Arctic Devil Barley Wine - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Arctic Devil Barley WineArctic Devil Barley Wine

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

1,032 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,032
Reviews: 337
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.47%
Wants: 935
Gots: 260 | FT: 35
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: 1,032 | Reviews: 337 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of vande
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of jl28r1
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of Lunch
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of jophish17
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of HKUSPC40
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of Jones153
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of Ryrylee91
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of photomike
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of jeffmart22
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of beermeX2
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of Scout11
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of Trystero
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of miadw3
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of HoppySuds
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of Seabass1964
4.95/5  rDev +13.3%

Photo of nickapalooza86
4.94/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to KangarooAdam59 for this one!

Pours a deep murky brownish amber

Smell is toffee, caramel, bourbon, vanilla, oak, figs, raisons, dark fruit, black licorice, slight earthy hop character which is very light.

Taste is incredible sweet toffee, dark fruit plum and fig most prevelant, caramel, oak, light earthy hop bitterness, char, vanilla, bourbon, light chocolate note, black licorice, roasty malt character, finishes sweet but not overly so.

Mouthfeel is full, light to medium carbonation, slightly drying on the finish.

Holy cow, how have I never heard of this beer mentioned when people are talking about the best of the best in Barrel Barleywines, I think this may be it. I rated Central Waters Bourbon Barrel Barleywine a perfect 5 and go through at least a case of it a year. But this is just as good if not better holy cow I am truly thankful for the opportunity to try this beer.

Photo of HamFon
4.93/5  rDev +12.8%
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.

Photo of rye726
4.9/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours an earthy rosewood with a silky tan head. Fantastic nose of nutty malts, oaky bourbon, dark pitted fruits, vanilla, sweet alcohol and subtle hops. Taste is equally imressive. Again powered by big bready malts, cherries, figs, bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, peppery alcohol and light floral hops. Smooth creamy body is delicately carbonated. Fantastic stuff, right up there with the best.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.88/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Arctic devil 2007 vintage. Pours hazy brown, settling in the glass dark almond brown with light haze at the top. Thin ring of head with swirling light carbonation in the center. smell comes of a kind of toasted caramel with slight alcohol tones. Tastes very luxurious and sippable. leaves a sugary residue on the lips, not as strong as JW. Lees but much more syrupy than your average craft brew. taste is very warm and sugary, and not nearly as hoppy as most american brewed barley wines. Goes down smooth, with the exception of a slight alcohol twinge at the finish(very bearable twinge, not like samichlaus or anything) but I suspect the alcohol finish will disappear with age and some of the dark fruit flavors present will increase, with a few years I could see this as one of the top barley wines in america. Reminds me of a darker version of john barleycorn, only more syrupy and sweeter. Great buy!

Photo of smakawhat
4.88/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. I assume vintage 2013.

Out of the bottle it pours like thick mocha coffee, transparent and clear. Hits the body and makes a huge dark walnut brown body, and matching creamy tan head. Collar is always populated with a solid whispy top and has some nice dark red edges. Very nice.

Spicy on the nose. Spicy whiskey character, and dried fruits almost fig like a Belgian Dark Fruit and spicy character match nicely, almost burnt spruce and barrel charred. Dark red fruits seem to come out matching the currants, vanilla touching softness also. Very nice, reminds me more of rye forward barrel aged than bourbon, lovely either way.

Extremely diverse palate. Wonderful caramel smoothness and silky palate with a hint of fizz and playful carbonation. Big spicy character comes through matching the nose. Lots of toasty wood and barrel notes. The palate has a spicy malt character that's hard to describe and it melds nicely with the caramel sensing and gives of salt which is a wonderful combination. Doesn't even feel that big either in terms of boozy quality making for easy drinking. Big licorice notes as the beer warms up also.

Diverse, great aromatics, memorable. Fantastic.

Photo of garbercury
4.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

07' Vintage, pretty pumped for this one. Cracked open for the opening weekend of NCAA football with a crab cake, and 16 0z ribeye...Life is good.

A--Deep ruby-red, bordering on brown, good carbonation.

S--Wow, impressive nose. Caramel, toffee, maple syrup.

T--I love it. Classic English Barleywine. Only thing more complex than the nose is the taste. Caramel, vanilla, chocolate. This beer is still pretty damn strong (hot) after 4 years. Still terrific!

M--Silky to the palate.

D--I would drink this all the time if I could, ISO: more Arctic Devil please.

Photo of zipper8650
4.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Review # 2 and it turned into Battle Alaska ...my first review was a 3 year vertical Alaskan Barleywine. It was my second time having it and I remembered I really liked it....then I had Arctic Devil
Snifter
A - poured out a light amber color, almost like a liquid honey, little to no head. Once the glass was filled it was that great amber/maple syrup color. The color graduation towards the middle was pretty, this is a great looking beer
S - incredible, warm sweet slightly burnt toffee, orange, this is a great smelling beer
T - tastes as good as it looks and smells. It is incredibly smooth for a 13.4, it has some boozy heat but its not biting at all and smooth throughout the taste. The bourbon is so well balanced in this and doesnt hit you in the face, it just works well. this is a great tasting beer.
M - again, no surprise, nice prominent mouthfeel like a barleywine should have...or as my girlfriend put it "so fucking pleasant"
O - loved this beer, I hope they still have some on the self because I am going to get more!
Skol

Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 Vintage

Appearance -- Pours a rudy amber hue with one finger of sudsy creme head. Handsome.

Smell -- Caramel, bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit, and faint juicy citrus. Nothing harsh, out of place, or out of proportion. Heavenly.

Taste -- Rich dark fruits, caramel and toffee, bourbon sweetness, oaky vanillin, and mild citrusy hops. I'm not sure if it's the barrel character causing this, but Arctic Devil seems to be the ultimate blend of American-styled and classic English barleywines: rich malt character with enough citrusy hops to keep things balanced. Amazing.

Mouthfeel -- Full bodied with mild carbonation and zero alcohol heat. Amazing.

Overall -- I have a hard time believing that I'll find another barrel-aged barleywine this good. Had this right after Pelican Mother of All Storms and the Devil won out. Everything is so well integrated at this point, it would be hard to argue for waiting longer to pop this open.

Must have more!!!

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Holy god what a beer!

The definition of a traditional barleywine that plays the malt card to its fullest.

Tawny amber in appearence. A one fingered off-white head.

Smell is absolutely heavenly. I finally figured out what this smells like — those penny candy chews called squirrel nut zippers (no not the band which as actaully named after the candy)! If you've ever had one you know what I'm talking about. Molasses, toffee, brown sugar, torrified malt. Perfect.

Taste is more of the same. Honey, molasses, glorious malt. Alcohol is always present but so many other sugary flavors going on that you hardly notice the reputed 14%! Fruits abound: brandied cherries, pineapple, dates, figs, plums hell even appricots. Subtily hopped. Again all about the malt.

Mouthfeel is lush and viscous — like any great beer that has this much malt in it.

Drinkability is fantastic for the high alcohol content and the young age of the bottle: Nov. 2005. Make no mistake though, if you drink this one on your own you will be feeling no pain!

Additionally, I taste and smell a little Sam Adams triple bock oaky/maple syrup thing going on here but without the soy sauce element

Hands down my favorite malty barleywine. Get some.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.85/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hugely tarnished copper (like an old penny) with raspberry cordial highlights. I'll take it as a good sign that Arctic Devil is incredibly murky to the point of opacity, a much different look than the gemstone-like lucency of most barleywines. The caramel colored cap looked good right after the pour and looks good as it slowly recedes. Too bad the ABV is a lace killer.

The nose is fantastic! I loved what reached me on the pour and I love it just as much up close. As the style dictates, there isn't a whole lot of hoppiness. That's okay because the aroma is incredible without it. Rich caramel, earthy leather and cherry pipe tobacco lead the way.

As I was pretty sure it would be, Arctic Devil is tremendous beer. My first mouthful told me that it's the best English barleywine that has ever entered my glass. Nothing else even comes close. I need more hoppiness than this for perfection to be a consideration, but this beautifully aged ale is very nearly there. I'm not sure if it's just over two years old or just over three.

What a delicious concoction. The brewery must have used a few tons of caramel malt and included 'who know what else' to get the beer to taste this rich and complex. My description of the nose applies on the palate as well, so I think I'll use it again. Stickysweet and bitter and earthy weave around one another like three strands of a supple barleywine rope. Start it out barely cool, like I did, and your tongue just might explode from sensory overload.

I've changed my mind. When a beer nails a style with this degree of precision, when I'd rather sit and savor it than finish the review, that beer deserves the ultimate compliment of a perfect flavor score. I wish I knew what the oak barrels that were used to age this masterpiece previously contained. Midnight Sun says that there are one of three possibilities for each batch: port, wine or whiskey.

Given the sweet, caramelized sugar that is oozing all over my taste buds, I'll go with bourbon whiskey. Then again, there's a fruity vinousness that suggests port. It really doesn't matter in the end. Whatever was used, I hope my next bottle is placed in the same sort of barrel.

I've had bigger mouthfeels, but I don't know that I've had a more silky smooth big mouthfeel than this one. Lucious doesn't quite capture it. How about superduperfreakinamazinglucious? Every other brewer of barleywines should drink this beer and take copious notes.

I must admit, I expected good to great things from Arctic Devil Barley Wine, but I didn't expect the magnum opus that is currently occupying my snifter. If you love great beer, do yourself a favor and do anything it takes to acquire a bomber of this outstanding elixir. This is my new gold standard for the English barleywine style.

Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,032 ratings.