Arcadia Cereal Killer Barley Wine | Arcadia Brewing Company

Arcadia Cereal Killer Barley WineArcadia Cereal Killer Barley Wine
Liked This Beer
3.82 w/ 600 Ratings
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

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 600 |  Reviews: 279
Photo of donkeyrunner
2.48/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

In accordance with my firm belief that inclement weather necessitates barleywine my girlfriend and I cracked this while weathering Hurricane Irene.

Bone marrow yellowed beige head over a brown brew. Looks good.

Musty aroma like a cardboard box kept in a damp basement for too long. Moldy. Dry merlot like dark fruit and copper. Not what I was expecting but I like the smell of basements just the same.

Vinous dark fruit underlayer and a cognac-like malt character. Not as sweet as I'd like from a barleywine. In fact there's hardly any sweetness at all. Thin.

This bottle was from 2008. I don't think it ages well.

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4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz into a tulip. 2007 vintage. From notes.

A: pours a murky brown body, the tan head retreats very fast, lacing and carbonation are light.

S: The aroma is a rich malty tone of caramel and plum. Raisins and figs seem to find there way in there too. Medium intensity aroma for style.

T/M: The body is thick and syrupy, a very dominate role of malts. Hops have been long gone, but have preserved this beer wonderfully. The mouthfeel is big and has a very nice lingering finish.

O: Overall this is a solid barley wine, one that ages well and is drinking very well right now at about four years in.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to CruisaC for the excellent box in the barleywine BIF. poured into duvel taster tulip.

a - nice syrupy mahogany color with a thin head. it has a plum like glow to it. looks pretty classic for an english barleywine.

s - caramel toffee malts. not overly sweet like many others. pretty tame and toned back.

t - nice classic taste. caramel, toffee, with a slightly bitter end. pretty good.

m - not overly thick

o - overall nice example of an english barleywine. pretty even tempered but i like a bit more of a kick and thickness to an english barleywine. pretty non-offensive and nice gateway english barleywine.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.16/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Vintage. Thanks to Mikesgroove for this aged beauty. Poured from a 22oz. bomber into Lost Abbey stemware.

Pour yields a thin wisp of cream colored head that dissipates as quickly as it forms. Beer is a slightly cloudy muddy brown. Lacing is spotty with little cling. Not the best looking beer here.

Nose is rich toffee, caramel, brown sugar, and some piney and sappy hop characteristics. Moderately aromatic with some subtle booziness still lingering after all these years. Nice and rich.

Beer opens caramel and sweet prunes. Some brown sugar and molasses towards the middle with a tree sap hop presence just peaking slightly. Turns sweet again quickly with toffee and brown sugar dominating. Finish is rich caramel and toffee with a lingering resiny sweetness. Amazing.

Medium bodied with low carbonation. Oily and silky in the mouth and smooth and warm going down. Perfect. An accented spicy finish and a slightly lingering aftertaste.

I've never had cereal killer fresh but aged 4 years, this beer is absolutely perfect. Amazing mouthfeel with one of the most balanced, robust, and pleasantly malty flavor profiles of any barleywine. Really a joy. Thanks again Mike!

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pulled this one out of the cellar. Probably the Winter 2010 vintage. Served in a snifter.

Pours a very hazy moderate brown collar with a thin collar. A few bubbles on the sides of the glass forming a very thin collar. The nose brings a bit of caramel and toffee plus some light bread and malt sweetness. Flavor has some caramel and light cherry plus brown-sugar sweetness. Medium body with low carbonation and a pleasing sweetness in the finish. Pretty good overall.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle of the 2010 vintage poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Clear, glowing russet body topped by a full inch of dense, creamy, long-lasting tan foam. If the gorgeous head left slightly better lace, this would be a perfect-looking beer.

S: Very sweet, very fruity, very boozy. The booze is actually the most prevalent feature, but that isn't really an insult in this case - it smells like the charcoal filtering room at the Jack Daniel's distillery, one of my favorite-smelling places in the world. Backing up the richly spicy alcohol are nice aromas of grapes, plums, apple skin, and molasses. Not exactly the best-smelling Barleywine out there, but I really like it.

T: The charm that the nose's alcohol has does not extend to the flavor, unfortunately, and the heat is a bit of a problem here. Still, there's plenty of enjoyable complexity alongside the ethanol: molasses, brown sugar, grapes, apricots, and cherries. Very sweet and fruity, with some of the 70 IBUs finally showing up to lend a touch of bitterness to the long, fruity, boozy finish. I really think this could be a terrific beer with some more time, but for now it's just too hot.

M: Thick, syrupy, and full of creamy carbonation. A bit sticky, but I expect that in a Barleywine; some reviewers have penalized this for being too thin, but thin is the last word I'd use to describe the Cereal Killer to a sketch artist.

O: If I'd been given this beer to taste blind, I would have guess it to be at least in the 12% range - one would have thought its serious maltiness would have masked 10% with ease. That said, it's got a heck of a lot more good stuff going on than your average American-brewed English Barleywine, and I look forward to trying another bottle out of my 4-pack in a year or two.


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Photo of aasher
2.88/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of wbc. This beer pours a reddish, very cloudy, copper in color with a light off white head. It smells of biscuity malts, molasses, honey, and has a berry sweetness to it. It's odd and too sweet. It tastes of sweet malt, honey, and molasses. It's far too sweet for my liking. It drinks light and isn't overly sticky, which is surprising considering the amount of sugar you get from this beer. Overall, this beer didn't bring anything notable to the table. It was average and overly sweet.

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Photo of gaugebozo
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - There's this cloudiness that comes not from yeast or lack of fast cooling wort, but from having a [email protected]#$ ton of malt in your beer. This beer has this cloudiness. No head off the pour, but some very light residual foam. Deep reddish brown.

S - Malty, almost syrupy. Reminds me of a particular French blackberry liquor.

T - Serious malt, 70 IBU's, but so much malt doesn't taste bitter. Lots of carmel malts, don't think any roasted. Something at the end, raisins? Nice warming from the alcohol, but not overpowering for 10%. Surprisingly accessible barley wine. Should get pretty great and mellow with age.

M - Light carb (high for the style, but fits) and super strong body.

O - Really enjoyable. Can't say it's amazing (could use more character, maybe too drinkable), but pretty perfect for winter nights or when you're wishing for them.

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Photo of HeavyMetalBrew
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Brownish color. Cloudy. Lacing on top. Signs of carbonation.

S: Apples. Caramel. Scents of alcohol.

T: Huge caramel flavors, a hint of fruit. Roasted malts.

M: Very malty, carbonated, bite of alcohol on finish.

Overall: It's a good barleywine, with the malts and bite of alcohol. However, it's a little heavy for summertime, and would be much better suited during winter.

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Photo of plfahey
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle (2010 vintage) poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Tawny brown with brilliant red highlights and fantastic clarity. Thin khaki head has moderately good retention.

Aroma-Sweet and rich, it smells of sugar candy, sweet caramel, and toffee. Maple syrup and a hint of molasses. Definite whiff of alcohol.

Flavor-Very sweet up front, with big toffee and caramel flavors fading into a dry alcohol finish. The booze is very present in the aftertaste, which still maintains a bit of the sweetness, but is dried substantially by the alcohol.

Mouthfeel-Moderately full body with low carbonation. Smooth, but not exceptionally so.

A solid barleywine to be sure, I think this would probably benefit from some age. While I definitely think the flavor would become more complex with age, the body is already on the thin end of the barleywine spectrum, so I would worry about it becoming even thinner. Still, I think that 3 to 5 years out this could be a fantastic beverage.

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Photo of TheSarge
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours good enough for a finger thick head of light tan, and has a cloudy body that is a orangish ruby red color.

The aroma is dark dried fruit, somewhat fig. Lots of sweet caramel is present with a mild metallic hoppiness.

The taste shares the fig qualities, some vanilla notes, and a mild hops presence of a citrus fruit.

Warming to the palate, full in body, not much carbonation. Very boozy.

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Photo of Beejay
3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: A large tan head lays on top, and rapidly becomes a small crust of foam. Medium brown, and hazy with a ruby red glow at the edges when held to a light.

S: Rich malty and caramel come through. There is a nice subtle roasted scent that I am picking up. Raisons, and caramel almost come together to make a sticky bread type smell, with just a slight hint of dark fruit. A touch of alcohol, and very malt dominated.

T: Malty goodness. Malty and sweet with perhaps a touch of oxidation. There is a slight acidic tartness right at the front, that seems a little out of character. There is a solid bitterness and a roasted character in the finish. Good, but a little out of character, and it tastes as if it might have seen better days.

M: Fairly thick on the mouthfeel, although the bitterness almost gives a drying sensation. The carbonation feels a touch high for me.

O: It's not bad, but I don't think that it is a very strong representation of the style.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rich amber color, almost copper in hue with a nice touch of cloudiness to it that really gave it a very thick look, nearly opaque at times. No real head though, and it almost looked flat at first pour, not really encouraged right off the bat. The aroma was rich and sweet. Nice notes of bready malts, hints of almost honey like notes and a nice fruit touch toward the finish. The flavor though really perked me up a bit. Sweet, mellow, with all notes of ABV long gone by the wayside. Lots of biscuit like notes, a touch of faded hops and a load of grain all combined to really give quite a nice show overall. Very impressed here with the way it tasted, especially in the finish, which was again very sweet, and nearly perfectly placed. An easy sipper I almost went through this one too quickly as it had mellowed to the point of being equally rich and subtle.

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Photo of kdiggidy
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A - dark brownish red in color, small head that doesn't last very long.

S - sugary sweet smell with a touch of alcohol, slightly fruity.

T - amazing, in my opinion. good and sweet with hints of molasses, brown sugar and dark fruit.

M - slightly creamy, not much carbonation, a little hot in the back of the throat,

O - to me, this is a fantastic barleywine. probably a little pricey ($4/bottle - didn't realize it until I was checking out) but I think this will be one I go for again.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.67/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes. This was an older bottle, but I neglected to write down the year. I want to say it was 2006 or 2007 possibly.

A: Pours a dark brown with a small off-white head that fades quickly and does not leave behind much lacing.

S: Heavy caramelized sugar, some brown sugar, dark fruits, mostly raisins and figs. Light booze aroma.

T: On the sweet side. Some nice caramel, molasses, and brown sugar. Very light hops, definitely a malty beer.

M: Medium bodied with low carbonation. Very smooth, the aging has certainly helped with that.

O: Pretty good, not overly thick and easy drinking for 10%. Have not had it fresh, but certainly a beer that ages well.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage

very dark amber color, can't see through the glass. tan head that fades quickly. aroma of brown sugar, cinnamon, and some fruitiness as it warms.

definitely more of an English style barleywine as opposed to the hoppy American style. hug malt flavor, very sweet. not much hop flavor at all. not much alcohol presence for being fairly fresh. taste improves as it warms.

body is a bit syrupy, with moderate carbonation. pretty easy to drink, a good example of the sytle.

***at 1 year***
not much changed. sort of an off aftertaste. not as syrupy as before.

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Photo of JesseP09
3.76/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Holy God this beer has a lot going on.

The best way I can describe it is liquid Frosted Flakes in taste. Seriously, this is a delicious barleywine that is deceptive in its alcohol content. I had this beer in a half-pint glass at Arcadia's pub in Battle Creek, Michigan, and I was very impressed. A lovely deep orange beer, it is super-sweet and delicious, with a great mouthfeel and overall experience. Highly recommended.

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Photo of kiddynamite920
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Quite dark, mahogany brown with some nice amber highlights. Head faded quickly to a ring around the glass and some tiny bubbles floating on top.

S: Very malt forward, proper. Sweet bread and apple notes come through first. Malts smell very English and offer so much to the nose. Some sweet fruits like pear and a bit of plum. Just an overall malt bomb, as it should be. No sign of the alcohol, well made.

T: Good to get a bit of hop bitterness on the palate, was definitely not present in the aroma. Starts off with a light sweetness that turns into some great bitterness and follows with a huge malty backbone. Pears and apples come right forward with some nice fruity, bread notes from the yeast.

M: Definitely a big beer, but it has a crispness to it that throws it off a bit. Could see this one benefiting from some aging. Velvety smooth with a very large body, just a bit too much bite.

D: An easy drinking barleywine for its abv, yet it is still a barleywine. 1 or 2 is usually the norm. Great flavor from the malts and yeast, but it remains a one and done type of beer.

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Photo of smcolw
3.67/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Head starts off okay, but settles to a single layer of bubbles. No lace. Extremely cloudy. Light brown color.

Although it is not a sweet smell, there is still the aroma of molasses. Biscuity and toasty--I detect animal crackers. Alcohol is also present in the background.

Sweeter than the smell indicates, although the finish is dry. Playing second fiddle is the light hop and mild alcohol warmth. The body is similar to a typical barleywine.

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Photo of brew3crew
2.7/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A-Clear amber/brown with no head
S-Roasty malts hit the nose and linger
T-This is the 2008 vintage and you can still taste the Alcohol. Not what I was expecting when i chose this beer. very disappointing. Alcohol over powered most oher tastes. Slight roastiness
M-medium body with a clean finish
D-Hot, but not as bad as some hot beers

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Photo of kohoutek
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. 2009 vintage.

Pours a nice deep amber/orange color. Virtually no head to be seen, but swirling brings to life a nice orange/golden head (not sure if I have ever seen such a color, very unique). Slightly hazy in appearance.

Heavy handed aromas of dark crystal and chocolate malt dominate, followed by aromas of warm, well integrated alcohols. Aromas and flavors also include, candied orange peel, Medjool dates, prunes, raisins, Dutch cocoa, toffee, vanilla, caramel, Russian black bread, milk chocolate, molasses, caraway, Wasa crackers. A very complex flavor profile and a very nice long finish are the highlights.

Fruity acidity and 70 IBUs make this beer finish in a very fresh way, but there is an underlying grittiness/astringency in the malt profile that make me not want to grab another in succession (well that and the 10%).

I will definitely make this beer an annual winter drinking experience.

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Photo of champ103
2.95/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a dark, nearly opaque reddish color. A very minimal white head forms, and recedes in a second. Light lace is left behind.
S: Sweet malt up front. Some nondescript hops lingering. Really nothing else that I can find.
T: Follows the nose. Lots of really sweet malt. Pretty much cloying. Some citrus hops linger, but not much else. Pretty bland and neutral.
M/D: A medium t full body. Low on the carbonation. Oily, sticky, and resiny. Lots of alcohol. Along with the cloying sweetness, this is pretty hard to finish.

Just a cloying and sweet mess. Not one of Arcadia's better offerings. Arcadia's Big Dick's Olde Ale is one that is superior in just about every way. I would not recommend this.

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Photo of bamadog
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My buddy beerman207 picked up a bottle of the '06 about a month ago at a spot that's kind of a well-kept secret, so I just had to see if I could buy something that was pushing 5 years old straight from the shelf -- success! An '06. Review is from notes taken on 12/21/2010 and poured from the bottle to a snifter:

Appearance: Pour is a dark brackish brown/burnt caramel color and starts with a 1/2 finger light tan head that fades quickly to a ghostly wisp an uneven circle around the surface; body is murky and shows a couple of ruby/garnet highlights, but is difficult to see through; the wisp and ring eventually give way to nothingness and there is only an oily residue that slides back into the drink after each sip.

Smell: Wow, it smells like I'm going to be drinking caramel stirred together with butterscotch and some slightly tart and acidic apples -- if I was at a county fair, I would think I just walked by the world's greatest candied apple stand; some darker fruit and a mild cinnamon (or similar baking spice?), and even a faint hint of alcohol still.

Taste: Really good -- and I kind of wish that I have had a fresh one to compare it to in order to see how much this would have changed over the last 4-5 years... Tons of caramel/butterscotch malts lead and dominate; there is a fair bit of slightly green/acidic apple underneath it all with perhaps a bit of additional darker fruit, such as raisin, or perhaps fig; a slight spiciness (cinnamon?) lies in there as well, and yep, even a bit of alcohol still, but it's very well blended and it doesn't taste hot, but it certainly does feel very warm.

Mouthfeel: The body is between medium/medium-heavy and the carbonation, which is surprisingly still present, is soft and smooth and keeps the body just "lively" enough to keep it from being flat in the mouth; a moderately thick, sticky and moist coating is left all over the palate and a slight vaporous alcohol (very slight) lingers on the breath, but the belly is really quite warm from the ABV.

Drinkability: This is a very enjoyable beer, but I do feel that I need to find a fresh one at some point to make sure the drinkability is there for this one in general, or if it takes this much time to get to this point in being drinkable. Wonderfully sweet and well balanced flavors and a very robust nose make this one very enticing, but the ABV will definitely take a toll at 10%. Great for a cold night such as this, but not something I'd tackle in the warmer months.

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Photo of Duff27
3.72/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage

A- Pours a deep brown with little off white head. Visible effervescence. Some lacing showing.

S- Grapes, raisins.

T- Tastes of rum, raisins. Has a sweetness at the end of the taste.

M- Thick and syrupy. Sticky? Coats the throat. Carbonation is nice.

D/O- Not a bad barleywine. Doesn't hid the the alcohol too great but that's okay. Drinkability suffers per usul with the style. Was actually pleasantly surprised with this offering due to its $5 price. Would buy again at the price point.

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Photo of beerman207
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found a 2006 bomber sitting on the shelf of one of my favorite new beer stores for $6.50. Wow!

A: Pours a deep brown with a nice head that sticks around a little while.

S: Smells of candy, caramel, dark fruit, hops, no booze whatsoever. Fantastic

T: Wow. So well blended with the age! Candy, apples, some faint hops, no detection of booze until the finish which warms so nice on a cold night.

M: Easy to sip. Mild carbonation

D: All night if I had more. Yeah it's high but this one is fantastic if you can find a 2006.

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Arcadia Cereal Killer Barley Wine from Arcadia Brewing Company
Beer rating: 70.2% out of 100 with 600 ratings
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