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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: 277 | Ratings: 591
Photo of rufusb
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first barleywine, very good, enjoyed it! The taste changed from first opened to finish. As it warmed the complex flavors became more noticeable. The higher alcohol content wasn't prevalent at any time, which surprised me.
A-dark amber in color, pours clean with very little foam, not a lot of carbonation apparent
S-not very pungent, slight hints of fruit and malt
T-warm, fruit flavors, some malt taste as well. The flavors became stronger as I drank it and it warmed. Much smoother than I expected. Does have a pleasant aftertaste, alcohol doesn't take over
M-thick and silky
O- very enjoyable

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear garnet with internal carbonation and a modest off-white head. Each swirl leaves a dense film on the Dogfish Head Tulip glass.

Smells fruity with tart cherries and cranberries followed by plums and grapes. This barley wine is very fresh and akin to a faint Flanders Red.

Opens with sharp bitterness and a malt background. Cherries and plums are present. Bitteness diminishes with warmth while light burgundy develops. The finish is long with a slight bitter edge.

A smooth texture and full body, this one is almost velvety with a fizzy carbonation. Dry and clear, the alcohol is well controlled. Heavy, sticky residue is left on the lips.

A nice sipping beer that improves dramatically with warmth. This one aged two years in the cellar.

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Photo of filmguy
4.84/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Read the other reviews for a taste profile. On tap this was a perfect beer for me. Went out while vacationing in Detroit (!) and bought a 6 pack to bring back the goodness to Florida. Not nearly as good from the bottle. Much more hops. Quite bitter (which is fine for hop heads) but for me it was a bit less balanced than when it was on tap. Still good, but a notch down from great.

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Photo of gustogasmic
4.51/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours as expected- thick beer with very little head, which quickly disappears. Lacing is thick; the beer has long legs and the micro-bubbles match the cloudy deep ruby/amber of the liquid.

There isn't much pungency, it almost smells like the malts rather than fruity, etc.

A taste opens up the complexity that isn't immediately sniffable- so much plum, dark cherry, and a beautiful warmth that grows at a perfect medium/slow rate, with an aftertaste of light berry, red licorice. The intensity of flavor and booze is tempered by a red licorice-like candy note that persists from sip to swallow.

The mouthfeel nests the taste impeccably, a misleading initial wateriness that quickly fizzes out, malty and smooth. The beer goes down the gullet lighter than it hits the lips. Try swishing it for half of one second- the barleywine turns into complete light foam, lining the mouth and hitting you with perceptible amounts of the many fruits and spices hidden deep in this beer.

Hadn't had a barleywine since a Bell's Old Third Coast like, a year ago! What the hell was I thinking... time to dive back in.

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Photo of Infamous7100
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark orange to ruby color with little to no head and no lacing to speak of.
S: Dark fruits and malts steal the show. A bit of booze peaks though too.
T: Follows the nose impeccably. Hit with the sweetness up front, and the figs/grapes toward the back. Hops and alcohol are hidden well, though there is a slight burn on the throat.
M: Nothing remarkable. Silky and coats the tongue well. Nice, pleasant hang.
O: A might fine barley wine. Its a heavy hitter at 10%, but drinks better than that. Enjoy this one. Its worth a try.

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Photo of Retail1LO
3.36/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage, poured into a Firestone Walker tuplip.

Pours a ruddy reddish/brown, almost garnet color with a nice finger and half worth of foamy head which dissipates quickly with marginal lacing/adhesion to the side of the glass. The smell is rich in caramel and dark fruit. Raisins, figs, dried cherries...all present. However, I find it a bit of an odd scent for this style. Maybe it's just me, but I find it to be unique in a little bit of an offputting fashion. The taste resonates with the nose, following quickly in it's footsteps. More raisins (lots), figs, even dates. This is a strange bird. Perhaps when you've been drinking the likes of Abacus, Commander, King Henry, and Bligh's recently, this is destined to seem a bit more ordinary. This is a decent enough beer, however, and I really need to revisit it when I haven't been on a binge of big barley wines. The mouthfeel is on the sweet side. Real sweet. All of those fruits are like...candy. There's a slight tinge of booziness in the finish towards the back of your throat, but all in all the ABV is hidden pretty masterfully. This is a good barleywine. On the grand scheme of things, I consider it average only because of what else I've had. However, if you've never had Patron Anejo, then I can see where 1800 comes across as a decent enough tequila. I'd like to revisit this when I'm not as biased towards some of the premium offerings.

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

Stumbled upon a 2007 bomber of this one in Brooklyn Beer and Soda, never had it fresh but heard good things

A: Pours dense copper with sizeable tan head. Nice lacing as well.

S: Barley, Caramel, Dark Fruits and booze. Good stuff.

T: Follows the nose, good sweetness that I like in a barleywine.

M: Creamy smooth. Borderline acidity

D: Moderate, I chose to split this one with my bro but could have downed this bomber with no issues.

The age on this one was probably a few months past its best as the acidity was a bit noticeable in the finish.

Overall a nice treat

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Photo of EK33
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage consumed dec 2011

A-Copper that is translucent with some light passing through. Low carbonation and poured into a glass producing minimal head that disappears entirely throughout drinking.

S-Minor Fruit and sweetness to nose, very blaise/balanced on these notes.

T-Smooth beginning with caramel with minor hints of fruits that follow. Finishes sweet without much bitterness at all. Hops really take a back seat in this brew.

M-Fairly similar to most ales, quite light for a barley-wine.

Overall an adequate Barley-Wine. Carbonation is very light (2010 vintage contributing to this?). Flavor is balanced, but have some cellared to try at 5 and 10 years to see how it develops.

**As a follow up consumed later at a room temperature and vastly improved overall drinking experience moving overall up to 3.5 and taste to 4. In future, will drink Barley Wines at 50' to 65'.

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Photo of morimech
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage

Pours a cloudy copper color with just under one finger of head that quickly settles to a thin cap. Moderate amount of spotty lacing is left on the glass. The lack of visual excitement is not bad for a big ABV Barleywine.

Big malt aroma of brandy-like qualities. Hints of raisins, caramel, and dates. The alcohol is very much upfront.

I wonder how much hops play a part in the flavor when this beer is fresh. At this point most hop flavor has faded away. What the hops did leave is a bitterness that balances the heavy malt charactor. Rich caramel and toffee, with hints of raisins and roasted nuts. With time I assume the alcohol has toned down a bit and is well integrated in the flavor. It still is warming but not overly hot.

Thick and chewy body with enough carbonation to give this beer some life.

Very much surprised and impressed with this less noticed barleywine. I would definately purchase this again.

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Photo of lurpy1
3.59/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a sledgehammer of a beer, and I'm not sure what to make of it yet. It packed an overwhelming amount of booze,sugars, malt, and whuppass. At times I had a tough time choking a sip down, at other times I found the whole thing fabulous. I like barleywines, but I haven't figured out yet if this was incredibly good or incredibly not good. Best bet is to give it medium marks (yes, you BA gurus, a B is a medium mark. I know where you come from it is a high mark, but on earth, B is a medium mark), and encourage the reader to try for themselves.

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Photo of powerss13
4.43/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Note: Poured from bottle to a Tulip Glass
Also, have a partially stuffed nose, so smell area will be "contaminated"; haha

Serving: Bottle

Appearance: A very dark Amber color; Definitely has some thickness to it

Smell: Has a oak finish. smoot finish in aroma. Little hops, but enough to get a scent. Other aromas make me think of some other spices (not heat spices by the way)

Taste: Begins heavy with malt, then moves to a bit more bitterness with the hops. Finishes with a light hop and some malt flavor.

Mouthfeel: The feel in the mouth is definitely bitter, but also thins making it easy to drink. Does linger in the mouth a bit, but it is a delicous(spelling) linger.

Overall: Easy to drink Barley wine at careful speed. Can barely feel the high content of alcohol in the beverage. Very good when fresh(this review made while drinking a fresh bottle ['11]); but this beer can definitely be laid down to add more complex flavors to it.

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Photo of madeofsteel
3.1/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Vintage 2010

A - Poured into a tulip, pours a murky reddish brown, about a finger's worth of head with decent retention and lacing.

S - Now that's pretty. Robust caramel, sweet raisins, dried cherries. Faint booze. I thought the ABV would give this one a stronger alcohol smell. Sort of bready, too.

T - Very overpoweringly sweet. I was not ready. Picking up some licorice in there, which I'm never really wild about. Cherries, alcohol, kind of ugly sour bitter finish. It's a lot to process, and the alcohol seems to mask some of the subtleties.

M - Leaves a lot of leftovers on my tongue and between the cheeks. And then there's the boozy finish.

O - I can see this being a good after-dinner beer or something like that, but it's a lot to handle, personally.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Arcadia's Cereal Killer Barley Wine last month for $3.69 at The Lager Mill. I have passed up this beer many times simple because of the price, but since I have been a fan of all of Arcadia's bigger beers I have tried, I decided to pay the extra money and roll the dice, so lets see how it goes. 2010 Vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label on this beer is pretty plain and boring, there is just a small picture of a hand holding a spoon like a knife. It poured a nice deep brownish amber color with a quarter of a finger worth of white head that quickly faded to nothing. The color is nice but it has a pretty lack luster head, but that is to be expected from a 10% Barleywine.

S- The aroma of this beer is all about the malts, as it should be. The malts impart a pretty sweet dark fruit aroma with cherrys and raisins sticking out the most, that gives it a slight sherry like aroma. There is also some nice aromas of caramel, vanilla, and candied sugar. I didn't pick up any hops in the aroma of this beer.

T- The taste mirrors the aroma nicely and is still all about the malts. It starts off with with loads of sweet bready malts that have a high amount of medium sweetness to them and impart some nice and pretty noticeable dark fruit flavors that is dominated by raisins, there is also some nice toffee, molasses and a slight vanilla flavor. The booze is noticeable but it doesn't taste harsh and it isn't too hot. The finish is pretty smooth and has a light amount of bitterness with a nice raisin and toffee aftertaste.

M- Pretty smooth, on the lighter side of being full bodied and a light amount of medium carbonation. On par mouthfeel for an English Barleywine.

Overall I thought that this was a good English Barleywine. It had all tho flavors that you would expect from an English Barleywine, no added tricks like some of the American ones, just a straight forward and malty Barleywine. This beer has pretty good drinkability for a Barleywine, it's not too boozy or too bitter, I should have no problem drinking the rest of this bottle. What I liked most about this beer was the taste, It had all the nice flavors I expect out of a malt forward Barleywine and the raisin flavor really stuck out which I liked, the mouthfeel was pretty good also. What I liked least about this beer was the aroma, it wasn't bad it was just very sweet and somewhat similar to a sweet sherry and the head was pretty lackluster. I would pick up a bottle of this again when in the mood for a good malty Barleywine, but for the price I think I will just get a single bottle and stay away from the four packs, I wish it was a little cheaper. I would recommend this this beer to people who like malt forward Barleywines, it does a good job at showcasing some great malty flavors. I was pretty happy with this beer, it was pretty straight forward and it didn't have any off flavors, it was solid. Arcadia did a good job with this beer and I think it would get even better after another year, I also think this would make a great candidate for barrel aging, I think the flavors of the beer would go great with some bourbon or rum barrels.

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Photo of JizackFH
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found this review in one of my old beer notebooks. It was consumed and reviewed in June 2010.

This beer pours a nice slightly cloudy dark brown color. It has a fluffy 2-finger off-white head resting on top. The head has good retention, and leaves a nice bit of lace behind on the glass. The nose has a nice bit of toasted and caramel malt. There are also some aromas of dark fruit such as plug, fig, raisin, and cherry. There is also quite a bit of booze coming through as well. The taste pretty much follows the nose. The taste pretty much follows the nose. It starts off with some sweet bready maltiness. There is a nice toasty flavor, as well as some caramel and all the dark fruit notes that were present in the nose. There is a good bit of booziness here as well. The finish leaves some lingering sweetness, toasted maltiness, and booziness. This has a medium body and good carbonation. It goes down easy and has a really smooth feel to it. There is some sweetness and a toasted malt bitterness. The finish leaves some boozy warmth lingering in the mouth and throat. There is good drinkability here. It goes down easy and the flavor is really nice. It is a bit of a sipper, but I could definitely do a few glasses of this in a night. Overall, I really enjoyed this one and I think it is a really nice barleywine. I recommend checking this one out. I would buy it again for sure.

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Photo of SafeAtFirst
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage

brown, head. looks nice

really nice malt nose, caramel, honey, toffee, bread crust, dark fruits.

similar flavors, a hint of alcohol. sweetish in the mouth but actually finishes almost on the dry side.

proper heft. good job with the balance.

beefy english-ish barley wine. i like it

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Photo of VncentLIFE
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage

Pours a deep amber color. Reminiscent of actual amber. Thing ring of a head.

Dry and sweet. Smell is laden with very sweet wheat and barley. A good barleywine.

Not very fancy. No tricks here. Sweet malt is highlighted. Feels like honey on the tongue, almost scarily like honey. Lots of sugar and honey. I like it. Sits very light and coats the tongue like syrupy hot toddy.

Very well done, Arcadia Ales!

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.09/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a flared pokal at Bliss.

Nice to see some heavy-hitters on the Bliss docket this week. This one pours a kinda murky amber-brown topped by a half-finger of khaki foam. The nose comprises sweet caramel, acetone, buttery toffee, light biscuit, and light vanilla. I'm sure there could have been more, but the acetone singed my nostrils a bit... The taste holds notes of buttery biscuits, deep caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, nutmeg, booze, dark fruit, and light honey. Yeah, the booze is still pretty strong here, but not as o'erwhelming a force as the one that met my nose. The body is a strong medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta dry finish. Overall, this b-wine is something of a challenge to really get into, but it's not all that unenjoyable, surprisingly. I can't really explain it, but I felt generally good about this beer after drinking it despite my general distaste for some of its constituent parts. Odd...

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Photo of kawilliams81
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a 16 oz. snifter.

A- Cloudy dark amber/brown. 1 finger tan head, lacing resides quickly.

S- Sweet malts, dark fruits (cherry), vanilla, cinnamon.

T- Sweet amber malts, tart cherries, vanilla, some hop bitterness at finish.

M- Full body, slightly dry, with medium carbonation.

O- Thought this was a pretty good barleywine, at least better than it's rated.

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Photo of schoolboy
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was pleased to find this pre-aged barleywine. This saves me a year or so. It was quite expensive. So, was it worth it? Yes, this is a much better experience than the usual for the style. It is very well behaved, like many of these can be if you age them a bit.

It seems better balanced than most, and a bit easier to drink. It is boozy tasting. I would buy this again if I were looking for a full fledged barleywine that is ready to drink.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a dark amber color, the head was tan and was a little fizzy. The lacing and retention were minimal. The smell of the beer gives off a boozy sweetness along with some fermented dark fruits in the mix. The taste of the beer was pretty good, a little sweet upfront and then it fades into a dry hoppy bitterness. The mouthfeel was a little thick which wasn't too bad. Overall I found this to be a pretty good brew.

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Photo of Chaney
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I got this one from a cool beer store in Kentucky. The sun shines bright in my bluegrass state!

A: Dark brown, amber, with a nice 1/4 finger head that settled after a while into a mere froth on top of the brew.

S: Very strong candy sugar and hop profile. This reminded me of Bigfoot due to the fact that I got licorice with a brown ale profile overall.

T: This was a brown ale Barlywine and then some. Very sugary, the hop profile was in the brown sugar area, and somewhat bitter overall.

M: Definitely sugary and bitter, but not totally bad in the slightest. Lots of sugar overall, slightly carbonated, and no lacing whatsoever.

O: I wouldn't pour this in my cereal...

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Photo of Rhynes2
4.77/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was blown away by this one. Pours a nice hazy red/orange color. not much head aside from a thin layer that quickly dissipated. Flavors come off as having notes of dark fruits and apple with spices blended in subtly. It reminds me of an apple cider more than anything. Hops provide a light bitterness that works with the malts beautifully. I realize that taste is subjective but this is the best barley wine I have ever had. Very impressed and I'll be buying this again.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle
Served in a snifter

A - It pours an orange/brown color. It has a skim of tan head.

S - The aroma is dark fruit including dates and fig along with molasses and brown sugar. I get hints of alcohol.

T - It is definitely sweet. This is a malt bomb. The molasses and fruit come through. It finishes with some a taste of alcohol.

M - Borderline syrupy

O - This is a barleywine to be enjoyed by those who do not like the hoppy American style. Lots of malt with almost zero hop taste.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 vintage into a snifter trying to go to bed. I've been ducking this beer for years.

Cereal Killer pours out a dark shade of red with hazy faded orange with some browns poking in as well. A nice pour yeilded about 3/4th's a inch of kinda firm toffee colored foam with no stickage.

Smell is of malted barley, a whole lot of it, some fusel alcohol and some ripe dark fruits. a small bouquet of earth hops with caramel and toffee with some warming. The English yeast gives off a funky bread scent. Smells sweet.

Up front Im greeted with a big bite of fruit that's backed by caramel, barley and the like. The fruit reminds me of a BSDA but coated with huge barley, malt, toffee, berries and alcohol. The ALC is not so big, but it was probably huge fresh, glad I waited on this for a bit.

Feel is a big medium, maybe two steps up. Malty and it is kinda coating on the tounge for a few. Swishing brings out the alcohol more, yet it never seems to cloy. Carbed up to where it should be.

At about over a year since bottled, this has been tamed but the flavors don't jive well for me. Not insanely hot, the English ingredients namely the yeast is what gets in the way. Also, why is this stuff so damn expensive?

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage. Tulip glass.

A: Pours a murky dark apple cider color with a ring of sand colored foam. No lacing but decent retention (for the style).

S: Sweet dark fruit (plum, grape, raisin), caramel and bready malt, and like a red wine/grape juice thing.

T: Bready rye-ish malt and some caramel. Slightly off flavor and bitter finish which doesn't mesh well. Off dry, not as sweet as I was expecting from the smell. Somewhat lacking in complexity, and doesn't quite live up to the aroma.

M: Medium carbonation and medium-full body. Slightly sticky. Carbonation is pretty smooth and gives a nice little liveliness. Alcohol is not at all noticeable, not even warming.

O: Overall, pretty good English-style barleywine. Easy to drink but not much complexity.

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Arcadia Cereal Killer Barley Wine from Arcadia Brewing Company
3.79 out of 5 based on 591 ratings.
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