Arcadia Cereal Killer Barley Wine | Arcadia Brewing Company

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Arcadia Cereal Killer Barley WineArcadia Cereal Killer Barley Wine

Brewed by:
Arcadia Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed in the tradition of English-style barley wines, Cereal Killer offers an explosion of full-bodied, liquid goodness. Robust malty flavors converge with caramel, toffee, molasses and dark fruit notes to produce a remarkably complex and palate-pleasing beer. Its intense malt character is complemented by a subtle citrus finish from the crystal hops. With cellar-aging, Cereal Killer's flavor evolves further, developing a sherry-like aroma and flavor similar to a cask-aged port. Winner of the Silver Medal for Barley Wine Style Ale at the 2007 GABF.

Added by mcallister on 10-26-2006

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Reviews: 279 | Ratings: 599
Photo of Harrison8
4.09/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a translucent deep hue of ruby-red, almost like a hearty cranberry juice, except up top foams two fingers of butter-colored head. Aroma is teeming with sugary malt characteristics. Notes of fig, plum, caramel all project a sweet aroma over an earthy barley, and bready malt base. Lactose notes float around throughout the aroma. Flavor profile is very similar, with fig, plum, and caramel all along the initial blast of flavors. The sweet malt characteristics fade into earthy barley and malts with a lactose finish - almost like sipping the last drops of milk out of the bowl after eating a cereal from the health food store. Mouth feel is medium-thick with a slight graininess to the texture. Overall, this beer packs a wallop of malty presence, but is done in a dynamic that never feels forced. The sweet beginning with the earthy finish compliment each other well, never dragging any bitterness along the way.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.37/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Undated bottle into pint glass. Pours a hazy brownish-amber, with a fine light tan head. Initial impression is very strong dark fruits, with caramel and molasses playing a much-diminished role. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. Alcohol is front and center - might mellow out with age. Finish is cloyingly fruity and sweet. This is a little over the top for my tastes.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Parents picked this one up for me in the States this past spring. Thanks!

From a bottle into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours a 1+ finger, slightly looser and foamy off-white head with decent retention. Clear mahogany or ruby red in color with medium levels of carbonation for the style. Head fades to a full wisp cap. A ring remains until the end and leaves some falling dots down the glass.

SMELL: Lots of caramel malts, some toffee, hints of red fruits and berries with some spicy alcohol there as well.

TASTE: Caramel malts, spicy booze and some red fruits up front. Big finish with lots of spicy alcohol, toffee sweetness, red berries and some light, earthy bitterness lingering on the palate.

PALATE: Medium body and slightly higher levels of carbonation. A bit light on the palate, goes down fine with a slight burn and finishes mouth-coating.

OVERALL: Pretty good stuff. A thicker feel would be nice but some barleywines come across as a little light on the palate. It might be a touch heavy on the caramel malts as well. Otherwise, it’s a solid beer that is worth checking out if you’re a fan of the style. Thanks again guys!

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Photo of Rogerlb
4.41/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Amber tan toffee-colored, cloudy and nice head that dissipates quickly, leaving a thin layer on the top. Nose is tart cherries and sugar, with a hoppy grass and booze in there. Figs? It's promising. A bit of sediment.

The taste is tart, almost sour of dark fruit (cherries, plums) that blends with a bitter citrus more familiar as hoppy in the middle. The booze (10%) is there and very warming, keeping the sweet wine aspect from taking over. Fruit and raisins fade into a full bodied grass and slightly resiny finish. My god, it never goes south or makes a false move. Booze not very well hidden. But who's complaining? Go slow.

This is subtle and complex, with lots more nuance than I would expect. Sipping this slowly rewards the drinker. It feels heavy and sticky at the end, yet not over-carbonated. As it warms it starts to take on the feel of brandy, which is very very pleasant . Arcadia is doing some good work and I'm keeping a hard eye out for more of their offerings after this and Hop Rocket, which I also enjoy.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed for the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This nice little barelywine pours murky mahogany tinged brown with a moderate head of light tan foam that settles to a thin ring, thin layer, and subtle lacing. Nose of brown sugars, tart cherries, and strong booze. Flavors exceed the nose with brown sugar glazed bing cherries touched in the middle of the taste with a strong shot of booze that last to the finish with a touch of toffee and bittering hops. Nice mouth feel, slick, coating, and lightly carbonated with a moderately dry finish. Nice.


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Photo of pagriley
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz into a snifter ~2 years old

Pours murky and very dark for a barleywine - deep mahogany, and cloudy
caramel with a hint of bitter hops
more caramel and toffee with firm bitterness and a slightly burnt toffee finish. English Barleywine my arse - very heavily hopped.
medium full for the style

Harsh aggressively hopped, and time hasn't helped this one either. Okay, but nothing I would ever buy again

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Photo of Bonkinishwa
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Arcadia Brewing Company - Cereal Killer Barleywine Ale. 10% ABV. 12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Look: Pours an brownish amber color, and settles a rustic crimson. A half finger white head appears from an aggressive pour, but quickly subsides into nothing.

Smell: Alcohol, black cherries, figs, raisins, toffee, caramel, and cinnamon.

Feel: Full, heavy bodied, and chewy, with a good amount of carbonation; not very smooth.

Taste: Strong dark fruit presence; black cherries, figs, raisins, plum, red grapes, along with some sweet toffee, caramel, and some spices like cinnamon and ginger. Great blend and balance after warming up, but leaves a burn from alcohol and spice.

Overall: Still getting into the Barleywine style, and this seems like a great example of what to expect. Very nice balance, with a strong dark fruit, candy, and spice blend. Best to let this warm up, and sip on it slowly.

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Photo of do_ob
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into a Madtree snifter. Pours a deep, reddish-brown; looks like liquid toffee. Opaque, and mahogany in color in the glass. Despite the small glass, I was able to get about 1 finger of head, cream-colored, which bubbled down very quickly. Lots of carbonation bubbles hanging into the glass walls. Strong aroma, whoof. This beer is currently sitting about 2 feet away and I can smell it as if it was under my nose. Figs, raisins, dark fruit, and English toffee are the main flavors I'm picking up. Upon further investigation, I'm detcting notes of toasty malt, caramel, molasses, and vanilla. Pretty complex aroma here. Upon tasting, I'm met initially with a steady set of 'typical' barleywine ingredients. As it warms on the palate, though, this beer unfolds a little. Caramel, toasted malt, toffee, ground ginger & cinammon, dark fruit, figs, raisins, and vanilla all have a role to play. Actually quite tasty. There's enough complexity here to make this one a definite sipper. A little booze on the finish, and a little dryness on the aftertaste. The only downfall, in my opinion, is the rather thin mouthfeel. In terms of feel, this ain't no Bigfoot or BCBBW. What it is, however, is true to tradition. This is an English barleywine. And while it may not be as heavy-a-hitter as the aforementioned, it is very good for what it is. I feel this one's underrated, given the style.

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Photo of Suds
4.06/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is a classic English barleywine, slightly dry, very malty, and with enough hops for firmness. It pours with a tall and light tan head and an body of deep chestnut. The smell is intense toasted malt. The taste is boozy, rich, and flavorful. Vigorous bitterness. Full in body and exceptional.

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Photo of barczar
3.76/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Plum, fig, raisin, sherry, and cardboard dominate the aroma, with moderate caramel sweetness.

Flavor is fairly sweet and caramelly, with raisin, prune, and rum soaked cherry notes, finishing lightly bitter and a touch oxidized. Not too fond of the finish. Almost metallic.

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Photo of glass_house
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

This was definitely one of the more wine-like beers I've had. No detectble hop presence to speak of, but also not overly sweet. Nice balance of alcohol heat and dark fruits--plum, grape, and figs. Slick, smooth feel and remarkably easy to drink, considering the abv. Pretty straightforward barleywine. Nothing exceptional, but I did find it rather enjoyable to sip on. Will buy again.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Undated bottle at 42 degrees into a snifter
$ 3.79/12 oz bottle at the Lager Mill
Aroma of malt, lasts
Head small (<two cm, aggressive pour), light brown, frothy, rapidly diminishing to two mm ring and some floating bubbles
Lacing – fair – narrow rings of tiny bubbles
Body deep brown, cloudy
Flavor malt and alcohol; no hops, no diacetyl
Palate medium, creamy, lively carbonation

Appearance 3.75, Aroma 3, Flavor 3.5, Palate 4, Overall 3.5

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Photo of Tripel_Threat
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark purplish black, shot through with garnet. Smell is sweet caramel and dark fruits, juicy and dried: plums and prunes, figs, and dates. Taste follows trough on the promise of the nose, but not too sweet. Very well balanced with a slight warmth from the booze. Mouthfeel is smooth and oily, somewhat thick, and pleasant. Great for sipping over an evening.

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Photo of ejeffer11
4.23/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

this beer is old - 2006 vintage. Did not realize this was in the cellar, but stumbled upon it and cracked it open without going in the fridge. Very surprised - almost no oxidation and in really good shape. a lot of beers i have had approaching 10 years have at least a little oxidation, but nothing here.

not overly sweet, malty, and live carbonation. Not as thick as many of today's barley wines, but very smooth and enjoyable (It's amazing how 9% barelywines feel thin now a days)

Really impressed with how this held up, if you have this in the cellar, pull it out.

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Photo of MaximalC
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a murky plum color with bronze highlights and minimal cap of sudsy, off-white froth. Sweet aroma smells of caramel, cereal, multi-grain bread, and a hint of cherry cough syrup.

The taste features big, malty sweetness up front consisting of caramel, brown sugar, dates, and dark fruit. There’s also a taught, alcoholic underpinning that lends some vim and vigor to the flavor profile. Herbal hops do their best to balance before also succumbing to the sweetness. Warming reveals some tart cherry notes as well. I like the aggression on the front end, but the rug gets pulled out toward the middle, revealing a kind of brief flavor purgatory before the sweet, warming crescendo of the finish restores order. The body is on the high end of medium and the carbonation is tingly and present without becoming a distraction. Thus, the mouthfeel is just about spot-on for the style.

I prefer my barleywines on the maltier side, and this certainly did not disappoint in that regard. There is oodles of complex sweetness to enjoy, and the appearance and mouthfeel complement it admirably. The instability of the taste toward the middle is an unusual detractor, but it didn’t prevent me from enjoying the bigger picture.

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Photo of Barnoloid
4.16/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle had a year on it when opened - pours a golden, toffee color. The aroma is slightly oaky, with a sherry like nose. Easy sipper - the complexities open up as this warms. I feel that with a further year on this it would be even better. Lots of sugar and dried fruit/candied fruit elements here that I would be interested to stack up in a year or so.

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Photo of BethanyB
3.42/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Look: A deep, clear Amber with highlights the color of ruby grapefruit. The tan head is flat and quick to melt. With an 8% ABV on this Barleywine, I expected a bit more staying power.

Smell: The bouquet is light for the style, and smells mainly of stone fruit (plums and figs), with a backdrop of gently toasted malt.

Taste: Exceedingly sweet at first, and then the bitterness takes over. Dark fruit melds nicely with light brown sugar and a splash of espresso. There is, however, a bit of a harsh cherry flavor that is sadly similar to cough medicine.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy in the mouth, this beer lacks the dryness one would expect from a Barleywibe. The alcohol warming is immediately apparent, while the moderate carbonation fizzles out in the soft finish.

Overall: Pleasant enough at first, but lacking enough strength to make a lasting impression. The astringent cherry character becomes more and more cloying, and the beer would be hard to finish if it weren't for the light, yet detectable balance brought on by earthy hops and buttery melanoidins.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep brown color ale with a nice foamy head. Aroma of caramelized cereal notes with some toffee. Taste is also dominated by some caramelized sugar notes with some toffee and light butter notes. Finish is dryer then I would have expected. Body is full enough for style with good amount of carbonation. Nice beer but I thought it fell a bit short on the drinkability and smoothness.

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Photo of mchegash
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - 4/5
A dark red-brown, fairly hazy. Minimal amount of head. An average amount of carbonation can be seen rising up the beer.

Smell - 4.5/5
Dark roasty malts, caramel, molasses, vanilla. Some fruitiness. Overall a great smell, I am very happy with it.

Taste - 3.75/5
Sweet malts. Fruit, alcohol, spiciness. Slight metallic taste.

Mouthfeel - 4/5
Medium-full in body, fairly crisp, smooth. Light amount of medium-intensity carbonation.

Overall - 3.75/5
This is a fairly well put together beer. The smell is nice, although the taste is a little less complex than the smell. Also, there is a metallic aspect to the taste which I feel detracts from the overall flavor. Still a decent beer, one I would consider getting again.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a murky reddish-brown with virtually no head.

S - Dark fruits, molasses, sweet malts, and alcohol.

T - Sweet malts upfront with nice amount of dark fruits (cherries and plums). The finish has a good amount of resinous piney hops. Hops give a nice lingering bitterness.

M - Meium bodied with low carbonation. Syrupy mouthfeel with a sticky finish. Slight alcohol burn.

O - Very decent barley wine. Would prefer a little less hops and more sweetness. Still very drinkable.

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of andrewjraab
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Initially pours a pitch black with zero head whatsoever. A barely visible off white cap circles the snifter. When viewing the brew with back lighting the color changes significantly. It goes from black to a dark ruby orange.

S - Ripe fruit, raisins, maple syrup, malts.

T - Malt forward with big fruity flavors, raisins, plums, figs, finishes with some warming alcohol with an astringent bitter taste that clings on your palate. Heavy mouthfeel - syrupy.

O - This is a sipper with a complex malt profile. I laid one of these bad boys down so I look forward to having this again in a year or two to see how it ages.

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Photo of TheBrewo
4.01/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's hard to tell if this is an orange-hued light brown beer or a brown-hued orange beer; the overall affect is a bit of ruby in the light, and a certain bright ruddiness even with no light shining into it. The head, orange-tinted, develops quite well and displays good structure, sitting just under a finger without backing down from that point. It leaves bits of itself behind in patches.
The overall profile is distinctively English, proffering a particular unoffensive tinniness under a malty body. It's lightly fusel in the nose but well restrained, and in the flavor it just warms rather than biting. Breads are big throughout, leaning toasty. The sweetness, both from elements of various dark fruits and of a more sugary variety (caramel, yes, but an added, creamy sort of sweetness), almost syrupy, even, do fortunately stop short of cloying.
While there's a richness to this beer, the body is medium rather than full, and it works. It supports a flowing creaminess.

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Photo of linnymtu
3.76/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This is the first barleywine ale I've ever had, and I wasn't sure what to expect. Overall I thought it was a very solid beer. Not going to knock you socks off, but pours nice, solid mouthfeel and decent taste.
A- reddish brown with an above average head.
S-The smell was more toward an average ale, with a slight fruit to it. Almost a bit like a scotch ale.
T-More fruity than I expected, but again this is the first barleywine ale I've had. Tasted a bit like a scotch ale with a fruit taste replacing the scotch kick. You can't really taste the alcohol, but as I write this and the beer is 80% gone, I definitely feel it!
M-Consistency is on the thicker side, right where I like an ale and carbonation is not overdone.

Overall I like it and recommend it if you haven't tried it.

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Arcadia Cereal Killer Barley Wine from Arcadia Brewing Company
3.79 out of 5 based on 599 ratings.
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