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Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale - Cigar City Brewing

Cubano-Style Espresso Brown AleCubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

709 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 709
Reviews: 252
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.51%

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:
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 added by: tpd975 on 05-26-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 709 | Reviews: 252 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Zraly


4.28/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark chestnut brown in my newly acquired CCB snifter. Yeah – not necessarily the right glassware but it functions. And the two finger crema-like head does look lovely. 32 oz. growler from CCB's tasting room.

Wonderful note of dark roasted coffee and earth. Silky and smooth with minimal sweetness. Char-smoke, chocolate, and a hint of vanilla comprise the flavor profile. Devilishly dry finish and the bitterness blends seamlessly with the smokey-chocolate note. Extremely drinkable because it actually light to medium bodied but has the flavor profile of a much fuller ale.

Would go great with cheesecake or a wicked compliment to tiramisu. For a main entrée, smokey BBQ baby back ribs would be an interesting pairing.

The best brown ale I've had in a while. And it may well be the best American Brown I’ve ever had.

Serving type: growler

08-18-2011 01:38:02 | More by Zraly
Photo of jackie7787


4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler into a Cigar City snifter. Shared the growler with the bf.

A- Pours a dark maple brown color with a light head that dissipates quickly

S - ESPRESSO. i know... unexpected. But really, it smells very strongly of espresso, with maybe a slight hint of chocolate.

T- Once again, espresso. Tastes just like it smells with a bitter espresso finish. Got some slight hints of chocolate once it was at just the right temperature.

M - This beer is very light and smooth. Just the right amount of carbonation.

D- This beer was very drinkable. In fact, I drank half the growler. I'd drink it again too if it wasn't so difficult to get in New York!

Serving type: growler

03-07-2011 02:38:21 | More by jackie7787
Photo of PorterLambic


3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very rich-looking dark brown color. A full-sized dark tan head drops to a very thick film and leaves good lace behind.
Smell is malt, wet cardboard, hops and very light dark chocolate and smoke.
Taste is roasted malt, dark chocolate, light hops and coffee present as well. Good balance.
Slightly warming, fairly full-bodied, very light effervescence. Very good. A decent coffee note without being overwhelming (and I don't like coffee at all).

Serving type: growler

01-03-2011 05:20:07 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of atsprings

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to rtratzlaff for bringing this one my way. 32oz growler into a Hopus tulip pours a deep dark brown with a nice frothy off white head that diminishes to a thin layer and leaves nice lacing on the glass. Aroma is loads of fresh ground espresso in front of brown malts and burnt caramel. The taste is a more subtle balance of fresh coffee and dark malts with a nice lingering bitter coffee finish. The beer is light and crisp with smooth carbonation and an interesting kick from the coffee. This is a very unique and enjoyable beer, I want more!

Serving type: growler

10-18-2010 23:55:27 | More by atsprings
Photo of Lukafer


4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Had at the Indy Dark Lord Vertical/Big Stout taste-off, thanks again!

Pours a medium brown, thin with no carb., probably due to the fact that it was from a growler. Smells like freshly ground coffee beans, like I had a cold cup of the strongest espresso I've ever had. Tastes like coffee, really fresh cold-pressed coffee, right on. Mouthfeel is kind of thin, but it's suppose to be like coffee, right? Drinkability is very good for a coffee beer, very true to the style..

Serving type: growler

09-04-2010 05:04:23 | More by Lukafer
Photo of ToasterChef


4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from my notes. Sampled from a fresh growler I split with BlessedBeBeer. This beer is mostly opaque brown, but it appears translucent at the bottom of the glass (I'm drinking this out a Maine Beer Co. flute). It has a tan soapy head. As I consume the beer, it leaves behind some good lacework and film. It has a huge coffee aroma, almost as if someone dumped some coffee into the growler before sealing it. All kinds of roasted malts will greet your nose when you take the aroma in. I can taste a bit of sweetness up front; it reminds me of granular sugar (maybe because that is what I would put in coffee to sweeten it up). The coffee flavors come in at the finish and last a long time. There is a lot of coffee bitterness. In effect, it's like drinking an alcoholic cup of coffee. It has a lighter body and low carbonation. There is almost no coating left behind in terms of texture, but there is a lot of flavor that remains in my mouth after I swallow. This is a pretty drinkable beer, but there is a lot of coffee flavor, probably more than in any other beer I've tried. The 32oz growler that Cigar City offers is perfect for this beer. Any more of it and you'll want some friends to share with.

Serving type: growler

08-12-2010 13:53:22 | More by ToasterChef
Photo of aepb1


3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark brown with a light tannish head

S- Coffee, very strong coffee nose, so much so, not much else can work its way through really.

T- Coffee again! this time some creaminess comes through, milky-like

M- Medium bodied and certainly creamy. Low carbonation, nice and easy

D- If I wanted beer and coffee, this is it. There's nothing offensive and it's an interesting take on a brown ale

Serving type: growler

08-09-2010 23:56:20 | More by aepb1
Photo of MasterSki


4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

32oz growler courtesy of ktrillionaire - thanks dude! Served in a FoBAB pint taster glass.

A - Pours with a finger-plus of ecru foam that dissipates to a thin collar and some light film. Dark brown that's lighter at the fringes. Not much in the way of lacing.

S - Espresso! Some cocoa, brown sugar, and cookies too. You can tell the beans in use is pretty high in quality. The roasty bite from the espresso helps offset the sweet base beer (unlike Zhukov, where bitterness is multiplied by bitterness).

T - Taste again has lots of espresso flavor, with some nuts and milk chocolate as well. I'm pretty sure there isn't lactose sugar in this, yet I'm somehow convinced that this "coffee" has cream & sugar added to it.

M - Soft, low carbonation. Medium body that is slightly milky in character. Simultaneously sticky and roasty finish.

D - This was pretty enjoyable. A couple of us finished off the growler pretty quickly. The low ABV helps here, even though the beer is pretty flavorful. Biggest point of comparison is Coffee Bender, but I think I might like the Surly offering a touch more.

Serving type: growler

07-31-2010 02:59:56 | More by MasterSki
Photo of CaptinRedBeard


4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to urwithdave for hooking me up with a growler of this. Poured from the growler into a Cigar City snifter.

A: Pours a nice amber hued dark brown color with about a finger of a light tan foam head. The head stays around for a while accompanied by some moderate lacing.

S: smells like some fresh brewed coffee in the morning. Subtle hints of vanilla and chocolate bring up the tail end of the aroma.

T: More coffee, lots of coffee. Sweet but with just a touch of bitterness in the finish. Again here some vanilla and just a touch of chocolate interplay with the coffee. There is a bit of roasted malt in there as well but the coffee is clearly the star here.

M: a perfect level of carbonation paired with a nice medium body make this one real smooth on the palate.

D: At 5.50% this might not qualify as a "session" beer but it sure is drinkable. This growler will be empty in no time flat. I could drink this with a nice breakfast, or anytime really. It's great that this is gonna be on full time at Cigar City. Now if they would only bottle it as well. This is absoutely one of my favorite beers.

Serving type: growler

07-04-2010 12:26:55 | More by CaptinRedBeard
Photo of RomaniIteDomum


4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not sure how different this is from the other version, but this was the description at the brewery today. I'd chalk up the discrepancy between this and my score for the other one as a newbie overrate.

Pours deep black with some mahogany highlights. Nice tan head.

Smells of straight up espresso. I happen to love cuban espresso, so this is quite a treat.

Taste follows the nosw with a little more cream. The finish is sweet with hints of figs. All bitterness seems to come from the coffee.

The feel is light by CCB standards, yet still a bit creamy.

Drinkability is quite high. If you like espresso.

Serving type: growler

06-25-2010 22:41:28 | More by RomaniIteDomum
Photo of Drazzamatazz


3.65/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had a taste of this when I was at the brewery, figured I might as well grab a growler.

A: Dark brown changes to an amber red in the light, very thin and quickly fading head.

S: Ground breakfast roast coffee, cocoa powder, brown sugar, creme brulee. Lots of complexity, really smells great.

T: Cocoa powder, slight cider taste, caramel, weak coffee. Mild bitterness, like burnt cookies. Leaves more of a coffee aftertaste than flavor.

M: Medium carbonation with a thin body. Very typical brown ale; oats didn't add much body.

D: Quite good if you are in it for the nose. Flavor is subdued enough to make it an easy drinker, fairly low unnoticeable ABV, but an aroma that makes you want to have enough drink. Interesting to say the least, but a little thin in the flavor department.

Serving type: growler

05-01-2010 02:08:57 | More by Drazzamatazz
Photo of vacax


4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared courtesy of Andrew. Pours a rusty copper color with a brown-tan head, not too big but nice retention on it. Smells of espresso, vanilla, chocolate malt, roasted malt, and cream. Tastes of cocoa, coffee beans, vanilla, toasted marshmallows, and toasty malts. Medium to lighter in body but the carbonation matches it, low and mellow, enhancing the complex but mild flavors. As such, this is a very easy drinker and I would have been inclined to drink a pint of this if it were readily available. I have had more than a few varieties of Maduro Brown but this one is superior to the rest.

Serving type: growler

04-07-2010 03:38:28 | More by vacax
Photo of mullenite


3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Glassware - Shaker Pint

Appearance - Interesting mahogany brown color with about a 1/4″ of cream colored head sitting on top. Spotted lacing on the glass on the glass all the way to the bottom..

Nose and Taste - Smell and taste are straight up Cuban coffee, lots of medium roasted coffee and some creamy sweetness. It isn't the typical dark/French/Vienna roast coffee flavor but a much more mild city roast. My half Cuban wife said it tastes like carbonated Cuban Coffee to give you an idea.

Mouthfeel - Like the Vanilla Maduro I find this one a bit thin in body and slightly overcarbonated. I really wish it were thicker.

Overall - Pretty drinkable, being so thin it does go down easy but I would rather drink less and have the beer be a bit thicker in mouthfeel.

Serving type: growler

04-05-2010 03:11:14 | More by mullenite
Photo of glid02


4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared by Quinlan - thanks!

Pours a deep chestnut brown color with a thin off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of robust and smooth coffee with mild roasted and chocolate malt undertones. Also present are very slight amounts of tobacco - one of the reasons I like this base beer so much.

Tastes similar to how it smells, although not quite as intense. Lightly roasted malt flavors kick things off and are sweetened a bit by good amounts of toasted malt and dark chocolate flavors. Midway through the sip huge hits of coffee come into play and carry through to a solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall this is another tasty iteration of the Maduro series - well worth a shot and I look forward to trying others.

Serving type: growler

03-08-2010 21:34:43 | More by glid02
Photo of beerwolf77


3.73/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to my buddy for bringing a growler of this back from his trip to Florida.

Poured into my pint glass the beer is deep blood red with brown highlights. About a half finger of light tan head. A tiny bit of soapy lace is left around the glass.

The aroma has a big blast of coffee up front. After geting past the coffee there's a nice mix of caramel malt, chocolate, hints of dark fruit and defininite booze kick.

The flavor is roast malt and light chocolate. The coffee really comes through in the finish. After each sip the coffee just sort of lingers forever.

Medium to light body light carbonation.

Overall a very sessionable brown. I could easily throw back a few pints of this stuff.

Serving type: growler

02-27-2010 21:46:23 | More by beerwolf77
Photo of ktrillionaire


4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A – Crude black, with a deep brown shine to it, and almost no head. It does, however, leave cappuccino rings of lace on the glass.

S – Espresso, fresh brewed, Cuban-style; strong smelling, super roasted espresso. There are other elements underlying, such as Maduro tobacco mustiness and a general oat impression, but they are quite muted by comparison.

T – This tastes almost like a coffee soda, as the espresso is so heavy that the beer takes a backseat, in flavor terms, and yet that is not a bad thing; this brew is so unusual, rich, and well-executed, that the heavy-handedness is sublime. Cigar City has shown such an amazing ability to produce unique, locally-influenced beers (e.g. Tampa is an old school cigar and coffee town) that I feel blessed to live nearby. This treat disappeared quickly in my house; the gallon growler I brought home didn’t make it through the night.

M – This is NOT a coffee stout. This is brown-espresso ale. It is medium-bodied; though pungently flavorful, it drinks very velvety smooth.

D – Unless you hate coffee, or are caffeine sensitive, this is way drinkable.

Serving type: growler

02-15-2010 00:40:13 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of womencantsail


4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Greg for the growler of this. I've been wanting to try this one for quite some time. Shared yesterday at the Bruery tasting room.

A: The pour is a dark mahogany color with very little in the way of head; perhaps a thin ring of off-white foam around the glass.

S: The nose is full of rich coffee with a slight sweet creaminess that made it seem like a cream stout, almost. The roasted malt comes through as well and enhances the coffee notes.

T: I'm glad to say the flavor of this one follows the nose. Wonderful roasted malt and coffee flavors with the same sweet cream flavor that has a hint of vanilla to it.

M: The body is medium with a lower level of carbonation which provides a smooth mouthfeel.

D: This is easily the best beer from CCB that I've had. Great coffee flavors to go along with the sweetness. I'm very glad to have tried this one.

Serving type: growler

02-14-2010 01:54:00 | More by womencantsail
Photo of indiapaleale


4.47/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour - looks like any other well brewed brown ale. Nice looking head that sticks within the walls of the glass. Nothing to get excited about yet...

Aroma - strong smell of very, very good coffee, cocoa, chicory, dark sweet malt, brown sugar, caramel and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.

Taste - damn that is good! A mouthful of coffee, cocoa powder and some vanilla flavor as well. For a brown ale of this strength this beer has the feel of something much stronger. I say that because the flavor just seems to engulf my mouth and feels like multiple layers on my tongue. Its almost creamy in texture and has a complexity not found in a lot of beers this style or ABV. I am left with a dry mouth and tongue with the aftermath of coffee taste and dark chocolate bombardment. Very, very tasty.

Overall - Flavor, flavor, flavor. I love how everything comes together so well in this rather unassuming brown ale. Once again the folks at Cigar City have impressed.

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely, this is some great stuff.

Serving type: growler

02-08-2010 01:42:58 | More by indiapaleale
Photo of mcallister


3.73/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Deep copper with reddish hues and a small tan head. Very clean and crisp looking.

Great smelling beer. Lucious sweet malts with a distinct espresso aroma with cream, hazlenut, brown sugar, milk cocolate, toffee, and more delicious espresso.

A little light in body and mouthfeel, lacking depth of complexity however extremely quaffable. Sweet dark malts with espresso on the finish. Some light nutty character. Good roastiness on the finish as well that must be from the coffee. Nice beer but was expecting more from the what the aroma suggested.

Serving type: growler

02-06-2010 17:54:28 | More by mcallister
Photo of Ineedabeerhere

Rhode Island

4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Growler from DeCicco's filled on Saturday. I haven't really had too many CCB beers yet, but this one was pretty solid.

Pours a nice brownish color with a great creamy tan head receding to leave some lacing, but just a filmy retention. I was surprised because apparently some of DeCicco's fills have had trouble holding their carb lately.

Definitely a coffee-forward aroma, but it's not a really oily french roast or anything, it's more of a hazelnut blend type of thing going on. A little brown sugar and some grainy malt in the background. Taste mirrors this, and the brown ale base is a bit more evident with some lightly toasted nuts and toffee, good amount of malt sweetness. Really nice creamy mouthfeel which is definitely thick as far as brown ales go, but works well for this beer. Really drinkable and I wish that I had gotten more than a 16oz growler. Looking forward to trying more of CCB's brown ales and I wouldn't hesitate to order this one on tap if I come across it again.

Serving type: growler

02-01-2010 02:52:31 | More by Ineedabeerhere
Photo of Billolick

New York

4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler pour from Decicco's, Ardsley, NY. Pours darkest of browns, light black, dark tan head, plentiful and thicker sheeting and bands of elegent lace. Coffee grounds come to mind upon the sniff. Flavorful Brown, some light chocolate, gets overtaken by waves of more coffee. Not overpowering, just flavorful and coffealicious in its approach. Well crafted and enjoyable in all its facets...looking forward to more Cigar City brews in the NYC/CT/NJ/NY suburbs...and cant wait to check em out whenever I'm lucky enough to get back down to Tampa, F.L.A.

Serving type: growler

01-30-2010 04:28:59 | More by Billolick
Photo of Goldfish19

New York

4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

~ Purchased this 32 oz growler from Big Z Beverage in Huntington, NY. Appearance is dark brown with a small tan head. Wow! This beer has such an amazing and intoxicating smell. It's like sticking your nose inside a can of Folgers Ground Coffee. And for the taste...you've guessed it - more coffee. This beer is really delicious and went down smoother than anything I have ever tasted before. I polished off all 32 ounces in record time, and now, I wish I had more. If you are a coffee lover - this is a must have.

Every once in a while a beer will come along and knock me off my feet - this is one of those beers.

Cigar City, congratulations on a job well done!

Serving type: growler

12-27-2009 03:52:37 | More by Goldfish19
Photo of Gmann

New York

4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear almost ruby brown color with a tight clingy head that left a sheet of lacing as it dissipated. The aroma is of a big bready malt, nice earthy chocolate and coffee notes, and cocoa powder. The taste is of milk chocolate, cocoa powder, very light coffee flavor, grassy hops and a lemon sourness towards the end. The brew has a very earth quality to it which is nice in brown ales. The feel is surprisingly thin with fairly soft carbonation; finishes slightly bitter. Another very tastey brew from Cigar City. Solid brown ale base with oatmeal to make the ale very smooth. Nice powedery chocolate flavor gives this an appealing earthy quality. I appreciate the 5.5%ABV.

Serving type: growler

12-24-2009 00:05:04 | More by Gmann
Photo of nickd717


4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared by mfielden at a BeerAdvocate tasting - thanks, Mark!

A - Pours a clear dark copper-brown color with a tan head.

S - Aroma is lots of espresso with some roast and a little sweet caramel.

T - Flavor is dominated by coffee with a little caramel malt, roast, chocolate, and nuts. Pretty good. A little reminiscent of Surly Coffee Bender, which isn't too surprising.

M - Body medium, maybe even a little light. This adds a bit to the drinkability. A little bit of coffee astringency is present.

D - Very high.

Serving type: growler

09-15-2009 00:23:56 | More by nickd717
Photo of younger35


4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Received a growler of this from McDiddyPop. The regular Maduro was pretty darned tasty and coffee can only make it better right? Drank from my Surly nonic pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a dark crimson brownish with a decent sized half finger tan head. It recedes fairly slowly leaving a nice cap and thin collar with almost no lacing.
Smell- The espresso is definitely noticeable above the regular notes of the beer. It makes it slightly more earthy too as it's not like a pure coffee smell but more of a raw bean scent. The toasted malts are harder to pick out but the slight nuttiness is right in the thick of things. Maybe some chocolate and some dirty tobacco.
Taste- Slightly nutty and toasted like the regular with a light kick of coffee. I remember the regular having a sort of surprising kiss of hops that I think the coffee may slightly overshadow in this version. Maybe some powdery chocolate and/or tobacco in here as well. A bit of slightly sweet caramel is present as well and the finish is light in vanilla and coffee.
Mouthfeel- Medium body with a velvety smooth feel from the very light carbonation.
Drinkability- Damned tasty stuff! I really like what the coffee did to the Brown. It was pretty good regular but the coffee really adds a nice dimension that was missing from the regular. I don't think it quite has the zing of Coffee Bender but it's still damned good!

Serving type: growler

08-06-2009 21:30:44 | More by younger35
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Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale from Cigar City Brewing
91 out of 100 based on 709 ratings.