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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.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

284 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 284
Hads: 1,200
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 5.15%
Wants: 311
Gots: 182 | 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: 284 | Hads: 1,200
Photo of weeare138
3.88/5  rDev -4.9%
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. (321 characters)

Photo of ffejherb
4/5  rDev -2%
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. (1,566 characters)

Photo of DosBeerigos
4.67/5  rDev +14.5%
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. (465 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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. (895 characters)

Photo of glid02
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
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. (937 characters)

Photo of beerwolf77
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
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. (697 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
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 (265 characters)

Photo of Damian
4.46/5  rDev +9.3%
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. (1,302 characters)

Photo of Domingo
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
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! (1,385 characters)

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
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. (1,142 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.42/5  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. (867 characters)

Photo of indiapaleale
4.47/5  rDev +9.6%
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. (1,028 characters)

Photo of mcallister
3.77/5  rDev -7.6%
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. (547 characters)

Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.08/5  rDev 0%
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. (992 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
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. (551 characters)

Photo of Goldfish19
4.69/5  rDev +15%
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! (665 characters)

Photo of Gmann
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
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. (680 characters)

Photo of dudecandle
4.57/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown, nearing on black body with thin, mocha head, which is excusable given the oversized wine glass serving. Good showing on agitation from the head.

S/T: Amazing coffee and chocolate with a good nuttiness and caramel, along with the perfect amount of smoke: enough to round out the rest, never overwhelm them. The coffee really stands out remarkably well, making the smell alone intoxicating. A subtle earthy hop presence was possible.

M: Seems a bit thin at first, but it has an exceptionally long, sticky finish.

D: This beer is wonderful. This is what a brown ale should be. It smells amazing, it tastes great. Now I know why Cigar City has the name it does. (675 characters)

Photo of CampusCrew
4.62/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: deep dark brown with a loaded head and good retention. Had it poured in a unibroue tulip.

smell: a coffee delight... loaded and I was scared that the taste would be overpowering after taking a nice whiff.

taste: coffee was extremely balanced and a had a smooth rich flavor. Unlike a coffee stout, I think the subtle roasted malt went very well with this beer. Best coffee beer that I have had and probably by far.

mouthfeel: medium bodied

drinkability: I'm still waiting for CC to miss on a beer. Seems like they are perfect! (542 characters)

Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.62/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a Unibroue tulip. Nice beige head sticks around for just a moment. Aroma is strong of dark, toasted malts and coffee, coffee and more coffee. Taste follows suit, with some mild sweetness somewhere in the background. Great balance upon tasting, not too over the top on the coffee and just a great balanced brown with a twist along with the typical Cigar City complexity. The Cuban espresso treatment is delicious and wonderful. I'm still waiting for Cigar City to make a less than world class beer. It may never happen. (558 characters)

Photo of nickd717
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
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. (525 characters)

Photo of younger35
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
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! (1,384 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.14/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark (but not too dark, mind you) brown body with a scant, off-white head.

Smell: Beyond the espresso infusion, the aroma is predominately malty with notes of chocolate powder, caramel, and even some oven-toasted almonds.

Taste: Soft brown maltiness with flourishes of nuttiness, cocoa, and semi-sweet caramel. Ample roasty espresso flavor, too. Earthy, roasty bitterness. Finishes earthy and semi-dry with a lingering hint of caramel and coffee.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: The body seems just a hair thin to me, but the flavor is definitely there, which, for me, is the important part. Overall, an enjoyable brown ale. (691 characters)

Photo of grub
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

side-by-side tasting between the regular maduro, espresso aged maduro, and vanilla aged maduro. all three provided by tpd975. thanks greg!

32oz growler. sampled july 1/09.

pours deep red, nearly brown really, and crystal clear. this one is actually a shade darker than the regular maduro. a medium sized semi-dense darker tan head forms, dropping slowly and leaving tons of lace behind. again, the head was a bit darker than the regular maduro.

aroma is good. lightly toasted multi-grain bread and biscuit. bit of cracker. light alcohol. a bit nutty. slightly earthy. subtle notes of espresso is the only real difference from the standard version.

taste is great. it echoes the aroma to start, but with a bit of light tropical fruit too. light caramel. now we start to distinguish ourselves a bit more from the standard version. nice light coffee and espresso character, with some dark chocolate and light roast. this adds a nice extra depth and complexity to it that works very well.

mouthfeel is good. medium body. medium-light carbonation level.

drinkability is great. excellent balance. nice depth. even better than the regular maduro with the extra added character and complexity from the espresso. (1,209 characters)

Photo of gford217
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

32oz growler shared by kp at the Brick Store, side-by-side with the Vanilla Maduro.

Pours just like the Vanilla, with a deep copper brown and a small bubbly head that recedes quickly with no lacing.

The aroma is big on this one, dominated by used espresso grounds, almost burnt, but in a good way. Not sure if that makes sense, but it smelled like an espresso bar. There are some sweet dark malts underneath with hints of chocolate as well. The coffee also seemed to bring out the tobacco aromas.

The taste was similar and was like sipping on an iced espresso. It's just full of that burnt espresso beans flavor up front, but balanced by a sweet dark malt backbone. The nuts and tobacco are present but not nearly as dominant as in the original.

The mouthfeel, like the Vanilla Maduro, is slightly thinner and lower carbonation than I would have expected, but I really think that's a product of the growler.

As a coffee lover this one hit the spot. I'm definitely torn between this one and the original which I loved. The espresso is so dominant in this one that it may take away slightly from the complexity and balance of the underlying Maduro. That said, it's still head and shoulders above most brown ales out there and astoundingly robust for the low ABV. Another winner from CCB. (1,290 characters)

Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale from Cigar City Brewing
91 out of 100 based on 284 ratings.