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Midnight Sun 3000, Consecration+Abacus = Snow Mexican Barleywine

I think it is pretty well-established that Arctic Devil is an amazing beer. Berserker continues to impress, and Barfly is a distant reminder to some of the beta n00bs, but even the 2012ers know about it. On the face of things, Midnight Sun shouldn’t be dropping balls, barleywine or otherwise, on limited releases. This beer is a clear exception. This beer dropped more balls than an evangelical 8th grade choir. So what went wrong? This beer was essentially the last 10 minutes of Into the Wild in beer form, someone tried to do something adventurous in Alaska and ended up dying from poison.

Just how I like my barleywines, with a 3 finger head, wait wut-

Just how I like my barleywines, with a 3 finger head, wait wut-

Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine | 13.20% ABV

Before I pound this O-ring like a dried persimmon, let’s hear the company description so the lulz can resound throughout your shitty studio apartment:

“In this ridiculously wonderful world we’ve created, we make beer- one batch at a time. As the scientist in us demands, we number said batches. And while every batch of our beer is special for us – providing a fresh start on a new day, establishing an experimental opportunity, bringing together our minds and spirits, projecting our company forward – each batch also scores time.

To celebrate our 3000th batch, we present a Belgian-style Barley Wine, simply called 3,000. Luscious layers of flavor begin with barley, wheat and rye malts followed by triple-hoppping with a single varietal. Fermentation, using three distinct yeast strains, achieves complexity in character and, of course, alcohol. This special batch was transferred into red wine oak barrels for eight months to age gregariously yet gracefully. After bottle-conditioning, this exclusive beer is ready for immediate enjoyment although it can be lovingly cellared for future festivities.”

A: Ok first order of business, look at this barleywine and tell me if you think that attenuation is appropriate for the style. Does it look like a barleywine? Does it look good? The look of this beer reminds me of an all extract shitty brown ale homebrew that your buddy makes you try. The head is excessive and almost makes me scratch my chin and accuse infection but we will allay those concerns for the time being. Does this beer look like other world class barleywines?

Oh wait, it is a BELGIAN barleywine, so my critique gets to dodge a bullet. I remember when some people were calling this the second coming of M, just like BA Hifi batch 2 is the second coming of Wooden Hell, except BA Hifi is still pretty awesome and this is Merlot and taint esters.

Mixing a barleywine with shitty cabernet ISN'T NORMAL.  Not even one more hybrid like this. Not one.

Mixing a barleywine with shitty cabernet ISN’T NORMAL. Not even one more hybrid like this. Not one.

S: Speaking of taint, the smell of this thing is offputting not only for the style, but in general. No one makes roe ice cream for a reason, some tastes don’t merge well. I am going to list some smells descriptors and you check yes if you want them in a barrel aged barleywine: merlot, cranberry, lemon rind, tangelo, blackberry, wet leather, post-menopausal tears, toddler laundry (non-soiled), pennies. If you said yes to any of those, you must be Cicerone level 5: contrarian belt. There is very little barleywine going on here and its like someone took a perfectly good bike and retrograded it to be a really inefficient baby carriage. I don’t want a bouquet of out of place fruits atop my pile of belgian esters, get that shit out of here, you don’t see successful breweries alike Stone taking malty beers and putting them in shitty red wine bar-…oh. OH.

T: This takes all of that tannic afterbirth and adds this coinstar machine maltiness whose jankiness can only be represented in scientific notation. There is a copper, burnt malt, scorched boil water (if you have done this, you know the hell and sticky disgust it creates) baked beans, Kendall Jackson Merlot, some interloping fucking leather tastes, and finally closes with a shitty Bartells and James red grape sort of taste. Now go dig through those used needles and find me the barleywine in this trainwreck. Just drink a cup of grape juice, lick a Jansport and save yourself some time.

I don't know what kinda crazy shit goes on up in Alaska, but this beer might be a glimpse into the world north of the wall.

I don’t know what kinda crazy shit goes on up in Alaska, but this beer might be a glimpse into the world north of the wall.

M: This is the gassiest barleywine ever and is needlessly bubbly on the palate. Then it imparts those horrible tannins and its like a mister spraying Yellow Tail weak ass wine all over your gums. You end up dry but violated with this fucked up stickiness all over you like fountain water from a two star casino.

D: Not very, the biggest impetus pushing me along was the fact that this was a bitch to trade for. Even still I drainpoured most of this. You know you have a quality barleywine when you start contemplating the calories and wondering if eating glass would somehow be better for your body. I love Arctic Devil, Moscow was solid, but this is some Gitmo experiment barleywine water boarding. Ruined a malty treat for all of us with bruised red grapes no one asked for. However, in Alaska the men to woman ratio is extremely skewed, so maybe this is the female Pinot Noir up there, when they get off from their logging duties or shift at the beef jerky company they sit down and laugh in a glottal fashion while sipping this and watching Cougartown or some shit.

You CAN make a hybrid of some mishmash shit, but that doesn't mean that it will turn out good.

You CAN make a hybrid of some mishmash shit, but that doesn’t mean that it will turn out good.

Narrative: Rampage Jackson clutched the fountain pen with uncertainty and listened to the lawyers go through the terms of the negotiation. “Ok, so clauses 2 and 7 stipulate that Rampage is still “Bad Ass” and “universally feared” but Viacom New Media will acquire him as a cooking host for a variety of tasks and spots.” Rampage wiped the sweat from his massive ebony brow, reading the various clauses on oso bucco and balsamic reductions. “Wait tho, so I am not fightin nobody? I just be like cooking?” he asked puzzled and a man with Tom Ford glasses and offensively large bicuspids laughed to the floor to ceiling glass windows of the conference room. “HA! Yes Mr. Jackson, you will be an incidental novelty talent to a series of unscripted life shows, and doing semi-fictionalizations of “Kitchen Disasters” all the while still remaining Rampage Jackson, I hope that is clear?” the slick talent agent rattled off. “But wait, I am good at fighting, and combat, why I gotta be making pastries and shit? Why try and make me into something completely different?” There was a certain lucidity to his voice and the men leaned forward with curious expectancy. “I mean like, why take something huge and awesome and emasculate that down to something totally irrelevant and worse? I mean you are just ruining what I am all about, turning it into something else simply for the sake of being irrelevant. Shouldn’t the point be to be entertaining and not just shocking, seems to Rampage that if you ain’t pleasing the public then-” the men gathered up the signed forms and there was much glad handing. Bravo was about to turn out another hybrid reality show that was intellectually debasing and horrible to all involved. Just another day’s work for those cultured gents at Bravo.

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Midnight Sun Oak Aged TREAT, Take You to the Oak Aged Shop, Let you Lick the Pumpkin Pop

For the uninformed, this might look like a rather pedestrian gem for this site, that is until you see those magic words on that bottle OAK AGED. That’s right, we skipped right over the old traditional version and went directly for the .rar jugular. I have heard that they release 400 bottles of this each year, but maybe a Midnight Sun rep can clear that up for me. Either way, this is one of those 400+ wants < 15 gots sort of beers that brings all the boys to the yard. Let's get our pumpkins smashed in today's review:

Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States
American Porter | 7.80% ABV

A: This has a slick blackness to it that doesn’t come across as a hefty boy, it is nimble and imparts some light sheeting on the walls but the mocha skeeting is kept to a refined minimum. The carbonation runs freely and serves up tiny effervescence like a hungover barista.

Out of the pumpkin mire, the oak aged chocolate monster cometh.

S: This has a much more robust nose than the regular version and deals out pumpkin, nutmeg, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, smashed M&Ms, light lactose aspects, and some pepper. There is a strange bit of clove and sweetness from a Djarum Black, the whole affair is classy but sticky at the same time, like 5th grade Halloween sleepovers in an opulent den of rich mahogany.

T: This carries the chocolate and pumpkin to the maximum, 7th gear engaged to the fullest. The spices are present throughout but are not overpowering, they are more like a tasty garnish to the main event. The chocolate and pumpkin don’t have that horrible synthetic feel that some other holiday offerings posit, I am looking at you Shipyard brewing and all of your Smashed Imperial offerings. It’s the kind of chocolatey boss that doesn’t give you your tens, but lets you leave early. Pretty solid.

Try this pumpkin beer that said. Only 7% abv they said.

M: This has a nice slick porter wateriness to it that imparts the flavor and gets out of there as though a new episode of Breaking Bad is on or something. You could put this back all day long, or you could open it with some people that will never have the chance to try it, either way beer curmudgeon. Spread the love around.

D: This is exceptionally drinkable and hides the abv well. The pumpkin and complexity of the chocolate aspects balance each other out and everyone is left with beige ass teeth smiling happily. The oak is not too pronounced but it is still empowers the other elements to do their thang, impart some vanilla and spice notes and then the bottle is gone.

This beer hits your flavor zones hard and leaves you stable, like a pumpkin BAWS.

Narrative: Bill Nye, the guy of science looked through the fusion reactor blast shield and scrawled some obtuse findings into a yellow notebook. The particle accelerator had successfully extracted carbon chains from both chocolate strains and disassembled complex amino acid chains from a gourd. Now the faint hue of the orange light spun rapidly as the proto-pumpkin quarks attempted to integrate themselves into the chocomatrix. “Those years of admonishing the reasoning faculties of children have postured me, BILL NYE, to usurp the throne of the king of Halloween.” The flow charts on the wall demonstrated the complex plan to become the figurehead of pagan rituals and how to rekindle the love of his followers through the use of science. “OH MY GO-” a flash of Ferrero Rocher gold erupted and Bill stared into the wispy whirring chocolate cloud. “MR. NYE! YOU CAN’T GO IN THERE, IT IS NOT FINISHED!” The Science Guy would see the instability of the product breaking down. He grabbed his oak clip board and entered the reactor and was imbued with chocolateyoakypumpkin free radicals, infusing him with the deep painful essence of Halloween. BUT WOULD HE USE THESE NEW FOUND HALLOPOWERS FOR GOOD OR EVIL?

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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”