1. American Craft Beer Fest is this weekend in Boston, Mass. Join us for 640+ beers from 140+ brewers! Tickets for Friday, May 29 are still available. Cheers!

Leon - Cigar City Brewing

Not Rated.
LeonLeon

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

458 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 458
Reviews: 65
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 617
Gots: 86 | FT: 6
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: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 458 | Reviews: 65
Reviews by reyes29201:
Photo of reyes29201
5/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just a really well-made beer. The apple brandy turns what was a below average Barleywine (Chuch on a Hill) into a super-tasty barrel-aged BW. I'm already looking forward to the next bottle, as I was able to luck into a couple of bottles. This is a must-try from CCB and as good as the Cognac version. LOVE THIS BEER

More User Reviews:
Photo of KevSal
4.27/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Batch1
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

Photo of standardcherry
4.68/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Shared with a friend. Poured into two snifters.

A: Pours a dark brown/red color. Nice foamy head and nice lacing.
S: Amazing caramel/fruity smell that I assume is from the apple brandy barrel.
T: WOW! Great caramel maltiness and fruity flavors. Apple-like accent in the flavor. Caramel, toffee, burnt sugar.
M: Rich body, thick and creamy. Extremely smooth.
O: Extremely good beer, would love to have a few more of these.

Photo of ehammond1
4.65/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Flawless.

Photo of chinchill
4.16/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Photo of jeonseh
4.47/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled shared at NWI Tasting Group Meetup - December

A - Dark brown with a lot of haze. No head with a little foam on the side

S - Strong nose with vanilla, caramel, brandied dates and other dark fruits, and a strong whiff of apple brandy

T - Apple brandy stands out well is this beer. There is also sweetness with caramel and vanilla in the middle. Get a nice oak presence in the finish as well as a slight alcoholic character

MF - Thick and syrupy that goes well with the sweet and dark fruit flavors. Slight astringent and oak in the finish

O - Big, sweet barleywine that really showcases the apple brandy presence which added a nice finish and complexity

Photo of timc100
4.68/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.35/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy dark raisiny brown color with a 1cm bubbly tan head with pretty good retention and a touch of spotty lace.  

Smells of rich dark fruit, caramel, raisin, prune, 

Flavor is fantastic. Huge range of 
character and flavor. Brandy barrel adds great character to wonderful same characteristics in the nose. A little molasses, touch of tart apple for a second, caramel and rich dark fruit. A touch of back end bitterness. 

Mouth is full bodied with low carbonation. Great for this one. 

Overall it's a fantastic beer. Great range and character with nice barrel treatment character. Only spot it's missing is the appearance. 

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.86/5  rDev -13.1%
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.

Photo of reto21
4.88/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

thanks too (marko) for sharing this.

A: Hazy, almost opaque burnished brown in color, with a half-finger tan head that quickly fades to foam. No visible carbonation. Decent lacing throughout the drink.

S: Sweet brandy, roasted malts, dark fruit, plum and dark spices.

T: Follows the nose well. Sweet, boozy, spicy and dark-fruity, with a bit of dark cacao flavors balanced with just enough hop bitterness. The finish is sticky sweet but not cloying.

M: Medium weight to mouthfeel for style. The alcohol is very present but doesn't overwhelm. Lower carbonation but more than expected given the appearance.

O: This is a flat-out really good beer. I didn't have the opportunity to try the base beer, but the apple brandy treatment works wonderfully with the flavors. Highly recommended.

Photo of Bung
4.42/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml. Thanks to CJS for this one. Dark rusty amber pour, just a ring and some wisps of off white head. Just sticks a little to the snifter.

Aroma, Apple, vanilla, caramel. Big. Some oak/barrel.

Taste, Toffee, toasted brown sugar, caramel, yellow raisin. Apple is just a nice accent. Earthy woody notes.

Thick and coating. Slightly lower carb prevents this from being quite creamy. A little warming, but not overly so for the abv.

Quality stuff. Reminded me a ton of the North Coast barrel aged Old Stock. Similar price point to that would prevent me from buying/trading for another. But a must try once.

Photo of EgadBananas
4.13/5  rDev -7%
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.

Photo of jmarsh123
4.52/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours vibrant deep red with a finger or two of creamy white head. Good retention for a high ABV beer and good lacing.

Lots of toffee aroma as you would expect along with a nice boozy fruit character from the barrel.

Flavor is sublime. Sweet english barleywine flavors are there including lots of toffee and fig although the sweetness is both cut and enhanced by the apple brandy. Adds a different layer of fruitiness while also adding a dose of alcohol heat to smooth out the overall profile.

Full bodied and creamy with medium low carbonation level.

Super smooth well made beer. It was well balanced enough that it never got too sweet or too boozy despite copious amounts of each in various individual sips. Maybe not the very best BA barleywine I've had, but in the tier just below it.

Photo of largadeer
3.9/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks, David.

Pours a cloudy dark amber capped by a thin head that quickly recedes to a collar. Apple brandy isn't terribly overt on the nose compared to AB Hunahpu's. Other reviews mention it being front and center, so perhaps there's bottle variation. More dominant is dark fruit, burnt sugar and oak. There's plenty of boozy barrel, but it's not distinctly apple brandy. The palate is similar, with big caramel and burnt sugar flavors, boozy barrel, oak and dark fruit. It feels a tad thin to me, especially compared to the Hunahpu's variations we drank next to this. A solid beer, but nothing terribly special.

Photo of spicelab
3.63/5  rDev -18.2%
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.

Photo of ThickNStout
4.97/5  rDev +11.9%
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.

Photo of oline73
4.11/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tasting snifter. We had this as a part of the blind BA Barleywine tasting.

This one pours with more of a red hue than most barleywines. The smell is sweet and a bit fruity. There is a good balance between bitter and sweet in the flavor. This one had more balance than most of the other barleywines we had. I'm getting some caramel and dark fruit along with heat from the barrel. The alcohol builds towards the finish. I'm going to sit on my bottle and see how time treats this beer.

Photo of Etan
4.31/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml into a snifter.

A: Pours a hearty auburn color with a small beige head.

S: The nose is very sweet, with big notes of candied apple, brown sugar and grapey sweetness, melted marshmallow and vanilla.

T: The taste is drier, with notes of caramel and lightly bitter hops, vinous glucose and some pleasant booziness from the brandy, vanilla. The tannic sweetness is cut by the hoppiness of the base beer.

M: Thick-bodied, moderate carbonation, sticky feel.

O: A very good barleywine. You can tell that the base beer was pretty hoppy, which I think works with the beer.

Photo of iadler
4.04/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to arminjewell for bringing this bottle!

A- Pours a cloudy dark brown with a thin off white head that leaves some spots of lacing.

S- Caramel apples immediately come to mind followed by brown sugar, toasted bread, dark fruits, oak and hint of spice. Smells like the holidays.

T- Plenty of sweetness with notes of caramel apples, brown sugar, raisins, black cherry, oak, toffee, roasted malt, holiday spices with notes of clove and cinnamon. as well some brandy heat at the end.

M- Low to medium carbonation and a slightly thin body for such as big beer with some heat at the finish. The abv is kept in check pretty well.

O- A very interesting take on a barleywine, with the aroma being the highlight, but the thin body and amount of sweetness prevents it from being a top tier barleywine in my opinion.

Photo of Ahappyhiker2
4.24/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

Photo of Anonymous1
3.62/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mark for sending this one along! 750ml bottle split with a friend.

A: Dark caramel. Undercarbonated, minimal head, not much retention. Think a slightly thinner version of maple syrup.

S: Amazing! Smells like a hard cider, sticky sweetness on the nose, gotta love that apple brandy smell. I could just smell this beer for days.

T: After smelling such an incredible beer, the taste was actually a bit of a letdown. Rich caramel malts, toffee, followed by the apple and oak. Overly Boozy, the alcohol is not hidden in this one. A hint of vanilla, but then on the back end there are notes of acetone that aren't entirely pleasant.

M: Full bodied, chewy and syrupy sweet. Very solid. I was surprised by the thickness of the mouthfeel considering it looked a bit thinner during the pour.

O: This was a very unique experience and I'm glad I got to try it. I've never had any of Cigar City's other Apple Brandy offerings, but I'd imagine they'd be better integrated with a Zhukov or Hunahpu.

I guess it was worth the tick, but I don't plan on seeking one out again.

Photo of Thishops4u
3/5  rDev -32.4%

infected. tasted like grape bubblegum.

Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to starrdogg for opening this one. Served in a Cigar City snifter. The nose carries a pretty strong aroma of apple brandy with some nice sweetness coming from that. Malty sweetness with faint fruit and caramel comes behind that. Flavor is a bit too barrel heavy, but still quite nice. A bit of booze, but not too much for a 13.5% beer.

Photo of jlindros
4.39/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.24/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to egrace84 for the share! Thanks elliot!

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: murky brown bodied beer with a thin tan colored head.

Smell: brown sugar, caramel, and breen apples. its also smells sweet and boozey.

Taste: Big sweet notes of caramel and butterscotch. A touch of maple with green apples. hint of spicey booze.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with low end of moderate carbonation. Warming sensation from the booze.

Overall: Nice English barleywine! I think its a bit over hyped, but it really did enjoy it none the less. This is my first Apple Brandy BA beer and it adds a whole new level of complexity to a beer style that is my favorite beer style!

to view more.
Leon from Cigar City Brewing
98 out of 100 based on 458 ratings.