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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

1,046 Ratings
THE BROS
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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 schmoopsbeer
4.47/5  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

Photo of vkv822
3.87/5  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.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.62/5  rDev -17.2%
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.

Photo of DoubleJ
4.62/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Photo of jethrodium
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

Photo of OneBeertoRTA
4.8/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

Photo of Dope
4.24/5  rDev -3%
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).

Photo of london1o1
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of oldp0rt
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of megamass
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.44/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Skuter for sharing this one with me!

2011 vintage.

Pours a murky brown with a khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots and streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, dark fruits, and wood aromas. Taste is the same but there is a more noticeable wood and whisky presence in the flavor. This beer has a very nice mouthfeel with a good crispness and medium body. Overall, this is a very good barleywine with some awesome aromas and flavors.

Photo of Schwag
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of Callmecoon
4.5/5  rDev +3%

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

Great lightly scarlet character, sticky lacing....

Greatly sweet, ralcoholic burn, little bit of oak character. It's got this lightly vinuous spicy cheap bourbon burn.

Bright caramel, middle of sweet molasses, bourbon brightness, ans then dried sticks with a cheaper Jack Daniels style whiskey.

Light body, almost medium. A good heat lingers throughout. The finish is too cheap. Uck.

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.47/5  rDev -20.6%
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%

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