1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale - Cigar City Brewing

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

892 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 892
Reviews: 263
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 242
Gots: 101 | FT: 9
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 892 | Reviews: 263 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Thorpe429
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

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.

Thorpe429, May 05, 2010
Photo of Drazzamatazz
3.65/5  rDev -11.2%

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.

Drazzamatazz, May 01, 2010
Photo of brentk56
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%

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

brentk56, Apr 28, 2010
Photo of John_M
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%

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.

John_M, Apr 21, 2010
Photo of philbe311
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%

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...

philbe311, Apr 18, 2010
Photo of vacax
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%

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.

vacax, Apr 07, 2010
Photo of mullenite
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%

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.

mullenite, Apr 05, 2010
Photo of Lerxst
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%

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.

Lerxst, Apr 03, 2010
Photo of weeare138
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%

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.

weeare138, Mar 29, 2010
Photo of ffejherb
4/5  rDev -2.7%

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.

ffejherb, Mar 28, 2010
Photo of DosBeerigos
4.7/5  rDev +14.4%

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.

DosBeerigos, Mar 19, 2010
Photo of nickfl
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%

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.

nickfl, Mar 10, 2010
Photo of glid02
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

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.

glid02, Mar 08, 2010
Photo of beerwolf77
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%

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.

beerwolf77, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%

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

Sammy, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of Damian
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%

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.

Damian, Feb 20, 2010
Photo of Domingo
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%

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!

Domingo, Feb 16, 2010
Photo of ktrillionaire
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%

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.

ktrillionaire, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of womencantsail
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%

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.

womencantsail, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of indiapaleale
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%

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.

indiapaleale, Feb 08, 2010
Photo of mcallister
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%

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.

mcallister, Feb 06, 2010
Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%

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.

Ineedabeerhere, Feb 01, 2010
Photo of Billolick
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%

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.

Billolick, Jan 30, 2010
Photo of Goldfish19
4.68/5  rDev +13.9%

~ 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!

Goldfish19, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of Gmann
4.15/5  rDev +1%

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.

Gmann, Dec 24, 2009
Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale from Cigar City Brewing
92 out of 100 based on 892 ratings.