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
Reviews:
377
Ratings:
1,331
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
8.05%
 
 
Wants:
987
Gots:
311
For Trade:
32
User Reviews
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Reviews: 377 | Ratings: 1,331
Photo of younger35
4.69/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Received this brew from gclarkage in a recent trade for a bunch of goodies. I've been looking to land this brew for quite some time but didn't want to pay the shipping costs to Alaska. Glad it's in the lower 48 now. Drank from my Ithaca Excelsior tulip.

Appearance- Pours a hazy reddish orange with a soft dirty tan foamy head that dissipates fairly slowly. When it's gone though, it's gone basically leaving no cap and a ultra thin collar.
Smell- The nose is slightly sweet with a big burst of toffee that could be the most intense I've smelled in a Barleywine. Some woody oak and plenty of vanilla mix well with the sweetness and the occasional waft of alcohol. Some light over ripened raisin adds a bit of fruitiness but this one tends to stick toward the brown sugar side of things. The hops are lightly fruity and vibrant but the nose is dominated by the malt and wood.
Taste- Not as sweet as the nose led me to believe but a nice bit of brown sugar and light molasses shine. Some light wood and vanilla really come out strong once the beer warms as does a bit of fruit. Prunes, raisins and dark cherries all are fairly prevalent as is a bit of alcohol. For 10% though it's hidden extremely well. Finishes with a bit of lingering cherry and toffee.
Mouthfeel- Thick and rich with a super creamy feel and ultra light carbonation.
Drinkability- Reminds me of homemade grain alcohol cut with burnt sugar and cherries that I had at a bachelor party one time (170 proof and tasted like cherry syrup, dangerous stuff). Except this actually tastes good. Extremely smooth, extremely drinkable and probably the best Barleywine I've had since Old Ruffian. Crazy good stuff, mucho recommended. Thanks Chris!

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Photo of glid02
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Joe - judging by the bottle it's a 2007 vintage and has only a sub-10% ABV.

Pours a hazy honey-copper color with a half-finger cream-colored head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of smooth caramel malts with light toffee and vanilla aromas. Also present are slight amounts of milk chocolate and dry honey.

Tastes similar to how it smells, yet somehow even more complex. Moderately sweet caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by equal parts butterscotch and toffee flavors. Midway through the sip light vanilla and slight bourbon flavors make an appearance. Finally, hints of oak smooth things out near the end of the sip, carrying through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a smooth thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass very quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I was a huge fan of this beer, something I normally can't say about aged barleywines. An amazing beer that is very much worth a shot. Also worth setting one down for a few years if you're lucky enough to have multiples. As a quick note that was tasted side-by-side with Mother of all Storms and came out on top. Both fantastic beers but it really wasn't even a competition to decide my favorite.

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Photo of grub
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Viggo shared this one. big thanks eric!

22oz bottle. sampled may 9/09.

pours deep red-brown with a bit of haze. a thin layer of very fine dark tan head forms, dropping fast and leaving spotty lace.

aroma is excellent. light alcohol. bit of american hop bite - pine, grapefruit. tons of dark fruit - raisin, date, fig. dark caramel and toffee. lightly toasted multi-grain bread. brandy, calvados, vanilla. really complex and interesting.

taste is great. rich caramel and toffee. lightly toasted multi-grain bread. biscuit. bit of cracker. lots of rich dark fruit - date, fig, raisin. bit of earthy character. vanilla and raw oak. hints of dark chocolate. loads of depth and complexity. while the aroma gave me a bit of an american impression, this is decidedly english now.

mouthfeel is great. nice big body. medium-low carbonation level.

drinkability is great. well balanced. great depth and complexity. the alcohol is still a bit warm, but goddamn i love it anyway. i'll be looking for more of this!

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Photo of jabocu
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 edition 22 oz. bottle.

Pours a deep mahogany with reddish hues, A thin one finger tan cap that dissipated into thin lacings. Aroma is sweet caramel and molasses, estery figs, some citrus and floral hops, and a little alcohol. vinous aroma. Explosive rich flavor of figs and molasses, a little tropical fruit, toasted buttery cashews, whiskey, vinous quality, very nice subtle floral and tangerine hop bitterness, undertones of spice and pepper. Alcohol is noticeable with a deep warming effect. Mouthfeel is viscous with a full body, with med-high carbonation, and finishes dry. Exceptional and half-way done with bomber and already feeling good!!! Glad I have a couple more of these cellared.

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Nice dark mahogany brown beer with a glimpse of head that did a Houdini and disappeared quickly. No appearance of any carbination what-so-ever.

S- The smell is wonderful. Fruity, malty, spicy, sweet caramel. The smell is very big and complex, but the different above smells seem to do a great job trading in and out with each other.

T- Caramel and roasted malts if very present at first then the 10% ABV takes over and stings the tongue. Second taste yeilded a fruiter hoppier taste with the malt finish. There is a fruity date taste that is present as well. Very complex in the taste and is more of a bittersweet taste then sweet. Unlike Old School by DFH which is very sweet. This almost seems like a combination of European and West Coast Barley Wine styles. Gives a nice warming sensation from the inside out.

M- The beer is very thick. The alcohol definitely stings the tongue. But it doesn't dry out the tongue which is nice.

D- I think this is an easy beer to drink. The ABV seems to be quite potent in this brew. Or perhaps I should have just eaten more for lunch.

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy translucent empty beer bottle color with a full finger frosted tan collar that fades fairly quickly to surface, leaving negligible spotty patterns of Belgian lacing behind. The smell is amazing and classic. The aroma is HUGE and rich; sweet caramel and butterscotch. Lightly carbonated, the mouth feel is full bodied and has a tangy character from the alcohol and salty notes that compliment the flavors extremely well and linger nicely. Full flavored, the taste mirrors the nose...the caramel character is deep and slightly roasted, but the butterscotch note has the leading role in this play. An AMAZING drinker!! The 13.2% ABV is really well integrated...but be advised...this one needs to be savored...or you'll get stupid!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!! Many thanks to koopa for this opportunity.

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Photo of edmedina
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours with about 1 fingers worth of head. The color is a nice dark brown color. Definitely no light coming through it. The smell is a nice sweet licorice. The taste is pretty over powering. You start out with the same licorice taste and then it becomes more sweet almost a brown sugar sweetness taste. There is some bite to the taste showing the alcohol content here. It does leave the brown sugar as an after taste. I really enjoy this particular barleywine and have managed to store another away to age for a little while. I am sure the taste will settle down some more.

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Photo of mikecharley
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Haven't done a review in a while, so please excuse the rough nature of this one, as it is done live. '11 vintage, Taking this one down solo (probably a bad choice)

Pours a dark copper, with some brown notes in there, one finger head that quickly fades. No real lacing, but what do you expect for a 13% beast

Smells really good. Some wine, whiskey, barrel, vanilla, coconut, marshmallow, nuttiness. All melding nicely

Taste really does a good job delivering on the promise of the nose, as it tastes fan-fucking-tastic. The marshmallow is really good. I would explain this as a BB4D with a little more depth to the nose and flavor. Great brew. Nice full mouth too.

I would rank this the second best Barley Wine I've had, only behind Alpine Great.

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Photo of unclekeith
4.66/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1 year old bomber in a teku

L: Cloudy dark amber, thin siege head the quickly settles out, fast moving lacing
A: Oak, malt, caramel, vanilla, dark fruit
T: Malty and sweet bomb, bourbon
M: Hot and creamy, viscous,
O: A wonderful balancing act of powerful flavors, great beer I always find myself going back to

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.65/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bottle poured into snifter

A: very little head with just a slight filming. Body is a slightly hazy brown amber

S: hops floral and resiny with a nice oak,vanilla, and toffee has a little astringent smell as well

T: tons of vanilla, toffee, raisins, a good dose of hops but a lot more rich bourbon oakiness with beautiful vanilla and toffee flavors

M: lighter and very smooth its not cloying or huge on the mouth surprising for such a huge ABV beer

O: This beer is exactly what I want out of a bourbon barrel Barleywine huge amounts of toffee and vanilla with a nice bite of hops. This beer is amazing definitely pick it up.

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Photo of nickd717
4.65/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2008 bomber shared by Arbitrator at a tasting.

Pours clear medium brown with a nice small light tan head that fades to a ring.

Aroma is awesome - really strong barrel notes - oak, whiskey, and vanilla. A lot like Perfect Storm. Toasted coconut, caramel, and toffee as well.

Flavor is awesome too. Excellent base barleywine with caramel malt and lots of sweet toffee. Lots of wood, whiskey, vanilla, and coconut

Mouthfeel is straight-up amazing. A little dry with ridiculously full body and lots of alcohol warmth.

Damn, this beer is great. I'm cellaring a bottle of what I think is '07 right now. Looking forward to having this again.

EDIT: Ticked the '07 vintage from the bottle (well, poured into a glass) recently. UN-BE-LIEVABLE. Great -bal character and just so much going on. Nearly the perfect -bal aged barleywine. Just amazing.

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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 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 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 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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Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,331 ratings.
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