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Or - Cigar City Brewing

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

171 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 171
Reviews: 103
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.27%
Wants: 23
Gots: 31 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing visit their website
Florida, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  11.20% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: CampusCrew on 11-12-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 171 | Reviews: 103
Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.33/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Shared a bottle of this last night with drabmuh, thanks Matt!

A: Black color with brown on the rims, nice tan full head with excellent lacing and retention. Excellent

S: Hoppy clean dark malt scent. I can definitely tell it was aged in cedar, it comes off well. Very earthy outdoorsy smells.

T: Smoky overall like drinking burning wood. Meaty bacon mixed with citrusy hops and malty bitters. Salty as well with a sweet edge of honey. Grapefruit hops come through strongly in this. There are just so many flavors all at once, I am quoting Matt but everytime you smell or taste this something else comes through.

M: Creamy and the carbonation is excellent. Smoky and very well done.

D: This seems like an IPA mixed with a rauchbeer, very tasty but hard to drink a lot of. The half bottle I got was plenty! Nice work from Cigar city once again.

Photo of drabmuh
3.85/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Bruery tulip. Beer is black with a nice off white to tan head of small and medium bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Carbonation low.

Aroma is complex, a little smoky, very woodsy, grapefruit hoppy, mildly malty sweet. Lots going on here, it seems that every time I smell it I get something different than the last time. With so many big aromas in here, they tend to clash and fight for dominance.

The taste is the same, well first its medium in body and mildly carbonated on the palate. Second, the palate is so crammed with flavors from hops, to wood / cedar, to a little smoke, I can't make a lot of sense from this beer. THERE IS A LOT GOING ON HERE! Every time I take a sip I think something different. For example, strong grapefruit in the first sip, second sip I get a lot of dryness and some smoke, third sip...I get sweetness medium body moderate finish. This beer is all over the map. I don't know what to think of it....I'm confused!

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

12oz bottle, the second half of the Either/Or combination graciously sent to me by BA'er (and new homeowner!) Infestaxtion. Thanks!

Served in a Stone Levitation glass...

A - pours with over an inch of rich, creamy, thick khaki colored foam. the beer is just about pitch black in color. a thin, yet sticky and filmy wall of lace eats up most of the free space on the glass going down.

S - a nice, pungent and bold bright citrusy hop aroma fills the room during the pour. from the glass, the hops remain fairly strong, supplanted now by some rich roasted, yet not charred malt, toasted nuts, and bits of milk chocolate.

T - huge flavors, all around. massive hop bitterness immediately strikes and takes no prisoners...bringing a hefty amount of bitter grapefruit, and massively earth and pine alone. roasty, charred malts struggle to get noticed alongside bits of chocolate, rum-like booze, and woody cedar. only a slight bit of metal and grains which often show up in a beer this big.

M - medium, creamy and slightly syrupy body in spite of a healthy dose of tingly carbonation. bittering throughout, yet finishes quite crisp and "clean". long, lingering earthy bitterness and lingering roast which is closed up nicely by a quick alcohol burn.

D - extremely well done al around, perhaps my only qualm is that everything in here is just overdone a tad. wonderful on the eyes, nose, and mouth. this is head and shoulders above "Either". this goes down so well, almost too well for its high ABV. warming me up on this snowy night!

Photo of Patrick999
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I sit here desperately clinging to the hope that I'll like Or a hell of a lot more than I liked Either. My love/hate relationship with CCB's beers is perplexing, but I HATED Either. I gave it a C+ and that was really too generous, I think. Let's see about Or:

It looks good. Poured into a small CCB snifter. Thin foam, looks dark but not that crazy dark when held up to the light.

I love the aroma when the beer is really cold, I get that nice green, weedy hop aroma. It's still there as the beer warms, but I feel the need to deduct a half point because it starts smelling a bit boozy as it opens up, closer to what I did not like about Either. Still good, though.

OK. Now this is just a much better beer, in my opinion. Big hops and caramel with the occasional hint of smoke. No annoying mint/menthol taste. And further, it hides the considerable alcohol quite well.

It does feel like the big beer that it is. Full, slightly syrupy but not in a sweet way.

Still a big beer, but I think it's much better than Either.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.31/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Hill Farmstead wine glass.

Pours near black with a finger-and-a-half of light mocha head and some pretty good lacing as it goes down. Nice retention with some sticking power that's greater than what I found in the Either without a hard swirl. The nose is a bit hoppier than Either, with some citrus notes coming through as well as earth. The earthiness of this is quite prominent alongside a bit of roast.

The flavor starts out with some citrus hops and a bit of tangerine peel. After that comes a touch of light sweetness as well as some roast. A pretty good amount of booze is here as well, though not nearly as much as in Either. Medium body and not quite as creamy as Either, though the lack of alcohol dominance is nice. There are some hops in the finish, which is fairly dry. This is pretty decent and more drinkable right now than the Either, but neither one really stands up to what I would expect from these breweries.

Photo of glid02
4.17/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Proof in Tallahassee, FL.

Pours black with a one-finger brown head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sticky pine hops with good amounts of herbal hop aromas backing it up. Also present are moderate amounts of slightly roasted malts and lighter amounts of sweet caramel malts.

Tastes similar to how it smells although the hops are toned down just a bit. Smooth roasted malts with good amounts of sweeter caramel malt flavors kick things off. Joining in shortly thereafter are huge amounts of pine hops backed by equal amounts of herbal and citrus flavors. Midway through the sip the malt reasserts itself, carrying through to a solidly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a smooth thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I was a pretty big fan of this beer but unlike many other CDAs I've had this beer straddled the line of stout and DIPA, in my opinion to it's detriment. Still, it's a big beer that's worth trying if you see it around.

Photo of bonkers
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a SA perfect pint glass. The pour is jet black, no highlights, 1 inch white head. Hints of cedar and pine in the aroma. This is definitely hoppier than either, pine, grapefruit and hints of cedar for the taste. It has a pleasant sweet pine finish. Medium in body, nice carbonation, high ABV well hidden, not as thick as either. I liked this one, more of a cascadian ale.

Photo of stimulus
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.
Tasted side by side with Either.

A: Pours pitch black with a one finger tan head.
S: Very, very hoppy, and the cedar notes come up a bit later.
T: Again, a LOT of hops, more of the Spanish cedar, and finally a bitter coffee finish.
M: Medium carbonation, medium to heavy body, a bit viscous.
D: Light alcohol burn, certainly a sipper like Either. More like an Imperial Black IPA, where Either is like a stout.

Photo of iheartmanatees
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shaun Hill handed the pair of bottles to me. He encouraged no refrigeration, to enjoy them at room temperature. Who do you take me for Mr. Hill? 15$ for the pair.

A vigorous pour into a snifter produced a half-inch dark tan head. This beer was one shade lighter than black.

Scents of very dark roasted malts creep out. Dark chocolate. Herbal and Floral hops mix with warm alcohol.

Tastes of big and dark roasty malts. Herbal and fresh hops, like fresh cut grass. Cedar and warm alcohol are prevalent. A slight sweetness pokes in here and there. It's like a forrest. A lot going on.

This is a smooth beer with medium carbonation. Dry.

This sucker is a sipper. The hops and alcohol can wreck the taste buds, so don't have anything new after this.

This is a great beer for special occasions, or for turning a normal night into a special occasion.

Photo of sisuspeed
4.35/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Or pours a slick black with a thin tan head that eventually reduces to a thin ring of foam. Leaves some nice lacing on the glass.

Grassy, hoppy, cedar on the nose. The overall aroma seems lightly toasted with the raw grains coming through in an almost earthy/toasty presence. Further swirling brings out some aromatic honey notes and bread. Almost reminds me of whole grain toast with honey and hops.

The first thing that really stands out in the taste is the cedar. I believe this is the first beer I've ever had that has rested on cedar for some time. Reminds me briefly of Palo Santo Marron, which obviously uses a different wood, but still deviates from the typical oak barrel. Beyond the wood there is a nice hop presence up front that is both grassy and a bit earthy; even throws in a hint of grapefruit. However, the hops eventually give way to sweet, almost syrupy (honey), dark chocolate malts. Cedar maintains throughout the entire flavor profile.

Mouthfeel is smooth, robust and almost creamy. I really like the weight of this beer as it starts to blur the line between IPAs and imperial stouts. Some warming alcohol lingers, but not as strong as I would have thought.

Drinkability is good. I'm really enjoying the bottle in front of me and look forward to comparing it to Either. I'd call this a sipper, but it's going down really fast. The 12 oz bottle seems like the perfect size for this brew. I'd love to see some more Hill Farmstead / Cigar City collaborations like this.

Photo of abuliarose
4.84/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a Hill Farmstead tasting glass, revealing opaque black body under a barely-there crema head. The body is promising for a black IPA. Smells deliciously hoppy and roasted with an effervescent floral presence and something spicy and smoky that I can't put my finger on... maybe the cedar? Aside from going out into the forest and sniffing cut trees I don't know if I can solve this one. Smells good though.

Tastes exceptionally creamy and bittersweet with just the right amount of sweetness to balance the "copious amounts of hops" advertised on the bottle. Nice citrus rind presence, slight roast-iness and coffee-like acidity. I can't think of a black IPA that I've had with this level of sweetness but it is still well-balanced and the wood adds a certain mellow funkiness to the flavor which I absolutely love. I've also never had a black IPA with this much body to it, very coat-your-mouth silky. Mouthfeel is creamy with gentle carbonation. Very drinkable, alcohol extremely well-hidden.

I don't know about the definition of "black IPA" except that it's supposed to be black and supposed to be bitter. Hopefully we get more of them out there like this bottle.

Photo of CrellMoset
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle from the fine folks at Kingdom Spirits in Brandon, FL. Poured in to a tulip.

Appearance: Very similar to the "Either" I enjoyed before. Hell, I can practically copy the appearance portion. Don't mind if I do. Pours a nearly jet ebony, pitch at the center and only faintly lighter - approaching a heavily burned sepia - around the very outer edges. The most magnificent aspect of this beer's appearance is the head, a finger and a half of dense, creamy, sticky, whipped topping, regal in consistency and amazing in retention. It manages to last quite some time, and even after it's faded in to oblivion (and it does fade in to near oblivion, leaving only a faint swirl of dusting on the surface of this one), it leaves a nicely uniform collar and a surprising amount of sticky side lacing, glittery and runny in some places but finely proportioned and splotchy in others.

Aroma: Toasty bittersweet chocolate dominates the malt aspects of the nose - particularly as it warms, which is how I'm finally getting around to reviewing it (aroma is always what I review last, for some reason) - and it blends fairly well with a slew of herbal, green, spicy wooden notes. The spruce is definitely here in full force, and any alcohol notes are covered up by all the spicy pineyness until this one reaches near room temperature.

Taste: An entirely different taste than the "Either," impressively different in fact. Much greener, much sprucier, with a huge spicy, minty, crisp, and refreshing flavor profile than the "Either." The base beer is still here, but it's a little less sweet, with less of the honey used or at least shining through. It's still toasty, with bittersweet chocolate (more bittersweet this time than bittersweet/milky, as the honey is less apparent), faint coffee, and a few notes of earth. The bitterness is also more subdued, though, which is nice - the malt base (lacking the sweetness in "Either") would have been totally dominated if the bitterness wasn't also a little more subdued than this beer's partner was. However, this beer makes up for the subdued bitterness with a slew of hop notes and woody, spruce-y, cedar-y notes. Like juniper berries or spruce tips, the green, spicy, leafy, herbal quality permeates every aspect of this beer's flavor profile, masking a lot of the astringent, acidic bitterness and other distinctly hop-ish herbal notes of the hop schedule, any astringencies in the malt base,

Mouthfeel: Thinner than "Either," probably as a result of less residual sugar in the body. It's not unpleasant, just a little more eruptive and bubbly, enhancing the herbal qualities and spiciness of the flavor profile.

Drinkability: More unique than "Either," but not quite as good, and a little more one dimensional. That's not to say it's a bad beer - it's not, at all, and I rather like it - just that it's not quite up on the level that its partner was. The alcohol is again high and again undetectable - both beers did an expert job of being flavorful enough in the right ways to mask any hint of ethanol. I'm impressed enough with what Cigar City did by making two beers with essentially the same ingredients that I can almost overlook this beer's faults ... but if you asked me which one I'd want them to turn in to a regular release (and I do want them to turn one of these in to a regular release) ... it would be the "Either."

Photo of SFLpunk
4.31/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

"Acquired" from grassrootsVT as part of a set with EITHER. Tasted side by side. 12oz pry-top brown glass bottle. No date.

Pours a thick viscous black with some creamy dark tan head that stays longer than OR and is also darker in color. Leaves no lacing.

Nose: Dark and angry bitter chocolate notes, dusty hop flowers (dried), sticky weed. Dry dry dry and roasty smelling compared to the slick-smelling EITHER.

Palate: Palate is lighter and a little more "lifted" feeling. Cedar is not as aggressive as in OR and the body is a little lighter (a good thing). Wet, juicy, pot-like hops ooze throughout the palate and are supported by the spicy, peppery cedar. Carbonation is creamy, true to form with Shaun Hill's beers and keeps the palate from becoming cloying.

Notes: Appearance is better on this one. Aroma is more muted than "Either" but the palate is far superior! Much more bitter (from the hops) than "Either" and is more lively both in terms of carbonation and flavor. "Or" seems to have a little less extraction of the malt and therefore allows the individual components to shine through a little more instead of getting mucked up together. The texture is perfect and the finish is elegant. The winner by far!

Photo of youbrewidrink
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had the Either/Or side by side.

They both appeared almost black in color.

The aroma of the Or was a pleasant hop aroma with a subtle cedar note.Much more pleasing to my nose than the Either.

The taste pretty much mimicked the aroma. The Or had a smooth hop profile and the cedar was present almost like spruce tips as a bittering agent unlike the Either where the cedar was overpowering and made the alcohol bitter instead of warming.

The mouthfeel of the Or was smoother and the alcohol less forward. This also contributed to the drinkability.

It's hard to believe that the ingredients for these two were basically the same. The Or wins out for me.

Photo of nick76
3.33/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The appearance is so dark it's almost black but it's still brown. The head is tan. The aroma is very toasted to the point of being burnt and a tin bit sweet with molasses and hops. The taste is like the aroma. The palate is sooth but not thick. Overall this is not any better than the either but the two blended are better.

4.21/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From bottle to wine glass, poured side by side with "Either." "Or" is part 2 of 2 in the collaboration between Cigar City, Grassroots Brewing (Denmark) & Hill Farmstead. Both beers are brewed at CCB.

$10.75 for the 12oz bottle.

A: Half of a finger of medium-dark brown head is produced on the pour and fizzes out rather quickly. The body is the darkest brown imaginable with tawny tints along the top edges of the glass. Moderate lacing.

S: Or is the older brother to Either, it's more heavily roasted, has a noticeably bigger hop bill and a stronger presence of Spanish Cedar. Heavily malted with notes of molasses and pumpernickel bread. The hop bill is enormous with a fresh pine wood scent mixed in with other citrusy notes. It seems that, what would normally be considered huge hop aromas, are actually just big hop aromas that are being elevated by the toasted Spanish cedar, something that Cigar City does very well. The more assertive hop, cedar and alcohol in Or combine to form an even stronger acetone character than was in Either. Newer leather and danker earth in part 2.

T: From nose to mouth, Or is relatively consistent. The cedar and hops remain at the front while not exactly pushing the malts out of the way. Flavors of tar and sasparilla add to the appeal. The monstrous ABV is integrated rather than concealed. General sweetness is evident, but I think it is more of a result of the fermentable sugars than the Ty Ty honey* which, in my mind, has a greater impact on the mouthfeel than anything else.

M: Or is more abrasive than it's counterpart, partly due to it's livlier, fizzier effervescence. The body is medium full, slick and sticky. A big hop bitterness comes through at the finish which is more than likely accentuated by the dryness that the honey provides.

D: Above average drinkability, all things considered. An inventive, very bold and assertive brew with an addictive nose and great flavor. I didn't have any trouble finishing the 24 ounce side by side for comparison's sake. Both beers are fantastic, but I think Or is the better beer.

*Ty Ty honey comes from a native American chestnut tree that is said to produce large, honey sweet kernels of unparalleled taste and quality.

Photo of Shaw
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewery.

This is a monster of a beer. It's black like a stout but with a hoppy aroma.

The flavor is boozy with notes of cedar, but the wood notes are kept in the background by the malt and alcohol flavors. There are also big notes of hops in this brew, more than its brother, Either.

Glassy body, but what else would you expect from a beer that's 11.2 percent?

This is a special brew to be enjoyed slowly and in moderation. I don't think it really fits into any style -- not that that matters.

I liked this better than Either (by a hair and not enough to rate differently) because it was even hoppier.

Seek this one out. It's expensive, but worth trying.

Photo of Lerxst
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a dark brown with a half inch mocha colored head that faded fairly quickly and left spots of lace.

S-Strong earthy/grassy hops, a touch smoky and woody.

T-The earthy/grassy hop attack on the senses continues here all the way through from front to back. The smoky/woody attributes from the nose also come through here along with hints of dark chocolate and roasted malt.

M-Medium body and carbonation. Dry finish.

D-Its another sipper, but it goes down easily.

I liked this beer. Solid 4's across the board. But, if I had to choose between "Either" or "Or" I'd take "Either."

Photo of strangefate
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had alongside a bottle of Either.

Pours pitch black with a one finger tan head with nice sticky lacing.

The scent is very prominently of floral hops with a bready malt behind it.

The taste is very hoppy, but of the floral variety more-so than Either - that is to say that there isn't much citrus present from the hops as there is with Either. Following the hops is a roasted woody malt from the cedar-aging.

This is a medium-carbonated, medium-bodied, silky smooth, dry brew.

As I said, I had this alongside Either, which I preferred. They are both great - probably the two best Black IPAs I've ever had.

Photo of babaracas
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Head to head of Either and Or, will try to keep this mostly about Or.

Pours a pitch black with one finger faded khaki colored head, better retention and generally looks more carbonated than Either, but eventually fading to a thin layer and leaving the same wispy rings of lace.

Smell: pungent hops - more earthy and green than Either, toasty with a little cocoa, and with seemingly way more cedar character.

Taste: caramel fading into dark chocolate with a slight burnt flavor, grapefruity and green. Cedar, seemingly a little more yeast character than Either but could be my imagination. Here's some personalization - just burped - tasted like hoppy mushrooms (no, didn't eat any of those today).

Mouthfeel: fullish bodied but the carbonation boost vs. Either makes it more creamy than syrupy.

This one leaned more towards a typical Black (D)IPA, but with cedar. Good, but not my favorite of the pair.

Photo of CampusCrew
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ok... sometimes styles get hard to describe. This one is hard. but I spoke with Joey Redner and he said Black IPA would be close. I guess imperial Black IPA..

Nice beer. honey does not stand out in either beer but the "or" beer is a little sweeter. Both are very hoppy and I think he said the "or" beer uses the hop extract where the neither doesn't. Both beers are made to the same style but have different ingriedents and intrepretations. Well.. .whatever the story is CC hits another homerun. I prefer the either a little I just enjoy the hop flavor a little better

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Or from Cigar City Brewing
91 out of 100 based on 171 ratings.