Bar Fly
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Bar FlyBar Fly
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Style:
Smoke Beer
Ranked #1
ABV:
11.6%
Score:
95
Ranked #1,260
Avg:
4.3 | pDev: 6.98%
Reviews:
48
Ratings:
202
From:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
 
Alaska, United States
Avail:
Rotating
Wants
  33
Gots
  34
SCORE
95
World-Class
Bar FlyBar Fly
Notes: Smoked Imperial Stout brewed with smoked malt, molasses, brown sugar and aged in Bourbon barrels.

Somber and smoky, BARFLY saunters into the room slowly. Thick smoke. Cool swagger. Good wood. Too much brass. Sticky leather. Slow glances. Lingering looks. The only thing that didn’t make the glass was maraschino cherry. Bring your own and wear out your welcome.

Malt: Smoked malt
Other: Molasses and brown sugar
IBU: 45
Reviews: 48 | Ratings: 202 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of woodychandler
4.57/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yesterday's meandering around through the Bottle (!) Backlog took a detour into The CANQuest (tm), however gloriously briefly, but today, it is back to/on the Bottlewagon. 8=( My recycler must be astounded this past month+ since I rarely fill the bin, but I have been doing so on a weekly basis since ~ 16 March. Usually, I am laser-focused on CANs & those get set aside for a ~ quarterly visit from Jeff Lebo over in York County for his massive CANlection. All is not lost, however, as most Bottles contain things that I did & still want to drink. Especially the barrel-aged beers and even more especially, the non-whiskey barrel-aged beers. They give me an opportunity to delve into my liquor cabinet where it normally remains closed with its contents merely gathering dust. Sigh. My advancing age has softened me up so that I no longer desire shots. I will merely pour a wee dram & sip on it over the course of the review for a point/counterpoint. This is one such beer.

From the Bottle: "Somber and smoky, BARFLY saunters into the room slowly. Thick smoke. Cool swagger. Good wood. Too much brass. Sticky leather. Slow glances. Lingering looks. The only thing that didn’t make the glass was maraschino cherry. Bring your own and wear out your welcome."; "ALASKA’S MOST WANTED[:] Midnight Sun crafts some of the most sought-after beer in the world. This line includes creative successes from several themed beer series as well as amazing one-offs. We hope you love our very special brews as much as we do. A gracious thank-you to our longtime 'every weather' Alaska fans for year-round love & feedback."; "Bar Fly Smoked Imperial Stout"; "Ale brewed with Smoked Malt, Molasses and Brown Sugar, Aged in Bourbon Barrels"; "45 IBUs".

I was very anxious to Pop! the cap & start a slow, gentle C-Line pour since I have been on a Smoke Beer kick lately. I watched in rapt fascination as it foamed up to form two-plus fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, deep-brown head with excellent retention. Color was stygian Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration. Nose reminded me of Smittay's Smoked Bourbon Maple Syrup! 8=O Sweet, smoky, boozy, woody, all at the same time! 8=O Mouthfeel was big, full & creamy, like a dollop had been scooped into my mouth & onto my tongue! The taste was a masterful blending of smoke, what I would have mistaken for maple syrup & a woody bourbon flavor. 8=O Its smokiness was not as intense as, say, it's Alaskan Smoked Porter counterpart, but this was not intended to be that (I hope). Still, it was far smokier than simply being an AIS. I was not pairing it with Bourbon a) because I did not have any on hand (I prefer Rye) & b) it was a subtle Bourbon flavor where the smokiness was quickly becoming the superstar, especially as it warmed. Phew! The brown sugar gave it a maple quality, helped along by the treacle. This was quite the drink. I found myself falling into drinking it like liquor, a wee sip at a time.

I could have poured this into a schooner glass at this rate! I've to see it in this day & age, but a schooner (~ 10 fl. oz.) was an option when I was a wee lad, especially for those on the go. Have a quick schooner & be on yer way.

The more I sipped on & of this, the more my thoughts returned to AK. I'd been to Ketchikan & Anchorage while in the Navy, but it was my 2008 trip to ANCAK that really bore fruit. I had a lovely CouchSurfing hostess who worked at La Bodega & we did an early, pre-morning raid during my visit. They had La Dragonne on closeout (!) & I bought a bottle to exbeeriment with. It actually calls for warming in a double-boiler & when she returned home, we (her housemate & two other surfers + meself) ha a steaming cup ready. The house smelled magnificent & upon trying it, she called her boss & had all remaining bottles set aside for us! 8=) The other lasting memory is of my partaking of salmon. When she picked me up at the airport, I was gnawing grilled salmon on a stick. The following morning, I made salmon scrambled eggs. She called me at Humpy's as I was in the middle of plank-grilled salmon for lunch. By the time that she picked me up, I had candied salmon on a stick for us. She was flabbergasted! I ate salmon for three straight days & could have eaten more except that I had to get back CONUS. Drinking this put me in mind of both the smoked salmon & the candied salmon. Yum.

Finish remained fashionably smoky, slightly bourbon-y with a sweetish treacle/maple syrup/brown sugar quality. For all of that, though, it was still quite dry. The smokiness left me feeling as though I had inhaled a nearby house fire. Not in a bad way, but the smokiness was prevalent & unabating, leading to an inherent dryness. YMMV.

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woodychandler from Pennsylvania, Apr 26, 2020
Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The smoky aroma is stronger than it follows on the tongue, but this is a damn good stout in it's own right. Probably second to Berserker and still a ways behind some of the others at the top of the stout game, but Midnight Sun truly does it's thing a little different and you will undoubtedly find some originality here, not the same sad attempts to copy the greats. I think you will be pleased, especially for the price.

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Oh_Dark_Star from Washington, Apr 20, 2019
Photo of beergoot
4.16/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Midnight black body topped with a dense, creamy, light brown head. Nice roasted grain and cocoa aroma. Rich flavors of mild chocolate, fudge, subtle booziness; vanilla bean. Heavy body; rich, dense and creamy; velvety (almost sludgy); alcohol heat to counterpoint the chewy sweetness; coats the palate.

I don't pickup up any smokiness per se, but the heavy, chocolatey sweetness and bourbon-barrel aging meld together nicely.

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beergoot from Colorado, Feb 08, 2019
Photo of stevoj
3.5/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle at 2018 RIS share. Dark black pour, small beige head. Aroma is roasty, chocolate, ash. Taste amps up the ashy, smoky notes, gritty dirty, earthy, woody.

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stevoj from Idaho, Jun 21, 2018
Photo of connecticutpoet
4.36/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance – One finger head on a nearly opaque clear brown body

Aroma – Strong roasted malt, less smokiness than expected, some molasses and light sweetness, a little boozy at the end.

Taste – Smoky, rich malt, molasses, and a bit of bitter roasted character on the finish.

Mouthfeel – Smooth and creamy, good viscosity, just thick enough.

Overall – Although the smokiness wasn’t as present in the smell, it came through in the flavor. Nicely done.

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connecticutpoet from Connecticut, Apr 17, 2018
Photo of augustgarage
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500mL bottle into my Portsmouth tulip.

A vigorous pour unfurls a ponderous earth yellow cap that recedes to a miniscule collar surrounding a murky, sooty, seal-brown liquid. Spotty lacing; poor retention; syrupy uniform legs.

Sweet booze-laden aroma with a touch of smoke. Tobacco, vanilla, and oak reveal the bourbon.

Very slow building flavor profile, initially sweet but with a residual tang resolving to a long, increasingly smokey, increasingly dry decay. Earth, wind, fire, BBQ - lots of depth here, and quite liberal with the specialty malts. Low bitterness both from a bittersweet chocolate note and a touch of forest-floor/citrus-kissed hops. A few hints of dates and molasses too. Burly, but not without subtlety.

Medium-full bodied, almost oily but with good carbonation; warming but not fusel; tannins are restrained despite all the smoke.

Best shared with others, and while not exactly a dessert beer, it would pair well with a creamy/nutty soft-ripened cheese.

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augustgarage from California, Mar 17, 2018
Photo of maximum12
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle dated 11/23/15 plucked off a shelf in Seattle, WA, & removed after several years on my wants list. Split with my wife. Don’t tell her there are smoked malts in it.

Black. What will they think of next. Nose is tame – little smoke, little chocolate, little sweetness. No barrel detected.

Bar Fly would benefit from microwaving straight out of the fridge. The bourbon is soft rather than aggressive, touching gently rather than slapping my ass. Underneath is long, slow roast, slight ashiness that I’ll attribute to the smoked malts, backdrop of sweetness, ending with a heavy dose of wood. Plenty of alcohol, both in the taste & in my faulty typing. Half a bomber is good by me.

A bit quieter than my previous experiences with Midnight Sun, but a very good beer.

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maximum12 from Minnesota, Sep 09, 2017
Photo of Lone_Freighter
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This was poured into a tulip. The appearance was a nice looking dark brown close to black color. It kinda poured like motor oil. Thin tan quarter finger head coats the top of the beer. The smell had a big boozy blast of sweet bourbon with an ample amount of smoke and a light sweet maple running underneath my nose. The taste was mainly sweet with a nice smooth smokey underneath. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with a really nice sweet smooth bourbon aftertaste leading to a dry finish. Overall, I say this was a pretty good smoked Imperial Stout. I’d bang this again.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter
I believe this is batch 1 so I'm guessing bottled late 2014

A- pours jet black with one of the darkest brown heads that I've ever seen that eventually reduces to a ring around the edge of the glass

S- smells of black strap molasses with a sharp black cherry aroma up front, followed by earthy notes of tobacco and leather. More sweet notes of caramel fig, brown sugar, even a bit of a sherry note. The close gives subtle bourbon oak and just a hint of earthy smoke

T- opens up with tons of dark fruit, specifically prune and fig, followed by sweet notes of molasses, brown sugar and caramel. Mid-palate gives on almost tart dark cherry notes, along with just a hint of smoked malt. The finish gives just a trace of bourbon and oak, with a linger of tobacco, molasses and black cherry

M- heavy body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that continues into a velvety smooth, slightly warming finish

O- Every stout I've had from them has been a perfect mouthfeel, thick and creamy. The smoke has faded on this one and the sweetness mellows everything out, very good

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Treyliff from West Virginia, Apr 19, 2017
Photo of ccg
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Typically inky black stout. The head is thin and clings to the edges but not the sides of the glass. It's dark, almost brown.

The smell is dominated by the smoke. There is also chocolate, malt, brown sugar, cinnamon, oak, and bourbon in the mix, but smoke almost overwhelms the other notes.

Same flavor: lots of smokey malt, some chocolate and cinnamon and brown sugar behind the smoke, and hint of oak and bourbon in the background.

It's a smooth and creamy-feeling feeling stout with its alcohol well hidden. Or maybe it's just the smokiness covering up the alcohol heat.

I think BarFly is a good example of this style of beer. It's not on the same level as Bo & Luke, but it's much better than your average smoked stout.

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ccg from District of Columbia, Apr 09, 2017
Photo of Mar02x
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The nose was very promising, but the lack in body spoiled my enthusiasm. The taste was there, but not blended into a splendid mixture of flavors. Maybe I just waited to long with drinking it.

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Mar02x from Netherlands, Mar 05, 2017
Photo of Damian
4.36/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a 22 fl.oz.•1 pt 6 fl.oz. bottle purchased at DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine, Seattle, WA
11/23/15
Served in a snifter

Absolute pitch black appearance. Super oily and viscous on the pour. The body was topped by a thin, burnt sienna colored cap of froth that quickly dissolved. A clingy, lasting ringlet encircled the liquid.

Smoky notes dominated in the aroma. Super peaty and intense. The smoke was nicely balanced by some brown sugar-like sweetness. Bit of caramel. Touch of chocolate fudge as well. As the beer warmed, the smoke decreased and the sweetness intensified. Maple notes also came forth. Touch of booziness but no discernible bourbon.

The flavor profile was similar to the aroma but not quite as punchy or well rounded. Smoky notes still came through rather strong. Peaty and intense. Hefty roasted malt presence. Lots of sweetness too. Brown sugar and caramel notes were apparent. Some chocolate fudge. The beer finished somewhat boozy with more roasted malts and lingering notes of smoke and char. Like in the nose, I did not detect any bourbon.

Nice soft, frothy mouthfeel. Medium-light bodied for the style. Perhaps a touch thin. Creamy and smooth on the palate.

I have tried many a smoky imperial stout, but this one might just be the smokiest. Fans of peaty, smoky beers should definitely seek this out.

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Damian from Massachusetts, Dec 31, 2016
Photo of MacMalt
4.44/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into stout glass. It pours a dark mahogany-walnut color with an enormous, fluffy mocha-colored head and lacing with great retention. It's as pretty a stout pour as you'll ever see. It smells of roasted malt, char, burnt coffee, chocolate, and caramel. It's a delicious stout with a taste that follows the nose but which also features some burnt sugar, oak, and delightful dark fruit, principally cherry. What I'm not tasting is the bourbon. This stout is medium-bodied, creamy, with light carbonation, and smooth as silk. It amazes me that the 11.6% ABV because it's not boozy at all. Overall, Bar Fly is quite an achievement; it has all the features I love in a BA Stout but it's incredibly drinkable. It's up there with many of the leaders of the style.

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MacMalt from New Jersey, Oct 30, 2016
Photo of Radcpa
4.17/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very dark appearance with a little head and just the right amount of carbination. Nice moderate bourbon aroma. Taste is lacking a little compared to other bourbon barrel aged beers.

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Radcpa from Washington, Aug 24, 2016
Photo of zac16125
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a snifter
Bottled on: 11/23/15


A: Pours a viscous appearing, opaque, jet black with a small, less than 1 fingers width, dark mocha colored head. Head dissipates quickly and leaves almost no lacing. 4.25

S: Aroma is smoky, roasty, and sweet. Heavy char and sweet molasses battle each other for prominence, and there are subtle barrel characters with vanilla and bourbony booze. There is a somewhat unpleasant character that I get at first, I can’t pinpoint what it is, but it goes away as it warms, then the aroma settles to be something quite nice. 4.25

T: Like the nose, smoky char notes are prominent, but here theres not doubt that this is the dominant character. There are a decent amount of barrel characters with whiskey oak and subtle bourbony vanilla. Very little sweetness at all, maybe a bit of semi-sweet cocoa, but none of the sugary molasses sweetness from the nose. The smokey char is so prominent it masks a lot of other characters. 4

M/D: Mouthfeel is smooth, carbonation is low but appropriate, its full bodied, almost thick, ABV is very well masked but drinkability is somewhat limited by the huge smokey char characters. 4

O: This is a tasty beer that I am glad I was finally able to try, but it didn’t live up to expectations. Its just too smoked malt forward, that its impossible to appreciate the other characters. Still a good beer, but a bit too one dimensional for my tastes. 4

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zac16125 from South Carolina, Aug 08, 2016
Photo of dpgoblejr
4.9/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dated 11/23/15 Enjoyed 7/24/16

Bar Fly pours black with an oil like consistency. Smokey ash dark fruit aroma. Slight bourbon flavor, burnt sugar, smoke, and wood. Smooth, thick, coating, and the abv is hidden well. Overall, a well crafted aged stout that indulges.

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dpgoblejr from New Hampshire, Jul 25, 2016
Photo of Rogerlb
4.41/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smoked Bar Fly pours dark with a 3-finger khaki brown head. Slowly fades. Aroma is licorice, plums and booze. Very very rich.

The taste is smoke and raisins, baker's chocolate and a sweet sugar some say here is molasses, but to me it's more brandy-booze. This drink is thick (but not too sticky), warming, with a slight note of charred maltiness, some wood from the barrel, heavy plums, slight smoke (perfect). I'm getting a bit of bitter in the finish.

11.6% ABV is present for sure but not overpowering; certainly not astringent. Booze and the sweet fruit equals a brandy-ish, very dessert-y bomb. Complex, smooth, sweet, very fine.

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Rogerlb from California, Jun 28, 2016
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at Oliver's Beverage in Albany, NY.

This pours a dark, sludgy looking black, with a small head, and no lacing.

Roasty and moderately smoky malt comes to the nose first here, with just the slightest hint of subtle bourbon, and some chocolate malt.

I wish this new batch was aged in red wine barrels like the '11 batch- I could tell that sort of flavor would work well here. Nonetheless, this is pretty tasty. The smoke level is moderate, tasty, but not overbearing. It's warm, dark, and like a campfire, with some chocolate, heavily roasted malt, and only a little bit of barrel. There's a good level of dark sweetness too, the molasses speaking.

This is medium bodied, not super chewy, but thick enough, with just a hint of syrupiness. As the beer warms, it gets just a little bit boozy.

This is another great BA beer from Midnight Sun. I haven't had a bad one yet.

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GreesyFizeek from New York, Jun 11, 2016
Photo of VashonGuy
4.39/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, wow, wow. I've had a lot of barrel aged stouts, and love the style. But this beer stands apart, because of the smokiness. Yes, it's got the dark roasted character of a great stout, and it's a bit sweet (molasses), and it's got a nice amount of bourbon aroma and flavor (nice amount means the bourbon is prominent but not overwhelming the rest of the flavors). But it's the first BA stout I've had that has that extra element of smokiness. I think it would be a great stout even if they didn't add the smoke, but they did, and that makes it a bit different from the rest of the great beers in this crowded category. Different doesn't mean it's automatically better than the non-smoky great BA impy stouts. But it is a standout!!! Serving was on tap. I wish I could find some bottles.

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VashonGuy from Washington, Apr 09, 2016
Photo of Impfan
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nearly midnight black pour, frothy three fingers of head. Nose is a lovely balance of vanilla, chocolate, bourbon, molasses, marshmallow, and a light smokiness. The flavor mirrors the nose, and there's also a bit of toasted coconut. The body is smooth and creamy, and is a bit lighter than I expected, which serves to increase the drinkability of this heavyweight. The alcohol is barely detectable which also helps in that department. Overall, the taste reminds me of s'mores dipped in good bourbon. Absolutely delicious!

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Impfan from Washington, Apr 03, 2016
Photo of Meow49
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Silky smooth, creamy with a hefty dose of really nice bourbon, this stout has a lovely roasty/smoky quality that is superimposed on a chocolate graham cracker base. There are dried brown fruits in abundance here, and a slight sourness that plays well off of the smokiness. The finish is very long and smooth, and while this is a sweet stout, there is just enough dryness to keep compelling the next yummy sip.

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Meow49 from Washington, Apr 03, 2016
Photo of amano_h
4.68/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bonfire smoke, molasses, licorice, caramel, and bourbon shine through as the first impression on the nose. There's also a hint of sweet chocolate and coffee, and some port-like sweet oak characters toward the back end as well.

Holy crap, this is thick. Syrupy sweet, tons of dark fruits, roasted malts, and an almost ash-like chalky smoke envelop your palate with each sip. Coffee and chocolate are the secondary characteristics to the bold rich front the brew puts up; the brown sugar and the bourbon make an appearance toward the back end of the tongue.

This is as full-bodied as they come, with predictably low carbonation. Creamy chewy mouthfeel, it almost feels like I'm navigating through syrup at times. This is definitely a beer meant to be enjoyed slowly après-dinner. Just watch out for the heat that creeps up your throat -- this massive beer is 11.6% ABV.

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amano_h from Oregon, Mar 26, 2016
Photo of BeerSamurai34
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Really great smoked beer. Lots of good bourbon notes on the finish with a good amount of smoke and malt upfront. This is one of the most balanced smoked beers I have had to date.

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Photo of Beerzebub
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark, opaque, viscous-looking in the glass, with basically no head but that's not a problem. Cohesive and attractive aroma, smells really good - nice soft smoke, plenty of molasses, medium dose of bourbon barrel. On the palate it's more intense, while not quite as balanced/harmonious; but quite tasty. Molasses is fairly dominant, but it works well with the supporting smoke, malt, and bourbon flavors. Noticeable sweetness, but well balanced by bitterness and some acidity. Some alcohol, but not excessive. Thick, creamy, almost oily texture, with fairly low carbonation which works well. Nice beer, good for cold weather.

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Beerzebub from California, Dec 01, 2015
Photo of vfgccp
4.21/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At least 2 years old. Opened Aug 2015.

A - A beautiful looking stout. Solid, deep midnight black body with just the faintest of brown highlights around the rim. Deep milk chocolate brown head pours a finger high with nice retention and low lace. Get legs.

S - Sweet milk chocolate, caramel, molasses, licorice, and prune.

T - Silky milk chocolate, molasses, caramel, vanilla, coffee milkshake, and chocolate covered plums. Not very smokey though.

M - Thick, full, smooth body.

O - A solid AIS, just wish there was more smoke.

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vfgccp from New York, Aug 16, 2015
Bar Fly from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 202 ratings