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Hillsborough River Dry Irish Stout (Patio Tools) - Cigar City Brewing

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Hillsborough River Dry Irish Stout (Patio Tools)
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very good

41 Reviews
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Reviews: 41
Hads: 138
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 19
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing visit their website
Florida, United States

Style | ABV
Irish Dry Stout |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Chaney on 07-15-2011

Pours black in color with coffee and very light cocoa notes. Hillsborough River is brewed with roasted barley which contributes forward coffee notes with small notes of cocoa and toffee in the flavor.

35 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 41 | Hads: 138
Photo of JohnQVD
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the brewery and brought a growler home.

Appearance is very dark, with an almost nut-brown head. Poured with a one-finger head which dissipated somewhat quickly. It has a light caramel smell. Mouthfeel is light, but not insubstantial with bright carbonation. The taste is dry and moderately bitter, with notes of coffee, chocolate, tobacco and hazelnut. Very drinkable.

(Original review posted 3/15/2011 when it was still called Patio Tools.)

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Photo of shand
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the CCB taproom.

This brew pours a black color, with a mocha head and some nice sticky lacing. The aroma is quite complex for the style, nodding a little closer to an American Stout. Roastiness and coffee flavors are front and center, but there's some chocolate and a subtle spicing that set this apart. The taste is quite good, the coffee and roastiness work their way to the front, supported all the way by the spices and subtle chocolate.

The mouthfeel is fairly full bodied for an Irish Dry, and has the excellent drying on the end that's the hallmark of the style. The drinkability suffers just a little bit for an Irish Dry, for something that's usually a bit lighter bodied and easier to drink. Don't get me wrong, it's still a very drinkable beer, but it doesn't go down as fast as some in the style. A very good beer that I'm excited to see bottled.

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Photo of tpd975
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at CCB tap room.

A: Pours dark black with a tall tan head. Excellent retention and lace.

S: Lots of roasted malt, chocolate, dark coffee, and smoke.

T: Deep roasted flavor. Lots of roasted malt with a hint of char. Dark dark coffee, mild chocolate malt, and caramel. Mildly earthy with a hint of molasses.

M: Medium in body, smooth, lightly dry finish.

D: Excellent. Damn fine stout, homerun when compared to other stouts of the same style.

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Photo of nickd717
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Growler via trade thanks to Sebletitje, called "Patio Tools" at the time. CCB growlers don't seem to hold up too well when shipped, but this one was very good and well-carbonated.

Pours pretty much black, but not too thick, with a small tan head that lasts.

Aroma is very nice - roast and coffee dominate, and there is also an earthy aspect as well as a hint of chocolate.

Flavor is also mainly charcoal-like roast and coffee. The dark chocolate asserts itself more here, and there is definite earthiness and even a little wet dog (that's a new one, huh?). Wet dog is one of my favorite beer flavors. A little anise as well.

Very dry on the palate with lasting drying from the roast. Finishes cleanly, and has medium body.

Overall, this is just excellent for a style that often isn't that exciting. Supremely drinkable. This probably won't surprise most of you, but I had this next to a Guinness and it was not even close! The Guinness was way sweeter and less dry, more watery, and just less flavorful in general. Goes to show how good this beer is for the style.

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Photo of nickfl
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Pours with a one finger head of tan foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head settles rapidly but leaves very nice rings of lace on the glass as I drink.

S - An aroma of chocolate and dark caramel with a hint of roasty coffee and some licorice in the background.

T - Dry, roasted malt notes with a bit of dark, bitter chocolate. Some spicy, Turkish coffee comes through in the middle with a bit of clove and licorice. The beer finishes with lots of powdery, unsweetened cocoa and burnt caramel as well as a hint of smoke. There is lots of malt bitterness lingering in the aftertaste with perhaps a hint of pine hop flavor peeking out from behind.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a very dry finish.

D - Very nice, this is a really interesting alternative to the traditional black brew of St. Patrick's day. It has all of the roasted dryness expected of a traditional Irish stout, but it has so much more depth and complexity. The spicy notes of coffee and clove that I taste are something much more interesting that you would ever expect to find in an actual Irish stout, while the notes of chocolate are such a break from tradition that they almost seem out of place but end up being a very welcome addition. Despite being served on CO2, the beer finishes with a dryness that is every bit as profound as the classic examples of the style, and it effortlessly presents a thick, silky body that those beers need nitrogen to develop. A really nice dry stout and proof that Cigar City can turn out complex, excellent beer without having to do anything "extreme".

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Photo of AdamBear
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've come across this three times in three different places in Florida. This time, I found it on nitro-tap.

A-completely black with a nice creamy dark tan head with some lacing. perfect.

S-smells like fresh ground coffee.very good strength

T-slowly hits with a good strong taste of fresh ground coffee. the tastes last and forms a great semi-bitter after-taste. This isn't a complex beer, but the flavors are very strong and thorough. It lacks any negative tastes.

M-medium creamy carbonation with a dry finish

O-this is an impressive and fair example of the style. i've had this a few times and every time I am satisfied. its a much more versatile stout that most. a lot of flavor from the ABV.

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Photo of da_beers
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Cigar City Brewing Brew Pub - on-tap

A - stars out beautiful with the nitro. Settles to perfectly balck with finger of tan, silky head.

S - roasty malts and chocolate. Some disntant espresso. Sweet and bitter both hit the nose. Awesome here.

T - silky chocolate and espresso both hit the palate so smoothly. Bitterness is balanced so nicely with sweetness.

M - where do I start. Silky. Smooth. Velvety. Drinkable is an understatement. Awesome.

O - man this is killer. Dry Irish Stouts aren't usually knocking my socks off, but this absolutely does.

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Photo of mondegreen
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

32oz Growler into a CCB snifter.

Pours a deep brown with a short lived head. Leaves pretty good lacing.

Really nice roasty nose. This beer is to roast what a single IPA is to hops. Simple, but elegant.

Taste is bitter roasted grains. Elements of coffe and bitter chocolate peek through a light body. Very drinkable, a really nice traditional style from CCB.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler generously gifted by Chaney. Thanks Brandon!

The beer is dark brown, nearing black. The head is thick and beige and leaves some random lacing on the snifter. The aroma offers dark fruit, smoke, and roast. The flavor is quite nice. Eight ounces down, this is likely the best Irish stout I have yet had. Light bodied and easy drinking, with spot on carbonation. I would definitely drink this again.

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Photo of brentk56
4.31/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Has the Guinness appearance you would expect from a nitro tap and leaves plenty of lacing behind

Smell: Roasted black bread, vanilla and a hint of coffee

Taste: Roasted black bread, up front, with the vanilla and a bit of burnt brown sugar in the middle; dries out, after the swallow, with a bit of bitterness in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Very nice dry stout and I love the pun

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Photo of jucifer1818
4.31/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

a: dark brown, and what can I say. Its to style

s: Light chocolate smells, but to be honest, their isn't much here. nothing bad, but it really needs more aroma.

t: Where this beer shines. Light milk chocolate in flavor, slight earthyness (from the nitro), and a immense creamyness that makes it taste more like a oatmeal.sweet/milk stout vs a Irish stout. The hops only shine through in the after taste, giving it a nice dry roasty/bitter flavor in the after taste. Its fair to say I thought that this brew was fantastic.

m: Slick, creamy, mellow, and highly drinkable

Overall: I thought that this was a fantastic brew. Very slick and easy to drink, with exactly the flavors I wanted. Not exactly a traditional Irish stout, but for what it is, I highly recommend it (at least on nitro).

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Photo of Chaney
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at Cigar City. Everyone around me truly enjoyed this beer.... even my wife, who normally hates the stuff.

A: Abysmally dark, with a very frothy, nitro tap-esque head that stuck around to see the freezing of hell. Mild cobweb lacing.

S: Straight up licorice, with a bit of chocolate birthday cake icing, and followed up by Cigar City's signature tree bark profile.

T: Yep, the Cigar City ashes were particularly present in this one, but I welcomed that. This is one of the driest stouts I've ever tasted. Seriously!

M: Thick, creamy, with a tinge of prune-like sweetness that just kept it in the "man candy" realm.

O: One of the strangest, and tastiest Irish stouts I've had in a long time. Also, it has the added benefit of being a style that is truly a guilty pleasure of mine.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.42/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at The Local Miami. Served in a Guinness tapered pint glass.

A- Pours a perfectly opaque black color with a 1/2 inch tan head that stays and stays before eventually diminishing to a 1/4 inch head. Thick, fluffy resilient lacing.

S- Very nice milk chocolatey caramel aroma with a hint of mocha.

T- Incredibly smooth flavor reminiscent of a chocolate milkshake due to the nitrogen. Minimal bitterness although there is some on the tail end. The taste ends up being quite neutral, but let's just call it balanced and super drinkable.

M- The creme de la creme...literally. So creamy and soft it's sublime. Semi-robust body.

O- I'm such a sucker for stouts on nitro pour so my rating is a bit overly generous. Still, this is a fantastic beer and I highly recommend it, nitro pour or normal.

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Photo of d1ckvanswype
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Quick review scribbled at the bar, didn't know this was going to be around, they tapped out on Cigar City's Minaret right when I ordered it so this was the replacement, and what a replacement!

A: Jet black, thick, rich tan head that lasts and lasts and lasts.

S: Roasty malts, coffee.

T: YUM. Imagine having a bowl of Chocolate Rice Krispies, and instead of milk you used cold brew coffee with a touch of cream. Pretty much exactly there.

M: Super creamy, rich, a little chewy, with a deliciously welcome coffeelike astringency. Amazing, I just wish it was a TINY bit fuller, it should feel like I would get a tired jaw from chewing on this beer.

O: Easily one of the finest nitro beers I've had, one of the best Irish dry stouts, beats the everloving shit out of Guinness, I want this beer to be available year round, across the planet so people can use this as a marker for the style.

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Photo of kbutler1
4.55/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this on tap in Cigar City's newly constructed bar area. Tried on recommendation from some locals that were sitting next to me.
Poured into a pint glass. Pours a nice dark brown with a slight tan, tight head.Smells of coffee and dark roasted malts. The taste is great! It's tough to describe but "tight" come to mind, probably the dryness of it. Also get notes of coffee with a slight smooth hop flavor. Mouthfeel is light to medium. Chalkboard said this was 5.2% abv which was perfect. Love this beer.

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Photo of glid02
4.6/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap. Originally posted under Patio Tools on 5/18/2010 but moved after an incorrect merging.

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

Smells of heavily roasted malt with good amounts of unsweetened chocolate. Also present are hints of char and tobacco.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Robust roasted malt flavors kick things off and are quickly tempered by lightly sweetened dark chocolate. Midway through the sip the flavors dry out a bit with hints of char. Good amounts of tobacco flavors enter into things before a solidly bitter ending.

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

Drinkability is great. I finished my glass very quickly and could have a ton of these, especially at such a relatively low ABV.

Overall this is likely in my top three CCB beers I've had, and that's among some stout company. A very flavorful low ABV stout that's well worth a shot.

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Hillsborough River Dry Irish Stout (Patio Tools) from Cigar City Brewing
89 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.