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 twiggamortis420
3.55/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bomber of the 2008 vintage pours a clear red color with a minimalistic beige foam. Spotty lacing and mild retention.

Strong nose with lots of raisiny sweet fruit and hints of oxidation. Sappy hops show some staying power still and smell resinous.

Age has been kind to this one as it comes across as rich and leaning more towards the English side of barleywines. Sweet and doughy, good blend of fruit and finishing bitterness. Nice brew, straightforward and has plenty of flavor.

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Photo of mstyne
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2008 (ack!?) vintage bomber from Beverage Mart on NY 66. Really hoping it was cellared at the brewery and hasn't been sitting on the shelf at the store. Really need to start checking dates /before/ I get home.

Pours a pleasant, cloudy reddish brown with a thick, creamy head. Aroma is sweet, malty, but not overpowering.

Carbonation is difficult to discern given cloudiness and the thickness of the head. Good lacing, and the head hands around a good long time.

Flavor is complex, but again, not overwhelming. Sweetness throughout, fruit (raisin? plum?) pervade. Extremely smooth. Arcadia, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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Photo of pzrhsau
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A:Nice rich dark brown color with a coffee colored head that blocks the light but doesnt appear hazy.
S: Has a tangy acidic scent to it mixed with roasted malt and oats.
T: Fine roasted malt flavor, and the texture of the head actually really makes it feel like milk. Very cool flavor and sensation.
D/M: Its a very heavy beer that coats the palate. Great creamy head and texture that really brings out the flavors. I was able to find a bottle from 2008 which probably made it a little stronger.

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Photo of Radome
4.53/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

A - Color is a medium to dark brown and is cloudy or turbid looking. The head was slight after the pour and faded away to nothing shortly thereafter. Only a small amount of lacing.

S - The smell is delicious. Malt, biscuits, dark fruit like plums and raisins, and alcohol. Hops might be there just on the edge of detectability. This is clearly more of a British barley wine than American.

T - The taste is clean delicious. Plenty of malt, raisins and rum. No hops or roasted notes. This is all about the malt and the interesting flavors you get when you pile ridiculous amounts of it into a beer.

M - The body is thick, oily, and sticky, all of which fits with the massive malt flavor. The alcohol burn lightens things just a bit, but carbonation is not detectable.

D - This is a fine example of an English style barley wine. With its strength and richness you only want one, but that one is very nice.

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Photo of EricCioe
4.21/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It pours an impenetrable dark red into the tulip, a little ring of head around the edge with no lacing. On the nose, it's a really unique sweet bread and figs or dates that I've never experienced before. It smells like wet rice crispies with dates in the bowl. I wasn't sure I liked it at first but nearing the end of the glass here and it's something special. There is a hint of alcohol too, but given the style and an understanding that yes, beer is alcohol, that detracts nothing in my view. On the tongue it's the sweet bread with dark fruit notes, dates perhaps, washed down by a slightly warming alcohol. In the mouth it's a bit cloying, no surprise given all the sweetness, maybe a bit chewy, medium-full. Given the overall sweetness and alcohol content this isn't a session beer for me, but I could drink a few a week with no problem. A great representation of the style in my book.

My bottle was a 2008 vintage.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.38/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle with the older label picked up on clearance. drank from my duvel tulip.

A- this one pours out a deep dark brown colored body. a large beige head forms on top and takes it time falling. small rings of lacing are left behind.

S- sweet bready malts are the first things that i notice. after that comes some caramel and fruits. plum, fig, riasin, and cherry. unfortunately, the alcohol makes its presence known in a big way.

T- the sweet bready malts lead the way once again and are followed closely by caramel. the fruits are pretty subdued. cherry and raisin are the ones i can detect the most of. thankfully, age has mellowed the bite from the alcohol and made it tolerable.

M- medium to full bodied. pretty thick and syrupy. palate coating. a nice low level of carbonation that is essential for the style.

D- meh, im not sure if id be that quick to go out and grab any more of these. not the worst beer ive ever had, but in a style that i consider to be one of my favorites, this one ranks pretty low.

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Photo of dspoonrt
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arcadia's barleywine has the appearance of a serial killer. It's dark, murky, and you can tell there's something hiding just below the surface. The color of the beer is a rainbow of sorts. Reds, oranges, and browns mix together to produce a deceptively dark color at first glance. There is some visible carbonation, but little to no head.

Smell: Malt and dark fruit aromas come through in the nose, but it's all very subtle. You can smell the alcohol, but overall, the beer gives off very little aroma.

Taste: Caramel malt and fruity sweetness wash over the palate. Raisins and figs are certainly present. There is a little building bitterness toward the end. The label boasts 70 IBUs, but I can't really detect that much bitterness. The taste of alcohol definitely comes through in the finish, but it's pleasant and not overpowering. The alcohol flavor blends nicely with the sweetness from the malt and fruit. Cereal Killer tastes strong, but balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, this barleywine glides smoothly across the palate. There is some discernable carbonation and a slight tingle from alcohol.

Drinkability: Arcadia's Cereal Killer is a very drinkable beer considering how strong it is. The great taste and pleasant mouthfeel certainly add to the drinkability. I would certainly have this one again.

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

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass. 2009 vintage.

Appearance: Thin, almost absent head. Hazy dark brown body.

Smell: Dark fruits. Cherries, figs, and dates.

Taste: Very sweet with dark fruit flavors. Bitterness is kinda low. Tart finish.

Mouthfeel: Light carbonation.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper to amber color with a light tan head. In the aroma, dark fruit, fig, plum, and alcohol. In the taste, raisin, fig, licorice, and a small alcohol presence. A smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry fig and raisin like aftertaste. Hides alcohol somewhat, nice dry fruit presence and quite smooth.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 vintage poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a deep brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains brown sugar, caramelized malts, dark fruit, a little bit of alcohol and a decent amount of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of brown sugar, molasses and caramel. Then a mild alcohol sting comes in along with a hearty malt character. The hops presence is subdued but is strong enough to provide some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, it might not be the best EBW out there but it's still a very solid beer that is drinking for a while and also worth cellaring for a while.

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Photo of silentjay
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours into a tulip a very murky brown with mahogany tinting. a very small head settles to a film quickly but laces rather well.

aroma is fruity and malty with some oak, vanilla, caramel, molasses, toffee and is a bit earthy and boozy as well.

taste is sweet and kind of spicy with caramel and vanilla being most dominant and toffee, molasses, dark fruits, citrus, brown sugar and plenty of booze. booze does not dominate, but is just one of the aspects of a complex and balanced brew. very nice!

medium to heavy body with light carbonation goes down velvety and leaves an oily feel with some bitterness and plenty of sweetness left in the mouth.

drinks well. booze is present, but not overbearing. sweetness is there too, as well as some hoppiness, but everything remains in balance quite nicely. Not my favorite, but a solid, solid representation of a balance between english-style barleywines and their hopped-up american relatives.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Part of a massive haul from my visit to Ann Arbor. 12oz bottle, looks like they got new labels semi recently. 2009 vintage.

A- Minimal head, semi clear ruddy brown. The little skin of micro foam will stick to the glass in spots.

S- Smell is weak and not too special. Caramel, sweet black cherries and a hair spray type alcohol astringent smell.

T- The taste is much better. Its nicely balanced but leans towards the sweeter, maltier, fruity yeast side. This is why I prefer English Barleywines over California style. Lots of caramel, vanilla, cherries and hops that come around at the end.

M- Full, smooth and soft.

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Photo of Fish113d
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

*12 oz bottle poured into a snifter glass chilled

Pours the color of caramel and closely as thick as it as well. I thin white fizzy head forms on top and quickly dissipates leaving a thin edge layer around the glass.

Aroma is fairly strong as I could smell it while pouring it. I first get the whiff of licorice along with a vanilla smell. Some caramel also comes to mind.

Sipping reveals a malty caramel flavor with a decent amount of black licorice coming through as well and actually dominates the majority of the flavors. Some drying oak flavors and bourbon comes through at the finish with just a bit of heat from the alcohol. Very nice.

Very chewy body with lots of drying and alcohol phenols coming through on the swallow. Well-balanced actually.

Enjoyable brew. Not one that you could drink a 6-pack of obviously, but one you could enjoy one or two of at a sitting. Great flavors and decent overall experience.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
3.62/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into an oversized snifter. It is a tea-colored ale, brownish-amber in color. Very little head upon pouring, with only a scant amount around the rim after it sat fo a few minutes.

Has a bready, yeasty smell, with hints of molasses, chocolate, and burnt sugar.

Tastes dark; currant, molasses, alcohol, and an underlying hint of hops echoing out as it finishes.

Mouthfeel is thinner than I'd like for a barleywine, with a tannic, alomst metallic feel on the tongue.

Overall, a decent barleywine, but not among my favorites in this style.

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Photo of nerdrocker101
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a slightly ruby-tinted brown with a very thin head.
A sugary aroma with just a hint of citrus.
It tastes like sweet raisins, caramel, brown sugar and some citrus hops to balance it out.

Smooth, lightly syrupy mouthfeel. Moderate to low carbonation.

I found it to be a perfectly balanced barleywine. Not as malty as I would expect from an English version, but not hop heavy like the American.

Overall, I loved it and I think I might have to get another.

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Photo of Bung
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz, 2009. Hazy orangish brown pour. Whispy layer of cream bubbles. What can you say, looks malty.

Aroma is malt, caramel, burnt toffee. Some leather, must, herbal tones.

Taste is malty sweet, brown sugar and toasted/burn toffee. Leather and herbal notes, faintest hops.

Not that warming, but it is there. Mid bodied and mouth coating. Really had no problem putting this down.

Nothing to complain about with this one, as long as you keep in mind this is an English, not an American Barleywine.

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Photo of Tone
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color. 1 inch head of an off-tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of strong alcohol, strong sweet malt, hint of dark citrus, strong yeast, and slight raisin. Fits the style of an English Barleywine. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong alcohol, strong sweet malt, hint of dark citrus, slight hops, strong yeast, wood, and hint of raisin. Overall, very strong body and aroma, but the blend is too much malt and alcohol to be a great Barleywine.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a snifter at Sheffields.

A: appears a deep red, slightly murky, translucent, minimal head with some spotty lacing

S: rich malty profile is prevalent on nose, notes of caramel, molasses, earthy notes, spruce, and some spicy hops on the finish

T: the rich malts are there, somewhat sweet, pretty nice balance between malts and hops leaning a little towards the malty end of the spectrum. Finish is spicy with hops and heat from the alcohol

mf: medium body, medium to high carbonation, slightly prickly on tongue, heat at the end

D: nice balance, very malt forward, rich- difficult to make it through a glass. Nothing about this beer really stood out for me.

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Photo of glazeman
3.51/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2009 vintage. Poured into a chalice.

A: Ruby red mixed with a golden brown around the edges. A vigorous pour yields only a ½ finger head, with poor retention. No lacing or legs. Half of a crown.

S: Maple Syrup, toasted malt, a hint of coffee...smells quite similar to Founder's CBS.

T: Fairly sweet up front with tastes of cherries, tart raspberries, and a little bit of a hoppy/alcohol finish. Slightly medicinal-like

M: A little low on the carbonation and on the sticky/chewy side.

D: Either it became less drinkable as it warmed, or I just started to get tired of it, but by the end of the 12 oz. it was not nearly as good as at the start.

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Photo of nickd717
3.21/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle via trade at DLD as an extra. From who, I can't tell you, because my memories after about 11:30am that day are foggy at best.

Very nice appearance: deep amber in color with a nice whitish head and good lacing.

Aroma is sweet caramel, mild hops, and bubble gum. Not much to it.

Flavor is sweet and not terribly exciting. Caramel malt, toffee, slight fruitiness, and an interesting salty aspect.

Medium-full body with slight booziness.

Overall, this is a pretty average barleywine. Not too much to it. Don't think I'd go for this one again with such better options out there.

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Photo of matjack85
3.91/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this served to me in a small brandy snifter at Finnegan's Pub in Plainfield, IL

The beer poured a murky iced tea color that only made a ½ finger of light tan head and it didn't leave much lacing on the glass either.

With its name of cereal killer, I was expecting some cereal grain smells here, and while there is some grain smell to it, this is mainly a hop bomb with plenty of malt, brown sugar, and molasses smells that dominate the nose.

At 70 IBU's, I'm surprised more reviewers haven't commented on the big hop presence in here. That said, it sure doesn't lack in malty sweetness either. Lots of caramel, brown sugar, and dark fruit flavors to balance out the hops quite nicely. Alcohol flavor is also present, especially in the finish where the big hop content is also most noticeable.

This is a fairly full bodied brew with medium carbonation. I can also feel the hop oils on my tongue.

The high 10% abv keeps this from being any kind of a guzzling beer, but I found it quite enjoyable one sip at a time.

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

A: Poured from the bomber into a Piraat glass that's sort of a hybrid between a snifter and a tulip. Body is murky dark brown with a 1-finger dark khaki/tannish head. No lace.

S: Mainly fruit -- overripe apples, ripe grapes -- and some toffee.

T: First impression: fruit. Ripe berries, cherries, toffee, molasses. Some dark fruit -- figs maybe? Finishes with a slight astringency which, as it warms, seems almost oaky. Heat felt in belly, but alcohol is otherwise well-masked.

M: Medium-to-full (closer to full) in heft. Not a lot of carbonation.

D: Not bad for a beer of this strength (my bottle said 9%, not 10% as is listed here).

Notes: not sure of the vintage of this bottle. My guess is that it's been in my cellar for a couple years, which would make it an '08 or, more likely, an '07. . . . It aged fairly well; a nice sipper. . . .

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Photo of steve8robin
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this on a trip to Kalamazoo. 2009 bottle...

A: Deep georgeous ruby red with no head. Leaves a decent lacing on the glass. Good.

S: Caramel malts upfront blended with earthy barley. Banana in the middle blended with booziness and sugars on the backend. Good.

T: Boozy barley upfront with caramel malts in the middle and hints of earthy bitter hops on the end.

M: Good balance of carbonation and leaves a nice sticky flavor on your palate. Very good.

D: Goes down super easy. Very good.

All in all, this was a very good brew. Glad I got to try it. Interesting for an English barleywine. Could cross styles with an old ale. Definitely try if you like malty big beers.

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Photo of jlindros
4.17/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours nice 2 finger head with creamy looking foam. Dark woody brown color with very little light shining through.

N: Strong nose with lost of sweet malts and syrup, like a good barleywine should have. Some light brown sugar, some maple, brown sugar, or other syrup like aroma. Lots of bready malts and cereal like aromas, which is very humbling since the name is cereal killer and most barleywines don't have that much cereal malt aromas. Touches of hops add to it.

T: Very sweet. Lots of maple syrup, or something very similar, but I believe it's maple because of the flavor. Hints of bitter hops, mostly some earthy hops and chewy variety. Some nice malt flavors, being dark malts. Perhaps a bit of brown sugar. Some fruity flavors, mostly dark fruits. A touch of spicy warming alcohol. Some light roasted malt flavors as well surprisingly.

M: Semi thick and syrupy with a touch of warming alcohol and decent carbonation.

F: Semi sweet finish with the syrupy taste and feel lingering a bit. Not bad but a little on the sweet side. Also somewhat bitter and earthy. The syrupy maple and brown sugar flavors seem to stick around for a while, and the hops just add a slight touch of bitterness. It almost has a velvety mouth and finish which adds a really nice touch. This is actually better than I thought for a beer.

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Photo of semibaked
2.82/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into a Pint Glass.

A - Pours a super murky dark brown with a bit on light tan foam on top, nothing to right home about here.

S - The usual suspect here, Roasted malts, caramel, and toast like qualities.

T - Pretty big sweetness with caramel and molasses qualities, then bitterness but not traditional hop bitterness, it is pretty unpleasant.

M - Crap tons of carbonation, a pretty oily consistency too, not good here.

D - Ya I am glad I didn't buy more than a bottle of this, just really different and not in a good way, have no clue what that bitterness is but it sucks. The carbonation is unappealing too.

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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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