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RATINGS: 131   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.23   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 348   ABV: 11.6%
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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 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
presario (4828) - Stampede City, Alberta, CANADA - OCT 6, 2009
pre-GABF. Big intoxicating alcohol nose. Still black beer. Aroma of soy and black midnight. Flavour of soy, thick taste, sweet delicious!!

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
BeerandBlues2 (10608) - San Diego, California, USA - SEP 28, 2009
Sample from a bottle at Loganís pre-GABF party 2009. Pours black with an average, frothy, light brown head, somewhat diminishing with fair lacing. Aroma is heavy malt (caramel, toffee, nutty), light hop (herbs), average yeast (leather) with notes of raisin, date, port, and brown sugar. Full bodied, creamy texture, average carbonation, and an astringent finish. Long duration, heavy sweetness, light acidity and bitterness.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
yobdoog (1888) - Kingston, New York, USA - SEP 8, 2009
Consumed August 29, 2009. To date this has to be the most amazing beer I have ever had. The hype surrounding this beer is not what even made it, the beer is actually ridiculously good and so original and complex. Dark rich brown color with no head. Pours so thick and rich and just looks smooth. Aroma has chocolate, cream, molasses, cake and some rich dark candied fruit. Flavor is really complex. Rich dark chocolate and sundae syrup. Some alcohol warms you right up but isnít overpowering at all. Some fruit jam and lots of sweetness finish this off. Awesome!

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
badbeer (434) - Iowa, USA - JUN 14, 2009
I want to start out with a huge thank you to hoppymeal for trading his only other bottle of M! Looks black or very dark brown from a distance, but when held to light has some very dark red colors to it. Excellent clarity on the beer. The head is tan colored and hangs around well leaving a decent lacing. Aroma jumps out of the glass with burnt sugar, molasses, sour cherries, mint, rum, bourbon, oak, plum, raisins, and Christmas cookies. Intense and complex smell, but everything smells so delicious. Taste is full of brown sugar, molasses, huge amount of caramel, cherries, bourbon, and vanilla. Mouthfeel is full, but so damn smooth, not cloying at all. Low carbonation and full body cause this to slide over the tongue delivering deliciousness to every taste bud possible. A beautiful beer to drink, I could sip on this beer all day, but sadly I donít ever think Iíll see a bottle again. As much as I had built this beer up in my mind after finding out everything I could about it, I didnít think it would be able to live up to what I believed it to be. Somehow, M knew my expectations and instead of breaking under the pressure, it stood strongly and proudly saying take it or leave it. Take it, I will. Simply M-mazing!

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
ketchepillar (1172) - Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA - JUN 14, 2009
Huge thanks to hoppymeal, pepsican, badbeer, and iowaherkeye.Low carbonation. Really smooth finish. Lots of fruit. Moderately sweet. fig & currant. Nice caramel, chocolate, slight butterscotch. Plums. Finishes with lots of chocolate & caramel. Some burnt sugar.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
pepsican (1500) - @ $13.99, Iowa, USA - JUN 13, 2009
Pours a reddish brown with a nice sized tan head. Aroma has a nice bit of chocolate, raisin, cherry, plums, old pears. Flavor was up front chocolate and caramel. Lots of sweet fruits are also dominate, mainly plums and cherries. It definitely has a light amount of sherry and cardboard oxidation that isnít quite distracting yet, but I could see it getting in the way soon. A bit of bourbon, vanilla, bubblegum, and toffee round this one out. The mouthfeel and finish are damn near perfect. I always want to hate aged beer, but I canít with this. Awesome.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
thebaldwizard (1205) - Ohio, USA - JUN 1, 2009
Pour was very dark brown with a small tan head. The aroma was sugary chocolate, vanilla and oak. The body was medium to thick with low carbonation, which fit well. The taste was plenty of sweet chocolate with hints of port and raisins. Really good stuff.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Cletus (6354) - Connecticut, USA - MAY 16, 2009
Bottle cracked open to celebrate my 35th birthday. Pours dark brown with some off white bubbles around the rim of the snifter. Smells dry and oaky with some dark fruit, pepper, earthy, cognac, some molasses. Tastes of sweet malt, some vinous hints, toffee, some nuttyness, dry. Well balanced and enjoyable.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
savnac (2391) - Anchorage, Alaska, USA - MAY 12, 2009
22oz bottle, special thanks to Tim at a BA cellar party. I thought I had missed this one and would never get the chance to try it but happened to be in the right place at the right time with some of the coolest people on the planet. Poured into a tulip at cellar temp, about 4 years old at the time of tasting. Deep brown with a tiny head that swirled around the glass like the milky way galaxy. Aroma was very complex, oak, bourbon, prunes, toffee, caramel. The taste was mostly sweet but was cut perfectly by the wood and alcohol flavors. Not syrupy like I imagined it but silky smooth with mild carbonation, age may be thinning this out to perfection. From the others in the room that have had this before, sounds like it just keeps getting better and still hasnít peaked. Maybe, if Iím lucky the beer gods will rain down blessings of ďMĒ again in the future. Some beers rate high because of their limited availability and lore but this is not one of them, to date the best beer Iíve ever had.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
Ofortuna (322) - Grafton, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 23, 2008
From my backlog dated September 6th: 22oz bomber shared by an extremely generous individual.

Dark nearly opaque pour with hardly a drop of head. Nearly devoid of carbonation. Ominous. Aromas of oloroso sherry with bits of vanilla. Deep and absorbing. Bizarre flavour. Triple, barley wine and light bourbon barrel stout all rolled into one. Wow. Finally, someone who managed to pull off integrating various attributes of very different styles of beer. Not only succeeded, but really excelled. Deep vinous character that morphed into various layers of complexity. Very nice mouthfeel that just enhanced the experience. Some additional sherry notes on the end that give away its age. Just such a unique beer with very separate and unique components that somehow manage to balance and compliment each other wonderfully.

Many thanks Jason for sharing such an elusive beer.

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