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Arctic Devil Barley Wine - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Arctic Devil Barley WineArctic Devil Barley Wine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

965 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 965
Reviews: 335
rAvg: 4.38
pDev: 8.22%
Wants: 936
Gots: 255 | 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: 965 | Reviews: 335 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Kelp
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

Kelp, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of Viggo
4.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to googzoid10 for sending this my way a while back.

Pours a lightly cloudy rusted red, some dark brown highlights as well, thick tan head forms, settles down to a thick ring, some lacing on the glass, real neat. Smell is insane good, sherry and port, toffee, some alcohol, tons of raisin and date, brown sugar, treacle, dark fruit, plums, very rich, very complex. Taste is similar, very intense sweet caramel and raisin, brown sugar, prunes, some alcohol, very earthy, lots of fruit, dates, port, lightly grapey, nicely balanced in the finish, incredibly complex and drinkable. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation, some warmth going down. Wow is this stuff good, like a more complex Hardy's, almost as good as the J.W Lee's 97. Amazing, need to get some more! Thanks Greg!

Viggo, May 15, 2009
Photo of sendbeer
5/5  rDev +14.2%

sendbeer, Aug 11, 2014
Photo of Zaphog
4.25/5  rDev -3%

Zaphog, Apr 29, 2013
Photo of JohnGalt1
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

4.5/4.5/4.5/4/4

JohnGalt1, Feb 29, 2012
Photo of HopHead84
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11/6/2011

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.

HopHead84, Nov 08, 2011
Photo of glid02
4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Joe - judging by the bottle it's a 2007 vintage and has only a sub-10% ABV.

Pours a hazy honey-copper color with a half-finger cream-colored head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of smooth caramel malts with light toffee and vanilla aromas. Also present are slight amounts of milk chocolate and dry honey.

Tastes similar to how it smells, yet somehow even more complex. Moderately sweet caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by equal parts butterscotch and toffee flavors. Midway through the sip light vanilla and slight bourbon flavors make an appearance. Finally, hints of oak smooth things out near the end of the sip, carrying through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a smooth thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass very quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I was a huge fan of this beer, something I normally can't say about aged barleywines. An amazing beer that is very much worth a shot. Also worth setting one down for a few years if you're lucky enough to have multiples. As a quick note that was tasted side-by-side with Mother of all Storms and came out on top. Both fantastic beers but it really wasn't even a competition to decide my favorite.

glid02, Apr 05, 2011
Photo of ShanePB
4/5  rDev -8.7%

ShanePB, Feb 22, 2013
Photo of Derek
3.7/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Turbid chestnut brown with a light tan head, tiny ring of retention has a little leg.

S: Dark raisins, figs, sponge-toffee, marmalade, sherry, beer nuts and a light spicing.

T: Alcohol forward; a little overly boozy. Figs, dark raisins, prunes, maraschino cherries, brown sugar, sponge toffee, marmalade, roasted nuts, hints of cocao, resiny bitterness, a little over-the-top for an English Barleywine.

M: Full body has some residual sweetness, modest carbonation.

D: A bold sipper.

Over-rated.

Derek, Jun 17, 2010
Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.33/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle opened on 6.2.12.

A - Pours a dark copper brown with a fluffy light tan head that slowly fades.

S - Woody, subtle booze and carmel.

T - Sharp wood, then some carmel, toffee, vanilla, and strong booze.

D - Good carbonation and an average medium body.

O - Sweet and carmel and toffee that try and hide the beast of an ABV. A bit hot, but Great!

HuskyinPDX, Jun 04, 2012
Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.25/5  rDev -3%

iL0VEbeer, May 24, 2013
Photo of johnnnniee
4.21/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

johnnnniee, Oct 27, 2013
Photo of tobelerone
4.25/5  rDev -3%
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.

tobelerone, Oct 31, 2012
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.75/5  rDev -14.4%

TurdFurgison, Jan 19, 2013
Photo of dirtylou
4.48/5  rDev +2.3%
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

dirtylou, Jun 04, 2012
Photo of Alieniloquium
4.13/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

Alieniloquium, Aug 06, 2012
Photo of drummermattie02
3.75/5  rDev -14.4%

drummermattie02, Jan 19, 2013
Photo of Rhettroactive
3.48/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From 22oz bomber to Portsmouth glass on 3/10/12
*From notes

-- Thanks as always, John --

Vintage 2008

A: Splatter-ass brown in color. To call this beer ugly is a bit of an understatement. A gentle pour yields an ivory .25 finger head that fades quickly. A small white collar rims the glass.

S: Graham cracker and malt. I'm not getting a whole lot of bourbon or spirit quality on the bouquet.

T: Mellow is a good way of putting it. Again, there's not a whole lot of wood, tannin or any type of spirit quality to this properly cellared barleywine. Instead, I get a generous amount of oatmeal cookie and earth. About as low key as you could expect out of a bigger beer like this.

M: Meh. It's doesn't feel bad, per se, it's just not really memorable, either. The carbonation is surprisingly lively for it's old age, and helps to add a bit of complexity to the beer.

O: I don't feel that age has helped Midnight Sun's Arctic Devil, as I can't imagine this is what the brewer intended. If it is, then I must question the hype, as this is about as middle of the road a barleywine as I've ever come across.

Rhettroactive, Mar 19, 2012
Photo of xnicknj
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

xnicknj, Dec 16, 2013
Photo of LiquidAmber
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

LiquidAmber, Jul 08, 2012
Photo of GraduatedCashew
4/5  rDev -8.7%

GraduatedCashew, Sep 09, 2014
Photo of ccrida
4.83/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

ccrida, Mar 30, 2008
Photo of jrallen34
4.1/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

jrallen34, Jan 23, 2010
Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
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!

BeerFMAndy, May 07, 2011
Photo of Bitterbill
4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
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!!!

Bitterbill, Mar 12, 2006
Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 965 ratings.