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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

1,046 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 bum732
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

S: Rich maltiness, caramel candy, bourbon sweetness

L: Very dark brown, bordering on black, light tan head that dissipates

T: Intense toffee brittle sweetness with a rich maltiness. Low bitterness, bourbon sweetness comes through next. Touch of chocolate and maybe a hint of coffee roastiness. Butterscotch into the finish. Finishes semi-sweet with some oak.

M: Medium full body, medium low carbonation.

Great stuff, just a fantastic BA barleywine.

Photo of Amalak
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of ThickNStout
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from BeerShip.com. No bottling date but this is the January 2014 vintage. Served in a Three Floyds teku.

Pours tawny chestnut with a half finger of dirty sand hued head. The foam settles to a modest halo that leaves almost nothing in the way of lace.

Smells of bourbon, caramel, mild vanilla, brown sugar, some dark fruits and a whiff of booze. Aromas deepen as it warms, making it even more inviting.

Taste follows the nose well with it's delicious sweet layers of toffee, bourbon, caramel, vanilla, raisins, butterscotch, brown sugar, hints of currants, earthy burnt oak, leather, bread pudding, faint toast and an appropriately present but not overpowering boozeyness. Every sip reveals a new combination of flavors, particularly as it settles closer to room temperature. Outstanding.

Delightfuly viscous, fairly heavy and almost syrupy feel with fairly soft yet tingly carbonation. Sweet, lingering aftertaste with bourbon infused vanilla, toffee pudding and caramel coating the tongue.

Absolutely fantastic. One of the best English barleywines that I've had. I'm very happy to have procured multiple bottles to enjoy again both soon and as it ages. This is one of an elite few that I would say is truly worth seeking out.

Photo of meathookjones
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle that was bottled on November 05. Deep brownish amber with a good sized tan head. Light lacing and good head retention. Aroma is full of sweet ripe dark fruits with some caramel. Molasses and milder notes of baker’s chocolate lingering in the back. The flavor starts with more of the ripe fruit notes with sweet caramel. Caramel, toffee and molasses are noted as well. Some earthiness and a nice bitter touch to keep the sweetness in check. Very rich and full flavored. No real signs of alcohol just some warmth as it goes down. Pretty damn thick and smooth as well. Perfectly drinkable to me, big flavor with no harshness at all. Amazing stuff that I wish were available locally.

Photo of Gotti311
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of irishevans
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%

drinking the 07 vintage shortly after it's release. the apperaance is dark at the bottom however the top is hazey caramel colored, with a thin fiml of a head, that sticks just enough to leave that sweet taste on your lip. the smell is warm and caramelish, and the taste is also full of caramel along with some liquor taste on the finish, the mouthfeel is exceptoinal crisp and bitey, however with that heavy liquor taste makes the drinkability(right now) a little rough, but it should improve(and by that i mean mellow) with age

Photo of bonkers
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured from a 22 ounce bottle, 2008 vintage, into a snifter. It is a murky caramel color with a very slight tan head, slight lacing. The aroma is full of vanilla, oak, and a balanced amount of whiskey. The flavor follows the nose, with some dark fruit notes added. A very well balanced beer, the whiskey notes add a fullness to the flavor without being overpowering. The finish has a caramel/whiskey sweetness to it. Artic Devil has a very full body and a sticky mouthfeel, very low carbonation. With an ABV of 13% it is a nice sipper. An outstanding beer that I received from Dunt in a recent BIF.

Photo of blitheringidiot
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark russet eggplant hue with a deflated thin cap to a collar.

Deep aroma of dark fruit cornicopia fig and plum followed with a brutal assault of dark grain waffle malt and burnt caramalized molasses.

First swigs: Molasses thick, I mean thick! black cherries, caramelized sugar, sticky pastry dough. Fruit figs and dates extreme with a balance of vanilla and almond. Complex hints of soy.

Feel is full bodied tongue coater, gentle restrained carbonation. Pancake mix dry. Sticky lips stick to the glass.

Last swigs: Unlike ANY barelywine. Almost rauch-like. Eating iceing fom the cake. Thanks AKSmokedPorter!

Beer is good. Happy big bold beering.

Photo of BierJager89
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with a mocha ring of head.

S:Vanilla, oak, red grape, red wine in the nose.

T: Sweet fruit, pineapple, vanilla, red grapes/wine and oak.

M: Full bodied and smooth.

O: An excellent example of what barrel aging can do to an english style (to me, not supper hoppy) barleywine. If you like Sucaba/Abacus, or Bourbon Angel's Share, you'll like this. One of the best example of the style.

Photo of glazeman
4.59/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split with airohead2001.

A: The beer pouts a dark brown with some great reddish amber hues, with a ½ finger off white head that quickly fades into a crown and leaves some small lacing.

S: Lots of caramel on the nose with a little bit of apple as well at the start. Some brown sugar in the middle and a tad bit of raisin at the finish. Overall an amazing smelling beer.

T: Unfortunately the taste wasn't quite as good as the smell, but was still pretty good. There's a lot more roasty flavor that the smell indicated, and a bit of etoh burn at the finish. The beer also isn't nearly as sweet as I had anticipated based on the smell. There's a lot of nuttiness and some oakiness in here as well even though I don't think

M: Great viscosity and carbonation, a little too much etoh on the aftertaste to let this one sit on the palate perfectly.

O: Overall an amazing barleywine that I'd love to have again.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.59/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got a couple of bottles of this, one from joe1510 in the LNBA BIF, and mhewes, as an extra of all things. Both bottles are the 2007 vintage, clocking in at 10%.

Deep reddish brown with a dense, light brown head that recedes to a disk, leaving a little lace. Reddish brown highlights are present. The nose is excellent. I didn't really know this was as barrel aged as it was. Bourbon is present and quite noticeable, along with some booze. The malt character is excellent. Mild tart fruits with dates and raisins, a mild nutty aroma, a little creamy cocoa, almost. Rich leather, tobacco and molasses (shisha ). The dark fruit character is excellent and quite unique, the dates, brown sugar, raisins and palm sugar, and works quite brilliantly with the leather. As it warms up, it makes me think of orange peel dipped in chocolate.

Opening with a blend of brown sugar, toffee, palm sugar, dates and leather . The bourbon is a little more reserved on the palate, with an almost vinous boozy character. In fact, the fruitiness and the booze coupled with the malt base makes this more vinous than bourbon. Hops have faded, they just aren't noticeable here. The mid-palate has some caramel and toffee, and leather appears too. The leather and the tannins work really well, lingering on into the finish. Medium in body with soft carbonation, this feels excellent on the palate. The finish is wonderful, earthy, leathery, tannic and mildly fruity. The tannins also do have a mild walnut character. Despite the booziness, the alcohol is very well hidden. Drinking this 22oz bottle is going to be no problem. In some ways, it makes me think of the Brandy Old Stock. Easily among the top 3 barleywines I've had, beautifully structured

**Edit 4 July 2013**

Yes, it's summer, but here in Oregon, it's 60F outside right now. This is the 08 vintage, 10% ABV.

Earth, tobacco, raisin and some bourbon are present on the nose. Moderately vinous with a definite grape skin tannin character present. The palate is smooth and glorious (in feel, at least), with a nice blend of sweetness, earth, tobacco and some sherry. Oxidation is starting to kick in, with a slight dullness present. Moderately nutty (walnut, in particular), along with some umami flavors (black olives, strange as that may sound). Wonderful body, full, smooth, creamy and supple, this is softly carbonated and is very delicious. I do wish I drank this about 18 months back, though.
4/4/4.75

Photo of DevilsCups
4.59/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Super murky muddy brown/mahogany. Very cloudy brew. Small light tan head, settles to a soapy layer. Huge legs. Not ugly, but not pretty.

S - Big bourbon, caramel and vanilla. Smells similar to BCBS's barrel treatment.

T - Tastes like bourbon soaked caramel apples. Vanilla is big on the finish. Awesome. Huge caramel/bourbon notes.

M - Very, very thick and solid carbonation. Thicker than some heavy-hitting stouts. Coats like a boss.

O - So glad I got to try this finally. Very solid brew from Midnight Sun. Seek it out.

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 CraftFan5
4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of tpd975
4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a rustic brown color with tints of red shining thru. The head is huge, brown, and puffy. The retention is wonderful and some lace is noted.

S: Whoa boy this is one boozy monster. Tons of bourbon and oak in the nose. Beneath the booze hides caramel malt, toffee, a hint of hops and spice.

T: Wow what a suprise. Not boozy at all considering the ABV. The nose makes you think this one is going to be booze booze booze, but its not. This one is wonderful. The sweet malts really come out and shine here. Lots of caramel and toffee. A bit of butter rum candy and a splash of spice. There were some citrus hops in there for balance, but overall this one is packed with malty goodness.

M: THICK... almost syrup like.

D: Extremely good for the style and ABV. I could have enjoyed an entire bomber myself.

Photo of zeledonia
4.57/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 vintage, bottled February 2011. Thanks to RWNewhouse for the trade. Enjoyed 30 June 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours a deep amber color, ruby highlights, with one finger of off-white head. Clear, and just dark enough that I can still see through it. Head has decent retention; not much lacing.

Smell is like brandy - rich, strong, and sweet, and heavy on the fruits. Wood and oak, prunes and cognac, Yum.

Taste is just fantastic. So much depth, so many layers of flavors. The barrel-aging is prominent, but dang is it good. Heavy fruit flavors, alcohol which, as I mentioned earlier, is like brandy. Waves of flavor, washing over each other, adding complexity and deliciousness until it gradually fades away. Oh, I could savor this for hours.

I like the feel, just as I like the rest of the beer. Heavy, syrupy, more slippery than thick. Enough carbonation to keep me happy.

A delicious, fruity, liquer-like barleywine. Not quite the best I've had (that title remains with Abacus), but definitely up there. I will most definitely seek this out again.

Photo of Stu_Grimson
4.56/5  rDev +4.3%

Photo of kdahnke123
4.56/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter at cellar temperature.
A - Pours a cloudy amber color with half a finger of short lived head. A small amount of lacing results.
S - Smells of bourbon, vanilla, carmel and toasted oak.
T - Carmel, bourbon, sweet malt with little hops and a nice candy finish.
M - Nice coating mouthfeel, next to no carbonation, lingers in the mouth long after swallowing.
O - One of the top 5 barley wines I have tasted. Highly recommended.

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.56/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Served in my favorite snifter glass.

Appearance: This brew pours a hazy mahogany color and when pressed against the light; you do see bubbles creating an off-white head rising to roughly about 1/3".

Smell: A caramel malt bomb, literally as I am pouring this beer into the glass you can breathe in toffee and wood notes.

Taste: Complex taste to it if you ask me, and if you really want to know it friggin incredible. The worst part is putting the glass down with heavy toffee and strong whiskey notes. I am falling in lust with this brew. Feels sweet, with a smooth alcohol taste that is a tender strong if that can make sense. Caramel meets a little whiskey plus a slight wood feel.

Mouth: Medium bodied finish, feels a notch light but some serious stickiness to it.

Overall: This is the second best English Barleywine that I have had with first one being a retired gem and probably my favorite Midnight Sun beer period. You get everything you will need when asking for quality. As far as availability is concerned I don't think you will find a better barleywine out there.

Photo of Bung
4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. Cloudy orange/amber pour. Nearly no head, just some swirling cream bubbles. Sticks to the glass. Just looking at this one you know it's going to be full of malty goodness. Brown sugar, malt, toffee, raisin and a fair amount of booze in the aroma. Also hints of piney hops. Taste has an abundance of malt, caramel, vanilla, yellow raisins. Little hop presence, but it is faintly there. Solid sticky body. Gets a little warm as it warms, but the flavors also pop as it warms. This is a meal, not sure how much of this I want to drink, but you could polish off the bomber before you realize it. Top notch Barleywine that has some hints of Old Ale. Unfortunate that so many are going to the hop bomb American style, this is a must try for those who like a barleywine the old English way.

Photo of cbutova
4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Notes taken live at our huge Barleywine tasting last weekend. So glad I randomly found this in NYC last year. 2012 bottle drank in December 2013. (~1.25 years or so old).

A- Somewhat hazy dark amber bodied, bordering on ruby red with a small frothy and creamy off-white head. Falls fairly quickly to a creamy ring around the edges. Lacing is spotty but there are a good deal of those spots and lots of legs after each sip.

S- Super smoothed out Bourbon barrels atop a big old syrup laden Barleywine. Almost semi-tart dark red fruits come to mind as well as spiced raisin. Nice oak, vanilla and caramel.

T- Bourbon comes to life a bit more here but still kept in check by the huge malty Barleywine base brew. Peppery Bourbon is nice and the barrels give off nice oak and vanilla dessert notes. Toffee, raisins, caramel, spicy yeast, dark fruits from the English yeast. The complexity between the yeast, malts and barrels is balanced and intense.

MF- Moderately high carbonation for the style but it works out nicely and reminds me of some Stouts carbonation level. Good heat from the alcohol but not even close to 13.4% (in flavor and feel). Thick bodied with a good creaminess with agitation.

This beer is pretty unique to me after having more than a few Bourbon barrel Barleywines. The bourbon flavor is unique, it has a peppery feel but only mixes and does not dominate the flavor. The English yeast only makes it all the better with a great raisiny dark fruit spiced feel.

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 flexabull
4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of beersabound. Thanks again!

Bottled November 2005. Been looking for a reason to open this one... with the Phillies (my favorite baseball team) beating the Mets for the NL East, this seems like a good reason to crack this one open.

Beer pours a deep dark amber color, with a nice white head.

Aromas are really strong. Very spicy with bright fruit notes... this also has a very whiskey like smell to it. Quite pungent...

First thing of notice on the sip, is the complexity. What an intense beer. Very bready, dark fruit like, spicy, tart, and with a distinct whiskey, malty, booze like taste. It's a bit sweet, but with a nice alcohol warmth on the finish. Top notch barley wine. And certainly fits well with the English style. Not overly hoppy, just a touch of bitterness, with some pine flavors on the finish.

Mouthfeel is great. Very full, creamy, smooth, yet still bold and thick.

Drinkability is great. This is really 10% ABV? Could have fooled me... a classic barley wine. Exceptionally crafted. Smooth, tasty, and with a wonderful warmth while going down the throat. Seek this beer out! It's that good.

Photo of 7ways
4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Vancer
4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Time to finish the year with a highly rated brew, sent to me by beerbeing in the BA annv club – many thanks again.

The 2005 brew poured a murky caramel brown, capped with a fair amount of tan head and lace – this with a 10% alcohol lurking within.

Nice aroma of caramel, plums, raisons and the BW malt. All these aspects fire up in the taste, along with a bit of an alcohol burn in the finish – after almost 3 years??

Still overall it remains smooth and sweet – perfect fit for an English BW. Yum, a real treat, Happy New Year!

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