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Arcadia Cereal Killer Barley Wine - Arcadia Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Arcadia Cereal Killer Barley WineArcadia Cereal Killer Barley Wine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

507 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 507
Reviews: 261
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 13.39%
Wants: 38
Gots: 68 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Arcadia Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: mcallister on 10-26-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 507 | Reviews: 261 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BWH3
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A hazy deeply red copper crowned with a meager quarter inch tan head. Still and haze settles but head whisks away.

S: The aroma is malty and alcoholic. The alcohol is wine like and smells quite aged. The malts have a strong component of the typical marzen malt scent. The hops are pine like and don't blend well with the malt body. Fortunately the hops are subdued relative to the sweet bready malt body.

T: Malt predominates with a toffee, biscuit, and melanoidin flavor. The bitterness is big but well balanced which is characteristic of the English varieties of this style. A bit of dark dried cherry mixes in well with the alcohol/wine like flavors.

M: Thick enough, still enough, but not enough head retention.

D: May smooth with aging. The malt flavors are good but the hop bitterness is not rich enough and does not quite blended well at this time.

BWH3, Jan 26, 2009
Photo of mentor
3.2/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a half finger of dark tan head over a nearly clear reddish-brown liquid. Smells potent dark fruit (raisins, plums), laether, alcohol clean, and malt sweet. Some citrusy hop in the form of oranges and pine. Deep inhale reveals rubbing alcohol.

Tastes potent malt sweet with strong hop flavor, some alcohol sting, and moderate hop bitter. Malt falvor is toffee, chocolate, and biscuity. Hop flavor is so potent it comes across as sour. Oranges, pine, orange pith, and tangerine. Bitter is mild and clear of cohumulone edginess. Esters are thick and heavy. Raisin, fig, tamarind, and a dash of cherry. A decent beer, but too sweet persistent. I suspect this would improve with a couple years in the cellar. Super thick mouthfeel...sticky. Moderate carbonation.

mentor, Jan 01, 2009
Photo of BasementDweller
2.65/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Oh no. No no no. Please tell me this wasn't classified as a Barleywine. That's an insult to the category. Aroma is boozy and fruity, trying really hard to be estery but falling well short. Palate is far from substantial. Flavor is of simple syrup (and lots of it), a dollop of caramel, and a splash of Hawaiian Punch. As for hops, well, they're there, but not in any kind of force. They certainly don't contribute much to the aroma. Two redeeming factors of this beer: 1) it LOOKS like a barleywine, and 2) I didn't have to pay for it.

BasementDweller, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter, the beer was a red amber color with a medium tan head that provided some lacing. It had a caramel apple aroma. Similar taste: caramel, apple, some hops. The alcohol was well-hidden. Creamy mouthfeel. Not too aggressive, a good example of an English barleywine.

lordofthewiens, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of charlesw
3.45/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful. Nice head, maybe a bit quick for the lacing to go away. Wonderful EB smell - prunes, alcohol, light apricots, sweet malts. It's funny, though... It's called and English BW and that fits, some. Of course, it could also be an American BW and that would fit some. The problem is that it isn't either of those. It's too sweet and syrupy (not that it's sweet and syrupy) to be American and too hoppy and bitter (not that it's hoppy and bitter) to be English. All things considered, it's probably better off in English because of the aroma and the near syrupy sweetness. I'd like it more less sweet and more bitter. Um. More American. It would score better in its style if it were less hoppy.

charlesw, Dec 18, 2008
Photo of beerthulhu
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The pour starts out with a dark caramel/dark brown color with a moderate beige head.

S: sweet malt palate with a dark fruit and some sweet caramel apples and molasses.

T: Much like the aroma, dark fruit with sweet burnt caramel hints. The alcohol at 9.0% abv was fairly well hidden behind the sweetness of the palate. There was a light vanilla bean and oaky woodiness in the finish along with sweet caramel.

M: moderately full with a slight creaminess.

D: Drinks really nice and smooth for a barleywine. Great drinkability, worthy of a recommend and future purchases.

beerthulhu, Dec 17, 2008
Photo of hopdog
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this one on tap.

Poured a deeper reddish / orange color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of caramel, fruity, oranges, citrus and some dark fruits. Tastes of caramel, citrus, fruity, and toffee. Light alcohol finish.

Notes from 2/21/07

hopdog, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of danielharper
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gotta love the fact that this is now a local beer for me.

Appearance: Very hazy brown-yellow appearance, small off-white head. Hints of effervescence due to carbonation.

Smell: Very tart up-front, almost lambic-like in its fruitiness, Hints of cherries. Very interesting, very unexpected for a barleywine (even an English barleywine). Hops are fairly well present under that, with quite a bit of alcohol astringency.

Taste: Very malty, quite sweet, slightly tarty. Alcohol very present in the flavor, mostly masked by the malts, with a burningly dry finish and a sweet aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Thick, with low carbonation and high hops. Coats the tongue.

Drinkability: I'm not always a fan of English-style barleywines, but this one is quite good. Worth a try, and at $7.99 a bomber the price is right.

danielharper, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of sopclod
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Creme brulee.

I thought about ending the review right there, but I didn't think the mods would appreciate that. Nor you, for that matter.

If you took the crusty top of creme brulee, you know, the good part, liquified it, and added a little carbonation and alcohol, you would have Cereal Killer.

I didn't really detect much in the way of other flavors, or hops. It was sweet, malty and caramelly, and that's pretty much it. Not that that's a bad thing. However the rich flavor combined with a healthy dose of alcohol (why can't more beers be served in 12oz bottles??) hurt its drinkability. After about halfway through (about 12oz!) I had had my fill, but I had to finish the bottle.

There was something else as well. Shortly after quaffing my bomber of Cereal Killer, I got the most horrible diarrhea. Now, I think it's unrelated, but damn... I felt pretty horrible for about 48 hours. It's the kind of thing that, even though I know it probably wasn't the beer, it will probably be a long time before I try it again.

Overall, if you like malt, give it a try.

sopclod, Oct 06, 2008
Photo of Lexluthor33
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours Reddish brown with a small head and a light lace.
The aroma of malts,fruits and caramel hints.

The taste was of alcohol first then turned sweet & malty with some piney hops and a fruit backbone.
The feel was only mildly bitter with a creamy finish. Low carbonation,full body and not as hoppy as I thought it could be. Easy to drink.

Notes: The first review of 11 different 8oz. cask beers I had at The 2nd Manhattan Cask Ale Festival held at the Chelsea Brewing Company.
I took many notes,but some beers left an imprint
on my taste buds like no other. This beer was very malty and strong in alcohol.

Lexluthor33, Sep 23, 2008
Photo of Gehrig
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dense, cloudy brown with burnt orange highlights. A nice finger of tan head doesn't last long or leave much lacing, little surprise given the style and high ABV (9%). Still, it's a nice presentation. Good aromas, lots of berry, some molasses, more malty than hopped--definitely smells on the sweet end.

I like the taste--again more sweet than sour or bitter, nicely malted, good berry flavor, nice if subtle molasses. But this could be bolder and, unlike the nose, maltier in the flavor. Certanly not all barleywines are the same, with some weighing more with malt or hops. Some, such as the masterpiece that is Great Divide's Old Ruffian, strike a great balance between the two. Cereal Killer could use more of both, and personally I like more hops in taste and texture than appear here. Thus, the mouthfeel isn't off-putting, but isn't attractive either. It's thin for barleywine.

On the other hand, it's also smooth and accessible. This is good barleywine, shortcomings though there are. This could do with a good cellaring.

Gehrig, Sep 07, 2008
Photo of baggio
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle@Oliver Twist, Stockholm

A: Fuzzy red with a nice whiteish lace.

S: Caramel, Raisin, Chocolate, Yeast, Herbs

T: Caramel, Malt, Sugar, Cherries, Grain.

M: Thick and creamy with a nice touch of alcohol in the end. Very low carbonation on this one.

I liked this barleywine alot. Maybe because i drank it outside during a cold and rainy day. Still, it's sweet and powerful and makes for a good nightcap or as a dessertbeer on its own. Recommended!

baggio, Aug 31, 2008
Photo of Maestro
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This barleywine poured a murky brown with a bubbly, tan head. The nose was fairly light, with only traces of raisins and dates. The beer tasted of brown sugar, toasted bread, raisins, dates and a bit of lemon. The beer was a bit fizzy, but overall was a decent representation of a barleywine.

Maestro, Aug 21, 2008
Photo of dirtylou
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, scooped at Binny's on Grand last time i was in Chicago - not sure why madison never seems to get the limited arcadia bombers but whatever

appearance: pours into a snifter - big crimson-garnet body, cola-esque traits, creamy beige head with moderate lace. The Cereal Killer label is pretty on point too, for what thats worth

smell: The cereal killer packs quite the booze-filled nose, booze covered plum, resinous pine hops, lots of thick malt sweetness

taste: This barleywine is a lot boozier than the 9% label would suggest - I note mostly resinous pine hops and a high citrus hop bitterness along with it. There are certainly enough thick caramel malts to go around but this beer kind of falls flat and doesnt balance out well - its too bitter and a bit muddy

mouthfeel: high bitterness, medium body

drinkability: iffy

dirtylou, Aug 16, 2008
Photo of ccrida
3.15/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber poured into a stem glass, Cereal Killer is a murky, dark reddish brown that pours a large khaki head but leaves pretty heavy lace.

Smell is spicy and malty, sweeter but immature. Far from a turn off, but time would clearly round this out. Nevertheless, it has that rich cherry maltiness that I appreciate and enjoy, but there's no question it's pushing cough syrup.

Taste is super sweet and rich, whoa! This one is a palate buster, think rum soaked fruits, with a very spicy, drier finish, but nevertheless clean. Not bad, but an overly sugary BW, with less emphasis on Cereal and more so Killer! While it's not my taste, it's pretty clean and well done.

Mouthfeel is thicker and syrupy, it went from average to way to thick heavy in a hurry.

Drinkability is OK, this is a tasty, but too overly sweet. A decent take on a English BW, and I'm happy to enjoy it...but not enough to move back to the dirty coast! Not a bad price either, but also something that a non BW drinker would probably call icky - I can't wait to brush my teeth!

ccrida, Aug 06, 2008
Photo of jjboesen
4.75/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This one really impressed me. It opens with a thick and frothy head sitting daintily above a glass of dark cloudy copper. Within it one watches a steady stream of carbonation bubbles. There was a minimum of lacing. Surprising.

In addition to a tangy banana ester, the body is extremely biscuity with a heavy, but sweet, malt bite; this makes for an incredible body.Upon the befuddled palate tempts a cloying cloviness (how's that for alliteration) that precedes a smooth mouthfeel.

This is one Michigan barleywine to please anyones' palate. Nice one, but one is about all anyone can handle.

jjboesen, Jul 13, 2008
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 vintage. Fluorescent blood orange that is slightly more blood than orange. What a great color when backlit. Even though crown cracking led to a massive escape of pent-up CO2, foam didn't exit the bottle, the head wasn't massive and very little carbonation can be seen. Odd. The cap melts in attractive fashion and festoons the glass with a decent amount of patchy lace.

If you like big boozy barleywines, then you'll like how Cereal Killer smells. The dominant aroma is ripe fruit (apricots especially) macerated in fruit brandy and melted caramel. Hops play second fiddle, which isn't a problem given the style.

My hopes were less than high after the disappointment that was my last Brew Crew Big Beer from Arcadia (Big Dick's Olde Ale). This one, however, hits the style target pretty close to the bull's eye. It's a little tame, but then aged English barleywines usually are. Time appears to have taken most of the teeth out of the alcohol.

A shortage of malt is the only real negative. The result is a beer that tastes good, but a beer that lacks depth and power. Ease of drinkability is a corresponding positive. CKBW would be a good place to jump into the style, domestically speaking. Just be sure to age your bomber for upwards of two years first.

The flavor profile is reminiscent of Christmas fruitcake coated with toffee sauce and light molasses. Fruits include apricots, oranges, cherries and plums. No malt darker than Munich ensures that the darker fruits (raisins for instance) are nowhere to be found.

The mouthfeel is the only chink in the armor. It's too light for the style and is the reason why the flavor score isn't higher. The relative shortage of bubbles is a good thing... unless you enjoy post-gulp burps.

Cereal Killer Barley Wine (a great name) is surprisingly delicious. Going with the theory that it might have had more power and presence when young, I will try to find a fresh bottle. I have to say, though, it's damn good aged.

BuckeyeNation, Jun 30, 2008
Photo of jeffmonarch
3.28/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber in a pint glass.

A - Amber reddish brown with a light brown head.

S - I can't pick up on anything. Really faint.

T - Good bite, good bitterness. Really sweet. A little hops and wheat flavors.

M - Medium bodied with good carbonation.

D - Ok beer, average, not that impressed.

jeffmonarch, Jun 24, 2008
Photo of matty
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark brown colored ale with a one inch light brown head.Aroma is alcohol and fruit.Taste is sugar,more sugar,fruit and alcohol.This is my first Barley Wine and I was not overly impressed.A person could go into a diabetic coma if you drink more than one.This ale was not horrible but it is not something I would seek out anytime in the future.

matty, Jun 20, 2008
Photo of BeerSox
3.4/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber into 8oz snifter.

One of the darker Barleywines I have seen. IT's almost a grape juice color, that's dulled slightly by the cloudiness. A somewhat thick and dense head (it can't be that thick since it's an 8oz snifter) that settles to a rim along the glass. At the end of each pour there is a rush of bubbles that slowly build the head.

Light and smooth candy aromas that mix well with the citrusy hops. Some of the alcohol can be detected.

Thick and syrupy, with a sweet start. The hard candy aroma is repeated in the taste, and gives hints of grape or red wine. A little bit of grain makes its way in, but it's mostly all spicy hop flavor. Full bodied with medium carbonation. The lingering flavor is the hops and a vinous flavor.

This is a decent Barleywine but it's nothing I'm going to get exited about. I felt the hops were a little tame or the style and the candy flavor just seemed off. It's not bad, but it's nothing spectacular either. According to the lable it's a 2007 vintage. Judging by the flavor, I would say it's early 2007 giving it more than a year. This one is probably best enjoyed fresh.

BeerSox, May 04, 2008
Photo of kzoobrew
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours quite syrupy, leave about a finger and a half head with soon diminishes to nice white ring. Color is somewhere between a deep burnt orange and cherry brown.

Smells amazing. Dark fruit and bread.

Taste is quite malty with little or no hops detected. Again a very nice fruit like flavor to compliment the smell. Dark to sour cherry flavor up front which leads to more of a raisin flavor on the back end. Maltiness is tasted through out and matches the fruitness of the brew perfectly.

Does leave a thick almost chewy mouth feel, which is expected of a bigger beer with such maltiness.

Drinkability is one area where personal taste will be a deciding factor. I love the big beer and this brew being in the lines of Arcadia's "Big Beer Series" is right in my wheel house. I find this highly drinakble and enjoyable. Although it may be too heavy for a non big beer fan.

I throughly enjoy this brew. This will be added to the Cellar fairly soon as I would love to taste an aged version of this great brew.

kzoobrew, May 03, 2008
Photo of ultralarry2006
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle. Leaves one finger of biege, and slightly brown head that quickly fades into a foam ring at the edge, and it leaves isolated spots of lacing. Body is deep garnet with ruby highlights.

Smell - the nose is filled with the aromas of dark fruits such as plums, raisins, prunes, and cherries, as well as maltbread, and some spicy alcohol, and a hint of caramel. Mouthwatering.

Taste - like the smell. There is a flood of caramel, dark fruit, malt bread, and spicy alcohol on the front. The middle is dominated by the dark fruit, especially some slightly sour cherries, and with raisins dominating toward the finish, as well as on the aftertaste. No real hop presence anywhere, in the smell or the taste, but then none was expected, as per the style. Simple, and straightforward, and very good.

Mouthfeel - medium to full bodied.

Drinkability - this is an excellent ale, and only its high abv limits its sessionability.

ultralarry2006, Apr 13, 2008
Photo of Strix
2.58/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours a rusty orange-brown, with a little bit of residual lace.

Alcohol present in the smell, along with butter, raisin and a hop finish.

Hrm. Lots of flavors on this, but a little out of control for me. An initial grassy flavor of butter that doesn't blend well with the raisin, pineapple, alcohol, brown sugar and hops. Just not a pleasant blend for me.

Some seemed to like it, so chalk it up to personal taste I guess, but I didn't feel like the flavors in this one were in order. Too much alcohol and too much buttery sweetness.

Strix, Apr 13, 2008
Photo of Metalmonk
3.2/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Is it intentional irony or just coincidence that this Cereal Killer hails from Battle Creek, MI? Tony The Tiger better watch his back.

Pours out in a syrupy glaze...deep, slightly hazed burnt copper/sunset color, candy-apple red shading, with a light tan head that is big and bubbly, but doesn't stick around long (no surprise).

Aroma is lots of candy-like sweetness, some graham cracker, sherry-soaked apple/pear, and generous but not overwhelming alcohol.

This is one big and malty barleywine. Drunken liqueur-soaked fruits make up most of the flavor, some taffy-like salty sweetness too. Finish is incredibly sweet, like sucking on a sugar cube. It's too sweet even for my sweet-beer-loving palate.

Mouthfeel is gooey/syrupy, given some zip thanks to just enough carbonation. However, stickiness prevails. And too bad about the cloying sweet finish.

This is okay, just too damn sweet and syrupy...could've used more balance. I like sweet beers, but they need to have more depth than this. Again I'll say: Barleywines are like pizza and sex--even when it's bad, it's good. And Cereal Killer is somewhere between good and bad. Love the name though!

Metalmonk, Mar 12, 2008
Photo of brentk56
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 Vintage

Appearance: Pours a cloudy dark amber color with a reasonable, but rocky head that winds up as a ringlet but leaves a decent lace pattern

Smell: Fruity fusel alcohol with burnt caramel

Taste: Opens with a rich but somewhat awkward blend of grape and cherry fruit, burnt sugar, fusel alcohol that grows in a bitter metallic direction by mid-palate; after the swallow, it becomes more earthy and leathery, but there is a definite hop bite on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, somewhat viscous, with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Not my favorite barleywine but decent; I am put off by the metallic quality

Thanks, Vancer, for the opportunity

brentk56, Mar 08, 2008
Arcadia Cereal Killer Barley Wine from Arcadia Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 507 ratings.