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 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 lamarr04
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: dark amber with thin off white head

S: toasty malt, dark caramel (almost like burnt sugar), dark fruit like raisin or prune and alcohol

T: sweet malt, bread like and toasted notes from the malt as well, prune, alcohol and a faint note of hop bitterness

M: syrupy but relatively smooth, low carbonation

D: the definition of a sipper

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Photo of CH3CH2OH
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rich mahogany with a substantial head for a beer of this strength. An amazing aroma of cantaloupe and malt. Very nuanced flavor with some esters, thick malt with a support of alcohol. Some fine hop bitterness that shows up at the end, with just a bit of slickness. Full bodied and assertive; I poured half a bomber into a glass, that's about enough for one sitting.

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Photo of MickeyBeer
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this beer on cask at Firkin in a snifter glass

A- It pours a dark reddish color with about one finger of head.

S- Smell comes forward with malty sweetness, hops, and barley notes.

T- Taste has a good deal of hops but also a considerable amount of sweetness. Even on cask and at at room temperature this beer is rather tasty.

M- Full bodied and somewhat sticky mouthfeel.

O- I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this beer. I like barleywines, but I have never had one on cask. This beer was very well balanced and the high ABV was hardly noticeable.

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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 kohoutek
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
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 Telix
3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 2008 vintage from a 22oz bottle into a DFH Chalice.

A: Pours a nice deep brown-red that is a gorgeous garnet when held to the light. A thick, tightly beaded beige head is formed that slowly falls. No lacing was evident. The thick solution allowed a steady amount of carbonation to surface and patterns of bubbles to form on the surface. A beautiful beer.

S: Slightly sour funk, slightly sweet, I'm seriously getting a very mild fried pickle with some buttery notes. Yeah, it's as weird as it sounds, but definitely interesting.

T: Syrupy sweet maltiness coats the tongue with some bright carbonation following it, and as it dries on the tongue some sweet-sour cherries and fresh apples take over. The finish reveals the hop bitterness hiding underneath the fruit sweetness, but it's a bit too late.

M: Thick, chewy, mouth-coating. I really enjoy beers like this, to be honest, so I'll admit that many would find this a bit syrupy and cloying.

D: Definitely not a sessionable ale, but I don't think many brewers sit down and design a 9% barleywine to be. I took care of a bomber a bit too quickly, so it's drinkable for me, but as I always say - any beer I like is drinkable.

Ultimately, I'm not completely sold on this. It's just a little too thick and sweet and feels unbalanced, with the hops too far in the background to really integrate with the flavors. It's definitely delicious and lip-smacking, and would be a great beer to share with others on a cool evening. I think it would match spectacularly with some warm bread and cheese - which, unfortunately, I didn't have on hand.

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Photo of mstyne
3.6/5  rDev -5%
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 BelgianAleSlut
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Somehow lost my initial review before I hit the review button. This is attempt to piece it back together. Poured into goblet from big bottle. Color is beautiful dark ruby/brown and has small foam clouds. Smell is sweet and flowery, almost fruity. Taste is sweet maltiness of course - some of the flowery fruitiness comes through the nose when drinking. There is enough malt body and carbonation to maintain a delightful drinking experience. The high alcohol content has stretched the duration of this 22 oz. bottle into multiple hours. Drinkability is good.

Tried Arcadia's Big Dick's Olde Ale and this back-to-back. This beer is the better of the two, however, like the former beer there isn't much distinctive character. I would recommend this beer however.

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Photo of alphaacid9000
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle 2010

Pours a dark chocolate color with just a hint of ruby around the edges. Lightly carbonated with almost no head.

Aroma is wonderful. Dark fruits and malts dominate the nose. Raisin, cherry, alcohol and bready malt

Sticky sweet and medium to full mouthfeel. Assertive bitterness with almost no hop flavor at this age. Malts dominate the flavor and pleasantly supported by alcohol heat.

Overall a fantastic beer and even better with a couple years of age on it

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Photo of HeavyMetalBrew
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
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 gwong
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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

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

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

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

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

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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 chefboy812
2.73/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I started out pouring this one pretty agressively into a balloon goblet. even at cellar temperature it lazily makes a beige head that only rises a finger or so. It quickly falls to a meager edge that barely marks sip points. a chocolate brown color with red highlights with a little haze is very appealing.

The aroma of this beer reminds me heavily of apple wine. the alcohol is very pronounced, with little malt preasence. more of a molassas and fig scent with english treacle.

extreamly interesting but a little disapointing in reguards to flavor. very sticky and sugary. no true charachter of malt or anything like that. the most profound flavor is apple that repeats itself. not as a cidery falt; just the flavor that is most notable. the finish is a bit caramely and madiera like. it does hang with a pleasant roasty finish. actually the most enjoyable part of the flavor profile.

the mouthe feel is quite abit thinner than exspected with a beer of this strength. so the sickenly sweet charachter is made transparent by the lack of texture.

In reguards of drinkability; I actually didn't finish the beer as it warmed it got a little too cloying.

all in all I am glad that I tried it to realy know what an english style barlywine is like, but I much prefer an american style barley like Avery's Hog Heaven.

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Photo of JesseP09
3.76/5  rDev -0.8%
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 BasementDweller
2.67/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Oh no. No no no. Please tell me this wasn't classified as a Barleywine. That's an insult to the category. Aroma is boozy and fruity, trying really hard to be estery but falling well short. Palate is far from substantial. Flavor is of simple syrup (and lots of it), a dollop of caramel, and a splash of Hawaiian Punch. As for hops, well, they're there, but not in any kind of force. They certainly don't contribute much to the aroma. Two redeeming factors of this beer: 1) it LOOKS like a barleywine, and 2) I didn't have to pay for it.

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Photo of RobertDwight
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer has a very dark mahogany hue to it. Nice big head that eventually fades a lot, but little laces are still present. Big huge predominant fruity nose. Taste is of once again a huge fruit attack (grapes, plums, apples), with a bit of alcohol and a smige of hops at the end. Mouthfeel and drinkability are good. I think this beer is alright, but its too in your face fruit action going on...I wanted some more caramel to come through...possibly with some aging this beer can improve. But as for right now I most likely won't pick this up again in the near future.

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Photo of gaugebozo
4.13/5  rDev +9%
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 s@#$ 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 jmendels
4.27/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I've been on a journey to try Michigan beers lately. Arcadia Ales is certainly one brand that stands a bit taller and this beer contributes to their stature.It pours a beautiful reddish brown,with only a small amount of lace. The smell is rather complex and should take a couple whiffs to fully appreciate. There are the usual toffee smells, but also subtle hints of cereal. The taste is sublime, having a mellow sweetness balanced with the aged flavor natural to this type of beer. It then finishes with a touch of bittersweet thickness. Good beer and a good example of the Barleywine Style.

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Photo of theecaleb
3.56/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2010, 12oz bottle.

A. Pours good. Good copper in color. One inch creamy redish head, slowly fades away. Minamal lacing.

S. Toffee, barley, fruit.

T. Alcohol, fruit, spice, wine.

M. Warmth of alcohol, good carbonation. Light hints of barley and fruits.

O. Not the best barley wine I've had, but I like it. Very drinkable, I wouldnt mind aging a few in the cellar. I would recommend this beer to a friend.

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Photo of sopclod
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Creme brulee.

I thought about ending the review right there, but I didn't think the mods would appreciate that. Nor you, for that matter.

If you took the crusty top of creme brulee, you know, the good part, liquified it, and added a little carbonation and alcohol, you would have Cereal Killer.

I didn't really detect much in the way of other flavors, or hops. It was sweet, malty and caramelly, and that's pretty much it. Not that that's a bad thing. However the rich flavor combined with a healthy dose of alcohol (why can't more beers be served in 12oz bottles??) hurt its drinkability. After about halfway through (about 12oz!) I had had my fill, but I had to finish the bottle.

There was something else as well. Shortly after quaffing my bomber of Cereal Killer, I got the most horrible diarrhea. Now, I think it's unrelated, but damn... I felt pretty horrible for about 48 hours. It's the kind of thing that, even though I know it probably wasn't the beer, it will probably be a long time before I try it again.

Overall, if you like malt, give it a try.

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Photo of dspoonrt
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
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 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 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 brewerdrew
2.4/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Unfortunately, very disappointeed with this beer given that Arcadia produces some of the best Stouts and Porters I have ever tasted. To add insult to injury, I entered this tasting with high expectations given the recent GABF Gold Medal for Barley Wines that it recently won.

I poured this beer from a bottle into a Ommegang Belgian Beer glass and the appearance was muddy/murky. The smell and taste of alcohol was overwhelmingly the predominant characteristic of this beer. There were some notes of Hops but not what I was hoping for to balance the other characteristics of the beer.

I will not be going back to try this beer again.

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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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