1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

M Belgian-Style Barleywine - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

M Belgian-Style BarleywineM Belgian-Style Barleywine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

78 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 78
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 4.7
pDev: 7.23%


Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co. visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.60% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

On this 10-year mark, Midnight Sun Brewing Company proudly releases its 1000th batch of beer - a larger-than-life Belgian-style Barley Wine (if such a style exists) simply called M - in commemoration of the enduring spirit that founded and sustains this little brewery in the extreme Northwest. Making M required a massive grain bill - seven seductive malts - boosted by strength-inducing Belgian candi sugar. Once original gravity hit 37 Plato, a frenzied fermentation ensued: four completely fabulous yeast strains, two of Belgian origin, transformed this sweet concoction into all that is beer. But not just any beer. A beer of madcap magnitude - 11.6% ABV. Character and complexity increased exponentialy while M meddled and mellowed for several months in all-American bourbon oak barrels. Blending the aged beer before bottling ascertained smoothness. M is mesmerizing, pouring dark and silky. Caramel and spice waft up from the glass; bourbon, molasses, leather and vanilla follow. The first taste proffers tobacco, burnt sugar and raisin with a sublime port-like finish, but bourbon - smooth, sensuous, brooding bourdon - is ever-present. The finish, a bit edgy like an American take on barley wine, provides the necessary leap toward overall balance. M is a precious gift to ourselves as well as you, seekers of beer-that-is-beyond-beer adventures... We are but mere mortals in the presence of M.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-16-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 78 | Reviews: 36 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by cosmicevan:
Photo of cosmicevan
cosmicevan

New York

4.84/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

big thanks goes out to GrumpyOldTroll, jbuddle, Sean9689, SpeedwayJim, AgentZero, dtmets84 for sharing in the greatest day of beer that i have ever been a part of. huge thanks to mike for providing this bit of unobtainium.

notes from 1/12/2013

consumed from a midnight sun tulip.

a - looks just like dave (that i saved for some side by side comparisons)...deep purple, but has a thin head and spotty lacing.

s - smells like purple grapes. i definitely get some belgian sweetness. plum, dark fruit...like a barleywine crossed with a belgian strong dark.

t - flavor is simply awesome. nutmeg and chocolate. dark fruit glazed in some booziness, but extremely balanced and just truly excellent. i have heard that there is a lot of bottle variation and many people that i'm sharing this bottle with have had M before and they are all saying that this is the best bottle they've tried so far.

m - SUPER easy drinking. light carbonation, but a great feel.

o - overall, i really didn't think that this beer could possibly live up to the hype and i have been heard the tales of the age and oxidation and bottle variation, but this bottle was spectacular. i was blown away by this beer mostly because it exceeded my expectations and really lived up to the hype. one of the true highlights of a day where it was hard for a beer to stick out as a highlight.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2013 05:58:48 | More by cosmicevan
More User Reviews:
Photo of Jeffo
Jeffo

Netherlands

4.43/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Many years in the making and finally I was able to find a trade for this one, which has probably been my top want for several years now. Very happy to give this one a shot, finally. Big cheers goes out to the beer crew here for coming over to my place to help me drink it. Always a good time gents.

From a bomber into a mini snifter
Bottled 5 May 2005
Drank along side a recent vintage of Arctic Devil and some Flossmoor b-wines.

APPEARANCE: Pours out quite dark for the style, yielding a half finger, light tan head with decent retention. Same color as Arctic Devil and darker than Wooden Hell, sitting a deep maroon red in color with no carbonation evident. A splotchy wisp and ring remain leaving some falling dots of lacing down the glass. Definitely darker than the average barleywine.

SMELL: Lots of raisins and dark fruits on the nose. Some plumbs, dates, figs and dark caramel malts as well, but this is raisins and more raisins. Very nice, but also very different.

TASTE: Like a Belgian strong dark ale in many ways. Dark caramel malt sweetness with dark fruits, plumbs, figs, and lots of raisins up front. Red wine and grapes with light oak notes as well. A big finish of red wine, plumbs, figs, dark fruits and raisin sweetness with some slight oak flavors as well. A touch of vanilla sweetness there as well from the barrel aging, but this is really raisin and dark fruit heavy, with the barrel aging coming out as more red wine than oak bourbon per se. Really tasty and unique for sure.

PALATE: Medium-full body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes a touch drier than expected. No real heat. Definitely thicker and fuller than Arctic Devil.

OVERALL: This was really wonderful and extremely enjoyable to drink. I didn't detect any oxidization or other signs of age on this bottle either. Definitely unique in the style, with a lot of dark fruit and red wine qualities here, especially flavors of raisins and grapes. One of my friends called it a raisin bomb, which might just put it close to some Belgian strong dark ales we are familiar with over here. This one also showed very little of the oak bourbon barrels it was aged in, which also made it stand out in the lineup we put together. It's hard to say whether a beer like this has lived up to its billing, but suffice it to say that it certainly didn't disappoint and I am very glad I kept at it and finally found one. We all enjoyed this beer immensely. Till we meet again.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2014 20:56:50 | More by Jeffo
Photo of cpetrone84
cpetrone84

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Wonderful moment with two great friends, cheers to Kevin and Jeremy. Pour is black with light brown head. Nose is salty, soy, and date. A fair amount of berry fruit sweetness behind. Taste is a bit less soy, sweet berry, dates and figs. Some caky rum soaked raisin or date. Really soft body, full an gentle at the same time with very soft carbonation and extremely inviting. Overall, not really any oxidation, a really well put together beer, lots of sweetness but not sugary, nothing mind blowing but very solid.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2014 17:17:15 | More by cpetrone84
Photo of brian4beer
brian4beer

Indiana

4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

12-14-2013 20:07:42 | More by brian4beer
Photo of SpdKilz
SpdKilz

Illinois

4.75/5  rDev +1.1%

12-08-2013 13:33:09 | More by SpdKilz
Photo of jaminjohnson
jaminjohnson

Yukon (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

11-27-2013 09:19:39 | More by jaminjohnson
Photo of Gonzoillini
Gonzoillini

Illinois

4.75/5  rDev +1.1%

11-27-2013 07:36:24 | More by Gonzoillini
Photo of funkyaudio
funkyaudio

Illinois

5/5  rDev +6.4%

11-24-2013 17:28:45 | More by funkyaudio
Photo of geuze_gone_wild
geuze_gone_wild

California

4.75/5  rDev +1.1%

11-03-2013 19:27:38 | More by geuze_gone_wild
Photo of KevSal
KevSal

California

4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

11-03-2013 04:07:48 | More by KevSal
Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
CheapBeerBuzz

California

4.75/5  rDev +1.1%

11-02-2013 21:51:35 | More by CheapBeerBuzz
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
westcoastbeerlvr

California

4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

11-02-2013 21:01:44 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
Photo of Mopps
Mopps

Virginia

4.75/5  rDev +1.1%

10-15-2013 19:10:10 | More by Mopps
Photo of CityofBals
CityofBals

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev -9.6%

09-12-2013 18:10:14 | More by CityofBals
Photo of totoropanda
totoropanda

New Jersey

5/5  rDev +6.4%

08-02-2013 01:19:05 | More by totoropanda
Photo of bauermj
bauermj

Illinois

5/5  rDev +6.4%

07-14-2013 15:41:17 | More by bauermj
Photo of BucketBoy
BucketBoy

Pennsylvania

4.66/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes. I've opened a couple bottles of this, courtesy of the uber-generous Doc! I can't thank you enough, my friend. The bottle being reviewed here was opened at Ryan's Labor Day tasting 2011 (another bottle I opened the following March was almost identical to this one).

L - Glimmering, shimmering dark deep walnut, wispy clouds of fuzz - just beautiful.

S - Sweet booze (sherry/port), chocolate fudge, dark fruits (mostly raisins), touch of oak, and still a micro amount of balancing hops.

T - Dark chocolate, fudge, toffee, dark raisins, figs, plums, sweet apple,bourbon, touch of allspice, vanilla, hint of oak. Regardless of the age, this is a real treat - just delicious stuff.

M - So smooth, creamy, perfect body, slight slickness. An exemplar of perfection for the style.

O - Phenomenal! Although I never had it before fall 2011, it did not seem to have lost anything I would have expected. The bottle I opened in 2012 was just as awesome. Glad I still have another bottle to play with.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2013 17:00:38 | More by BucketBoy
Photo of leschkie
leschkie

California

2.5/5  rDev -46.8%

06-22-2013 15:34:01 | More by leschkie
Photo of hannydawg
hannydawg

Illinois

4.75/5  rDev +1.1%

05-22-2013 04:14:04 | More by hannydawg
Photo of monitorpop
monitorpop

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

05-16-2013 10:30:18 | More by monitorpop
Photo of rmalinowski4
rmalinowski4

Illinois

4.75/5  rDev +1.1%

05-07-2013 19:48:54 | More by rmalinowski4
Photo of AleWatcher
AleWatcher

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev -4.3%

05-07-2013 01:41:55 | More by AleWatcher
Photo of kscaldef
kscaldef

Oregon

4.75/5  rDev +1.1%

05-02-2013 20:07:37 | More by kscaldef
Photo of Shmeal
Shmeal

Oregon

5/5  rDev +6.4%

05-02-2013 14:44:06 | More by Shmeal
Photo of teddyarrowhead
teddyarrowhead

Oregon

4.75/5  rDev +1.1%

05-02-2013 07:09:01 | More by teddyarrowhead
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
M Belgian-Style Barleywine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 78 ratings.