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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 SkinnyElvis
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to beerbeing for a bottle as a gift. I am splitting this bottle with blitheringidiot. This is fantastic. It is classified as an English barley but it is close to an American in taste. Just a little head & is very malty and thick with a hint of sweetness. This is a great sipper. Wow this is good.

Thanks again, Alex!

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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 timc100
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 Vintage -

Very bourbon dominated. Aroma of strong caramel, soaked oak, slight vanilla, coconut, straight bourbon whiskey. Slighter vinous fruit notes. Taste similarly dominated with bourbon, great rich barrel notes, caramel, booze. Mouthfeel is slick, smother, very low carbonation. Fantastic barrel aged english style barleywine

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Photo of abuliarose
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark ruby body with thin creamy head that devolves into a ring fed by lacy bubbles. Enjoying this one out of my Rock Art tulip. Smells like candied fig (fig molasses, anyone?) with a little burnt caramel and some decent alcohol presence. In effect, smells like dessert!

Tastes sweet and smooth with fine, tingly carbonation. Medium to heavy-bodied in a grade B maple syrup way. Lots of dried dark fruit presence. Caramel malts come out nicely. A lot of sherry likeness, maybe even a little bourbon. I guess that's the aging process coming through. Some wine character in the aftertaste. Many flavors; this brew has a nice depth to it. Very slippery on the tongue. Quite warming. Not what I would consider to be highly drinkable... though I find it highly sip-able. Carbonation lightens it a fair amount, but not enough to cut through the syrupiness. Would like to try this on french toast.

My only wish: for it to come in smaller bottles. Or with a hinge cap. Otherwise, it's quite yummy.

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Photo of tjthresh
3.68/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours dark clear brown without much head. Buckets of hops in the nose with chocolate covered caramels. Some nice cherry as well. This thing has tons of hot alcohol, but there's still plenty of malt and hops. Good stuff, but I'd hoped for better.

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Photo of kbeals
3.48/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Huge thanks to rhinos00 for getting me this at DLD!!

A- Vigorous pour yields a murky brown brew with a half inch of tan head. Head dissipates down to a crown leaving a small amount of lacing.

S- Vanilla, lots of caramel malts with even a touch of bitterness detectable in the smell. Slight licorice aroma comes into play in the background as well.

T- Licorice seems to dominate up front followed by huge doses of caramel, vanilla and even some chocolate. A bit boozy IMO, not sure of what vintage this is.

M- Nice heavy body with little carbonation. Pretty much what I expected.

D- Well, the booziness and sweetness of this beer got to me after a while. A good beer but there are better examples of the style out there.

Thanks again for this one Alex!

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Photo of mikecharley
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Haven't done a review in a while, so please excuse the rough nature of this one, as it is done live. '11 vintage, Taking this one down solo (probably a bad choice)

Pours a dark copper, with some brown notes in there, one finger head that quickly fades. No real lacing, but what do you expect for a 13% beast

Smells really good. Some wine, whiskey, barrel, vanilla, coconut, marshmallow, nuttiness. All melding nicely

Taste really does a good job delivering on the promise of the nose, as it tastes fan-fucking-tastic. The marshmallow is really good. I would explain this as a BB4D with a little more depth to the nose and flavor. Great brew. Nice full mouth too.

I would rank this the second best Barley Wine I've had, only behind Alpine Great.

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Photo of Kuaff
4.61/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A 2013 bomber poured into a snifter, at cellar temperature, of course. It's 13.4% ABV this year.

Midnight Sun's Arctic Devil Barley Wine has about as much of a head as can be expected from a beast of its kind. It's very small (maybe a half-finger), tan in color, and dissipates to a swirling sheet of film (in which I can see lively carbonation) relatively quickly. At first glance, I thought the beer to be a deep ruby, but dark mahogany is a better term for it. It isn't totally transparent, but it's pretty clear. A rugged-lookin' ale!

The aroma is simply wonderful. It smells of vanilla, butterscotch, and caramel, with a little dark fruit and bourbon.

Just about everything in the smell is also in the taste. It took me a while to think of what this reminds me of, and then it hit me: salted caramel! It's sweet like caramel candy, but there are other things in here that are complementing the sweetness in a similar manner to salt. It might be the little bit of bitter hops and breadiness that comes out in the aftertaste. There IS some alcohol heat as well, but it doesn't really detract from anything at all, and hey, it's 13.4%. With the intense taste and the high ABV, this one demands to be sipped. Overall, outstanding.

The mouthfeel is really awesome as well. High carbonation, buttery creaminess, and stickiness which I can feel on my lips... it all comes together to create an excellent feel for an English barleywine like this one.

Arctic Devil is aptly named after the wild and vivacious wolverine , for it presents a snarling (but sophisticated) blend of bold flavors in a natural-feeling harmony. This is one of the best offerings from a brewery which has a LOT of fantastic beers. Totally wicked.

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Photo of Tele
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type: Bottle
Consumed: 3.4.16

A: 4.5 Pours a fairly clear, reddish-brown. The minimal light tan head lasts less than a minute and doesn’t leave any lace behind.

S: 4.5 Aromas hit all the right English barleywine buttons with a good dose of bourbon. Lots of caramel, vanilla, toffee, raspberry, and boozy bourbon.

T: 4.25 The beer starts off very sweet and is a bit more one note than the nose suggested. Strong bourbon, brown sugar, and toffee are still present, but they dissipate rather quickly without leaving much complexity behind. Finish is slightly bitter and a little watery.

M: 4.25 Good body and carbonation. The sweetness hinders drinkability a bit.

O: 4.25 This is a really good barrel aged English barleywine, but there are a couple flaws that keep it behind Abacus and even BCBBW. Still excellent and worth trying, but there are also better options out there.

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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 orcasteve
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into my duvel tulip glass, poured a rich thick borwn that cant be seen through, a rich creamy five finger head rises to the top and stays awhile, the smell is rich grain and alchoal with a sweet fig overtone, the flavor is figs, hazelnuts, molasses, honney, sweet malt, a hint of folaral hops then malt for days. this hides the alochal well and is a beer that i would love to get more of

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Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Brewed in 2011, opened Mar 2015

Appearance – Pours a dark clear ruby copper color with a small head, no visible carbonation, and light lacing.

Smell – A pleasant barley wine scent, with lots of oak, caramel, brown sugar, and booze.

Taste – Caramel, malt, and booze.

Mouthfeel – Very smooth and creamy with light carbonation. Though it had a little booziness to it, it didn’t feel like 13.2%.

Drinkability – This is a nice barley wine. Surprisingly easy to finish a 22oz bottle at 13.2%.

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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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Photo of mikeyv35
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Date: 05/31/2010
Type: 22oz. Bottle
Vintage: 2008
Glassware: Portsmouth Tulip

Poured a brown mahoghany in color w/ a skim coat light brown head w/ little to no lacing. Nose was of toffee, caramel, dark fruits, and light tobacco. Taste was the same as the nose w/ a great bitter hop backbone that balances out the brew nicely. Mouthfeel was medium bodied and the tobacco and flavors really hung on the palate. Drinkability was my only drawback on this brew, as the booziness really started to get to me before I was finished w/ my snifter. If the ABV was kicked down a notch or two, I would have rated this brew as world class. Overall, great flavors and aromas, but pretty disappointed at how hot it was at even two years of age.

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Photo of bmeehan
3.47/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This beer is strong as hell. You expect that from a barleywine and from a beer that's 13.4% ABV, but this is strong behind that. I smell raisins and taste them too, and while it's nice to sip, it's just a little too overpowering to love.

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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! Update: absolutely CRUSHED that this beer is apparently no longer distributed in Oregon. Help!

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

2011 bottle sent to me by scotchboy. Gotta give a big thanks for this one.

A: Deep red-brown color. Nice off-white head form quickly and fades just as fast. Good legs and light lacing.

S: Bright, sweet, hoppy aroma. Lots of caramel malts. Maybe some spices, none that I can individually pick out. Hops and fruits stand out here.

T: The whiskey is relaxed and real sweet. It's very fruity and bright for the style. Sweet caramel, real soft whiskey. The hoppiest barleywine we've had so far, not real bitter but nice hop flavor. Nice woody vanilla makes this beer great.

M: Soft and smooth with a fluffy feel. Medium-heavy body.

O: A great barleywine. It kinda sucks that it followed king henry but this guy fought really hard to stand amongst the top of the crop. Great stuff. Nice woody vanilla makes this stuff great, it's an awesome flavor in this. Awesome flavors.

 873 characters

Photo of Impfan
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Amazing barleywine, almost more like an Imperial Stout/barleywine hybrid. Deep ruby/brown, almost black color with a remarkably syrupy, mouth-coating body. Flavors of bourbon, brandy, roasted dark chocolate, cappucino, cherries, plums, orange peel, toasted coconut, leather, tobacco, and spices.

There's definitely a good deal of heat, but this only adds more complexity, in a catalyst sort of way. Sucaba WAS my favorite barleywine, but this flavor/texture monster eclipses it.

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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 Gfunk720
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage. Thanks to Bill for this bottle.

A- A warm glowing ruby brown color. Pours with a mild slight off white head. The head retreats quickly to a ring around the glass. No lacing.

S- I get mostly notes of sweet malt, caramel, whiskey, and oak. There is some evidence of hops but nothing crazy. This is gonna be good.

T- Wow, one of the smoothest barleywines I've had. Very complex at the same time though. Prodominant notes of caramel, dark fruit. Whiskey and oak then become present, but it's not overdone. A little boozy, with hints of vanilla.

M- Very lightly carbed, could be due to the age. The mouthfeel and body though are great. The complex flavors just dance around in your mouth.

O- I really loved the smoothness and ease of consumption of this beeer, I just kept wanting more and more. I'd love to try a bottle that was a little fresher, and see what it is like. Will definitely seek out again.

-Gfunk

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

Arctic Devil

Bottled the last week of November 2008. Hard-poured in a DFH signature glass. 

A: The beer itself is colored deep ruby and has wonderful clarity. A tight nitro-looking head forms initially, but gradually subsides, leaving splotchy lacing. Lazy bubbles drift to surface. 

S: Caramel and light brown sugar mixed with leathery notes and cinnamon. As the beer opens up, some dark fruit and damp wood are detectible. Gingerbread, too. 

T: Arctic Devil doesn't taste the way I thought it would. Caramel and candied dark fruits lead the way. Then the barrel aging reveals itself with whiskey, cinnamon and a hint of vanilla. Bitterness takes over, clearing a path for a dry woody finish. Cola on the tail end. A little leather throughout. 

M: The beer's big body and moderate carbonation work together for a somewhat syrupy mouthfeel. Alcohol definitely warms throat and belly. 

D: I have a feeling I'm catching the Arctic Devil in it's adolescence. He has shaking off some of the youthful edge of barrel-aging but has yet to mellow into a proper English Barleywine. A fascinating sipping beer.

 1,114 characters

Photo of Czarkazm
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage, so about 1 year old. Brown pour but appears dark amber/red up to a light with a very small head consisting of medium sized bubbles. Bouquet includes strong caramel and toffee aromas, with burnt brown sugar, dark fruit, oak, and slight booze. Sticky sweet mouth feel, on the verge of cloying but this is expected in a 13.4% barleywine. More caramel and brown sugar sweetness in the taste, rum soaked raisins, the whiskey comes out more in the flavor along with the oak and vanilla, and a hint of spiciness.

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Photo of bret27
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

bottle courtesy of my pocketbook...
2008 Between 1-2 yrs old.

S: Coconut and vanilla, sunscreen, oak, tannins. I've never smelled such a strong coconut smell from a bw before. Outstanding imo.

A: Normal, yellowish/orange. Normal to low carb.

T: Pretty much same as smell, but the coconut is more of a backseat and booze is present, but in just the right warming amount

M/D: Medium thick body, just about right. Pretty boozey to be too drinkable, but fairly good for style.

Overall: Overall it would probably be in my top 5 for the style anyway.

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Photo of Doodler
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber picked up at Ledgers a year or so ago. Split with buds while watching the Broncos implode. Reddish brown pour with a light tan head. Aromas of oak, caramel, dark fruit and port wine. Flavors of molasses, sweet figs, and vanilla wafers upfront with some whiskey influence on the backside. Smooth and creamy palate with loads of malty sweetness on the finish. Pretty nice overall and a tasty BW.

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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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