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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

1,028 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,028
Reviews: 337
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.47%
Wants: 934
Gots: 261 | 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: 1,028 | Reviews: 337 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of Bitterbill
4.53/5  rDev +3.7%
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!!!

Photo of dirtylou
4.48/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber

appearance: served in oversized snifter - rich garnet body with a creamy beige head. nice looking beer

smell: rich and sweet - oak, vanilla, whiskey, dark fruits

taste: really awesome - at 13+% abv, i expected a sticky and excruciatingly sweet beer which was fortunately not the case. sweet brown sugar, dark fruits, oak, whiskey, vanilla, tannic notes, maple. Really good stuff

mouthfeel: creamy and quite smooth, light bitterness

overall: great barleywine

Photo of vfgccp
4.45/5  rDev +1.8%

2013 bottle, opened Sept. 2014

A – Stellar looking barleywine. Deep cranberry and sienna body with golden ruby and black cherry highlights. Beige white head pours half a finger high.

S – Wonderfully smooth. Great golden raisin note with peat moss, sweet molasses, prune, oak, cream soda, light vanilla, caramel, and heavy cream.

T – Sweeter than I expected (even for an English barleywine), but still outstandingly bold and delicious. Black cherry, molasses, smooth melted caramel, vanilla, oak, and woody hops with a creamy gingerbread finish.

M – Full bodied and relatively smooth while maintaining a pleasantly barleywine-esque boozy warmth.

O – An outstanding brew. This just might be the 4th best barleywine I've had to date, behind Sucaba, Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine, and BCB Barleywine.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
4.45 Arctic Devil
--- -Jay- -Jon- -Anth- -Vin- -Avg- Weight
A - 4.75 4.75 ------- 4.75 4.75 10%
S - 5.00 4.75 ------- 4.75 4.83 20%
T - 4.25 4.25 ------- 4.25 4.25 40%
M - 4.30 4.00 ------- 4.25 4.18 10%
O - 4.40 4.40 ------- 4.50 4.43 20%

Photo of Griffith
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of xnicknj
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of jrallen34
4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank this 2008 vintage from a 22oz bottle into my Rochefort chalice.

The beer pours a dark brown with a little tan head, not much head, retention or lacing.

The aroma has tons of malts, very sweet. Vanilla dominates with a little bourbon, and wood. Its very subtle which makes it very easy to smell.

The taste is a little rougher than the aroma, bringing a lot of wood to the front with a little vanilla at the end. It has a pretty smooth finish with lots of wood

The feel is good, drinkability pretty good.

Overall, this is a pretty good bw, one of my favs. Better than most but remotely as good as the perfect storm, and probably not a top 100 beer.

Photo of ccrida
4.83/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22oz. bomber (this years release, cellared ~3.5 months) into my Midnight Sun cervoise, Arctic Devil is a very dark, murky garnet with a 2 finger tan head that faily quickly settles down to a thick collar, leaving no lace.

Smell is really big, sweet malt, fruity, with wonderfully dominating barrel aged notes of vanilla and coconut. Wow, fantastic.

Taste equally strong and rich, huge caramel maltiness and fruit esters, and again, loads of vanilla and coconut. I love the complex flavors from the barrel aging, they really make this beer. Hints of wassil spices, fig, nuts, anise, a noticeable alcohol character that keeps it spicy without adding many fusels. This is one of my all-time favorite barleywines, though I haven't had it since the '07 Hard Liver Barleywine fest at Brower's in Seattle....they had that years, and a 3-5 year old version that absolutely blew my mind, it was the best in show out of a good 50 great brews. Which is why I ponied up $15 a bomber for a bunch of these so I can let 'em run in the cellar for as long as I can hold out!

Mouthfeel is pretty thick and chewy, though booze keeps it dry and helps thin it out some.

Drinkability is way to good for a beer I want to forget I have for a couple of years!!! I'm glued to the couch watching the Elite 8 right now after an epic spring powder dump at Mt. Hood today, and can't think of a better choice for melting away my extreme soreness from floating the 2+ ft of freshies. If you like big, fruity English BWs, this is an absolute must try.

Photo of Lare453
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of GraduatedCashew
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of claspada
4.48/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Adding 2011 version sampled early Spring 2012. Aromas is definitely more whiskey forward but by no means boozy or as spirit forward as I have sampled in the past. Flavor is also quite similar but still much more barrel flavor than the aged version. Really well integrated and still the top Barleywine on the planet for my money.

2007 Vintage, ABV listed at 10.0%.

Pours a murky and muddy chestnut brown; one finger tan head which recedes quite rapidly leaving minimal lacing. Cannot see light through this big boy like I could with Mirror Mirror last night.

The aromas begin lots or dark rich caramel maltiness and dark fruitiness (cherries and figs mainly). No hops what-so-ever but after 5 years what do you expect. As it warms you get some darker chocolate and roasted toffee and a little honey sweetness and a note of alcohol but it's a barleywine so it's acceptable.

The tastes begin with chewy caramel candy sweet malts and lesser but still prevalent toffee and milk chocolate. Reminds me a little of a piece of Werther's Original candy actually. Wow this is super complex. As it warms you can detect a little of the dark fruit which I noted in the aroma (dates and figs) but as soon as you pick them out the caramelized malts take over again and then some toffee and more milk chocolate and honey sweet flavors. Now I am getting some strong maple flavors, crazy! I am glad I had this as my first beer of the night because I can truly appreciate it's beauty and greatness. Although there was a slight booziness on the nose, there is zero in the taste. Also not much barrel, but it was blended with non-barreled beer, plus the age, no I deduct no points for that, in fact I am giving more credit. Some many flavors from the blended/different barrels used, wow... just wow.

Mouthfeel is stupidly full and heavy but somehow not syrupy at all which is amazing given the minimal carbonation (which I usually hate but it works for this beer). Decadent is the word that comes to mind as I am drinking this; definitely a sipper to be enjoyed (I didn't say you have to share it, I have no intention to, just quaff and enjoy). Silky smooth and somehow finishes dry despite all the sweet and delicious maltiness. Only with the last sip can I detect a little booziness, but it's really warm at this point because I enjoyed/savored this over a long period of time.

Overall I have had two of the best barleywines in my life back-to-back nights (last night was Mirror Mirror 2009, uninfected version) but I think, no I know, this tops it. Wow, so so so highly recommended and worth trading for.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip.
2008 Vintage, 31 O.G., 13.4% ABV, 20 IBUs, Bottled N, 3/4.

Big Fat THANKS to Beerwolf for sharing this one, a long time want that'll continue to reside on my list.

A - Dark mahogany brown with good clarity. The brew is topped by a loose, poorly retained off-white head.

S - Warm, whiskey alcohol with a smooth, strong malty sweetness and rich breadiness. Gooey caramel and supple oak. Awesome aroma!

T - Woody, earthy hops, sticky caramel, and honey-soaked dense bread. Smooth flavor of mild whiskey and a tiny sliver of solvent alcohol to the finish.

M - This full-bodied barleywine is deliciously smooth and soft on the palate with almost no alcohol sensation to the finish in the mouth/throat, yet nicely warming.

O - A spectacular malty barleywine with a smooth barrel complexity and mildly warming finish. With some are, there's almost no alcohol to this one. Fantastic!

Photo of aasher
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Duff27
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
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?

Photo of kscaldef
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of bsuedekum
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of tectactoe
4.31/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2007, big-time thanks to Ed for bringing this one to the tasting and sharing it with the rest of us. Pours a dark mahogany color, 50/50 mix of clarity and haziness, topped off with a small tan-ish head that reduces to a ring around the glass pretty quickly.

Aroma is comprised of a nice meshing of oak, bourbon, sweet plums, black cherries, syrup, brown sugar, molasses, and maple. Lots of things going on here - very sweet and very complex. Malty to the core with no real sign of hops or herbals anywhere, but after six years - can you blame it? Amazing how well everything has held up for being this old, and it shows no real signs of oxidation in the aroma.

Arctic Devil hits the palate thick and muddled with a surprisingly substantial amount of carbonation considering its age. Very sweet up front, but still pretty far from being cloying. It's more of a refined and controlled sweetness, albeit very strong. Brown sugar, molasses, maple, light anise, plums, dates, black cherries. Buttery and creamy smooth on the palate - the bourbon and alcohol is noticeable and warming, and becomes even more so with time.

The finish is full of sweet, candied dark fruits and a mild oakiness. Despite the 13.2% ABV, this one remains pretty damn drinkable, making it very dangerous. Even though the aroma didn't show any, the taste reveals some light oxidation - not nearly enough to hinder or really even matter - I mean goddamn, this shit was six years old!

Big thanks again to Ed for opening this one. It was damn delicious. I have no other Arctic Devils to compare it to, but holy shit, this was super-drinkable for a 13.2% barleywine. Very sweet and woody all around, such a pleasure to drink.

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle courtesy of Libby pours a hazed brown color with a nice tan head. Moderate retention and surprisingly large bubbles.

Nose is caramel for alchies! Maybe some Bit-O-Honey and Chic-O-Stick sweetness thrown in for good measure...man, this beer smells like a candy store run by alcoholics.

Taste is molasses, fresh maple syrup, alcohol and caramel. Soooo smooth and very easy to drink. The malts are rich and have a perfect flow to them. Mouthfeel is rich, but not overly thick or cloying. Wonderful beer...classic even. One of the best barleywines I have had in some time.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
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 eawolff99
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.4/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy deep amber/ brown-ish color with a small tannish head. In the aroma, dark fruit, raison, fig, and licorice. In the taste, big licorice and fig, with a small bitterness in the end. A smooth and medium mouthfeel, with a dry syrupy and dark fruit aftertaste. Hides the alcohol in flavor, but can feel the burn, yet a bit syrupy.

Photo of AgentZero
4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been looking to knock this one out for a while. Big thanks to spycow for the share. 2007 vintage.

A - Brownish beer with some slight ruby highlights that had a tan head. Dissappeared rather quickly to a small ring.

S - A good bit going on here. Some bourbon, a little wood, touch of vanilla, toasted caramel, dark fruit, slight bit of ether, little booze, burnt sugar.

T - Sweet, taste does follow the nose, although something fell a little flat for me. Someone else said that while this was good, it may have passed it's prime and other vintages have been mind blowing. Some good caramel, oak, burnt sugar, dark fruit, actually a little booze too, kind of surpring given how old it was.

M - Medium bodied, but it felt like it finished just a little bit light somehow. Lower carbonation.

O - Good beer, drank a little bit sweeter than I would have liked, but probably to be expected from an English Barleywine with some age on it. Would love to try some other vintages.

Photo of enelson
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of RoyalT
4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

Photo of AlexFields
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 1,028 ratings.