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

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Reviews: 377 | Ratings: 1,331
Photo of BucannonXC5
4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
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

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Photo of von_kaiser
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the best barley wines I've had. This is a rich thick glass of candy. Perfect sipper for a bitter cold night. Booze is masked well by the sweetness...def plays a presence, but nowheres near bringing it towards medicinal like qualities. I enjoyed this beer heavily.

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Photo of 72u7h
4.89/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Arctic devil Barley win 13.4 abv. I have 6 (now 5, crap) and it's AMAZING.

Tasting notes:

Sweet, not really boozy. malty. Silky AF. It's got a lot of flavors all over as it warms up, everything from chocolate, to raisins, to some fruit of some sort and everything in between. It's fluffy I guess? It's lighter than I thought it be, and that's good. It's really good. I had another barley wine "Arcadian Ales, Cereal Killer" and that bottle was sort of stupid. It had nothing on Arctic Devil at all, so it can go eat sand. This beer don't give much head, even if you froth it a little with a frother. Some say syrupy, I don't know. Seems it depends, mine is from 2015 and it's 1 year + at this point (it's feb 2017 now). I'd disagree, I don't have any experience with earlier variants or years so I can't compare. However, after going on a barleywine quest for the last couple years this is top notch

Of all the barleywine's I've had THIS is my favorite of them all. I've had 100's of them at this point.

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Photo of silverblaze540
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - poured a murky reddish brown with a small creamy head.

S - Sweet and malty, with a strong prune presence.

T - Dark fruits, prunes, raisins, and some caramel with a sweet and malty start. A hint of bitterness in the aftertaste. Alcohol is not overpowering.

M - Heavy and smooth.

O - Great bear. Strong and smooth, but without an overpowering booziness. A great flavor.

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Photo of OrangeMen
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage
~1 year from bottling date

Appearance- Pours a dark amber, mahogany color, deep red hues. Fairly transparent, but slightly murky. Half finger thick, off white colored head, creamy. Alcohol legs coat glass w/ some small spotty head lacing.

Aroma- Rich maltiness, tons of dark fruit sweetness, predominantly dark cherries, plums, red wine grapes. Dry oak barrel, bourbon sweetness. Caramel, vanilla, toffee sweetness.

Taste- Dark fruits, lots of dark cherries, plums, booze soaked raisins. Intense rich malts, caramel, toffee, maple sweetness. Waves of bourbon, spicy oak barrel, tawny port notes, vanilla, and coconut.

Feel- Medium to full bodied, very sweet and creamy smooth. Lower carbonation, fluffy and smooth.

Overall- Intense richness interwoven with wonderful barrel notes and bourbon. Dark fruits are very forward, lots of cherry sweetness carries throughout. Barrel notes are very complex and add a real nice depth of flavor to the beer. Very enjoyable sipper.

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Photo of Damian
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a 22 fl.oz./1 pint 6 fl.oz. bottle purchased at DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine, Seattle, WA
Served in a snifter

Review #1275

Nearly clear, chestnut-mahogany appearance. The beer appeared rather still in the glass. A thin, fizzy film of khaki colored froth coated the liquid briefly before it dissolved. No lacing whatsoever.

The nose was surprisingly nondescript initially. Somewhat malty and sweet. Bit of maple. Slightly boozy. Some fruitiness came forth as the beer sat. Dark fruits for sure. Plums and raisins were noticeable. With time, the aroma definitely improved. Rich port-like notes appeared. More dark fruit intensity and sweetness too.

The flavor profile was very similar to the nose. Malty and sweet up front. Loads of rich caramel, toffee and maple notes. Fruity. Raisins and plums were apparent. Somewhat spicy. Quite boozy on the finish. For a 13-plus percent ABV beer, however, the alcohol was surprisingly restrained. Sweet plum, raisin and brown sugar notes lingered after the swallow. Like the nose, the flavor profile became more complex with time. Rich port and rum-like notes came forth. The dark fruits intensified as well.

The mouthfeel was quite syrupy. Medium bodied for the style. The liquid contained a light, frothy effervescence that turned fluffy on the palate. After a few sips, the sugars in the beer left a sticky film on my lips.

Arctic Devil Barkeywine has been on my "wants" list for quite a while and I am really glad I finally had a chance to try it. Although the the nose and the flavor both seemed somewhat more muted than I anticipated, I can see how people might have flipped out over this beer five or ten years ago.

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

2015 bottle at fridge temperature into a corsendonk tulip.
A - Murky brown, with ruby highlights. No head to speak of, a faint ring of bubbles towards the edge of the glass.
S - Muted aromas of dark fruit, and malt. Raisins, prunes and jaggery noted.
T - Starts sweet with dark fruits, raisins and brown sugar. The barrel aging is definitely noted on the palate, with bourbon heat and flavor noticed throughout the sip. Backend has some bitterness. This is an excellent sipper.
M - Medium-heavy, with an oily feel, leaves behind stickiness on the lips. This is for sure a malt-forward beer with some excellent barrel influences.
O - Recommended as one of the best examples of a barrel-aged old ale. Not too far off the Sucaba territory or the Pelican MoAS.

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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 Radcpa
4.74/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Dark brown appearance with little head and just the right amount of carbonation. The combination of bourbon barrel aged and brandy wine ale is excellent

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