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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 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 (998) - 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 (2110) - 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 (3916) - 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.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
brewandbbq (269) - Manchester, New Hampshire, USA - JAN 7, 2008
Pours dark brown and nearly opaque, with traces of ruby in the hips of the tulip glass. A tan head of humble proportions struggled to reveal itself, with a stretch of a pour. The quarter-inch of foam dissapated quickly, leaving a partial coverage at best. Susequent swirls of the glass rose up continued frothing easily. Remarkable in the nose. Heavily laced with thick malt, dried figs, charred oak, bourbon, and port. Layers of richness continue with shades of leather, sherry, dark rum, toffee, and vanilla. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. Quite sticky and somewhat syrupy. The pallet is rich and decadent. Caramelized sugars, chewy malt, vineous port, and burnt chocolate bits. Beneath the massive malt bill and unfermentables lies a cherry-like oxidation and bourbon. Bitterness and any hopping is negligable, and the vineous nature leans the brew into an "Old ale" stance. Finishes sweetish with lingering dark rum, port, smoked leather, and caramlized brown sugar. A totally unique beer, with liquer overtones.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
5000 (6625) - Hardened Liver, Washington, USA - JAN 1, 2008
Bottle for rating #2400: Viscous pour, burnt caramel in color, the deepest brown before becoming black, thin short lived light beige head, a few whisps of lacing.   Being at nearly two and a half years in the bottle, it has taken on an aged appearance.   The aroma is dominated by the raisin and prune.   Very subtle oak, vanilla, and bourbon character as well.   I can see where the aformentioned aromas might have been stronger years ago.   Any sort of hop presense has diminished.   Oh my lord, on first sip you realize how smooth and silky this one is.   WOW!   Amazingly smooth.   Wrapped around my tongue are raisins, prunes, soft caramel, and sense of accomplishment.   This is one of the better Barley Wines I have had in a long time.   Damn!   This one takes on a Port like quality.   Utterly delicious!   I do believe this one needs to be brewed again.   Full bodied, silky smooth mouthfeel.   So clean, well balanced, and flavorful.   This one is very warming, but not alcholic at all.   I am amazed to see that it is listed as 11.6% ABV.   Quite sweet on the tongue, but not yet cloying.   I think as time goes on it may get that way though.   Lingering raisins and prunes, with faint hints of vanilla, oak, and bourbon.   Sad to see the remainder of my glass being finished.   I really wish I had more of this.   Fantastic stuff!

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Ungstrup (34362) - Citizen of the universe, DENMARK - OCT 28, 2007
Bottled. A pitch black beer with a brown head. The aroma is sweet malty with notes of soy sauce, caramel, alcohol, and cherry. The flavor is sweet malty with notes of caramel, alcochol, cherries, and sweet soy sauce. Great.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
1FastSTi (3360) - Glendale, Wisconsin, USA - OCT 23, 2007
UPDATED: SEP 11, 2008 Thanks Jeff. Pours to a dark brown body with ruby highlights. A thin brown head. The aroma is really nice. Aged malt and barley with notes of sherry, port, and molasses. Sweet vanilla. The flavor is sweet aged barley, sherry, vanilla, oak, and port wine. Toffee. The palate is warming, smooth, and moderately full bodied. Sampled this again. Liked it slightly better.

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