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Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale - Cigar City Brewing

Not Rated.
Cubano-Style Espresso Brown AleCubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

290 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 290
Hads: 1,236
Avg: 4.08
pDev: 9.8%
Wants: 314
Gots: 188 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 290 | Hads: 1,236
Photo of infinitebruner
3.77/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

October 26, 2014

12 oz can, hotel water glass

A – Medium brown, very high clarity, some opacity but generally can see through it pretty well. Red tints where the light shines more directly. An inch of deep tan foamy head, with low retention.

S – Straight dark roast coffee and almost nothing else. A hint of malty, roasted, toasted black bread, and very light hop bitterness.

T – Dark roasted coffee with a dollop of cream, silky French vanilla. The vanilla shows through more as the beer warms. Light gourmet chocolate syrup. Malt mostly supports the rest, some roasted notes are there. Any hop bitterness is overwhelmed by the coffee and roasted malt bitterness.

M – Fairly light body, not much heavier than iced coffee. Carbonation is moderate, and helps to balance the roasted coffee flavors.

O – Certainly a well-made coffee beer, but pretty straightforward with no real surprises. But there’s a lot to be said for doing this style well.

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Photo of MNishCT77
3.81/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

12 oz. can purchased in late 06/2014, canned on 06/02/2014, poured into my NEBCO Ghandi-Bot snifter glass, drank over 30 minutes

A: 2/3 - mahogany/brown coloration, low clarity (cannot read or see through), initially large khaki head pours large and settles into a 1/2 finger lacing with carbonation lakes; moderate alcohol legs

S: 9/12 - moderate espresso, coffee, caramel, toffee; no hop or alcohol aroma; no diacetyl, no DMS

T: 14/20 - on the front of the tongue, there is a mild coffee/dark chcolate-esque bitterness; in the middle of the palate, the coffee, espresso and cacao notes develop and fill the mouth; on the back end, there is a toffee/caramel sweetness that is inviting and not cloying; finishes semi-sweet with a coffee creamer-ish quality; little alcohol and hop flavors

M: 3/5 - moderate body with some fullness provided by the specialty malts and coffee/cacao; overly carbonated for style with fizziness

O: 8/10 - unfortunately, this may have been an overcarbonated vs. infected beer, as the can was deformed; nevertheless, it doesn't taste infected; it definitely hits as advertised with espresso, coffee, cacao and brown note character; slightly overrated score (92) but enjoyable nonetheless

TOTAL - 36/50

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Photo of zachary80
4/5  rDev -2%

Can thanks the Reginald. Canned 6/19/14. Hecho a mano 371

Light brown / dark amber body with a large tan brown head that fades and that has some retention. 3.75/5

Aroma is very good - chocolate, espresso, vanilla, malty sweetness. 4.75/5

Flavor is a little underwhelming after the aroma but would still be one of my favorite brown ales. Short finish. Wouldn't be able to pick out the added ingredients if it weren't obvious from the aroma but the flavor is still nice. 4/5

Body as expected for the style. 4/5

Overall a very good brown ale but I wouldn't hunt this one down unless you are seeking the great aroma. Also interesting that the coffee is very mild despite the can describing it as dominating. 4/5

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Photo of zac16125
4.29/5  rDev +5.1%

12oz bottle into a pint glass
no bottling dates

Thanks to allisonmichelle for sending this over as an extra

A: Pours a dark cola colored brown with 1 fingers width of light tan head. There are some whitish specks of sedimentation floating around. Head dissipates down fairly quickly and leaves effectively zero lacing. 3.5

S: Tons of coffee upfront, vanilla, caramel, a bit of cocoa. This smells like an iced coffee not a beer. Wonderful aroma. 4.5

T: Like the nose there is tons of coffee. In addition to the coffee I get lots of lactose-like cream notes, a big vanilla, some caramel, and subtle chocolate. Bitter roasted coffee lingers in the aftertaste after each sip. 4.25

M/D: Lighter side of medium body, carbonation appropriate, drinkability is good. 3.75

O: Easily the best brown ale Ive ever had (excluding Palo Santo Maroon which I don’t consider a brown ale). Definitely worth seeking out. 4.5

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Photo of c28nole
4.85/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Perhaps my favorite offering from Cigar City, one of the best breweries in the Southeast. Very coffee-forward. A strong coffee taste that you'd expect from a coffee stout, but with the drinkability of a brown ale. World class.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.7/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter from a can.

Black would be more accurate than brown; this beer is pitch black. A creamy, foamy, light-khaki head sits a finger thick atop the body and sits there comfortably for a while. Lace forms a wall as the head recedes. A few bubbles are visible in the abyss that is this beer's body.

Huge coffee notes, but I get so much dark chocolate that I'm thinking mocha more than espresso. There's some burnt aroma and fresh grounds that add to the potency. I'd say there's a hint of caramel too.

Flavor-wise, this is practically coffee. I can almost taste dark roast beans. Light chocolate notes come in and out, but they are dominated by cafe.

A thin body with a strong feel of carbonation make this a little less enjoyable than I'd like. This brew's almost as watery as coffee at times, or so it feels.

I think the appearance and aroma of this beer set it up for failure. I had high expectations after each, but the body and flavor couldn't quite match. It's a decent beer.

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Photo of Polycarp55
3.93/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

It was short of a masterpiece but the attempt to be different and hold to the traditional brown ale style kept it afloat.

Appearance: Dark brown, not much head, it looked lively and inviting.
Smells: The scent of this beer was everything good about Tampa; espresso coffee, delicious pastries at Segundo Bakery, or just a Tampa style Cuban Media Noche- The scent invited me to Ybor City.

Taste: The Espresso really does not linger like a good coffee should, as the brown ale tradition was favored over any of the other flavors. I was hoping for more of a stout beer than this brown ale. Because a stout or a porter, can go heavier in flavor and not affect the overall beer style. I think they did a fine job of maintaining tradition with an updated twist.

Mouth Feel: The taste at first lingered on the front of the palate only and slowly worked its way to the back. I was hoping for a coated feeling from the espresso.

As I drink more of this from my growler the taste becomes ever so nice. It still is not in the 4-5 Outstanding. But its better than an average beer. Also I loved that Ybor attempted to take a brown ale and work it with heavy flavors. Does any one else do this? Or has any one attempted to do this? So I think they deserve a special mention for being daring to try and innovate the industry. But a 4-5 makes me want to shout out loud and share the good news with everyone else, this beer did not raise my shout out loud meter.

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Photo of patre_tim
3.99/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark brown, light cloudy, amber hue, a finger of light tan head. Some random lacing.

S: Espresso, chocolate, peanut butter, dark toasted notes, molasses.

T: Dark toasted notes, hints of coffee, chocolate, molasses and peanut butter. A little vanilla. Mostly holds the brown ale quality as opposed to the other ingredients that were added. Good maltiness. The coffee especially comes out as it warms.

M: Medium rich body, medium low carbonation.

O: Really well done brew, not overpowering on the Cuban espresso, chocolate or cocoa qualities that were added, but a great creative concept. Got this at Whole foods near West Palm Beach, drank in Deerfield Beach, July 17th, 2014.

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Photo of Seanem44
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark brown with tan head. Really smell the coffee and hints of vanilla. Taste is similar. Not as bold as I thought it would be. Could have been a little better, but no complaints. Very tasty and refreshing. Another winner from CCB in my opinion.

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Photo of zookerman182
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance is a clear dark brown color with a half finger head.
Aroma is incredible. Roasted coffee beans, and roasty malt. Maple bacon coffee porter aroma minus the syrupy maple smell.
Taste is sweet at first but dark roasted coffee dominates after that. Maybe some bittersweet chocolate flavors as well.
Mouthfeel is thin but the coffee flavor does linger slightly on the back end.
This is a great alternative to an after dinner coffee. The body is thin enough to not put you over the edge. The carbonation is there but not too much.
Nicely done and I'm thankful I got to try it.

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Photo of barhoc11
4.58/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Looks like a brown ale

S: Sweet coffee and malt aroma

T: Sweet at first but then you get a sweet coffee taste followed by a smokey malt.

M: Nice and full

O: This beer is outstanding, one of the best done coffee beers I have had. I would not of expected a brown coffee ale to be so complete but Cigar City did a great job. Wish I could get it in MI.

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Photo of IrishHockey
4.64/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a can into a CCB hunahpu snifter (the only glass besides paper coffee cups in the hotel room)

Smell: vanilla, chocolate, and loads of coffee. Damn this smells great

Appearance: looks good! Brown with some red in it when I hold it to the light.

Taste: wow! Smell is dead on to the taste. The vanilla and coffee dominate, but the chocolate is there. It's soooo good! Little dry on the back end, but almost perfect.

Mouthfeel: very creamy and smooth. Little thicker than most brown ales. Almost into porter/stout range with how thick this is. Love it

Overall: hands down, one of the best coffee beers that I've ever had. So damn tasty!

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Photo of neenerzig
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 4 pack of this when my dad and I went to the main brewery in Tampa a few days ago. Poured out of a 12 oz can into a pint glass. Pours a clear, medium brown color with deep ruby/amber highlights when held up to the light. Nice slightly tan/off white head is about 2/3-3/4 of an inch thick when first poured. Settles to a nice thick crescent ring lining mow of the inside of the glass. Lacing is okay, but not that great. Aromas of dark, roasted caramel malt sweetness that gives way to some chocolate and coffee notes. Taste is pretty much the same, but stronger than the aroma, with toasted caramel malt sweetness upfront followed by coffee and chocolate flavors. Rounded out with a slight touch of hops. Has a crisp, smooth, frothy, medium bodied muthfeel with moderate carbonation. Easy to drink in the way well crafted beer ought to be. Quite a tasty brew here indeed!


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Photo of thezach
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Well, I certainly went into this thinking it was a stout. As it's a brown ale, I figured it would be like comparing apples and smaller, weak tasting, less flavorful apples. I've been pleasantly surprised. The roast aroma is rich and rounded, and becomes more so as it warms, if there's cocoa or vanilla in there, it's either so subtle as to elude taste, or it's balanced perfectly with the espresso, complementing and enhancing the coffee's roast, rather than overpowering it. There's some toffee on the back end, but the major player here is wonderfully well-made coffee with a touch of sweetness. I feel the mouthfeel would benefit from a bit more richness, or perhaps a little less carbonation. But then again, this seems to be the norm for brown ales. All in all, I'd have this again. Not right now, but tomorrow. Good stuff.

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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 TheSixthRing
4.09/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a deep brown with auburn highlights and a finger's worth of khaki head. Fair retention, resulting in a broken layer of surface suds. Leaves a decent amount of lacing around the glass, though most slides .

Smell - Freshly roasted coffee ground aroma, backed by a lesser scent of caramel. Light cream with faint chocolate notes.

Taste - Follows the nose. Big, natural coffee flavor. Caramel finds a nice niche, while hints of vanilla and cream bounce off the middling roasty attributes. Touches of nuttiness and chocolate in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with lively carbonation. Nice, smooth finish.

Overall - Really solid coffee-infused brew. Delivers more than just a 'cold coffee' experience. My heart tells me a deeper roasted flavor would be nice, but my brain tells me this is a brown, so I shouldn't expect that. A fine brown it is.

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Photo of portia99
4.26/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle (2/1/14) poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours a dark brown color with minimal light transference thru its body. Almost no head forms, really just a thin collar of off-white bubbles and no real lacing.

S - Huge coffee aroma wafts out of the glass. Richly roasted with some sweet creaminess. A big dark chocolate fudge aroma sits behind the coffee but stands up enough to be noticeable. A light berry aroma comes on at the end with a little bit of searching. This smells quite amazing.

T - Matches the aroma quite nicely. Creamy, melted fudgy dark chocolate at the base and a huge hit of coffee. A gently blended in sweet caramel makes this super smooth. This is definitely a coffee forward beer though - any coffee lover will be pleased with this one.

M - Slightly thin body with a strong carbonation level. Tingly throughout - gives a lively feel to the entire mouth on each sip. Coffee is so far forward in the flavor profile it is hard to comment on anything else - I can certainly imagine this as being an outstanding beverage with breakfast on a weekend.

O - If you like coffee, it is going to be hard to find fault in this beer. Breakfast/dessert - I'm not sure where this works best. Coffee is intense but there is noticeable caramel sweetness in there too and I get a thick fudgy chocolate aspect as well that never causes this to approach mocha, but rather causes this to slip into a coffee infused dark chocolate cake like dessert character. I like this one a lot.

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Photo of dar482
4.26/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer comes in a brown copper color.

The aroma is bright coffee and some toasty malt.

The flavor follows of toasty malt, light chocolate, vanilla, toasted breadiness, and then a black coffee. A really good essence of coffee.

A light body, which fits the ABV. A very drinkable beer for those who want a coffee fix.

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Photo of gtcastle
3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to @Cane80 for the trade!

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: as the name implies, dark brown like an espresso.

Smell: just the amount of espresso on the nose makes me think it would be nice to drink two or three of these every morning before work if I didn't have to keep people alive. The wife could smell it from across the table and had to try it.

Taste: espresso without the sometimes bitter aftertaste. Hints of vanilla, cocoa, and toffee.

Mouthfeel: medium body, good carbonation, very drinkable.

Overall: a good beer, one I would consider drinking in the morning on one of my rare days off.

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Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.36/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Murky brown upon pouring, as expected. A 1/2 finger of off-white head quickly collars.

Smell: Espresso punch in the face, vanilla and cocoa; as advertised. There are also elements of caramel and brown sugar as well.

Taste: Mild vanilla and cocoa over espresso. Finishes dry with espresso, caramelized malt and subtle vanilla. Not very complex in terms of stages of the drink unfolding on the palate, but it is very well blended with nothing standing out too much.

Mouthfeel: A medium bodied brew with a good bit of carbonation tickling the tip of the tongue. Very drinkable.

Overall: My girlfriend usually hates all the beer I drink, and actually liked this; so that alone impresses me. This is just a very nicely balanced beer that's easy to drink, would definitely drink again, cheers!

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Photo of fmccormi
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Straight pour from a 12oz pry-off bottle to a fat, stubby tulip glass; bottling date of . . . no bottling date. But this only comes out once in a while, and the second I saw this in the cooler I snatched it up—likely within two weeks of bottling.

Appearance (3.25): A good pour elicits a solid finger of tan foam, dying down at an average speed, leaving just a tiny bit of lacing in the form of a handful of round splotches . . . the body is clear when held up to the light, and kind of a rich, cola-brown color. Handsome enough, though it could use a bit more head (story of my life, amirite?).

Smell (4.5): I suppose there’s a brown ale underneath it all, but there’s no question about it: coffee dominates. Really, fantastic, coffee. Light smoke, some fruity body, and serious roast go into the espresso component of this beer. The beer underneath is modestly malty, with a rich (but not sweet), dark wheat and barley peasant bread, a little cocoa, and a little pumpernickel. And even though the coffee is so strong, it melds extremely well with the malt base. This is a fantastic aroma.

Taste (4.25): Following the aroma, the flavor is definitely a coffee story, showcasing that beautifully-roasted, very well-balanced espresso component. And, like in the aroma, that coffee melds well with the malt underneath it, which is dry, rich, dark but not sweet or overly roasty—unmalted barley and dark wheat, light cocoa, and peasant bread. There’s a modest hop bitterness in here, too, that’s mostly herbal and a little citrus-zesty, offsetting the malt and complementing the coffee roast nicely. As it warms up, the malt pushes forward a bit not with much sweetness to speak of, but more with the rich earthiness of the grains and cocoa in the beer’s base. It works very, very well and everything is integrated nicely.

Mouthfeel (4.25): Smooth carbonation comes in and tingles very lightly, spreading out well for the lightness of the beer, helping the coffee roast to roll through and dry out the body to finish very, very nicely. Absurdly drinkable.

Overall (4.25): Oh hell yes. I love this beer. Had it for the first time a little over three years ago, loved it then, didn’t have it again until a few days ago, and still love it. This is, at its heart, a clean, simple, and relatively dry American Brown that pulls in an extremely tasteful coffee component, integrates it flawlessly, and becomes that much better for it. Seek it out, it’s worth it. Plus, at 5.5% ABV, you can have a couple without a problem.

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Photo of mwilbur
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass.
A: Pours a cola brown with faint light tan head that quickly dissipates.
S: Distinct espresso note (cafe cubano), lightly roasted caramel malt, vanilla, and a hint of cacao.
T: Follows aroma exactly. A very nice representation of cafe cubano in beer form. With warming, more chocolate and vanilla notes emerge with warming.
M: Light body. Smooth with moderate bitterness. Lingering espresso note on the palate.
D: It's tough to emulate a good cafe cubano...and CCB does a fine job with it. Definitely one to seek out.

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Photo of TheosTheories
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer was bottled on 1/31/14 so it is 9 days old

A- poors a dark brown color, like deep maple syrup, nice finger and a half of light tan head, pretty good retention and lacing.

S- fresh roasted Cuban coffee, vanilla, little bit of milk chocolate, caramel and toffee, and also hazelnut

T- wow, being Cuban this is great, big Cuban coffee espresso beans up front followed by that milk chocolate and vanilla and finishes with the nuttiness and leaves you with the coffee in the after taste.

M- mouth feel is on the lighter side of medium, very smooth going down, little sticky though, but very pleasant, wish it was alittle thicker though.

O- cigar city knocks it out of the park once again. Overall a great brew, this hit exactly what they wanted it to be, great brew with great flavors. I could easly drink this in the morning before work haha

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Photo of jbwimer
4.04/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Chad threw this in as an extra. Hadn't heard of it, but always looking for the opportunity to try Cigar City beers.

A- 12 oz. bottle poured into a Bell's snifter. Half a finger of beige head disappears quickly leaving a ring around the glass. A very dark brown color with not much light getting through. Doesn't leave much lacing.

S- Really digging the nose on this beer. Not as espresso-forward as I had anticipated, but the coffee notes are certainly there. I was at a coffee roaster the other week and smelled a dulce de leche coffee bean. I'm reminded of it when I smell this beer. In addition, there is unmistakeable toffee and vanilla. The nose is so smooth. Very dessert-like.

T- Almost as good as the nose. I get a lot of the same notes as in the aroma, they just aren't as strong here. Wish there was more coffee. Caramel, toffee, and vanilla dominate initially, with the espresso coming through more so in the aftertaste. Can't read when this was bottled. Can't imagine it was too long ago seeing as all the other beers I received were fresh. Still quite enjoyable!

M- Mouthfeel is heavier than I expected. Especially for a brown ale sitting at 5.5%. It's no RIS, of course. But it's still medium bodied with light carbonation. Feels good sipping on this beer. And I sip because the flavors are really nice.

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Photo of MacQ32
3.89/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - pours a mahogany brown light black coffee color with nearly a finger of chocolate color head,detentions a little weak as the head quickly dissipates leaving only a thin outer ring. Lacing is OK.

S - Just tons of roasty coffee beans, some sweet chocolate and almost vanilla type aromas

T - initial flavor is a little little underwhelming, mostly just over carbonation and some chocolate. towards the finish and through the aftertaste theres a really nice roasty chocolate/vanilla and espresso flavor.

M - lightish bodied. A bit too much carb

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Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale from Cigar City Brewing
91 out of 100 based on 290 ratings.