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M Belgian-Style Barleywine - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
M Belgian-Style BarleywineM Belgian-Style Barleywine

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

82 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 82
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 4.69
pDev: 7.25%
Wants: 436
Gots: 8 | FT: 1
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
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Ratings: 82 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zestar
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

zestar, Jul 19, 2014
Photo of jophish17
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

jophish17, Jun 15, 2014
Photo of jampics2
4.25/5  rDev -9.4%

jampics2, Jun 13, 2014
Photo of Alieniloquium
4.09/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Dark body. Nearly black. Small khaki head.

Smell - Sherry and a bit of cardboard oxidation. Sweet brown sugar and caramel. Mild dark roasted malts.

Taste - Sweet. Sherry flavored oxidation. Caramel. Some roasted malts. Dates. Not any barrel, really. Lots of raisin fruitiness.

Mouthfeel - Thick bodied. Sweet, but not overly so. Alcohol is still prevalent.

Overall - Well, I'm underwhelmed. It's really good, but it's not earth-shattering.

Alieniloquium, May 19, 2014
Photo of Jeffo
4.43/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

Jeffo, Mar 02, 2014
Photo of cpetrone84
4.1/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

cpetrone84, Feb 02, 2014
Photo of brian4beer
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

brian4beer, Dec 14, 2013
Photo of SpdKilz
4.75/5  rDev +1.3%

SpdKilz, Dec 08, 2013
Photo of jaminjohnson
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

jaminjohnson, Nov 27, 2013
Photo of Gonzoillini
4.75/5  rDev +1.3%

Gonzoillini, Nov 27, 2013
Photo of funkyaudio
5/5  rDev +6.6%

funkyaudio, Nov 24, 2013
Photo of geuze_gone_wild
4.75/5  rDev +1.3%

geuze_gone_wild, Nov 03, 2013
Photo of KevSal
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

KevSal, Nov 03, 2013
Photo of CheapBeerBuzz
4.75/5  rDev +1.3%

CheapBeerBuzz, Nov 02, 2013
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 02, 2013
Photo of Mopps
4.75/5  rDev +1.3%

Mopps, Oct 15, 2013
Photo of CityofBals
4.25/5  rDev -9.4%

CityofBals, Sep 12, 2013
Photo of totoropanda
5/5  rDev +6.6%

totoropanda, Aug 02, 2013
Photo of bauermj
5/5  rDev +6.6%

bauermj, Jul 14, 2013
Photo of BucketBoy
4.66/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

BucketBoy, Jul 07, 2013
Photo of leschkie
2.5/5  rDev -46.7%

leschkie, Jun 22, 2013
Photo of hannydawg
4.75/5  rDev +1.3%

hannydawg, May 22, 2013
Photo of monitorpop
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

monitorpop, May 16, 2013
Photo of rmalinowski4
4.75/5  rDev +1.3%

rmalinowski4, May 07, 2013
Photo of AleWatcher
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

AleWatcher, May 07, 2013
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M Belgian-Style Barleywine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
100 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.