Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Arctic Devil Barley Wine | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
96
world-class
371 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Arctic Devil Barley WineArctic Devil Barley Wine
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States
midnightsunbrewing.com

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.20%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by Todd on 03-24-2005

BEER STATS
Reviews:
371
Ratings:
1,321
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
8.05%
 
 
Wants:
989
Gots:
308
For Trade:
32
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 371 | Ratings: 1,321
Reviews by zeledonia:
Photo of zeledonia
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 vintage, bottled February 2011. Thanks to RWNewhouse for the trade. Enjoyed 30 June 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours a deep amber color, ruby highlights, with one finger of off-white head. Clear, and just dark enough that I can still see through it. Head has decent retention; not much lacing.

Smell is like brandy - rich, strong, and sweet, and heavy on the fruits. Wood and oak, prunes and cognac, Yum.

Taste is just fantastic. So much depth, so many layers of flavors. The barrel-aging is prominent, but dang is it good. Heavy fruit flavors, alcohol which, as I mentioned earlier, is like brandy. Waves of flavor, washing over each other, adding complexity and deliciousness until it gradually fades away. Oh, I could savor this for hours.

I like the feel, just as I like the rest of the beer. Heavy, syrupy, more slippery than thick. Enough carbonation to keep me happy.

A delicious, fruity, liquer-like barleywine. Not quite the best I've had (that title remains with Abacus), but definitely up there. I will most definitely seek this out again.

 1,060 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
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 Kegatron
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
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 BEERchitect
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
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 brentk56
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
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

 936 characters

Photo of oberon
4.07/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Before I review I must say beware of this devil it f*ckin will bite you!Just newly bottled on November 5th this bad boy poured a deep amber with a thin off white head,incredible complexities in the aroma vanilla,oak and kentucky whiskey really hits and hits hard really waking up the senses and quite appetizing.Now I really liked the flavors of this beer but whoo they hit ya,very woody and whiskish (if thats a word) with vanilla and caramel standing out as well.The alcohol burn steals the show it actually burned my nose going down.This beer weighs in at 14% alc although the label says 10% that according to the head brewer at Midnight Sun and it feels like more than that.A very good very complex barley wine but these need to be laid down for awhile thats for sure.

 772 characters

Photo of RoyalT
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This one poured a nice, glowing brown in color with an off-white head that frothed up good for a high-octane ABV.

Smell – Man, this is a big ‘un. The huge, roasty malts are thick and boozy. They are drenched in fruity and refined sugars. This nose is almost overpowering. If you like big Barley Wine bouquets, you have to buy this just for the smell.

Taste – The malts from the nose are thick and roasted at the taste as well. The alcohol is sharp but very confident in the flavor profile. The giant table sugars almost make this one feel like an English-style Barley Wine.

Mouthfeel – This one is in between medium and full in the body with a nice, almost stinging alcoholic mouthfeel.

Drinkability – This is not for everyone, but if you like your ABWs big, bold, and boozy (like I do) than this definitely is for you.

Comments – Ms. Skyhand busted out this Barley for her first annual Bring on Da Booze festival, and personally it was the highlight of the evening for me.

 1,008 characters

Photo of DanGeo
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of tectactoe
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2007, big-time thanks to Ed for bringing this one to the tasting and sharing it with the rest of us. Pours a dark mahogany color, 50/50 mix of clarity and haziness, topped off with a small tan-ish head that reduces to a ring around the glass pretty quickly.

Aroma is comprised of a nice meshing of oak, bourbon, sweet plums, black cherries, syrup, brown sugar, molasses, and maple. Lots of things going on here - very sweet and very complex. Malty to the core with no real sign of hops or herbals anywhere, but after six years - can you blame it? Amazing how well everything has held up for being this old, and it shows no real signs of oxidation in the aroma.

Arctic Devil hits the palate thick and muddled with a surprisingly substantial amount of carbonation considering its age. Very sweet up front, but still pretty far from being cloying. It's more of a refined and controlled sweetness, albeit very strong. Brown sugar, molasses, maple, light anise, plums, dates, black cherries. Buttery and creamy smooth on the palate - the bourbon and alcohol is noticeable and warming, and becomes even more so with time.

The finish is full of sweet, candied dark fruits and a mild oakiness. Despite the 13.2% ABV, this one remains pretty damn drinkable, making it very dangerous. Even though the aroma didn't show any, the taste reveals some light oxidation - not nearly enough to hinder or really even matter - I mean goddamn, this shit was six years old!

Big thanks again to Ed for opening this one. It was damn delicious. I have no other Arctic Devils to compare it to, but holy shit, this was super-drinkable for a 13.2% barleywine. Very sweet and woody all around, such a pleasure to drink.

 1,704 characters

Photo of t2grogan
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of brownbeer
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of SanFranJake
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle says 10%...no date so I'm not quite sure of the vintage. Guesstimate 2006 or 2007. Pours into my glass a deeply murky brown with dark red highlights. A small khaki head forms on top and then falls. Aromas start with deep rich malts overflowing with caramel, toffee and a mix of dark fruits. Spicy accents with a bit of woodiness in there as well. Touch of bourbon along with some hops. Vanilla floats in on the back end. Really rich and enticing aroma.

First sip brings a bath of sweet, dense malts upfront that attack the palate. Swirls of caramel, toffee and ripe fruits. Woody, oak accents with a definite kick of bourbon. Vanilla and spice on the way down. Sweet throughout with a nice hoppy bitterness on the finish. Just an awesome barleywine overall.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good steady carbonation. Not overly heavy and ends up being quite a tasty drink. This is a damn tasty barleywine that holds nothing back. A bit on the sweet side but it works and packs a hefty malt punch with a good dose of alcohol to match.

 1,040 characters

Photo of johnny_chimpo
4.08/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of NWer
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 Vintage
Pours a dark reddish-brown with ruby highlights and a mere dusting of a tan head.
The aroma is rich toffee and dark fruit with molasses, brown sugar and vanilla.
The taste kicks off with brown sugar, then dark fruit and toffee with a kick of bitter chocolate and the warmth of the booze on the tongue. A bit of vanilla and leather as it warms.
Mouthfeel is medium, mouth-coating and oily in a good way.
Excellent barleywine.

 439 characters

Photo of DaftPatrick
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of warnerry
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of JayGreezy
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Callmecoon
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of 77apm
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of JakerLou
4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of megamass
5/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of tjthresh
3.68/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours dark clear brown without much head. Buckets of hops in the nose with chocolate covered caramels. Some nice cherry as well. This thing has tons of hot alcohol, but there's still plenty of malt and hops. Good stuff, but I'd hoped for better.

 254 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,321 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe