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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

951 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 951
Reviews: 334
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 8.22%
Wants: 934
Gots: 255 | 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: 951 | Reviews: 334 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bsuedekum
bsuedekum

Missouri

4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

11-14-2011 09:30:36 | More by bsuedekum
Photo of Bobbydigi
Bobbydigi

Kansas

4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

11-14-2011 08:01:43 | More by Bobbydigi
Photo of hopsbreath
hopsbreath

Oregon

5/5  rDev +14.2%

11-14-2011 06:44:55 | More by hopsbreath
Photo of HopHead84
HopHead84

California

4.25/5  rDev -3%

11/6/2011

2010 batch, thanks Jonny!

A: Dark crown with a crimson tinge. The head is a finger of beige foam.

S: Strong dark toffee presence with notes of whiskey and caramel. Earth and pine waft from the glass. Oak is pronounced.

T: Big toffee notes blend with caramel and green wood. There's a moderate earthy, piney bitterness. I get light grape notes and a dash of whiskey. Alcohol is well hidden.

M: Upper medium body with moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel I dry and sticky.

Overall: Great stuff. This is always a pleasure to drink.

11-08-2011 00:55:57 | More by HopHead84
Photo of AleWatcher
AleWatcher

Illinois

3.55/5  rDev -18.9%

Shared by Dunt. 2008 vintage.
reviewed from notes.

pours a nice rustic burgendy color. toffee colored head is loose and lazy. some decent lacing.
nose is deep rich malts. just a plethora of sweet toffee, caramel, some crystal malt perhaps... The hops have practivcally all faded at this point. No real bitterness to speak of. The beer is really sweet, but comes across pretty nice.
Certainly one that is fun to drink-- a nice little treat from the cellar!
The body is thick and full with ample carbonation.
Quite tasty.
Is this a go-to barleywine? nah.
But will I enjoy this glass? hell yeah.

11-07-2011 02:22:44 | More by AleWatcher
Photo of koopa
koopa

New Jersey

4.2/5  rDev -4.1%

Bought this one from Liquid Solutions back in late 2007 / early 2008. I believe its a 2007 vintage and it says 10% abv on the label. I had bought about 15 of these bombers back at that time and traded / gave away as extras 14 of them. This is the one and only bottle I saved for myself.

Appearance: Pours a slightly murky deep caramel to auburn with a minimal beige crown that displays little retention or lace.

Smell: Quite a nice mixture of caramel malt, raisins, a touch of oxidation, brown sugar, and hints of alcohol.

Taste: Same as the nose but a bit more oxidation then I enjoy. Should have cracked this one opened a year ago :( Then again I didn't have it at cellar temperatures the entire past 4 years, so one in cellar temperatures for 4 years might be perfect right now. Still a great barley wine and I'd give this bottle a 4.2 if I could so I'm rounding down a bit.

Mouthfeel: Thick body with minimal carbonation. Rib sticking and nice for this freak cold spell we are currently experiencing.

Overall: Probably an excellent barleywine that is merely very very good right now.

10-29-2011 00:54:06 | More by koopa
Photo of AgentZero
AgentZero

Illinois

4.1/5  rDev -6.4%

Been looking to knock this one out for a while. Big thanks to spycow for the share. 2007 vintage.

A - Brownish beer with some slight ruby highlights that had a tan head. Dissappeared rather quickly to a small ring.

S - A good bit going on here. Some bourbon, a little wood, touch of vanilla, toasted caramel, dark fruit, slight bit of ether, little booze, burnt sugar.

T - Sweet, taste does follow the nose, although something fell a little flat for me. Someone else said that while this was good, it may have passed it's prime and other vintages have been mind blowing. Some good caramel, oak, burnt sugar, dark fruit, actually a little booze too, kind of surpring given how old it was.

M - Medium bodied, but it felt like it finished just a little bit light somehow. Lower carbonation.

O - Good beer, drank a little bit sweeter than I would have liked, but probably to be expected from an English Barleywine with some age on it. Would love to try some other vintages.

10-18-2011 05:30:35 | More by AgentZero
Photo of sprucetip
sprucetip

Alaska

4.53/5  rDev +3.4%

From notes. 07 vintage. Minimal foam atop chestnut colored ale, but a ring remais on the edge of the glass for a long time. When backlit, it is ruby with moderate activity long after the pour. It also looks thick and has suspended chunks of yeast.

Dark cherry, green apple, and warm but not hot esters A nip of sweet caramel slips in underneath the more prominent influences. Later I notice some vanilla paired with the boozy esters. And it's almost chocolaty. It grows more complex with time, and smells woody as well.

Oak, dark fruit, and malty sweetness assert themselves up front and going forward. But they are kept in check by bitterness, maple like maleness, and boozy character than cut sharply across the palate. There is a moderately strong drying sensation in the finish. It is very complex, rich, rich, nuanced and balanced.

Strong warming, low carbonation, full body and high viscosity.

Extremely impressive, extraordinary beer. Glad I tried it again. Many years ago I found it too sweet and boozy, but I was also drinking beer too cold then. I had the wisdom to hang on to one for a while, and now I regret not putting away a few every year when I had the chance.

10-18-2011 05:18:26 | More by sprucetip
Photo of Sean9689
Sean9689

Illinois

4.33/5  rDev -1.1%

Thanks to spycow for this one. 2007 vintage into Narke tulip.

A - Pours a brownish/reddish color, off-white head, thin collar.

S - Caramel, smooth booze, oak, burnt sugars. A nice level of sweetness and booze, not too hot and not too sweet. The caramel notes are excellent and the bourbon melds perfectly.

T - Caramel, toasty malts, smooth bourbon, oak, burnt sugars. Again, a perfect mix of sweetness and booze for the style. Just how I like it. The booze has smoothed out nicely since 2007...really a nice vintage.

M - Medium, soft carbonation, creamy boozy finish.

O - A excellent English Barleywine. The combo of booze and sweetness is really well-done and I really don't have much bad to say about this beer. Try it!

10-17-2011 18:13:45 | More by Sean9689
Photo of ChrisPro
ChrisPro

Illinois

4.43/5  rDev +1.1%

2007 vintage.

A - lots of yeast, dark brown with cream head

S - caramel, oak, vanilla and quince.

T - nice sweet caramel and fig followed by a balanced bitter finish. A little tannins linger

M - perfectly light carb, very full bodied and a bit buttery; can still really taste the alcohol

O - have had a few times and this is the worst vintage I've had. That being said it is still an amazing brew. The alcohol is a bit hot but otherwise this is incredible and a great example of the style

10-15-2011 19:58:06 | More by ChrisPro
Photo of grittybrews
grittybrews

Washington

4.2/5  rDev -4.1%

2010 bottle, opened 10/2011. Poured a ruddy brownish orange with a small eggshell head. Sweet, sticky aroma with caramel, dark fruit, and alcohol.

Moderate carbonation and a thick, syrupy mouthfeel. Huge flavors with sweet caramel malt, molasses, prune and dark fruit, and a hint of tobacco/smoke on the finish. Some muddled, bitter hops are in hiding in there as well.

Big flavors and definitely boozy but I wouldn't have pegged it at 13 percent. Solid barleywine.

10-15-2011 02:14:42 | More by grittybrews
Photo of Urbancaver
Urbancaver

Ohio

3.93/5  rDev -10.3%

2010 vintage
Thanks norm

Pours a clear reddish brown. Some nice whie head.
Smells earthy and odd. Norm says celery seed and im inclined to agree.
Tastes smooth and boozy. Hot from a looot of barrel hitting hard. Bourbon, malt, earthiness. Weird... Im not sure what i think
Well carbonted. Hot but good mouthfeel
Overall interesting but man.. Ouch
Weird

10-08-2011 20:37:44 | More by Urbancaver
Photo of Dreadnaught33
Dreadnaught33

District of Columbia

4.68/5  rDev +6.8%

This may the best English Barleywine I've ever had, bar none. I will be looking to trade for this soon! From old notes....

A: Brown to dark crimson hue with a tan head that dies to a ring. Has some stuff floating, which actually makes me want to drink it more.

S: True Barleywine smell thats rich and packed with flavor. Wicked prune, grape, barley, leather, alcohol, caramel, raisin, and candy sweetness all are there. Can't wait for whats next.

T: Huge flavor, definitely one of the best tasting barleywines I've ever had. Rum raisin, grapes, toffee, brown sugar, burnt caramel, molasses, tea leaves (loved this), and alcohol complexity. A real serious barleywine, pretty much perfect for the style IMHO.

M: A little thick but not too much, sticky and sweet. Nice low carbonation that works great to let the big flavors come out even more.

Overall outstanding.

10-08-2011 15:00:01 | More by Dreadnaught33
Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
RBassSFHOPit2ME

California

3.38/5  rDev -22.8%

2010 Vintage:

Drank July 7th, 2011 - Split with rfragga77

Not following regular format here...

Not sure if I got a batch variated bottle or if I'm just not at all a fan of English Style Barleywines. Both rfragga77 and I agreed, there was not much barrel to be found at all in this beer. A little thin for the ABV and almost had a green apple flavor along with toffee / brown sugar sweetness.

We both finished the bomber as I paid $20 for it but I'd much rather an Abacus without batting an eye which was agreed upon. (Yes, I understand they are very different animals) It wasn't too hot for the ABV which I'll give it credit for. It didn't finish overly sweet either so if this were your bag...you could finish the bomber solo.

Call it blasphmey if you will, but I just don't get it.

I'd be happy to revisit to see if I bought a "off" bottle but I won't be purchasing another

09-13-2011 04:05:45 | More by RBassSFHOPit2ME
Photo of mdfb79
mdfb79

New York

4.47/5  rDev +2.1%

From 08/21/11 notes. Huge thanks to Thorpe429 for saving me some of this one, and to BManning for sharing the bottle. 2009 vintage poured into my SAVOR tasting snifter.

a - Pours a dark mahogany brown color with a few light tan bubbles and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, bready malts, light bourbon, oak, vanilla, light fruit, and light brown sugar. A little sweet smelling and not a ton if bourbon, but still really nice and complex.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, bourbon, oak, toffee, vanilla, sweet dark fruit, sugar, and alcohol. More bourbon in the taste than the nose had, and still a lot of caramel/toffee. A step up from the nose, and really great.

m - Medium to full body and low carbonation, very smooth body. Not too hot and very easy to drink for over 13% ABV.

o - Overall I thought this was a fantastic barrel aged barleywine. I personally would have liked a little more bourbon in the nose but the taste was amazing, and I loved the toffee/caramel that came through. Super smooth body, would love to try this again sometime.

08-23-2011 15:15:35 | More by mdfb79
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev -6.4%

2007 bottling

Appearance: With a hard pour the beer raises a minimal head that squatts on the hazy tea-brown liquid; fading quickly to a ringlet, it leaves some leggy lacing behind

Smell: Toffee, figs, mulled cider spicing and discernable alcohol, even after four years

Taste: The toffee and fig flavors jump out from the moment the liquid touches the tongue, with bigger fruit, earthy hop and burning alcohol elements arriving shortly thereafter; in the finish, the sweet and fruity flavors blend with a pipe tobacco character to provide a complex finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation; plenty of warmth, still

Overall: A very nice English Barleywine, indeed, though it doesn't jump out at me as being extraordinary; perhaps it has something to do with the age, though this is still quite potent

I cannot remember who sent it to me as I kept this one in the cellar for quite some time; thanks to whomever

08-04-2011 01:53:50 | More by brentk56
Photo of rvdoorn
rvdoorn

Netherlands

3.55/5  rDev -18.9%

2009 vintage. Bought from crackedkettle.
Look: Pours an amber-brown color with a almost no head, leaving a messy lacing.
Smell: Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, dark fruits, orange zest, some bourbon and alcohol. This smells promising.
Taste: Toffee, brown sugar, caramel, dark fruits and sharp alcohol. Some bitter hoppy aftertaste with some hints of anise. This beer is nice, but a bit too unbalanced, it burns….
Mouthfeel: low carbonation, medium-thick body
Overall: Nice beer, bit to sharp and unbalanced though.

07-07-2011 21:33:28 | More by rvdoorn
Photo of lakersfan16
lakersfan16

Alaska

4.72/5  rDev +7.8%

Tasting at the Great Alaska Beer & Barleywine festival.

Dark brown with a faint white head. Aroma of sweet fruity, caramel. Considering this beer is over 14% abv, it does not have an alcohol-dominated taste. Delicious but not overpowering flavor imparted from the oak. Aftertaste lingers for quite some time, making this one a sipper!

06-30-2011 16:27:58 | More by lakersfan16
Photo of sulldaddy
sulldaddy

Connecticut

4.35/5  rDev -0.7%

Reviewing a 2 yr old bottle at cellar temp in a snifter.
The beer pours a deep cola brown with some garnet highlights on the edge of the glass. Only a minimal beige edge layer foams up with one large wispy island in the center of my glass.
Aroma is very complex with robust figs, plums, brown sugar and port wine notes. Makes me expect a fairly boozy beer from the nose.
First sip reveals a fairly thick body with a little bit of a syrupy texture, and almost no carbonation. Flavor is rich malt with molasses, brown sugar, and maybe a little soysauce, could be slightly oxidized. the flavor improves as the beer breathes in the snifter, since this beer is a sipper in my opinion, it takes a good 30 - 40 mintues or so to finish my glass.
More dark fruit comes out as I sample longer with figs and plums. A pretty solid beer that I enjoy a lot, but the nose seemed to promise a little more than the flavor delivered.

06-26-2011 16:27:58 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of Donnie2112
Donnie2112

Alaska

4.55/5  rDev +3.9%

Poured the bomber into my Brooklyn chalice. 2010 batch

Looks like: This barleywine is dark amber with a thin layer of head that retains decently

Smells like: Very sweet, raisins, brown sugar, molasses on the nose.

Tastes like: Starts as sweet as the nose, then there is a bit of sourness, but not at all offensive. A hair of green apple mixed into all of the sweet dark fruit and sugar flavors. This beer finishes a bit on the dry side with just a hint of citric hoppiness, and the light peppery burn of alcohol.

Feels like: It's a meal in a glass really, full, thick, sticky, oily and delicious. There is moderate carbonation and it's just enough to make the whole thing pop

Really nice offering, the complexity of the flavor profile really makes this beer shine, it's got the right amount of big sticky malt flavor and the right amount of hops. I actually would classify this as an American Barleywine, plenty of hops but not overbearing, lots of sugary, sticky goodness. I'd say this guy is too hoppy to be an English style BW and far too sweet to be a DIPA.

06-15-2011 08:05:56 | More by Donnie2112
Photo of claspada
claspada

New Jersey

4.48/5  rDev +2.3%

Adding 2011 version sampled early Spring 2012. Aromas is definitely more whiskey forward but by no means boozy or as spirit forward as I have sampled in the past. Flavor is also quite similar but still much more barrel flavor than the aged version. Really well integrated and still the top Barleywine on the planet for my money.

2007 Vintage, ABV listed at 10.0%.

Pours a murky and muddy chestnut brown; one finger tan head which recedes quite rapidly leaving minimal lacing. Cannot see light through this big boy like I could with Mirror Mirror last night.

The aromas begin lots or dark rich caramel maltiness and dark fruitiness (cherries and figs mainly). No hops what-so-ever but after 5 years what do you expect. As it warms you get some darker chocolate and roasted toffee and a little honey sweetness and a note of alcohol but it's a barleywine so it's acceptable.

The tastes begin with chewy caramel candy sweet malts and lesser but still prevalent toffee and milk chocolate. Reminds me a little of a piece of Werther's Original candy actually. Wow this is super complex. As it warms you can detect a little of the dark fruit which I noted in the aroma (dates and figs) but as soon as you pick them out the caramelized malts take over again and then some toffee and more milk chocolate and honey sweet flavors. Now I am getting some strong maple flavors, crazy! I am glad I had this as my first beer of the night because I can truly appreciate it's beauty and greatness. Although there was a slight booziness on the nose, there is zero in the taste. Also not much barrel, but it was blended with non-barreled beer, plus the age, no I deduct no points for that, in fact I am giving more credit. Some many flavors from the blended/different barrels used, wow... just wow.

Mouthfeel is stupidly full and heavy but somehow not syrupy at all which is amazing given the minimal carbonation (which I usually hate but it works for this beer). Decadent is the word that comes to mind as I am drinking this; definitely a sipper to be enjoyed (I didn't say you have to share it, I have no intention to, just quaff and enjoy). Silky smooth and somehow finishes dry despite all the sweet and delicious maltiness. Only with the last sip can I detect a little booziness, but it's really warm at this point because I enjoyed/savored this over a long period of time.

Overall I have had two of the best barleywines in my life back-to-back nights (last night was Mirror Mirror 2009, uninfected version) but I think, no I know, this tops it. Wow, so so so highly recommended and worth trading for.

06-10-2011 23:38:22 | More by claspada
Photo of kayalla
kayalla

California

4/5  rDev -8.7%

From a 2010 vintage. Pours into a snifter a clear dark brown with some red, and larger than expected bubbles. Aroma is some sweet bourbon, plums, a light bitter hop. Flavor is sweet plums and raisins, a nice hot bourbon in the finish, not too big. A touch of a hop throughout thats just out of place. Enjoyed this less than some of the older years, but still pretty good!

06-10-2011 02:27:54 | More by kayalla
Photo of SpeedwayJim
SpeedwayJim

New York

3.95/5  rDev -9.8%

Unsure of the vintage but this one is labeled as 10% ABV. Thanks to ipa247 (Jeff) for this one. Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a Darkness snifter.

A: Gentle pour yields just a thin ring of frothy lacing around the edge of the glass. Beer is a semi-cloudy clay-brown. Lacing is stringy and thick with moderate cling. Pretty average.

S: Nose is outstandingly aromatic. Toffee, caramel, brown sugar, and some plum and raisin notes. Alcohol is prominent but not enough to cover the robust flavors. Nice.

T: Opens toffee, caramel, and molasses. Brown sugar, honey, plums, and raisin towards the middle along with a sharp alcohol twinge. More toffee and caramel at the end. Alcohol becomes warming and subtle. Finish is molasses and anise with brown sugar in the aftertaste. Super rich and hearty. Great complexity.

M: Full bodied with low carbonation. Oily and filmy in the mouth with good viscosity. Goes down smooth and warm. Finish is messy with a lingering aftertaste. A bit too thick but incredibly rich and smooth.

O: A monster of a beer, Arctic Devil is a meal in a glass. Incredibly robust and complex with a ton of subtle flavors. However, what keeps it from the top tiers is the huge body and alcohol bite towards the middle and end. Age would probably do wonders to this one. Definitely worth trying and older vintages are likely worth their weight in gold!

06-09-2011 19:01:57 | More by SpeedwayJim
Photo of 7ways
7ways

Georgia

4.6/5  rDev +5%

2010 vintage. Champagne flute. Silly straw.

Large light brown head on a nondescript seal brown body. Very impressive head for such a high abv beer.

Good aroma, but not jumping out at me like I'd hoped. Fruity malt, cherry pie, very little rummy alcohol and almost no hop presence. Fruit roll-ups.

Talk about layers, this is a beer to lose yourself in. Toffee creme, tobacco, old Port, butter pecan, BARLEYWINE. This is it, we have arrived, best tasting American-made barleywine I've ever had. Sorry Gratitude.

Rotund-ass body, low carbonation.

After smelling and before sipping, I was worried that this was just another hype monster. But with the first sip it really comes together in a big way.
Complex on the level of HotD Adam, mouthfeel of a big CCB beer, and as satisfying as Rochefort 10.

06-03-2011 01:28:44 | More by 7ways
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
ThreeWiseMen

California

4.43/5  rDev +1.1%

Swimsum busted this out at a recent tasting. Thanks a ton Brent! Bottle dated January 2009.

Poured into a Cigar City snifter.

Appearance: Heavy, tawny-colored body with brown-gold edges. Absolutely no head on this one; even vicious swirls can only generate a few splotches of off-white bubbles that dissipate immediately. No lacing either. I dig the colors, but this looks flat otherwise. I know low carbonation is typical for this style, but I'd like to see a bit more carbonation/head than this.

Smell: Tobacco, molasses, red currants, chocolate chip pancakes, and rubbing alcohol. From a distance, the nose is alright; deep whiffs garner the heavy, fusel notes. Wonder if this is a little past its prime.

Taste: Caramel, lightly toasted grains, tobacco, and leather play primary roles; cocoa, roast, Tootsie Roll, and earth are a bit more subtle. Very complex and smooth with absolutely no inkling of the alcoholic potency. Finishes with a delicate balance of residual sweetness and bite. Quite possibly the best-crafted barleywine I've ever tasted.

Mouthfeel: Big, malty, and a touch syrupy on the tongue, although the beer finishes more clean and dry than you'd expect. Very lightly carbonated. Good amount of warmth and some light prickliness to boot.

Overall: As soon as I tasted this one, I forgot all about the alcoholic nose. What an amazing barleywine! Seek this one out!

05-31-2011 01:08:50 | More by ThreeWiseMen
Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 951 ratings.