Arctic Devil Barley Wine | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
96
world-class
1,335 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,335 |  Reviews: 377
Photo of JRod1969
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%

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.

 1,399 characters

Photo of BeerBucks
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of mikeincharleston
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of tbone1384
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of calcnerd
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of ystazi
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of ncaudle
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

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

Time to finish the year with a highly rated brew, sent to me by beerbeing in the BA annv club – many thanks again.

The 2005 brew poured a murky caramel brown, capped with a fair amount of tan head and lace – this with a 10% alcohol lurking within.

Nice aroma of caramel, plums, raisons and the BW malt. All these aspects fire up in the taste, along with a bit of an alcohol burn in the finish – after almost 3 years??

Still overall it remains smooth and sweet – perfect fit for an English BW. Yum, a real treat, Happy New Year!

 534 characters

Photo of mychalg9
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A little hot but still tasty

28 characters

Photo of Kramerbarthomer
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Adamostella
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of vonnegut21
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of JakerLou
4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of bostonryan
5/5  rDev +14.9%

Photo of Sean9689
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to spycow for this one. 2007 vintage into Narke tulip.

A - Pours a brownish/reddish color, off-white head, thin collar.

S - Caramel, smooth booze, oak, burnt sugars. A nice level of sweetness and booze, not too hot and not too sweet. The caramel notes are excellent and the bourbon melds perfectly.

T - Caramel, toasty malts, smooth bourbon, oak, burnt sugars. Again, a perfect mix of sweetness and booze for the style. Just how I like it. The booze has smoothed out nicely since 2007...really a nice vintage.

M - Medium, soft carbonation, creamy boozy finish.

O - A excellent English Barleywine. The combo of booze and sweetness is really well-done and I really don't have much bad to say about this beer. Try it!

 726 characters

Photo of halo3one
3.77/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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.

 1,837 characters

Photo of homebrew311
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Received my box from Beership of 6 of these... been wanting to try this one for a while. Poured into Half Acre snifter. Appearance is really dark, much darker than most barleywines. Small rim of tan head dissipates quickly. Nose is rich and full of layers. Notes of caramel, molasses, chocolate, raisin, vanilla, leather, and tobacco. Taste is just as complex as the nose with highlights of molasses, chocolate, and raisins. The bourbon is mellow and melds nicely with everything going on. Mouthfeel is thick with mild carbonation. Overall, incredibly complex barleywine.

 571 characters

Photo of ehammond1
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2011)

Thanks for opening this with me, baybassboy!

Dark chestnut in color, with a small, tightly bubbled light khaki colored head that remains a small ring round the top of the beer for the duration. Small bubbles dot the glass.

Rich, sweet, malt-forward aroma of caramel, oak, earth, candied sugars, and dark fruits. Complex.

The flavor follows the aroma, and the alcohol is marvelously well hidden. The sweet, earthy, and fruity malt characters play nicely against the wood. Complete and very nice.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Fantastic.

 566 characters

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

Bought this one from Liquid Solutions back in late 2007 / early 2008. I believe its a 2007 vintage and it says 10% abv on the label. I had bought about 15 of these bombers back at that time and traded / gave away as extras 14 of them. This is the one and only bottle I saved for myself.

Appearance: Pours a slightly murky deep caramel to auburn with a minimal beige crown that displays little retention or lace.

Smell: Quite a nice mixture of caramel malt, raisins, a touch of oxidation, brown sugar, and hints of alcohol.

Taste: Same as the nose but a bit more oxidation then I enjoy. Should have cracked this one opened a year ago :( Then again I didn't have it at cellar temperatures the entire past 4 years, so one in cellar temperatures for 4 years might be perfect right now. Still a great barley wine and I'd give this bottle a 4.2 if I could so I'm rounding down a bit.

Mouthfeel: Thick body with minimal carbonation. Rib sticking and nice for this freak cold spell we are currently experiencing.

Overall: Probably an excellent barleywine that is merely very very good right now.

 1,093 characters

Photo of DIPAFAN
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of Exiled
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

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

22oz bomber. 2011 Vintage. 13.4% ABV.

Pours a deep translucent mahogany. A very small beige head quickly dissipates to a small ring.

Aroma brings on strong dry-bread malt with hints of vanilla and sherry. A touch of sulphur. Noticeable alcohol.

Flavor of the malt is much more toffee-like than the aroma. A lot of oak and vanilla from the barrel aging. Still getting a little of that sulphur. Tobacco notes. Sweet through the middle and then finishes with a dry alcohol note. The heat comes on after a few sips but flavor wise the alcohol is extremely well blended.

Medium-full bodied with a nice moderate amount of carbonation. Slick and very drinkable given the strength.

A great beer at this age and one that you can tell will get even better with age.

 760 characters

Photo of snaotheus
4.07/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2015-04-19
22oz bottle split between a pair of snifters. 218 D-1 1153 is the bottle code.

Pours turbid grayish brown with a very small head. Very little carbonation. Smell is mild -- bourbon, yeast, fruit.Not sure what fruit. I seem to get a little pear or apple and a little plum or cherry.

Taste is a blast in the face compared to the aroma. Bourbon and brown sugar, nutty, alcohol. Vanilla. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel is smooth and almost velvety. Overall, the taste is very good, and the rest of the beer doesn't live up to it. Would still definitely drink it again.

---
2016-02-27
Had a 3oz pour of the '13 at Hard Liver Fest. I thought it was probably the best beer there, gave it much higher scores than I did in my original review. Extremely bourbon forward.

 765 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe