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
Ratings:
1,335
Reviews:
377
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
8.05%
 
 
Wants:
983
Gots:
311
For Trade:
33
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,335 |  Reviews: 377
Photo of tobelerone
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage.

Pours a coppery brown, with a cap of lighter brown foam and patchy lacing here and there. Complex aroma; toffee and brown sugar; a hint of maple; whiskey and wood; lots of dark fruit like plums, raisins, and figs.

The flavor is equally complex. The most surprising and memorable note was that of maple; there also a good deal of brown sugar/toffee flavor and caramel, more fruit, and plenty of bourbon boozines. Alcohol present but not overly aggressive in the flavor; more noticed as a pleasant warmth in the belly after the swallow.

Medium bodied, perhaps a little thinner than anticipated. Would benefit from a bit more heft, in my estimation. Medium carbonation, quite smooth and silky.

A very nice barrel-aged barleywine that falls perhaps a hair short of the best in class. Wish I had been able to try past vintages; also wish I had more than the single bottle to so I could sock a few away for aging.

 926 characters

Photo of dar482
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in a dark reddish copper brown.

The beer has sweet bourbon, lots of caramel and toffee, a hint of nuttiness, some vanilla. The middle has cherry skin There is some tobacco, oak, woodiness, earthy, and bourbon on the finish.

The mouthfeel is silky smooth without being syrupy. It's chewy and gorgeous. The alcohol is very hidden and tastes more towards at 10% beer.

Absolutely delicious barrel aged barleywine. One of the best I've had.

 453 characters

Photo of AngusOg
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

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

Pours a thick, viscous , hazy, dark chestnut with a thin swirly head that disappears to a thin ring. Smells rich, malty, winey, and syrupy with some spicebox notes and yeasty fruitiness. The taste is huge and thick and spicy. Quite sweet up-front, but spicy, tannic, and dry at the finish. Big pine spiciness, some rich cellared fruit, alcohol heat, sweet mat, and a big tannic bitterness. This is a huge, over-the-top beer- and I love it! Mouthfeel is rich and viscous and tannic and hot. Can't drink too much of this stuff!

 525 characters

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!

 1,477 characters

Photo of enelson
5/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of BARFLYB
4/5  rDev -8%

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

Candy-apple red dusted in a heavy clay soil. The colour isn't easy to capture with words, it combines various tones spread across an incredibly murky and convoluted complexion. It is dark and concealed but allows lucid glimpses of colour when up to the light. The head was initially quite prominent for a beer its strength. Since, however, its top has regressed to the flat and utterly bare surface you might expect from a beer of this potent volume.

The brewery advertises this as an English-style barleywine, stressing that it is "malt-inclined". If you're looking for face-smacking, tongue-blistering hops look a little further south on America's West Coast. This offers the virtues of subtlety and elegance. You don't have to sniff hard to find what it offers but doing so will certainly make you appreciate it more. Be sure to take big, long inhalations to appreciate all the complexity.

The brewery divulges that the beer was oak-aged but the previous contents of these vessels is left up for speculation. The only clue being that some barrels may have previously contained port, wine or whiskey leaves also the supposition that some may not have contained anything at all, or something completely different. By smell alone I've the faintest clue - there is simply too much going on.

In some ways, this combination of wood, malts, esters and alcohols is like a bunch of musicians all playing off-key individually. If this brewer is talented then he will group them together like a true orchestra leader... and, upon my first few sips, it seems he has.

Where to begin? Like a good meal, a barleywine in any style should offer a complexity of flavour with an interaction between a number of varietal characters. Indeed, this does. The malts are sugary and sickeningly sweet. They begin to resemble dried and over-ripened fruits, including especially raisins, plums, cherry. They also impart toasted grains and a caramel-like richness with hints of nuts, nougat, chocolate and coffee.

The certain consequence of such flavours is decadent richness. The beer is sweet, it is indulgently flavourful and above all it is mighty strong. The barrel's previous contents (which I'm becoming sure must have been bourbon) contribute a dangerous level of alcohol. Although I can't see any flames shooting from my nostrils, I can occasionally feel them. Midnight Sun surely keeps Alaskans' heating bills down.

Arctic Devil is supposedly named after some ferocious northern wolverine but I'd say, to steel an analogy, it more resembles a horse. Its strength and maltiness lends it the sturdy, strong qualities of a plow horse. The barrel aging has lent it the elegant virtues of a showmanship thoroughbred. It is what breeders would call a half-breed.

It's not always about how a beer looks or tastes, it's how you engage with it. Like the mighty stallion, this is something recognizably bigger than ourselves, to whom we treat with gentle praise and respect. You approach and interact with the beer in slow, respectful sips. You both acknowledge and appreciate its power. And, in this case, I must also acknowledge and appreciate the generous BuckeyeNation for providing me with the sample!

 3,193 characters

Photo of eawolff99
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 release; Sampled January 2009
Served at around 60°F / 15.6°C. The beer pours into my 25cl tulip glass with a three-finger thick, amber tinged, full tan colored head. The beer is a dark, concentrated amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, deep cranberry hue when held up to the light. The aroma first hits with sticky hop aromatics but is soon backed by a solid malt note. Up front there are notes of grapefruit zest and pine needles, but the sticky, candied malt character seems to slowly win out over the hop character. Malt aromatics of brown-sugar crusted raisins, toasted-toffee-glazed pastries, perhaps a hint of cherry notes and a light, toasted nut note that because of the sweet malt reminds me of candied nuts. The hop character is never totally subsumed by the malt, it seems to add a sort of green, sort of herbal vegetation type thing to the nose.

Very sweet and rich feeling, up front there is a solid herbal hop note as well as a reasonable bitterness in the finish, but this beer is really about the malt. Rich notes of toffee, brown sugar and a touch of cocoa along with a deep, toasted malt note make this quite the chewy beer. The finish has a bit of warm alcohol to it that along with the sweet malts reminds me a bit of a dark rum; the alcohol warmth is brought out by some spicy oak notes and there also seems to be a touch of vanillin noticeable underneath the sweet malt. There is a touch of toasted, not quite roasted grain here, it adds a touch of almost bitterness that couples with the astringency from the tannic oak, both of which provide some balance to the dominant sweet malt.

After noticing the oak in the flavor, I can now pick it up in the aroma; it adds a soft spiciness and probably exacerbates the green hop notes a bit as well. The hop character though seems to completely fade into the background after this has breathed for a bit; much of the sharp, un-integrated character was likely from the barrel, and it still is a bit jarring. Somehow, despite not being the most well integrated beer, this just oozes potential. Part of the charm of this beer for me is the fact that I can just see this aging so well.

I am disappointed in myself for not getting two bottles of this. The hop character in this fresh example are really a distraction, despite how slight they are (though they are magnified a bit by the sharp oak character), I want this beer to be all about the malt and I have the feeling that a bit of age will make this beer fantastic; the hops, and even the oak character should round out considerably and the beer should turn into heaven in a glass.

Purchased: Liquid Solutions

 2,643 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottling picked up tonight at Brewforia in Meridian.. Label says 13.40% abv ... shared with the wife... but the Lion's share goes into my small CC goblet.. no real head or lacing.. the brew is a crystal clear deep amber.

Aromas show thick malt .... raisin and dark plum.. figgy and tons of boozy deep wood.... vinous and thick "Mall caramel" ... damn.. tons of vanilla and hefty malts...

Palate is soooo thick and wonderful.. big plum and fig.. dark fruits melt into caramel and figgy jam... slight citrus zest hoppy notes help balance.. dark raisins linger forever on the finish.

Thick and viscous... pretty much perfect right out of the bottle..

I've enjoyed Arctic Devil quite a few times fresh .... but actually prefer to let it age gracefully.

4.5/4.5/4.5/4/4

 776 characters

Photo of wrightst
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of John_M
3.71/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had the 2006 version of this beer at the 2007 Hard Liver festival at Brower's.

This was the first time I had this beer on tap, having previously tried it out of the bottle. Usually I prefer draft versions of beer, but this one might be better out of the bottle. No matter, it was still an excellent beer.

I believe this beer received honorable mention from the judges at this festival.

This beer was much darker then the other beers, and had something of smokey quality that none of the other beers had. Muted nose, but on the palate one got flavors of cola, caramel, and smoke. The beer was fairly viscuous, and was quite sweet. It ended with a long, smooth finish, with a hint of bitterness at the end. A good beer, but not as fine as I remembered.

 759 characters

Photo of yourefragile
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz 2009 bottle.

Pours a dark, cloudy amber brown color with a thin tan head. Aroma is a decadent blend of roast, oak, bourbon, vanilla, plum, raisin, brown sugar, caramel, and cherry. Extremely creamy and smooth body with a rich flavor similar to the nose; maple, cherry, raisin, plum, vanilla, bourbon and oak dominate the flavor. An all around, smooth, well balanced and complex barleywine.

 396 characters

Photo of Derek
3.69/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Turbid chestnut brown with a light tan head, tiny ring of retention has a little leg.

S: Dark raisins, figs, sponge-toffee, marmalade, sherry, beer nuts and a light spicing.

T: Alcohol forward; a little overly boozy. Figs, dark raisins, prunes, maraschino cherries, brown sugar, sponge toffee, marmalade, roasted nuts, hints of cocao, resiny bitterness, a little over-the-top for an English Barleywine.

M: Full body has some residual sweetness, modest carbonation.

D: A bold sipper.

Over-rated.

 502 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.62/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at Beachwood I, 2010 vintage

A: Pours a light mahogany, good lace with a long lasting off-white head.

S: Great nose. Full of vanilla bean and oak, brown sugar.

T: Lots of malt flavour, the IBUs being 20 I expect it. Vanilla, wood tannin, toffee, light berry. Bit of an unappetizing sugar character to this, but the other flavours are quite good.

M: Full-bodied, rich, definitely cloying at places, a sipper.

O: This is a barleywine that's still incredibly young, this certainly needs 2-3 years to dry out and possibly become really good. Right now it's just adequate.

 579 characters

Photo of KAF
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

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

Photo of redfox405
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of dwagner003
4.14/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of mrn1ceguy
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Kelp
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of lupercmda
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

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.

 210 characters

Photo of NickThePyro
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,335 ratings.
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