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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

1,012 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,012
Reviews: 336
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.47%
Wants: 934
Gots: 262 | 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: 1,012 | Reviews: 336 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Holland
4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at a tasting thanks to James.

A: reddish brown color with decent tan head that dies fairly quickly

S: some bourbon comes through with the oak and vanilla. Dark fruits are a part of the smell, but I didn't get strong scents of anything.

T: beautiful blend of dark fruits with some bite of the oak and sweet bourbon and caramel flavors.

M: great carbonation for such a big beer, and a hefty body to it.

O: amazing beer, so glad I had the chance to taste this and remember it.

Holland, Jun 18, 2012
Photo of Hophead717
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Hophead717, Jun 18, 2012
Photo of iadler
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to exitmusic00 for cracking this bottle open for our blind barleywine tasting. 2011 bottle. From notes.

A- Pours a translucent ruby red with a thin off white head that leaves adequate lacing behind.

S- Very fruity upfront with notes of raspberries, cherry, plumb, fig and raisins. Brown sugar emerges with oak and burnt caramel following.

T- Oak and vanilla upfront with plumb, raisins, cherries and fig and caramel following with some toasted marshmallow at the finish.

M- Medium carbonation and full smooth body with the high abv being hidden very well.

O- One of my favorite barleywines at the tasting, behind King Henry of course. Would love to grab a few more of these to set down for a bit. Very impressed.

iadler, Jun 10, 2012
Photo of mrandypandy
4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased on my last trip to Oregon. Was incredibly stoked to see this sitting on the shelf!

A - Pours dark mahogany/brown. Nice off-white head on pour quickly dies down.
S - Caramel, raisins, figs with a hint of bourbon. Dark fruits are very prominent. Sweet.
T - Malty sweetness. Dark fruits are in the forefront. Have to strain to get the oak/barrel, but it comes out more as it warms.
M - Thick, heavy, full body. A bit boozy. May need another year to mellow out some more.
O - Hmm. I found this got much better as I let it warm. A sipper for sure, and the high ABV really shows.

mrandypandy, Jun 10, 2012
Photo of natemort13
4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a ruby copper color with a semi fizzy thin khaki head that dissipates quickly.

Nose is deep sweet oak, cherries, booze, brandy, caramel, whiskey.

Taste brings sweeter cherries up front with a nice woody whiskey flavor underneath. This beer is still hot. Caramel maltiness.

Mouthfeel is syrupy, stinging booze, full bodied.

Overall this beer is more enjoyable than the score im giving it suggests, it just should look better... but then again
I've never given that a ton of credence.

natemort13, Jun 10, 2012
Photo of CuriousMonk
3.83/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage
Poured from bomber into a tulip glass. Pours a dark red hue along with a thin white head that dissipated too quickly for my liking. Aromas of whiskey, subdued oak and toffee. The flavor carried some caramel, dried fruits, brown sugar candied fruits, vanilla and hints of oak and bourbon. I could just barely detect those traits though just like I had to do with the aroma. Perhaps it is because of the complexity of the beer? The mouthfeel was a tad thin and sticky. I was a little disappointed with this vintage as it had a cardboard smell on nose and less flavor than I had hoped for – mostly flattish.

2011 Vintage
Also poured from bomber into a tulip glass. Pours a darker red copper color along with another disappearing head though the lacing was stuck on throughout. Same aromatics and flavors as the 2008 vintage but more enhanced probably due to the freshness of the brew. Improved carbonation and mouthfeel. A much better vintage – seems as if the fresher it is the better? I’d probably not cellar this one any more than a couple years if I had multiple bottles.

CuriousMonk, Jun 07, 2012
Photo of claaark13
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured at cellar temp into a Hill Farmstead tulip. Thanks schmaltzy, you've made my evening with this one.

A - Pours a ruby color with an inch or less of an off-white head. Seems thick, great head retention. Looks really good until it is gone.

S - Sweet malts, some fruit and slight oak. Notes of caramel as well. As it opens up, some heat and licorice can be found. Really not much of a dominating aroma, takes a battle to get in there and pick things out.

T - Malts, dark fruit presence...like a cherry mixed with a raisin (charaisin I believe), woodiness, caramel, licorice and sweet heat on the finish. Fairly smooth overall. The more I sip it, the more I really like it.

M - Medium body that feels heavy on the tongue.

O - I'm trying to be critical about this because I've been wanting to try this beer for a while. After fighting with it over 30 minutes, I'll say that it is one of the best of the style that I've had. Deserves more than a 4.0, but there is no 4.25 overall option. The real thing holding it down in the overall is the heat. I think another year in the bottle will bring this thing to another level. Now I need to find another one...

claaark13, Jun 06, 2012
Photo of dc55110
4/5  rDev -8.5%

dc55110, Jun 05, 2012
Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle opened on 6.2.12.

A - Pours a dark copper brown with a fluffy light tan head that slowly fades.

S - Woody, subtle booze and carmel.

T - Sharp wood, then some carmel, toffee, vanilla, and strong booze.

D - Good carbonation and an average medium body.

O - Sweet and carmel and toffee that try and hide the beast of an ABV. A bit hot, but Great!

HuskyinPDX, Jun 04, 2012
Photo of dirtylou
4.48/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber

appearance: served in oversized snifter - rich garnet body with a creamy beige head. nice looking beer

smell: rich and sweet - oak, vanilla, whiskey, dark fruits

taste: really awesome - at 13+% abv, i expected a sticky and excruciatingly sweet beer which was fortunately not the case. sweet brown sugar, dark fruits, oak, whiskey, vanilla, tannic notes, maple. Really good stuff

mouthfeel: creamy and quite smooth, light bitterness

overall: great barleywine

dirtylou, Jun 04, 2012
Photo of beersis81
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

beersis81, Jun 02, 2012
Photo of muchloveforhops3
4.5/5  rDev +3%

muchloveforhops3, Jun 01, 2012
Photo of pawpaw
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

pawpaw, May 27, 2012
Photo of yourefragile
4.7/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz 2009 bottle.

Pours a dark, cloudy amber brown color with a thin tan head. Aroma is a decadent blend of roast, oak, bourbon, vanilla, plum, raisin, brown sugar, caramel, and cherry. Extremely creamy and smooth body with a rich flavor similar to the nose; maple, cherry, raisin, plum, vanilla, bourbon and oak dominate the flavor. An all around, smooth, well balanced and complex barleywine.

yourefragile, May 27, 2012
Photo of SanDiegoBeerLove
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

SanDiegoBeerLove, May 27, 2012
Photo of canjeeps
5/5  rDev +14.4%

canjeeps, May 24, 2012
Photo of drewone
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

drewone, May 21, 2012
Photo of Auracom
4.38/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

5-6 oz. poured into a CBS snifter on May 18th, 2012. Thanks to Gregg for sending this bottle!

A - It pours quite similar to Abacus but perhaps a tad thinner (which means too thin, really). Very little carbonation, retention, or lacing. Rather uneventful.

S - Red wine grapeskins. Whiskey-bourbon. A tandem of oak here. More subtle notes of caramel, spices, and alcohol.

T - Many barrel blessings to this brew. Wine grape astringency, port/cherry-fruit quality, Rear-palate highlights the whiskey oak element. Underneath toffee malts, raisin bread, and figs.

M - Medium-heavy body (heavier than it looked), good smoothness. Very fine carbonation and a semi-sweet finish.

D - Overall I really enjoy the freshness and mix of barrels. It creates this multiplicity across the nose and palate that is really unique for the style. Midnight Sun's grasp on this blend is pretty excellent.

Auracom, May 19, 2012
Photo of brotherloco
4.28/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber. 2011 Vintage. 13.4% ABV.

Pours a deep translucent mahogany. A very small beige head quickly dissipates to a small ring.

Aroma brings on strong dry-bread malt with hints of vanilla and sherry. A touch of sulphur. Noticeable alcohol.

Flavor of the malt is much more toffee-like than the aroma. A lot of oak and vanilla from the barrel aging. Still getting a little of that sulphur. Tobacco notes. Sweet through the middle and then finishes with a dry alcohol note. The heat comes on after a few sips but flavor wise the alcohol is extremely well blended.

Medium-full bodied with a nice moderate amount of carbonation. Slick and very drinkable given the strength.

A great beer at this age and one that you can tell will get even better with age.

brotherloco, May 19, 2012
Photo of kevgod
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

kevgod, May 18, 2012
Photo of beenitty
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

beenitty, May 17, 2012
Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

ThePorterSorter, May 17, 2012
Photo of Kegatron
4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a couple of snifters. 2007 vintage. 10% ABV.

Pours a ruddy brown, with a thin sudsy head of light mocha foam. This whips up a rich cascade up onto the sides of the glass, leaving back thick swathes of lacing. The aroma is quite dense and flavorful with notes of cocoa, molasses, oak, vanilla, and then some tea-like qualities that alternate between being tannic and herbal feeling in the nose.

The taste is equally robust, with heavy flavors of brown sugar, chocolate, molasses, green tannins, and then notes of roast and some dark fruit on the back. There is some heavy oxidation going on with this, which combos with the more woody character that is present to leave this VERY dry on the finish. Honestly, one of the driest that I’ve felt on a beer in a long time. The mouthfeel is full bodied and sharp up front which then gives way to more of a chewy creaminess along the back. This is hugely smooth for the size, with the alcohol contributing some added sweetness and spice to the profiles but not any real heat.

This was nice and aged very well, with that oxidation that was present mostly complimenting the other flavors and only got to be mildly distracting in spots. This was very rich and smooth overall though and I was glad that I finally found a proper time to open this guy. Now I just need to find a fresh bottle to compare…

Kegatron, May 16, 2012
Photo of nrbw23
4.48/5  rDev +2.5%
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 -8.5%
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
Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,012 ratings.