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

Thanks to biegaman for hooking us up with this!

Pours a clear red/brown, thick tan head, very nice looking, decent lacing. Smell is sweet, very fruity, yeasty, grapey wine, bread, very malty, bit of citrus. Taste is malty, some caramel, very fruity again, citrus/floral hops, figs, more fruit in the finish, bit of bread and alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carb. Nice sipper, doesn't really project the 10% ABV. Thanks Jan!

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Photo of Bung
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
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 Suds
4.06/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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

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Photo of champ103
2.95/5  rDev -22.2%
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 lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter, the beer was a red amber color with a medium tan head that provided some lacing. It had a caramel apple aroma. Similar taste: caramel, apple, some hops. The alcohol was well-hidden. Creamy mouthfeel. Not too aggressive, a good example of an English barleywine.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
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 n2185
2.8/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2010 vintage

A: pours a murky brown with half a finger of beige head that fades into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: loads of caramel malts on the nose with strong raisin aromas as well. There are some oxidation notes as well.

T: caramel malts and raisins dominate hefe, though with moderate oxidation presence. Sticky sweet finish.

M: thick body with low carbonation, this beer is thick and sticky.

O: this beer may not have been stored properly since it's already partially oxidized. It's not very good, though. Not undrinkable, but not appetizing either.

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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 ccrida
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber poured into a stem glass, Cereal Killer is a murky, dark reddish brown that pours a large khaki head but leaves pretty heavy lace.

Smell is spicy and malty, sweeter but immature. Far from a turn off, but time would clearly round this out. Nevertheless, it has that rich cherry maltiness that I appreciate and enjoy, but there's no question it's pushing cough syrup.

Taste is super sweet and rich, whoa! This one is a palate buster, think rum soaked fruits, with a very spicy, drier finish, but nevertheless clean. Not bad, but an overly sugary BW, with less emphasis on Cereal and more so Killer! While it's not my taste, it's pretty clean and well done.

Mouthfeel is thicker and syrupy, it went from average to way to thick heavy in a hurry.

Drinkability is OK, this is a tasty, but too overly sweet. A decent take on a English BW, and I'm happy to enjoy it...but not enough to move back to the dirty coast! Not a bad price either, but also something that a non BW drinker would probably call icky - I can't wait to brush my teeth!

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

22oz bottle, scooped at Binny's on Grand last time i was in Chicago - not sure why madison never seems to get the limited arcadia bombers but whatever

appearance: pours into a snifter - big crimson-garnet body, cola-esque traits, creamy beige head with moderate lace. The Cereal Killer label is pretty on point too, for what thats worth

smell: The cereal killer packs quite the booze-filled nose, booze covered plum, resinous pine hops, lots of thick malt sweetness

taste: This barleywine is a lot boozier than the 9% label would suggest - I note mostly resinous pine hops and a high citrus hop bitterness along with it. There are certainly enough thick caramel malts to go around but this beer kind of falls flat and doesnt balance out well - its too bitter and a bit muddy

mouthfeel: high bitterness, medium body

drinkability: iffy

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

2008 vintage. This poured a nearly opaque dark garnet with moderate tan head. It smelled like dark fruit (fig and raisin and prune) with honey wheat and roasted barley and some molasses. It tasted like raisins and prunes and honey wheat, with copper hops and caramel and molasses malts. It was fairly thick with a bit of carbonation, and had a bittersweet aftertaste. Overall this had a very deep, rich flavor and great body. I could already really sense age on this beer with only 1 year on it, and I could foresee it continuing to improve for another year or two. Nice clean flavors that were balanced quite well and hid the alcohol nicely, so this was easy to drink but much better to sip. Well done!

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A-dark, slightly hazy, ruby red ale that has a light brown colored head. Decent retention leaving a thick lace on the glass that falls quickly behind the head

S-the nose is big and sweet. Some strong caramel malts and burnt brown sugar come in first with a big dark fruit sweetness in the back. Lots of dark cherries, raisin, some ripe plum.

T-the taste is more sweet than anything, mostly dark fruits playing here. The brown sugar is right up front, slightly burnt, notes of alcohol are present in the middle with the dark fruits taking over after that. Lots of ripe plum, raisin, sweet dark cherries, and a hint of bitterness at the finish

M-very smooth and a nice syrupy texture. It coasts the mouth, nicely carbonated, astringent.

D-doesn't have the complexity I would have like to see; but big bold flavors that are blended very well together. The alcohol is a little too present in the middle; but not overpoweringly so.

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Photo of Durge
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A deep copper caramel color, thick and hazy with a decent oatmeal colored head and great lacing. The aroma is nutty red wine and deep malt earthiness, full and a bit sweet. The flavor is a strikingly sweet, thick grapey malt with more nuttiness. Amazingly syrupy sweet, more than I like but still a tastey treat. Full bodied, not a session beer I would say. I pick up some maple and brown sugar. Mellows as it sits but still brings a tart overtone, pretty heavy duty with medium alcohol.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
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 warnerry
3.96/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Bottle into a tulip

A -Pours a somewhat murky mahogany with one finger of head. Head dissipates to a collar fairly quickly, though the collar maintains throughout the glass.

S - Alcohol-infused caramel/tootsie roll, raisin and fig. Also some cherry and quite a bit of malt. A little too boozy in the nose.

T - Caramel with a bit of bitterness. More tart cherry in the taste than the aroma. Also dried fruits like raisin and fig. Alcohol is noticeable but not out of control. Finishes with more bitterness.

M - Medium mouthfeel is slightly sticky sweet initially, followed by some earthy bitterness.

O - Haven't had this fresh, but it is nice with a few years on it. I wish the alcohol were toned down just a bit, but this is tasty English barleywine.

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

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

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Photo of 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 OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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 tavernjef
3.84/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The color of this "Killer" is awesome! Deep, dark, and shadowed over in a unpenetrable cast of blood brown. Thin and firm capping of tanned foam. Resides slowly to keep a slivered ring and ghostly strings of lace stick about the glass.

Aroma isn't much unfortunately. Partial cherry and berry, darkish, with a bit of off heat from a alot of malts used and a slow retreat in each wiff mirrors raisin and fig notes.

Taste is darkly doppelbock-like with a malt carriage and carry of dark fruityness that resembles a bunch of dark cherries, berries, figs and twigs, raisin, prune, and plummy stuff. Moderately paced and sticky/tacky to the tongue with a broad base of length across the finish of malty chewyness lingering with molasses, toffee, and slidings of the fruits. Hops are only skimped in with a bit of oily waxness of candle floral essense and brief pine pricks touching late.

Feel is quite sticky and malty yet clean and full. 'Substantially based in the malts this Barleywine is", as Yoda would maybe say.
Hops are very secondary, if at all grazed upon by the balance cows of the barleywine field in which my cows like to feed. As fore mentioned, much more Doppelbock-like in nature and character then Barleywine. I tend to favor more of the hoppy beasts that fold your tongue and then unfold it to develope tough and rough bites before soothing warmth comes in. This is all malts; dark, brooding, heady, large, and sticky with a long exposure over the finish of toffee and a somewhat dried fruityness.

Ok, so this is not quite the cereal that one might expect to pour in their bowl(glass) for a Barleywine, but as an example of the English style, and not the American, which I favor, this is quite solid. Malty rich and favorable for malt lovers alike. Too bad the aroma did nearly nothing for me.

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Photo of argock
4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz brown bomber into a clear glass snifter. 2008 batch. Purchased from Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $6.49.

A: Crimson-amber with 1/2 finger vanilla ice cream head with low retention and minimal lacing.

S: High berry quotient with cherry, chocolate, and licorice all mingling with a blast of herbal hops and a lot of booziness

T: Very thick and sweet with plenty of cherry and plum malt fruit flavors. Chocolate and herbal hops come in at the end. A little bit of leather and mustiness as well.

M: Very chewy and viscous with low carbonation and sweet malty aftertaste.

D: A very nice English barley wine that might benefit from another year or two in the cellar. Solid nonetheless and firmly on the sweet end of the barleywine spectrum.

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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 jsh420
2.88/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

pours murky apple cider brown with a 1 finger head that left some lacing

smells supper sweet and malty some roast

taste - yet another very sweet BW - sour candy carmel apples dark fruits figs

mouthfeel is medium body well carbonated

drinkability - not good BW#2 drain pour of the night

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

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

From a bottle into a snifter

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of woosterbill
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
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 peensteen
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Deep murky brown with some ruby at the edges, light ring of off white head at the edges, no lace. Smell is a nice mix of fruit and malts, cherry and darker fruit, some dark sugars as well here, a bit of earthy hops as well as raisin. Taste has big malty flavours, cherry raisin and dark fruit are all present, fruity/earthy hop bill make for a nice restrained bitterness, mild caramel and toffee sweetness, aftertaste of fruit in dark sugar. Lightly carbonated, medium body. A solid and serviceable barleywine, a very enjoyable slow sipper.

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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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