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Leon - Cigar City Brewing

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

62 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 62
Hads: 483
Avg: 4.36
pDev: 23.85%
Wants: 634
Gots: 83 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing visit their website
Florida, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  13.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: macrosmatic on 09-16-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 62 | Hads: 483
Photo of danh53
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been wanting to try this for a while and it did not disappoint. Starts of with a decadent aroma of brown sugar, caramel, brandy, and dark fruits. Definitely a dessert beer. The flavors are huge with caramel, brown sugar, and chocolate blending with a medley of complex fruit flavors like Apple, cherry, figs, and raisins. It's a touch too sweet and doesn't have a lot of barrel character, but I love the flavors going on here. Mouth feel is thick and rich like the rest of this beer.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.22/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pour is murky brown with a tan head. Nose is wood, Brady, sweet malt, caramel brown sugar and some light berry notes. Flavor is heavy sugar, caramel, a good bit of brandy and a hint of green apple. A bit of heat in the finish with strong cArb and a full body.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.24/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

always crazy to have a bunch of big rare beers in a night. it sort of spoils you, but there is also a beauty in this type of gluttony, provided it is with a lot of good friends and only on occasion. leon here was the perfect beer for that kind of thing. its literally liquid caramel with a shot of bourbon. sounds simple, but thats what it tastes like, of course with farm more nuance, but thats the gist all the way. hazy thick look, like a melted werthers candy, short lived lazy off white head. it smells like the bourbon more than anything else, and tastes like about the longest boil with the sweetest grains in the game, sludgy sweet almost, and radiantly alcoholic. sounds harsh and sloppy, but its actually very mature and calculated, and i was surprised it comes together as well as it does for how big it is. i think some of the love for it on here is some cigar city flamboyant fandom, and you get that a lot with those guys, but this is a fantastic example of a barrel aged barleywine, and it deserves at least a mention in the conversation with those from guys like firestone walker and goose island bourbon county versions of the style. some toasted marshmallow notes, an almond nuttiness, maybe candied almond with all the sugar, and a long drawn out finish where the body and sweetness slowly melt off the teeth and glide away into oblivion. there is a lot of beer in this bottle, so be prepared to either share it around or get silly and sick.

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Photo of lupercmda
4.81/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark brown with a syrup type look. Smells of figs, raisins and brown sugar. Taste does not disappoint as the caramel, and toffee tastes predominate. Fabulous CCB Beer

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Photo of chinchill
4.16/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

CCB Leon bottled on Sept 2012. In a large bottle shared in Feb. at the RBWG-2015.
Hazy mahogany body with a good head.
Rich, attractive and complex aroma.

Flavor: Rich, mildly sweet and moderately complex with a hint of sherry.

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Photo of timc100
4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 2. Had next to a well cellared King Henry and defunct Aaron.

Pours out heavy and murky brown, has the menacing and brawny appearance of all CCBs strong ales. Vibrant, bright sweet brandy on the nose with sweet dark fruits, apple, oak, booze, molasses, brown sugar, and holiday spice. The barrel blends very well, and compared to the King Henry it is significantly sweeter because of it. Huge on the palate carrying the strong sweet brandy flavors as well as the molasses, dark fruits, and caramel. Fantastic and impressively smooth, slick and viscous mouthfeel.

Great beer I've been wanting to try a while, and one of the best I've had. Falls a hair short of King Henry and A Deal with the Devil - both of those had a more interesting barrel character and more balanced sweetness.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.97/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750mL bottle acquired via lottery through the El Catador club. Bottled 11/17/14. Served in a Cigar City teku.

Pours almost fully opaque- only a tiny bit of light escapes arond the thinnest edges. It rests in the glass a murky, swamp brown with one finger of dirty sand hued head. The foam gradually dissipates to a meager halo. I'm not sure that the few specks left on the glass can rightfully be called lacing. All in all that may not sound like an aesthetically pleasing brew but it absolutely is.

Beautifully sweet nose full of rich caramel, toffee, dark fruit, earthy oak and brandy. The aromas are mouth watering.

Holy hell this is such rich, decadent, malty, barreled goodness! Toffee, raisins, brandied dates, molasses, oak, vanilla, apple and singed caramel. It's fairly boozey but in a wonderfully warming and appropriate way. The brandy barrel melds beautifully with the toffee and dark fruits creating a multi-layered treat.

Syrupy, thick, almost sludgy feel with soft, silky carbonation. Coats the tongue with toffee, dark fruit and flavorful brandy for a delicious, lingering finish.

Leon is an outstanding, near magical elixir. It has been well over two years since a beer has blown me away like this and completely shown me the pinnacle of a style. I can't think of a way to make this any better. Super happy to have had the opportunity to try this and wish there had been much more.

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Photo of KevSal
4.27/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Looong time want! Good way to start 2015. The apple is still there in the nose and taste, the body is slightly thin missing a bit of heft. Very tasty flavor. Wouldn't consider this world class however. Interested to try batch 2. Don't see this one improving any more

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Photo of WTKeene
4.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared courtesy of Thereal_adam and Gunch52, alongside Abbbp. Poured from a 2012 bottle into a Jester King Funk and Sour Fest Tulip.

Appearance: Hazy and dark chestnut brown with an eggshell crown. No head, but the crown is quite persistent. A certain amount of lacing too, but not a crazy amount.

Smell: Loads of brandy, dark fruits and molasses. Beautiful.

Taste: Sweet, fruity barleywine flavors accented by a dark, almost chocolately note. Hints of amaretto on the finish, which gets stronger as it warms up. This is gorgeous.

Mouthfeel: Sticky, lower carb. Thick and sugary. Very nice.

Overall: A very, very nice barleywine that has a few stout notes to it. The almond, amaretto notes make this a memorable and unique barleywine. Great job, and I was thrilled to get this tick.

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.46/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really warm and sweet nose on this deep amber/brown body with minimal carb. The brandy really gives a warm booziness on the nose and on the tongue. This is a really nice malty barleywine that essentially acts as a vessel for the brandy. It looks a little thin and I'd say that the mouthfeel is true to that for such a big boozy barleywine. It almost made it a bit easier to drink though and added a slickness. Very tasty dessert beer.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.86/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Murky ruby brown body. A few bubbles in the collar make up the head with a few surface wisps.

Smell - Apple sweetness. Brandy and vanilla. Caramel.

Taste - A little more dynamic. Lots of vanilla and caramel. Apple brandy is more subtle. Dry and astringent finish with apple sweetness lingering.

Mouthfeel - Very sweet, but still manages to dry out and leave oak in the back. Medium heavy body.

Overall - A dramatic improvement over Church on a Hill, but Cognac Church is still the revelation of the bunch.

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Photo of jlindros
4.39/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Another cracked at the CCB bottle share night, thanks to rudzud.

Light fizzy head, dark murky brown color.

Nose fruity candy, lots of candy brandy, caramel, toffee, little nutty, candy syrup,

Taste semi sweet candy, toffee, caramel, candy syrup, little brandy, barrel notes, fruity, little booze, etc. Nice beer.

Mouth med to fuller bod syrupy.

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Photo of rudzud
4.39/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received in a trade..

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice thin halo and left lacing.

S - Aromas of lats of candy, brandy, chocolate, very nice.

T - Taste is light brandy, good malts, caramel, toffee.

M - Mouthfeel is really smooth and creamy.

O - Overall this beer was mighty tasty, super smooth.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep caramel brownish color with minimal head and heavy visual weight. The nose is strong with caramel and raisin coming first.The apple brandy influence brings on heavy green apple notes which support the caramelized malt bill. Taste starts with some brown sugar and caramel notes followed by more green apple. A bit of caramel apple notes come out and everything is surprisingly smooth and well balanced. A bit of booze at the back. Mouthfeel is thick and mildly carbonated. Overall, a delicious barleywine that is reminiscent of king Henry and bcbbw. Very good!

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.24/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml, Bottle date 9/7/12
Mini snifter

A: Murky brownish red color. Layer of light tan head. Forms a collar after a little while. Alcohol feet for days.

S: Sweet vanilla. Oak. Dark fruits malt sweetness. Oak. Some sweet Brandy barrel. Can I say Oak again :).

T: Delicious dark fruit. Sweet vanilla. That barrel character works so well. The finish is long and lingering. There is booze there, but the year of aging has done this brew nicely.

M: Big medium bodied.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.39/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks Matt for sharing!

(A)- Pours a deep chestnut brown color. Some minimal tan froth.

(S)- A nice richness overall. Ever so slight spice meets an excellent showing of the sweet brandy barrel.

(T)- I like the underlying sweetness from the brandy barrel in this. Some excellent leathery tobacco meets toffee and caramel. Quite nice.

(M)- A mellow carbonation level meets a nice showing of the barrel and a great barleywine base overall. Not too sweet either.

(O)- Generally, I tend to shy away from brandy barrel aged beers due to the overwhelming sweetness most of them tend to have, but this fits the style really well and uses the brandy barrel to great results.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a cloudy amber color with a small beige head. Aromas of brandy, figs, dates, oak, brown sugar, caramel, and white raisins. Flavor of brandy, pralines, dates, pecans, toasted and caramel malts, and brown sugar. Medium-bodied, with a malty, boozy mouthfeel and mellow carbonation. What a wonderful treat and would love to try this again many times too!

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Photo of Jeffo
4.46/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle of this one from urwithdave. Thanks man! Appreciate the set of beers.

From a 750 into a snifter
Bottled 7 September 2012

APPEARANCE: A darker brown pour yields a 1 finger, medium looking, off-white, khaki colored head with decent retention. Head quickly fades to a slight wisp and bubbly ring. Bistre brown body with lower levels of carbonation. A ring and touches of wisp remain until the end but leave no real lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Brandy on the nose with some great caramel and toffee notes, as well as hints of oak and vanilla from the barrels. Some red fruits, cherries, with some nice dark chocolate as well. Dark fruits like dates and grapes come into play as well. This is very bold and wonderfully complex. Phenomenal.

TASTE: Brandy up front with lots of caramel and toffee sweetness. Some sweet dark fruits like dates and raisins through the middle before a big burst of boozy and barrel flavors at the swallow. Bold and lingering finish of brandy, oak, hints of vanilla, dark fruits and cherries covered in bitter, dark baker's chocolate. Spicy alcohol lingers as well. Very complex and interesting, starting out with sweet and fruity flavors, then finishing with a boozy and barrel forward profile. A hint of bitter, dark chocolate works some well-measured balance into the story as well.

PALATE: Medium body with medium levels of carbonation. Not quite creamy enough, slightly pricky perhaps, and goes down a bit rough with a burn at the swallow. Finishes sticky and some heat lingers long after the swallow. Smoothened as it sat, ending up alright for the style.

OVERALL: Outstanding! Much like many in this style, the feel could be a little fuller, smoother and creamier for top marks, but that is a minor complaint. The nose on this one was as good as it gets, and that translated into an absolutely fantastic taste profile as well. This is one of the best BA barelywines out there. Again Cigar City shows me that we were just meant to be. Well worth checking out if you get the chance. This is one I'd love to drink again at some point. Cheers again for the brews urwithdave. World class.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.13/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a dark manogany color, with a yellowish finger of foamy head. The aroma is somewhat fruity, with hints of alcohol, figs, oak, caramel, and dates.Theres somewhat of a sugary taste, plums, raisins, other dark fruits, mingling with a smooth woodsy note, touches of booze, and a fruity brandy note. It's full bodied, rich and creamy. Drinks quite well despite the ABV, which adds character, rather than making It daunting. Quite a nice drinking Barleywine.

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Photo of Ahappyhiker2
4.24/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Brown/dark brown, decent amount of carbonation present

S- Vanilla, sweetness from the brandy, caramel, malt, a little bit of booze. The aroma is a bit fruity, maybe from the apple brandy barrels, not sure but it's really interesting. It isn't sweet like a traditional barleywine would be.

T- Again it's sweet, but it isn't overbearing. The brandy flavor is such a nice compliment to the slight booziness cause of the higher ABV. I definitely taste some apple, albeit I was looking for it. Definitely some vanilla presence in the taste as well. It's really smooth, drinks well.

M- Perfect amount of bubbles on the tongue, not too much. Like I said it's very smooth.

O- This is a great unique example of a barrel-aged barleywine. The apple/fruity flavor is such a nice compliment to the vanilla and other notes that I was expecting. Surprise, surprise, I still prefer King Henry, but this is right up there with Barrel-Aged Hi-Fi Rye in my book. My first barleywine from Cigar City, and definitely not a disappointment.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.47/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Hunahpu Day 2013, served in a plastic cup. Reviewed from notes.

A- Pours a murky dark brown/mahogany color, topped with a wispy khaki head.

S- Sweet, rich aroma, loads of caramel, vanilla, sweet, bready malts, apple brandy booziness and oak.

T- Sweet and rich. The sweetness is smooth and mellow, has a nice blend of caramel, vanilla, apple brandy, bready malts, a lot of raisin and dark fruit, and a bit of brown sugar and spice. The apple brandy flavor is mellow and sweet, has a nice oak flavor towards the finish.

M- Full-bodied, thick and sticky feel, has a mild boozy warmth.

O- An awesome barleywine, really delicious and easy drinking, this is very worth seeking out.

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Photo of spicelab
3.63/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle with huge thanks to mulder1010. Shared at Feb 26 tasting.

Deep treacle with a modest saffron coloured head that retains well, falling eventually to a decent film and collar.

Out of the gates it's pungent ethanol and sharp apple brandy barrel notes, before stewed fruits, dried strawberries, bark, acetone and hints of diacetyl poke through. Good but significantly marred by booze.

Flavours show a bigger base beer presence. Decent notes of caramel eclairs, figs and muscatels, but not a lot else.

Suitably full and syrupy, with light prickly carbonation and some booze heat.

Good but not outstanding. Might benefit significantly from a year or two in solitary.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.29/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Hunahpu pour #2. Murky brown with kahki cream head. Aroma is awesome. Vanilla, sweet brown sugar, apple, biscuts. Flavor is like nothing i have had. Cotton candy, toffee, biscuts, and vanilla in the flavor, super duper sweet as it sounds. Medium heavy mouthfeel with low to medium carbonation. A bit sweet and that sweet lingers for a good while. So glad I got a chance to try this one, and sharing 8 oz. with one other person was plenty. Pretty rich.

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Photo of jaasen64
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into HF stemmed glass, consumed right after King Henry. Notes from our barleywine tasting a few weeks ago.

A- Pours a reddish brown with a slight brownish mahogany head that recedes fairly quick leaving some soft spotty lacing and oily alcohol legs. Very similar in appearance to Cognac Church on a Hill.

S- Apples, a bit of brandy (not overpowering), some oak, raisins, figs, and underlying dark fruits, sweet malts. I actually liked this aroma better then King Henry, I felt like it was slightly less boozey.

T- Apple Brandy notes with underlying well-balanced flavors of toffee, dark fruits, oak, figs, raisins, finishes with more apple brandy. Fairly sweet, a little bit sugary, and very well balanced. The barrel adds a nice integration to the beer giving it a nice apple brandy flavor without dominating the beer too much or making it seem overly boozey.

M- Smooth (although not as smooth as KH), low carbonation but decent for style, very easy drinking, booze hidden amazingly well.

O- I wouldn't say this quite stacks up to KH, but overall in my opinion it's probably the second best barleywine I've had. It's not quite as smooth or complex as KH and KH beats it in almost every category except aroma. I felt like Leon hid the booze a little bit better in the nose. Overall I believe this is a world-class barleywine from CCB that is definitely worth checking out. Luckily I still have a bottle left, I hope to revisit this in the future.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle (2012)

Thanks for opening this with me, JealousChalice!

Dark brown, murky body with a quickly dissipating off-white head of small, creamy bubbles. Leaves dots of stick down the glass. Rich, shiny, and pretty.

The aroma is spectacularly rich and complex: brandy soaked dates lead the way, along with layers of caramels and toffees, mild wood presence, and chocolate-covered sun-dried cherry. Lovely.

The flavor is just as nice as the aroma, and this one ranks up there with my favorite barrel-aged barleywines. It combines an incredible drinkability (in small sips) with the best characteristics of the most divine, rich, luxurious desserts. Layers of dates and dark fruits, brandy, chocolate, brown sugar, and wood. The alcohol is in the background, but a complementary addition. Long, lingering chocolate finish. Very, very nice.

Medium to near full in body with low, oily, decadent carbonation. Luscious and luxurious.


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Leon from Cigar City Brewing
95 out of 100 based on 62 ratings.