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Sugar Plum Brown Ale - Cigar City Brewing

Sugar Plum Brown AleSugar Plum Brown Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

229 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 229
Reviews: 59
rAvg: 3.47
pDev: 16.43%

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

Style | ABV
Herbed / Spiced Beer |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Cigar City Brewing's official celebration of Christmas. A rich-bodied brown ale forms the stage for holiday flavors which dance a festive ballet highlighted by pirouetting leaps of Christmas inspired spices. Cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, rose hips and chamomile compliment the subtle chocolate and light coffee notes of the malt and the addition of roasted carob and chicory complete the performance. Brewed once a year to celebrate the Christmas season. Pair with fresh cracked nuts, fruit cake and share with friends and family. Merry Christmas from the CCB family!

22 IBU

(Beer added by: tpd975 on 01-03-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 229 | Reviews: 59 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Kiefdog


4.5/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of JRedner. Pours a milk chocolate color with a thin off white head. Aroma is malt, spice, some chocolate. Flavor is much of the same with some rip fruit and cinnamon notes. Medium to full body with a lingering malty finish. Nice ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2009 23:04:47 | More by Kiefdog
Photo of shand


4.47/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 24oz bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

Pours a ruddy brown color with two fingers of head that drops down to a centimeter of head clinging to the side. Nice lacing. Aroma smells like Christmas! There's a decent amount of sweetness and tons of spices. It actually reminds me a decent amount of their Oatmeal Raisin Cookie. The taste is that of an expertly spiced ale. This one goes down absolutely perfectly with a huge bouquet of spices, with plenty of caramel malts to balance out the equation. The cinnamon stands out the most to me, especially on the finish, where the slight cinnamon heat rides with the drying mouthfeel. Very well done.

The mouthfeel is on the thinner side of medium bodied and just a little bit prickly. This one drinks easily, especially considering the slog some spiced brews can be. Harpoon Winter Warmer take note: THIS is how you do a heavily spiced winter seasonal. I was a bit apprehensive going into this one, but it turns out this is a very enjoyable brew. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2011 06:41:56 | More by shand
Photo of ryanonline


4.43/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light brown and clear with a thick and foamy off white head. Lots of lacing.

Smells like Christmas!!! Nutmeg and sugar and plum and cinnamon.

Tastes fruity and spicey, nice hop flavor too.

Mouthfeel is dry, creamy and a bit spritzy.

Drinkability is relatively good for such a complex beer.

Awesome, Christmas in a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 04:20:04 | More by ryanonline
Photo of PorterLambic


4.33/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Arrives a rich dark brown with only a hint of light penetration. Dark tan head dropped fairly quickly to a solid film. A ton of lace, though.
Smell is spicy and swert with notes of nuts, roasted malt, nutmeg, turbinado sugar and cinnamon. Good balance.
Taste is malt and spices first with a well-balanced hop presence following. I expected a straight Maduro with spices but got something different. Well done. As it warms a more juniper -like hop note comes through. Very nice with the roasted malts.
Creamy to start with a cleaner than expected finish. Somewhat drying as well. Medium-bodied with a solid effervescence. I could drink this seasonal brew all year round. The spices are well-restrained in the mouth. Slight coating on the palate.

Serving type: on-tap

11-12-2011 21:48:28 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of cbutova


4.1/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my cousin down in Tampa for getting me this. Shared 3 ways last night, reviewed from notes.

A- Dark red-brown with a big and creamy light tan head. Good frothy texture and nice retention. Spotty thick lace.

S- Tis the season to be jolly, reminds me of everything Christmas. Nutty toasted brown ale malt with a nice spicy dessert profile. Cinnamon, ginger, caramel and dark fruit.

T- Again, like a spiced fruit cake brown ale. Sweet brown sugar, toasted nutty caramel malt profile. Dark sweet fruits, caradamom, ginger and cinnamon. Raisin hint as well.

MF- Foamy body with a semi-thick feel. Some spice bitterness and warmth in the finish.

Really not a huge fan of spices in beer for the most part but this ends up tasting like a nice spiced cake when all is said and done.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2011 15:44:54 | More by cbutova
Photo of tpd975


4.08/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a chestnut brown hue with tones of purple showing thru. The head is thick, dense, and creamy with good retention.

S: Nice roasted malt aroma with a huge blast of spice. Tons of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Allspice. Light notes of dark fruit lay beneath.

T: Wow I expected the spice to be huge here but it is not. The base beer is a solid one and it has not been destroyed by the spice. Nice roasted malt can be picked up right away with hints of caramel and toffee. Dark fruit comes next with hints of plum. The spice is there, but in such a understated way. It is light and just kind of hangs out in the background. Very tasty, and sessionable.

M: Medium in body, with good carbonation.

D: I could drink several. I have the feeling Cigar City will be known for the big beers they make, but this is one of the examples of a wonderful sessionable brew that they will bring to market.

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2009 16:00:45 | More by tpd975
Photo of Chico1985


4.05/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Cam and Sonny for providing this really interesting beer.

Pours dark brownish-amber, slight haze to it. Beige bubbly head retains fine.

It smells like Christmas, straight up. Big spice, pine needles, mistletoe?

Huge spice in this one but it works very well. Nutmeg, cinnamon, slight potpourri, fruitcake, nutty malts, caramel. Pulls off a holiday feel really excellently without the spices being a bother.

Mouthfeel is overall fine, but felt a little thin.

The 'brown ale' part is pretty much lost, but this is probably one of the most standout winter beers I've had. It epitomizes a holiday spice feel.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2011 16:05:04 | More by Chico1985
Photo of adam42381


4.03/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes at World of Beer - Fort Myers on 11/9/11.

Poured on draft into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark woody brown with a 1 finger creamy light tan head. Excellent lacing.

Smell: Sweet winter spices with ginger dominating. Cinnamon and nutmeg also come through nicely.

Taste: Spices dominate up front followed by typical malty brown ale flavors in the middle before ending with freshly chewed grass, a touch of hops and a bit of fruitiness at the finish. Aftertaste is mildly bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: High drinkability. You could easily have a few of these over the course of an evening.

Overall: Very good beer overall. Another fine offering from Cigar City. Definitely worth trying if you find it on draft.

Serving type: on-tap

02-08-2012 16:03:21 | More by adam42381
Photo of babaracas


4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy dark garnet color with two fingers of dense cream colored foam. Settles to a thin ring leaving a few lines of lace on the glass. Smell: spice bouquet for reals - ground ginger and cinnamon and some floral notes. Base is toast, almond, with caramel and dark fruit notes. Taste: black plum and brown sugar are buried under orange, ginger, and powdery cinnamon. Toasted nutty finish. Creamy feel but with maybe a little too aggressive carbonation for a laid back holiday beer. Nuts and spices work together, yep. Bottled Nov 14 2011.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2012 06:59:40 | More by babaracas
Photo of Rifugium


4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Coffee District, Delray Beach, FL

Hazy chestnut brown pour with reddish-purple hues, topped with a small but dense cap of foamy white head that receded to a thick ringlet and left nice lacing on the glass. Aroma is malty and nutty, full of ripe fruit and light spice. Taste of fresh fruitcake, candied plums and apricots, sweet bready malts, cinnamon and nutmeg. Lots of sweet elements, yet overall the beer was not cloying or sickeningly sweet; there was a good balance. Smooth mouthfeel, medium body, but fuller--and much tastier--than your average brown ale. Liked this one a lot, and picked up a bottle to take home.

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2013 01:32:28 | More by Rifugium
Photo of cjgator3


3.98/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle

A- Poured into a Cigar City tulip glass. Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head with great lacing and retention.

S- The aroma is malty with chocolate and filled with holiday spices. Smells great!

T- The taste starts out dry and malty with some sweetness lingering in along with spices and some hops in the finish. 

M- The mouthfeel is light to medium bodies with a good amount of carbonation.

O- Overall, Sugar Plum is a solid holiday ale that I really enjoyed. 

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2011 04:37:54 | More by cjgator3
Photo of Chaney

District of Columbia

3.9/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Whoa.... I'm really taken aback by all the negative reviews on this one. That wasn't my experience at all.

I had this on tap over at a Whole Foods in Orlando right off International Drive.

NOTE: BA says that this is 6%, but the menu said 5.8%. Okay, I really feel like a dork now.

A: Poured a murky brown with some purplish highlights as well. It had maybe a finger or so beige head that stained the glass on the way down.

S: Cinnamon stick, molasses, brown sugar, ginger, and dark fruit. Not too potent, but just right.

T: The cinnamon complemented and added to the enjoyment of the brown sugar elements. It was almost as if the cinnamon was just riding on top of the other ingredients. Overall, I would definitely put this in the "spice bomb" category, but it was surprisingly very disciplined in its lack of sugary sweetness. Nice!

M: This was pretty creamy, medium-bodied, and with a nice carbonation bill and ridiculous lacing. Surprisingly drinkable.

O: I looked at the menu and read the words "Sugar Plum" and though to myself, "Oh boy... here comes a sticky, cloying dessert." I'm happy I was wrong.

Serving type: on-tap

01-18-2012 19:28:42 | More by Chaney
Photo of beergod1


3.9/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a mostly brown amber with an average sized tan head. The nose is mild, notes of cinnamon and ginger with some more subtle dark fruit under tones. Smooth mouth feel with a medium body and some carbonation. Flavor is spicy with loads more cinnamon and ginger notes some lesser chocolate notes are present as is the mellow nutty malt back bone. Some dryness on the finish with an aftertaste I can't put my finger on. But a Great holiday brew. I like the Warmer Winter A little better, but this is a good one.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2012 18:57:03 | More by beergod1
Photo of kylehay2004


3.9/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: thin head dissipates rapidly on a clear deep amber/marroon body.

S: brown sugar, toasted malts, almost has a wet sock hop not with makes this one smell like moldy clothing though.

T: brown sugar, caramel malts, toasted malts up front finishing with toasted coconut, dark fruit and spices

M: medium body and moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: Very easy to drink, full of flavor. fairly complex, definitly better than your average brown ale.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2012 01:50:49 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of AdamBear


3.8/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-dark brown, almost black with a reddish tint. thin light tan head

S-creamy plums with a hint of holiday spices. medium to faint scent.

T-comes in with dark peppercorn spices. very grainy as well. reminds me of a good rye beer. matching after-taste. tastes are solid and great. maybe some plum in the after-taste, but not much

M-creamy medium carbonation with a dry finish

O-very unique beer. not what i expected. more of a spiced beer than a fruit beer. the 750mL will go down, but I won't be tempted to buy this again.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2011 03:14:24 | More by AdamBear
Photo of ThePorterSorter


3.8/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sending this one doctorb2b... It pours a deep, dark red with a thin foam head. The beer smells like winter spices. Tasting the beer is no different from the smell, there is incredible winter spices that mix with a sweet brown ale body. This is definitely a cookie in a bottle and it doesis nice job with balance. This beer is quite seasonal and tasty, but just too damn hard to get ahold of!

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2012 04:41:48 | More by ThePorterSorter
Photo of Gtreid


3.78/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml. poured into a tulip.

A: Light, murky, purplish brown color. A nice foamy cap faded quickly to a thin rim, no lace.

A: I get the base brown, with the chocoalte and slightly smoky notes. Sweet notes, which I can only assume is the sugar plum. And I don't get much of the spice in the nose.

T: I think it is a bit better here. I get the spice, although not as much as I was expecting. I like the contrast between the sweet plum and the base brew. It finishes a bit more bitter than what I would like. All in all, not too bad.

M: Just like all the other Maduro's, medium body, perfect carbonation.

O: I like it a bit better than most who have reviewed it, but it is way down the list of the Maduro treatments. It is interesting, and I will have no problem finishing the 750. Cheers.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2011 23:02:13 | More by Gtreid
Photo of socon67

New York

3.78/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared for Mother's Day.

A - Brown pour with visible sediment in the glass. Some carbonation. A thin foam goes away quickly.

S - Smells of spice and fresh fruit. Some cinnamon and ginger jumped out to me.

T - Good blend of flavor that has substance. Spciy up front, then a concentrated sweetness of sugary fruit. Finish has a bit of tartness that seems to come from the yeasty sediment.

M - Good rinkability for a spicy\sweet beer. I easily had a second glass.

O - Perfect cocktail beer, which is what I did. Meant to be shared. A good novelty from CCB.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2012 00:41:23 | More by socon67
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.78/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Toasty and spicy, very smooth drinker with herbal tea, Ginger, Cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar. Brown head on brown body. Cookie. Filling, soothing after more bitter beers.
Ginger and spice in aroma. A cigar puff in the finish Xmasy brown ale, obtained through a mail order.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2012 03:45:53 | More by Sammy
Photo of nmbr0ne


3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from tap into pint glass at The House of Brews in Jensen Beach, FL.

Appearance: Dark brown color with the slightest hue of purple. Thick head with good retention and lacing.

Smell: Kind of funky. Made me think of a saison but it may just be a smell that resembles plums.

Taste: Good mount of spices, but no real plum flavor. I can detect some cinnamon maybe, but not pronounced enough to judge without a reasonable doubt.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body with decent carbonation.

Overall: Not my favorite brown ale, but good for what it has become. I wish the smell was better than it is and wish the taste of spices were translated better into the beer. Leaves more to be desired.

Serving type: on-tap

11-04-2011 03:07:43 | More by nmbr0ne
Photo of HamFon


3.75/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Hazy copper with a large fluffy beige head that produces lacing.

S: Lots of holiday spicing notes - cinnamon, cardamom, ginger. Also coffee and chocolate. Late floral notes.

T: Holiday spicing comes through - cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and lots of caramel with coffee and chocolate. Woody chicory.

M: Medium full body with light astringency - possibly from the chicory.

O: A nice holiday beer with lots of spiced flavors going on. Not quite balanced, could use more of a malt backbone.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2012 15:28:20 | More by HamFon
Photo of JayS2629


3.73/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a purple/brown color with thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves thin rings.

The aroma explains the name of the beer. Dark fruit notes of over ripe plum with spices and toffee. Hints of roasted coffee and floral notes peek through.

The flavor is malty sweet with tons of caramel and toffee, candied fruit, definite plum notes and a chocolate base with hints of roasty coffee. Toast-like edges with floral hints and black pepper in finish.

Nicely balanced, medium bodied, ok carbonation

Overall, a nice holiday sipper. One and done. A bit too cloying and spicy.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2011 19:52:41 | More by JayS2629
Photo of JizackFH

New York

3.73/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - This beer pours a dark brown color. It is slightly hazy and has some ruby hues when held to the light. There is a little more than a finger of light tan head on top. the head has pretty good retention, and it leaves some scattered specs of lace behind on the glass.

S - The nose has some roasted malts and some spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and brown sugar. There are aromas of dark fruits like plum and fig. A subtle hop aroma comes through as well.

T - The taste starts off with some roasted malt and a nice spice bill. I am getting ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and some chamomile. Although a little outweighed by the spices, there are some nice dark fruit flavors like plug, fig, and red grapes. Also, I am getting a mild hop presence as well. The finish leaves some lingering ginger, cinnamon, and hop bitterness behind on the palate. I wish the dark fruit flavors stood out a little more.

M - This has a medium body and good carbonation. It goes down easy and has a smooth feel to it. There is some initial sweetness, and some tingling from the spice notes. There is also some hoppy bitterness mostly in the finish.

O - This has good drinkability. I could easily have a few go these in an evening. Overall, I think it is a really nice and interesting beer. The only thing is, I wish the dark fruit flavors made more of an impact in the flavor. I would love a bigger plum presence like I was expecting. I definitely enjoyed this one though, and I think it is worth trying out.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2012 13:07:28 | More by JizackFH
Photo of chinchill

South Carolina

3.71/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 12 oz. bottle served in a goblet.
Pours a dark and hazy brown with a small tan head that soon reduces to a durable ring.

The interesting, unusual and distinctive aroma is spicy and sweet. Hard to pick individual spices out of this complex mix, but cardamon and cinnamon seem clear. Solid roasted malt base with notes of figs and other dark fruits.

T: Holiday spices start to finish, but not to the degree suggested by the aroma, thankfully. Roasted malts are still evident, and lend some chocolate and faint coffee to the finish and aftertaste. Hints of ginger, caramel, toffee, chamomile, plum, dried plum, figs.

M: Medium in body, with good carbonation.
O: A rich and tasty holiday brown ale with a distinctive pallet of spices. Has great complexity and flavor dynamics. A bit sweet and approaches over-spiced, but then this is a winter holiday ale. Worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2013 23:48:46 | More by chinchill
Photo of hdelavega


3.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice dark brown with a thin white head. Good lacing.
Nose is sweet malt with a bit of sweet fruit in the back.
Sweet flavor, mimics the aroma. Realy nice. More plum coming thru as it warms up.
Mouthfeel presents a medium body with medium carbonation, realy nice.
Realy nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2011 00:23:58 | More by hdelavega
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Sugar Plum Brown Ale from Cigar City Brewing
79 out of 100 based on 229 ratings.