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RATINGS: 137   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.28/5   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 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
ketchepillar (1184) - 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
DietPepsican (1586) - @ $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 isn’t 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 can’t with this. Awesome.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
thebaldwizard (1206) - 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 (6355) - 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 hasn’t peaked. Maybe, if I’m lucky the beer gods will rain down blessings of “M” 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 I’ve 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.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
ygtbsm94 (12) - Blacksburg, Virginia, USA - SEP 15, 2008
Thanks to Moejuck for sharing this outstanding brew! 22oz bomber pours a dark brown, opaque, with slight ruby hue in the glass. It has a very port-like nose of dark fruit, vanilla, bourbon, oak gooey malts you can almost taste through your nose. The mouth feel is smooth as silk with very light carbonation. The taste is rich and buttery with molasses, a long sweet finish loaded with dark fruit and bourbon; gotta love this taste. This brew is still very drinkable with the alcohol in the stealth mode; an outstanding finish, kind of like drinking a glass of port wine. Would love to have this superb brew again some day.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Ughsmash (7508) - Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA - SEP 6, 2008
Bottled, thanks to someone quite generous! Rating #3,000!

Poured damn near black with a viscous body that absorbed any semblance of head.. still and alluring. The aroma was deep and engaging, showcasing bourbon and vinous port characteristics.. treacle, vanilla, and candi sugar on the 2nd impression.. sweeter chocolates and brown sugar deeper yet.. perfectly integrated! The flavor opened with syrupy molasses, vinous notes, and bourbon backed by sweeter chocolates and candi sugar.. bourbon presence increased toward the back with vanilla, toasted oak, and peppery warmth.. finished with tobacco, lightly sour bourbon, and dry-roasted chocolates. Heavier-bodied with low carbonation on the palate.. rather syrupy feel overall.. sourness worked well.. near-perfect balance. Great one!!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
arjoseph (642) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - AUG 30, 2008
Generously brought to one of our hotel room tastings, GABF 2007. Thanks to whoever did bring it, because it was one of the best beers I had at the fest (I think it might have been cquiroga, as usual bestowing dopeness on the collected beer geeks in his vicinity). Big sudsy taupe head. Smells like buttery vanilla with oakey oily bourbon a well-proportioned accent. Wonderful mouthfeel: silky, full, and smooth. Flavors are so full; DOPE: rich, melted Belgian chocolate is the main thing, fruity bourbon blending perfectly with the rich thick maltiness of chocolate, porty plums, and toffee. Really, this is one of the best uses of bourbon as an accent rather than a mainline that I have ever experienced. All the goodness persists in a clean, malty finish. Wow. Blessed be the dopeness that is M. I hope I get another sip during my lifetime.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
ogglethorp (917) - Ohio, USA - AUG 25, 2008
Bottle, Cleveland tasting, Moejuck! Pours ruby/brown color with a thin tan colored head. Aroma is molasses, brown sugar, caramel malts. Flavor is again molasses, brown sugar, caramel, raisins, hint of alcohol. Palate is full bodied, mild to almost no carbonation, finished chewy and sticky sweet. Wonderful brew, leaves a sticky coating on the lips.

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