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Arctic Devil Barley Wine | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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Arctic Devil Barley WineArctic Devil Barley Wine
BA SCORE
4.36/5
Outstanding
1,349 Ratings
Arctic Devil Barley WineArctic Devil Barley Wine
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States
midnightsunbrewing.com

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.20%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Arctic Devil Barley Wine, aptly named after the ferocious wolverine of the north, is an English-style (meaning malt-inclined) barley wine. Though the recipe and process for Arctic Devil have evolved over the years, it is brewed once a year then aged in oak barrels for several months before the entire batch is blended, bottled and released.

In its youth, Arctic Devil gnarls and snarls its way across the palate. Containing this beast of a beer for long periods in oak barrels--some having previously aged port, wine or whiskey--tames the unleashed malt and fierce hop flavors, melding and mellowing this powerful liquid into an incredible elixir worthy of a brewer's table.

Each annual batch of Arctic Devil Barley Wine represents the brewers' resolve to create an intriguing and sought-after barley wine by precisely brewing to well-designed specifications, carefully selecting the type and combination of barrels to use for aging, and meticulously checking the beer as it ages. Distinct nuance and complexity are contributed by the wood's previous tenants, resulting in unique flavor profiles in each batch that continue to change over time. We invite you to savor Arctic Devil Barley Wine upon its release then cellar some for future enjoyment.

20 IBU

Added by Todd on 03-24-2005

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#350
Reviews:
382
Ratings:
1,349
pDev:
8.03%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
978
Gots:
311
Trade:
33
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,349 |  Reviews: 382
Photo of mothman
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Very solid ba bwine. Tons of barrel flavors. Coconut, vanilla, bourbon, oak, caramel, chocolate. Lots of great flavors here.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 22 oz brown bottle; packaged November 2004.

The Arctic Devil is a devil to be sure! This little nip will sneak up on you quick!

It pours a clear, dark-chestnut body with a reddish-cast and glowing crimson and orange highlights. What head comes up initially is a yellow tan; but it doesn't hold for long and leaves only a few spots of lace here and there (which can sometimes happen with stronger beers).

The nose is malty, caramelish, toffee-ish, and lightly hoppy with a leafy side.

The body is full, and it moves across the tongue with a light zest from its exceptionally fine, moderate carbonation (and perhaps some alcohol sting as well!) before warming to become more dextrinous.

Toffee and molasses dominate the flavor, backed by dark sweet fruit (prune, raisin, red grape, some fig), a rub of leafy hops, and a spritz of spicy alcohol. It's rich and malty, but not overly sweet due to it's solid bitterness and alcohol. It finishes with some residual maltiness entwined in drying alcohol that fades to reveal some even longer lingering dull-bitterness.

A better head retention, a touch more complexity, and a little less alcohol would bring this up into world class status! Very nice!

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Photo of olradetbalder
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of oberon
4.07/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Before I review I must say beware of this devil it f*ckin will bite you!Just newly bottled on November 5th this bad boy poured a deep amber with a thin off white head,incredible complexities in the aroma vanilla,oak and kentucky whiskey really hits and hits hard really waking up the senses and quite appetizing.Now I really liked the flavors of this beer but whoo they hit ya,very woody and whiskish (if thats a word) with vanilla and caramel standing out as well.The alcohol burn steals the show it actually burned my nose going down.This beer weighs in at 14% alc although the label says 10% that according to the head brewer at Midnight Sun and it feels like more than that.A very good very complex barley wine but these need to be laid down for awhile thats for sure.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.62/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 edition shared by SonicAlligator at the Sexual Chocolate release.

Pours a dark chestnut brown with a small, tight head. Loads of things going on in the aroma department: bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and bits of dark fruit. Taste is very similar, with the barrel-aging really coming through; love the combo that Midnight Sun has done. Unbelievably lush mouthfeel--super creamy with the perfect tint of alcohol warmth (which was quite necessary waiting out there in line). Great drinkability. One of my all-time favorite barleywines.

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Photo of nickfl
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
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 dcmchew
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Kegatron
4.17/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a couple of snifters. 2007 vintage. 10% ABV.

Pours a ruddy brown, with a thin sudsy head of light mocha foam. This whips up a rich cascade up onto the sides of the glass, leaving back thick swathes of lacing. The aroma is quite dense and flavorful with notes of cocoa, molasses, oak, vanilla, and then some tea-like qualities that alternate between being tannic and herbal feeling in the nose.

The taste is equally robust, with heavy flavors of brown sugar, chocolate, molasses, green tannins, and then notes of roast and some dark fruit on the back. There is some heavy oxidation going on with this, which combos with the more woody character that is present to leave this VERY dry on the finish. Honestly, one of the driest that I’ve felt on a beer in a long time. The mouthfeel is full bodied and sharp up front which then gives way to more of a chewy creaminess along the back. This is hugely smooth for the size, with the alcohol contributing some added sweetness and spice to the profiles but not any real heat.

This was nice and aged very well, with that oxidation that was present mostly complimenting the other flavors and only got to be mildly distracting in spots. This was very rich and smooth overall though and I was glad that I finally found a proper time to open this guy. Now I just need to find a fresh bottle to compare…

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Photo of vfgccp
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%

2013 bottle, opened Sept. 2014

A – Stellar looking barleywine. Deep cranberry and sienna body with golden ruby and black cherry highlights. Beige white head pours half a finger high.

S – Wonderfully smooth. Great golden raisin note with peat moss, sweet molasses, prune, oak, cream soda, light vanilla, caramel, and heavy cream.

T – Sweeter than I expected (even for an English barleywine), but still outstandingly bold and delicious. Black cherry, molasses, smooth melted caramel, vanilla, oak, and woody hops with a creamy gingerbread finish.

M – Full bodied and relatively smooth while maintaining a pleasantly barleywine-esque boozy warmth.

O – An outstanding brew. This just might be the 4th best barleywine I've had to date, behind Sucaba, Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine, and BCB Barleywine.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
4.45 Arctic Devil
--- -Jay- -Jon- -Anth- -Vin- -Avg- Weight
A - 4.75 4.75 ------- 4.75 4.75 10%
S - 5.00 4.75 ------- 4.75 4.83 20%
T - 4.25 4.25 ------- 4.25 4.25 40%
M - 4.30 4.00 ------- 4.25 4.18 10%
O - 4.40 4.40 ------- 4.50 4.43 20%

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Photo of billab914
4.46/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage picked up from liquid Solutions. Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter glass. Pours a caramel brown color with a small off-white covering. The head mostly clung to the sides of the glass and left a little lacing as I drank it.

Aroma is malty and sweet with some caramel and dark fruit. It also shows the vanilla, wood and whiskey from the barrel aging. There is a little alcohol present in the nose as well. It's a complex aroma that has a lot of things going on but they meld together pretty well.

The taste starts out with some caramel sweetness but finishes with the oak, vanilla and whiskey character. it has a little alcohol spiciness to it in the finish but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel is on the heavier side with low carbonation. Drinkability is good. It's a pleasure to drink but at aver 13% you just can't drink too much of it.

Overall this was a fantastic beer, it really displayed the barrel aged characteristics well without being too overwhelming. The maltiness of it came through very well and was complemented by the barrel aging, unlike some I try where it tastes like a shot of bourbon was added to the beer. Really enjoyed this one but now I have to take a nap after drinking the bottle myself.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%

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

Photo of Gkruszewski
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of PhineasMcClintock
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of paulish
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of XmnwildX12
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of mendvicdog
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of russpowell
4.76/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Purchased from bottletrek $16, plus delivery. Here's hoping it lives up to the hype!

Pours an effervescent ruby tinged chestnut with 2+ fingers of fluffy sand colored head. Average lacing & head retention for the style, nice viscous look

S: Oaky, vanilla notes along with other bourbon notes, plus figs

T: Rich dark fruit, singed dark sugar, molasses, & a bit of booze warmth/burn up front. English Christmas pudding, a bit of chocolate, dryness & subtle leafy/herbal hoppyness as this warms some more. Finishes dry, with tons of dark fruit, leafy hops, & more Christmas pudding, if I could give this an A++ I would

MF: Gooey, with near zero carbonation, luscious!

Drinks great for the style & this is a great English Barley wine with a bit of a twist, this devil will get to you before you get to him! Great offering, better than this rating! But very few beers/wines or liquors are worth this price (unless bootlegged)

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Okay, so I was a bit hasty. I was just so eager to finally crack open the bottle of Arctic Devil that I made no note of its production year. Now, this beer was received in a trade waaay back in early 2008 (mid-February, IIRC). So, if we suppose it was, at the time, a current bottle, it was from the November 2007 release, making it a 2007 vintage. Let's roll with that!

2007 Vintage.

Appearance: Pours a delicately hazy, deep, russet-hued body with a thin, wispy, ecru-colored head.

Smell: Strong, sweet-smelling malt aroma with plenty of dark caramel, toasted toffee, and brown sugar. While there is a ripe plum and dried fig fruit character, it's simply bursting at the seems with a rich cherry fruitiness. There's even room enough for vanilla, damp oaken barrels, and some nose-tingling alcoholic wafts.

Taste: Thickly sweet and oh-so delectable dark caramel ice cream topping flavor garnished with a pinch of hearty cinnamon and brown sugar. Plenty of fruitiness, and, as with the nose, it's big on the cherries! Drizzle of Grade A maple syrup straight from Vermont. Touches of vanilla and lightly tannic oak wood. An earthy bitterness melds in well with the rest of the brew. Now, mind you, there's an ample amount of alcohol warmth coursing through this brew, but, thanks to the assertive maltiness, it prevents it from coming across as overly hot. Finishes long with plenty of drying alcohol and an enduring maltiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is both silky and smooth.

Drinkability: Another skillful release from Midnight Sun. Barleywines are addicting enough on their own, but Arctic Devil takes it to a whole new level of hedonistic indulgence. Overall, an exemplary brew!

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.71/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2011 Vintage. Review from notes.

A: Pours a brown color with a small tan head on top that quickly reduces leaving a thin ring on top. Minimal lacing.

S: Sort of vegetal, a little caramel and and brown sugar. Some dark fruit mixed in.

T: The flavor is a bit better than the aroma, but was hoping for more. Others who had previously had it said it had certainly fallen off. Caramel and toffee with some brown sugar with a bit of the vegetalness coming back.

M: Medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

O: Really had high hopes, might have just had a bad bottle, or one that might have been a little too old? Will hopefully have this one again and will rereview if needed.

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Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.82/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hugely tarnished copper (like an old penny) with raspberry cordial highlights. I'll take it as a good sign that Arctic Devil is incredibly murky to the point of opacity, a much different look than the gemstone-like lucency of most barleywines. The caramel colored cap looked good right after the pour and looks good as it slowly recedes. Too bad the ABV is a lace killer.

The nose is fantastic! I loved what reached me on the pour and I love it just as much up close. As the style dictates, there isn't a whole lot of hoppiness. That's okay because the aroma is incredible without it. Rich caramel, earthy leather and cherry pipe tobacco lead the way.

As I was pretty sure it would be, Arctic Devil is tremendous beer. My first mouthful told me that it's the best English barleywine that has ever entered my glass. Nothing else even comes close. I need more hoppiness than this for perfection to be a consideration, but this beautifully aged ale is very nearly there. I'm not sure if it's just over two years old or just over three.

What a delicious concoction. The brewery must have used a few tons of caramel malt and included 'who know what else' to get the beer to taste this rich and complex. My description of the nose applies on the palate as well, so I think I'll use it again. Stickysweet and bitter and earthy weave around one another like three strands of a supple barleywine rope. Start it out barely cool, like I did, and your tongue just might explode from sensory overload.

I've changed my mind. When a beer nails a style with this degree of precision, when I'd rather sit and savor it than finish the review, that beer deserves the ultimate compliment of a perfect flavor score. I wish I knew what the oak barrels that were used to age this masterpiece previously contained. Midnight Sun says that there are one of three possibilities for each batch: port, wine or whiskey.

Given the sweet, caramelized sugar that is oozing all over my taste buds, I'll go with bourbon whiskey. Then again, there's a fruity vinousness that suggests port. It really doesn't matter in the end. Whatever was used, I hope my next bottle is placed in the same sort of barrel.

I've had bigger mouthfeels, but I don't know that I've had a more silky smooth big mouthfeel than this one. Lucious doesn't quite capture it. How about superduperfreakinamazinglucious? Every other brewer of barleywines should drink this beer and take copious notes.

I must admit, I expected good to great things from Arctic Devil Barley Wine, but I didn't expect the magnum opus that is currently occupying my snifter. If you love great beer, do yourself a favor and do anything it takes to acquire a bomber of this outstanding elixir. This is my new gold standard for the English barleywine style.

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Arctic Devil Barley Wine from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.36 out of 5 with 1,349 ratings
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