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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.

355 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 355
Hads: 1,208
Avg: 4.35
pDev: 15.17%
Wants: 976
Gots: 300 | FT: 39
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
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 355 | Hads: 1,208
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared a bottle of this with Matt today. Thanks!

2008 vintage

A: Dark brown with crimson hues appearance and a one inch head. Initially, there is a sheet of lacing, but it fades after a few moments.

S: The aroma is fantastic. Sweet malts with dark fruits. No heat in the aroma. 13.4%?!?

T: Fabulous taste! Wow. This is my new favorite English Barleywine.
Very complex, with dark fruits and delicious malts.

M: 13.4% alcohol is completely hidden. Not sure how they did that.

D: Awesome. Highly drinkable. Best barleywine I've had to date.

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Photo of billab914
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage picked up from liquid Solutions. Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter glass. Pours a caramel brown color with a small off-white covering. The head mostly clung to the sides of the glass and left a little lacing as I drank it.

Aroma is malty and sweet with some caramel and dark fruit. It also shows the vanilla, wood and whiskey from the barrel aging. There is a little alcohol present in the nose as well. It's a complex aroma that has a lot of things going on but they meld together pretty well.

The taste starts out with some caramel sweetness but finishes with the oak, vanilla and whiskey character. it has a little alcohol spiciness to it in the finish but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel is on the heavier side with low carbonation. Drinkability is good. It's a pleasure to drink but at aver 13% you just can't drink too much of it.

Overall this was a fantastic beer, it really displayed the barrel aged characteristics well without being too overwhelming. The maltiness of it came through very well and was complemented by the barrel aging, unlike some I try where it tastes like a shot of bourbon was added to the beer. Really enjoyed this one but now I have to take a nap after drinking the bottle myself.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.86/5  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.

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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 Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 release; Sampled January 2009
Served at around 60°F / 15.6°C. The beer pours into my 25cl tulip glass with a three-finger thick, amber tinged, full tan colored head. The beer is a dark, concentrated amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, deep cranberry hue when held up to the light. The aroma first hits with sticky hop aromatics but is soon backed by a solid malt note. Up front there are notes of grapefruit zest and pine needles, but the sticky, candied malt character seems to slowly win out over the hop character. Malt aromatics of brown-sugar crusted raisins, toasted-toffee-glazed pastries, perhaps a hint of cherry notes and a light, toasted nut note that because of the sweet malt reminds me of candied nuts. The hop character is never totally subsumed by the malt, it seems to add a sort of green, sort of herbal vegetation type thing to the nose.

Very sweet and rich feeling, up front there is a solid herbal hop note as well as a reasonable bitterness in the finish, but this beer is really about the malt. Rich notes of toffee, brown sugar and a touch of cocoa along with a deep, toasted malt note make this quite the chewy beer. The finish has a bit of warm alcohol to it that along with the sweet malts reminds me a bit of a dark rum; the alcohol warmth is brought out by some spicy oak notes and there also seems to be a touch of vanillin noticeable underneath the sweet malt. There is a touch of toasted, not quite roasted grain here, it adds a touch of almost bitterness that couples with the astringency from the tannic oak, both of which provide some balance to the dominant sweet malt.

After noticing the oak in the flavor, I can now pick it up in the aroma; it adds a soft spiciness and probably exacerbates the green hop notes a bit as well. The hop character though seems to completely fade into the background after this has breathed for a bit; much of the sharp, un-integrated character was likely from the barrel, and it still is a bit jarring. Somehow, despite not being the most well integrated beer, this just oozes potential. Part of the charm of this beer for me is the fact that I can just see this aging so well.

I am disappointed in myself for not getting two bottles of this. The hop character in this fresh example are really a distraction, despite how slight they are (though they are magnified a bit by the sharp oak character), I want this beer to be all about the malt and I have the feeling that a bit of age will make this beer fantastic; the hops, and even the oak character should round out considerably and the beer should turn into heaven in a glass.

Purchased: Liquid Solutions

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Closing it out at Beachwood BBQ with a 13% ABV barleywine...from 2010...aged in whiskey barrels....and a 12 ounce pour for $7 (Happy Hour price!). That's smart. On to the beer:

It's shiny brown polish with hues of violet. The head stays up for awhile considering its strength, and it leaves a little of its residue on the glass. One whiff for the nose delivers happiness. Pure happiness. If you like timber, vanilla, toasted marshmallow, and an element of alcohol, it's a very difficult thing to top. It smells so damn good!

The taste is huge as well. The vanilla and wood combo are deadly. You can vaguely taste the spirit that was once aged in the barrels used to age this beer. Brown sugar and molasses make their stamp. For its size the 13% alcohol is hidden well, though that doesn't mean you won't feel a little of its wrath as you drink it. It does provide an orange cough syrup flavor, which could go either way. This beer is full bodied, chewy, and just a little boozy. All things considering, this beer has a good balance and great integration of flavors and elements.

Easy recommendation.

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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 Halcyondays
3.62/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at Beachwood I, 2010 vintage

A: Pours a light mahogany, good lace with a long lasting off-white head.

S: Great nose. Full of vanilla bean and oak, brown sugar.

T: Lots of malt flavour, the IBUs being 20 I expect it. Vanilla, wood tannin, toffee, light berry. Bit of an unappetizing sugar character to this, but the other flavours are quite good.

M: Full-bodied, rich, definitely cloying at places, a sipper.

O: This is a barleywine that's still incredibly young, this certainly needs 2-3 years to dry out and possibly become really good. Right now it's just adequate.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz 2009 bottle.

Pours a dark, cloudy amber brown color with a thin tan head. Aroma is a decadent blend of roast, oak, bourbon, vanilla, plum, raisin, brown sugar, caramel, and cherry. Extremely creamy and smooth body with a rich flavor similar to the nose; maple, cherry, raisin, plum, vanilla, bourbon and oak dominate the flavor. An all around, smooth, well balanced and complex barleywine.

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Photo of BillRoth
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can't speak to previous batches. Have heard of this BW for years, but finally have a chance to try thanks to Paul 510a.
Poured out a rich amber ruby pour with a full shipped cream head. Head dissipated as expected but not quickly and left a notable lace in the glass. Impression was this one was well made.
So far so good.
Aroma was good. Some caramel and nougat like aromas. Hint of dried fruit, but more a hint of syrup. Hint of vanilla.Hops very subdued. Difficult to identify. but not piney or citrusy. Suggested European hops...Kent? Goldings?. Shouldn't be surprised if an English BW.
At this point I knew I had a good beer, but still looking for the "wow.
OK...Wow! The flavor is just spectacular, and it just kept getting better as it warmed. Huge hits of caramel, toffee and dark cane syrup. Mild hop bitterness just kept the beer from being a sugar bomb. Craftfully blended and matured. As the beer warmed the oak and vanilla took over, and the beer reached another level. it was just sublime.
The mouth feel was full and creamy. Thicker than your typical English BW, but pleasant not overwhelming. It seemed perfectly aligned with the big beer it was. The alcohol while big, was not too big. No harshness, just warming. It just seemed exactly the right level.
Overall, started as a very good beer, but ended as a beer just about perfect for its style and claims.
I'm going hope I get more from this batch, but will look forward to more regardless of year.
Well done!

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thick, viscous , hazy, dark chestnut with a thin swirly head that disappears to a thin ring. Smells rich, malty, winey, and syrupy with some spicebox notes and yeasty fruitiness. The taste is huge and thick and spicy. Quite sweet up-front, but spicy, tannic, and dry at the finish. Big pine spiciness, some rich cellared fruit, alcohol heat, sweet mat, and a big tannic bitterness. This is a huge, over-the-top beer- and I love it! Mouthfeel is rich and viscous and tannic and hot. Can't drink too much of this stuff!

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Photo of HopHead84
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


2010 batch, thanks Jonny!

A: Dark crown with a crimson tinge. The head is a finger of beige foam.

S: Strong dark toffee presence with notes of whiskey and caramel. Earth and pine waft from the glass. Oak is pronounced.

T: Big toffee notes blend with caramel and green wood. There's a moderate earthy, piney bitterness. I get light grape notes and a dash of whiskey. Alcohol is well hidden.

M: Upper medium body with moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel I dry and sticky.

Overall: Great stuff. This is always a pleasure to drink.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured medium to dark brown with some off-white head.

S - Whiskey and oak up front with a fairly big caramel aroma. There is also a somewhat odd aroma that I can't put my finger on. Not off-putting at all, just unexpected and odd.

T - Whiskey and oak followed by sweet caramel, toffee and a light raisin flavour.

M - Medium to full body. Light carbonation.

O - Tasting this side-by-side with King Henry and MOAS didn't do this one justice at all. That said, it is yet another solid beer from Midnight Sun.

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Photo of biegaman
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Candy-apple red dusted in a heavy clay soil. The colour isn't easy to capture with words, it combines various tones spread across an incredibly murky and convoluted complexion. It is dark and concealed but allows lucid glimpses of colour when up to the light. The head was initially quite prominent for a beer its strength. Since, however, its top has regressed to the flat and utterly bare surface you might expect from a beer of this potent volume.

The brewery advertises this as an English-style barleywine, stressing that it is "malt-inclined". If you're looking for face-smacking, tongue-blistering hops look a little further south on America's West Coast. This offers the virtues of subtlety and elegance. You don't have to sniff hard to find what it offers but doing so will certainly make you appreciate it more. Be sure to take big, long inhalations to appreciate all the complexity.

The brewery divulges that the beer was oak-aged but the previous contents of these vessels is left up for speculation. The only clue being that some barrels may have previously contained port, wine or whiskey leaves also the supposition that some may not have contained anything at all, or something completely different. By smell alone I've the faintest clue - there is simply too much going on.

In some ways, this combination of wood, malts, esters and alcohols is like a bunch of musicians all playing off-key individually. If this brewer is talented then he will group them together like a true orchestra leader... and, upon my first few sips, it seems he has.

Where to begin? Like a good meal, a barleywine in any style should offer a complexity of flavour with an interaction between a number of varietal characters. Indeed, this does. The malts are sugary and sickeningly sweet. They begin to resemble dried and over-ripened fruits, including especially raisins, plums, cherry. They also impart toasted grains and a caramel-like richness with hints of nuts, nougat, chocolate and coffee.

The certain consequence of such flavours is decadent richness. The beer is sweet, it is indulgently flavourful and above all it is mighty strong. The barrel's previous contents (which I'm becoming sure must have been bourbon) contribute a dangerous level of alcohol. Although I can't see any flames shooting from my nostrils, I can occasionally feel them. Midnight Sun surely keeps Alaskans' heating bills down.

Arctic Devil is supposedly named after some ferocious northern wolverine but I'd say, to steel an analogy, it more resembles a horse. Its strength and maltiness lends it the sturdy, strong qualities of a plow horse. The barrel aging has lent it the elegant virtues of a showmanship thoroughbred. It is what breeders would call a half-breed.

It's not always about how a beer looks or tastes, it's how you engage with it. Like the mighty stallion, this is something recognizably bigger than ourselves, to whom we treat with gentle praise and respect. You approach and interact with the beer in slow, respectful sips. You both acknowledge and appreciate its power. And, in this case, I must also acknowledge and appreciate the generous BuckeyeNation for providing me with the sample!

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Photo of Wasatch
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to msubulldog25 for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Poured into a chalice a nice semi-cloudy dark brown color, some carbonation, nice little fizzy tan head, which leaves som oil slicks and sticky lacing. The nose is malty, some hops, licorice, toffee, some vanilla, alcohol, and caramel. The taste is sweet at first sip, big malts/toffee/alcohol, tones of vanilla and caramel. Medium body, very nice brew, might be a tad too much on the alcohol though, but still very tasty, could turn some people off. Very drinkable, this is the best MS brew for me so far, a very tasty EBWSA. Thanks Brian.

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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 John_M
3.71/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had the 2006 version of this beer at the 2007 Hard Liver festival at Brower's.

This was the first time I had this beer on tap, having previously tried it out of the bottle. Usually I prefer draft versions of beer, but this one might be better out of the bottle. No matter, it was still an excellent beer.

I believe this beer received honorable mention from the judges at this festival.

This beer was much darker then the other beers, and had something of smokey quality that none of the other beers had. Muted nose, but on the palate one got flavors of cola, caramel, and smoke. The beer was fairly viscuous, and was quite sweet. It ended with a long, smooth finish, with a hint of bitterness at the end. A good beer, but not as fine as I remembered.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottling picked up tonight at Brewforia in Meridian.. Label says 13.40% abv ... shared with the wife... but the Lion's share goes into my small CC goblet.. no real head or lacing.. the brew is a crystal clear deep amber.

Aromas show thick malt .... raisin and dark plum.. figgy and tons of boozy deep wood.... vinous and thick "Mall caramel" ... damn.. tons of vanilla and hefty malts...

Palate is soooo thick and wonderful.. big plum and fig.. dark fruits melt into caramel and figgy jam... slight citrus zest hoppy notes help balance.. dark raisins linger forever on the finish.

Thick and viscous... pretty much perfect right out of the bottle..

I've enjoyed Arctic Devil quite a few times fresh .... but actually prefer to let it age gracefully.


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Photo of vfgccp
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%

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%

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 Batch(yep, marked 11/05 on side of bottle, 1st bottled):
A: Poured a golden copper color hybrid with almost a small white cap.

S: Nose is toffee, some bourbon, toffee and caramel

T: Earthy and woody with light caramel and toffee. I felt some of the darker fruits faded, booze was still a bit sharp

M: Mouthfeel is big bodied, lower carbonation

O: Good
2007 Batch:
Poured a sluggish copper color with almost no head at all. Nose is caramel, dried fruits, brown sugar candied fruits, vanilla and a very light hint of oak and bourbon. Yeah..all of this from the nose. Taste followed suit. Taste is biiig malts up front. Lots of brown sugar, candied fruit, fruits, with vanilla, oak and bourbon on the finish. Mouthfeel is nice, thick and coating. Sooo drinkable and the mouthfeel is great.
2010 batch. Not amongst the best. Demoted this year due to thinner mouthfeel, cardboard smell on nose and less flavor than I recall.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.94/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a two finger light tan head that fades slowly leaving no lace. Cloudy amber/brown color. Light carbonation and heavy bodied. Caramel/alcohol nose. Flavor starts sweet, malty, but the higher ABV (10%) is in your face - leaves an alcohol burn. The difference between this and Avery's Mephistopheles Stout (at 16%) is like night and day. I should have let this age for a few years. Pricey at $15.99 for a 500ml bottle from John's Marketplace Portland, OR.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from 11/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a deep red amber, minimal off-white head and no lacing. Aroma of caramel, whiskey, malt and fruit. Starts with malt, whiskey and caramel, finishing with dark fruits, a touch of oak, more whiskey and alcohol. Very complex and rich. Nice heavy body. Would score higher without the big alcohol punch. Hopefully this will mellow with age. Excellent barley wine.

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Photo of akorsak
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to beerbeing for this 650 mL bomber (a long ago trade).

A: The barleywine is a dark red-brown collaboration, murky with ruddy creek water hues. Of course it is opaque. A small head, never more than a 1/3 of a finger, left a pretty impressive patch of lace behind.

S: Crazy malty! This one just smells thick. A delicious blend of bread and dark fruits. There is some evidence of a barrel, a touch of oak and vanilla. Stunning aroma.

T: Oak is lingering around the front of each sip, sturdy and woody. Behind it, the barleywine comes through with a vengeance. Hints of cinnamon mix with an excess of booze, a sweet nightcap. The barleywine is malt-driven but a heavy dose of hops and the barrel aging really take the edge off. Yeah, this is really, really good.

M: The mouthfeel is full, starting off with the oak and finishing with the super malts. The barrel especially stands out for the smoothness that it adds.

D: At 10% (or thereabouts), this is a sipping beer at best. One and done for this sleepytime cowboy.

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Photo of corby112
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to shadowane for sharing! 2011 vintage.

Pours a dark amber, almost chestnut brown color with mahogany edges and a 1.5 finger, creamy off-while head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Spotty lacing.

Sweet, slightly boozy aroma with subtly integrated barrel presence.  Hints of toasted oak and spicy whiskey along with some vanilla and coconut.  Underneath characteristics of the base beer are evident with leathery malt, sweet toffee, dark fruit and caramel.

On the fuller end of medium-bodied with a well integrated barrel character that doesn't overpower the elements of the base beer.  Some nice dry oak along with spicy/sweet whiskey, vanilla and coconut. Soft carbonation adds to the palate and the sweet and leathery notes from the base beer really come through. Hints of toffee, dark fruit, caramel and leathery malts with a slightly dry finish.  Subtle warmth in finish but overall the ABV is very well masked.  Lots of boozy flavor but not a lot of heat.  Can't believe that it's 13.5%!  Really nice. A bit heavy on the barrel/whiskey presence but the characteristics of the base beer come through nicely.

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