Bar Fly (2011) | Midnight Sun Brewing Co.

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Bar Fly (2011)Bar Fly (2011)

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.60%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Smoked imperial stout aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels.

Added by largadeer on 03-18-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 78 | Ratings: 250
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.95/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle pour at Woodshop 7 held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and some slight soy sauce aromas. Taste is much the same with a mild roasty bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with some solid aromas and flavors that make it pretty easy to drink

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Photo of largadeer
4.37/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber shared by westcoastbeerlvr. Thanks, Craig.

Viscous opaque black. The beige head quickly recedes to a thin but lasting film.

Oak, smoke and bittersweet chocolate are heavy on the nose. The smoked malt is very well integrated. There's a good bit of vanilla from the barrel, and a slight vinous fruitiness. I have no idea what kind of barrel was used for this, but I'm guessing primarily whiskey or possibly a blend of whiskey and wine.

There's more whiskey flavor than the nose implies, caramel and vanilla forward with a nice woody smoke flavor that avoids coming off as meaty. Apparently no bourbon -bals were used with this beer, but I'll be damned if it doesn't have a whiskey-like sweetness to it. Roasted malt appears mid-palate. Alcohol is noticeable, but not 12.6% ABV noticeable. Tannic, smoky, woody finish. Pretty awesome beer, another winner from Midnight Sun.

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Photo of oline73
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into my Hunahpu's snifter.

Appearance: The beer pours black with a layer of tan head that fades to a ring around the pour.

Smell: Sweet and quite smokey. Lots of dark fruit, I am picking up some wine like qualities. I'm also getting some alcohol heat.

Taste: This is a very smokey beer, especially right off the bat. The first sip reminded me of barbecue sauce. I'm pretty sure it's the combination of the smoked malt and the wine. Things blend together and mellow after a few sips. The finish is a tad bitter with a nice smoke level. There was also a hint of dark chocolate from the malt.

Mouthfeel: The body is just on the thick side of medium with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This was a very good and extremely interesting beer. The wine barrels and smoke worked well together. I wouldn't want all of my stouts to taste like this, but I'm glad this one did.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.32/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Alex for opening this bottle at DLD 2011. Served in a snifter.

Pour yields a near-black brew with a good mocha-ish-colored head and a nice cap as it falls down. The nose is really quite nice with an underlying smokey character throughout. On top of that comes some light chocolate as well as a dusting of coffee and some roasted malt. Everything is layered with the smoke quite well. Very nice touch. The flavor is really nice, hiding the alcohol quite well. Impressively well, in fact. Smoke mingles with chocolate, roast, and espresso. What's not to love? Good full body and appropriate carbonation. Very nice. Thanks again, Alex.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First had: ? somewhere in Portland, OR

I have this beer in my notes, but damn if I can remember where exactly I had it. It's on the same page as my Apex notes, but I'm sure I didn't have it there. I'm going to assume it was part of the bottle share we had at Beermongers with writerLJberg. And if so, thanks to whoever provided the bottle.

Poured a dark black with a moderate tan head. Lots of roast in the nose, cocoa, coffee, dark malts, the usual suspects, with hints of vanilla'd oak and smoke. Complex taste that follows and augments the aroma, dark malts, roastiness, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, oak, molasses, a non-offensive dose of smoky charcoal and grape skins, imparting a slightly bitter and dry quality. Heavy-medium body, smooth and flavorful, very drinkable.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.73/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i deserve it, MAC in full effect!

the color was a very deep dark chocolate brown, Some very light, and I mean very light side glass lace formed as I made my way down the glass,

The first thing I noticed was a tremendous amount of port in the smell. smell of roasted coffee then followed, mixed in with what almost seemed to be to be like some kind rich burnt tobacco smell, bit of sweetness in there, albeit small; however, it was there and gave off a caramelized sugar note of some sort, bitter dark chocolate mingling in now and really staring to battle it out with the vineious like port. Notes of oak now hitting the stage, really giving it that earthy tone

Rich dark chocolate notes were swirling around in here, mingling with everything that came there way, including a touch of sweet lactose, which tried to drag some light in here, smoked tobacco that I picked up in the smell, Some hints of vanilla starting to poke around, and then come some black licorice, oak like earthy notes dominate and bring together the chocolate and the vanilla. The finish in a class of its own.

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Photo of billab914
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into my Portsmouth tulip. It poured thick looking and pitch black in color. A thin, frothy, dark colored head barely covers the top of the beer and is already sticking to the edges of the glass.

The aroma is showing a really nice chocolatey flavor with some red wine and dark fruits to it. I get some woody oak and vanilla mixing in along with just a hint of smoke. A little bit of alcohol is present, but not bad for the abv. Great aroma overall, it had some really good, bold flavors to it but they really come together well.

The taste blends the roasty, chocolaty, slightly smoky flavors of the Imperial stout with the Cabernet barrel characteristics perfectly. The base imperial stout really comes together well, it's extremely smooth and flavorful. I get some oak and vanilla coming from the barrel aging, but the slight wine like, dark fruit character that comes out in it is what really impresses me. It gives it a little bit of a chocolatey wine character that I'm really liking. Some darker, bitter-sweet chocolate seems to balance out the finish. The flavors really compliment each other in it, with so much going on I'm extremely impressed how well it came together.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side and somewhat slick. Carbonation is on the lower side. Overall it was a fantastic beer. Everything came together pretty much perfectly in it. I loved how well the wine barrel complimented the imperial stout flavors. It was so smooth and so flavorful. I'm buying the hype on this one, I thought it was really something special.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing this one, Shane!

A: The beer pours a nearly impenetrable black color with a finger of tan head.

S: There definitely is some smoke to the nose, but it's not overpowering. Lots of dark chocolate, roasted malt, and coffee as you would expect. The lightest hints of oak in the background and vanilla and molasses give a touch more sweetness.

T: I liked the nose, but the flavor is simply better. Sweeter than anticipated with vanilla, chocolate, burnt sugar, caramel, and molasses all playing a role. The roast qualities are there and there's a bit of coffee with just a hint of smoke.

M: Medium to full in body with a smooth, medium carbonation.

O: After a lot of let downs from Midnight Sun, it was nice to have a really solid beer from them.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.32/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From 04/14/12 notes. Poured into my Cigar City snifter.

a - Pours a very dark brown, almost black color, with one inch of tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Looks pretty good.

s - Smells of roasted malts, dark fruits, dark chocolate, smokey malts, lightly toasted and burnt malts, some wine, oak, and sweet fruit. Very nice nose; very roasty and chocolatey, and the smoke is light and nice.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, sweet dark fruits, oak, sweet chocolate, alcohol, smokey malts, molasses, burnt malts, and toasted malts. Still quite nice but the alcohol comes out in the taste.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Super smooth and creamy body. Perfect mouthfeel for a stout for me.

o - Overall I thought this was a very good stout. The nose was great and the mouthfeel was perfect. A little more alcohol then I would like in the taste but world class and would love to have it again.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.52/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by craytonic. Thanks Matt.

The beer is on the verge of black, with a wispy, thin beige cap. The aroma is of heavy roast, booze, oak, chocolate, and hints of vanilla. The flavor is toasty, with booze and chocolates. Vanilla and oak flavors are there as well. Soft smokey, campfire notes. The feel is thick, with fairly low carbonation. Booze lingers on the palate, offering a delicate warmth. Well done. While alcohol is present, it's well integrated into the taste profile and completely unobtrusive. This beer is not the usual imperial stout. Unique and refined. Recommended.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.21/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Ink-staining black. Medium khaki head. Thin collar.

Smell - Smokey. Oxidized. Red wine acidity. A bit of raisin and dark roasted malt.

Taste - Smoke flavor is still strong. Dark coffee roasted malts. A little sweet. Oak is strong. Red wine flavor is more prevalent in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy. Still pretty chewy. Not boozy at all.

Overall - The final beer of the night. Excellent in its own right. I really like the red wine component.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.52/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at the brewery. Served in a taster pint glass.

A - A half-finger of dark mocha foam settles to a thin ring, leaving behind no lace. Black body, with the faintest red glint at the bottom of the glass.

S - Big dark chocolate malts, light smoke character, mild vinous notes, dark fruits, light vanilla and oak, heavily roasted grains, and a faint hint of alcohol as it warms up. Not a mind-blowing aroma, but one with fantastic depth, balance and complexity.

T - Taste is, again, a great blend of roasted malts, cocoa, black cherry and plum notes, light oak and vinous character, molasses and a dark chocolate finish. Sweetness increases as the beer reaches room temperature, and alcohol is remarkably well-hidden.

M - Low but present carbonation, medium-full body, well-hidden alcohol with only a hint of warming. Roasty, dry, and tannic finish that helps blunt some of the sweetness and keeps things from getting unbalanced. Not sure what else I'd want from a barrel-aged Imperial Stout.

D - A wonderful reminder that barrel-aged Imperial Stouts don't have to be brash and in-your-face, nor do they have to be obliterated by the barrel-aging process. The cabernet sauvignon barrel is an inspired choice, as it was presumably used multiple times in the vineyard and therefore reduced the amount of oak character. The dark fruit wine character also integrates well with the base stout. An extremely well-crafted beer and surprisingly drinkable considering the formidable 12.6% ABV. Believe the hype on this one.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.17/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a midnight sun glass. Beer is black and dark with a thin tan head of small wispy bubbles. Some lacing. Low carbonation.

Aroma is boozy, sweet, anise, nice. A little boozer than I thought.

Medium to big in body. Fudge, sweet, smoke, licorice, nice. Good finish. Mildly bitter. I enjoyed it.

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Photo of aasher
4.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This bottle was shared by muskabeatz at Darkness Day, thanks Evan! Reviewed from notes on my phone.

This one poured a very viscous and oily black in color with a nice and thick dark, stained brown head that eventually laced my mini snifter. This one coats your glass. You get a lot of oak, red wine notes, toffee, cherries, plums, and black cherries in the nose. It's pretty complex and still features the traditional roast. The flavors aren't quite as complex. You get a lot of toffee, dark chocolate, and molasses with a light smokiness. It's solid, but it just didn't live up to the nose. It drinks very thick and coats your palate. The aftertaste is pretty nice as well. Overall this is a very solid beer, I'm glad I could try it.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to AmericanBrew for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a deep black color with a tan head. The aroma is full of dark fruit and anise, with a lot of chocolate and roasted malt mixed in. The aroma is fairly sweet and is very enjoyable.

The flavor is also very complex and interesting. I get a ton of roasted and smoked malt, as well as some sweet milk chocolate notes. The smoke is complimented by a little bit of dark fruit. The alcohol is very well hidden and the beer is very easy to drink.

Medium to thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Very glad I got to try this one.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Alan at TJs during the latest Philly BA intervention.

Pour yields a near-black brew with a good mocha-ish-colored head and a nice cap as it falls down. Aroma is rich and sweet blend of fruit/port with strong roast malt and milk chocolate. Flavor is more of the same, extremely balanced yet a little sweeter than your typical stout from the barrels used I assume. Not as much coffee presence as other reviews have mentioned; seems like the barrel is becoming more prominent. Still a strong roast malt and chocolate presence however. Medium thick body with moderate carbonation and a silky presence on the palate. Trying this side by side with Czar Jack it's hard to nitpick either and pick a favorite. However this one made me slow down a little more, where Czar Jack seemed like the perfect example of the style, this was a pleasant, subtle tweak on it.

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Photo of John_M
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

The beer pours the expected blackish brown color, with very good head retention andlots of sticky dark foam lacing all around. The nose is every bit as good in this beer, as I pick up light bourbon, vanilla, light milk duds (always a good sign), dark chocolate and light coffee. This beer just smells like it will be yummy. On the palate, the flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, but the molasses just seemed a bit excessive. There's a lot going on in this beer (I get a hint of smoke, but was expecting more, given the description on the label), but I felt like the molasses flavor really dominated. The beer is fairly sweet, but not overly so, as the light smoke and molasses keep that in check. Mouthfeel is great, as the beer displays a long, soft creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol is very well integrated into the flavor profile. You can tell it's up there, but it's not the least bit obtrusive.

This beer is excellent, no doubt, but I preferred the earlier version, which I was fortunate enough to have at a bottle share several years ago. It was the cab barrel version, and it seemed like the wine flavor played well and better with the smoke and molasses. The current version is still quite excellent, but it's hard to forget the earlier version I was able to try some years back. Also, I wonder if some short term cellaring might improve this beer a bit, and perhaps smooth out some of the rough edges.

Regardless. This is a very nice effort from the folks at MS.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.52/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5


Bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Looks like motor oil as it glugs out of the bottle. Two fingers of creamy froth linger for a minute, giving way to some lacing.

S: Rich, luscious milk and dark chocolate with just the right amount of oak. Smoke is light and adds depth to the chocolate profile. I detect marshmallows. Faint grape and plum notes linger in the background. Lightly roasted, with a subtle molasses presence. Alcohol is faint. I know this was in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels, but I get a light bourbon note, as well as some caramel and vanilla. There's something Belgian about this, perhaps it's the yeast.

T: Caramel, milk and dark chocolate, and oak, with a little molasses. Vinous notes are of plum and grape, with a little raisin. Lightly smoky, it's very, very faint. I get fudge and chocolate brownie with light marshmallow notes. Lightly roasted. Upper moderate sweetness.

M: Full in body with upper low carbonation. Mouthfeel is thick, chewy, sticky, and smooth. Fantastic.

Overall: An awesome beer from Midnight Sun. Highly recommended.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.53/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Kyle and Todd for bottles of this elusive beer.

Midnight Sun brews stouts that are incredibly pleasing to the eye, and this is no exception. Jet black, with a thick, dark brown head with excellent retention and lacing, this is a gorgeous stout. The nose is great. The smoke character here is delicate, moderately earthy and a little meaty, and the wine barrels are an inspired choice. Pairing well with the robust chocolate, roast and espresso of the base stout, the fruity vinous notes are excellent. Mildly jammy as well, the wine character is expressed very well .

The palate is truly unique. Very jammy and fruity from the wine, this is among the fruitier imperial stouts I've had. Flavors of blackberry and black cherriy come to mind, before the base stout, powerful in depth and balance, takes over. Plenty of dark chocolate (85%ish?), heavily roasted malts and a mild smoke character are present. The smoke character is really mellow here, most noticeable as an earthy, smoldering wet wood bitterness and flavor that's present towards the finish. A moderate spice character, anise being most prominent, is present as well. The finish is long and excellent, with a great blend of roast, bitterness and chocolate, with the unexpected (but wholly welcome) fruitiness from the wine. Oak character is minimal here. Medium-full in body with soft, creamy carbonation, this feels really great on the palate - so soft and so supple! Highly recommended.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Been stashed away in my cellar for almost a year. Today is as good as any day to try this one. Opened on 5.27.12.

A - Pours a motor oil black with a very small dark tan head that quickly fades to the edges.

S - Mostly chocolate at first, then some subtle coffe and booze come out.

T - Again chocolate is noticeable at first, then a sweet, smokey wonder. Hard to place, but very good. Made me think of beef jerkey, and in a good way.

D - A heavier body and mild carbonation. Velvety smooth in the mouth.

O - So good. Smokey, but very sublte and well balanced. Subtle smoke, sweetness, coffee and chocolate, and some wow!

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Photo of jrallen34
4.57/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Alex... pours a dark black with out much of head but super dark and good looking... nose is really complex with some much going on but they blend perfectly, roast, oak, lots of smoke and bitter chocolate, very good... the nose is sweeter than you would expect, chocolate and smoke, the wine barrel adds some nice depth, smoke and wine go wonderfully... a little thin but hides the alcohol completely... this is excellent and you need to get it

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.43/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

massive thanks to vitese for the kind trade. enjoyed from a midnight sun tulip. Notes from 8/29.

a - dark and thick, like motor oil with a thin creamy head and streaky lacing. looks like a stout aught to look.

s - smoked indeed. some peat. some oak. some char. more porter than stout from the smokiness. good chocolate fruity roasty notes.

t - Wow...that's GOOD! really perfect amount of smoke. chocolate malts. some peat and smokiness from the wood. the roast is great. doesn't feel like red wine barrels, but it is a stout so haven't had many aged in red wine barrels, but upon realizing it was aged in red wine barrels, i can definitely believe it. there are some nice dark fruit notes in there which very well could be from the red wine barrels.

m - thick, rich, velvety. highlight of the beer is the mouthfeel. the ABV is totally invisible. i was shocked to see the number tied with the ABV.

o - overall, one of the best smoked beers i've ever had. really great chocolate notes intermingling with a perfect amount of smoke. this is what a smoked stout should be.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.13/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours is a viscous opaque black with a thick dark tan head and solid retention. The nose has light hints of smoke and ash, roasted malts, light chocolate notes with some sweet anise and strong wood behind. The taste is well balanced with roasted malts and a rich chocolate brownie component. Dark fruits and faint smoke notes accompany a woody finish. The feel is full bodied, smooth and creamy, semi dry finish and gentle carbonation. Very complex, very integrated, and very balanced. Well done.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle generously shared by ipa247. Poured into Jackie O’s snifter.

A: Pours black with a good long lasting collar.
S: Very roasted and sweet notes with a bit of smoke as an afterthought, similar to barbque. I get some raisins as well.
T: Big notes of raisins and other dark fruits including plums and prunes, with a great dose of well-integrated smoke in the aftertaste. Caramel is low.
M: Super smooth, bubbly carbonation, and a soft mouthfeel. This beer is thick, but not crazy. Alcohol is just noticeable in the finish, but for almost 13% ABV, it’s hidden very well.
O: Overall a great balance between the sweet and roasted/smoky flavors. Alcohol is well done, and the smoke is not overpowering or off-putting in flavor. Thanks again for sharing, Jeff, I enjoyed this one.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks goes out to beeruser and funkydelic for sharing this one at a past Random Sunday Tasting! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured pitch black with a minimal brown head. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, dark fruit, sweet alcohol, wood, spices, and smoke. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, roasted malt, dark fruit, dark chocolate, wood, smoke, spices, and molasses. It had a heavy feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was an excellent brew. How had I never tried this before this??? Wow! This beer was definitely on a whole new level as it was quite enjoyable while being very complex and challenging. All of the right flavors were there for the style and were all there in a nice intense but not overpowering amount. This made it quite easy to drink and very enjoyable. Really glad I got the opportunity to try this one and I suggest you dig in your cellar to do the same. You won’t regret it.

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Bar Fly (2011) from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
4.42 out of 5 based on 250 ratings.
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