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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 CoolEthan
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Photekut
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of siege06nd
4.03/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Pours a dark ruby brown color. Really love the crimson hues in this. About a quarter finger of thin, swirly, cream colored head. Moderate spotty lacing. One of the prettier barleywines I have seen.

S. Ripe dark fruit (cherry, fig), leather, caramel, vanilla, traces of chocolate, and some faint earthiness.

T: Caramel, chocolate, oak, bread crust. Very malty, but not quite as sweet and not nearly as much dark fruit presence as I've had in other barleywines. I get some faint toffee and roasted marshmallow as well. A solid beer, but was expecting a sweeter and fruitier flavor profile.

M: Full bodied, light carbonation. A lot of bitterness in the finish, though, that tastes like barrel and isn't quite evened out by the rest of the flavors.

O: I wanted to love this beer, but I think it needs some age. It's big and malty, but it hasn't quite acquired that sweet, ripe fruit flavor that I've come to expect from the style. Good, not great.

Photo of UWBadgerFan4Life
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of bennetj17
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Dactrius
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of mportnoy
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of random846
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of TheBrewo
4.63/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

We crack the top on a 2012 bomber of this beast, pouring a brew of deep ruby mahogany into our large tasting snifters. It offers a one finger head of creamy, ghostly eggnog colored bubbles on a rough pour. This shows nice retention for the style, fading into archipelago lacing, with aggregates and dust across the top of the liquid. The high abv affords legs when the beer is swirled. A chill haze cuts clarity, but no sediment is noted. Carbonation appears to be slow but pervasive. The aroma is rich and deep, with soft and lightly solventy booze fumes of bourbon, bright buttery diacetyls, sweet pales, heavy caramel, and soured English brown malts, salted caramel, dried figs and raisins, warm oaky woodiness, candy corns, coconut and plum fruitiness, bready biscuits, molasses and toffee syrups, cotton candy sugars, and mild floral hop oils. With warmth the ethanol takes on a sweeter, more grapey and wine-like character. Our first impression is that the flavoring is downright fantastic, with heavy, intense complexity, and a suitably chewy feel to the delivery. As we sip, the taste opens up with sugary sweet caramel and toffee cloy, heavily toasted pale and caramel maltiness, sharp coppery metallics, vanilla and almond extracts, hard butterscotch candies, brandy-soaked raisins, fermented sweet red grapes, oily butters, heavily mossed oakiness, and light banana ester sweetness. The middle comes to a peak with melted caramel sauce, coconut flesh and milk, sunflower seediness, bourbon heat, lemon zest, Tootsie Roll chewiness, soy sauce, heavily toasted and roasted caramel and English brown sours, chalky brown sugar sweetness, and light phenolic chemical bite. The end washes with enhanced but cleansing sweetness of apple cider, cooked caramel and salt water taffy, oaked woodiness, maple syrup, vinegar acidity, cane sugar, clean leathers, shoe shine polish, sweet ethanol, clover honey, black tea tannins, and essence of marigold. The aftertaste breathes of cherry, plum, and pear fruitiness, brandy, peaty scotch, and bourbon booziness, light campfire smoke, fusel booziness with warmth, almond oils, banana esters, bitter floral hops, drying oak, sour fermented violet grapes, phenolic plastics, toffee stickiness, figgy muck, musk, and corn husk. The body is full, velvety, and chewy, while carbonation is medium. Each sip gives heavy slurp and smack, with lighter creaminess or froth. Finish to the lips is sticky and infinite. The mouth is coated in oiliness in its entirety, with nice dryness and warmth to slowly sizzle the wetness away. No major astringency is ever palpated. The abv is big, but the beer drinks so, so smoothly.

Overall, the most enjoyable things about this brew were its aroma and flavoring. It is extremely hard to peg a top component for this beer, as everything about it sings beautifully and strictly to style, all while satiating and appeasing the drinker. The aroma is deep, rich, and sweet, and the flavoring follows exactly as it should in those footprints. The booze is heavy but subdued, and neither hot nor harsh at any point. The bourbon is glorious, oaky, and musky, just boasting what a proper barrel aging could do for a beer. The feel is what really takes this beer to other-worldly status, with velvety crush, silky smoothness, and buttery slide across the oropharynx. Even with excessive warmth, the Arctic Devil remains firm to its promises, with the complexity of it all extending this tasting beyond two hours. This is one of the best English barleywines we’ve ever come across, and again, while that is partly due to its impeccable execution of recipe and style, the unique, heavily warming, and rich Alaskan flair makes for an incredible, unforgettable experience that will not soon be forgotten.

Photo of pmarlowe
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to seeswo for this. Tulip glass.

A: Murky reddish amber, with a film of light sand colored head which fizzles out to a ring. Good retention, no lacing.

S: Fruit-forward (anise, cherry, sugar coated fig), whiskey, toffee, dark chocolate covered cherries, molasses and caramelized sugar. Wow, delicious.

T: Cherry, almost cough syrup like, whiskey barrel (oak, whiskey, cinnamon), a little booze. Finishes tannic and off dry.

M: Medium-full body on medium-light carbonation which is near perfect for the style. A little sticky.

O: Phenomenal. More fruit forward than I was expecting. Oak is pretty subdued, overall, which differs from a lot of BA barleywines.

Photo of zeledonia
4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 vintage, bottled February 2011. Thanks to RWNewhouse for the trade. Enjoyed 30 June 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours a deep amber color, ruby highlights, with one finger of off-white head. Clear, and just dark enough that I can still see through it. Head has decent retention; not much lacing.

Smell is like brandy - rich, strong, and sweet, and heavy on the fruits. Wood and oak, prunes and cognac, Yum.

Taste is just fantastic. So much depth, so many layers of flavors. The barrel-aging is prominent, but dang is it good. Heavy fruit flavors, alcohol which, as I mentioned earlier, is like brandy. Waves of flavor, washing over each other, adding complexity and deliciousness until it gradually fades away. Oh, I could savor this for hours.

I like the feel, just as I like the rest of the beer. Heavy, syrupy, more slippery than thick. Enough carbonation to keep me happy.

A delicious, fruity, liquer-like barleywine. Not quite the best I've had (that title remains with Abacus), but definitely up there. I will most definitely seek this out again.

Photo of JMBSH
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of masterofsparks
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of deonreds
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of funkel81
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of iatethecloudsfor
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of spointon
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this one from a 22oz brown bomber bottle into a stemmed tulip glass. Bottle marked 2008 vintage.

A= This ale poured a viscous deep amber color with a 1/2" cream colored head that quickly fell to a thin ring.

S= Heady mix of sweet malts, rich candied fruits, bourbon, and even a hint of hop aroma. Nice.

T= Started off with rich caramel and toffee notes, which in turn lead into the fruitiness of plums, cherries, and fruitcake. The bourbon and oak are there but somehow never overpowering. Hops played a similar role. All in all quite balanced through the middle. Things heated up in the sweet and boozy finish, but that was expected at this abv.

MF= Heavy body with a carbonation that tries to hang in there but ultimately gets overwhelmed by the sheer girth of this ale. Nice tongue coating quality.

D= Not one I would drink too often or in great quantity, but still a very very good English barleywine. The abv never feels as big as it is which makes this a dangerous one for sure!

Photo of bbadger
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of cadaugherty
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of brystmar
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of zekeman17
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of codynevels
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Photo of sirsteve42
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of bonkers
4.63/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured from a 22 ounce bottle, 2008 vintage, into a snifter. It is a murky caramel color with a very slight tan head, slight lacing. The aroma is full of vanilla, oak, and a balanced amount of whiskey. The flavor follows the nose, with some dark fruit notes added. A very well balanced beer, the whiskey notes add a fullness to the flavor without being overpowering. The finish has a caramel/whiskey sweetness to it. Artic Devil has a very full body and a sticky mouthfeel, very low carbonation. With an ABV of 13% it is a nice sipper. An outstanding beer that I received from Dunt in a recent BIF.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.73/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into a sampler. 2010 vintage.

Pours a deep ruby amber with a small brown head. Nose is malty and sweet, a bit of cardboard .

Taste is sweet, sharp a bit of oxidation but super tasty and a bit tart
Really crisp and quit drinkable. Mouthfeel is creamy and rich.

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