Otter?, brown sugar but not overly sweet, some citrus hops, good balance in the nose. Taste is a wee bit on the sweet side but not overly so, light brown sugar. Mouthfeel is a bit on the full side of medium, good effervescence. This brew packs a powerful punch, splitting a bottle multiple ways is highly recommended. A very good example of English style Barleywine, malt-forward and very tasty.

jdense, May 05, 2012
Photo of Jakers90
4.25/5  rDev -3%

Jakers90, May 05, 2012
Photo of siege06nd
4.03/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Pours a dark ruby brown color. Really love the crimson hues in this. About a quarter finger of thin, swirly, cream colored head. Moderate spotty lacing. One of the prettier barleywines I have seen.

S. Ripe dark fruit (cherry, fig), leather, caramel, vanilla, traces of chocolate, and some faint earthiness.

T: Caramel, chocolate, oak, bread crust. Very malty, but not quite as sweet and not nearly as much dark fruit presence as I've had in other barleywines. I get some faint toffee and roasted marshmallow as well. A solid beer, but was expecting a sweeter and fruitier flavor profile.

M: Full bodied, light carbonation. A lot of bitterness in the finish, though, that tastes like barrel and isn't quite evened out by the rest of the flavors.

O: I wanted to love this beer, but I think it needs some age. It's big and malty, but it hasn't quite acquired that sweet, ripe fruit flavor that I've come to expect from the style. Good, not great.

siege06nd, May 04, 2012
Photo of axeman9182
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle of the 2011 vintage, with the hookup coming from FunkyMacGroovin. It was allowed to warm some before being poured into my petite Duvel tulip.

Arctic Devil pours a fairly clear polished mahogany. There's about two fingers of khaki colored foam capping the beer. Head retention is solid, but lacing is fairly spotty. The nose is just a series of wonderful aromas washing over me one, after the next. Port inspired dark fruits, coconut, vanilla, caramel, and nutty sherry-like aromas all take a turn in the spotlight, not to mention a slight smell of alcohol. After all that, the flavor profile has a hard time living up. Darl fruits and a nutty sweetness are the dominant flavors, with vanilla and caramel showing up as well. A lid more presence from the base barleywine would be great, because what's in my glass is tasty, but I think I could come up with something similar just by blending some port and sherry to taste. The slight alcohol warmth creeps in pleasantly for the finish of each sip. The body is pleasantly rich and full, though not as heavy as I might have expected from a 13+% beer. The carbonation is wonderfully understated, doing its job while staying out of the way of the malt and barrel flavors. Arctic Devil is a great brew to have in your glass for a couple hours, I just wish it wasn't so clearly dominated by the barrel aging.

axeman9182, Apr 30, 2012
Photo of schwaeh
4.33/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle sent to me by scotchboy. Gotta give a big thanks for this one.

A: Deep red-brown color. Nice off-white head form quickly and fades just as fast. Good legs and light lacing.

S: Bright, sweet, hoppy aroma. Lots of caramel malts. Maybe some spices, none that I can individually pick out. Hops and fruits stand out here.

T: The whiskey is relaxed and real sweet. It's very fruity and bright for the style. Sweet caramel, real soft whiskey. The hoppiest barleywine we've had so far, not real bitter but nice hop flavor. Nice woody vanilla makes this beer great.

M: Soft and smooth with a fluffy feel. Medium-heavy body.

O: A great barleywine. It kinda sucks that it followed king henry but this guy fought really hard to stand amongst the top of the crop. Great stuff. Nice woody vanilla makes this stuff great, it's an awesome flavor in this. Awesome flavors.

schwaeh, Apr 29, 2012
Photo of tewaris
3.68/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Arctic Devil (2011 vintage)
Poured into a snifter. Thanks Dan.

Dark and rusty with good head. Ripe fruit, burnt sugar and dark caramel. Great barrel notes in the taste, dried fruits and chocolate. Good mouthfeel too. Very smooth with a good barrel character and a good beer overall. However, it seems to more about barrels and less about the base. Didn't really stack up to other barleywines at the tasting.

4, 3.5, 3.5, 4, 4

tewaris, Apr 25, 2012
Photo of misterrobot
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

misterrobot, Apr 20, 2012
Photo of surlytheduff
4/5  rDev -8.7%

surlytheduff, Apr 16, 2012
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.38/5  rDev 0%
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.

4DAloveofSTOUT, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of RandomName7
4.25/5  rDev -3%

RandomName7, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of HamFon
4.93/5  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.

HamFon, Apr 14, 2012
Photo of cfh64
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

cfh64, Apr 13, 2012
Photo of n2185
4.25/5  rDev -3%

n2185, Apr 12, 2012
Photo of BraatenBrew
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%

BraatenBrew, Apr 11, 2012
Photo of schmoopsbeer
4.48/5  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

schmoopsbeer, Apr 09, 2012
Photo of vkv822
3.88/5  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.

vkv822, Apr 08, 2012
Photo of Halcyondays
3.58/5  rDev -18.3%
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.

Halcyondays, Apr 06, 2012
Photo of DoubleJ
4.6/5  rDev +5%
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.

DoubleJ, Apr 06, 2012
Photo of jethrodium
4.2/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

jethrodium, Apr 05, 2012
Photo of OneBeertoRTA
4.79/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

OneBeertoRTA, Apr 05, 2012
Photo of Dope
4.23/5  rDev -3.4%
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).

Dope, Apr 05, 2012
Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 964 ratings.