Big Slick | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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Big SlickBig Slick
Very Good
44 Ratings
Big SlickBig Slick

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

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.90%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
This kick ass American Barley Wine is all about hops —Nugget, Chinook, Simcoe and Centennial. And, yeah, LoTs of ‘em. OK…there’s a substantial malt base on which these juicy Pacific NW hops lie down and do their dirty work. Maybe that’s too much info…

100 IBU

Added by AKBelgianBeast on 07-04-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 44 |  Reviews: 35
Reviews by BigMcLargeHuge:
Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been looking forward to trying this since I first heard about it from tpd975. Thanks for sharing this yummy beast. It poured clear copper with amber core and thin tan head. The aroma has a smooth full pine, grapefruit and resiny bitter hoppy goodness with a sense of a sweet malty base. The taste is full on hoppy pine bitterness then moving into resiny hop notes. By midway a modest level of thick sweet maltiness comes to the surface to create a brief safe haven from the persistent pestilent hops. Very tasty hop heavy barleywine.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Big thanks to grant for hookin it up with a bottle sample.

Don't know who the 12 year old kid on the label is, but this is Grant's Crew Brew. An american style barleywine that clocks in at 100 IBUs and 11.9% abv.

Pours a beautiful glowing amber red color. clear with a very large off white fluffy head that lingers to the days end and leaves good lacing.

The nose is chock full of fat hop bitterness. Not getting a big sticky malt presence as is expected for the style. Plenty of fruity and bitter hop flavors though, undoubtedly.

Flavor is...hoppy. The hop profile takes front and center stage here. The typical malt stickiness and sweetness normally found lurking in the halls of your typical american barleywine is not prominent here. There is a good malt backbone, but this is very much a malt profile you would find in a large DIPA, which, this beer pretty much is. I know it is common to hear people say that american barleywines taste like DIPAs, and beleive me, i hate hearing that as much as you do, but this one, IMHO, is closer to DIPA or maybe TIPA than to american BW. That being said, it is a frickin fantastic hoppy masterpiece! rockin bitterness and resiny hop juice abound. bitterness and hop flavors linger on the finish.

Mouthfeel is slightly thin for the proclaimed style, but dead on for a bigass IPAish brew. Carbonation is perfect.

Drinkability is amazing. For a beer pushing 12% this one drinks like your average 8 or 9% DIPA, very consumable, and dangerously drinkable, especially given the excellent taste.

Overall, I really like this brew, and i do not want to sell it short in any way. It is a great beer, and one any beer geek will enjoy. I just think it has the wrong style on the label. The malt profile is nowhere near as sweet and sticky as it needs to be in a barleywine, and due to that, I don't see alot of aging potential in this one. But fresh, this beer is bomb! Again, if you like american barleywines, you probably like DIPAs as well, and any fan of either one of those, will love this beer. But the lesson to be learned here isn't American BW vs DIPA, its FUCK LABELS. If the beer is good, its good, period. An excellent creation, and one i am very happy to be resting my feet on a case of.

Excellent work Grant, A beer you, and the rest of the company should be very proud of. Cheers!

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Photo of nickd717
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber via trade thanks to akbeerfiend.

Great appearance - crystal clear medium reddish-amber in color with a lasting one-finger light tan head.

The aroma is nice - sweet caramel and toffee with molasses and anise. Some earthy and resinous hops as well.

The flavor has a nice sweet malty backbone - lots of toffee - with blackstrap molasses and lots of licorice, like a black Twizzler. Lots of earthy, citrusy, and resinous hops on the finish.

Medium-full bodied with average carbonation for the style. Some serious alcohol warmth.

A solid barleywine overall. Unique.

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Photo of brandoneast
2.25/5  rDev -43.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Okay, this may sound like the most convoluted review but here's what i have in the aroma and flavor profile:
- Peppered lamb with mint chutney
- Urinal cake
- Cotton Candy
- Caramel Apple
- Cardamom
- Dirty Bathroom like a grungy piss and dirt Port-A-Potty at a crunchy summer indie music festival
- GoJo Orange Hand soap
- Dried Pineapple
- Nutmeg Dusted Chitlins


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Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

dark amber in color with a smooth look to it. Nice cloudiness to it. Some carbonation could be seen streaming up from the bottom of the glass, with a nice amount odd white head sitting on top of it. Smooth settle, left behind only trace amounts of side lacing. The aroma was rich, light notes of alcohol and a ton of bready malts. Hints of pine resin hops and a nice, touch of grain mingling in throughout the profile. The flavor was smooth as could be, a very mellow barley wine with hints of caramel and a muted hop note. Interesting balance here, with the alcohol mostly hidden in amongst the profile. Easy to sip

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yet another Midnight Sun rarity shared by nickd717. Thanks!

Clear brownish-amber, this has nice color and a small but lasting head.

Huge aroma, hops are still prominent for an aged barleywine, lending notes of pine and grapefruit. There's a big caramel malt character behind the hops, along with a touch of anise.

The taste offers more of the same, big hoppy pine flavors along with caramel, grapefruit, licorice, and something faintly botanical or minty. Full-bodied but fairly attenuated, very hoppy and bitter for the style. I enjoyed this, a very solid American barleywine.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.43/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to bmanning for pulling out this Midnight Sun bottle from his stash. Served in a snifter.

Poured a hazy peach-amber color with a good white head and a bit of lacing on the way down. The nose brought forward some dough and brown sugar plus a good dosing of booze. Lightly tannic, even though I don't think this was oak-aged. The flavor falls along the same lines. Some sweetness, but not all that much goind on. Medium body and fairly boozy; dry and slightly astringent. Not one of my favorite MS brews.

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Photo of AgentZero
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Alex again for sharing this.

A - Caramel colored beer with a bit of a tan head that had some nice retention and lacing.

S - Fairly good barleywine smell, crystal malts, toasted malts, some burnt sugar and caramel, bit of toffee. Also has a nice hops presence that is very distinctive.

T - Not quite as hoppy as the smell, it's a pretty straightforward, albeit, enjoyable barleywine with good caramel and burnt sugar, some molasses, and some hop bitterness on the end.

M - Medium bodied with some decent carbonation.

O - No complaints here, a very solid barleywine that is worth trying. Doesn't necessarily stand out in any way, but it's a quality brew that has good characteristics.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Bobby for sharing this.

A: The pour is a dark copper color with a certain murkiness to it and a khaki colored head.

S: A nice citrus aroma with lots of grapefruit and oranges. There's a bit of a sweet orange thing going on and sort of balances out the intense pine notes. Mildly oxidized with some brown sugar, toffee, caramel, and molasses.

T: Lots of hop flavor to this beer. Pretty darn bitter with pine, grapefruit, and citrus peel flavors. The sweetness is there and offers up some brown sugar, caramel, and molasses, but really overwhelmed by the hops.

M: The body is medium to full with a pretty decent level of carbonation for a barleywine.

D: Despite the age, this beer is still pretty damn bitter. I've begun to like the sweeter barleywines a bit more, but this hoppier variety still works for me.

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Photo of John_M
4.62/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's been roughly 6 weeks since I had this beer on tap at the brewery. That's not very long, but already this beer has developed and matured... happily, not in a bad way at all.

The beer pours a reddish mahogany color with impressive head retention and lacing. This beer just looks rich, thick and viscuous. On the nose, this is a hop forward barleywine on steroids. Interestingly, while the hoppy perfume is still huge in this beer, the sweet malt flavor has gained some ground, with the beer gaining additional aroma and complexity. There is now a considerable cinnamon/candy apple aroma, something I don't recall detecting initially. Incredibly, that aroma is quickly followed by a huge, pungent, skunky, bitter hop aroma, though it's not quite as perfumy as it once was. Still, the aroma profile in this beer is profound, and quite impressive. On the palate this beer is again just delicious. So much flavor in this bad boy.... Initially there is that sweet candy apple flavor, which is as intense as it is compelling. Yet all of a sudden the hoppy bitterness comes on strong and just washes away the malty sweetness. As before, the hoppy bitterness lingers on the finish, though I don't think it's quite as punishing as it was when I first had it. As before, mouthfeel is full, rich and very, very long. Incredibly, for such a big beer, it's not the least bit heavy or tiring, with the alcohol incredibly well disguised and integrated into the flavor profile.

Midnight Sun may call this a barleywine, but truth be told, it's everything I want (and yet so rarely find) in a DIPA. Also, if anything this beer has improved with some bottle age, as it's much better balanced now, with the hoppy bitterness countered nicely by the sweet, spicey malt. Impressive stuff.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1168th Review on BA
Bottle to Tripel Karmeliet

Thanks to Gurudel for sharing

Shared with Gurudel, Jazzpatel, Mrhirschybar & BdubleEdubleRun

App- Poured a dark orange with yellow highlights with a small head and a couple bubbles. Not a lot of cling.

Smell- For an older bottle this to me still had a lot or muted hops. Big malt backbone. A lot of damp and earthy citrus was present as well.

Taste- It's tasty but drinks more like a muted DIPA vs. Barleywine. Has way more hops than I wouldve thought. This beer fresh wouldve been a monster. Has a unique spicy type of flavor with a ton caramel citrus.

Mouth- Light medium bodied with a medium carbonation and a big damp citrus residual flavor.

Drink- Its an okay beer. Very different from what I was thinking. Had way more hops vs. malts and citrus. Leave it to Vince to bring a bottle weve never seen.

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Photo of ManVersusBeer
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Right into some Midnight Sun stemware, of course. Pours a creamy head of froth, a bit beige, and lasts for a bit with some soft lacing.
Smells like a barleywine for sure with big honey and dark fruit notes. Plums, I guess, but more like golden raisins, some caramel, and oranges; a pretty great aroma.
Lighter than it smells with some sweet honey and mild fruity esters. What really stands out is the bold hop presence of citrus and bitterness at the back end which I like very much.
Not dry and not so sticky thanks to the floral spice of the hops. There is a creamy sweetness to this, with some good carbonation and bitterness.
Definitely a sipper, even with the bold hop flavor and less sugared taste of your typical barleywine. This is a good brew and the massive addition of hops balance this one nicely.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

John pulled this out last night, and boy, was it a treat!

A: Brilliant clear garnet with a thin beige head that recedes to a thin disk rather quick, leaving lace. The clarity and color are brilliant, and the head retention is great for a 11% beer

S: Pretty darned hoppy with perfumey, citrus,pine needles and a dank, weed-like aroma. Mildly spicy with pepper and a touch of alcohol. The hops are huge, but don't really hide the malt behind with caramel and honey, both of which play off the hops really well. Candied apple with the blend of sweetness and fruitiness being excellent.

T: Opens with such a big wave of hop flavor and bitterness, it's incredible! This is immediately surpassed by a huge malt sweetness. Hop characteristics include pine, spruce and citrus, with the balance leaning towards flavor hops over bitterness. The bitterness is tempered by a great malt sweetness with honey, caramel and toffee. Long and bitter on the finish some caramel sweetness

M: Exquisite. Big in body with creamy carbonation, great hop character and a long finish

D: The alcohol is not noticeable, and that makes this beer all the more dangerous

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Photo of HopHead84
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Thanks to Ryan for the bottle.

A: Red tinged dark orange with a huge white head of froth. Great retention and lots of lacing.

S: Pronounced caramel with baked bread. The hops have faded for the most part, redolent with pine and grapefruit. There's a little cardboard.

T: Lightly sweet bread with moderately bitter pine and grapefruit. Caramel blends with light oxidation. Finishes bitter with pine, caramel, cardboard, a little booze, and a moderate bitterness.

M: Medium in body with upper moderate carbonation.

Overall: Pretty oxidized but still good. I would have liked to try this fresh, but Alaska is so aloof.

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Photo of sprucetip
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Scoring revised Oct 2012, original review Dec 2009. It's still pretty dry, but not so hot. Definitely mellowed some. But the overall caramel/floral/fruity character with medium bitterness remains.

From notes. Very clear, amber/orange, active, 1 finger white head after settling, patchy lacing.

SMELL big sweet caramel malty aroma with fruity and boozy esters, and a floral hoppy presence. Some spiciness adds complexity.

TASTE floral hops battle for attention but stay in the background as strong booziness and sweet maltiness dominate. Bready, pretty dry throughout but especially into and after the finish, with some lingering bitterness.

FEEL Medium carbonation, very full body, chewy, really dry.

OVERALL I'm a huge Midnight Sun fan, but was not thrilled with this one the first time around. Very hot and dry, and somewhat out of balance. That said, I think it will be much better and very enjoyable with some time in the cellar, and certainly worth a try.

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Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy copper color with a nice beige head that leaves plenty of lace behind; very leggy, too

Smell: Caramel and tobacco, with hints of pine; has that oxidized smell of an aged barleywine - not a bad thing at all

Taste: Caramel and tobacco, up front, with a growing piney edge by mid-palate; after the swallow, the hops continue to make a statement, even after more than two years; very balanced and smooth in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: This barleywine has matured very nicely and the overwhelming hop dominance reported in the first year has mellowed though it remains part of the mix

Thanks, hannont, for the opportunity

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Photo of randawakes
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Smells of freshness and piny hops. Pours a nice thick vanilla head, brown golden body.

Taste of pine hops, long everlasting bitterness. The bitterness stuck with me for several minutes after each sip, although it was a super super strong bitterness. There is a warming sensation, but the alcohol is not too overwhelming, you can taste it at first however. This beer really is alll about the hops 100 IBUs. Its a good try, pretty drinkable.

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Photo of afausser
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a very pretty but murky reddish brown, with a finger for creamy beige head. Looking at the glass from the side, the bubbles are really even, but from the top they are extremely varied in size, though the top of the brew looks very calm and fluffy overall. Very little movement can be seen when held to the light, and the beer seems somewhat opaque overall. A very nice sheet of uneven lacing is visible when the beer is swirled, but removes most of the rest of the head.

Smell: Great sweet barleywine notes in the nose, particularly toffee and caramel. Notes of vanilla blend in nicely. Some nice sour cherry notes below the surface, though overall is very sweet--though the sweetness is very mellow and not at all syrupy or abrasive. Some nice hops in the nose when agitated.

Taste: Doesn't taste very much like it smells, but it's good. Not really very boozy. It tastes--and this is in part due to the mouthfeel, I think--watered down. That's not to say that it isn't flavorful--it is extremely flavorful. It just has that element in the taste, and is probably the most difficult part of this brew to describe. A surprising amount of hops blends with a great deal of earthiness as well as some fruit notes, particularly cherry, banana, and slight raisins.

Mouthfeel: Very low carbonation. Oddly, this isn't much of a problem for this brew. The mouthfeel on this brew doesn't seem particularly to style, but I think it serves the brew well on the whole. Not hot and very little aftertaste.

Drinkability: Not at all hot, but at 11.9% it is difficult to drink. Definitely one to sip. Extremely happy to have had the chance to try it, though.

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Photo of slaintemhor
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Git to try a bottle of this courtesy of my bro-in-law who lives in Anchorage. The colour is and orange amber with little head. The aroma is just plain teeming with hops! On the palate, MAN! 100 IBU's?! Not 200??! This seems ultra hoppy for a barley wine and I'm lovin' it! This is like a cross between the MSBC Gluttony and their Arctic Devil. Dang nice stuff!

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured orangish brown with reddish highlights that had a half finger of head and left some bubbly lacing sticking to the glass. The aroma was pretty hoppy in aroma with caramel, brown sugar, toffee, and malty sweetness that had slight booze notes in the background. That hops were also pretty potent on the palate alongside caramel, brown sugar, and toffee accents but the booze was pretty subtle with a little underlying earthy wood character, the brew was full in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, hoppy bitter, mild boozy, and sticky finish. It drank decent but was a little too on the hoppy side for a barleywine. I would rather drink and IPA if I wanted a hop punch.

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Photo of gford217
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Ira for another MSBC brew.

Pours a dark, but very clear, copper with a big creamy off-white head that leaves very good lacing and a solid cap for the duration.

The aroma is a combination of caramelized sugar, citrus hops and dark fruits. The hops are especially prominent and extremely pithy with grapefruit rinds and even some pineapple. The is a toasted bready malt presence as well.

The taste starts with an initial citrus hop kick with the grapefruit coming out again. There is a big bready malt backbone with some toffee sweetness in there and hints of light and dark fruits. The finish is hoppy and astringent with a more grassy character than the previous hops.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with good carbonation and still pretty bitter and dry from the hops which are still very fresh in this one.

This is a good barleywine that I am almost certain will become excellent with another year on it. I like the hop presence but I think when they fade this will be a more balanced barleywine and definitely more drinkable. That said, it's a great beer right now.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.61/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks, Alex!

A - Pours a reddish/copper color, cream-colored head, decent amount of cap for the ABV.

S - Hops, dark fruits, burnt sugars, toffee. Def a hoppy barleywine..if you're into this kinda BW, then you'll really enjoy the nose. I prefer my BWs a little less hoppy.

T - Hops, sweet malts, dark fruits, bitter finish. Probably a little too much on the hoppy side for me. I prefer a Perfect Storm-like BW, which isn't so darn hoppy.

M - Medium to full, smooth, rich, semi-dry finish.

D - It's good, but like I said, a little too hoppy. I guess I just wanted this one to lose some hoppy notes while remaining smooth. For almost 12% ABV, they sure did a great job hiding the alcohol.

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Photo of ccrida
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into my Duvel tulip (1/2 of it, the other half shared with a beer loving co-worker suffering through work at 8pm on a friday night at the office as well). Clear amber, nice off-white head, sticky lace.

Smell is big citrus hops and sweet malt.

Taste is also super hoppy, without being over bitter, very nice. There's some bitterness to it, but only enough to keep it in check, nothing overwhelming. Nice maltiness, not to sticky or sweet, some vanilla tinges, but really, all about the hops. However, I'd guess that the lucsious fresh grapefruit like hop character would fade rather quickly, given there's not a blistering (but granted substantial) bitterness, giving way to a really nice barleywine. Reminds me a bit of fresh old guardian.

Mouthfeel is super creamy, very slick!

Drinkability is high. This beer is excellent. It is making up for my otherwise lousy night working late on a friday...thanks a million John!

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Big Slick from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 44 ratings