Bar Fly
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Bar FlyBar Fly
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States
Smoked Beer
Ranked #1
Ranked #1,756
4.28 | pDev: 7.48%
Feb 12, 2022
Jul 19, 2014
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
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Rated: 3.08 by TWStandley from Massachusetts

Feb 12, 2022
Rated: 3.51 by chippo33 from Vermont

Jan 19, 2022
Rated: 4 by blackcloud from Alaska

Sep 16, 2021
Rated: 3.69 by QuintusHorace from California

Aug 27, 2021
Rated: 4.29 by Dgman8053 from New York

Aug 08, 2021
Rated: 3.56 by DVMin98 from North Carolina

Apr 26, 2021
Rated: 4.27 by mltobin from Connecticut

Mar 28, 2021
Rated: 4 by ArsMoriendiOU818 from Virginia

Feb 05, 2021
Rated: 4.53 by DucksFan16 from Tennessee

Aug 12, 2020
Photo of woodychandler
Reviewed by woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
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.
Apr 26, 2020
Rated: 4.46 by NolaHopHead from Louisiana

Sep 13, 2019
Rated: 4.52 by Ristaccia from Nebraska

May 11, 2019
Photo of Oh_Dark_Star
Reviewed by Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

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.
Apr 20, 2019
Photo of beergoot
Reviewed by beergoot from Colorado

4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
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.
Feb 08, 2019
Rated: 4.34 by Gkruszewski from New York

Dec 08, 2018
Rated: 4 by fosters9 from New York

Nov 05, 2018
Rated: 4.25 by paulish from New York

Jun 22, 2018
Photo of stevoj
Reviewed by stevoj from Idaho

3.5/5  rDev -18.2%
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.
Jun 21, 2018
Rated: 4.32 by rfgetz from New Jersey

May 29, 2018
Rated: 4.5 by Astor31 from New York

May 02, 2018
Rated: 3.94 by Keananmichael5 from California

Apr 22, 2018
Rated: 3.74 by kmanjohnson from California

Apr 22, 2018
Photo of connecticutpoet
Reviewed by connecticutpoet from Connecticut

4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
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.
Apr 17, 2018
Rated: 4.37 by Wizzle32 from Pennsylvania

Apr 14, 2018
Rated: 4.39 by Wheels2532 from Pennsylvania

Apr 14, 2018
Rated: 4.37 by hozersr from Pennsylvania

Apr 14, 2018
Photo of augustgarage
Reviewed by augustgarage from California

4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
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.
Mar 17, 2018
Rated: 4.19 by Kurmaraja from California

Nov 13, 2017
Rated: 4.29 by von_kaiser from Connecticut

Nov 03, 2017
Rated: 4.29 by jakecattleco from California

Oct 21, 2017
Rated: 4.46 by nataku00 from California

Sep 11, 2017
Photo of maximum12
Reviewed by maximum12 from Minnesota

4/5  rDev -6.5%
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.
Sep 09, 2017
Rated: 4.5 by Narthax from Texas

Aug 28, 2017
Rated: 3.97 by Nunya from Ohio

Jul 08, 2017
Rated: 4.5 by Agentveba from North Carolina

Jul 08, 2017
Photo of Lone_Freighter
Reviewed by Lone_Freighter from Vermont

4/5  rDev -6.5%
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.
Jun 09, 2017
Rated: 4.09 by rawfish from California

Jun 06, 2017
Rated: 4 by morrowd3 from Vermont

Apr 29, 2017
Photo of Treyliff
Reviewed by Treyliff from West Virginia

4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
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
Apr 19, 2017
Photo of ccg
Reviewed by ccg from Virginia

4/5  rDev -6.5%
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.
Apr 09, 2017
Bar Fly from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 211 ratings