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Cigar City / Swamp Head Church On A Hill - Cigar City Brewing

Not Rated.
Cigar City / Swamp Head Church On A HillCigar City / Swamp Head Church On A Hill

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

86 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 86
Reviews: 21
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 80
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing visit their website
Florida, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  13.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: MasterSki on 02-09-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 86 | Reviews: 21 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.44/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to JustXBeer for sharing this one at Retsinis' tasting.

Pours a murky dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, toffee, honey, and cardboard aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel and herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with slight oxidized aromas that don't show up in the taste.

UCLABrewN84, Apr 28, 2014
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +0.3%

djrn2, Jun 15, 2013
Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +0.3%

spycow, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

acurtis, Jun 15, 2013
Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Texasfan549, Mar 20, 2013
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +0.3%

kjkinsey, Mar 20, 2013
Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -6%

SocalKicks, Aug 17, 2014
Photo of drabmuh
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer served in a plastic pint glass, beer is brown and hazy with a nice off white / tan head of small bubbles, some lacing low carbonation, looks good.

Aroma is sweet, very malty a little boozy, aggressive, I like the aroma.

Beer is medium to big in body, sweet up front with a nice finish, lots of malt character, a mild smokiness at the end, bitterness from the grain, I'd have it again, better than Churchill.

drabmuh, Mar 26, 2012
Photo of oline73
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into my Hunahpu's snifter.

Appearance: Pours a reddish brown with a layer of off white head that leaves a ring around the pour.

Smell: Just a bit sweet with lots of dark fruit and some caramel malt. I'm getting some hops and then some warm alcohol with each sniff.

Taste: This is not a very sweet beer. I would have expected more given the abv. I am getting some caramel from the malt along with some citrus peel hops. There is an alcohol burn in the finish, but I would still call this one smooth.

Mouthfeel: The body is just a bit syrupy with tingly carbonation and a finish that is a tad dry.

Overall: I could have used just a little more sweetness to counter the bitterness. Overall this is still a nice barleywine and I would have another.

oline73, Jun 20, 2012
Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 03/30/12 notes. Thanks to raveskdr for sharing this one; thanks Chris!

a - Pours a medium reddish brown color with a few tan bubbles, and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sweet dark fruits, oak, caramel malts, toffee, toasted malts, and sugar. Sweet and a lot of fruit but very nice.

t - Tastes of sweet dark fruits, caramel malts, toffee, raisins, figs, sweet alcohol, sugar, toasted malts, bready malts. Tiny bit more alcohol than the nose.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Tiny bit hot.

o - Overall a pretty nice barleywine. A touch hot but considering the ABV not bad at all. Lots of sweet dark fruits, would like to have it again.

mdfb79, Apr 05, 2012
Photo of beernads
4/5  rDev +0.3%

beernads, Feb 07, 2013
Photo of yourefragile
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

yourefragile, Jan 27, 2013
Photo of corby112
2.93/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Draft at the brewer on 3/13/12.

Pours a dark copper, almost brown color with golden amber edges and a two finger yellowish-beige head that quickly settles into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lace left behind.

Sweet, boozy aroma with roasted malt, zesty spice and vinous dark fruit notes. Lots of strong ethanol that overtakes everything until it warms up a bit. Underneath there is some roasted leathery malt along with some candy sugar, pepper, plum and raisin.

Medium bodied and ery similar to the aroma with a dominant sweet, boozy flavor. Lots of alcohol overpowering the other notes until it warms up considerably. The high abv is not well masked at all. After a while, some roasted malt and dark fruit flavor appears. Hits of peppery spice and candy sugar followed by chocolate malt, plum, raisin and fig. Not terrible but pretty harsh and difficult to finish. Too one dimensional with overpowering alcohol flavor.

corby112, Jun 26, 2012
Photo of dbrauneis
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle share in Hoboken, NJ.

A: Pours a reddish brown to dark brown in color. The beer has a thin light beige head that quickly reduces to a very thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light lacing is observed.

S: Lots of sweetness in the aroma with toffee and caramel (burnt sugar) present from the malts. Some lighter smells of dark fruits and a light nuttiness.

T: The flavor is more well balanced than a lot of barleywines as it is not as sweet as expected. There is some sweetness from the dark fruits and toffee/caramel but there is some light bitterness and nuttiness (almost almond-like).

M: Full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Creamy. Some light alcohol heat in the finish.

O: One of the less sweet barleywines that I have had recently and an enjoyable one. This beer is big, with some alcohol presence, so you really want it more as a sipper. I enjoyed this one.

dbrauneis, Apr 15, 2012
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a reddish brown color with good carbonation leaving a nice tan cap, some lacing

S: Big toffee and caramel sweetness with dark fruits, nuts

T: A very nice sweeetness from a nice blend of toffee, caramel with a nice older dark fruits presence. Booze is noticable but masked. Loads of nuts here. Residual sugar and fruity esters. A very decadent and tasty barleywine

M: Full bodied, creamy, tasty with a sweet, sticky but dry finish

O: Amazing representation of the style

barleywinefiend, May 08, 2012
Photo of Gonzoillini
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Gonzoillini, Jan 26, 2013
Photo of chinchill
3.86/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Shared bottle pours clear red-amber with a modest head.

Unusual aroma with a suggestion of rum and brandy. Soft fruits, light malts, and alcohol esters dominate the flavor. ABV partially hidden but not so in the aroma.

Medium body with rather low carbonation.

chinchill, Apr 08, 2014
Photo of sendbeer
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

sendbeer, Oct 27, 2013
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a CBS snifter. No bottle date, which is weird for a current CCB beer.

Appearance - Mahogany with a nice khaki head. Two fingers in the CBS snifter is not bad. Decent retention, too. No lacing, but that's not surprising at 13%.

Smell - Nutty, malty, and extremely fruity. Dark fruits and some estery fruits as well. Almost like they used a Belgian yeast. General booziness about it, but not 13% boozy.

Taste - Sweet, toffee, caramel malt. Quickly goes to a grainy bitterness and a dry astringent finish. Again, it's got esters that are not to style. Almost acidic tasting, too. Strange and not what I expect.

Mouthfeel - Extremely dry for 13%, although it doesn't taste like 13%. To its credit, it tastes closer to 10%. The astringent finish verges on unpleasant.

Overall - It's decent. Maybe a little better than decent. I don't think I can say it's well-made, due to the off-flavors, but for a 13% ABV barleywine, it's still pretty good. I guess I'm basically forgiving some flaws due to its size.

Alieniloquium, May 30, 2012
Photo of Rhettroactive
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Rhettroactive, Nov 13, 2013
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Gord for this bottle. Could not find a bottle date on this one.
Poured in to snifter.

A - Dark copper colour; almost completely opaque. A thin layer of light brown head formed and quickly reduced to a ring around the edges of the glass.

S - Very sweet with dark caramel, brown sugar, raisins and toffee aromas.

T - Caramel, brown sugar, toffee and raisins. Very sweet overall with a big warming alcohol presence that nicely cuts through the sweetness.

M -Medium to full body. Somewhat sludgy and sticky. Light carbonation.

TheSevenDuffs, Feb 03, 2013
Photo of bsuedekum
4/5  rDev +0.3%

bsuedekum, May 30, 2012
Photo of thagr81us
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to my boy Jefe73 for sending me this one awhile back! Thanks brother! Shared during BRoss242’s send-off party before he moves! Will miss you man! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured a dark red-brown with a half finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, fruit, dark fruit, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, caramel hop, sweet alcohol, and dark fruit. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a fairly good brew. I had only really heard about this one and then it showed up at my doorstep. A really solid example of the style as far as flavor and aroma goes. Nice dark fruit notes with a nice touch of sweet alcohol to blend in nicely. A really well done brew that I would love to try a barrel aged version of. I suggest you get on this when you can.

thagr81us, Sep 04, 2012
Photo of AgentZero
4/5  rDev +0.3%

AgentZero, Nov 24, 2012
Photo of Duff27
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Duff27, Apr 15, 2013
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Cigar City / Swamp Head Church On A Hill from Cigar City Brewing
89 out of 100 based on 86 ratings.