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Tocobaga Red Ale - Cigar City Brewing

Not Rated.
Tocobaga Red AleTocobaga Red Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

218 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 218
Hads: 1,312
Avg: 4.13
pDev: 25.42%
Wants: 183
Gots: 182 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing visit their website
Florida, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  7.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: tpd975 on 09-15-2010

Pours amber in color with notes of citrus and caramel. Citrus hop bitterness upfront with notes of caramel and an Amish bread sweetness. Citrus hop bitterness returns at the end for a long dry finish.

75 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 218 | Hads: 1,312
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

thanks to duff27 for girting me this beer while taking an adverture to Florida and bring back the spoils of beer from another state! Thanks Duff!

poured into New Belgium globe glass.

Appearance: mutteled red bodied beer with 2 fingers of tanish frothy head that leaves lace everywhere on the glass.

Smell: It smells just like what a caramel covered pine cones would smell like!

Taste: A touch of caramel sweetness and bready notes start off the beer. It then inturrupted by a mild to moderate splash of juice pine hops bitterness. Beer finishes mildly bitter and linger for just the right amount of time making you want to take the next sip shortly there after.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. The body has a nice creaminess to it. Its ABV is well hidden and it drinks easily at 7.5%.

Overall: This is a really solid beer for the style! I am digging it. It might even be close to the legendary Nectar Nugget by Troegs. Its seem fairly similiar to me.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.8/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chilled bottle into a glass, courtesy of JeepCop. Thanks!

A: Pours a hazy maroon body with a pinky finger of beige head. Poor retention, but it maintains a fairly thick collar on the beer. No lace.

S: A substantial dose of caramel malt, bread, and plenty of piney hops. A touch of toast.

T: I think this was going for the hop-forward approach, but it's a bit faded now, causing the malt to step forward. It is caramel-dominated, along with a rye bread and toast characteristic that emerges during the odd sip. I detect a lesser character of pine hops. Good balance.

M: Full-bodied, and surprisingly so for a 7.2% beer. I found this kind of a chore to drink due to the heaviness. No trace of the alcohol, and no lingering bitterness.

O: A pretty tasty amber ale on the whole; I suspect this isn't all that fresh, and I'd probably enjoy it more if it were. I'd also probably enjoy it more if it were drier. But it's very solid.

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4.64/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: The first red ale that this reviewer is writing on pours a beautiful mahogany color that approached opaque in clarity; it is capped with a slightly rocky, cream-colored head that takes its sweet time dissipating down from an initial four fingers to a manageable one-and-a-half. The carbonation that is visible through the dense fog appears very active, but it is honestly difficult to tell with any certainty. There is some spotty lacing. The pour looked incredible, but once it is sitting in the glass the beer starts to take on the appearance of the end product of chewing tobacco. Still, the ruby red that occurs when light shines through is a pleasure yet to be held by this reviewer.

Aroma: There is a certain hoppiness that I was not expecting in this style after reading about it, but this is usurped almost immediately by a very “beery” smell that can only come from a strong malt character. This malt character also lends Tocobaga a pronounced and enticing sweetness. There is perhaps a bit of yeast that plays on the nostrils as well and mingles with the malty sweetness and gives it a mild spicy characteristic akin to cinnamon and cloves (or maybe allspice). It is quite complex (as many great beers are) and begs the holder to drink immediately.

Taste: The gauntlet has been thrown down for all future red ales that pass these taste buds. There is nothing to dislike in the taste of this beer, no faults to be found. It is initially bitter, but just for a second (following the nose step for step), and then the sweet malts step in, flooding the mouth with caramel notes, nutty notes, and even a hint of banana. Then the hops come back in and leave the tongue craving more and more of the delicious elixir, somewhat like Founders Double Trouble, though not nearly as bitter due to the difference in style. The aftertaste is a bit puckering and astringent, but not in a displeasing way. This beer is off the charts rich, somewhat like Apocalypse Cow. Just wow.

Mouthfeel: The beer swallows a little thick for my taste and leaves the lips sticky afterwards. As mentioned under “Taste”, Tocobaga has a puckering effect on the mouth, but this is very welcome. The carbonation is as active as seen earlier, but not as omnipresent as expected, which really is not an issue; the carbonation is perfect for the beer and gives it the refreshing quality that carbonation so often does. This beer is insanely drinkable, which, at 7.2% ABV could be a bit dangerous.

Overall: This is an excellent stepping-stone into the world of red ales. Before drinking this beer, I was not overly excited about venturing into red ales, but now I could not be more eager to have another. I am also disappointed that this was my only bottle. This is a beer I would love to have in my fridge at all times. It is just spectacular. 17.5/20

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Photo of ninaturner
4.97/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Red/amber color, unfiltered, poured with a one finger head.

Aroma: Caramel sweetness is the only way to describe the aroma.

Taste: Caramel, malty sweetness, bittering hops at the finish.

Mouthfeel: Smoot, medium body which is perfect when you're tasting the malty character of this beer.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable.

Overall: One of the best beers I've had the pleasures of drinking.

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Photo of Duff27
4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Great looking pour. Near two-inch, light-tan head. Deep mahogany body with chunks of yeast sediment...maybe I poured to hard. Excellent lacing and head retention.

S- Can smell the citrusy hops from a foot away. getting my nose in there i get big juicy oranges and mangoes perhaps.

T- Now that's a red! Big time juicy citrus hops in the taste as well. Still very balanced with a good malt backbone, somewhat bready aftertaste. Would not guess at the ABV being as high as the one stated.

M- Medium mouthfeel, somewhat creamy. low-mid carbonation.

D/O- Very balanced, highly drinkable even for the 7+% alcohol. Didn't know about this one until recently. Would want to have again. Great job with a "normal" beer Cigar City!

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a brownish/red color. Head is creamy and lightly tan. Head hangs around for a while. Head laces well too.

S-A nice balanced mixture of caramel sweetness and juicy hops. Hops also show up as light pine and florals. The sweetness is stronger than I expected it to be. Smells very balanced.

T-Like the nose. Balance. I wanted this to display more hoppy assertiveness. It still tastes very nice but the malt to hop ratio is too close to 1 for me. Caramel glazed muffins and floral hops.

M-A bit creamy with a round feel. Has some nice body to it. Carbonation is rather light. Feels good.

O/D-Really ecstatic to be able to try this brew. Unfortunately I was a bit let down. Perhaps this was a bit old. Not as hoppy as I was expecting. The beer in its current state was tasty and balanced but I wanted more from this brew. Could be more dynamic. I will search this one out again and make sure its fresh and compare. Score will be edited accordingly.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured chilled in lager glass

A: dark red, not much head; small carb beads, ok lacing
S: hoppy resiny, sweet, strong
T: very hoppy, dark, and resiny. Complex and perfectly balanced between hops and malt; complex and flavorful

I can think of no red ales that achieve this depth and body

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Photo of VncentLIFE
4.79/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour is light amber with a serious soda pop fizzy head. This thing smells like it was just randallized with fresh hops. Super juicy mangoes, apricots, and a hit of pineapple just dominate. I love it! Lots of sticky sweet malt to back what is already sweet. Kind of like a darker Waldo's 420 from Lagunitas. The taste is more bitter and malty than the nose led on, but not in a bad way. It gives the beer some body to back that uber sweetness. Chalky bready malt comes through quite nicely. Theres still a ton of apricots just wanting to take over, but they really just add a very nice balance. Finishes sweet and citric with a hint of alcohol coming very late only to be destroyed by more citric hops.

Nugget Nectar aims to be more of a traditional bitter IPA, this thing goes for a West Coast super tropical fruit Amber. For my taste, this is preferred to the famed NN.

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Photo of rudzud
3.34/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received as an extra in a trade. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a nice slightly hazy reddish amber with a one finger white blanket head that fades to leave a thin, creamy blanket.

S - Perhaps this is a bit on the old side. Getting alot of malt sweetness and honey with this along with dank, cardboard hops. Yeah...eh.

T - Again, yeah, wheres the hops? More of the caramel and malt sweetness. There is some faint, older hops. Its not too bad, but well, I've had better red ales.

M - Mouthfeel Is not that bad for a red ale, alcohol is a bit noticeable. Nice light bitter finish that plays off the caramel sweetness.

O - Overall this isnt a bad beer, I just think it was perhaps not super fresh. All the players are there for this to be a solid brew, they just didnt step up for me.

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Photo of jaasen64
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle thanks to dolfan54fl. Poured into CCB snifter.

A- Pours an opaque dark nutty/chocolaty slightly reddish brown. Not too much of a head. Average, to slightly below average carbonation.

S- Sweet and malty with aromas of caramel, honey, and some floral notes.

T- Sweet, malty, caramel, honey, definitely sweeter then your average red ale. Finishes with a nice sweet, malty finish.

M- Medium bodied, slightly below average carbonation, finishes smoothly, abv very well hidden.

O- This was another great CCB offering. Not my favorite beer that I've ever had, but fantastic for a red ale. Lots of flavor and easily drinkable. If anything it might be a tiny bit too sweet. Definitely recommended trying.

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Photo of mwrecording
3.91/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle given to me in a trade from raczkowski, thanks again!

Got a bunch of CC goods in this trade, I like the labels a lot on these.

Poured a nice deep red color, amber is the proper word I'm sure. Poured from a real cold temp, still had a good amount of head on it that was good as soon as I got to the page to review this beer.
I love the way red/amber beers look, so this was nice.

Smell: A touch of caramel and a little bit of a "rusty" hop/pine type smell, fun to sniff, makes me think a lot. It smells bitter, for lack of better word.

Taste: I mostly taste the piney hops in this, I don't get too much of the malt until right before the swallow. Nicely bitter, just a touch sweet, really compliments the smell in a good way.

M: Carbonation, sort of filmy rolling around in my mouth. Thin and refreshing.

Overall: Unsure of what my individual ratings will add up to, I want to say this is a treat. The only real thing I have to compare it to in its catagory is Zoe and Nugget Nectar. I'd say its a bit better than Zoe and just a hair behind Nugget Nectar. I feel like the hops really make this beer what it is and when they fade, I'm not sure whats going to be left while a 4-5 month old Nugget Nectar is STILL something special.

In closing, I'm glad I got to try this beer...its my first CC beer and I can't wait to try the other 4-5 I've got here or on my way.


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Photo of Jerone
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Hazy brown with a reddish tinge to it, cream colored head that sticks around

S - Citrus hops with some lightly toasted malt, very nice smelling.

T - Wham, citrus hops right off the bat hit you, mostly grapefruit, then mellows to the malt and eventually a bready flavor. Lots of good flavor packed into this beer.

M - Medium mouthfeel with low carbonation, flavor sticks in your mouth for a while, very nice.

O - Beautifully crafted beer. Maybe slightly less hops with a touch more of the bready flavor would have made it epic to my taste buds.

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Photo of gothedistance
4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: medium red/brown in color, small head that fades relatively quickly. The lacing is rather thick and well-defined.

S: One of the best beers I have ever smalled. It's layers of flowers and tropical fruits. Intense and aromatic. I know my bottle isn't super fresh either so this is outstanding.

T: Delicious. A tad hoppier than I expected, this red ale is really complex

M: Mouthcoating, hits all of the sensory areas of your mouth. It even has a long finish. Impressive!

Overall one of the best red ales I have ever had. Cheers!

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- Amber body with a sticky tan head that leaves a ton of lacing. Transparent body, simple and good looking.

S- Big, juicy hop aroma that has grapefruit and herbal notes. Caramel malt sneaks in to provide a slightly malty aroma.

T- More of the herbal hop flavors come through, along with the grapefruit flavor. Caramel backbone provides a smooth and balanced finish.

M- Medium bodied with full flavor and medium carbonation.

O- Very good hoppy amber. Hops shine, but the flavor is balanced.

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Photo of MichPaul
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired this in a trade a while back and just hadn't tried it till now. Not too old with a May 3 2012 bottle date.
This pours a very cloudy deep brown color. Mine didn't have much of a head to speak of at all, and no lacing seems to remain on the glass while drinking.
I see some raving about the aroma of this beer, but mine didn't have much too it unfortunately.
The taste made up for the lack of smell. I liked the surprising bitterness of this beer. I guess I don't know the style that well, but it wasn't expected from this. Nice bitterness, medium carbonation. This beer is kinda piney but has a good sweetness to balance it out.
Overall, I truly enjoyed this beer! If it was available in my area, I think I would revisit time and time again.

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Photo of Danny1217
4.6/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber color with a red hue. A small foamy head. Excellent lacing.
Smells of hops, citrus fruits, and dare I say... guava. Big tropical fruit aroma. I love the smell so much. I want to bathe in it.
The taste is almost as good as the smell. Lots of citrus and tropical flavors with a bit of a caramel sweet malty flavor. A nice crisp, dry finish similar to an IPA. Good carbonation and medium body.
Once again Cigar City brewing makes me happy to live in Florida. Unfortunately, even in Florida, this beer isn't available as often as I would like, because I would like to be drinking this all the time. This is the best American red ale available, and my favorite of Cigar City's year round beers.

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Photo of JohnQVD
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark red with a thick, foamy head that dissipates slowly leaving little behind on the glass. Smell is grapefruit with a touch of pine. Taste is caramel and citrus. The finish is dry and bitter with a light, lingering sweetness. Feel is fairly thick and chewy with light, effervescent carbonation.

Overall, this is a very good red ale. It's hoppy, but still with prominent maltiness.

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Photo of jegross2
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing the 2012 release of Tocobaga Red Ale from Cigar City Brewing out of Florida. Cigar City is likely best known for their infamous Hunahpuh's Imperial Stout, but they have plenty of standout beers (especially the Apple Brandy Zhukov). I had a glass of this at Dark Lord Day and enjoyed it thoroughly, so I am glad to finally get a bottle to review. I think Cigar City is planning to can this beer soon.
Score: 92

No bottle date, which is never a good sign for a hoppy beer. I received this beer from a friend (thank you Robbie!) last week, and he received it via trade from Florida earlier in the week. Served in a snifter glass and enjoyed on 05/28/12.

Appearance: Pours a deep and opaque amber, almost mahogany-like, color. Fades from a reddish yellow color at the top of the glass to a ruby red at the bottom when held up to light. A thin layer of fizzy off-white head at pour quickly dissipates into a pencil thin ring around the glass. Slight below average lacing, but good retention. 4/5

Smell: Hoppy and citrus-y caramel, grapefruit and candied orange malt. Some fruity berry, bready grain and a little bit of earthy IPA-like onion aroma too. A touch of warm alcohol. 4/5

Taste: Drinks just like it smells, but smoother, more incorporated and a bit less intense. There's citrus and caramel upfront with the earthy/oniony hops and a mild "toasted grain" flavor in the finish/linger. Very oily, with some lemon, bready grain and modest toffee flavor in the middle. As the beer layers, more of the lemon flavor lasts towards the finish. No alcohol flavor or booziness whatsoever; this beer is quite drinkable. There's a nondescript "butteriness" to the midpalate flavor; I cannot put my finger on what that butteriness is, but it seems quite familiar. Very pleasant. Only slightly fruity/floral upfront, but that yields to the earthy hoppiness towards the finish. Residual lemon and bready grain aftertaste. This beer is not what I would at all call sweet, but it's a nice mix of the bitter and the malty. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium-plus carbonation that perks the earthy hops and citrus flavors on the tongue. Oily mouthfeel. Bitter and malty finish, but not overly so on either account. 4.5/5

Overall: Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the style generally, Tocobaga Red Ale is a standout beer on par with Maine Beer Company's Zoe.

Recommendation: Given it's smooth flavor and not overly hoppy approach, I think this beer would make an excellent gateway to hoppy brews for the casual beer drinkers. Beer geeks are encouraged to seek this one out as well.

Pairings: Oyster Gratinee (per a Cigar City food pairing dinner).

Cost: $12 for a six pack.

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Photo of croixian1
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Truly delightful beer! Reminds me why I quit drinking 'Shareholder Beer' like Bud and Miller. Nice carbonation that lingers in the mouth, intensifying the hopy bitterness.
The really wonderful surprise, however, is the most wonderful toasted-cherry-like aftertaste, even though this is not a fruit-flavored brew. This sweetish aftertaste and the bitter hops are perfectly balanced. Fantastic beer!

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

A: Deep reddish brown in color. Thin white head, about 1/2 finger's worth. Significant visible carbonation bubbles. Even with the deep color, it's nearly clear.

S: Citrus hop, sweet malts. A bit muted overall.

T: Pine and citrus hops up front. Fades to a caramel sweetness in the middle. Hop bitterness at the end, and there is just a bit of hang with it. The alcohol is noticeable near the swallow.

M: Really nice here. A body that's somewhat heavier than an IPA, and very smooth for the style to almost creamy in the middle. Good amount of carbonation sensation.

O: Don't know that it's my favorite style, but this is a quality beer. Personal preference would be a little heavier with the hops. The only complaint I have is the alcohol presence seems a little heavy given it's (relatively) tame ABV.

EDIT: I've updated the ratings to reflect a fresh bottle I had from a recent batch. The comparison is nearly non-existant. Much hoppier, more citrus character and the malt is less sticky sweet. Also (or perhaps as a result), the alcohol presence is significantly decreased. Much improved.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.34/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Opened on 5.16.12.

A - A very cloudy, dark amber body with a small yellow-tan head. Decent Retention.

S - Sweet fruity malt, almost cherry-like, some hops.

T - Bitter dark fruit, mostly raisin up-front, then some sweet bready malt.

D - Medium carbonation and body. A bitter bite that lingers.

O - Smelled really nice, but taste didn't quite deliver for me.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle. Reviewed from some old notes.

Appearance - Deep red body. Quite dark for an amber/red. Nice off-white head and excellent retention and lacing.

Smell - Pine hops with a touch of citrus. Nice malt backbone of caramel and a touch of cinnamon spice.

Taste - Piney hops up front and immediately creamy. Nice and malty with some cinnamon spice. A good bitter finish keeps it in the amber range.

Mouthfeel - Creamy and a little heavy. Ok, it's really heavy.

Overall - Very nice flavors without anything being particularly standout. Good stuff.

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Photo of 4thelvofbeer
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really impressed with this beer. Outstanding Amber/Red Ale from CCB here. Compliments of zac16125, a bonus in our trade...thanks!!!

This is my first CCB beer and it is great! Opened and enjoyed on 15 May 2012...drinking it right now. Notes follow:

A: Brown, copper, muted bronze in color with a nice clean reddish-hued head

S: Big caramel nose, citrus notes...

T: Toasted caramel with a sweet and bitter mix of sugar and sweetness with a nice dry hoppy finish...a really complex beer....really nice!

M: Smooth; finishes nice

O: Impressed by this beer, really nice. Leaves me with a really good look on CCB beers. Can't wait to try some more!

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Photo of zac16125
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
Born on date of Jan 2012

A: Pours a hazy dark amber brown with 1 fingers width of khaki colored head,  which hangs around for a while.  Leaves only a faint hint of spotty lacing.

S: Citrusy hops with some orange and lemon zest, a hint of peach.  Caramel malts, candied sugar.  

T: Nice balance of hops and malt from the beginning. Lots of citrus hops with flavors of peach, lemon, and orange rind.  A significant piney hop bitterness on the backend. A firm malt backbone is present, which brings a sweetness to balance out the hops.  A pretty tasty and well balanced offering.  I love the citrus characters.

M/D: Medium body, appropriate carbonation, high drinkability with a well restrained ABV.

O: Overall, a very god example of the style.  Really tasty, with good drinkability.  Suprisingly sessionable considering the ABV.  I recommend. 4

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Photo of stakem
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a matching cigar city snifter. Big thanks go to sendsilk for the opportunity to try this brew. It appears a hazed burnt copper with a hue to it that is more of a brownish-red. A tan cap swells just shy of a finger strong and fades back to a thin lacing atop. Rising bubbles of carbonation maintain a ring around the perimeter.

The aroma is very hoppy with a fruity and floral scent. Quite a bit of alcohol is noted that draws more focus into the fruity aspects of the aroma that are at this point a bit more rindy smelling. The grain is present with a caramel to toffee inclusion that provides enough sweetness to really play nice with the fruity and floral aspects of the hops. Everything about this aroma is quite nice.

The taste is just what you would expect based off of the aroma. A big hop punch of flavors and bitterness open up with fruity rind quality, pulp and a floral element. The alcohol inclusion is noticed immediately with an accenting fruity ester that compliments the hops nicely. The backend is all about the malt which is caramel to toffee flavored and produces enough sweetness to really round this brew out nicely.

This is medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. My immediate reaction to this brew based on the nose and secondly confirmed by the taste was that this is Florida's answer to Nugget Nectar. Fans of hoppy reds or imperial reds will really enjoy this. Nicely done cigar city, I would enjoy more of this!

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Tocobaga Red Ale from Cigar City Brewing
92 out of 100 based on 218 ratings.