Arctic Devil Barley Wine | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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Arctic Devil Barley WineArctic Devil Barley Wine
BA SCORE
4.36/5
Outstanding
1,355 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#351
Reviews:
386
Ratings:
1,355
pDev:
8.03%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
979
Gots:
310
Trade:
33
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,355 |  Reviews: 386
Photo of RoyalT
4.12/5  rDev -5.5%
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 Jeffo
3.46/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from Stupac in a recent trade. Thanks for doing the dirty work!

From a bomber into a snifter
Vintage: 2011
Aged in American oak whisky barrels

APPEARANCE: Pours a two finger, medium-thick, creamy looking, off-white head with good retention. Dark maroon red in color, clear, with higher levels of carbonation evident. Head eventually fades to a nice full wisp with carbonation ploughing through the top. A good wisp remains until the end and leaves some nice lacing down the glass. Good looking.

SMELL: Caramel malts, dark fruits, like rasins and dates, as well as some spicy and peppery yeast notes. Light hints of whisky and oak from the barrels, but not much. More fruit and light spices. Only medium strength.

TASTE: Caramel and dark fruits with peppery spices up front. Some nice rasins and dates at the swallow, with notes of oak and some boozy whisky as well. Alcohol is very well hidden. Mild but lingering aftertaste of spicy alcohol, oak, and caramel, fruity sweetness. Medium strength flavors and the ABV is well hidden. Quite nice really.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down fine with a little scratch at the back and finishes slightly sticky. Decent feel. A hint of heat lingers, but minimal.

OVERALL: A solid beer that's easy enough to drink, but somewhat lack luster compared to others in the style. The base beer is a little mild, and the barrel aging a little too restrained perhaps. Something worth checking out if you see it, but nothing earth shattering enough to go out of your way for. I'd have it again, but would most likely pick something else first. Thanks again for the trade Stupac. Much appreciated.

 1,691 characters

Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.52/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of st9647v3
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.82/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a perfect pint. 2008 vintage.

4.0 A: Clear darker amber color. Aggressive pour yielded just one finger of light brown creamy/frothy head. Retention is okay given the ABV and a short ring of lacing is left.

4.5 S: Nose on this is divine. Perfect mix between the barrel and the beer. Bourbon is fruity, leathery, and lightly earthy. Oak and vanilla with no tannic astringency. The base offers a ton of caramel, moderate toffee, tobacco, raisin, dates, prunes, sugar plums, and apple. Sweet sugary maltiness, molasses, and some toastiness. Alcohol is non-existent.

3.5 T: Taste is a bit of a let down after experiencing the nose. Don't get me wrong, it's still tasty, but the mouthfeel is a bit too thin, which causes issues in the taste. Basically, the taste isn't as potent as I'd like. Same flavors as in the nose, just less intensity. Leathery bourbon, earthiness, and light fruits. Caramel, toffee, tobacco, raisin are strongest. Prunes, sugar plum, molasses, and toastiness next. Apple underneath. Moderately sweet with just a light booziness. Borderline 4.0.

3.0 M: Lighter medium to medium body. Good moderate carbonation, especially for a beer this old. Missing creaminess and body. If this were a bit thicker, the taste would be better too.

4.0 D: It's a good beer that just has one fatal flaw. Great flavors, but I need more maltiness when I'm drinking a barleywine. I'll have to try this fresh sometime.

 1,429 characters

Photo of gford217
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, deep copper with a two-finger buttery head which linger throughout and leaves sporadic lacing. Aroma is big on dark fruits, figs and raisins mainly, and caramel malts. Alcohol burn really comes out as it warms. Taste is big and roasty, with dark fruits dominating. Toffee and caramel malts are present throughout with a definite alcohol burn and a hint of oak in the finish. Mouthfeel is incredible and silky smooth with strong carbonation. This is definitely a sipper and a fantastic barleywine.

 510 characters

Photo of HaveUSeenMyCellar
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of Can_has_beer
3.66/5  rDev -16.1%
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.

 346 characters

Photo of Hootie159
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of BucannonXC5
4.41/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Type: 22-oz. bottle
Glass: AleSmith Barrel-Aged Reserve snifter
From: Bine & Vine Bottle Shop in Normal Heights (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $17.99
Purchased: Jan. 6, 2017
Consumed: April 15, 2017
Reviewed as: English Barleywine
Misc.: Bottled on Nov. 21, 2016

Picked this up with basically a $50 gift certificate for my birthday. Had heard of Midnight Sun and saw on one of the emails that they had a few coming in, so I pounced on this and the Berserker Imperial Stout. $19.99 (Berserker) and $17.99 (AD) seems a bit much but I got them anyway. Gave Berserker an overrated 4.16 (93/A-) back in January. Hoping for this to be better.

Poured a copper/garnet cloudy color with one finger of khaki white frothy head. Some light bubble streams coming up from the bottom of the glass. Good spotty lacing. Good retention. (Sight - 3.75)

Smelled pent up bourbon, almost port wine like, dark fruits, plum, tobacco, raisins, sticky toffee, caramel, brown sugar, maple syrup, some oaky red wine barrels and earthy basement aromas. Lovely. (Smell - 4.50)

Taste was at least just as good as the nose. Wow. Lots going on. Got smooth bourbon, port wine, sherry red wine, tobacco, unknown lingering spices (rye? maybe pepper?), brown sugar, maple syrup, toffee, plum, dark fruits, raisins, dates, prunes, dark grainy malts, caramel, smooth, but tasting the booze, oak, hints of molasses and sticky sugary chocolate syrup which seems to be muted somewhat by everything else going on. (Taste - 4.25)

Medium body. Sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth finish. (Feel - 5.00)

This was fantastic. Much better than I thought it was going to be after having Berserker a few months back. Would not pay $18 for this again, but still delicious. (Overall - 4.50)

4.41 | 98 | A

 1,770 characters

Photo of illidurit
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

05 bottle sampled at the RBSG 08 Grand Tasting. Big thanks to whoever brought it. Pours golden brown with a tan head that leaves wet spotty lacing. Deep caramel aroma with some leafiness. Tobacco? Hops? Flavor is toffee based, with notes of prune, molasses, berries, and wood. Finish is earthy with some vanilla. Full bodied with a very smooth mouthfeel.

 354 characters

Photo of jophish17
5/5  rDev +14.7%

Photo of birchstick
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of tom10101
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of francisweizen
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark ruddy, muddy, dirty, cola coloured brown with a fizzy, fizzly head that dies out quickly. Aromas are all raisins, dark fruits, plums, residual sugars, and not really a hint of booze. Impressive. Taste follows suit with plenty of malty dark fruit flavors, and candied spicy flavors. Rum raisin cake, maybe? This is really like an old ale, not so much of a barleywine, but hey, who's keepin' score? Mouthfeel is medium bodied and drinkability is pretty good as well. A nice one from AK.

 489 characters

Photo of alexsergio
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of Reagan1984
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Beerness for providing this beer. Really wanted to try it and am very happy to have done so.

Thin tan head about an 1/8 inch thick. Fades quickly. Brown/amber color. Deep in color good clarity.
No lace

Aroma is of rum, brown sugar and is really deep

The flavor is somewhat buttery, I still think rum and there is a lot of brown sugar. Its good, but frankly its not in the same class of some of the other monster Barleywines. I get a touch of coconut, but very subtle.

Fairly bold body with a bit of a rough edge to it. A bit warming.

Very good overall. Not quite the epic level of some others in the category.

 627 characters

Photo of dleiner
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of Satchboogie
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of woosterbill
4.49/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber of the 08 vintage into a Weyerbacher tulip. Huge thanks to Matt for sharing this long-time want.

A: Clear dark reddish-brown body underneath a finger of fine tan head that settles into a ring. Nice.

S: Sweet, lightly oxidized aroma that just screams English Barleywine: sherry, toffee, brown sugar, and a touch of slightly spicy chocolate. Wow. This smells absolutely amazing.

T: Rich, smooth, and lovely. Very sweet, very complex, and awesome: tons of raisin, toffee, butterscotch, and caramel. Sticky sweet aftertaste. I love it, but the sweetness gets a trifle overbearing. Just a trifle, though, and for the style that's ok by me.

M: Smooth, slick full body. Nice viscosity, low carbonation. Lovely.

D: This can't be considered truly drinkable in any objective sense, but I still want more and more. It's insanely sweet, but somehow the sweetness doesn't come along with any booziness at all. Impressive.

Notes: This is my new benchmark for English Barleywines - it absolutely blew 99 J.W. Lees Harvest out of the water, imbuing its intense malt sweetness with a stunning plethora of nuanced, complex flavors. I could be happy smelling this for hours on end - it's that rich, that amazing. I really hope I get to drink this again someday.

Cheers!

 1,264 characters

Photo of notchucknorris
4.19/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage. Got 2 bottles of this, so I wanted to try one fresh.

A: Pours a really dark brown color, nearly the color of a stout. A one finger khaki colored head fades quickly, leaving a clear view of the ominous looking beer.

S: At first, this smells like nothing but oak. But the more I let it open up, the more flavors started popping to the surface. Brown sugar, toffee, leather, tobacco and a pretty hearty smack of booze. Hints of banana bread and raisin as well. The oak fades a bit, but it's still pretty prominent.

T: Even as it warms, the oak comes through a lot more than I'd like, holding back the other flavors in here. Brown sugar and caramel come through along with a pretty big hit of booze. Some toffee, a slight hint of bourbon, and some more buttery oak on the finish. Definitely way too oak forward for me right now, but I can't wait to revisit this in a year or so.

 892 characters

Photo of muskiesman
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of DmanGTR
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of Lovely85
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of calcnerd
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.36 out of 5 with 1,355 ratings
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