Arctic Devil Barley Wine | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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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
Ratings:
1,345
Reviews:
379
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
8.05%
 
 
Wants:
985
Gots:
312
For Trade:
33
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,345 |  Reviews: 379
Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.65/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This may the best English Barleywine I've ever had, bar none. I will be looking to trade for this soon! From old notes....

A: Brown to dark crimson hue with a tan head that dies to a ring. Has some stuff floating, which actually makes me want to drink it more.

S: True Barleywine smell thats rich and packed with flavor. Wicked prune, grape, barley, leather, alcohol, caramel, raisin, and candy sweetness all are there. Can't wait for whats next.

T: Huge flavor, definitely one of the best tasting barleywines I've ever had. Rum raisin, grapes, toffee, brown sugar, burnt caramel, molasses, tea leaves (loved this), and alcohol complexity. A real serious barleywine, pretty much perfect for the style IMHO.

M: A little thick but not too much, sticky and sweet. Nice low carbonation that works great to let the big flavors come out even more.

Overall outstanding.

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Photo of miggs3030
4.65/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of itracy63
4.64/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of waltonc
4.64/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Carmel, amber color without much head.

S: One of the better smelling beers I can recall having. Strong sweet caramel, toffee, and dark fruit.

T: Very strong flavor here, the beer is likely stuffed with calories, which translates to an outstanding sweet caramel and dark fruit taste. Unlike some barleywines, I didn't experience any burn with this. Seems similar to some old ales, such as Fourth Dementia.

M: Thick, and on the edge of syrupy, but not.

D: In spite of the high ABV, I had no difficulty with this one. A truly exceptional barleywine in my view. Hop lovers may be disappointed. This is the antithesis of a "San Diego" beer.

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Photo of rhinos00
4.64/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First things first. Huge thanks to Jeff (Faro) for giving me the opportunity to try this beer. Secondly, I would like to thank Frank (AKBelgianBeast), whose recommendations forced me to open this bottle prematurely ;)

Vintage 2006 - Poured into a snifter.

A- A dark, dull amber. Half finger of tan head formed and dissipated quickly upon consumption. As a side note, I love the artwork on this bottle.

S- I could sum this up in one word. Glorious. Initially there was a nice smell of caramel and malts. Infused with this was a compilation of dark fruits that offered a very distinct aroma. To add to the complexity, just barely detectable, was a subtle sweetness of cherries and other fruits that just lingered in the background.

T- As the beer warmed, the taste became more pronounced and bold. Pretty much follows the nose. Caramel malts bring a nice flavor to the palate and are then capped off by a distinct sweet, fruit flavor that just warms the body as it's consumed.

M- Absolutely perfect. Thick, but smooth. Little carbonation. Really enjoyed the sugary residue that stuck to my lips.

D- This beer would probably be better if it was shared with two people. However, it is so good that one can't help but keep it for themself. At 10% ABV this is definitely a sipper, but every second is so worth it.

Overall, I am extremely gracious that I had the gumption to open this bottle. I have been wanting to try it, but was just afraid of opening it up. Drinking this makes me want to move out west, immediately. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Beerandboards
4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2008 vintage

Bomber into a large wine glass

A - Dark caramel, more opaque than translucent. Pour produces about a one inch head that dissipates to about an 1/8 of an inch that sticks around the entire time. Fair amount of lacing. Really a fine looking beer.

S - Pretty much bourbon and vanilla. Smells great, kind of surprising given the age that so much bourbon holds through. Not complex, but nothing wrong here.

T - Lots of rich rich vanilla, bourbon, some dark chocolate as it warms, maybe some dark fruit, dates? The ABV, even at 13.4%, is non-existent on the palate. A very very well done beer. At 4+ years old, this one has a teeny bit too much oxidation, I would love to try it with 3 years on it. I would also love to try it fresh, but I have to think this thing is an absolute beast fresh.

M - Nailed it. Just the right amount of carbonation to set the flavor profile off. Sticky in a good way, leaves a linger aftertaste for a good 10 minutes.

O - I've been wanting to try this one for a long time and it didnt disappoint. A great complex barelywine where eveything lines up in an equal order, barrel, sweetness, vanilla, chocolate, awesomeness. Where I have found other BA barleywines (even the highest rated) to be a little thin or lacking in complexity, this one nails it. Rich, chewy, great. I will be buying a couple fresh ones to age.

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Photo of randawakes
4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After trying a few 6 oz samplers up on the Loft on opening night at the new location of the Midnight Sun brewery, I decided to take a few 22's home..including this one. Not a bad choice. Favorite barley wine to date.

Appearance: primarily golden with ruby red and golden elexir with rose reflection.

Smell: Toasty caramel with brown sugar notes. If there was anything I wished to be more pronounced in this beer it would be this.

Taste: Perfectly described below in its resemblance to creme brulee. Sweet syrupy tones with raison flavor. Sugary caramels with very slight hints of plane nuts.

Mouthfeel: soothing with very light carbonation. Goes down smoother with each sip and maintains its sweetness on the edges of the upper mouth.

Drinkability: exceptional, deserty feel that says drink me faster and faster.

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Photo of goethean
4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage. Served from a tumbler @ 50F. Flavor is of dark, chewy caramel, dark toffee, and light molasses. Extremely thick and full-bodied. Surprisingly, finish is dry with the faintest touch of hops. Really fantastic, well-balanced, and robust flavors.

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Photo of warriorsoul
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to beernut7 for this one....not sure of the year, but I believe it is an '04.
Dark rust in color with less than 1/4 finger of off-white head...disappears rapidly and produces no lacing.
Huge raisins in the nose, caramel malt sweetness, mild alcohol.
The taste is insanely flavorful and rich...huge fig/raisin profile with a malty sweetness that is balanced with a bittering hop profile...finishes bittersweet with no lingering aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is thick as any I've tried in the style and the carbonation is sublime.
A definite sipper at 10%, but so fun to consume it is silly.
So glad to get to try this one, as I have never really seeked it out...I just may have to after this experience.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

sometimes everything comes to a head just right and you wind up with the chance to try a rare beer - and it's amazing. Yup, this is one of those. thanks to beerbeing for this via trade! This was a Nov 05 vintage.
A - A pfft of carbonation with the pop of the cap - good so far. Pours a thick dark burgandy color with less than a trace of off-white head whcih disappears rapidly. A trickle of bubbles come up indicating it's not flat.
S - Rich dark ripe fruit / raisins, caramel malt sweetness.
T - Similar to the smell but complexly layered and rich but not cloying.
M - full bodied, sweet but not cloying. Nicely balanced for such a rich beer.
D - A beer to savor as an experience. The complexity of the malts and the balance in this beer are impressive.

Get one if you can! Well worth the effort!

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 edition shared by SonicAlligator at the Sexual Chocolate release.

Pours a dark chestnut brown with a small, tight head. Loads of things going on in the aroma department: bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and bits of dark fruit. Taste is very similar, with the barrel-aging really coming through; love the combo that Midnight Sun has done. Unbelievably lush mouthfeel--super creamy with the perfect tint of alcohol warmth (which was quite necessary waiting out there in line). Great drinkability. One of my all-time favorite barleywines.

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Photo of trill
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a very dark brown, nearly opaque, with a Guinness-like sticky tan head. The aroma is remarkably refined for a young English-style barleywine. Loads of brown sugar, raisins, toffee, dark bread, and just a trace of pungent hops, without any harsh alcohol fumes. The flavor is equally smooth and equally rich; I picked up vanilla, rum, oatmeal raisin cookies, molasses, and a touch of smokiness. The carbonation level is more active than I expected, but this beer finishes smoother than any I've had in the style, which includes some ten-year-old JW Lees.

I thought about trading this one, but I'm glad I didn't. Definitely worth the trouble of acquiring.

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Photo of Viggo
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to googzoid10 for sending this my way a while back.

Pours a lightly cloudy rusted red, some dark brown highlights as well, thick tan head forms, settles down to a thick ring, some lacing on the glass, real neat. Smell is insane good, sherry and port, toffee, some alcohol, tons of raisin and date, brown sugar, treacle, dark fruit, plums, very rich, very complex. Taste is similar, very intense sweet caramel and raisin, brown sugar, prunes, some alcohol, very earthy, lots of fruit, dates, port, lightly grapey, nicely balanced in the finish, incredibly complex and drinkable. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation, some warmth going down. Wow is this stuff good, like a more complex Hardy's, almost as good as the J.W Lee's 97. Amazing, need to get some more! Thanks Greg!

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Closing it out at Beachwood BBQ with a 13% ABV barleywine...from 2010...aged in whiskey barrels....and a 12 ounce pour for $7 (Happy Hour price!). That's smart. On to the beer:

It's shiny brown polish with hues of violet. The head stays up for awhile considering its strength, and it leaves a little of its residue on the glass. One whiff for the nose delivers happiness. Pure happiness. If you like timber, vanilla, toasted marshmallow, and an element of alcohol, it's a very difficult thing to top. It smells so damn good!

The taste is huge as well. The vanilla and wood combo are deadly. You can vaguely taste the spirit that was once aged in the barrels used to age this beer. Brown sugar and molasses make their stamp. For its size the 13% alcohol is hidden well, though that doesn't mean you won't feel a little of its wrath as you drink it. It does provide an orange cough syrup flavor, which could go either way. This beer is full bodied, chewy, and just a little boozy. All things considering, this beer has a good balance and great integration of flavors and elements.

Easy recommendation.

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Photo of TheBeerTruck
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of pmarlowe
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to seeswo for this. Tulip glass.

A: Murky reddish amber, with a film of light sand colored head which fizzles out to a ring. Good retention, no lacing.

S: Fruit-forward (anise, cherry, sugar coated fig), whiskey, toffee, dark chocolate covered cherries, molasses and caramelized sugar. Wow, delicious.

T: Cherry, almost cough syrup like, whiskey barrel (oak, whiskey, cinnamon), a little booze. Finishes tannic and off dry.

M: Medium-full body on medium-light carbonation which is near perfect for the style. A little sticky.

O: Phenomenal. More fruit forward than I was expecting. Oak is pretty subdued, overall, which differs from a lot of BA barleywines.

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Photo of ZenBiscuits
4.61/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Boccu
4.61/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pots nice dark Amber. Strong Carmel tones. Rich bourbon flavors throughout. Very well made.
Update 1/13/16 pours Carmel color with an aroma of Carmel, dark cherries, plums and vanilla.
Taste follows the nose with light coconut, bourbon and toffee. Excellent barley wine. Very smooth yet complex.

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Photo of TheBrewo
4.61/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

We crack the top on a 2012 bomber of this beast, pouring a brew of deep ruby mahogany into our large tasting snifters. It offers a one finger head of creamy, ghostly eggnog colored bubbles on a rough pour. This shows nice retention for the style, fading into archipelago lacing, with aggregates and dust across the top of the liquid. The high abv affords legs when the beer is swirled. A chill haze cuts clarity, but no sediment is noted. Carbonation appears to be slow but pervasive. The aroma is rich and deep, with soft and lightly solventy booze fumes of bourbon, bright buttery diacetyls, sweet pales, heavy caramel, and soured English brown malts, salted caramel, dried figs and raisins, warm oaky woodiness, candy corns, coconut and plum fruitiness, bready biscuits, molasses and toffee syrups, cotton candy sugars, and mild floral hop oils. With warmth the ethanol takes on a sweeter, more grapey and wine-like character. Our first impression is that the flavoring is downright fantastic, with heavy, intense complexity, and a suitably chewy feel to the delivery. As we sip, the taste opens up with sugary sweet caramel and toffee cloy, heavily toasted pale and caramel maltiness, sharp coppery metallics, vanilla and almond extracts, hard butterscotch candies, brandy-soaked raisins, fermented sweet red grapes, oily butters, heavily mossed oakiness, and light banana ester sweetness. The middle comes to a peak with melted caramel sauce, coconut flesh and milk, sunflower seediness, bourbon heat, lemon zest, Tootsie Roll chewiness, soy sauce, heavily toasted and roasted caramel and English brown sours, chalky brown sugar sweetness, and light phenolic chemical bite. The end washes with enhanced but cleansing sweetness of apple cider, cooked caramel and salt water taffy, oaked woodiness, maple syrup, vinegar acidity, cane sugar, clean leathers, shoe shine polish, sweet ethanol, clover honey, black tea tannins, and essence of marigold. The aftertaste breathes of cherry, plum, and pear fruitiness, brandy, peaty scotch, and bourbon booziness, light campfire smoke, fusel booziness with warmth, almond oils, banana esters, bitter floral hops, drying oak, sour fermented violet grapes, phenolic plastics, toffee stickiness, figgy muck, musk, and corn husk. The body is full, velvety, and chewy, while carbonation is medium. Each sip gives heavy slurp and smack, with lighter creaminess or froth. Finish to the lips is sticky and infinite. The mouth is coated in oiliness in its entirety, with nice dryness and warmth to slowly sizzle the wetness away. No major astringency is ever palpated. The abv is big, but the beer drinks so, so smoothly.

Overall, the most enjoyable things about this brew were its aroma and flavoring. It is extremely hard to peg a top component for this beer, as everything about it sings beautifully and strictly to style, all while satiating and appeasing the drinker. The aroma is deep, rich, and sweet, and the flavoring follows exactly as it should in those footprints. The booze is heavy but subdued, and neither hot nor harsh at any point. The bourbon is glorious, oaky, and musky, just boasting what a proper barrel aging could do for a beer. The feel is what really takes this beer to other-worldly status, with velvety crush, silky smoothness, and buttery slide across the oropharynx. Even with excessive warmth, the Arctic Devil remains firm to its promises, with the complexity of it all extending this tasting beyond two hours. This is one of the best English barleywines we’ve ever come across, and again, while that is partly due to its impeccable execution of recipe and style, the unique, heavily warming, and rich Alaskan flair makes for an incredible, unforgettable experience that will not soon be forgotten.

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Photo of Kuaff
4.61/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A 2013 bomber poured into a snifter, at cellar temperature, of course. It's 13.4% ABV this year.

Midnight Sun's Arctic Devil Barley Wine has about as much of a head as can be expected from a beast of its kind. It's very small (maybe a half-finger), tan in color, and dissipates to a swirling sheet of film (in which I can see lively carbonation) relatively quickly. At first glance, I thought the beer to be a deep ruby, but dark mahogany is a better term for it. It isn't totally transparent, but it's pretty clear. A rugged-lookin' ale!

The aroma is simply wonderful. It smells of vanilla, butterscotch, and caramel, with a little dark fruit and bourbon.

Just about everything in the smell is also in the taste. It took me a while to think of what this reminds me of, and then it hit me: salted caramel! It's sweet like caramel candy, but there are other things in here that are complementing the sweetness in a similar manner to salt. It might be the little bit of bitter hops and breadiness that comes out in the aftertaste. There IS some alcohol heat as well, but it doesn't really detract from anything at all, and hey, it's 13.4%. With the intense taste and the high ABV, this one demands to be sipped. Overall, outstanding.

The mouthfeel is really awesome as well. High carbonation, buttery creaminess, and stickiness which I can feel on my lips... it all comes together to create an excellent feel for an English barleywine like this one.

Arctic Devil is aptly named after the wild and vivacious wolverine , for it presents a snarling (but sophisticated) blend of bold flavors in a natural-feeling harmony. This is one of the best offerings from a brewery which has a LOT of fantastic beers. Totally wicked.

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Photo of bum732
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

S: Rich maltiness, caramel candy, bourbon sweetness

L: Very dark brown, bordering on black, light tan head that dissipates

T: Intense toffee brittle sweetness with a rich maltiness. Low bitterness, bourbon sweetness comes through next. Touch of chocolate and maybe a hint of coffee roastiness. Butterscotch into the finish. Finishes semi-sweet with some oak.

M: Medium full body, medium low carbonation.

Great stuff, just a fantastic BA barleywine.

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Photo of Amalak
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of ThickNStout
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from BeerShip.com. No bottling date but this is the January 2014 vintage. Served in a Three Floyds teku.

Pours tawny chestnut with a half finger of dirty sand hued head. The foam settles to a modest halo that leaves almost nothing in the way of lace.

Smells of bourbon, caramel, mild vanilla, brown sugar, some dark fruits and a whiff of booze. Aromas deepen as it warms, making it even more inviting.

Taste follows the nose well with it's delicious sweet layers of toffee, bourbon, caramel, vanilla, raisins, butterscotch, brown sugar, hints of currants, earthy burnt oak, leather, bread pudding, faint toast and an appropriately present but not overpowering boozeyness. Every sip reveals a new combination of flavors, particularly as it settles closer to room temperature. Outstanding.

Delightfuly viscous, fairly heavy and almost syrupy feel with fairly soft yet tingly carbonation. Sweet, lingering aftertaste with bourbon infused vanilla, toffee pudding and caramel coating the tongue.

Absolutely fantastic. One of the best English barleywines that I've had. I'm very happy to have procured multiple bottles to enjoy again both soon and as it ages. This is one of an elite few that I would say is truly worth seeking out.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle that was bottled on November 05. Deep brownish amber with a good sized tan head. Light lacing and good head retention. Aroma is full of sweet ripe dark fruits with some caramel. Molasses and milder notes of baker’s chocolate lingering in the back. The flavor starts with more of the ripe fruit notes with sweet caramel. Caramel, toffee and molasses are noted as well. Some earthiness and a nice bitter touch to keep the sweetness in check. Very rich and full flavored. No real signs of alcohol just some warmth as it goes down. Pretty damn thick and smooth as well. Perfectly drinkable to me, big flavor with no harshness at all. Amazing stuff that I wish were available locally.

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Photo of Gotti311
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%

Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,345 ratings.
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