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

1,032 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,032
Reviews: 337
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.47%
Wants: 935
Gots: 260 | FT: 35
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: 1,032 | Reviews: 337 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rhettroactive
3.48/5  rDev -20.4%
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 ArchEnemyBrew
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of hopluva1
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

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 IrishColonial
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%

Photo of bpfrush
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of daysinthewake
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of Rollzroyce21
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of litheum94
4.48/5  rDev +2.5%
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 Scout11
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of dbellizzi
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of roblund
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of johnnyboy76
4.5/5  rDev +3%

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
4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
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 doughanson78
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of jerz
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of shwillivanilli
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of BillHilly
4.5/5  rDev +3%

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 ithinkimasofa
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,032 ratings.