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Imperial Sweet Stout - Cognac Barrel Aged - Cigar City Brewing

Not Rated.
Imperial Sweet Stout - Cognac Barrel AgedImperial Sweet Stout - Cognac Barrel Aged

Educational use only; do not reuse.

61 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 61
Hads: 276
Avg: 4.4
pDev: 15.68%
Wants: 274
Gots: 42 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing visit their website
Florida, United States

Style | ABV
Milk / Sweet Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Lare453 on 10-09-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 61 | Hads: 276
Photo of Resuin
4.74/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a snifter. This was bottled September 19, 2012 so has about 15 months of age on it since bottling.

Appearance: Pours black and leaves a half finger of deep hazelnut/brown head which fades to a rim around the glass.

Smell: Rich fudge, lightly roasted malts, dates, figs, light coffee, mild vanilla, oak, some nice cognac in the back end. Very complex, mouth-watering aroma.

Taste: Fits with the aroma really well. Rich milk chocolate, dark fruits, plenty of oak, cognac, mild licorice, toasted malts, light coffee. Really nice balance of sweet and bitter - plenty of both to be found in the flavor.

Mouth-feel: Light carbonation but plenty enough, with a full, creamy body. Really velvety and nice.

Overall: Everything about this beer is fantastic. It is very complex and flavors really compliment each other nicely. The cognac barrel influenced this a lot and only in a positive way. The oak and cognac make this beer just wonderful. This beer has just over a year on it, and I don't know how it could be better. Still good carbonation and just wonderfully balanced.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.47/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Bottles from urwithdave and SliverX. I just can't get enough. Cheers!

From a 750ml into a snifter
Bottled 19 September 2012
Stout on cognac barrels

APPEARANCE: Thick black pour yields a one finger, medium looking, creamy, dark mocha head with very good retention. Very dark and mocha colored head. Looks nice. Thick black body with higher levels of carbonation. Head slowly fades to a splotchy wisp and ring. Touches of wisp and a ring remain leaving no real lacing down the glass. Nice head with a thick, black, Cigar City black body. Nice.

SMELL: Big cognac nose with lots of roasted and chocolaty base stout. Roasted malts, dark, pure chocolate, baker's chocolate, with cognac, vanilla, milk chocolate and toffee. Chocolate covered cherries as well. Really decadent with piles of roasty, chocolaty base stout under a well-integrated cognac barrel. Increadibly complex and lovely. Bold and outstanding.

TASTE: Cognac, lots of roasted and burnt malts with dark, pure baker's chocolate at the swallow. Huge, flavorful aftertaste of charred malts, dark bitter chocolate, coffee, cognac and some sweet vanilla, toffee and milk chocolate. A touch of booze, but well measured. Sweet and bitter, roasted finish lingers with some chocolate covered cherries and vanilla cognac. This is lovely and follows the nose perfectly. The touch high carbonation keeps this from possible perfection.

PALATE: Medium body with higher levels of carbonation. A little light and airy, goes down smooth enough and finishes slightly sticky on the palate. A little burn lingers. Definitely needs to be thicker, fuller and heavier with less carbonation. Too bad, but this is otherwise fantastic. Average at best.

OVERALL: Phenomenal stuff! Everything works so well except the the slightly thin and airy feel on this one. If the feel was fuller and creamier, this would be the best cognac barrel aged beer in the world, and perhaps the best barrel aged stout in the world. Cigar City never ceases to impress the crap out of me. Love this beer. Thanks a lot urwithdave. I could drink these guys and not miss a thing.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.42/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2012)

Thanks for opening this with me, VaTechHopHead!

Black throughout, thick in body, with the darkest of brown edges, and a very small dark brown head, though with good retention. Leaves the glass oily and spotted with stick.

A complex, enveloping, interesting, evolving aroma: chocolate cake, fudge, caramel, and dark fruits abound in the aroma. There's a sticky fudge element to the chocolate character that is really lovely, along with rich caramels and burnt, dessert dark fruits. Lovely.

The flavor is similarly good as the aroma, with layers of charred chocolates, dark fruits, cognac, distinct wood presence, and fudge combining incredibly nicely. There's some distinct alcohol warmth to it, but it's very complementary. Treating this like a lovely dessert at the end of the night is the way to go.

Medium to nearly full in body with low-moderate carbonation.

An incredible ,sweet, cognac-barrel aged chocolate-forward stout.

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Photo of MacQ32
4.65/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - pours an incredibly rich brown. with a half finger of chocolate mahogany with OK placing and great retention

S - lots of sweet rich dark chocolate sweet cognac aromas

T - lots of deal fruit sweet vanilla cognac flavor. Finish is fantastically xhocolsty

M - thick and minimal carbonation. Very smooth

O - very close to a 5

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Photo of Brew33
4.01/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Urbancaver for scooping this one up for me.

The beer ours jet black with a very dark brown, bubbly head that dissapates quickly. A really unique head.

The aroma is sweet to say the least. Burnt sugars, roasted malt, chocolate syrup, a little bit of wood and char. Man, this is pretty tasty. Sweet on the front end, but a smoky, charred character and some dry wood run right through the middle. The finish is long with a some fusel alcohol and cognac. A nice beer. Complex, sweet, smoky, charred, rich, and somewhat taxing on the palate after about 12 oz.

The body is heavy, damn near perfect actually. Low carbonation makes the beer coating in the mouth but never too much. Overall a tasty beer. I'd like to try more Cognac barrel aged beers and I enjoyed this one a lot. Thanks Cam.

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Photo of jegross2
4.18/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reviewing the Imperial Sweet Stout from Cigar City Brewing out of Tampa, Florida. This beer is a cognac aged milk stout.

Score: 92

2012 vintage bottle served in a taster glass and enjoyed on 03/03/13. Review is from iPhone notes.

Appearance: Shimmering black color, no head from pour. Minimal lacing and retention. Heavy looking appearance. 3/5

Smell: Cognac, fruitiness, milk chocolate, and white grape. Some vanilla too. 4.25/5

Taste: Milk chocolate, vanilla, sweet grape, cognac and cherry. Dry oak in finish. A little booziness. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, low carbonation. Viscous and slick. Sweeter than I would have guessed, though this one is labeled as a sweet stout. 4.25/5

Overall: Delicious and sweet, like a much better dark lord with barrel character.

Cost: $20 for a 750 ml bottle.

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.48/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. Bomber opened at CCB tasting room to share amongst five people. Poured into a CCB snifter.

A: Dark black, opaque, with a minimal brown ring of foam and no visible carbonation. Oily lacing on the glass.

S: Warm rich liqueur, chocolate, and boozy. Some vanilla and dry tannins in the background.

T: Sweet cacao, cognac, dark cherry fruitiness, vanilla and oak. Boozy but not particularly hot. Sweet with some alcohol warmth in the hang.

M: Thick sticky mouthfeel, very full-bodied. Significant warming alcohol, but again it doesn't seem hot. Low carbonation sensation.

O: Wow - this was very good. I missed the opportunity to have it on tap, so this bottle that's been in the cellar was the first chance I had to taste it. I can't imagine this tasting much better. Excellent beer.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4.2/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Drank side by side with Cognac Moloko in a no holds barred Cognac smackdown

Unsurprisingly, the Cigar City entry defeated our attempts to drink these blind based on looks alone. Pitch black and very still with just the faintest razor thin head along the edges. No light penetration through this hoss.

Smells of fudgey grapes and dark chocolate.

Just a big thick and rich stout. Grape sweetness from the barrels sweeps across from front to back. Powdered dark chocolate lingers on the finish along with some prune and ambiguous dark fruits.

Monstrous, viscous, coating, and heavy on the tongue....a true CC stout. Fatiguing in large doses but very good and quite enjoyable.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.99/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for Cam for sharing this scary beer.

Pour is black as black blacks. A dark brown head forms into a thick ring fast and stays that way. Ominous and glass-staining as expected from a Cigar City stout.

Big scent of fudge, bread, oreos, dark fruits (cognac), roast, cigar box and alcohol.

Huuge taste, puts the scent to shame almost. Chocolate fudge, truffles, and cognac galore. Roasted malt, leather. Great dark fruit flavors coming from that cognac barrel, though I'm not getting any oak. Big sweetness but complex. Very rich.

Super hefty mouthfeel with lowish carbonation, but a good amount of foamy action, not quite as dense as expected. Some heat but alcohol taste overall is low.

Ridiculously huge, sweet, heavy - but out of the many Cigar City imperial stouts that fit this description, this is definitely one of the better ones. Nice complexity and rich flavors, the cognac barrels really add alot here. I'm definitely good with ~5oz or so though.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.3/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On-tap at Hunahpu Day 2013.

A- Pours black, thick and viscous, produces a thin mocha head that leaves no lacing.

S- Lots of sugar, dark fruit and raisins, as well as a sweet liquor aroma. The aroma has some nice elements and a lot of complexity, but the sweetness in the aroma is a bit cloying.

T- Fortunately, the excessive sweetness in the aroma doesn't come across nearly as much in the flavor. The beer has a really delicious barrel character, with notes of vanilla and cognac. There's also a big dark fruit flavor with lots of chocolate and a mild roastiness, although it's the barrel, chocolate and fruit that dominate.

M- Full-bodied, low carbonation with a rich and sticky feel.

O- This was a really tasty beer, but, not surprisingly, is very, very sweet. They served this in a 4 ounce pour, which was definitely enough for me, if I had a bottle of this I would split it with a few friends. But as a beer to sip at it's very flavorful, complex and worth seeking out.

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Photo of bonkers
4.43/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky enough to recieve this in a stout bif, thanks beernads!! I split it into 2 snifters, viscous, jet black pour, thin tan head. Boozey aroma, notes of vanilla. Well balanced brew, sweet, nice cognac notes, vanilla is in there too. Finishes boozey. The beer is thick, light carbonation, sipper. A great beer that I never thought I would be able to try.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.15/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a snifter

A: Pours absolutely pitch black, opaque even on the pour. A dark brown head forms, but quickly recedes to a small ring.

S: Caramel, dark chocolate, cognac, this beer is extremely sweet. I get a nice amount of coffee in the background to helps balance, but it certainly stays very sweet. As an aroma, though, this is amazing.

T: Again, very sweet caramel melds with strong dark chocolate making a very, very sweet beer. I get some coffee in the background that helps to balance but like the aroma, this beer stays really sweet.

M: Very, very thick with low carbonation.

O: This is a very, very sweet beer. A bit too sweet for me. However, the cognac and coffee help balance the beer. It's very complex and delicious.

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Photo of AltBock
4.47/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Imperial Sweet Stout

On tap at the Cigar City Tasting Room on 8 Oct 2012. It was the release date for this beer. They served it to me in a snifter.

It's yet another pitch black beer. The mighty sun couldn't shine through this beer. On top was a small 1/4 of an inch dark mocha head of foam. This head of foam quickly dissipated into a tiny string of rings along the side of the beer and a few streaks of lace.

The aroma was sweet, but not rot your teeth sugar sweet. Up front was brown sugar and molasses. Directly behind the sweetness was the dark fruits like raisins, plums, and cherry. Rounding out the aroma was roasted malt, a pinch of coffee, a drop of vanilla, a little oak, and a splash of Cognac. I liked how the aroma controlled the oak and Cognac. It didn't let them get out of control.

The taste was thick and roasted, but not sweet like the aroma. Up front was the roasted elements, the roasted malt and roasted coffee beans. Behind the roasted tastes was a brief taste of sweetness. I got some brown sugar, a dash of vanilla, a drop of molasses, and a few dark fruits like raisins, cherries, and plums. This beer then finishes up with a nice medium not overpowered taste of oak and cognac. When the taste warmed up, the cognac and oak became more pronounced. Even though it became stronger, it never became a cognac aged in a sweet imperial stout barrel.

The mouthfeel was full bodied with a nice aftertaste of oak, malt, coffee, roasted  hops, dark fruits, and cognac. I could taste the cognac, but it was a controlled taste. Not overpowered!

I don't care that much for sweet stouts, but this one was different. The barrel aging was a very nice touch. I would love to drink this beer again.

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

Beer pours an inky jet black with a thin tan head. Smell is awesomely chocolatey, a bit like boozy chocolate cake. I was worried it might be too sweet after the smell, but the flavor here is well balanced, awesome and not too intense. It's all chocolate and oak and amazing. Mouthfeel is full bodied and thick, but still has nice carbonation. This is a great beer and one of my favorites from CCB, these guys are crushing it lately.

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Photo of Etan
4.42/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle.

A: Pours out a viscous black body with a thick chocolate-colored head. Petrol consistency.

S: Sweet vinous cognac notes from the barrel jump out first, followed by aromas of roast and fudge and a bit of lactose.

T: Grapey glucose, oak, vanilla, baker's chocolate, raisins, boozy warmth, lightly charred grain in the finish. The barrel lends a lot of sweetness, but there's also some balancing bitterness and roast from the base beer.

M: Very thick-bodied with light carbonation. Chewy, to say the least.

O: Very good beer. It's nice to see brewers experimenting with barrel treatments besides the usual bourbon, and it's especially nice when the beer is so successful.

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Photo of axeman9182
4.41/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle courtesy of djmichaelk. It was left out to warm just a little, and poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

Cognac Barrel Imperial Sweet Stout pours an intimidating black, with noticeably dark, chocolate colored foam crowning the beer. It's about a finger and a half in height, with just a little bit each of head retention and lacing. The nose is great, with lots of aromas coming together and spilling out of the glass. Vanilla, oak, cognac, and dark chocolate all coalesce and greet my nose. The barrel characteristics are what find my palate first, with brown sugar, oak, and lightly boozy cognac all standing out. That alcoholic note is a touch too potent, but it's what balances against the sweetness, before the base beer comes in for the finish. Cocoa powder is joined by anise and molasses, the latter two just a hair too prominent for my taste. The mouthfeel is superb, highlighted by a full body that's just slightly chewy, and a wonderfully subtle carbonation. I've had a few Cigar City beers that I've enjoyed, but this is the first one that's jumped out since Hunahpu's did a while back. Now I'm really looking forward to the bottle of Leon that's in my fridge.

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Photo of standardcherry
4.65/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

750 ml bottle.

A: Pours completely black with about 1 inch of mocha-colored head. It receded immediately though. Looks very thick as I poured it.
S: Lots of fruity sweetness, chocolate and dark malts. It has almost a slight "wine" scent.
T: Dark chocolate bitterness balances with fruity sweetness. Oak, chocolate, vanilla. A warm boozy in the finish. Very well balanced though, booze is well hidden.
M: Extremely thick and viscous. Full bodied with low carbonation. Very smooth.
O: Excellent beer, can't wait for CCB to make more.

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Photo of dbc5
4.59/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml poured into a Southern Tier Pumpking chalice.

A: This beer pours viscous as hell. Moderately aggressive pour yields about a 1 finger, coffee colored head. Held to the light, absolutely nothing shines through.

S: This is a spectacular smelling brew. Can tell this is going to be sweet off the nose. Chocolate syrup, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon sugar, raisins, vanilla, and coffee.

T: While I think the nose is the standout on this beer, the flavor does not disappoint. Starts with dark chocolate/chocolate syrup, then brown sugar and vanilla. Get a hit of fruit sweetness at the end (raisins, plums, grapes). The chocolate syrup flavor lingers along with alight booziness (the booze is not particularly pronounced but present enough to be noticed).

M: Mouthfeel is excellent on this one. Thick and coating. Carbonation is moderate to low.

O: Probably the best sweet stout I've had the pleasure of enjoying. Highly recommend this to anyone who is a stout fan with a sweet tooth. This is my first experience with Cigar City and it lived up to the hype. Thanks go out to BREWSnTATTOOS for giving me the opportunity to enjoy this treat.

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Photo of davey101
4.53/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 09/19/2012. 750 ml bottle into a DFH signature glass. Served around cellar temperature. Thanks Matt!

A - Pours a dark black body. Insanely dark mocha creamy head thats bordering on red. A swirl creates a thin layer of yellow/brown film that stains the glass ala Marshal Zhukov. Thick lacing forms but it seems so dense that it falls down the sides quickly. Beautiful looking beer.

S - Roasted malts, grapes, cherries, leather, and milk chocolate. Very well integrated. Has a warming alcohol impression on the end.

T - Starts off with bitter roasted malts followed by sweet and acrid grape liquer. Finally smooth milk chocolate, oak, and vanilla. Fudgy and chewy with dark fruits, cognac, and oak barrels all playing a role. Very warming and smooth on the end. The aftertaste is a bit awkward with some lingering acidity.

M - Creamy with great carbonation. Somewhat sticky and syrupy but the beer does finish cleanly albeit slowly.

O - A unique beer. Can't say that the lactose is present, but this is an extremely well made. Not as good as Leon IMO, but Cigar City is doing some pretty impressive barrel releases lately.

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Photo of T-34-85
4.41/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent syrupy thick stout with a deep dark opaque look, yielding minimal head with the initial pour.

Smell of sweetness and bready molasses with great depth and complexity.

Taste is tremendous, with even more depth and richness from what is foreshadowed by the smell. Significant level of sweetness as is anticipated from the name and style, but well matched by the other characteristics. Tastes of charred and caramelized molasses and a hint of cognac from the barrel aging.

The mouthfeel is great, with an intensely thick consistency that coats the mouth.

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Photo of cavedave
4.94/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Crusian for putting this amazing beer into my BIF box. Tasted 12/5. From notes.

Pours a thick and opaque black, topped briefly by light brown cap which leaves the scene for some persistent islands of skim. A swirl provokes syrupy legs to slither down the glass sides.

What an aroma. This beer's best feature, almost unbelievably delicious. Neither Paul nor I could move on to sipping without spending nearly five minutes inhaling. Caramel sweet, cognac, dark chocolate, light roastiness, vanilla, cakey breadiness, hints of herbal and alcohol spice, even floral touches in there. Can't imagine a smell more enchanting than this.

What a flavor, neither of us were ready for how good this is. Lotsa sweet alcohol spice and clean caramel then it swirls into a bitter and milder combo of chocolate flavors, hints of coffee and vanilla, some roastiness that never gets acrid, and underflavors beyond my power to describe. It is delightful, a truly spectacular taste that merely identifying flavor components does not do justice. Cognac flavors tie it together into perfection. It leaves us both wondering if we ever have tasted a stout as fine.

Mouthfeel is the frame in which this masterpiece is brought to its best. Super viscous, low carb. and a clean finish that leaves streaks of resiny goodness on mouth and tongue, but never seems to build up nor become cloying. Just a marvel of artistry here. So, so good

Don't know what more to say for my impression than this is without doubt the finest beer I have tasted this year, and undoubtedly the finest of this style I ever will taste. Highest recommendation.

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Photo of Retail1LO
4.52/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Notes from 750mL shared at Tired Hands All Hallows Dinner on 11/6

Pours a dark, ominous black shade with about a finger's width head up top. Smell is rich...flush with dark fruit, a tint of vanilla, and plenty of the cognac barrel. The taste follows the nose closely. True to the name, it is surely sweet, but not even remotely in a cloying manner. The mouthfeel is world class. This is every bit the heavy, velvety, thick, lush mouthfeel that I yearn for in a beer like this. Overall, this was amazing. While they're not the same style, I liked this even more than Leon.

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Photo of madtowndmb1
4.43/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Blind side by side with Cognac Moloko

A: Pours oil slick black with minimal head.

S: Chocolate shop chocolate

T: Dark chocolate maybe even a Almond Hersey bar?

M: Like most if not all CCB beers, nailed it. Coating and lingers like a boss!

O: While really good, a little fatiguing being so sweet. Overall a very good beer!

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Photo of jeonseh
4.09/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared at NWI tasting group.

A - Dark chocolate stout with dark chocolate foam on top and the slides 3.75

S - Good chocolate presence with lots of caramely cognac barrel to it. There is also slight dates at well

T - Caramely chocolate beer with good cognac presence that gives it a nice sweetness. Lots of fudge presence with a slight booziness to it and oak to it.

M - Medium body with light oak presence to it. Low carbonation with velvety smoothness

O - Another great cognac BA beer from Cigar City. I love how well they are using these barrels. They created a beer that benefits well from the sweetness from the cognac.

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Photo of gueuzedreg
4.51/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Not as sweet as I thought it would be

A- Thick black motor oil like all CCB stouts. The smallest lacing ever with no legs. Gums up glass.

S- Big chocolate upfront, toffee and then some cognac barrel. Chocolate is dominant.

T- Big dark milk chocolate, massive chocolate dominates anything else that would try to come to play. Cognac has a bite at the end.

M- CCB brews are always money in my book for the M. Thick and viscous, chewy. No carb that detracts from what this beer is meant to be.

O- Another great CCB brew; would probably have this just under LiL if we are ranking CCB stouts.

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Imperial Sweet Stout - Cognac Barrel Aged from Cigar City Brewing
96 out of 100 based on 61 ratings.