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Arctic Devil Barley Wine | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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Arctic Devil Barley WineArctic Devil Barley Wine

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

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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 368 | Ratings: 1,313
Photo of CoreyC
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

two year old bottle
A - light brown with nice head which dissipates quickly
S - Very good, the perfect sweet dark fruit EB aroma
T - Nice dark fruit and maltiness, but not as sweet as I would have expected/wanted
M - nice, sticky
O - Very good, but also very expensive

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- The beer poured a dark murky brown color with off-white bubbkes crowning the glass.

Smell - The malty goodness that is the nose of a barleywine is here. Sweet malts and dark fruit are noted.

Taste - Sweet dark fruits and malts come to the front. Nutty fruit, raisins, leather, oak, cranberries, and caramel are all present. Some of these notes are better defined as it warms. The finish comes in a pleasant warming sensation.

Mouthfeel - Smooth sticky malts define the mouthfeel.

Overall - The 2 years of cellar made a good beer great!

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Photo of bmeehan
3.47/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This beer is strong as hell. You expect that from a barleywine and from a beer that's 13.4% ABV, but this is strong behind that. I smell raisins and taste them too, and while it's nice to sip, it's just a little too overpowering to love.

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Photo of VashonGuy
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

There's no date on this bomber, but I've had it for over a year, and I think it's a 2014.

It's a clear amber, with no head at all.

The nose and the taste are terrific. There's cherry, oak, bourbon, caramel and brown sugar, and a little vanilla. The ABV is noticeable, as you would expect for 13.2, but it's not bad.

Overall, it's a very smooth barleywine, pretty sweet but not cloying, and with a multitude of flavors blending together nicely. Very well done.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.71/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

look: This could be briefly mistaken for a stout. very dark, nearly opaque ruby/cola. A pretty full light tan head on the pour that leaves a substantial ring.
smell: Rich, decadent bourbon toffee port. Dark fruits round out this tremendous nose.
taste: Much like the nose. This one is going on 3 years old and alcohol bite is more like an 8%'er at this point, there but dangerously drinkable. Just a stellar brew.

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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 Marius
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at a tasting. Dark amber pour, thin tan head. Smells like bourbon, dark cherries, green hops and vanilla. Tastes like cherries, bourbon, almonds, alcohol, vanilla, toasted coconut, caramel, maple syrup. Medium body and a medium-low carbonation. Bitter-sweet aftertaste. An excellent barleywine.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky dark amber color with beige head. Aroma is really fruity with caramel and bourbon. Taste starts sweet, fruity with caramel, toasted malts and bourbon. Body is syrupy and well carbonated. Really nice overall, sweet, fruity and the ABV is well hidden.

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Photo of Tele
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type: Bottle
Consumed: 3.4.16

A: 4.5 Pours a fairly clear, reddish-brown. The minimal light tan head lasts less than a minute and doesn’t leave any lace behind.

S: 4.5 Aromas hit all the right English barleywine buttons with a good dose of bourbon. Lots of caramel, vanilla, toffee, raspberry, and boozy bourbon.

T: 4.25 The beer starts off very sweet and is a bit more one note than the nose suggested. Strong bourbon, brown sugar, and toffee are still present, but they dissipate rather quickly without leaving much complexity behind. Finish is slightly bitter and a little watery.

M: 4.25 Good body and carbonation. The sweetness hinders drinkability a bit.

O: 4.25 This is a really good barrel aged English barleywine, but there are a couple flaws that keep it behind Abacus and even BCBBW. Still excellent and worth trying, but there are also better options out there.

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Photo of smanson56
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer poured a darker orangey brown color into my snifter glass. The bottle lists 13.4% ABV so I will assume that it is perhaps a 2015 bottling. The nose is sweet with a nice oaky bourbon aroma coming to the front. The taste is smooth for this big of a beer lots of sweetness from the malts and the wonder oaky bourbon flavor coming through. The mouth feel is smooth a nice thickness all the way through. For a beer this big I feel that it hides the alcohol well with all the other aspects it brings forward.

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Photo of Can_has_beer
3.66/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2014 bomber, poured with no head into a snifter. Looks like watery diarrhea. Aroma is rather closed, not a lot there besides some grain, oak. Nothing offensive about the taste, little bit of cocoa powder and whiskey, but nothing mind blowing. Not too sweet or syrupy. I enjoyed this but not really. Maybe I wasn't in the mood for a barleywine.

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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.

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Photo of LastMalkieri
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This, along with Bell's Saturn, is one of my favorite barleywines. I did think it was perhaps overly sweet, but I did really enjoy the Bourbon barrel touch.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

American BA Barleywine. Definitely has some traditional English Barleywine flavors but less sweet. Toffee, brown sugar, figs, vanilla and white oak. Bitter, dry, long finish. Medium light mouthfeel. Solid brew.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
4.09/5  rDev -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.

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

Bomber poured into a snifter. Been sitting on this for nearly a year.

Pours a cloudy brown/dark caramel color. Think a tootsie roll. Thin frothy pale oatmeal head that develops into a ring of foam and lace on the interior of the glass. 4.25

Delicious aroma. Oatmeal raisin cookie with some bourbon. Sticky fig and vanilla are in the fray as well. 4.25

Got a raisin wine flavor with some spiciness, caramel, grape sucker, and that oatmeal-cookie flavor I find in so many bourbon-barrel aged beers. Vanilla lingers as does some booze taste. 4.25

It's got a sticky mouthfeel that's wet and mildly boozy and kind of reminds me of drinking Frangelico. It's in that vein of a smooth, full-mouthed liquor that still has that solvent bite that reminds you that you're drinking booze and not a child's drink. To be sure though, the booze tastes as if it has receded greatly. 4.25

Another great bourbon barrel-aged barleywine.

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Photo of bgold86
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter glass, pours a nice lightish brown/darkish orange. Sweet dark fruit nose, very typical of an english barley wine. Not a ton of bourbon/vanilla sweetness in the taste, but it's there, dark dried fruits etc. For the price, really not worth it, many bba barley wines meet or exceed this one.

After trying 3 of Midnight Suns top BBA beers, it's apparent that this brewery is a product of hype, their beers are simple mid range, nothing special or of note, but most importantly, the high price (18-19 a bomber) is just not worth it.

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Photo of Hop_God
3.89/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: cloudy ruby brown hazy

S: booze oak brown sugar sour grapes. Raisins.

T: booze. High alcohol taste. Dates. Burnt sugar. Oak. Slightly unfinished.

F: higher carbonation then expected. Lots of raw alcohol Coates the mouth bitter punch

O: surprising how unfinished and alcoholic heat there is Not as impressed as the hype seems to give this.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Straight up delicious. Bomber pours a murky brown with next to no head. Aroma is inviting with bourbon, figs, and toffee. The toffee once again comes through in a strong, enticing way and is coupled with caramel, sweet bread and fruity notes. Silky smooth the whole way down. Bourbon present, but next to no heat.

Overall, this is right there with the best of the BA barleywines I have had. Certainly English style in nature as there is only a very subtle hop presence. Very well done

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Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.71/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Been wanting to try this for quite some time now… Very boozy but also very Carmely and delicious! One of the better barley wines I've had for sure! Would be even better with some age on it!

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Murky brown complexion. Like dirty River water. There's a beige fingernail around the rim. I smell a massively sweet malt bomb. The bitterness of the barley cuts the sweetness. It tastes massively sweet with a heavy malt presence. The mouth is sticky, chewy, thick, and dry.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at The Beer Belly in Albany, NY.

This one pours a slightly murky dark brown, with a small head, and not a whole lot of lacing.

This smells like a huge blast of malty goodness. Lots of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla, and oak- a combination of aromas that make a great BA barleywine, just even more amplified than usual.

The flavors here are so strong and almost concentrated, clearly some high quality malt was used here. Tons of toffee and vanilla, with a good amount of bourbon, caramel, and raw brown sugar. There's a nice vanilla creaminess that's not usually present in barleywines that I certainly dig.

This has a really nicely creamy mouthfeel- don't usually get this level of creaminess out of a barleywine, so it's nice to see here. There's a lower level of carbonation.

One of the better barrel-aged barleywines I've ever had. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

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Photo of GOBLIN
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

An exceptional ba barleywine. Aromas of oak, vanilla, bourbon dominate the nose along with worn leather, raisins, figs, plums and other dark fruits trailing close behind. Spices and another cast of flavor characters playing parts as well. Taste is spot on and similar to the aromas and nothing comes through as harsh . . . as a matter of opinion Arctic Devil's time in the barrel is dialed in perfectly. Aged for about a year and ready for consumption on this rainy, dreary early summer afternoon. Wish I would have drank this this past winter or even had been a just a tad more patient until this next winter. It would have been perfect as a warming beverage to be sipped slowly. As is though, it's drinking fantastic ! I can honestly say this will not just be another "tick" or "notch" but definitely a must seek out again beer.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.79/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a CBS snifter, this elixir from Midnight Sun offers little in the way of carbonation... Wispy and faint.... Lovely aromas of raisins and pineapple.... Very nice...

Absolutely no trace of booze whatsoever.... at 13.20%, that's pretty damn impressive... Very sweet... perhaps a little too much so... almost syrupy at times.... not necessarily cloying but... very sweet... for sure a sipper although not due to the booze... it's the sweetness... feels big in that aspect... not getting any of the bourbon that other reviewers have encountered... there is some oak present though...

World class? In the realm of Sucaba or BCBW? Nope.... it's good... just not, "F@%K, that's delicious!" good... That being said, I am very glad I got to knock this one off of my Wants list. It had been on there for a while and I finally procured this one thanks to a recent trade...(Thanks, Michael!)

Man... very sweet bordering on cloying now after warming some... Not sure what vintage this is but I'm guessing this one is not recent... Good beer though.... Not disappointed, just wish I had shared this one.... It's going to be tough to finish this entire thing....

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Photo of Czarkazm
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage, so about 1 year old. Brown pour but appears dark amber/red up to a light with a very small head consisting of medium sized bubbles. Bouquet includes strong caramel and toffee aromas, with burnt brown sugar, dark fruit, oak, and slight booze. Sticky sweet mouth feel, on the verge of cloying but this is expected in a 13.4% barleywine. More caramel and brown sugar sweetness in the taste, rum soaked raisins, the whiskey comes out more in the flavor along with the oak and vanilla, and a hint of spiciness.

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Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,313 ratings.
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