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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:
371
Ratings:
1,321
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
8.05%
 
 
Wants:
989
Gots:
308
For Trade:
32
User Reviews
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Reviews: 371 | Ratings: 1,321
Photo of Greywulfken
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: into a snifter, deep brown body with brief tan head of fine fizz

S: sweet and nutty malts, hints of toffee sweetness and dark, moldy fruit; lighter notes of smoky whisky barrels

T: great complexity - malt-froward, nutty, robust, chewy, and caramel sweet; earthy, and savory; hints of bourbon and wood and smoke

M: smooth, touch of alcohol, medium+ body, slick

O: truly a masterpiece.

I would be remiss if I did not amend this review having had a bottle of the 2013 with about a year on it. The aging on this beer was stellar. Not only did it retain a lot (more?!?!) of the original hoppiness, but the flavors of booze, barley, and hop melded together seamlessly into a truly superior product. You should always buy a bottle of this when it comes around, and if you have the discipline, sit on a bottle (or two) to enjoy later.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in a great trade with Evan! An aggressive pour yields a caramel-colored two finger head with decent retention and great lacing. Dark brown, nearly black pour is probably the darkest Barley Wine I've seen. Rich, bold nose with huge dark fruits, bourbon, and oak along with hints of vanilla, figs, toffee, raisins, and sweet brown bread. The taste follows suit with tons of oak and dark fruits along with hints of vanilla, maple, butterscotch, subtle chocolate, molasses, brown bread, and toffee. The mouthfeel is thick and syrupy, but creamy smooth with a subtle warming finish. The 13.4% ABV is nowhere to be found for this unbelievably drinkable beer. Overall, this is a world class Barley Wine. Bold, flavorful, complex, and extremely drinkable. It's time to start trading for more...

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

2004 Vintage

Pours cherry mahogany, lightly translucent, with a shy, eggshell head.
The discreet foam cap falls quick, leaving a whisp edging.
Chewy, rich, complex nose.
Juicy, figgy, raisiny malts with bourbon-steeped cherries.
Aromatics finish with stinging alcohol, citrus fruits, and vanilla.
Thickish body, mild syrup hints, and lingering.
Bitter on the pallet, followed by caramel coated figs, dates, and raisins laced with single malt.
Finishes long and warming, with additional bitterness and a mild brown sugar note.
An exceptional Barleywine.

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Photo of BillRoth
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Can't speak to previous batches. Have heard of this BW for years, but finally have a chance to try thanks to Paul 510a.
Poured out a rich amber ruby pour with a full shipped cream head. Head dissipated as expected but not quickly and left a notable lace in the glass. Impression was this one was well made.
So far so good.
Aroma was good. Some caramel and nougat like aromas. Hint of dried fruit, but more a hint of syrup. Hint of vanilla.Hops very subdued. Difficult to identify. but not piney or citrusy. Suggested European hops...Kent? Goldings?. Shouldn't be surprised if an English BW.
At this point I knew I had a good beer, but still looking for the "wow.
OK...Wow! The flavor is just spectacular, and it just kept getting better as it warmed. Huge hits of caramel, toffee and dark cane syrup. Mild hop bitterness just kept the beer from being a sugar bomb. Craftfully blended and matured. As the beer warmed the oak and vanilla took over, and the beer reached another level. it was just sublime.
The mouth feel was full and creamy. Thicker than your typical English BW, but pleasant not overwhelming. It seemed perfectly aligned with the big beer it was. The alcohol while big, was not too big. No harshness, just warming. It just seemed exactly the right level.
Overall, started as a very good beer, but ended as a beer just about perfect for its style and claims.
I'm going hope I get more from this batch, but will look forward to more regardless of year.
Well done!

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

2013 vintage

I have had this beer in and out of possession before but this was my first time having it. and goddamn... It's awesome. My top 5 Barleywine to date.

A: Black with slight red tint. One finger head. some lacing on the side of the glass but not much.

S: vanilla bourbon caramel brown sugar very complex.

T: wow. bourbon aging done to perfection. Caramel molasses vanilla chocolate coffee dark fruits some booze zero hops. you can taste the alcohol but its dangerously drinkable. can't tell its got 13.4%. perfect amount of sweetness for the style.

M: I think this is where this beer really shines. It's Not the biggest beer in terms its thickness but it's just so perfect. good amount of carbonation. for a sweet desert beer the finish is rather dry and clean.

O: Glad I got a few extras to age although it's ready now to drink. This beer is highly recommended!!!

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Photo of oceanman907
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This Review is for the 2012 Vintage, had recently at the brewery.

I have had other batches of Arctic Devil, and every one does seem just a bit different, this "new" 2012 batch seems to have lost some of the fruity notes from years past... but in their place there is an overwhelming blast of roasted malts and sweet bourbon, leading to a semi-dry finish that is quite a bit more boozy, however it is less so when it opens up (probably should be drank near 50-55 degrees). Maybe MS has ditched some of their port and cabernet barrels for more bourbon, because thats the direction that this vintage is headed for. Mouthfeel on the beer is, as always, velvety and sublime.

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Photo of abfraser
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to waltonc for sharing this

A: Nice dark brown amber with a decent sized tan head. This one looks like its going to be thick.

S: Amazing. Pure sweet caramel malt. By smell alone, you know this is going to be a fantastic one.

T/M: This is all high alcohol caramel malt, with a nice fruit flavor in the background. I prefer these English-style barleywine's more than the "American" variety because of this strong malt profile. A lot of other barleywines are dominated by hoppy bitterness, which I'm not a fan of as much in these types of beers. Mouth is a little thick. But this is hardly syrupy or cloying.

D: I could drink this as much as I was physically capable. Great stuff.

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Photo of sprucetip
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From notes. 07 vintage. Minimal foam atop chestnut colored ale, but a ring remais on the edge of the glass for a long time. When backlit, it is ruby with moderate activity long after the pour. It also looks thick and has suspended chunks of yeast.

Dark cherry, green apple, and warm but not hot esters A nip of sweet caramel slips in underneath the more prominent influences. Later I notice some vanilla paired with the boozy esters. And it's almost chocolaty. It grows more complex with time, and smells woody as well.

Oak, dark fruit, and malty sweetness assert themselves up front and going forward. But they are kept in check by bitterness, maple like maleness, and boozy character than cut sharply across the palate. There is a moderately strong drying sensation in the finish. It is very complex, rich, rich, nuanced and balanced.

Strong warming, low carbonation, full body and high viscosity.

Extremely impressive, extraordinary beer. Glad I tried it again. Many years ago I found it too sweet and boozy, but I was also drinking beer too cold then. I had the wisdom to hang on to one for a while, and now I regret not putting away a few every year when I had the chance.

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Photo of Overlord
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Looking forward to trying a Midnight Sun beer for a long time. Yay!

Pours a ruddy dark brown. Big tan foam head that settled down to a tan crust. Decent looking, though, to be honest, I hate brown beers.

Smells like rich malt caramel malt, some piney, grapefruity hops, and boozy dark fruits. Taste is incredibly rich. I think it makes my teeth hurt. Just boozy plums, with a caramel malt and raison base, and there is definitely a balancing, bitter hop content. But, it's a very muted citrus component.

Nice sticky, thick mouthfeel. Impressive.

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Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

07/09/08. - - Courtesy of tpd975. Pours amber with tan head. The aroma is big and inviting with caramel and rich dark fruity esters of grapes, plums and sweet berries before it heats up a bit. The taste is rich and yummy but does have some alcohol welling up. I get creamy caramel candy and some nutty roasty malts. Then the big dark fruitiness comes in and rides into the finish along with a warming alcohol sensation. Leaves a sweet lip smacking feeling behind. <br /><br /> Sampled at the O-Town throwdown. This beer has a nearly opaque copper color with thin tan head. The aroma is pretty big with lots of dark fruitiness and with hints of caramel and sweet malts. There also seems to be some whisky and alcohol in the background. The flavor is delicious barleywine dark and shriveled fruit flavors with a whisky and sweet caramel under currents. It ends sweet, syrupy and rather nice.

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Photo of 0110x011
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on Good Mojo Day. Reviewed from my (backlogged) notes.

A - Dark, ruddy red brown. Ruby red highlights when held to the light. Thick, tight mother of pearl head. Thick, chunky lacing all the way down.

S - Insanely pungent nose. Fig and prune fruits combine with leathery earth. Huge barrel influence; major wood and vanilla. Hazelnut and walnut. Some minor noble hop grassyness is barely perceptible, but there.

T - This is a malt bomb like I have never had. Dark figgy fruits & brown sugar sweetness. Oaky vanilla. Hazelnut, walnut and almond. Leather. Spiciness and booze combine for a brandy-like character. ABV shows, but not overtly. According to my notes, "kicks like a mule."

M - Thick & syrupy. "Coats like lacquer." Fine carbonation keeps it from getting too heavy.

D - A sipper, to say the least.

A unique and spectacular take on the style. A beer to be sought out by any barleywine lover.

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Photo of alexgash
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle served at 45 degrees F.

Pours a slightly opaque maple syrup brown. Lighter edges. Small, tight, wispy, khaki brown head. Nose of rich caramel, sherry, Madeira, more caramel, vinous tannins, brandied fruits, and a whiff of chocolate pudding. Complex and very impressive.

Warming reach of brandy-soaked dark fruits up front. Develops some caramel malt sweetness with a vinous edge. Hints of vanilla, sherry, and oak. Rich cookie and caramel malt settle in mid-palate before giving way to warming alcohol and mildly herbal bitter hops. Long finish with lingering caramel, toffee, and fruit. Full-bodied with a thick, lush, creamy feel. Very nice!

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Photo of ffejherb
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bomber into snifter on 8/31/09. Thanks to FooFaa for sharing!

A - Poured a really dark mahogany with burgundy hues and a thin beige ring that reduced to a patchy film. Pretty muddy-looking with lots of yeast chunks collecting at the bottom of the glass.

S - Initial aroma opens with a huge waft of alcohol and some caramel and toffee sweetness as well as hints of real licorice and tangy dark fruit akin to raisins, prunes and dried apricots. Nose is quite boozy and chock full of sharp alcohol notes.

T - Where to begin? This complex barleywine begins with plenty of chocolate and toffee sweetness with a tangy pitted fruit character reminiscent of plums, black cherries and raisins, the latter of which is most apparent. Some warm alcohol notes emerge in the wake of the huge malt presence. Hop bitterness is surprisingly scant overall. Chocolate character really opens up in the finish.

M - Full bodied with a syrupy texture and somewhat prickly mouthfeel. Warm and boozy on the palate, which really gives this barleywine a thick, beefy character. Finishes quite sweet on the palate.

D - Hot damn! This is without a doubt one of the tastiest, most complex barleywines I've ever had. I was indeed stunned. Simply put, Arctic Devil is a fantastic traditional English style barleywine to say the least. I would even go so far as saying this is the finest of its kind available anywhere.

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

Shared at a tasting last night with a few fellow BA’s. 2011 vintage.

Appearance – Pours into a tulip with a relatively clear dark brown color with a hint of off white/tan head that dissipates rather quickly.

Smell – Lots of bourbon and vanilla, caramel, oak, slight molasses, dark fruits such as prunes, and a some hoppy aromas.

Taste – A nice burnt caramel/toffee flavor up front that is sweet but not overly so. The bourbon and oak mixed with vanilla comes next. For as “fresh” of a barleywine as this is (and I know all are unique) it is not overly hoppy which is good (didn’t like the excessive hoppiness in fresh Behemoth). Candied toffee and dark fruits finish up the sip that you want to warm on your tongue to enjoy the full range of flavors. Very nice.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, chewy, moderate carbonation.

Overall – A very good barleywine and one that I could not even taste the alcohol despite it being 13+abv. Glad I have another to lay down.

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Photo of stumac
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my buddy Onslow for this brew. I did a blind tasting on this one and I couldn't guess the style. I guessed a doppelbock. "A doppel, ass clown?" says Onslow. I suck...lol

Aged for 1 year....

pours up a brown color with amber edges and a small tan head. the nose is lots of malts (the malts smell foreign, maybe German?), mollasses, powdered chocolate. Wooo! A nice big beer! I taste chocolate powder, subtle caramel, very earthy, yeasty, subtle fruit, sweet. Full bodied, low carbo, very smoothe. I do love me some Midnight Sun!

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

22oz bottle from weefisheads via trade. Thanks for the opportunity. Bottled Nov05.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" light brown head above the clear burgundy brew. Head holds on nicely, with heavy, slow-to-fall lace. Aroma is sweetness, dark fruit, and alcohol, all well proportioned. Taste is creamy maltiness upfront, dark fruit and touch of tanned leather in the middle, and massaging alcohol warmth to close. Mouthfeel is wow smooth, and drinkability is scary dangerous for the abv. Seek this one out.

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

Thanks goes out to msubulldog25 for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Poured into a chalice a nice semi-cloudy dark brown color, some carbonation, nice little fizzy tan head, which leaves som oil slicks and sticky lacing. The nose is malty, some hops, licorice, toffee, some vanilla, alcohol, and caramel. The taste is sweet at first sip, big malts/toffee/alcohol, tones of vanilla and caramel. Medium body, very nice brew, might be a tad too much on the alcohol though, but still very tasty, could turn some people off. Very drinkable, this is the best MS brew for me so far, a very tasty EBWSA. Thanks Brian.

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Photo of Donnie2112
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured the bomber into my Brooklyn chalice. 2010 batch

Looks like: This barleywine is dark amber with a thin layer of head that retains decently

Smells like: Very sweet, raisins, brown sugar, molasses on the nose.

Tastes like: Starts as sweet as the nose, then there is a bit of sourness, but not at all offensive. A hair of green apple mixed into all of the sweet dark fruit and sugar flavors. This beer finishes a bit on the dry side with just a hint of citric hoppiness, and the light peppery burn of alcohol.

Feels like: It's a meal in a glass really, full, thick, sticky, oily and delicious. There is moderate carbonation and it's just enough to make the whole thing pop

Really nice offering, the complexity of the flavor profile really makes this beer shine, it's got the right amount of big sticky malt flavor and the right amount of hops. I actually would classify this as an American Barleywine, plenty of hops but not overbearing, lots of sugary, sticky goodness. I'd say this guy is too hoppy to be an English style BW and far too sweet to be a DIPA.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008. drank from champagne flutes.
oh we are fancy men, indeed. to celebrate a successfully brewed monstrous stout a bit early, it was time to ride the snake. we were quickly enveloped in a fire of vanilla, toffee, and caramel. slight whiskey kick, little bit of fruits. it's like floating on a rolling flame over the minions crying below. no hop presence, all malt and sin. really quite outstanding, glad to have shared it with some good men, happy there are a few more bottles of that left. so sumptuous, thick but without too much sweetness, damn nice.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22oz. blinded bomber, thanks to stupac2, poured into a Crux snifter, thanks to libbey...

A: Pours pitch black with minimal dark khaki colored head. The foam settles quickly atop the beer, leaving a tiny ring of bubbles along the edges of the glass. The beer has a bit of legs and almost no lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is roasty and sweet. I get burnt toast, raisin, caramel, black licorice, and booze.I'd venture that this has definitely seen the inside of a barrel.

T: The beer starts off sweet and coating. I get sweet malt, and mild roast up front. The raisin notes and caramel really come to life after the initial hit. The beer is spicy in the back end as the barrel brings the alcohol to the forefront. The finish is a solid mix of plums, dates, raisins, roast, caramel, and booze. Solid.

M: Full bodied beer. It's sweet and coating up front, smooth in the middle as it coats the palate, and finishes velvety until the boozy heat and spice tighten it up in the finish.

O: This is a really excellent BA beer. I loves the soft roast in the start and the smooth and sweet feel throughout. The finish is pretty darn near perfect. Super enjoyable.

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

2007 bomber into a Stone Old Guardian tulip. BIG thanks to hopsleeroy for bringing this my way...been wanting to try it for a while.

Pours a deep sienna hue with hints of mahogany at the edges. Dark custard head composed of tightly packed bubbles that retains well and builds quickly with a swirl of the glass. Intricate, intoxicating aroma of maple syrup, caramel, toffee, and a pungent, boozy alcohol note. All in perfect syncopation with one another (aka, great balance).

Taste matches the aroma well, with lots of complex toffee malts and a flavorful boozy liquor presence of brandy and rum. Bread and biscuits lurk in the background with a pinch of earthen hops. Body is smooth to no end (not creamy), with a near-perfect carbonation level and a medium-thick mouthfeel. I really enjoyed this beer, not only a fantastic introduction to Midnight Sun, but a great barleywine as well! Highly recommended.

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Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,321 ratings.
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