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Illuminating The Path - Cigar City Brewing

Illuminating The Path
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139 Ratings
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Ratings: 139
Reviews: 13
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 11.58%

Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing visit their website
Florida, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  ABV ?

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
Illuminating the Path is a collaboration with Ecliptic Brewing out of Portland, Oregon. The concept behind this beer was to connect Oregon and Florida, which brought several raw materials to mind. John Harris of Ecliptic and myself decided to use rose hips and marionberries, indigenous to Oregon, plus hibiscus and acai berries from Florida. The recipe for the beer was designed with these ingredients in mind, and then aged in pinot noir barrels from Oregon. The result is dark, with big fruity notes, balanced by vinous wine-like notes. We wanted to balance the concept of beer and wine and believe we have done that successfully.

(Beer added by: GatorLCA on 10-31-2013)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 139 | Reviews: 13 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BMMillsy


3.86/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from my Catador membership. Finally cracking this open with Beastmaster. Pours dark syrupy brown with a small creamy khaki head. Aroma of oak and tannins, tart and sweet berries, chocolate, vinous notes, vanilla, caramel. Flavor is sweet chocolate covered berries with a big oak presence. Light wine notes with tart and sweet medley if flavors. Toffee vanilla finish, moderately dry oak and nuttiness. Relatively hefty mouthfeel, creamy, with medium carbonation. Soft on the tongue. Very much like a fruited stout. Overall this was much better than I expected. While not my favorite style, it is certainly a beer worth trying. Not one to open on your own, but decent in small servings.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 02:17:45 | More by BMMillsy
Photo of mdfb79

New York

4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From 02/26/14 notes. Had an 8 oz. pour on tap at Bondurants in NYC. Served in a snifter.

a - Pours a deep brown color with two inches of medium tan head moderate carbonation evident. Looks pretty good.

s - Smells of sour red wine, spice, earthy notes, floral notes, sweet dark fruits, oak, and lightly sweet and sour berries. Nice nose, tons of sour red wine and fruits as it warms up.

t - Tastes of sweet dark fruits, berries, sour red wine and dark fruits, oak, tannic, spice, herbal, earthy notes, floral notes, dirt, pepper, light toasted and roasted malts, and light chocolate. Some more dark fruit than the nose and lightly sour; not as much as the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. No heat and pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall a good beer; pretty interesting. Lots of sour wine and dark fruits come through, especially as it warms up and in the nose. Wouldn't trade a ton for it but would definitely recommend trying it if you see it on tap.

Serving type: on-tap

02-26-2014 16:53:49 | More by mdfb79
Photo of 4thelvofbeer


4.41/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is a sleeper. Looks all dull and brown...even smells a bit funky and weird...but the taste...whoa....awesome. The fruits and the spices are all blended perfectly...this is a really, really good beer. It is so smooth and the wine barrel aging puts it over the top and rounds out a very smooth, superbly balanced beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2014 00:14:19 | More by 4thelvofbeer
Photo of GameFreac


4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to cleg for this one.

Appearance: Pours a dark ruby red color with a thick khaki head that dissipates quickly.

Smell: Smell is kinda muted. Once I swirl the glass around the first thing I get is some sour notes. Tart lactic acid, sweet dark fruits - mainly berries and some vinous/wine characters.

Taste - Taste blows the smell out of the water. Super fruity and slightly tart up front. A little chocolate as well. Aftertaste is the wine barrel and slight oak. And it's perfect. Sweet but the slight tartness protects it from being too cloying.

Mouthfeel: Medium but syrupy mouthfeel. Not sure what the abv is but no alcohol in the nose or flavor.

Overall: Just an amazing beer. So unique. One of the best I've had from Cigar City.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2014 20:55:21 | More by GameFreac
Photo of HuskyinPDX


4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle opened on 1.4.14
Bottled on 10.24/2013

A - Pours a dark brown with a fine head that bubbles down slowly.

S - Spices, cherry, figs, tart.

T - WIne, oak, cherry, dark fruits.

D - Good carbonation with a heavy body.

O - Lots of wine and oak for such a dark heavy beer. Not sure how I really feel about this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2014 05:19:05 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of dar482

New York

4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The beer comes in a dark brown color with a purple tinge.

The flavor is quite intense and intriguing. There is chocolate, sweet toffee and caramel. Dark fruit of raisins and dried figs. It has a beautiful forward red wine barrel and oak.

One of the best red wine barrel beers I’ve had.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2014 04:38:42 | More by dar482
Photo of johnnnniee

New Hampshire

3.91/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from El Catador
Pours a solid dark brown color with a huge fluffy tan head that for its size dissipates rather quickly. Aromas of brown sugar and molasses offset with a tart non descript berry as well as a bit of a vinous vibe with a hint of vanilla and oak. There is a touch of floral in there as well. At first I thought this might smell a bit lactic, but it seems more like tart berry aromas the more I sniff at it. The flavor is rich dark sugars and bits of chocolate with a huge tart fruity and vinous flavor to counter. Hints of vanilla a bit of oak and a touch of ethanol round out the flavor nicely. Medium to thick body with a light to moderate level of carbonation and a sweet sugary but tart mouthfeel. Interesting brew for sure. The floral component is extremely subtle and I wonder whether it needed to be there at all. Nice thick fruity brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2014 00:44:33 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of Alieniloquium


3.63/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the Maple Bacon release. Served in a plastic cup.

Appearance - Deep brown. Khaki collar. Not much else.

Smell - Really complex aroma. Oak and vanilla most prominent. Acidic smelling dark fruits. Red wine. Brown sugar.

Taste - A little tart. Chocolate notes. Red wine. Lots of vanilla. Dark fruits. Intense flavors. Oaky finish.

Mouthfeel - Heavy. Slightly tart. Boozy. Tough to drink.

Overall - I'm really torn here. I have a different opinion with each sip. Sometimes it's fascinating, sometimes it's harsh.

Serving type: on-tap

01-11-2014 18:34:08 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of Mikeypnh

New Hampshire

3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to GatorLCA for the bottle. Poured into a Worthy Burger tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark brown, one finger mocha head that disappears somewhat quickly.

Smell: Strong. Lots of chocolate, wine, some fruit. Smelling some oak in there, too. Expecting this one to have a lot of flavor.

Taste : Lots of dark roasted berries up front, just a tad sweet. Chocolate. Wine aftertaste. Tasting a bit nutty, raisins, figs? Follows the nose well. Not a lot of heat.

Mouthfeel. Very slick. Creamy, not too thick, but enough to make it a sipper for me.

Overall: Not what I was expecting when I traded for it. Thought this would be more sour. This is a nice beer, though. Very flavorful and everything seems to mesh well.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2013 03:31:39 | More by Mikeypnh
Photo of mverity


4.59/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle share at Proof courtesy of scotchzi. Opaque deep brown with caramel colored head. Thick collar with some swirls of the caramel head across the surface. Aroma is of red wine, dark berries (raspberry), and some yeast funk. Taste is crazy delicious. Exactly like the aroma and so much more! The red wine and deep fruit really shine! Nice medium carbonation and medium body as well. Aftertaste is of that wine/berry blend that works so well. Awesome brew!

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2013 04:58:33 | More by mverity
Photo of ThickNStout


4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750mL bottle acquired through the El Catador club. 25.00. Bottled 10/24/13. Served in a Cigar City snifter.

Pours deep brown with a finger and a half khaki head. A modest ring of bubbles remain and leaves tiny ocassional clumps of lace.

Smells of chocolate, red berries, oak and wine. Nice.

Very interesting blend of flavors. Rich chocolate, plums, berries, nutty, raisins, oaky vanilla, tawny port, wine and a healthy shot of alcohol. Serious waves of flavor.

Creamy, medium heavy feel with light carbonation. Chocolate and port finish.

A really unique and quite tasty brew. Nice interplay of fruit, wine barrel and beer. I should have bought more.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2013 04:18:32 | More by ThickNStout
Photo of StonedTrippin


3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

heck of an interesting beer right here. pouring a purple tinted brown color with a lot of cloudiness and a short tan head. I smell a lot here, especially the pinot noir barrels it was aged in. I also smell blueberries, although they aren't present, that's the fruit I get, although I am admittedly not particularly familiar with the berries in this beer. I taste a lot of chocolate in the finish, a very interesting combination with the tart fruit. its quite acidic and tannic, likely from the influence of the wine barrel, but it compliments the sweetness. darker than expected malt bill with some toasty roasty notes, but still light enough to let the fruit shine. honestly this one was a little odd for me. no doubting the quality, but the mix of flavors was just foreign and strange to me, and reduced its drinkability as a result. smooth feel though despite the acid, and an enjoyable brew overall, but not one I am in a hurry to drink again.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2013 17:49:34 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of velcrogrip


4.61/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with medium tan head. Dark but some light gets through.

Smells of red wine. Sweet.

Taste matches the smell with a tad of sourness. Lots of wine flavor.

Mouthfeel - velvety, low to medium carbonation.

Overall - nice flavor, love the wine's effect on aroma. Solid ale.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2013 20:07:40 | More by velcrogrip
Illuminating The Path from Cigar City Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 139 ratings.