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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

965 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 965
Reviews: 335
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 8.22%
Wants: 936
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: 965 | Reviews: 335 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Greywulfken
4.54/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: into a snifter, deep brown body with brief tan head of fine fizz

S: sweet and nutty malts, hints of toffee sweetness and dark, moldy fruit; lighter notes of smoky whisky barrels

T: great complexity - malt-froward, nutty, robust, chewy, and caramel sweet; earthy, and savory; hints of bourbon and wood and smoke

M: smooth, touch of alcohol, medium+ body, slick

O: truly a masterpiece.

Greywulfken, Mar 28, 2013
Photo of MarcWP
4.54/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter.

Appearance is a muddled plume juice brown with tiny tan head that dissipates instantly.

Aroma is dates, figs, plum, prune, English toffee, new leather, unfiltered dark honey, peloncillo, dulce de leche, and deep caramelized sugar.

Taste brings about more of those dark fruits with major prune, fig, and dates. The toffee comes through big as well. You get some port and young Cabernet showcasing that fermenting grape character given off by some English Barleywines and Old Ales. Brown sugar, molasses, and caramel making the scene incognito.

Mouthfeel is where it should be for a Barleywine. Medium body with enough carbonation to lend support in keeping the flavors from overwhelming. A bit more carbonation would do no harm.

Overall a fantastic Barrel-Aged English Barleywine. Can stand with the best of them. Too bad places price gouge this quite a bit. I've seen bottles for 30% less than what I paid.

MarcWP, Mar 02, 2014
Photo of sukwonee
4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage

I have had this beer in and out of possession before but this was my first time having it. and goddamn... It's awesome. My top 5 Barleywine to date.

A: Black with slight red tint. One finger head. some lacing on the side of the glass but not much.

S: vanilla bourbon caramel brown sugar very complex.

T: wow. bourbon aging done to perfection. Caramel molasses vanilla chocolate coffee dark fruits some booze zero hops. you can taste the alcohol but its dangerously drinkable. can't tell its got 13.4%. perfect amount of sweetness for the style.

M: I think this is where this beer really shines. It's Not the biggest beer in terms its thickness but it's just so perfect. good amount of carbonation. for a sweet desert beer the finish is rather dry and clean.

O: Glad I got a few extras to age although it's ready now to drink. This beer is highly recommended!!!

sukwonee, Feb 15, 2013
Photo of BEERchitect
4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Alas, the longly anticipated Arctic Devil Barleywine. Richly malted, complex, and with a formitable hop counterpart the beer lives up to its lofty expectations.

A very hazy rusty color and medium haze give a rich and weighted look. Sprinkles of yeast can be found floating about. Ivory stanined roam forms a sturdy head early on and fades over its own weight to a sheet of lace across the surface and glass. A pretty good look.

Aromas steal the show with a balanced and rich flavor of molassas, toffee, and brown sugar. Throw in an estery flank of prunes, dates, figs, raisons, and rummy spiciness. A vinous note of sherry with red wines give a mildly tart balance to the rich fruits and malts. Lightly herbal (tea-like) character gives a modest glimpse into the hop balance. Barleywines just don't carry a much better aroma.

Flavors pick up where the aroma leaves off. But along with those delicate and rich flavors that resemble port wine, brandy, and cognac; the flavors pack on a balanced bitterness that in one sip seems to balance the beer well, while in the next seems to detract from the seductive sweetness. Alcohol bite adds to the sweetness while it's spicy taste seems to intensify a bit too much and interrupts the malt sweetness- tasting a bit like cough syrups at times. However, the initial malty-fruity interplay is too good to ignore.

Weighted, rich, and robust, the beer takes on a bit texture at the on onset. But the beer's chewy texture is quick waivering, in favor of alcoholic heat, assertive hop/alcohol bite, and a bit of scratchy texture in the back of the throat. Dry late but also alcoholic, still leaving plenty of malty stickiness on the mouth's surfaces.

An outstanding Barleywine of the English variety, but its only the rougher alcohols and bitey bitterness that keeps it from world class status.

Thanks Auroracrisis!

BEERchitect, Nov 03, 2010
Photo of sprucetip
4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.

sprucetip, Oct 18, 2011
Photo of brewandbbq
4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004 Vintage

Pours cherry mahogany, lightly translucent, with a shy, eggshell head.
The discreet foam cap falls quick, leaving a whisp edging.
Chewy, rich, complex nose.
Juicy, figgy, raisiny malts with bourbon-steeped cherries.
Aromatics finish with stinging alcohol, citrus fruits, and vanilla.
Thickish body, mild syrup hints, and lingering.
Bitter on the pallet, followed by caramel coated figs, dates, and raisins laced with single malt.
Finishes long and warming, with additional bitterness and a mild brown sugar note.
An exceptional Barleywine.

brewandbbq, Dec 29, 2005
Photo of Overlord
4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Looking forward to trying a Midnight Sun beer for a long time. Yay!

Pours a ruddy dark brown. Big tan foam head that settled down to a tan crust. Decent looking, though, to be honest, I hate brown beers.

Smells like rich malt caramel malt, some piney, grapefruity hops, and boozy dark fruits. Taste is incredibly rich. I think it makes my teeth hurt. Just boozy plums, with a caramel malt and raison base, and there is definitely a balancing, bitter hop content. But, it's a very muted citrus component.

Nice sticky, thick mouthfeel. Impressive.

Overlord, Apr 25, 2009
Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

07/09/08. - - Courtesy of tpd975. Pours amber with tan head. The aroma is big and inviting with caramel and rich dark fruity esters of grapes, plums and sweet berries before it heats up a bit. The taste is rich and yummy but does have some alcohol welling up. I get creamy caramel candy and some nutty roasty malts. Then the big dark fruitiness comes in and rides into the finish along with a warming alcohol sensation. Leaves a sweet lip smacking feeling behind. <br /><br /> Sampled at the O-Town throwdown. This beer has a nearly opaque copper color with thin tan head. The aroma is pretty big with lots of dark fruitiness and with hints of caramel and sweet malts. There also seems to be some whisky and alcohol in the background. The flavor is delicious barleywine dark and shriveled fruit flavors with a whisky and sweet caramel under currents. It ends sweet, syrupy and rather nice.

BigMcLargeHuge, Nov 18, 2008
Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008. drank from champagne flutes.
oh we are fancy men, indeed. to celebrate a successfully brewed monstrous stout a bit early, it was time to ride the snake. we were quickly enveloped in a fire of vanilla, toffee, and caramel. slight whiskey kick, little bit of fruits. it's like floating on a rolling flame over the minions crying below. no hop presence, all malt and sin. really quite outstanding, glad to have shared it with some good men, happy there are a few more bottles of that left. so sumptuous, thick but without too much sweetness, damn nice.

olympuszymurgus, Mar 12, 2010
Photo of Bitterbill
4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle(room temp) a dark red/gold with about a 1" head of foam that shrinks to about a 1/4" layer that stays for the duration.

The smell is all malt, a very sweet caramel air permeates my nose.

The taste at first is very malty, hugely malty, caramelly malty with a fruitiness that adds to the sweetness but also takes some of the sweetness away. I can detect some hop character mid way through and in the finish but for this brew, that's all that's needed....it's all about the malt! Yummm..this is definitely a very authentic English style BW, like a vintage JW Lees Harvest which I love. I'm going to store the other bottle away for as long as my will is willing and see what happens. :^)

Note to self: self....I'm sure glad that my palate has evolved enough to enjoy BWSAs as sweet as an Arctic Devil and as hoppy as a Bigfoot and hold both in equally high esteem.

Bottom line: This is a Great *English* style Barley Wine style ale!
If you see some in your neck of the woods, grab some!!!

Bitterbill, Mar 12, 2006
Photo of oceanman907
4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This Review is for the 2012 Vintage, had recently at the brewery.

I have had other batches of Arctic Devil, and every one does seem just a bit different, this "new" 2012 batch seems to have lost some of the fruity notes from years past... but in their place there is an overwhelming blast of roasted malts and sweet bourbon, leading to a semi-dry finish that is quite a bit more boozy, however it is less so when it opens up (probably should be drank near 50-55 degrees). Maybe MS has ditched some of their port and cabernet barrels for more bourbon, because thats the direction that this vintage is headed for. Mouthfeel on the beer is, as always, velvety and sublime.

oceanman907, Sep 06, 2013
Photo of alexgash
4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle served at 45 degrees F.

Pours a slightly opaque maple syrup brown. Lighter edges. Small, tight, wispy, khaki brown head. Nose of rich caramel, sherry, Madeira, more caramel, vinous tannins, brandied fruits, and a whiff of chocolate pudding. Complex and very impressive.

Warming reach of brandy-soaked dark fruits up front. Develops some caramel malt sweetness with a vinous edge. Hints of vanilla, sherry, and oak. Rich cookie and caramel malt settle in mid-palate before giving way to warming alcohol and mildly herbal bitter hops. Long finish with lingering caramel, toffee, and fruit. Full-bodied with a thick, lush, creamy feel. Very nice!

alexgash, Aug 30, 2008
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Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 965 ratings.