Arcadia Cereal Killer Barley Wine - Arcadia Brewing Company
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Ratings: 453 | Reviews: 261 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by TheBrewo:
4/5 rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
This is actually a first for us in that we are reviewing a bottle of their fresh 2013 stock alongside a bottle of 2010 that we aged in our cellar, simultaneously. Should be a fun ride, so buckle up. We pour them side by side, with the 2013 landing in our oversized tasting snifters, and the 2010 in our Founders snifters. They both pour with a deep mahogany ruby coloring, with the older batch just a shade darker. The heads are comprised of egg white colored bubbles, standing half a finger tall, and showing light retention. Haze and sediment are both thick, with more substantial chunks noted in the 2010, as expected. Carbonation appears to be moderate all around. The aroma shows our first major difference. The base is similar in both with fusel booziness, rich caramel and brown maltiness, cloying toffee sugars, plum and black cherry fruitiness, and massive vanilla. The 2010, however, is much loftier, more syrupy, woody, and floral, with malty cloy of those caramels, toffee, buttercream, musk, and soy sauce, replacing the initial blast of medicinal phenols, industrial cleaning products, enhanced fusel booze, and apple cider vinegar in the 2013. Our first impression is similar to our thoughts on the aroma, with the 2013 giving stark punch, booze, and bitterness at the start, while the 2010 is more relaxed, blended, and sweetly balanced throughout the entire sip. The 2013 opens with vinegar acidity, sweet apple cider and core fruitiness, vinyl plastics, rubber, burnt caramel smokiness, heavily biting booze, walnut bitterness, rum soaked raisins, and under ripe figs. The 2010, by comparison, eliminates much of that initial bitterness, erasing the spine tingling shivers that rip through your body with each sip. Here, the malts are much more forward, with great depth and layers of caramel, soured brown malts, crispy pales, and buttery diacetyls to keep you busy. The peak hits with heavy, sugar-laden fruitiness of red cherries, fig, plum pudding, buttered biscuits, toasted pseudo chocolate malty darkness, and amber malts, to replace the peppery booziness, mineral, nail polish remover, banana peppers, cereal and oat graininess, margarine, and sugar-free caramels of the fresh 2013 stock. This continues, washing through the finish with apple brandy booziness, white wine vinegar, bitter maple candy, gravel, massive booziness, fig and plum, slight grassy hoppiness, oily nut and tree bitters, fusel chemical phenols, and melted plastics. The 2010 contrasts with this, giving more of a browned apple sweetness, bittered lemon rind, musk, dank dustiness, bread pudding, maple syrups, peach and fig syrups, floral grassiness, honey glaze, candy corn, pineapple fruitiness, and general aged caramel maltiness. The aftertaste of the 2010 continues with mossy, basement musky woodiness, dried apple slices, cinnamon and brown sugar, fruit of red cherry, buttercream sugars, mineral, and more of that sweet, sticky fig and plum sugar that has been present throughout. The 2013 breathes rather similarly, but with more bite of graphite, metallic yeast, harsh grainy grit, booze, and phenols. Both sip with a heavy, full body, while carbonation is held at a medium. Each gives nice slurp, smack, and finishing pop, with more cream, froth, and foam appreciated from the 2010 product. This also shows more of a syrupy coating to the mouth, with light chalky dryness, and sugary cloy to puck. The 2013 gives much more bittering puck and twitch from the hearty booziness of it, with the same light chalky dryness to follow, once the mouth recovers to its baseline. The abv is big but appropriate, and the beer sips over the hour.
Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was its robustness of flavoring. This of course, as we set out to discover, was vastly different across the years of the vintage. The freshest edition was a bit harsh, giving nothing big enough for the booze to hide behind. It came out swinging, mixing with bright chemical phenols, cloying sugars, and plastics, for a curiously imbalanced sip. This improved a great deal with warmth, however, allowing for the inherent sugariness of the malts shine through strongly enough to break the cycle. That said, the 2010 vintage was vastly superior from the first sip and then after. It started with the desired blend, with the booze, actually, hardly noticeable at times. The fruit, malts, and muskiness of it remained clean, and was a single entity by the end. This was an exciting, revealing experience, and it certainly helped us to refine our opinions about cellaring vs. drinking fresh. So, based on our experiment here, we recommend that you sit on the fresh Cereal Killer you have, so as to allow it to calm and blend enough for all of its components, nooks, and crannies to click.
Serving type: bottle
08-31-2013 02:57:58 | More by TheBrewo
More User Reviews:
3.89/5 rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
$3.99 single. Bottled 1/17/13. Poured 2/07/14 into the only clean glass I had, a shaker pint. Maybe it being a year past its bottling date was why this was $4 for a single? Who knows. My first ENGLISH Barleywine, though I've had a few American varieties.
Appearance: A really hazy, thick, brown and red color. Sort of almost like the color of the bottle itself. No head to really speak of, but a decent amount of lacing, and a ring of foam on top of the beer.
Smell: Oh, well... yeah. Big malty sweetness that you'd expect in an English barleywine. Dark fruits. Bunch of caramel malt. Almost a wet wood aroma in there as well. Pretty nice.
Taste/feel: Actually a bit thin compared to other Barleywines I've had, but not TOO thin. A sort of tangy quality is also definitely in this beer, presumably from the yeast. Big caramel malt and sweetness before the alcohol warming finish and biscuit-like after taste. As for actual alcohol flavor, I don't really get one, but someone could probably guess this beer is at least 10% by the feel of it alone.
I hadn't had a Barleywine in a loooong time, so I decided to try this one. It's pretty good. $4 for a single bottle seemed a bit high, but when I looked at it, the beer was bottled over a year ago. Unless Arcadia bottles this beer and keeps it around before shipping them? Whatever the case, that may explain why this beer's alcohol is quite nicely mellowed out.
I wasn't the hugest fan of Barleywines (which is why I went so long without buying one), but now I think I'm changing my stance. I enjoy the insane amount of malt flavor, the slight tanginess, and the warmth in my belly from this one. The feel could maybe use a little work, but the amount of sweetness is spot on -- any more and this beer would be cloying. I'd be very interested in buying another one and cellaring it for about five years or so. The only real flaw I have with this brew is that it could use some more flavor depth... I could find that in the BBA version if I could get my hands on it. Try this one out.
Serving type: bottle
02-07-2014 17:37:07 | More by Alextricity
Arcadia Cereal Killer Barley Wine from Arcadia Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 453 ratings.