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

1,141 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,141
Reviews: 351
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.24%
Wants: 978
Gots: 293 | 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
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Ratings: 1,141 | Reviews: 351
Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber shared over lunch. Dark brown, bubbly initial head. Although the alcohol isn't very apparent, this is strong and calls for food, It's a sipper. Cinammon and spice and nutty barleywine. Full mouthfeel. Flavorful winter warmer crossover, very good.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.44/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Skuter for sharing this one with me!

2011 vintage.

Pours a murky brown with a khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots and streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, dark fruits, and wood aromas. Taste is the same but there is a more noticeable wood and whisky presence in the flavor. This beer has a very nice mouthfeel with a good crispness and medium body. Overall, this is a very good barleywine with some awesome aromas and flavors.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.62/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 edition shared by SonicAlligator at the Sexual Chocolate release.

Pours a dark chestnut brown with a small, tight head. Loads of things going on in the aroma department: bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and bits of dark fruit. Taste is very similar, with the barrel-aging really coming through; love the combo that Midnight Sun has done. Unbelievably lush mouthfeel--super creamy with the perfect tint of alcohol warmth (which was quite necessary waiting out there in line). Great drinkability. One of my all-time favorite barleywines.

Photo of brentk56
4.12/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 bottling

Appearance: With a hard pour the beer raises a minimal head that squatts on the hazy tea-brown liquid; fading quickly to a ringlet, it leaves some leggy lacing behind

Smell: Toffee, figs, mulled cider spicing and discernable alcohol, even after four years

Taste: The toffee and fig flavors jump out from the moment the liquid touches the tongue, with bigger fruit, earthy hop and burning alcohol elements arriving shortly thereafter; in the finish, the sweet and fruity flavors blend with a pipe tobacco character to provide a complex finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation; plenty of warmth, still

Overall: A very nice English Barleywine, indeed, though it doesn't jump out at me as being extraordinary; perhaps it has something to do with the age, though this is still quite potent

I cannot remember who sent it to me as I kept this one in the cellar for quite some time; thanks to whomever

Photo of BEERchitect
4.54/5  rDev +3.9%
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!

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.26/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a deep dark cloudy brown color ale with a small dark brown foamy head with light retention and some minimal lacing. Aroma of toffee, residual brown sugar and caramelized malt is pretty awesome. Taste is also dominated by toffee with some brown sugar notes and caramelized malt. All rough edges have been rounded by the bourbon notes with light vanilla notes also noticeable. Body is full with limited filtration and a good amount of carbonation. This beer has so many layers of complexity while retaining such a good amount of drinkability. Really amazing beer that I wish I could try on a regular basis.

Photo of largadeer
4.79/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 vintage. Hazy amber-brown in color with a small tan head. Rich malty aroma, woody with light resin and sherry-like oxidation. Figs, raisins, huge caramel sweetness. Similar on the palate; dark dried fruit, oak, tannins, toffee. Massive body, remarkably viscous. Deep resiny hops in the finish, noticeably faded with age but still packing a punch, and quite tannic too.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.82/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this one up in the Barley wine BIF recently and needless to say I was thrilled to get it. I had been looking for this one forever so when I finally had it, did not take long for me to get it chilled down and into a glass. Served at cellar temperature in a Terrapin snifter while watching cloverfield last night.

Appearance - This one poured a very nice, and very dark brown. Very thick looking on the pour with a minimum amount of head coming up through it. A bout a half inch of off white foam rose up through it, but then quickly settled down into a thin film, which itself then faded into nothing after a minute. Touch of side glass lacing could be seen.

Smell - The aroma was loaded down with bourbon. This shocked me a bit at first, in a good way, but nonetheless. Lots of spices in the nose here as well. Hints of raisins and figs, light earthy, roasted malts and a good touch of alcohol. Very complex nose, and unique for the style.

Taste - The flavor was a wonderful surprise. Rich tastes of oak and vanilla, hints of roasted malts and caramel. Lots of bourbon like flavors swirling around. Very tight and nicely done. A bit of alcohol, just enough to thicken it up a bit. A really nice and very full barley wine. Finish was strong, with a healthy dose of bourbon and spice lingering in the mouth for what seemed like forever.

Mouthfeel - A super full Mouthfeel, much bigger then most barley wines out there. Creamy with ample carbonation, this was just absolutely wonderful. A really fantastically put together beer.

Drinkability - The quintessential sipper, I thoroughly enjoyed going on with this one for a good long while. An interesting take on the style, but highly shippable and most of the 10% was extremely well hidden.

Overall I thought this was an outstanding selection from MS. Really a top notch beer here. Not so much a barley wine as it was a bit bigger then that. Very good though and something that I will look to buy a few to cellar.

Photo of oberon
4.07/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Before I review I must say beware of this devil it f*ckin will bite you!Just newly bottled on November 5th this bad boy poured a deep amber with a thin off white head,incredible complexities in the aroma vanilla,oak and kentucky whiskey really hits and hits hard really waking up the senses and quite appetizing.Now I really liked the flavors of this beer but whoo they hit ya,very woody and whiskish (if thats a word) with vanilla and caramel standing out as well.The alcohol burn steals the show it actually burned my nose going down.This beer weighs in at 14% alc although the label says 10% that according to the head brewer at Midnight Sun and it feels like more than that.A very good very complex barley wine but these need to be laid down for awhile thats for sure.

Photo of womencantsail
4.77/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A big thanks to Kevin for opening this one during the Bruery 2nd Anniversary.

A: The pour is a slightly hazy dark amber color with a medium off-white head on it.

S: A really top notch bouquet on this one. Rich caramel, toffee, burnt sugar, and dark fruits. Some bourbon, vanilla, and some more caramel for good measure.

T: The sweetness is certainly present, but it is not cloying at all. The caramelized and "burnt" sugar flavors offer some balance and interact wonderfully with the cherries, plums, and vanilla.

M: A smooth and silky mouthfeel, nearly chewy but not syrupy. A low to moderate carbonation and a pleasant alcohol warmth.

D: Easily one of the best barleywines I've had and one of my new favorites.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.28/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Okay, so I was a bit hasty. I was just so eager to finally crack open the bottle of Arctic Devil that I made no note of its production year. Now, this beer was received in a trade waaay back in early 2008 (mid-February, IIRC). So, if we suppose it was, at the time, a current bottle, it was from the November 2007 release, making it a 2007 vintage. Let's roll with that!

2007 Vintage.

Appearance: Pours a delicately hazy, deep, russet-hued body with a thin, wispy, ecru-colored head.

Smell: Strong, sweet-smelling malt aroma with plenty of dark caramel, toasted toffee, and brown sugar. While there is a ripe plum and dried fig fruit character, it's simply bursting at the seems with a rich cherry fruitiness. There's even room enough for vanilla, damp oaken barrels, and some nose-tingling alcoholic wafts.

Taste: Thickly sweet and oh-so delectable dark caramel ice cream topping flavor garnished with a pinch of hearty cinnamon and brown sugar. Plenty of fruitiness, and, as with the nose, it's big on the cherries! Drizzle of Grade A maple syrup straight from Vermont. Touches of vanilla and lightly tannic oak wood. An earthy bitterness melds in well with the rest of the brew. Now, mind you, there's an ample amount of alcohol warmth coursing through this brew, but, thanks to the assertive maltiness, it prevents it from coming across as overly hot. Finishes long with plenty of drying alcohol and an enduring maltiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is both silky and smooth.

Drinkability: Another skillful release from Midnight Sun. Barleywines are addicting enough on their own, but Arctic Devil takes it to a whole new level of hedonistic indulgence. Overall, an exemplary brew!

Photo of TMoney2591
4.32/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a clear plastic cup.

High five to yeahnatenelson for sharing this 2008 vintage bottle during DLD!

Now that I think about it, though, I'm pretty sure I gave that high five away before this was cracked. Meh, worth it regardless. It (the beer, o' course) pours a cloudy sunset russet-amber topped by a half-finger of dark sandy foam. The nose comprises caramel, vanilla, toffee, mild maple syrup, and butterscotch. The taste holds notes of toffee, chocolate, oak, vanilla, light orange peel, light mandarin orange syrup, and butterscotch. The body is a hefty-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a kinda dry finish. Overall, a very tasty b-wine, one that a few years seems to have done wonders for.

Photo of oline73
4.09/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tasting snifter. I had this during our BA Barleywine tasting. The bottle is from 2010.

Pours a dark reddish amber. This beer had more of a bitter note to it than many of the other beers opened that night. There is a strong sweet presence to balance things out, but I would have liked the bitterness to be a bit milder. I'm getting some booze, but it's still quite smooth. There is a nice caramel note in the background. The body is thick with smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 22 oz brown bottle; packaged November 2004.

The Arctic Devil is a devil to be sure! This little nip will sneak up on you quick!

It pours a clear, dark-chestnut body with a reddish-cast and glowing crimson and orange highlights. What head comes up initially is a yellow tan; but it doesn't hold for long and leaves only a few spots of lace here and there (which can sometimes happen with stronger beers).

The nose is malty, caramelish, toffee-ish, and lightly hoppy with a leafy side.

The body is full, and it moves across the tongue with a light zest from its exceptionally fine, moderate carbonation (and perhaps some alcohol sting as well!) before warming to become more dextrinous.

Toffee and molasses dominate the flavor, backed by dark sweet fruit (prune, raisin, red grape, some fig), a rub of leafy hops, and a spritz of spicy alcohol. It's rich and malty, but not overly sweet due to it's solid bitterness and alcohol. It finishes with some residual maltiness entwined in drying alcohol that fades to reveal some even longer lingering dull-bitterness.

A better head retention, a touch more complexity, and a little less alcohol would bring this up into world class status! Very nice!

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 russpowell
4.76/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Purchased from bottletrek $16, plus delivery. Here's hoping it lives up to the hype!

Pours an effervescent ruby tinged chestnut with 2+ fingers of fluffy sand colored head. Average lacing & head retention for the style, nice viscous look

S: Oaky, vanilla notes along with other bourbon notes, plus figs

T: Rich dark fruit, singed dark sugar, molasses, & a bit of booze warmth/burn up front. English Christmas pudding, a bit of chocolate, dryness & subtle leafy/herbal hoppyness as this warms some more. Finishes dry, with tons of dark fruit, leafy hops, & more Christmas pudding, if I could give this an A++ I would

MF: Gooey, with near zero carbonation, luscious!

Drinks great for the style & this is a great English Barley wine with a bit of a twist, this devil will get to you before you get to him! Great offering, better than this rating! But very few beers/wines or liquors are worth this price (unless bootlegged)

Photo of MasterSki
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage, supplied by Joe1510. Served in a mini-pint NotLA taster glass.

A - A half-finger of light tan foam that leaves some spotty lace and a thin ring. Body is a hazy raisin brown color. Looks like a typical barleywine.

S - Burnt sugar, raisins, caramel & toffee, tart apples, dark fruits, and light alcohol. Very excellent example of the style.

T - Super smooth combination of brown sugar, caramel, and molasses. The booze has really mellowed out over the last few years. Lots of sweet flavors, but never verges on cloying somehow - perhaps there is some residual hop bitterness that keeps things in check.

M - Medium-full body, smooth, sticky, low carbonation, and minimal heat. All the things I like in this style of beer.

D - Surprisingly easy to drink for 13.2%, although my resolve started to fade after about 6oz or so. Still, I wish this were available more places, as it'd be one of my go-to barleywines.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.32/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

10% abv, according to the label.
the words "survive" and "subzero" hover in the corners of the label art, while what seems like a crazed wolverine snarls at the viewer front and center. I'm keeping safe distance...but plan to get comfy with this bottle, off goes the cap, and away we go...
dark russet color, with deep ruby at the corners, sizeable, light tan head.
Gorgeous nose at first sniff, bright cherries, big, cognac-y alcoholic feel, rosey, port-wine feel...slick, thick, viscous, ..leather and molasses, on a bed of berries and grapes.
Big, bold, imperial flavor, massive mouthfeel, sticky and lip-smacking. Same flavors in the aroma rebound in the taste, but don't hang as hard, sort of dwindles...nicely rounded, very harmonic...I can't keep quacking about barleywines not being as big as they ought to be, when, in this case, it contains itself very nicely, has an abundance of character, yet isn't too loud or hot. Mellow for a barleywine, but very classy.
Pity I didn't had this around when it was colder...I have to drink this damned thing in the dawning of spring...but it does the job!
Nice one, Midnight Sun!...further into the bottle, prunes are the predominant flavor...not tasted earlier...

Photo of mdfb79
4.47/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 08/21/11 notes. Huge thanks to Thorpe429 for saving me some of this one, and to BManning for sharing the bottle. 2009 vintage poured into my SAVOR tasting snifter.

a - Pours a dark mahogany brown color with a few light tan bubbles and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, bready malts, light bourbon, oak, vanilla, light fruit, and light brown sugar. A little sweet smelling and not a ton if bourbon, but still really nice and complex.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, bourbon, oak, toffee, vanilla, sweet dark fruit, sugar, and alcohol. More bourbon in the taste than the nose had, and still a lot of caramel/toffee. A step up from the nose, and really great.

m - Medium to full body and low carbonation, very smooth body. Not too hot and very easy to drink for over 13% ABV.

o - Overall I thought this was a fantastic barrel aged barleywine. I personally would have liked a little more bourbon in the nose but the taste was amazing, and I loved the toffee/caramel that came through. Super smooth body, would love to try this again sometime.

Photo of drabmuh
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage. Served in a tulip. Beer is dark brown and hazy. Forms a thin off white head that leaves no lacing on the glass. Head falls away and breaks, gravitates toward the glass.

Aroma is strong, sweet, boozy, and malty.

Medium body, some carbonation in the mouth, really sweet up front, lots of flavor. Some liquor like components, raisins, plums, sweetness, lots of fruit. Finishes a little dry. Its a big beer and I'm doing my best to slay it but at 22 ounces and 13.2 % its an uphill battle. It is quite heavy but it hides the alcohol well. The fruitiness of the body makes this a great drinking beer but it is better split two ways. Good barleywine though, probably improve after 2 or 3 years.

Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

3000th review! 22 ounce bottle into snifter; 2014 vintage, bottled in late 2013. Pours hazy dark ruby red color with a 1 finger fairly dense khaki head with solid retention, that reduces to a small spotty lace cap that lingers. Slight spotty lacing on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, plum, fig, caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, coconut, vanilla, bourbon, oak, leather, light chocolate, and oak/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/toasted malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel notes; with good strength. Light-moderate booziness as it warms, but not too bad. Taste of big raisin, plum, fig, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, toast, coconut, brown sugar, molasses, brown bread, bourbon, oak, vanilla, leather, light chocolate, and oak/toasted earthiness. Light oaky bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, fig, caramel, butterscotch, molasses, toffee, toast, coconut, vanilla, brown sugar, bourbon, oak, leather, light chocolate, and oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; with an awesome malt/yeast/barrel balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy, fairly slick, and slightly syrupy/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light-moderate warming lingering after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic barrel aged English barelywine style. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; and smooth to sip on for the huge ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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 mdaschaf
3.71/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2011 Vintage. Review from notes.

A: Pours a brown color with a small tan head on top that quickly reduces leaving a thin ring on top. Minimal lacing.

S: Sort of vegetal, a little caramel and and brown sugar. Some dark fruit mixed in.

T: The flavor is a bit better than the aroma, but was hoping for more. Others who had previously had it said it had certainly fallen off. Caramel and toffee with some brown sugar with a bit of the vegetalness coming back.

M: Medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

O: Really had high hopes, might have just had a bad bottle, or one that might have been a little too old? Will hopefully have this one again and will rereview if needed.

Photo of mothman
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Very solid ba bwine. Tons of barrel flavors. Coconut, vanilla, bourbon, oak, caramel, chocolate. Lots of great flavors here.

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Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,141 ratings.