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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 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
TURDFERGUSON (4009) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - MAY 26, 2008
Holy shit. I canít believe Tom brought this to the gathering. Pours dark brown with a small bubbled head. Nose is rich with brown sugar, caramel, belgian yeast, spices, toffee. Its sweet, without being the least bit cloying. Its rich, oaky and vinous, without being too tannic. Mouthfeel is full, silky and smooth. This is easily the most drinkable barleywines I have ever had. And one of the best beers too. Chewy and smooth. Now I know why so many people want this beer. Thanks so much for sharing Tom!!

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
JCB (3999) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - MAY 25, 2008
Huge, huge thanks to Oldgrowth for cracking open this amazing wonder of a beer at the Carolina crew gathering at Turdís place. Now three years old, this is probably at itís peak and it rockets right to my top spot overall. I just canít deny it its proper scores, and it was a pure delight to drink it. The aroma is just heavenly, wafting out from the dark, but evidently crisp body with heavy notes of malts and nuts initially and a slight fruit tang that promises complexity. But man, once it warmed up it went to another level. Vinous without being overpowering, and toffee notes that suggest an English barleywine or old ale but with a multi-leveled texture that comes courtesy of some bright fruits, hops, and the aforementioned wine qualities. Very full and silky mouthfeel, with tobacco and molasses emerging strongly, ending up like a top-notch port. So many different qualities in a beer that goes to so many different places, all while retaining a singular and unique identity of its own. Amazing. Thanks, Tom!!!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
BrianK (200) - Livingston, New Jersey, USA - MAY 12, 2008
Very sweet. Thick and chewy, pours a very dark color. Well masked abv. Nice flavors of oak, vanilla, caramel, and mild bourbon. Pretty nice.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
Rciesla (5499) - Exit 15W, New Jersey, USA - MAY 6, 2008
Thanks to BrianK for sharing this on the 3 year anniversary of its release, 5/5/08. Bottle. Pours dark ruby brown. Little to no head. Aromatic character is dark fruit plum, fig, chocolate, candy sugar. Mouthfeel is smooth and thick. sweet plumy, chocolate, and refreshing from etoh. Chewy, very chewy mouth coating leaves you wanting more quickly. Wow tobacco, bourbon in the finish, i want more again. WOW!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
jarspag (601) - San Francisco, California, USA - APR 14, 2008
A long time coming for this guy. A highlight of the 4/12 tasting at Jís pad - go figure, our numbers line up. Big shout out to Tim - thanks man for making this happen.

Poured quite dark w/ minimal head dissipating into tiny bubbles. Nose was hovering around sweet malts, raisins, candi sugar, and deeply bourbon soaked wood. Subtle but arrogant. Flavor was damn sweet up front with a heavy dose or raisin, sugars, prunes, berries, toffee, wood, tobacco, brown sugar, smoky burnt malt behind the upfront sweetness - rounded by a port like elegance. The palate and body on this beer is a slice of heaven...rich, smooth, cocky, mellow, and pissed off all at once. It is evident the years of aging have melded, mellowed, and blended these flavors into a mouth coating blanket like palate - the body of this beer are in a dream like state. The belgian yeast strains also shine in the background - you can feel their influence in how the body and flavors differ from a cut throat, balls deep american style b-wine. The bourbon presence plays a mentor type role here - rather than a smothering and flavor raping son of a bitch - I dig that here. This is and was a work of art....I can only wonder how it will continue to develop - as for now, it sure is drinking greatly.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
hapjydeuce (969) - Carlsbad, California, USA - APR 13, 2008
UPDATED: APR 18, 2008 A major thanks to jarspag for cracking open this huge rarity; I never thought we would ever get to try this when I first heard of it months and months ago. Very very dark for a barley wine, nearly black in the center with lighter maroon edges. Fading beige head and spotty lacing. Smells delicious! Sweet, caramelized Belgian candy sugar with raisin and plum, oak wood and loads of toffee. Some earthy leather tones and bourbon fruitcake underneath. Intriguing Belgian influence in the flavor, fruity and sweet. The candy sugar comes out more in the flavor with notes of port wine, black grape and raisin cinnamon bread. The +/-3 years of age show nicely, as the flavors are very mellowed and well-blended. A hint of stingy oxidation is noticeable. Extremely smooth palate with a lasting flavor of sugary bourbon and oak. Overall the bourbon barrel is more subtle than expected, and the Belgian yeast strains give it a unique and complex aspect. Excellent!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
tyler_mn (1475) - SLP, Minnesota, USA - APR 7, 2008
22oz bottle poured into a sinfter shoved into my face by Kan less than a minute after I entered the door. "Here drink this. Itís fuc*iní sweet!" he says. OK... sure. Very malty aroma. Boatloads of vanilla, toffee, chocolate. Quite rich. Pours a near opaque brown with no sign of a head. The flavor is absolutely decadent. Thick chocolate, toffee, caramel, vanilla, brown sugar. Damn... Absolutely chewy body. Thick, viscous and creamy. Heavenly. Thanks a ton Kan!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
holdenn (2088) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - APR 6, 2008
Wow, I am forever grateful to pantanap for opening this gorgeous beer. Pours black with a tan head. Aroma is strong with toffee, caramel, red fruit and slight vegetal malts. With the oxidized vegetal notes this may be just past its peak, but not too far. Rich flavors of toffee, chocolate, raisins, and red fruit. As this warms the chocolate notes ebb while the dark fruits grow. Creamy smooth and so incredibly drinkable. I could sit with this one glass for hours. Delicious.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
drewbeerme (3895) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - APR 6, 2008
Rating #1400!! 22oz bottle. I canít thank pantanap enough for sharing this amazingly rare gem. wow Kan, wow. pours dark brown with creamy swirling tan head. looks fantastic. the aroma is slightly oxidized, sherry, nuts, very slightly vegetal. i was expecting more from the nose. flavors of sherry, sweet raisins, chewy caramel, and some chocolate. what amazed me about this beer was not the notes in the aroma or flavor but how smooth and easy drinking this was while maintaing a full mouth feel and intense profile. i couldnít take any alcohol at all, not even a warming alcohol. extremely smooth. I just kept thinking how every barleywine should be like this in a perfect world as it really is the best executed barleywine iíve ever had. this really lived up to the hope and hype I had for it. Awesome! Big thanks Kan!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
pantanap (3366) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - APR 5, 2008
UPDATED: APR 15, 2008 bottle thanks to the man who shall not be named. huge huge huge thanks to that man.... pours a dark brown with a thin light tan head that diminished to a wispy resemblance of its former self.... nose was of rich dark fruit, caramel malt. not too amazing but it does hold its own..... flavor def. takes a turn for better. incredibly smooth on the dark fruit and sweet front. itís caramely and sugary but never becomes cloyingly so. creamy smooth mouthfeel and you canít notice the abv at all.....oh and this is my 500th rating and a well deserved one at that.

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