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Arcadia Cereal Killer Barley Wine - Arcadia Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

520 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 520
Reviews: 265
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 13.12%
Wants: 38
Gots: 75 | 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:
Beer added by: mcallister on 10-26-2006

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 520 | Reviews: 265 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Maestro
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Photo of dirtylou
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
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

Photo of ccrida
3.18/5  rDev -16.5%
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!

Photo of jjboesen
4.72/5  rDev +23.9%
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.

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.

Photo of jeffmonarch
3.26/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

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.

Photo of BeerSox
3.45/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

Photo of kzoobrew
4.28/5  rDev +12.3%
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.

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.

Photo of Strix
2.65/5  rDev -30.4%
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.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%
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!

Photo of brentk56
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
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

Photo of Nipitato
3.62/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased a bomber at Julio's in Westborough, MA.

A: Deep and dark amber hue. Ringed with a thin off white head.

S: Sweet and boozy strong. Fruity - grapes and a strong tropical fruit (pineapple etc.) aroma. Caramel aroma is also clearly evident. Some cherry notes as well. This a pretty good smelling beer.

T: Sweet malt flavors predominate. Molasses and dark caramel. Some more than faint hop bitterness in the background. I did not find this particularly boozy. Bitterness becomes stronger as beer warms. Has a burnt sugar taste that I don't particularly like.

MF: Thick and chewy as appropriate in style. Highly carbonated for a barleywine. Has a dry mouthfeel. Not much alcohol warming.

D,notes: I wouldn't call this beer particularly drinkable. Decent but not great.

Photo of dsa7783
3.08/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Arcadia "Big Beer Series" bottle purchased for $5.99 from Gary's in Madison...
A quick, fast pour resulted in a dark brown, ruby-red colored hue with a minimal frothy and foamy head that soon dissipated, leaving a fair amount of lacing...
Rich, sweet, malt-dominated smell bursting with honey and candied sugars...
Very oily, slick, ultra-sweet and cloying taste, appearing pretty unbalanced and dominated by malts and a cloying, ultra-sweet, sugar-laden taste...
Some of Aracadia's brews are really good, but they didn't do too well on their Barleywine style, which was all over the place, and too unbalanced to be a real contender in the barleywine category...
Ultra-thick and super-sweet mouthfeel led to a poor level of drinkablity....
Wouldn't recommend this one...

Photo of shroompod
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark brown , decent head , a little lacing.

I smell perfume , not in a bad way. Hops , alcohol and malt combine for an interesting nose.

The malty sweetness jumps out at first taste, followed by a decent but not overwhelming hop bitterness. Sweetness lingers.

Mouthfeel is thick , sweet. Good carbonation.

Overall A very nice BarleyWine I'll enjoy more of.

Photo of ommegangpbr
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This feller be drinkin' like an American barley wine except for the little bit of difference in malt profile. The hops here are pretty bold for the style and I'm diggin it! Nicely aged Brooklyn Monster comes to mind... and this particular bottle has been in my possession for at least a year.
Sweet and smooth with raisins speaking up most loudly in the flavor. Something of pipe tobacco comes to mind, but it's distant. Flavors are layered... rum raisin ice cream, fruit cake, flan.... dark fruit, sugar and booze... nicely carbonated.
As a barley wine, I'm enjoying this. As an English barley wine, I'm enjoying it even more. Well worth trying.

Photo of gwong
3.72/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a brown cola-like color with a thin tan head that quickly dissipates. Some lacing remains on the glass when sipping but that too also gone quickly.

S: Sweet and spicy aroma - I can detect molasses, malts and citrus in the scent.

T: Sweet malt flavor with a slight citrus zing. A very sweet, molasses/brown sugar taste remains at the end.

M: Smooth, slightly thick with little carbonation to help ease it on the tongue.

D: You feel the alcohol after just a few sips - it certainly doesn't hide that well. Enough flavor and character to warrant a second pour but that might just be the wintry blast outside making me want it.

Photo of irishkyle21
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with an off white head. Pretty good lacing but not much retention. Has a mahogany color.

Smells of fruits, red licorice, caramel malt and grapefruits (hops).

Tastes similar to the nose (caramel malts, fruits citric hops) with the alcohol coming through to warm my cheeks.

Photo of oelergud
4.62/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown glass bottle 1 pint 6oz. Blue label showing a stabbing spoon scene. Label claims 9% ABV.
Opague brownish body letting light through at the edges. Creamy tan buttes head with an airy center. Amazing retention and creamy lace.
Sweet delicious thick scent. Probably just an influence from the label, but the smell brings forth images of maple cinnamon oatmeal. Abit of the alcohol comes through amid the faint hops which grow much stronger with a little warmth.
Very sweet molasses, maple syrup flavor with cinnamon and other spices. Nuts, Spicy hops, sugar cookie and bittersweet chocolate. The aftertaste is of moderate lenght of bittersweet chocolate hops.
Creamy full body, some coating and alot of residual sugars. Dry almost puckering finish.
Highly drinkable. Delicious and warming.


Photo of DIM
3.45/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

note: This was the 2006 vintage courtesy of LittleBreeze

a: This barleywine is a lovely ruby color with orange highlights. It pours with a medium sized off white head.

s: This has a big nose! Lots of molasses, brown sugar, cherries, Granny Smith Apples, and alcohol. Also, a hint of flowery, perfumed hops.

t: Starts well, dark fruits like plums and cherries, with just the right amount of molasses and sweet honey. The finish, however, has a sour Granny Smith apple flavor that comes on too strong. The alcohol is well masked.

m: Decent carbonation, but a somewhat watery texture. Some chalkiness at the end.

d: Overall, this is a decent barleywine, but I doubt that I'll seek this out again.

Photo of DavidEddie
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage purchased at Binny's in Plainfield.

Pours a cola brown with an off white head. Aromas of brown sugar/molasses, dark fruits, malt and booze. Tastes as it smells. Picked up flavors of plums, vanilla, unsweetened chocolate, and some citrus. The 10% is hidden well enough. Mouth feel is creamy and coating. Drinkability for this one is, a good cold weather sipper. Recommended!

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a snifter glass)

A- This beer has a jet brown body with a caramel tan thick head that has a layer of big bubbles on the top. The body is to dense to see any carbonation.

S- The smell of smooth sweet cream and white caramel has a light brown sugar finish to it. There is a light note of white grape juice coming through as it warms.

T-The big sweet caramel malt flavor by a soft piney hop flavor with a big hop pungency to finish. There are notes of some darker sweet caramel qualities that come through when it is warm.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a creamy texture and a soft alcohol heat that enhances the hop bitterness.

D- This is what I think of as an American Barleywine. Big sweet malty flavor, even though it is a bit one dimensional followed by a big pungent hop punch that finishes it. The hops really balance the malt sweetness and the alcohol really supports the hops.

Photo of Mitchster
2.39/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

$6.79 for a 22oz bottle at Merchants. OG=1100, 45 IBU, 9.0% ABV per the website. "2007 Vintage" on the bottle. Brewed with Rahr pilsner, Crisp crystal, and Crisp Munich. Hopped with Northern Brewer and Crystal.

Pours out to a clear very dark mahogany, forming a tall sticky and soapy tan head with excellent retention and gorgeous sheets of lace. Mild to moderate carbonation. The aroma is of chocolate malt balls, rotten cherries, soap and hops. Soapy smell akin to Tommyknocker brews (same yeast?). The mouthfeel is smooth and syrupy with a dense body. The taste starts with spicy and herbal hops, followed by a wave of nasty fusels, which is followed by chocolate malt balls, a wierd chemical/grassy bitterness which is kinda nasty, floral liquid hand soap, licorice, a touch of metals towards the finish, and an aftertaste of tobacco. Quite sweet overall.

Ugh. What a mess. Ugly flavors all over. I wasn't impressed with Arcadia the last time I tried their line-up a few years ago, and it seems they still haven't figured out how to brew a good beer since then. I was hoping this 'Big Beer Series' might prove me wrong. It didn't.

Photo of jwc215
4.37/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2006:

22 oz. bomber, poured into a snifter:

Pours hazed mahogany with a thin tan head that recedes to a ring with a thin patch and some bubbles. Further poured induced a head with better retention.

The smell is of citrus and spruce with dark fruits and caramel.

The taste is of caramel that turns toffeeish and chocolatey as it warms. Juicy citric/earthy/sprucy backing supports the deep maltiness. Some peppery alcohol gives it a spicy warmth without interfering in the malt/hop interaction.

Full-bodied and syrupy without being too sticky.

This is a wonderful American-style interpretation of an English-style barleywine.

Arcadia Cereal Killer Barley Wine from Arcadia Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 520 ratings.