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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
96
world-class

355 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 355
Hads: 1,235
Avg: 4.35
pDev: 15.4%
Wants: 981
Gots: 302 | FT: 39
Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States | website

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 355 | Hads: 1,235
Photo of illidurit
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

05 bottle sampled at the RBSG 08 Grand Tasting. Big thanks to whoever brought it. Pours golden brown with a tan head that leaves wet spotty lacing. Deep caramel aroma with some leafiness. Tobacco? Hops? Flavor is toffee based, with notes of prune, molasses, berries, and wood. Finish is earthy with some vanilla. Full bodied with a very smooth mouthfeel.

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Photo of mnapier
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Service Temperature, 55 degrees. Service Glassware, 12 ounce Tulip.

A dark pool with little or no light escaping that pours a mild khaki head that leaves no lace behind.
The nose is a strong alcohol nose that wafts along with some brown sugar, raisins, and a slight bit of cherry.
The mouth is mostly brown sugar with some raisins, figs, and a slight berry zest. Mouthfeel is medium to strong but not overwhelming.

I like this beer but will have to wait till the winter period to fully appreciate it.

Cheers

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Photo of khiasmus
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well it's been a long day and a long night. A good bit of work earlier, then to the job itself... and it is what it is, of course, the grind, though much more enjoyable than your average computer repair shop or landscaping company. Funny, though, how regardless of the work it's either a bad boss or bad work or stupid customers or moron employees... we never can seem to find work that we love every facet of. Oh sure, we love the accomplishments, maybe the competition, the power, the control, the subject matter.. but do we wake up longing to go to work?
Aside. So we get home, and there's nothing for it but to open a delicious beverage. So here we are, a world class beer in hand, and all we've to do is dissect it, ravage any intangible life and glorious beauty it possesses by creating from it a cold, lifeless, scientific stamp upon a sheet of paper, an accomplishment, a statement of plain attributes, nothing with soul. I differ.

How I love you, my darling! How beautiful your eyes, your lips in the pale moonlight! Your hair a dark brown, a smile upon your lips as you cast a lilting grin towards me with the Deepest mahogany of glances! Just a couple of soap-bubbles left there, on your shoulders, as your face turns to a cascade of hot liquid crashing down from above you... and some wisps of cloud steam up through the clear air as you relish the warmth and are beautiful...
Your fragrance haunts the waking dreams of even kings in their courtyards... The plums, raisins, molasses, caramelized sugars, vanilla, Sweet toasted black bread, butterscotch, and port... these are things in whose presence mortals often feel their undeserving eyes cast down, their lips afraid to savour..
Ah, but they may. They do savour, I savour thy many delights! Thy oaky and wooden flavours of burnt sugar and toasted grains, the warmth and absolute enjoyability of your delights on this night...
A slight syrup tinge, though surprisingly dry, as we carouse in our delectable fantasy now made real, and I wish that every moment we could be even as we are, in a seductive tumble of flesh, a delectable monstrosity of flavours and colours that overwhelm our senses and recall to our minds through our flesh from our hearts once again... "I love you. It's true."

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Photo of angrybabboon
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this

Consumed 1/15/14

Appearance: Dark, dark dark brown - nearly black - pours with a medium-sized, light tan head - almost keeps a solid cap, and leaves some nice spots of lacing

Smell: In a word, burly - this smells huge, even for a barleywine - huge caramel, cooked malts, toffee, molasses, chocolate, burnt sugar, caramelized everything - liquified donuts - some spice, some sugar, and a a ton of sugar - some ripe, dark fruits - booze, so much booze... this kind of smells like a dessert wine - with some oak

Taste: Thick, rich, borderline demonic - huge malts, huge booze - caramel malts, caramelized grains, caramel syrup, molasses, toffee, sugar, with more sugar - some chocolate, with a touch of roast, coffee, and espresso - tons of dark fruits, as well as some lighter fruits, like cherry skins - somewhat earthy, with a lot of oak, and general barrel - I can't quite discern the barrel, but whatever it was, it was boozy - so much booze here, this more or less demands to be sipped

Mouthfeel: Big, full, thick - not sludge, but somewhat syrupy, oily - adequate carbonation, finishes with booze

Overall: You're not the devil. You're practice.

This is kind of like a night in a bottle. The only reasonable way to drink this is to sip it. It's monstrous, but it's worth it. Maybe this would be a lot better in like 5 years.

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Photo of tobelerone
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage.

Pours a coppery brown, with a cap of lighter brown foam and patchy lacing here and there. Complex aroma; toffee and brown sugar; a hint of maple; whiskey and wood; lots of dark fruit like plums, raisins, and figs.

The flavor is equally complex. The most surprising and memorable note was that of maple; there also a good deal of brown sugar/toffee flavor and caramel, more fruit, and plenty of bourbon boozines. Alcohol present but not overly aggressive in the flavor; more noticed as a pleasant warmth in the belly after the swallow.

Medium bodied, perhaps a little thinner than anticipated. Would benefit from a bit more heft, in my estimation. Medium carbonation, quite smooth and silky.

A very nice barrel-aged barleywine that falls perhaps a hair short of the best in class. Wish I had been able to try past vintages; also wish I had more than the single bottle to so I could sock a few away for aging.

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Photo of Dope
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
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).

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Photo of kegger22
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a reddish brown with an modest head that faded to a collar. The aroma was maple syrupy sweet. I loved the smell. The taste was molasses, alcohol and dark fruit (prunes mostly). Feel was heavy bodied, thick, chewy and oily smooth. Drinkability was only above average due to the high ABV and extreme sweetness. I liked A Devil a lot, but 3F Behemoth still my favorite barley wine.

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Photo of Duff27
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Inch tall off white head on a dark but translucent "mohageny" colored body. Very nice head retention for the style. Some lacing.

Sweet boozy bourbon goodness, not overdone though.

Caramel maltiness, low to nil hop presence duhhh. Alcohol burn going down...I know it says 13+%abv and that's about what it translates too.

Medium to medium-thick mouthfeel. Lower carbonation.

Overall well balanced English barleywine and barrel notes. I don't know if I was looking forward to this more than I should have but it's a small let down even as its at the bottom of the top tier of its style. What?

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Photo of KevSal
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

wanted something to celebrate my new job, 2011 version poured into 4 wine glassess

a-dark deep ruby red with a thin skin layer of head. i like it a lot

s- huge caramal apple upfront. layers of aroma on this one. wine scents, vanilla and bourbon. candy apple. the flavor is real good but slightly harsh on the palate.

t- caramel and vanilla right upfront and foward. different flavors from the multiple barrels comes through nice. nice hint of wine and port behind the big vanillla, bourbon and young green apple. the alcohol is hidden but the flavors are slightly harsh on the planet

m- much thinner than i was expecting especially for something so big. medium bodied with good carbonation.

o- this is a great ba barleywine. it taste unique, much different than the typical ba barleywine. its still a bit harsh on the tongue but with age i can see this mellow into something spectacular. wish it was a bit smoother

i am a bit bothered that its more expensive than last year, what the heck? price tag is pushing

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Photo of DaveHS
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 version poured into a 4oz snifter.

A-Pours a dark amber with 1/3 inch of thin, bubbly head that disappears almost instantly, leaving no lacing.

S-Caramel, bourbon, vanilla, cashews. Smells delicious.

T/M-Rich flavors of vanilla and toffee. Very complex. Some doughy, bready notes mid-palate, leading into a slightly hot finish. The longer I drink this, the sweeter it tastes. Still, surprisingly drinkable for a young 13.42% barley wine. Low carbonation, full bodied.

D-Hard to get ahold of, but worth the trouble. Wish I had another bottle to cellar. It wasn't quite ready.

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Photo of bret27
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

bottle courtesy of my pocketbook...
2008 Between 1-2 yrs old.

S: Coconut and vanilla, sunscreen, oak, tannins. I've never smelled such a strong coconut smell from a bw before. Outstanding imo.

A: Normal, yellowish/orange. Normal to low carb.

T: Pretty much same as smell, but the coconut is more of a backseat and booze is present, but in just the right warming amount

M/D: Medium thick body, just about right. Pretty boozey to be too drinkable, but fairly good for style.

Overall: Overall it would probably be in my top 5 for the style anyway.

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Photo of jethrodium
4.22/5  rDev -3%
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.

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Photo of koopa
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Review from notes 2007 Bottle Shared by MrBarleywine.
Pours a deep copper color with a decent sized off white head that shows moderate retention. Aromas of dark caramelized sugar, dark pitted fruits, bits of wood, hints of rum and bourbon, light alcohol, no hop aromas. The flavor is sweet with dark sugars, light oak, light fruits, a solid hit of warming alcohol and a touch of earth. Medium to thick body with a moderate to light level of carbonation and a sweet almost sticky mouthfeel. One of my favorite barley wines, I only wish it were a little easier to obtain.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been sitting on this bottle for the last three months and decided today is a good day to drink it. It is very dark, brown with ruby edges. The smell is sweet with alcohol tinges. The taste is very sweet malts, delicious but thick and syrupy with an almost cognac-like flavor. There is a slight vanilla flavor which I assume is from the barrels. This beer is definitely an English style barleywine, very malt-forward. The alcohol leaves a burn.

12/21/08 2007 vintage

still very malty sweet, good english barleywine, pricey but will probably age very well, also much stronger than 10%...

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage. Got 2 bottles of this, so I wanted to try one fresh.

A: Pours a really dark brown color, nearly the color of a stout. A one finger khaki colored head fades quickly, leaving a clear view of the ominous looking beer.

S: At first, this smells like nothing but oak. But the more I let it open up, the more flavors started popping to the surface. Brown sugar, toffee, leather, tobacco and a pretty hearty smack of booze. Hints of banana bread and raisin as well. The oak fades a bit, but it's still pretty prominent.

T: Even as it warms, the oak comes through a lot more than I'd like, holding back the other flavors in here. Brown sugar and caramel come through along with a pretty big hit of booze. Some toffee, a slight hint of bourbon, and some more buttery oak on the finish. Definitely way too oak forward for me right now, but I can't wait to revisit this in a year or so.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
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…

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Photo of grittybrews
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of Crosling
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark ruby. Wonderfully extracted caramel and chocolate malts in the nose, along with the barrel contribution which brings slight aromatics of cocunut, bourbon and wood. Fairly simple aroma but the flavor makes up for it. Chocolate covered raisin flavor with hints of caramel and oak and a touch of hops of the back of tonque. Full, coating flavor. A very good beer.

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Photo of Pencible
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage. This poured a slightly hazy ruby color with some tan head. It smelled like raisin and honey wheat and brown sugar, with a bit of copper hops and creamy yeast and alcohol. It tasted like toffee and brown sugar and alcohol, with some raisin and honey wheat. It was oily with a bit of carbonation, and had a bitter metallic aftertaste. Overall this was a solid English barleywine, with nice malty scent and taste and good body. It was still pretty potent even after a year of aging, so this is definitely a sipping beer. Whisky and oak flavors weren't very apparent, which was somewhat disappointing. But this is still a great brew and very enjoyable.

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Photo of mykie73
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

a) Burgandy caramel, burnt amber color with small lacing

s) Complex. red apples, cherries, hint of figs, vanilla, toffee

t) delicious; tastes like it smells but with more toffee. lingering after taste. reminds me of eating a twix bar in away. can not taste the alcohol at all.

f) so smooth, does not coat mouth, great feel.

d) very drinkable. A spendy beer at $15 a pop so something you bring out for a special treat. Very happy that this beer is very available in Oregon. Tremendous Barley Wine.

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Photo of hopdog
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled date of November '04.

Poured a dark and cloudy brown color with a small off white head. Aromas of vanilla, dark fruits and wood. Tastes of vanilla, dark fruits, brown sugar, and molasses. Sweet. Light alcohol in the finish. Overall a very tasty Barley Wine.

Notes from 4/15/05

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Photo of rudzud
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received in a trade 2011 Vintage.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice crystal clear deep coppery mahogany hue with a nice one finger off white head that fades to leave a nice thin blanket.

S - Nice sweet (but not too sweet) malts and soft oak with good whiskey notes. Quite faint throughout.

T - Slightly hot, but to be expected. Softer, sweet malts light caramel and toffee, gentle oak and whiskey. Some nice intermingling but again its all rather light with some alcohol in the background.

M - Mouthfeel is spot on. Nicely carbonated here with those prickly bubbles keeping it up off the tongue. As it warms though it gets a bit thin.

O - Overall this was a good barleywine. Not great, just good. Slightly disappointed here, for the trouble it is to get Anchorage brews I had higher expectations for this one. There are readily available barleywines on the market I can get at a fraction.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.14/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle at City Beer. Poured into a snifter. 2010 bottle.

Appearance - No head. Murky brown with some reddish flecks. Ring of foam around the surface.

Smell - Oak is prominent. Bourbon and vanilla. Low barrel character next to other barreled barley wines, but it's nice. Slightly oxidized, but it's beneficial. Earthy hops join the caramel.

Taste - Even less barrel, but it's still nice. Caramel mostly, but oak and vanilla are close behind. Bourbon and oxidation blend in. Earthy finish. A little bitter.

Mouthfeel - Boozy, but I wouldn't guess 13.4%. Low carbonation. Bitter. Maybe even a bit thin and watery as the flavors drop off.

Overall - Excellent flavors. The oxidation is nice. The only downfall is the mouthfeel. Too thin in the finish.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This one poured a nice, glowing brown in color with an off-white head that frothed up good for a high-octane ABV.

Smell – Man, this is a big ‘un. The huge, roasty malts are thick and boozy. They are drenched in fruity and refined sugars. This nose is almost overpowering. If you like big Barley Wine bouquets, you have to buy this just for the smell.

Taste – The malts from the nose are thick and roasted at the taste as well. The alcohol is sharp but very confident in the flavor profile. The giant table sugars almost make this one feel like an English-style Barley Wine.

Mouthfeel – This one is in between medium and full in the body with a nice, almost stinging alcoholic mouthfeel.

Drinkability – This is not for everyone, but if you like your ABWs big, bold, and boozy (like I do) than this definitely is for you.

Comments – Ms. Skyhand busted out this Barley for her first annual Bring on Da Booze festival, and personally it was the highlight of the evening for me.

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Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 355 ratings.