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 | website

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:
366
Ratings:
1,306
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
15.4%
 
 
Wants:
986
Gots:
308
For Trade:
33
User Reviews
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Reviews: 366 | Ratings: 1,306
Photo of glazeman
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split with airohead2001.

A: The beer pouts a dark brown with some great reddish amber hues, with a ½ finger off white head that quickly fades into a crown and leaves some small lacing.

S: Lots of caramel on the nose with a little bit of apple as well at the start. Some brown sugar in the middle and a tad bit of raisin at the finish. Overall an amazing smelling beer.

T: Unfortunately the taste wasn't quite as good as the smell, but was still pretty good. There's a lot more roasty flavor that the smell indicated, and a bit of etoh burn at the finish. The beer also isn't nearly as sweet as I had anticipated based on the smell. There's a lot of nuttiness and some oakiness in here as well even though I don't think

M: Great viscosity and carbonation, a little too much etoh on the aftertaste to let this one sit on the palate perfectly.

O: Overall an amazing barleywine that I'd love to have again.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. 2008 Vintage. Huge thanks to beerwolf77 for sharing this one! Been a longtime want for me personally.

(A)- Pours a deep dark burnt caramel color that produced a good tan colored head for the ABV that dissipated down to froth.

(S)- A nice rich caramel sweetness. Hints at fig, raisin, and brown sugar. Honey subtle sweetness; toffee too.

(T)- So smooth! Rich and sweet with very similar characters from the smell; caramel and toffee with fig, honey, and brown sugar. Has a very subtle yet sexy dry oak finish.

(M)- A nice mellow carbonation level. Very sweet and rich, but so smooth and easy on the palate despite the huge 13.4% ABV.

(D)- A fantastic Barleywine. Sweet and rich but so smooth for how boozy this is SUPPOSED to be, but is the opposite. Being around 3 years old, this has even more life left in it for the future. Just amazing stuff that is drinking very well currently.

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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 youradhere
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2010 version. Pours orange, whit head. Smells of apples, green granny smith kind. Tastes the same, with some caramel like what is found in cracker jack. Medium high mouth feel, medium carbonation, drinkability is high. Very enjoyable barley wine, I can't believe I haven't had it before!

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

It's a surprise that I've never reviewed this one ~ notes from undated mid-December (2010) bottle opening. Poured to a snifter, pretty warm out of the cellar (maybe 55-60°F?).

22 oz. bottle from, I believe, 2008 (possibly 2007?). Month/week label notches at 'N', '2' and '5', for what that's worth; it's been cellared at least 2 years is all I know. Of note, the label shows an ABV of 'only' 10%, so this has increased a good bit in recent vintages.

A: Deep chestnut auburn, ruby-tinted and fiery warmth - mesmerizing color. Many fine wriggling and edge-creeping carbonation streams rise to a thin almond head. Good retention and specks and stripes of lace linger then droop after each sip.

S: Sweet toffee and buttery nuts, like a candied reduction over pralines. Vanilla subtleties, molasses (2014 edit) and cocoa spikes, indistinct boozy fruit (a mild apple/pear brandy?). Not incredibly strong, just deep, complex and completely inviting.

T: Brown sugar, raisin, toffee and buttercream... it all sounds too sweet, but magically this suspends belief with deftly balanced hop spicing and bittering. A little ashy wood in the finish and some drier cocoa powder. Recognizing that the style isn't very hop-forward, the way that this has held and evolved over the years is pretty spectacular.

M: Absolutely the smoothest mouthfeel I've ever experienced in a barleywine - soft and slightly syrupy (think a velvety maple - the good stuff). Refined and pliable, yet filling out and coating. Unctuous with age (2014 edit)

D: Just a damn stunning barleywine; I find it really hard to give a 'perfect 5' to any strong beer in this category, but this one is sooo very close. I've enjoyed it much fresher (a year or less since bottling), but with 3-4 years of age, Arctic Devil absolutely glows. As of now, perhaps my favorite of the style.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
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!

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

Well it's been a long day and a long night. A good bit of work earlier, then to the job itself... and it is what it is, of course, the grind, though much more enjoyable than your average computer repair shop or landscaping company. Funny, though, how regardless of the work it's either a bad boss or bad work or stupid customers or moron employees... we never can seem to find work that we love every facet of. Oh sure, we love the accomplishments, maybe the competition, the power, the control, the subject matter.. but do we wake up longing to go to work?
Aside. So we get home, and there's nothing for it but to open a delicious beverage. So here we are, a world class beer in hand, and all we've to do is dissect it, ravage any intangible life and glorious beauty it possesses by creating from it a cold, lifeless, scientific stamp upon a sheet of paper, an accomplishment, a statement of plain attributes, nothing with soul. I differ.

How I love you, my darling! How beautiful your eyes, your lips in the pale moonlight! Your hair a dark brown, a smile upon your lips as you cast a lilting grin towards me with the Deepest mahogany of glances! Just a couple of soap-bubbles left there, on your shoulders, as your face turns to a cascade of hot liquid crashing down from above you... and some wisps of cloud steam up through the clear air as you relish the warmth and are beautiful...
Your fragrance haunts the waking dreams of even kings in their courtyards... The plums, raisins, molasses, caramelized sugars, vanilla, Sweet toasted black bread, butterscotch, and port... these are things in whose presence mortals often feel their undeserving eyes cast down, their lips afraid to savour..
Ah, but they may. They do savour, I savour thy many delights! Thy oaky and wooden flavours of burnt sugar and toasted grains, the warmth and absolute enjoyability of your delights on this night...
A slight syrup tinge, though surprisingly dry, as we carouse in our delectable fantasy now made real, and I wish that every moment we could be even as we are, in a seductive tumble of flesh, a delectable monstrosity of flavours and colours that overwhelm our senses and recall to our minds through our flesh from our hearts once again... "I love you. It's true."

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Photo of seeswo
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured at a recent Madison tasting. 2008 vintage.

Pours a dark golden brown with a limited tan head. Smells of hops and malts (someone said freshly threshed grain - I dunno about that, but I was pretty malleable at this point). Faded hops and caramel blend fantastically. This beer is delicious and deserves to be aged for this time period. Best Barleywine I have had other than Gratitude (oddly enough, this tastes more like an American barleywine and Gratitude more like an English Barleywine, and yet their designations are reversed on the site). Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. This was consumed after a fresh Mother of All Storms, which could not compete (though it might be unfair to compare a fresh, barrel-aged barleywine to a two year aged one). The faded hop bitterness limits the drinkability a bit, but not a ton. Otherwise quite drinkable for the ABV.

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Photo of sgaloob
3.47/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured refrigerator cold into a Midnight Sun pint glass.

A - Molasses color with amber hues. Clear, in terms of few particles. No head whatsoever.

S - Very malty, smells like sorghum. Light berry aroma. Not particularly flowery/hoppy.

T - Like molasses. Little or no hoppiness. Well balanced considering the high ABV. Slightly bitter finish.

M -Syrupy and thick. This is a meal in a glass. Little carbonation, heavy finish.

D - No more than one pint of this in one sitting.

Bottom line - I'm not very experienced with barleywines, but I'm not crazy about. I would prefer it to be less syrupy, and have the alcohol more present instead. Guaranteed to get you laid, 100% of the time, every time.

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Photo of afksports
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mwahahahhahaha YES! Thank you to some wonderful Seattle buddies for this bottle. One of the harder to get of my wants has been fulfilled.

This beer pours gracefully and thick from the bottle into my mini snifter with a rich red amber trending to dark that has minimal head but excellent lacing. Aged in whisky oak barrels, this one smells like it, plus booze, molasses, fruits, and complex malts. It tastes thick, rich, sweet - almost sickly so - with malts and fruit predominating and those sugars popping tarot out of the glass onto the palate. The oversweetness will age out with time (this is the 2010 vintage).

Drinkability is high. I'm really in love with this pour. I'm almost mad I shared the bottle of this thick full bodied barleywine. But the company is just slightly better than the beer.

And that's what I'll continue to cherish the most.

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Photo of domtronzero
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thank you, Loren, for bringing this one back from Alaska for me!

A - Dark brown with ruby highlites. Clearish with an average sized, lingering tannish white head. Lots of lacing left throughout.

S - Sweet caramel malts, dark raisin-like fruits and a subtle smokiness. Slight alcohol aroma is warm and pleasant. Piny hops in the background.

F/M - Again, sweet bready caramel malts, rich dark fruity esters and a nice, balanaced smokey malt flavor. Moderately firm bitterness with a piny/resinous/spicy hop flavor. Full bodied, slightly oily and slick, with moderately low carbonation - but just enough. Lingering smokey caramel flavor.

D - This is a great (albeit unique) barleywine. Full bodied, tasty and smoky, i could easily finish this bomber by myself.

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Photo of thetomG
3.78/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep orange/reddish/amber color.

Thin layer of dense white foam for head.

Primarily dark fruits, malts and some earthy notes in the nose.

Good solid bitterness in the flavor, with a solid amount of heat from the alcohol in the finish.

Well carbonated, but full bodied and smooth mouthfeel.

The warmth from the alcohol and its overall intense flavors make this one a bit of a sipper for me, but I would try it again anytime.

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Photo of shodrod
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(poured into a snifter; 2008 vintage)

This beer pours a very opaque, chocolaty brown color with no head at all. The aroma is that of tootsie rolls, honey, hops, and a slight hint of alcohol. A hint of chocolate on the front. The oak from the barrels is quite present. A surprisingly smooth finish. This is, quite possibly, the best barleywine I've ever had!

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got a couple of bottles of this, one from joe1510 in the LNBA BIF, and mhewes, as an extra of all things. Both bottles are the 2007 vintage, clocking in at 10%.

Deep reddish brown with a dense, light brown head that recedes to a disk, leaving a little lace. Reddish brown highlights are present. The nose is excellent. I didn't really know this was as barrel aged as it was. Bourbon is present and quite noticeable, along with some booze. The malt character is excellent. Mild tart fruits with dates and raisins, a mild nutty aroma, a little creamy cocoa, almost. Rich leather, tobacco and molasses (shisha ). The dark fruit character is excellent and quite unique, the dates, brown sugar, raisins and palm sugar, and works quite brilliantly with the leather. As it warms up, it makes me think of orange peel dipped in chocolate.

Opening with a blend of brown sugar, toffee, palm sugar, dates and leather . The bourbon is a little more reserved on the palate, with an almost vinous boozy character. In fact, the fruitiness and the booze coupled with the malt base makes this more vinous than bourbon. Hops have faded, they just aren't noticeable here. The mid-palate has some caramel and toffee, and leather appears too. The leather and the tannins work really well, lingering on into the finish. Medium in body with soft carbonation, this feels excellent on the palate. The finish is wonderful, earthy, leathery, tannic and mildly fruity. The tannins also do have a mild walnut character. Despite the booziness, the alcohol is very well hidden. Drinking this 22oz bottle is going to be no problem. In some ways, it makes me think of the Brandy Old Stock. Easily among the top 3 barleywines I've had, beautifully structured

**Edit 4 July 2013**

Yes, it's summer, but here in Oregon, it's 60F outside right now. This is the 08 vintage, 10% ABV.

Earth, tobacco, raisin and some bourbon are present on the nose. Moderately vinous with a definite grape skin tannin character present. The palate is smooth and glorious (in feel, at least), with a nice blend of sweetness, earth, tobacco and some sherry. Oxidation is starting to kick in, with a slight dullness present. Moderately nutty (walnut, in particular), along with some umami flavors (black olives, strange as that may sound). Wonderful body, full, smooth, creamy and supple, this is softly carbonated and is very delicious. I do wish I drank this about 18 months back, though.
4/4/4.75

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Photo of DaveHS
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 version poured into a 4oz snifter.

A-Pours a dark amber with 1/3 inch of thin, bubbly head that disappears almost instantly, leaving no lacing.

S-Caramel, bourbon, vanilla, cashews. Smells delicious.

T/M-Rich flavors of vanilla and toffee. Very complex. Some doughy, bready notes mid-palate, leading into a slightly hot finish. The longer I drink this, the sweeter it tastes. Still, surprisingly drinkable for a young 13.42% barley wine. Low carbonation, full bodied.

D-Hard to get ahold of, but worth the trouble. Wish I had another bottle to cellar. It wasn't quite ready.

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Photo of maximum12
3.67/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to WriterLJBerg for hooking me up with this barleywine in a great summertime trade. Now that the weather is, at least theoretically, turning colder here on the Frigid Plain, time to bust this one out. Although I'd happily have barleywines in June, too. Opened, poured, & split with my lovely wife.

Poured into our wide-screen Free The Hops snifters, looks like red-tinged Mississippi River mud (minus the condom wrappers & empty Mountain Dew bottles). Smell is as expected, good chits of bourbon, malts, caramel, a little oak & fruits. Nice.

Artic Devil follows the path blazed by the odors. Big caramel's been hitting the gym, with the whiskey spotting it. Malts lend an otherworldly sweetness underneath. There's vanilla, oak, raisin brand crunch. Terrifically thick & chewy, like a big piece of beer-soaked oak. But there's an earthiness to the finish that limits how high this one goes for me, washing out the flavors & making them less sharp, distinct.

Overall? Like this, good beer. Without the dirtiness, this one would rise to a whole 'nuther level for me. So close.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Alas, the longly anticipated Arctic Devil Barleywine. Richly malted, complex, and with a formitable hop counterpart the beer lives up to its lofty expectations.

A very hazy rusty color and medium haze give a rich and weighted look. Sprinkles of yeast can be found floating about. Ivory stanined roam forms a sturdy head early on and fades over its own weight to a sheet of lace across the surface and glass. A pretty good look.

Aromas steal the show with a balanced and rich flavor of molassas, toffee, and brown sugar. Throw in an estery flank of prunes, dates, figs, raisons, and rummy spiciness. A vinous note of sherry with red wines give a mildly tart balance to the rich fruits and malts. Lightly herbal (tea-like) character gives a modest glimpse into the hop balance. Barleywines just don't carry a much better aroma.

Flavors pick up where the aroma leaves off. But along with those delicate and rich flavors that resemble port wine, brandy, and cognac; the flavors pack on a balanced bitterness that in one sip seems to balance the beer well, while in the next seems to detract from the seductive sweetness. Alcohol bite adds to the sweetness while it's spicy taste seems to intensify a bit too much and interrupts the malt sweetness- tasting a bit like cough syrups at times. However, the initial malty-fruity interplay is too good to ignore.

Weighted, rich, and robust, the beer takes on a bit texture at the on onset. But the beer's chewy texture is quick waivering, in favor of alcoholic heat, assertive hop/alcohol bite, and a bit of scratchy texture in the back of the throat. Dry late but also alcoholic, still leaving plenty of malty stickiness on the mouth's surfaces.

An outstanding Barleywine of the English variety, but its only the rougher alcohols and bitey bitterness that keeps it from world class status.

Thanks Auroracrisis!

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Photo of darklordlager
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Midnight Sun Arctic Devil 2008 13.2%

A: Poured into a tulip a dark, ruddy amber. Tan head that fades relatively quickly, but can be roused with a vigorous swirl of the glass.

S: A barrage of aromas greet the nose: dark fruit, caramel, whiskey, oak/vanilla. "Clean/fresh" malt character to it as well.

T: Sweet, rich malt. Dark fruit, somewhat reminiscent of sticky toffee pudding. Whiskey works its way in mid-palate, and becomes more intense into the aftertaste. Lightly tannic finish with rounded oak character.

M: Rich, velvetty mouthfeel with low-medium carbonation. Perfect for this beer.

D: This definitely drinks smoother than the listing on the label advertises. While it is a great barleywine, I believe I would prefer CWBBBW and TPS/MoAS over this. Now I'm interested in how this would be fresh...

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Photo of DaveJanssen
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Split a 22 3 ways. Poured into red wine glasses. Reviewed 9/9/10. 2008 vintage.

Ap: Smooth whiskey and oak, caramel and toffee, strong alcohol, smooth citrus oriented fruit, dark hints, candy sweetness, *perfumey alcohol, mild pineapple, *restrained cinnamon, brown sugar

Ap: Tan medium head good retention, fine haze pink amber, legs, light lace

T: Rich malt, caramel, whiskey, oak, smooth full malt, sweet but good, malt not too complex, pleasant woodiness, date, esters, mild earthy spice, GREAT CARAMEL, mild pineapple, *candy, *cookie dough, toasty, *rye bread, *restrained cinnamon, raisins, prunes, mild chocolate

M: Warming alcohol, burn hints, heavy body, low carb, alcohol increases with warmth but balances beer

O: Excellent example of an english barleywine, alcohol is appropriate, hard to drink a lot of, *no oxidation, *whiskey character melds great with the beer, a sipping beer, *increadible

* = ideas form fellow tasters

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Photo of garbercury
4.82/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

07' Vintage, pretty pumped for this one. Cracked open for the opening weekend of NCAA football with a crab cake, and 16 0z ribeye...Life is good.

A--Deep ruby-red, bordering on brown, good carbonation.

S--Wow, impressive nose. Caramel, toffee, maple syrup.

T--I love it. Classic English Barleywine. Only thing more complex than the nose is the taste. Caramel, vanilla, chocolate. This beer is still pretty damn strong (hot) after 4 years. Still terrific!

M--Silky to the palate.

D--I would drink this all the time if I could, ISO: more Arctic Devil please.

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Photo of hoppymcgee
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to msubulldog25 for this beer! Poured from an '08 vintage 22oz. bomber into a Deschutes tulip glass.

A: Dark brown with a red hue that pours with a 1-finger foamy head and recedes to a big bubble white collar. Nice lacing is apparent which I did not expect from a beer of this style and ABV.

S: The best feature of this beer. An intense foray of caramel, maple syrup, chocolate syrup, toffee, and mixed nuts.

T: Rich as expected. Caramel, toffee, and Brazil nuts dominate the flavor. There is a noticeable saltiness to this beer that causes it to stand apart from other English barleywines. In my opinion, this is a good feature as I'd rather have it be salty than be sweet. Don't expect any bitterness like you would in an American barleywine. The whiskey barrel aging mellow out for the better 2 years later.

M: A little chewy and real smooth. The carbonation held up just right in this bad boy.

D: Downright delicious. I had no problems drinking the whole bomber to myself over the course of 2 hours.

Overall, a solid beer from Midnight Sun. I don't get to try many of their beers, but this one is right down my alley.

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Photo of davod23
3.81/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Bruery tulip. I believe this bottle is about a year or so old.

Poured a very clear, rusty copper color with a thin, sandstone head that quickly dissipated (unsurprising, in a brew of this strength). When swirled, the beer sticks to the sides of the tulip nicely, a couple spots of lace remaining for a few moments before disappearing into the ether. Nice looking beer.

Aroma is relatively nondescript, surprisingly. There's some caramel and toffee sweet aromas present, malt, but the strongest component is alcohol heat. This beer burns my nostrils.

For all the heat I found in the nose, there's not a lot in the taste. Surprisingly, it's not that boozy even at 13% alcohol. That's to the brewer's credit. That said, this is good but not great. There's an astringency in the finish of this beer that I'm not that fond of. Caramel, fig, English toffee, booze, and something I can't put my finger on... it's a vinous taste... a hint of port, perhaps? A bit sweet, but not cloyingly so.

Mouthfeel is very nice. Thick-ish, sticky, with slight carbonation. Very nice.

Drinkability. Eh... it's good, all things considered. Hell, this beer sits at over 13%, so the drinkability is pretty great when you take that into consideration. That said, this bomber is going down pretty slowly - I wouldn't want more than one. I might like this even more if it was in a 12 oz bottle.

This is a good beer. I can think of a number of English barleywines that are better, though. Perhaps if I set it aside for a few years, the astringency would dissipate... worth a shot.

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Photo of ricke49
4.96/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

When considering English style Barleywines, if you divided the relatively low alcohol ones (i.e Anchor OLD Foghorn, defining the style) and the high alcohol ones (Arctic Devil establishing the bar); this barleywine - Arctic Devil by Midnight Sun is the premier high alcohol English style Barleywine, in my humble opinion. Wow! smooth and 13% abv don't normally exist in the same sentence, but this wonderous brew manages to pull it off. The full malt/raisin/fig complex is remarkable, as is the warmth....but the bite is nowhere to be found (well....maybe at the very back of the taste parameters). A great brew! If a consumer 'found' Arctic Devil to be a bit sweet or cloying, I guess it just comes with the territory. Congratulations MIDNIGHT SUN. be Proud!

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared a bottle of this with Matt today. Thanks!

2008 vintage

A: Dark brown with crimson hues appearance and a one inch head. Initially, there is a sheet of lacing, but it fades after a few moments.

S: The aroma is fantastic. Sweet malts with dark fruits. No heat in the aroma. 13.4%?!?

T: Fabulous taste! Wow. This is my new favorite English Barleywine.
Very complex, with dark fruits and delicious malts.

M: 13.4% alcohol is completely hidden. Not sure how they did that.

D: Awesome. Highly drinkable. Best barleywine I've had to date.

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Photo of urwithdave
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing from notes 2008 vintage. Thanks Gabe! Poured into a over sized wine glass.

A- pours very dark brown with ruby highlights when held up to light. 2 fingers of a tan head that recedes to a thin ring. Some lacing left on my glass.

A- wow really nice. Big malts with no detection of any hops at all. Smells very sweet. Molasses leads the way with some oaky notes. There is a nutty aroma that kicks in as it warms. There is also a slight hint of booze present.

T- nice! Very sweet with brown sugar, toffee, and molasses in charge. The oak and nuts that I got in the nose come out in nice fashion. There is also vanilla and a hint of bourbon present. This just explodes with different flavors as it warms.

M-on the thicker side. Nice amount of carbonation. There is a slight burn that I feel in the back of my throat, but it's pleasent. It finishes sweet and oaky.

D- one of those beers that u open when u want to really take your time drinking it. I enjoyed sipping on this for about an hour. I was really impressed at the complexity of it. The flavors really transform as the beer warms. A heavenly experience. I have one more left that I will be putting a little time on. I would highly suggest u seek this out.

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Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 366 ratings.
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