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Leon - Cigar City Brewing

Not Rated.
LeonLeon

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

61 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 61
Hads: 473
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 2.76%
Wants: 631
Gots: 85 | 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: 61 | Hads: 473
Photo of reyes29201
5/5  rDev +14.9%
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 (315 characters)

Photo of ThickNStout
4.97/5  rDev +14.3%
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. (1,410 characters)

Photo of BAstoutsNsours
4.97/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle into a CCB snifter.

A-Murky brown appearance, looks a little like carbonated sweet tea. About a half finger head which subsides pretty quick only leaving a small amount around the outside. Got those legs too.

S-pleasant caramelized apple smell, smells hot, but not in a bad way as with other barleywines. I could smell this for hours. To me the smell was very apple brandy forward, which I liked very much.

T- WOW, this is the best damn BA barleywine I've ever had the pleasure of tasting. Candied apples, plums, toffee, and molasses all dominate. Had this slightly below room temp and would never guess this to be %13 abv, a really smooth beer.

M- Nice thick and chewy, perfect amount of carbonation on the medium side.

O-Forget the bourbon BA barleywines, the Apple Brandy barrel hits the spot on this style. I hope CCB does another AB BA barleywine, I would drink this on a daily basis if I had more of it. CCB crushed it on this one. (955 characters)

Photo of reto21
4.88/5  rDev +12.2%
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. (788 characters)

Photo of lupercmda
4.81/5  rDev +10.6%
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 (174 characters)

Photo of thegoon55
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Feel like I have to review this beer, it is absolutely amazing. So glad I picked up a couple bottles.

A- cloudy amber with a thin white head.

S- simply amazing. Sweet Apple brandy up front followed by toffee, brown sugar, fings, and spices. Literally picture perfect.

T- same as the nose, a tab bit boozy but a fabulous beer non the less.

M- well carbonated love the mouthfeel, sweet and smooth at the same time.

O- best barleywine I've had thus far, though I've never had any of the big "whales" (501 characters)

Photo of standardcherry
4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
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. (427 characters)

Photo of timc100
4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
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. (794 characters)

Photo of davey101
4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

07 Sept 2012 on the label. 750ml bottle into a brandy snifter at cellar temperature. Enjoying this alongside a glass of Lairds Applejack. Huge thanks to a generous BA for this, you know who you are!

A - Bordering on clear and murky, the body is a deep vibrant red-brown color. Small one finger light khaki head forms and settles into some edging with massive bubbles. Low amount of lacing but a swirl produces some alcohol legs as well as a nice cap.

S - Huge notes of toffee, caramelized dark fruits, and brown sugar initially. Then comes the subtle notes of apple brandy. Oak and spicy apples with a long boozy finish. Complex and rich.

T - Wow. Even better than the aroma. You find all the stereotypical english barley wine notes here. Toffee, caramel, dark fruits, brown sugar, and molasses. Then comes this amazing apple brandy finish. Its rich and buttery with notes of oak, vanilla, and sweet apple liquer. Complex and intricate, this seems to be the perfect barrel to compliment a barley wine.

M- Thick and coating without coming off as syrupy. The 13% abv is apparent in only a smooth and light burn on the end that only serves to compliment.

O - I've had King Henry, and I've had Abacus. This beer is my favorite compared to those two giants. Maybe its because I'm a sucker for anything stuffed in an apple brandy or Calvados barrel, but this is just amazing! (1,374 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
4.65/5  rDev +6.9%
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. (945 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle opened on 11.21.12

A - Pours a murky dark brown with a 1/4 inch foamy dark khaki head that quickly moves to a lunp on one side.

S - Dark fruit, figs, carmel, toffee, vanilla and subtle brandy.

T - Sweet fruit, toffee, butterscotch then some hoppy tart apples.

D - Lower carbonation with a medium body.

O - Very layered and complex. Sweet, then hoppy, then fruity. Love it. (385 characters)

Photo of beergod1
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lucky to have split this CCB brew with J. Morey. Thanks so much.
Poured a Dark brown, almost black with no light shining through at all. Slight foamy tan head, that dissipated to a frothy ring around the edge of the glass while sipping. Smells of brown sugar, toffee and the brandy comes through. Taste is much of the same, but with an amazing warmth in my chest after just my first sip. Burnt sugar, toffee, and dark fruit really broke through after it warmed. This was a Great English Style Barleywine. Non of that sticky resinous Hop feel, like some if its American BarleyWine Brethren. (590 characters)

Photo of macrosmatic
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

BREWERY NOTES: An English Barleywine-style Ale aged in Apple Brandy Barrels. ABV 13%.

Reviewed from notes. Had on-tap at CCB tasting room. Served in a snifter.

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. (912 characters)

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Let me start by saying a big thank you to Sean for sending this my way!

This is the best brandy-barrel treated beer I've tasted yet!

Pours with a moderate amount of carbonation which produces a thin white head. A ruddy maroon color somewhat reminiscent of cloudy apple cider.

Strong booze on the nose, but oh what booze! Brandy!! Apple, pear, toffee, golden raisin, spice (cinnamon, clove and allspice). Slight touch of cocoa. Wow what a nose!

Taste strongly follows scent as a hot (alcohol) spiciness (pie spices again) floods the olfactory nerves. Sugary goodness hits mid-palate before being swept away by the lingering alcohol in the end. Did I mention that this was a little hot;)?

Mouthfeel is awesome! Oily with a nice burn of brandy. Perfect carbonation for a beer of this style.

This beer will only improve in the bottle over the next 10 years. I need another to squirrel away in the cellar. (907 characters)

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
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! (366 characters)

Photo of WTKeene
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
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. (788 characters)

Photo of jmarsh123
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
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. (791 characters)

Photo of cfrances33
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle thanks to johnyb. Poured into a Founders snifter.

Pour: Completely hazy dark brown, with some beautiful mahogany edges along the glass. About a finger od kkahi head dissipates quickly, leaving only a rim and a few splotches of lacing. Some legs on the bad boy, but nothing to write home about. This was the weakest aspect of this beer, but who cares because I'm pumped to taste it!

Smell: This is beautiful. A bouquet of caramel and sweet, succulent apple brandy burst forth from the glass. I assume CCB used Laird's for this barrels, because Calvados would have lent a greater booziness here. Some white chocolate seriously sneaks in the back - a nice marriage of vanilla and milk chocolate.

Taste: I get a smooth vanilla brandy sweetness up front, that is swiftly followed by a light cider and caramel. This flavors mingle together as milk chocolate says hello if you search for it. A mild raisin appears as the glass warms to provide a nice chewiness. At its warmest, a cinnamon sweetness and oaky vanilla mingle to provide a very welcome level of complexity.

Mouthfeel: So incredibly smooth, with all of the flavors I would attribute to apple brandy with none of the burn (I will qualify for purposes of being the 2nd review that burn doesn't often bother me, however, I really mean NO burn). A fantastic sipper.

Overall: An amazing English Barleywine that has succeeded in supplanting Sucaba in my favorite BA barleywines. I am so lucky to have a second bottle to sit on. Definitely try if you get the opportunity. (1,532 characters)

Photo of jeonseh
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
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 (664 characters)

Photo of WillCarrera
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
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. (690 characters)

Photo of Sean9689
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared with friends.

Pours a darker brownish color, light tan-colored head, thin ring, spotty lace. Nose is sweet burnt sugars, oak, candy, smooth booze, toffee. Flavor is a nice mix of booze & sweetness, very well-integrated. Caramel, oak, burnt sugars, and toffee are the predominant notes along with a wonderful boozy apple brandy note. Body is medium, light carbonation, creamy finish.

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. (699 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Mike (AgentZero). Served in a Russian River tulip.

A - Off-white foam settles to a thin collar and specks of lace. Dark brown body that's fairly opaque.

S - Massive apple brandy aroma - almost Jolly Rancher-esque in its green apple intensity. Plenty of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, dark fruits and breads. Really excellent, with enough oak and spice to prevent things from getting cloying.

T - The taste is similar, with a great combination of apple brandy, oak, milled grains, honey-soaked dark breads, caramel, and brown sugar. Surprisingly well-hidden alcohol for a 13% barrel-aged barleywine.

M - Full bodied, chewy and viscous texture, lower carbonation, and surprisingly little warmth for the listed 13%. Mild oak dryness and grain, but otherwise fairly sticky.

D - Awesome stuff and might be even better than the cognac version. I'd love to get my hands on another bottle of this so that I could enjoy it at a more leisurely pace. Cigar City is on quite the hot streak these days. I think abandoning their sour program has really allowed them to concentrate on what they do best. (1,109 characters)

Photo of starrdogg
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy dark reddish brown with a small white head. Smell is excellent, the vanilla from the oak is prominent, and it has a great hint of apple as well. Flavor is also very nice: oak, vanilla, and apple stand out and it is finishes with some earthy roastiness. It isn't nearly as sweet as most brandy aged beers and tastes more like apple bourbon. It's very well balanced and quite smooth given the ABV. Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with nice carbonation. Overall this is a damn tasty BA barley wine. (508 characters)

Photo of woosterbill
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into a 25cl Duvel tulip. Huge thanks to Tony for sharing.

A: Murky medium brown body; 1/2" superfine tan head. Ok retention. Solid.

S: Spicy, chocolatey, spiritous. Vanilla, brandy, caramel, and lightly leafy bitterness. Excellent.

T: Follows the nose, sweetly and wonderfully. Great balance of barrel and malt. Delicious.

M: Creamy medium-full body. Great.

O: Wonderful beer. Really complex, and impeccably balanced. I expected it to be much more of a sugar bomb than it was.

Cheers! (504 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
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. (2,131 characters)

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Leon from Cigar City Brewing
95 out of 100 based on 61 ratings.