Arctic Devil Barley Wine
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Arctic Devil Barley WineArctic Devil Barley Wine
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Style:
British Barleywine
Ranked #7
ABV:
13.2%
Score:
97
Ranked #419
Avg:
4.38 | pDev: 7.99%
Reviews:
395
Ratings:
1,382
From:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
 
Alaska, United States
Avail:
Fall
Wants
  982
Gots
  307
SCORE
97
World-Class
Arctic Devil Barley WineArctic Devil Barley Wine
Notes: 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
Reviews: 395 | Ratings: 1,382 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by MisfitIK-9:
Photo of MisfitIK-9
4.17/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

More User Reviews:
Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

3000th review! 22 ounce bottle into snifter; 2014 vintage, bottled in late 2013. Pours hazy dark ruby red color with a 1 finger fairly dense khaki head with solid retention, that reduces to a small spotty lace cap that lingers. Slight spotty lacing on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big raisin, plum, fig, caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, coconut, vanilla, bourbon, oak, leather, light chocolate, and oak/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/toasted malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel notes; with good strength. Light-moderate booziness as it warms, but not too bad. Taste of big raisin, plum, fig, caramel, toffee, butterscotch, toast, coconut, brown sugar, molasses, brown bread, bourbon, oak, vanilla, leather, light chocolate, and oak/toasted earthiness. Light oaky bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, plum, fig, caramel, butterscotch, molasses, toffee, toast, coconut, vanilla, brown sugar, bourbon, oak, leather, light chocolate, and oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and robustness of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; with an awesome malt/yeast/barrel balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy, fairly slick, and slightly syrupy/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light-moderate warming lingering after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic barrel aged English barelywine style. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and bourbon barrel flavors; and smooth to sip on for the huge ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,748 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.12/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 bottling

Appearance: With a hard pour the beer raises a minimal head that squatts on the hazy tea-brown liquid; fading quickly to a ringlet, it leaves some leggy lacing behind

Smell: Toffee, figs, mulled cider spicing and discernable alcohol, even after four years

Taste: The toffee and fig flavors jump out from the moment the liquid touches the tongue, with bigger fruit, earthy hop and burning alcohol elements arriving shortly thereafter; in the finish, the sweet and fruity flavors blend with a pipe tobacco character to provide a complex finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation; plenty of warmth, still

Overall: A very nice English Barleywine, indeed, though it doesn't jump out at me as being extraordinary; perhaps it has something to do with the age, though this is still quite potent

I cannot remember who sent it to me as I kept this one in the cellar for quite some time; thanks to whomever

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.54/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Alas, the longly anticipated Arctic Devil Barleywine. Richly malted, complex, and with a formitable hop counterpart the beer lives up to its lofty expectations.

A very hazy rusty color and medium haze give a rich and weighted look. Sprinkles of yeast can be found floating about. Ivory stanined roam forms a sturdy head early on and fades over its own weight to a sheet of lace across the surface and glass. A pretty good look.

Aromas steal the show with a balanced and rich flavor of molassas, toffee, and brown sugar. Throw in an estery flank of prunes, dates, figs, raisons, and rummy spiciness. A vinous note of sherry with red wines give a mildly tart balance to the rich fruits and malts. Lightly herbal (tea-like) character gives a modest glimpse into the hop balance. Barleywines just don't carry a much better aroma.

Flavors pick up where the aroma leaves off. But along with those delicate and rich flavors that resemble port wine, brandy, and cognac; the flavors pack on a balanced bitterness that in one sip seems to balance the beer well, while in the next seems to detract from the seductive sweetness. Alcohol bite adds to the sweetness while it's spicy taste seems to intensify a bit too much and interrupts the malt sweetness- tasting a bit like cough syrups at times. However, the initial malty-fruity interplay is too good to ignore.

Weighted, rich, and robust, the beer takes on a bit texture at the on onset. But the beer's chewy texture is quick waivering, in favor of alcoholic heat, assertive hop/alcohol bite, and a bit of scratchy texture in the back of the throat. Dry late but also alcoholic, still leaving plenty of malty stickiness on the mouth's surfaces.

An outstanding Barleywine of the English variety, but its only the rougher alcohols and bitey bitterness that keeps it from world class status.

Thanks Auroracrisis!

 1,857 characters

Photo of Kegatron
4.17/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a couple of snifters. 2007 vintage. 10% ABV.

Pours a ruddy brown, with a thin sudsy head of light mocha foam. This whips up a rich cascade up onto the sides of the glass, leaving back thick swathes of lacing. The aroma is quite dense and flavorful with notes of cocoa, molasses, oak, vanilla, and then some tea-like qualities that alternate between being tannic and herbal feeling in the nose.

The taste is equally robust, with heavy flavors of brown sugar, chocolate, molasses, green tannins, and then notes of roast and some dark fruit on the back. There is some heavy oxidation going on with this, which combos with the more woody character that is present to leave this VERY dry on the finish. Honestly, one of the driest that I’ve felt on a beer in a long time. The mouthfeel is full bodied and sharp up front which then gives way to more of a chewy creaminess along the back. This is hugely smooth for the size, with the alcohol contributing some added sweetness and spice to the profiles but not any real heat.

This was nice and aged very well, with that oxidation that was present mostly complimenting the other flavors and only got to be mildly distracting in spots. This was very rich and smooth overall though and I was glad that I finally found a proper time to open this guy. Now I just need to find a fresh bottle to compare…

 1,367 characters

Photo of lonewolfcry
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of StoutFest
5/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of HoppySuds
5/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of AndrewPalmer
4.58/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of SitkaSteve
4.09/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was poured into a snifter.
The appearance was a ruddy hazy almost dark brown color with a light slim finger's worth of off-white head. Lacing slid into the beer.
The smell had some light tobacco, vanilla, sweet figs, cocoa, cake and a light amount of wood.
The taste was centered around the sweetness of the previously mentioned flavors. Tobacco comes back to dry and add some balance. There's a light semi-sweet dry aftertaste and a quick dry finish.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a nice sweet sipping quality to it. Carbonation runs light enough to not detract from the tobacco-esque flavor drying out my tongue.
Overall, I used to live in Alaska and remember sipping this by the fire on cold Winter's nights. Super glad I was able to find a bottle recently to reminisce a little.

 800 characters

Photo of BarrytheBear
3.25/5  rDev -25.8%

Photo of wiescins
4.88/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of rpaul2012
4/5  rDev -8.7%

Photo of 510a
4.25/5  rDev -3%

Photo of Kevinpitts
4.15/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of irishevans
4.6/5  rDev +5%

drinking the 07 vintage shortly after it's release. the apperaance is dark at the bottom however the top is hazey caramel colored, with a thin fiml of a head, that sticks just enough to leave that sweet taste on your lip. the smell is warm and caramelish, and the taste is also full of caramel along with some liquor taste on the finish, the mouthfeel is exceptoinal crisp and bitey, however with that heavy liquor taste makes the drinkability(right now) a little rough, but it should improve(and by that i mean mellow) with age

 528 characters

Photo of zchall23
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of thegerm87
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of Agentveba
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Faxmesomehalibut
4.32/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.85/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Arctic devil 2007 vintage. Pours hazy brown, settling in the glass dark almond brown with light haze at the top. Thin ring of head with swirling light carbonation in the center. smell comes of a kind of toasted caramel with slight alcohol tones. Tastes very luxurious and sippable. leaves a sugary residue on the lips, not as strong as JW. Lees but much more syrupy than your average craft brew. taste is very warm and sugary, and not nearly as hoppy as most american brewed barley wines. Goes down smooth, with the exception of a slight alcohol twinge at the finish(very bearable twinge, not like samichlaus or anything) but I suspect the alcohol finish will disappear with age and some of the dark fruit flavors present will increase, with a few years I could see this as one of the top barley wines in america. Reminds me of a darker version of john barleycorn, only more syrupy and sweeter. Great buy!

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Photo of Knapp85
4.23/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out as a deep amber color with a a thin tan head on top. The smell of the beer is malty, some dark fruit and sugars in there. The taste has some dark fruit flavors with a bit of honey and molasses in there as well. The feel of the beer is full bodied and very smooth. Overall this beer is very good.

 306 characters

Photo of Mar02x
3.84/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of jkball01
4.25/5  rDev -3%

Photo of WI-Beer-Man
4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 1382 ratings