@anchoragebrew A Deal with the Devil Barleywine, Faustian Propositions; Flipping those boozy Alaska bricks

If you have been jumped in to the barleywine B-DUB crew, you know not to wear Airmaxes in the trap or a Chicago Bulls hoodie unless you wanna get laced up by some legit barleywine hitters. This is for the completely initiated. I know we joke around a lot about barleywines, upsets, and shelfwales around here. This is not to be fucked with. At first blush you might see that looming 17.3% abv and think you are hard, flexing your lats in the mirror remembering how you 1v1 wreked a bottle of Black Tuesday.

This is a whole different battle. Blood sweet and cognac running down your face. In Alaska the male population greatly outnumbers the female residents, this is how they cope: being blacked the fuck out 24/7. Let’s peep this icy beast in today’s review while we venture into the wild.

Seward’s folley.

Be cautious, that boozy is bigger than it appears.  This beer gone shake it like a red nose.

Be cautious, that boozy is bigger than it appears. This beer gone shake it like a red nose.

Anchorage Brewing Company
Alaska, United States
Style | ABV
American Barleywine | 17.30% ABV

Notes/Commercial Description:
Barleywine style ale brewed with Galaxy Hops. A starting gravity of 37 Plato. Aged eleven months in Cognac barrels.

A: This pours syrupy thick and rolls out of the bottle in an incorrigible manner. You cannot agitate this beer, the bubbles barely escape from the depth and die immediately upon hitting the surface like they have some malty bends. The beer rocks in the glass like a medicinal coating, this murky brown Ohio river sort of tepid murkiness. The sheeting is hilarious and comes down in clear ropes like when you jack it too much in one day, aka that cinco al dia. This is a massive, offstyle monster that swings hard with an overpowered arm like the Tyrant in Resident Evil. It turns me into a Jill sandwich.

Picture above, traders posting ISOs for this beer.

Picture above, traders posting ISOs for this beer.

S: Holy god, prepare for a walk to the edge and beyond. This takes the booziness of Xyauyu Gold to crazy new heights, or depths if you have a puckered butthole. This wafts fusel with a huge heat, coconut, almond, sherry, tawny port, caramel, cinnamon, and a massive dark fruit finish like overripe plums or blackberries you can crush in your fist. There’s light spice and oak, but again everything is dialed up to 11, no apologies are given and drinking this at 50 degrees was a hilarious act of futility, it was all oak and hops. Seriously just drink this at 65 and treat it like a liqueur, otherwise fuck it, you are wasting your $30 bottle. God knows what you paid to have something shipped to you from Alaska, better hope your wife doesn’t see that CC statement you irresponsible fuck.

T: This takes the insanity of the nose and renders it into a palpable malty madness. The viscosity is massive and leads with a fusel heat that strikes the gumline and imparts a warm toffee and cognac soaked peanut brittle front with surprising oaky hoppiness to balance things out. You know how in shitty movies when someone is getting bullied they get tossed around, straight getting rattled, that is how you palate feels keeping kicked from dude to dude just straight roughed up in a circle. It is hot but bitter, then soft and sweet and closes with an alcohol footing. This is less a barleywine and more in a class of those “ultra-ales” like Utopias, Xyauyu, Colossus, Five Squared, and the like. We drank this third in the blind BABW tasting and I laughed upon just smelling it, the intensity is so over the top you have a hard time taking it seriously like Crank 2, but it delivers on the nose and taste, if you have power leveled your palate, you will enjoy this sheer blunderbuss of malty glass and nails being sprayed across the deck of this Cognac man-of-war.

Weak tickers will make some comment about how their local barleywine is better, then secretly toss a beat sesh to this pics. That malty longing.

Weak tickers will make some comment about how their local barleywine is better, then secretly toss a beat sesh to this pics. That malty longing.

M: This leads syrupy thick, coating massively and heavier than most stouts of recent memory. It just goes overboard with the heat and if you take a large 2oz pull you might feel a tingle of a gag reflex, it is that wafty. But at room temp, just sip it and split this bitch 6 ways. You read that right, DDB is recommending giving this a straight up midwest treatment. Find your closest 10 friends with Untappd accounts and start popping those 5’s off. If you look at the reviews from other people who are pumping out thick loads of 5/5 100/100 all of their pours were like 3-4 ounces. Some American badass took down 5 oz, but any more than that is just too apeshit. No one puts on the entire Dragonforce Discography. That’s just too much face melting, it tires you out.

D: This is clearly not a marathon beer, hell, even powering through a full 8 ounce pour is baller status. I guess if you land a 150 case release from Alaska you should savor it. You could honestly cork this shit and come back to it a couple days later, this is indefatigable and you simply cannot oxidize this massive bitch. Trying to drill this feels like those last battles in Shadow of the Colossus where you are grinding for an hour just to take this bitch down. It is an undertaking that is fulfilling, albeit completely excessive and over the top. Invite your Yu Gi Oh friends over and get swerved.

Pour yourself a healthy portion and settle into whatever deviant ass activities that you have been meaning to get around to but couldn't bring yourself to do sober.

Pour yourself a healthy portion and settle into whatever deviant ass activities that you have been meaning to get around to but couldn’t bring yourself to do sober.

Narrative: Keanu looked pensively at the floating parchment paper, fixing his eyes on the floor and the mangoat legs of his sinister host. “So let me get this straight, even though I can’t play bass, can’t act, can’t sing, I can have it all, just to give you my soul?” Keanu asked the lord of darkness and took a deep pull of vintage 50 year cognac and bit into a bite of creme brulee. “Yessss Keanuuu, you can have a band, you can call it Dogstar and it still will be successfffullll, even though you are completely without merit,” Bezelbub’s eyes ignited a crimson flame, showing frames from the Bill and Ted sequels, almost terrifying in scope and perspective. “Keanuuu you cannot do thisss without dark interventionnnn” Mephisto importuned with a flaming red plume pen and Keanu took it reluctantly. “Alright Satan, but you have to promise that I retain creative control over Speed 2,” Keanu asked and signed in blood on the bottom line while finishing his Do Si Do, crumbs falling on the unholy document.


Midnight Sun Arctic Devil Barleywine, . . .And the Devil Makes Three.

Well it was only a matter of time before this angry beast showed up. It is a top 100 beer that took me a while to land but once I did, the maltgina was never the same. Initially I traded a 2011 Black Tuesday for the 2008 Arctic Devil and people were clowning me like I bought a Better than Ezra T shirt, acting like i got all ripped off. The 2008 was gentle and caressing, but that makes for boring ass reviews, let’s look explicitly at the asshole version: 2011.

Running with the Devil.

A: This has a nice wateriness to it like the beginnings of a boozy Arnold Palmer. It has some ruby hues at the edges but the center is all business heavy malt. The wispy carbonation falls off faster than Aubrey O’ Day. There is no lacing and it’s a fairly spartan affair as far as appearances go, unlike Aubrey O’ Day.

If you kill an entire bottle of this to yourself, be prepared to look and sound like this.

S: Wow this beer takes you to the candyshop. There is a deep burnt caramel and sweet brown sugar like mammy just made some cream of wheat for you to mash on. Mama lets me lick the spoon.

T: The sweetness pokes its head out for a moment and imparts a molasses, maple, and toffee flavor that quickly ducks back into its hole for the malty winter that sets in. This maltverine knows how to dish out the bitter and the sweet concurrantly. That wasn’t a typo, there’s a nice hoppy dryness and a currant note to it as well, not infection, but in the tannic manner. I previously had a 2008 bottle of this and I am now scrapping that entire review because this beer is COMPLETELY different like in an Urkel vs. Stefan way. The 2008 way boring, muted, smooth, and predictable. I like this crazy, boozy, erratic Urkel version way more, there’s a lot more Jaleel White malt up in this bitch.

It's tough to accurately describe how good this is, so, here's some pics of iguanas in sexy poses.

M: There’s a nice oakiness to this beer that dries but at the same time presents a pulpit for the saccharine notes to preach from in a perfunctory manner. I can’t really focus on how the carbonation or coating is because this is such a complicated ass beer, just from typing this sentence some new banana esters starting rolling in as the beer warms and they are welcome. The booziness is a bit intense but it is welcome to separate the men from the bitchly wines. It’s funny that, for a beer called Arctic Devil, it actually tastes way worse at colder temperatures. They should call this lukewarm devil and people will be more on the rails for how to serve it.

Mmm well my devil certainly isn't Arctic.

D: Well, take all of this in the context of a 13.4% beer: this is amazingly drinkable. It is not like a hef on a hot summer day after you just got done beating your children for leaving the hose on, not that level of refreshment, but for the cold 65 degree winter I am suffering through right now, it hit the spot better than a run on sentence.

This tease in his tiny bed.

Narrative: Clayton was raised in suburban Ohio and always dreamed that his mediocre bar chords and major melody driven pop tunes would catapult him to the same fame that Hootie and the Blowfish once enjoyed. But a Darius Rucker he was not and reality set in, in the particular Ohio way wherein he informed all his friends that he was going to make it in Los Angeles. Spoiler alert: his accoustic guitar was not on par with Puddle of Mudd and therefore, in the strict hierarchy or talent = success that is the music industry, he was resigned to work at Chili’s. Finally, in a night of desperation he left work after having a few too many hard Mango Ice Teas, and stumbled upon the Westwood streets, which was practically what they were designed for. In his moment of weakness an opaque badger appeared before Clayton. “Are you my spirit animal?” he muttered through the smell of cheap gin. “Clayton, long have I waited for this moment of desperation, your place is amongst the caribou in the upper reaches of this planet,” the badger noted remonstratively. “But why snow badger, on those times when I needed you most I saw only 2 sets of pawprints in the snow?” “You see Clayton, it was those times when you drank 4loko and were the most wasted, that I carried you.” Clayton nodded and knew that frostmourne hungered for arctic adventures. The Anchorage police retrieved his body from a Mitsubishi Mirage just weeks later and the autopsy report unprofessionally noted the cause of death as “Suicide, kinda?…X-D”