Any beer weighing in at 13.2% ABV can be pretty scary, particularly when it comes in a bomber. Down one by yourself and odds of hitting the ground sometime during the evening seem pretty decent.
Midnight Sun's Arctic Devil Barley Wine falls squarely in that category, and probably is one best shared with a few friends or, for that matter, foes. Really, this is a great beer, and sharing it just seems right. Of course, "Great"... "Nigh perfect" might be more apt.
Pour, and the deep, dark color, with just a bit of head should instantly intrigue. Give it a sniff, and you can instantly pick up on a well-constrained sweetness. Caramel dominates, paired with bourbon. The alcohol is certainly present, but not in a crazy, face-slapping way. This is all very well balanced.
And that carries over to the flavor. I mean, really. With all respect to Bigfoot, I cannot remember a barley wine quite as astounding as this.
The caramel creeps up on the tongue, quickly followed by the bourbon. There's just a bit of spice kicking off around the middle, with the alcohol gently making itself known right at the back. Keep sipping, and other subtleties will make itself known. Just a little bit of chocolate, and a hint of vanilla. An ever so understated citric kick. Maybe some cherry?
Even at 13.2% the Arctic Devil feels incredibly smooth. Maybe not the up there with the velvet-y texture seen in many Firestone Walkers, but certainly silky enough to impress.
So, yeah, there is no reason not to try the Arctic Devil. It's awesome. Some would say legendary. Go pick at least two up right now, one for tasting and one for storing. You'll thank yourself for showing such great judgement.