Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale - Cigar City Brewing

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Cubano-Style Espresso Brown AleCubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale

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288 Reviews
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Reviews: 288
Hads: 1,214
Avg: 4.08
pDev: 9.8%
Wants: 316
Gots: 185 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing visit their website
Florida, United States

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tpd975 on 05-26-2009

This rich brown ale is redolent with Cuban-style roasted espresso beans, sweet caramel and toffee and hints of dry nuttiness. Cuban Espresso is a popular drink in the Cigar City of Tampa owing to its many Sicilian and Cuban immigrants. The beans for Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale are roasted locally by Mazzaro's Italian Market and Deli in St. Petersburg to our exact specifications.

25 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 288 | Hads: 1,214
Photo of mdvatab
1.74/5  rDev -57.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Received as an extra in a recent trade.
Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter. Bottle date is 6/14

Aroma: Surprising musky citrus fruit note right up front. A light, roasted coffee bean aroma, plus milk chocolate, is immediately overcome by a tart cherry fruitiness. I'm a bit worried. The aroma profile doesn't match up w/ what I'd expect for an espresso brown ale.

Appearance: Deep brown w/ a tinge of red. One finger light tan head falls slowly. Thin, creamy lacing washes onto inside of glass. Nothing really unusual here.

Flavor: Whoah-- definitely an infected bottle. (And the first one I've dealt with from CCB.) An astringent tartness hits me up front. It tastes like an Oud Bruin rather than a round, roasted malt/coffee flavored brew. I try to give it a few sips, but knowing the brew falls short of what was promised on the label is discouraging.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation and medium body. The tartness is astringent and drying. Again-- I don't believe this is what the brewer intended.

Overall: Definitely my first let-down from CCB. I checked other reviews for this beer, and only found one other case where the BA also had an infected bottle. Either I had extremely bad luck, or other recipients of this batch decided not to review. I'm putting this out here for informational purposes (both for the brewer, and my fellow BAs). I hope this is a rare occurrence for what is one of my favorite breweries.

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Photo of readbaron
2.07/5  rDev -49.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours out a fairly thin dark brown with 4 fingers (uh oh) of billowy tan foam.

Smell confirms what the foam hints at - vinegar and sour cherries followed by expresso and bready malt.

Taste is better than the nose, but still, infected sour expresso porter.

Mouthfeel is decent. A bit thin and over-carbinated.

Overall - another infected cigar city porter. Booo.

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Photo of phishgator
2.52/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Had this is pint glass. Big espresso nose before you even see the glass. This one is completely opaque, but not black. It is more of a dark brown with little head. The alochol is hidden in the coffee aroma and taste. A night capper of a brew because of the overpowering astingence of the coffee. Not their best offering.

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Photo of AgentZero
2.61/5  rDev -36%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - An almost ruby red beer with three fingers of white head that didn't stay for long but left sheets and chunks on the sides.

S - Lots of espresso with some sweet caramel malts and a little bit of fruit, not sure exactly what that its. Coffee really is the dominating thing here.

M - Coffee followed by a sickly sweet caramel taste that is slightly off. Really not doing it for me. The espresso is dominant, but not dominant enough to get rid of the bad taste.

M - Lower carbonation, surprisingly. Medium bodied.

O - Nothing I'd have again, unless this bottle has just turned somehow.

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Photo of BZero007
2.9/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to J2Brew2 for sending this as an extra!!

Poured a nice brown color with an amber hue a bit murky, not much head formation with this bottle. The aroma that comes off this brew is straight expresso. The flavor was a extremly expresso flavor backed by the malt from the brown ale and a bit of a sweet milky off flavor.
I did not care for the body of the brew as I felt it was to thin for the type and amount of flavor that was powering through. Would have to pass on this one in the near future.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
2.95/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Generous extra courtesy of Ben. Thanks for the opportunity for a trip to Brown Town, a side of the tracks I usually drive by with the windows up while whistling and avoiding the gun shots and dagger eyes of the nogoodnicks.

12 oz bottle into a snifter pours a muddy medium brown with heavy clumps of big bubbled suds along the edges. Orange-yellow highlights permeate the surface.

Smells of nutty espresso and burnt roast. Marshmallow and toffee sweetness round her out.

Watered down burnt toast, blackened tip marshmallow, sweetness of the brown base cut by thin bitter espresso.

Body is really watery and light with the espresso beans just sitting atop. Some creaminess or additional body would do this a world of good.

Eh, Cigar City is a personal favorite of mine and a brewery I always welcome and look forward to trying more of. This is not one of their better offerings.

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Photo of olfolxholme
2.96/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3


12 oz bottle into Deschutes tulip snifter

A - extremely dark brown, hints of ruby. light tan head. nice and fluffy with distinct beads of carbonation. ok lacing. i have to keep reminding myself this is a brown ale, closer to an english mild than a stout or a porter...

S - somewhat astringent coffee. mild hops.

T - smoother coffee flavor than the aroma. hints of chocolate, malt, some hop bitterness.

M - nice foamy carbonation, but otherwise kind of hot/astringent.

O - it gave me the impression of drinking strong, cold, unsweetened coffee - something that they might have been going for, but not necessarily what i was looking for. some of those flavors/aromas desirable in coffee came across as being a little off in this beer. i think i'd prefer this with a more pronounced chocolate malt presence. i'm trying to be fair, but this one just didn't really bowl me over. my fiancee enjoyed it, but she doesn't have an account on here, so...

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.02/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

Look: Dark brown with a lighter brown swirl throughout the beer. A massive 2 inch head and great retention with some spotty lacing and some coffee bean sediment

Smell: Very earthy kind of dirty coffee bean nose

Taste: Essentially the same as the nose just pure coffee

Mouthfeel: This is hands down the worst mouthfeel I have ever experienced in a beer. There is so much carbonation that is foams up in your mouth. This body. Just awful

Overall: I do actually like the flavors of the beer but the high amount of carbonation makes this beer undrinkable. Hey cigar city figure it out

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Photo of trappistlover
3.12/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(12oz bottle) Pours a ruby/clear red/brown color with a tan head. Nice carbonation. Aroma is bitter coffe and a bit of malt sweetness. Taste follows suit with bitterness domination. Thin bodied with an oily texture. Huge bitter finish. This beer could have used more sweetness to give it some more balance. I didn’t enjoy this one much.

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Photo of titosupertramp
3.12/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Pittsky for the opportunity to try this.

A: Pours a very dark brown with a finger or so of off-white, tan head. Leaves very little cap and lacing.

S: Boy, they're not messing around with the espresso. Hard really to pick out much else.

T: More espresso assault to start, but mutes a bit when the beer warms. After the espresso, the brown ale begins to show itself and is pretty good. A little chocolate and caramel in the background..maybe some tobaco. I have a feeling that I'd really like the taste without the espresso dominance...not terribly balanced.

M: Low carbonation, medium bodied. Nothing special really.

O: Like an espresso, this is a slow drinker that will take a while to get through. I think I would really like this beer if it were better balanced and not so dominated by the espresso.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.12/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour is ruby with a brown hue and a thin tan head. Nose is assertive clean coffee, moderate vanilla, decent roast, little malt profile, mostly adjunct. Flavor is similar but really thin and watery, slightly heavier roast, flavors are fairly enjoyable if it wasn't watered down, still mostly adjunct and very little base beer. Light bodied, soft carb, smooth feel.

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Photo of soughtbygod
3.13/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

This beer poured a murky dark brown with a tan head and lots of a head to this beer is really carbonated through the murky brown i can see bubble shooting toward the top like champagne.

smell, for me not much here trying to detect anything other than old coffee. thats all i seem to pick out

taste/ back up i have to do mouthfeel first this is way overcarbonated hurts cant pick out the flavors like drinking a sprite.

back to taste now that i am prepared: i get day old ice coffee as the flavor, almost nothing else maybe a slight tinge of vanilla

i am really surprised this beer has such a good rating not my favorite.

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Photo of steve8robin
3.15/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this in a trade for a bunch of CCB beers. 12oz bottle...

A: A deep dark red with some brownish highlights. A nice mocha colored head that fades quickly to a lace atop the brew. Decent.

S: A nice bready cocoa / vanilla upfront followed by a roasty mild coffee. Some very faint chocolate and a mild fruity scent on the back.

T: A watery roast upfront with some very mild sweet hop bite in the middle and a very faint chocolate on the back. I expected more from this one honestly.

M: Medium body with a heavy carbonation. A mild creamy finish.

O: All in all, this is not one of the better brown ales or coffee beers I have tried. There are many better. Try if you like Cigar City stuff, or light thin brown ales.

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Photo of theboozecruise
3.31/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured this one into a Delirium Tremens snifter... hey, it's what I had available!

It's a brown color, not super dark and a little translucent held to the light, but the head is formidable with insane retention. Seriously... 10 minutes and there is still over 50% of the head it started with.

The aroma starts off with a bitter roasted coffee flavor then gives way to a slight sweet malt smell. It's pretty good but not amazing.

The flavor has more of a blend of the sweet and roasted tastes... I'm not sure they come together extremely well though. In all honesty to me the flavors in this beer clash rather than compliment. Not a huge amount, but it could definitely work better together.

It's a little thin, which is surprising with such good head retention.

It's nothing special in the end... a decent beer but it just doesn't work for me well enough to be a great beer.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.33/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Pint glass.

A - Pours a dark brown with a one finger tan head that fades to a thin layer. Some slight lacing is left on the glass.

S - Lots of coffee, some chocolate and vanilla.

T - Exactly like the smell, but the coffee is more bitter.

D - Good carbonation, slightly oily.

O - Coffee is too strong and thus no balance.

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Photo of SteveB24
3.33/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Look-color is a deep,clear ruby,basically no head to speak of save for a very thin ring of lacing, was excepting more considering the low ABV.
Smell-definietely the beer's best attribute IMO. Strong notes of coffee, some chocolate, a hint of vanilla.
Taste-all the tastes are very subdued, a little bit of coffee, vague, bread malt character, slightest bit of chocolate in the end. Didn't detect any vanilla.
Feel-very thin and light body, almost watery. very fizzy dispute the lack of visible carbonation.
Overall-i must say i was seriously disappointed with this, it wasn't a bad beer per se but for a beer that advertised itself as containing vanilla,cocoa and coffee i was excepting much more depth pf flavor, and i felt the feel and look to be quite underwhelming as well. sigh. CCB can't be perfect every time.

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Photo of brian44556
3.35/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Stone Tulip.

Pours a dark coffee brown with a small brown head that vanishes pretty quick. Decent lacing coats the sides of the glass, but doesn't stick. Smell is of strong coffee beans and that is about it. Taste is rather good if you like coffee style beers. Strong notes of coffee, but not to overpowering. Mouthful is too thin and almost no carbonation is present. Overall this beer is decent. Glad I had a chance to try it, but this isn't something I would seek out in the future.

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Photo of Mako82
3.38/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter glass from a bottle

A - Very dark brown in color that is clear. Poured a fizzy tan head that quickly dissolved
S - Pungent smell hits me right off the bat, but quickly turns into a nice smell of coffee beans. Picking up smells of barley.
T - Upon first taste, picking up a roasted barley and bean taste. After that initial taste, picking up the coffee/espresso taste that stays with you throughout the aftertaste. Slightly bitter aftertaste, but not overpowering.
M - Medium carbonation and body.
O - I think it would be a good beer if you enjoy brown ales. Personally not a big fan of brown ales, which maybe hindering my review a bit.

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Photo of Buddha22
3.38/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A light brown, almost ruby color. Not a lot of head formation.

S: The smell is definitely coffee flavored and roasty. However there is definitely an off scent that smells like old milk, which is not very pleasant.

T: Taste is espresso flavored for sure, with that same kind of off flavor that I get from the nose. Maybe its just to coffee flavored for me or the espresso might put me off, but other than that it is a decent brown ale.

Overall: The beer is drinkable, but not sure if I would try and get my hands on it again.

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Photo of davey101
3.41/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dated May 10, 11...sooo, not fresh at all being almost exactly two years old. Pours a dark brown body that lets some light through. Huge mocha foam head forms instantly over flowing the glass, cools down into one fingers worth. The smell is surprisingly still coffee heavy. Cold pressed espresso with some metallic notes. The taste is much better with faded espresso beans and some lightly roasted malts. A bitter coffee bean aftertaste. Somewhat creamy mouth feel. I hate reviewing a coffee beer with two years on it, but its not as terrible as I thought it would be. The coffee is still hanging on.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.41/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The flavor of strong coffee beans abound in this medium bodied brown ale. The coffee-rich balance is backed by medium malt flavor, medium body, and low hop bitterness for a lush java taste. A dream beer for coffee lovers.

Cubano Espresso pours with a medium density, dark brown color, and a medium haze. A dense tannish foam blankets the surface with an appearance of true espresso creme. Small islands of lace appear on the glass in somewhat sticky fashion.

Strong aromas of whole and fresh coffee beans fill the nose and with a background aromas of deeply caramelized malts, walnuts, bold roast, heavy toast, cocoa, and walnuts help to round out the nose. A moderate coffee-like sourness occurs late, similar to scorched coffee or overused coffee grounds.

The immense coffee onslaught continues in taste. all the coffee char, roast, toast, nuts, cocoa, and burnt caramels come through in taste just as they did aromas. Albeit with the coffee bitterness and a light sour taste. Coffee character is high to the point where the more beery aspects are hardly noticed.

Medium bodied, the weight and viscocity of the beer seems light compared to the intensity of flavor, leaving me want more heaft and creaminess especially to start. The mid palate brings in slightly watery feel and almost timid transition to finish. Bitter and with moderate astringency, the finish is semi-dry with a linger of coffee and burnt caramel.

Maybe its because I'm used to tasting the infussion of coffee into more hearty malted beers, but the balance on this beer is too one-dimentional towards the coffee. Though I like the coffee taste, I also like the rebuttal of the base beer to make more of an impression. Astringency and bitter of coffee seems to rise because of the light malt flavor and feel.

Thanks again BlueOkie!

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Photo of jkaiser150
3.43/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

had this after a long day with the kids.
a: dark coffee, brown head and lacing lite
s: smell was fleeting, coffee smell
t: of cookies and and cold coffee
m: lite bodied, much liter than a normal brown ale by ccb
d: very.

I would have this again, but made sure I didn't drive anywhere. I instantly passed out after having this, two kids screaming in the background too,

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Photo of mikereaser
3.43/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

#6 from johnbjaeger

Poured into a pint glass

A - Pours a nice dark chestnut brown with 2 inches of off white foam that slowly faded leaving a nice ring of lacing around the glass

S - I'm picking up caramel malts, some cinnamon, slight hint at some citrus along with some sort of coffee aroma, though faint. It has a nice sweet smell to it that I just keep going back to again and again.

T - Caramel, toffee and maybe cream with a burnt finish that has a bit of a smokiness to it. After my last review, maybe the burnt flavor i'm picking up is actually coffee again. If it is, its not the way I like my coffee beers, the same as I like my cream and sugar with a bit of coffee.

M - light-medium bodied with decent carbonation, it sort of becomes creamy in your mouth after you take your initial taste.

D - not bad, nothing that is making me come back for more though.

Overall I like the flavor and feel, but its not one that I would seek out regularly.

The reveal shows me its a Cigar City Cubano-Style Espresso Brown
I haven't had alot of their stuff, so its nice to try something new.
johnbjaeger is hitting a homerun with this box. And after being at the Phillies game for 10 innings, then driving home because my 4 year old was tired, then watching the last 5 of the 19 innings until 1:20am, I feel I get to use a baseball reference.
I hope I get to see round 19 of this BIF. Its just too damn fun.


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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a medium brown color ale with a large light brown foamy head with average retention and not much lacing. Aroma of strong dry coffee notes with some roasted notes and floral coffee notes. Taste is also dominated by strong dry coffee notes with some floral undertones and lots of roasted notes. Body is light with good carbonation. Interesting but closer to drinking a cup of coffee than a beer.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can from MeadMe, thanks for the opportunity!
Pours a deep ruby brown with minimal quickly disappearing head. Huge freshly ground coffee aromas dominate. Honestly thats all I can find in the aroma. Big coffee flavors with bits of caramel vanilla ans chocolate. Again huge coffee flavors dominate. Great beer flavored iced coffee.

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Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale from Cigar City Brewing
91 out of 100 based on 288 ratings.