Head to head: Cereal Killer vs. Cereal Killer Special Edition Cellar Aged

1) Cereal KillerIMG_20130930_162935

2) Cereal Killer SE

Maker: Arcadia, Battle Creek, Michigan, USA

Style: Barleywine

ABV: 10%

Purchased for

1) $12 for a 4 pack

2) $10 for a 22 oz bottle


1) Dark auburn with a moderately foamy head on first pour.

2) Similar but with a slightly lighter color.


1) Big and fruity. Cherry-walnut bread, raisin, plum.

2) Less aggressive but brighter and a little sour. Apricot, mandarin orange, sourdough bread.

On the palate

1) Grainy. Grape Nuts cereal, Kasha, hints of yeast, blueberries and roasted malt.

2) Creamy and citric. Lemon custard, fresh squeezed orange juice.


1) Long and bitter. Burnt toast, French roast coffee.

2) Easygoing and bright. Medium dark toast with lemon curd and a cup of Central American coffee.

Parting words: Barleywine is not a style of beer I drink much of, because I early in my craft beer journey I had some that I didn’t care for. It’s still not a style I’m probably going to drink a lot of, but Cereal Killer has changed my thinking on barleywines. It’s very tasty with big cereal flavors and very satisfying on its own.

The difference between the aged and standard versions was striking. Some of the aggressive fruity flavors that make the standard version so exciting are muted here and the citrus notes come on very strong. Not to say the aged version is dull, but it’s a different beer entirely. I don’t know if it’s better or worse but it is easier to drink. Not to say that the standard edition isn’t, but…oh hell. Both are recommended.

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