Big Slick | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

very good
35 Reviews
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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.

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Reviews: 35 | Ratings: 44
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 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 treyrab
4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Have to thank Kyle for this beer. Even though he will never read this review, and probably forgot his password to log on to BA, I still have to give him a shout out for sending. Split into two snifters. This is 2009 vintage.

A: I grabbed this from cellar temperature (55F) and immediately decapped. As soon as the cap was removed, the beer started to slowly creep up the neck, but stopped just shy of overflowing. Poured prudently into the snifter, it yielded a gorgeous, clear copper red. The head is a magnificent cloud of sticky eggshell white that does not fade (and I am now halfway through the beer). Very sticky and viscous looking.

S: Smells like a DIPA. Never had this fresh, but I can only assume it was a beast. Tons and tons of Pacific Northwest hops (Cascade, Chinook, etc.). Aged hops, though. Tons and tons of caramel, brown sugar, and toffee come through with the aged hops. Pretty nice.

T: Super sticky and rather sweet. Tons of sticky and sweet caramel and toffee, blended with vanilla and brown sugar. Accompanying those are aged citrus hops with orange, lemon, and grapefruit.

Overall, this was solid. I can confidently state that this beer was better fresh, although it has aged pretty nicely.

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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 drabmuh
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer shared by Ben, thanks!

Beer is amber / brown mostly clear with a lazy head in this tiny snifter.

Aroma is a little boozy, alcoholic, strong moderately.

Beer is medium in body and has this boozy / tannic quality to it that detracts from the malt sweetness and the overall enjoyability of the beer. It is fine but I think in the future I'll skip it.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 jrallen34
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Alex for this bottle served in a tulip...Pours a light brown, really clear and watery on the edges. A light tan head that is thin and whispy but has great retention and lacing....This is a very hoppy barleywine, but besides being more hoppy than the average bw it is what a typical bw smells like. Not much else going on, average aroma; hops, caramel and spice...The taste actually backs off the hops but its replaced mostly by alcohol and a little more sweetness. Its still more hoppy than your average bw but a drinkable beer it is.

This is the epitome of a regular bw from every aspect. Slightly more hoppiness makes it an interesting and drinkable bw worth trying.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The last of my Brew Crew beers provided by akbeerfiend. Served in a Heineken taster glass.

A - Huge foam that leaves behind sheets of lace and eventually settles to a thin cap and thicker collar. Transparent dark brown body. Somewhat surprising considering the high ABV.

S - Damn this is hoppy! The 100 IBUs make themselves known. There's also a hefty amount of brown sugar, caramel, roasted grains, and a touch of spice. The alcohol is shockingly well-hidden.

T - Taste is quite sweet, with heft amounts of burnt brown sugar and caramel. There's some residual citrus hop character, even after fourteen months, and it contributes a moderate residual bitterness that builds over time and keeps things from being cloying.

M - Medium-full body, with soft, low carbonation. Chewy, sticky finish. Pretty much what I expect from the style. No obvious heat, which is a shocker.

D - This is quite a nice barleywine, and manages to impress even without barrel-aging. I'd love to have a few more bottles of this one to open periodically. Reminds me a lot of Old Backus, which is high praise.

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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 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 tpd975
3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to tim for this one.

A: Pours a nice amber hue with a small cream colored head. No real retention with just a few spots of lace.

S: Slight caramel aroma with some summer fruit, honey, and a big blast of hops.

T: Malty and fruity up front. Llight apple notes with a big dose of caramel sweetness . The finish is where the hops shine through. Lots of citrus with lighter resinous pine like notes.

M: On the fuller side of medium. Rich, sweet, smooth with some hoppy bite in the finish.

D: Good, it's not arctic devil, but it is tasty.

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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 Pencible
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured a clear dark copper with moderate light tan head. It smelled like orange and grapefruit and floral hops, with sweet caramel and a bit of cream. It tasted like sweet orange and bitter grapefruit, with some floral and waxy and copper hops along with honey and caramel malts. It was thick with some carbonation, and had a lasting bitter aftertaste. Overall this had a great scent and taste that could pass as a 2IPA, with powerful hops. It had great body too, and it hid the alcohol pretty well, so it wasn't difficult to drink. But the big hops bitterness makes this better to sip. I have no clue how this would age, but it's definitely enjoyable fresh. Reminiscent of Bigfoot, but more unique than Sierra Nevada.

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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 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 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 corby112
4.63/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks for Dajtai007 for sending this one to me in a recent trade. 22oz bomber shared with kubrick215 and another buddy not on BA.

Pours a deep dark ruby red that's almost a black cherry soda color with some lighter colored golden ruby hues when held to a light source and a creamy, frothy light yellowish beige head with excellent retention. The head only slowly fading into a lasting cap that leaves chunky rings of soapy lacing in it's wake.

Pretty hoppy aroma for the style with some sweet citrus notes along with a biscuit malt backbone with hints of rye, caramel and toast. Slightly piny with some grapefruit and citrus peel. Slight alcohol presence but it's well masked by the other aromas.

Extremely hop forward even for a west coast style American barleywine. Chewy resinous mouthfeel with a lot of bitter earthy hops. Dry and piny with a big leathery malt backbone with hints of biscuit, caramel and roasted nut. The flavor is very must and earthy with a bit of sweet citrus from the agressive hopping. Hints of grapefruit and citrus peel. There are some big flavors in this beer but they are perfectly balanced. There is a slight alcohol warmth in the finish but the ABV is very well masked, especially considering it clocks in at 11.9%. This beer is dangerously drinkable and feels much more like a really strong malty DIPA than anything else. I would love to have another bottle of this for aging but I fear that it would lose all of it's hoppy greatness and be a completely different animal. Highly recommended if you can get it.

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Big Slick from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
3.98 out of 5 based on 44 ratings.
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