1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Arctic Devil Barley Wine - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Arctic Devil Barley WineArctic Devil Barley Wine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,074 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,074
Reviews: 343
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.24%
Wants: 960
Gots: 267 | 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:
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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,074 | Reviews: 343 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of yourefragile
4.72/5  rDev +8%
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.

Photo of SanDiegoBeerLove
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of canjeeps
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of drewone
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of Auracom
4.34/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

Photo of brotherloco
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

Photo of kevgod
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of beenitty
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Kegatron
4.17/5  rDev -4.6%
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…

Photo of nrbw23
4.47/5  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.

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.

Photo of sliverX
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of PerHops
4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of jdense
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Photo of Jakers90
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of siege06nd
4.03/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

Photo of axeman9182
4.29/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Photo of schwaeh
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Photo of tewaris
3.68/5  rDev -15.8%
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

Photo of misterrobot
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of surlytheduff
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of RandomName7
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of HamFon
4.92/5  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.

Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,074 ratings.