Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale - Cigar City Brewing

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Cubano-Style Espresso Brown AleCubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

1,185 Ratings
THE BROS
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Ratings: 1,185
Reviews: 299
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 9.73%
Wants: 300
Gots: 184 | FT: 16
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,185 | Reviews: 299
Photo of stakem
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken 6/5/10.

Served in a snifter, it appears a dark brown color with some redness about that looks to be a very deep ruby color when held to the light. A finger of creamy head covers the top of the brew and coats the glassware. Aroma of this brew has a roasty nose of fresh espresso blended with some smokey notes. Dare I say it actually is reminescent of a cigar? Taste includes coffee blended with the cigar/tobacco flavors previously indicted by the nose. This tobacco flavor lingers in the mouth. This brew has a light feel with a mild level of carbonation. At times it feels a bit watery but it makes up for it with lots of flavor.

Photo of CaptinRedBeard
4.72/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Photo of garuda
3.99/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep ruby brown, but fairly translucent when it gets down to it. Arrived with almost no head on it, but I conjure up a little bit of a tan head with some swirling, but it doesn't stick around long. Minimal spotty lacing down the glass.

S - Big roasted coffe, espresso aromas, with bits of dark chocolate, vanilla and only a touch of wood as it warms.

T - Follows the nose with a bit more vanilla flavoring and sweet roasted malts.

M - Medium body, good low carbonation level that I enjoy for a brown ale. Nice and creamy across the palate.

D - Easy going down, makes a good after dinner drink. A delicious brown ale, I was just hoping for a bit more complexity.

Photo of rfgetz
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a muddy brown color with some tan head and lacing. Scent is of a fresh cup of espresso - dark roasted coffee, not quite burnt, with touches of sweet cream. Taste follows scent - no real grainy or hop notes to speak of, not quite as powerful as it could be. Medium bodied, which makes this one a little more drinkable than your typical thick espresso stout.

Photo of koopa
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed on tap at Capone's in Norristown, PA on 4/18/10.

Appearance: Pours black with a 1 finger khaki crown that yields moderate retention and little lace.

Smell: Espresso - burnt malt and a hint of cream.

Taste: Same as nose.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with nice carbonation.

Drinkability: Good despite the burnt roast flavor that I don't enjoy.

Photo of gunnerman
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass, pours a reddish brown with a fluffy head that leaves a bit of lace on the glass. Smell is of tobacco, chocolate, coffee and sin. Taste is just like the smell, I can taste large amounts of tobacco and coffee mixed to a bit of sweet hop bitterness. Slight carbonation really adds to the great texture and flavor. Overall this is a very impressive offering and one of my all time favorites, Cigar City is simply putting out amazing brews.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark chestnut brown with a nice tan head and decent retention.

S: Plenty of dark-roasted espresso beans along with hints of chocolate, slightly-roasted malt, and a bit of toffee.

T: Loads of crisp espresso and coffee flavors with some chocolate and sweet malt.

M: Very nice and creamy with an excellent amount of carbonation.

D: Very tasty and goes down very smoothly. Another masterfully-crafted brew from CCB.

Photo of Drazzamatazz
3.69/5  rDev -10.2%
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.

Photo of brentk56
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives with a translucent brown color and a nice one finger head that tracks spots of lace around the chalice

Smell: If there is a more awesome coffee aroma on a beer, I have yet to encounter it

Taste: Brown bread and coffee, up front, with a developing chocolate aspect by mid-palate; even fudgier after the swallow with the coffee returning to match the chocolate in the finish

Medium: Medium body with moderate carbonaton; not as creamy as I would have thought given the oatmeal

Drinkability: Most other brewers blend coffee with stout or porter but Cigar City has gone in a different direction, using a brown ale base - extraordinarily different

Photo of John_M
4.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's the other day.

The beer pours a fairly dark brown color wiht good head retention and lacing. The nose is very impressive in this beer, and shows considerable coffee grounds, chocolate and vanilla. There's also a hint of leather and tobacco in this interesting beer. Flavors replicate the nose, though given the richness and intensity of the nose, I was a bit let down by how light and thin the flavor profile was. Drinkabilty is pretty good, with the alcohol well disguised. There is a hint of earthy bitterness in the finish which is interesting.

The beer smells better then it tastes, but ultimately I'm kind of impressed with what Cigar City seems to be trying to accomplish. I'm not a huge fan of american brown ales, but these guys are starting to make me stop and take notice of the style. Impressive.

Photo of philbe311
3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Beautiful medium to dark brown color... Ample amounts of light leak into the glass from all angles... Loaded with moderate paced carbonation... The light tan head fades in rapid fashion leaving little to no lacing...

S - Mild brown sugar... Muted dark roast coffee... Caramel... A hint of rich milk chocolate... Perhaps even a touch of vanilla...

T - Brown sugar... Caramel... A muted hint of dark roasted Italian coffee... Toffee... A kiss of milk chocolate... Wonderful balance and a good bit of complexity given the style...

M - Medium bodied... Smooth... Loaded with pringly carbonation... Slightly chalky finish... Consistent sip after sip...

D - This one is quite simple to sum up... It's a better than average American Brown Ale with a tinge of coffee... I wouldn't turn down the opportunity to drink again, but I'm not sure you're missing much if you aren't able to procure a glass for your self...

Photo of vacax
4.37/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

Photo of mullenite
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

Photo of Lerxst
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a very dark brown with a creamy, thick head that has good retention and leaves some nice lacing. Looks real good.

S-Smells like a cup of dark roast coffee with a bit of chocolate. Not a terribly complex nose, but it is pleasant.

T-Coffee and roasted malt, cocoa powder, a hint of vanilla. Very interesting. The flavors work well together.

M-On the light side of medium body, yet very creamy and luxurious. Great mouthfeel.

D-At first I thought the strong coffee nose and taste would make this a one and done, but this one went down easily and I could have had another without a problem.

A great job by the folks at CC.

Photo of weeare138
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on tap at Kickbacks Gastropub in Jacksonville...
Appears a hazy dark brown with a light tan head. A creamy head of froth. A huge amount of lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of cream, cocoa, espresso, and lactose.
Taste is of the aromas with a sugary, wood like flavor.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, creamy, and dry.

Photo of ffejherb
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On nitro-tap at Al's of Hampden on 3/23/10.

A - A well-carbonated brown hazelnut liquid with burgundy and ruby hues appeared in my glass, complete with a finger's width of beige foam on top that reduced to a quarter inch of retention but yielded plenty of decorative spotted lacing around the glass.

S - Aroma blends coffee and chocolate notes with a heavy cream character reminiscent of half-and-half. As the liquid warmed up a bit, the aroma became more complex, as roasted malt notes, vanilla bean and an earthy hop character emerged. I even get a sense of weasel turds, akin to Mikkeller's Beer Geek Brunch, which I wasn't expecting. However, there is definitely something present that is eluding me, which strikes me as a cross between slightly expired milk and a hint of basement odor.

T - Opens with a bitter coffee character, which then segues into a creamy milk chocolate aspect paired with a hint of vanilla bean sweetness. Earthy hops appear in the backend to reveal some herbal characteristics, and gain strength with each passing sip as the liquid reaches room temperature.

M - Smooth bodied with a slight oily texture and light carbonation, though a little bit more carbonated than your average nitro pour. Slight stickiness on the palate. Finishes with a touch of bitterness and residual sweetness on the tongue.

D - Quite a tasty brown ale overall and certainly not too heavy-handed with the coffee character. The addition of chocolate, vanilla and hop bitterness kept this brew from becoming too one-dimensional. Enjoyable but not mind-blowing.

Photo of DosBeerigos
4.67/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

C. Clear
H. Dark Brown
N. Smells like straight espresso coffee

Ok this is another one of those I think I might accidentally attempt to order this beer at Starbucks instead of at a bar. Straight coffee on this one, although it is very refreshing and light bodied. Unlike the Wake N' Bake from Terrapin this beer is smooth, light, and not very filling. There is a hint of brown sugar and cinnamon lingering around the taste of the beer. This bee is pretty dangerous.

Photo of nickfl
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured with a small head of white foam on top of a brown body with good clarity. The foam settles slowly and leaves good lace.

S - Aromas of brown malt with some toffee and light caramel. A little bit of chocolate in the background and some mild coffee.

T - Brown caramel and toffee malt flavors up front with some light coffee character. The malty caramel sweetness blends with the espresso and creates an impression similar to that of a blended iced coffee drink. It finishes with lightly sweet caramel and coffee balanced by light bitterness.

M - Medium body, moderately light carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Smooth with lots of complex coffee and caramel character. The coffee is assertive but well balanced by the malt and doesn't overwhelm the palate. This is a very nicely made beer, the coffee highlights the best qualities of the base beer without overwhelming it.

Photo of glid02
4.27/5  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.

Photo of beerwolf77
3.75/5  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.

Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Cigar City takes NYC event at Rattle 'N' Hum. I am not a coffee drinker but this is very good coffee that comes right through the taste buds. Its Dark with virtually no head. Roasted coffee aromas.Way above average for a brown style.
Certainly not retired

Photo of Damian
4.46/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank on-tap at Rattle 'N' Hum, New York, NY
Served in a stemmed wine glass

Deep crimson mahogany in appearance. The semi-transparent liquid was capped by a thin film of short-lived froth.

The aroma was simply outstanding. I have tried a number of the best coffee beers but none even came close to the nose on this one. Pure, freshly brewed, dark roast coffee dominated. Pure and simple. Every time I smelled this, I imagined myself walking into a coffee shop. I usually enjoy complexity in my beers but in this case simplicity worked best.

The flavor profile was not quite as coffee heavy as the nose, but it was indeed more complex. Malty rich up front. Lots of freshly brewed coffee came through strong. Well balanced and not at all bitter. Nutty (hazelnuts were noticeable) and fruity in the center. Slightly oaty. The finish was crisp and a touch dry.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied. Creamy and slick. Silky smooth on the palate. For such a seemigly "light" beer, I was amazed at how substantial the body was.

This was a uniquely delicious beer. I almost always associate intense coffee flavors and aromas with dark, roasty, smoky stouts. This brew was quite different however. I would love to see other brewers try their hand at making a seemingly "small" beer packed with such intensity.

Photo of Domingo
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Much like the "normal" Maduro, I had this at the CC tasting room in February of 2010.
While many brewers will infuse an existing good beer with something like oak chips, coffee, chocolate, etc. - many times this will fail because the added elements don't blend well or overpower what made a beer great in the first place. This is NOT one of those instances!
This is the darkest brown ale I've seen to date, however it is still clearly brown and not black. No light's making it through this one as it looks pretty thick (but it actually isn't).
While the espresso comes out early in the nose, it truly doesn't kill off the other flavors. Roasted nuts and chocolate are still there, making this remind me of a breakfast drink.
Like the nose, the espresso doesn't kill the flavor either. It's like sweetened espresso initially, but the almond and hazelnut flavors are absolutely still there. The chocolate notes blend with the coffee to give a mocha flavor that lingers. Unlike the normal Maduro, which finishes pretty clean, this finish leaves a lingering sweet coffee flavor.
The beer looks thick and chewy, but the texture is perfect for a brown ale. I still think it's a neglected summer/warm weather brew.
With all of that flavor, it's also only 5.5% ABV and there's no reason you couldn't have more than one as the flavor leaves you with a craving for more.

This is stellar stuff!

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale from Cigar City Brewing
92 out of 100 based on 1,185 ratings.