Leon - Cigar City Brewing

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LeonLeon

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

466 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 466
Reviews: 65
rAvg: 4.44
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 628
Gots: 85 | 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
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Ratings: 466 | Reviews: 65
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.04/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Wowcoolman for sharing this one at drewone's tasting.

Pours a murky brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, dark fruits, and brandy. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick and a woody finish. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but I think it smells better than it tastes.

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 brentk56
4.14/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a murky dark caramel color with a inch of foam; leggy, with a smattering of dots

Smell: Toffee apple; dried fruit (fig and date); mulled spices, earthy hop

Taste: Caramel and butterscotch, up front, with the dried fruit and spices arriving in the middle; some earthy hops, after the swallow, but the finish is dominated by the toffee apple character; rather boozy, too

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation; loads of warmth

Overall: A powerful barleywine with an interesting twist; the high abv and the sweetness makes it difficult to consume in much quantity - took me two hours to finish off a snifter

Thanks, voxomkid, for the opportunity

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.24/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

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 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 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 MasterSki
4.47/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Photo of mdfb79
4.34/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From 02/09/12 notes. Traded for this last month, shared with a few friends. Poured into a wine glass.

a - Pours a hazy mahogany brown color with one finger of medium tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of brandy, caramel malts, oak, toffee, green apples, dark fruits, raisins, toasted malts, and some whiskey almost. Brandy is sweet and strong up front, but really nice. As it warms more comes out, like some vanilla. Awesome nose.

t - Tastes of brandy, caramel malts, vanilla, oak, toffee, cream, raisins, figs, dark fruity malts, apples, some burnt and toasted malts, some molasses and sugar. Again, quite sweet, and more vanilla. I liked the nose a little better, but this is still a great taste.

m - Medium to full body and low carbonation.. Body is smooth, thick, and creamy; really nice. Brandy is certainly there but didn't feel like a 13% ABV.

o - Overall I had had a fresh 2012 bottle of MoaS the night before, and while I preferred MoaS to this (to be fair, MoaS is one of my favorite BA barleywines), this was really great and just a step below it. I think the nose is amazing on this beer and it definitely got better as it warmed up. A little hotter and a little sweeter than MoaS, I would love to have this one again and think aging it a few months would probably lead to it being even better. One of the better Cigar City beers I've had...definitely seek it out.

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 Rochefort10nh
4.62/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

Photo of stakem
4.03/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks go to BA sendsilk for hooking me up with this. Poured from a 750ml into a matching CCB snifter. The brew appears a dark mahogany to brown with a yellowish stained khaki head about a finger strong that fades back to a creamy layering across the top supported by rising bubbles of carbonation. The fading cap leaves strings and spots of lace sticking to the glass. It is interesting how creepy and slow the bubbles move through solution and collect at the surface. When held to the light, this brew shows some lighter brown and almost orange to yellowish hints around the edges that are quite clouded.

The aroma is burnt sugar like caramel and molasses with a solid amount of raw woody inclusion. The brandy is present with an accenting fruity alcohol component that integrates well with the maltiness of this brew. There is some vanilla character here smelling almost like toasted marshmallows with a candy sweetness that mingles with the raw woodiness in an enjoyable yet different way. It is a good smelling brew, it just doesn't "wow" me like some of the other barrel aged goodies coming from CCB do.

The taste is sweet with a fruity inclusion of brandy that melds into burnt sugary flavors of caramel and toffee. Some of the barrel flavors come forward here with a hint of vanilla and some herbal hops are present with the solvent alcohol to bring things back into perspective. There is a flavor mid-palate almost like apple skins but it finishes with an ester and fresh fruited taste. As it warms up, the alcohol brings out more of the herbal hops and a bit of tannic dryness of raw oak that imparts almost a flavoring reminiscent of strong tea but coupled with something along the lines of molasses.

This is a full bodied brew. It is thick and sticky with a moderate level of carbonation. The alcohol is not hiding here despite plenty of residual sweetness and malt character. CCB has been knocking barrel aged beers out of the park (this is nothing new) but most recently I gotta give the nod to the cognac versions over this brandy. Still a mighty fine brew, if you have the chance you should get your hands on some.

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

A: Poured a cloudy cola color with good carbonation for a BA English Bwinw which traditionally is on the lower end of carbonation. There is a nice tannish cap, good dose of bubbles and moderate lacing and head retention

S: Big sweet brandy nose, did I mention sweet and Brandy? A nice dark fruit presence is introduced with a whiff of figs but I can really smeel the sugary sweetness on the beer. Loads of toffee, caramel and lighter whiffs of vanilla, light barrel funk and booze come across the nose

T: Immedite big brandy presence, sweet, caramel and toffee really provide a pronounced sugary sweetness, a good amount of caramelized sugar, some heat and then some darkerf ruits peak in midway backed by more toffee, caramel, toffee and a Earthy, woody, funy barrel influence. The finshing taste has a lingering undertone of bitterness and more sugar but that brandy is in your face.

M: Big bodied, well carbonated, sordove silky and the texture/feel is sweet and smooth. This beer is really sweet and the brandy really camps out on the palate providing a sticky mouthfeel

O: Very good. I was waiting to open this beer for the celebration of my first son. Worth the wait. Church on a Hill, Roosevelt and now this one. Cigar City is cranking out solid barleywnes. My only complaint about this beer was the bigger brandy note which seemed to distract me from the base beer.

Photo of Duff27
4.27/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown colored body. Leaves an decent collar with a little cap. Minimal lacing.

Can smell the green apple aspect of the brandy barrel aging.

Alcoholic caramel, short and sweet. Brings the heat on the throat on the tail end.

Low but adequate carbonation. My favorite part besides the smell. Medium-thick mouthfeel.

A very good BA English barleywine but not deserving of the rating that it's getting right now. Now the new CCB Imperial Sweet Stout, that's a different story. Thanks egrace84!

Photo of Gobzilla
4.32/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a pale brownish orange in color with a little yellow hue on top and had a little thin khaki cap that left very little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: very pleasent barleywine aroma which consisted of plenty of sweet caramel, a little brown sugar, hints of toffee, very appealing brandy character and a little dark fruit coming through.

T: the brandy barrel character was more apparent on the palate alongside caramelized apple notes, a little toffee, burnt sugar, good brown sugar accents and signs of dark fruit .

M: the brew was medium to full in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, slightly boozy, mildly dark fruity and sticky finish.

O: very complex aroma and flavor that had me fiending for another sip after I had finished my glass; very delicious

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.62/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

Photo of rudzud
4.39/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Photo of cpetrone84
3.22/5  rDev -27.5%
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.

Photo of sweemzander
4.39/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Photo of maximum12
4.1/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Honor to Prince Moose3285 one more time for sending one more fine-looking CC beer up the long pipeline to Minnesota; so jazzed to open this one up. 750 ML bottle split with my lovely wife.

Pour is fairly quiet with minimal carbonic activity, turbid brown with a touch of red. The nose brings pleasantness - huge notes of brandy & vanilla, accompanied by caramel & general sweetness. Hearty-emoticon.

Leon. Tons of lovely caramel inundate the dike: there's enough caramel to feed starving masses. The brandy really accentuates the caramel, & adds another dimension of sweetness on top. As it warms, it opens up. In the primal wood there's also molasses, toffee, light fruits, & hopefully no halberds. The mix is exquisite. And easy to sip.

OK. Have to confess I'd rather have Church on a Hill, either version, than Leon - but this is still an excellent beer. Mike - you are a saint. Let St. Peter know you have an excellent reference if he asks.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.4/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

massive thanks to totorpanda for the in person swap after a great tasting. enjoyed from a humidor series tulip.

a - brew poured a stunning maroon that settled into the glass an almost black. there was a generous finger and a half of off white foamy creamy head that hung out for a while (much more than i expected for a BA beer). nice streaky lacing.

s - great english barleywine caramel with some nice brandy barrel giving it a nice fruity kick.

t - WOW! now that's what i'm talking about! great english barleywine flavors of nutmeg and caramel with a really smoothed over barrel that carries a sangria like fruitiness.

m - rich and full flavored. thick, but creamy. has the body of a belgian from belgium.

o - overall, REALLY good. is it as good as people say? well that's for you to decide, but this is certainly not just hype without backup. super duper tasty and SUPER smooth.

Photo of woosterbill
4.47/5  rDev +0.7%
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!

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!

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.

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Leon from Cigar City Brewing
98 out of 100 based on 466 ratings.