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RATINGS: 133   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.27/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 348   ABV: 11.6%
On this 10-year mark, Midnight Sun Brewing Company proudly releases its 1000th batch of beer - a larger-than-life Belgian-style Barley Wine (if such a style exists) simply called M - in commemoration of the enduring spirit that founded and sustains this little brewery in the extreme Northwest. Making M required a massive grain bill - seven seductive malts - boosted by strength-inducing Belgian candi sugar. Once original gravity hit 37 Plato, a frenzied fermentation ensued: four completely fabulous yeast strains, two of Belgian origin, transformed this sweet concoction into all that is beer. But not just any beer. A beer of madcap magnitude - 11.6% ABV. Character and complexity increased exponentialy while M meddled and mellowed for several months in all-American bourbon oak barrels. Blending the aged beer before bottling ascertained smoothness. M is mesmerizing, pouring dark and silky. Caramel and spice waft up from the glass; bourbon, molasses, leather and vanilla follow. The first taste proffers tobacco, burnt sugar and raisin with a sublime port-like finish, but bourbon - smooth, sensuous, brooding bourdon - is ever-present. The finish, a bit edgy like an American take on barley wine, provides the necessary leap toward overall balance. M is a precious gift to ourselves as well as you, seekers of beer-that-is-beyond-beer adventures... We are but mere mortals in the presence of M.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
cpetrone84 (1810) - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 2, 2014
Wonderful moment with two great friends, cheers to Kevin and Jeremy. Pour is black with light brown head. Nose is salty, soy, and date. A fair amount of berry fruit sweetness behind. Taste is a bit less soy, sweet berry, dates and figs. Some caky rum soaked raisin or date. Really soft body, full an gentle at the same time with very soft carbonation and extremely inviting. Overall, not really any oxidation, a really well put together beer, lots of sweetness but not sugary, nothing mind blowing but very solid.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
MrChopin (4303) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - DEC 22, 2013
Planned this review a week in advance. Expected an analytical comparison with added details on each of the 10+ barleywines we picked as background. But it hissed upon opening, we smiled, and then drank up.

M is achievement, a moment, the end of a long search in a hobby of "whatís next?" Our bottle celebrated friendship, years of joint efforts, trips, tastings, and thousands of miles. Today it was a 6hr project to buy, transport, build, and then use a ping pong table long into the night. M is still really good just no longer great. But thatís not why you go after it.
Thank you Chris.
Thank you Jeremy.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
JAXSON (535) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 21, 2013
UPDATED: DEC 24, 2013 A much sought after bottle for me. Pours deep brown, near black, with a wispy ring around the edges. Nose is dates, light soy, kind of mild but pleasant, meatier than expected. Mouth is very refined, old tasting. A lot of rum soaked dates, sweet rum cake. Sweet and full of dates and cake along the finish. Some smoke, coconut sugars open up. Feel is thick, full, silky. Elegant, regal, very nice. Quite sweet, cake like, marshmallow sweets. I would have loved to have enjoyed this 5 years ago but I wonít sully this moment with those thoughts.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
TheAlum (6860) - Aurora, Illinois, USA - NOV 25, 2013
Bottle at Tony/Jim BA Birthday Extravaganza 2013 (Western Springs, IL). Fucking Sean. Pours a deep roasty brownish hue, dark with a good hazy body. Gentle copper brown glow on the edges. Frothy offwhite layer atop laces small, mellow lacing. Aromas are a bit oxidized, mellow oak, toffee and caramel. Gentle dryness, earth, and toast. Some gentle biscuit, toast. Initial is a bit thicker, firm body with mellow oxidation. Touches of caramel, toast and toffee. A bit thinner, more approachable, mellow warm$$th. Some gentle toast, vanilla and biscuit. A bit oxidized, touch of cardboard and age. Middle is a touch sticky, carmelized, mellow oak and gentle warmth. Finish is a touch sticky, some vanilla, oak and biscuit. Mellow toasty. A bit past itís prime but a pleasure to try. Some toastiness, biscuit, and oak sticks on to the backend. Still rocking it without much body or sticky sweetness. A touch faded on the nose but still nice. Nice stuff, even for itís age.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
readbaron (78) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JUL 12, 2013
Mmmmmmmmm. Smell is fantastic. Not quite like any other beer Iíve had. Smells of caramel covered dates. Taste is exceptional. Hybrid of barleywine and stout - lots of dark fruit, rich depth of character. Lightly sweet and incredibly smooth. Looks like a blend of barleywine and stout - lightly carbed.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
ianhuntley73 (22) - - APR 30, 2013
Second to last bottle I have left. Fantastic Barley Wine from Midnight Sun. Unbelievably smooth for a Bourbon barrel aged ale. Iíve had this beer 3 times and it appears to age well with the tobacco and burnt sugar notes significantly increasing with age. The funny thing about this beer was I obtained a number of bottles (8) for around $40. total and recently sold a single bottle for $4500.00. The beer is good but not worth that price. During this review, I did a cross comparison with a 1953 Trumanís No. 1 Barley Wine Coronation Year. Suprisingly, I found the 1953 Trumanís better than the Midnight Sun M.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
crossovert (11015) - Illinois, USA - APR 28, 2013
UPDATED: APR 29, 2013 Can finally say that it isnít as oxidized as expected. A bottle that jus recently came out of alaska so maybe the lower ambient temps helped it out. It is a great barleywine, caramel, bourbon, sweet but well-aged.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
neepsntatties (1717) - Portland, Oregon, USA - NOV 17, 2012
Bottle courtesy of AKFaust and BrewBoone. Colour...deep mahogany brown with no head. Nose...smells just like Don Pedro Ximenez but with crushed dates, Brooks prunes and dark fruit cake. Palate...delicately carbonated with an immediate rush of Christmas cake and fruit bar. Next comes the waves of dark raisins, medjool dates and dark currants followed by a slightly bitter burnt brown sugar hit and a plush yet semi-tannic mouthfeel that adds an interesting dimension to the experience. This is a truly unique and rare beer!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
brokensail (15635) - Dublin, California, USA - OCT 29, 2012
Very, very dark brown pour, almost black, with a khaki head. Rich bourbon and vanilla notes, lots of dark fruits, a hint of leather, and plenty of wood. Some sweet caramel, a mild to moderate oxidation, and a fair amount of chocolate. Sweet brown sugar and caramel notes which go nicely with the fruit, bourbon, and vanilla. Mild chocolate, some oxidation, molasses, and a hint of alcohol.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
GAManiac (1944) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - SEP 13, 2012
I want to start off by saying thank you to the generous BA who shared this with a few of us last night. I definitely thought trying this one was beyond my reach. "We are but mere mortals in the presence of M." Indeed. Pours extremely dark for a barleywine, dark mahogany brown, with a small beige head. It looks almost like a Belgian dark in color, almost black. Aroma is outstanding and has clearly held up to the years in the bottle. Itís a good bit fruiter than I was expecting, certainly more than the typical barleywine. Lots of raisins and plums mixed with chocolate and caramel. The oak is present with some light tannins, leather and booze. The taste just doesnít live up to the aroma though itís still extremely good. This is clearly where the age is beginning to catch up to M, with hints of oxidation creeping in. The booze soaked dark fruits are in the forefront, but with a chocolate-covered character to the whole thing. The finish is a mixture of port, oak and the oxidized notes. The mouthfeel is creamy, smooth, and softly carbonated. Hides the alcohol exceptionally well . This is one of the more complex barleywines Iíve ever had and the nose really stands up to anything Iíve ever smelled in the style. I have to imagine that this would have been one of the best beers Iíve ever tasted if I had it 2-3 years ago. As it is, I feel lucky to have been able to try it and it has held up much better than could be expected.

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