Illuminating The Path | Cigar City Brewing

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Illuminating The PathIlluminating The Path
Very Good
277 Ratings
Illuminating The PathIlluminating The Path

Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Illuminating the Path is a collaboration with Ecliptic Brewing out of Portland, Oregon. The concept behind this beer was to connect Oregon and Florida, which brought several raw materials to mind. John Harris of Ecliptic and myself decided to use rose hips and marionberries, indigenous to Oregon, plus hibiscus and acai berries from Florida. The recipe for the beer was designed with these ingredients in mind, and then aged in pinot noir barrels from Oregon. The result is dark, with big fruity notes, balanced by vinous wine-like notes. We wanted to balance the concept of beer and wine and believe we have done that successfully.

Added by GatorLCA on 10-31-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 277 |  Reviews: 24
Photo of ygtbsm94
4.16/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of joemochas
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of rspauldi
3.25/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Jadjunk
3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewed in the style of an American Strong Ale, available in limited release 750 ml. bottles.

Poured from a 750ml. bottles to a tulip glass.

(Appearance) Pours a rich caramel brown head of a creamy frothed consistency over a very dark brown, near black body. Retention is very good, and lacing is light and droopy. 4

(Smell) Tangy and tart dark fruit notes, moderate acidity, subtle biscuit malts, caramel malts and cocoa nibs. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) Dry, tangy vinous fruit notes forward with a subtly sweet and lightly decadent malt syrup backbone. Finishes dry with a nip of white oak tannins. Softly syrupy, residual and tart, very enjoyable. 4

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, lightly syrupy, medium sticky, very dry. Carbonation is light, with a mild frothiness and a lightly crisp finish. Body is medium+ for the style, medium/heavy overall. Balance is slightly tangy and acidic over sweet. Alcohol presence is low and there are no off characters. 4

(Overall) A very enjoyable and tangy fruit ale with a bold tartness and an enjoyable drying oak finish. It may not be the finest beer that Cigar City has put out there, but I think it's superb. 4

Cigar City Brewing's
Illuminating The Path (With Ecliptic Brewing)

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Photo of John_M
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had been sitting on this for roughly a year, and so figured it was time to crack it open.

The beer pours a fairly dark brown color with good head retention and lacing. On the nose, there's a lot going on in this beer, but the pinot noir barrels really takes center stage. I'm not sure I've ever smelled a beer with this level of pinot aroma, and it paired well with the vanilla, light spice, chocolate and sauerkraut (of all things) I picked up in this beer. The flavor profile replicated the nose to some extent, and I thought there was an interesting intermix of chocolate, light vanilla, spice and sour wine flavor. The sour in this wine isn't over the top at all, and was well balanced and countered by the spice, sweet chocolate and fruit I picked up (plums, grape and black cherry). Mouthfeel was fairly full, with a long, fairly smooth finish. The label didn't state what the abv. was in this beer, but I would guess it was something in the 9% to 10% range. Alcohol was very well integrated into the flavor profile, and the so drinkability was quite good.

Very interesting and impressive beer I thought.

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Photo of corby112
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark chestnut brown, almost black color with plum/mahogany edges and a two finger frothy beige head that very slowly settles into a thick, lasting ring. Great retention for the style and what I assume is a high ABV. Lasts through most of the pour leaving sporadic streaks of soapy lacing in it's wake.

Very inviting, complex nose with a lot going on. Somewhat floral with vinous barrel presence, roasted and sweet malt notes and vinous dark fruit. The Pinot barrel and dark berries really stand out with subtle roast, charred oak and vanilla bean nice integrated into the beer. Not dominated by wine, oak or booze with blueberry, dark raspberry, currant, grape and plum sweetness coming through. I'm not familiar with Marion berry but it has a dark raspberry/blueberry like profile. Still, the floral notes show with a perfume like quality and the complex malt bill notes stand up to the barrel notes. Subtle roast with coffee bean and dark chocolate along with sweeter dessert-like malt notes. Smells excellent with the perfect balance of berries, Pinot barrel and dark malt.

Fuller end of medium body with a strong vinous barrel presence and a boat load of vinous dark berries. Excellent integration of barrel flavors with damp oak, vanilla bean and vinous Pinot/red wine flavor. The sweet red wine notes blend perfectly with the luscious dark berries which are very prominent. Blueberry, blackberry, grape, raisin and plum sweetness countered by a subtle dark malt backbone. Just the perfect amount to balance out all of the sweetness. Not heavy enough to overpower the barrel and fruit flavors but enough to add another layer of flavor and complexity. Subtle roast and smoke with coffee bean, toast, burnt sugar and oatmeal followed by sweeter chocolate malt, caramel and toffee. Really complex and packed with interesting flavor. Not sure what the ABV is but this beer is deceptively drinkable with only subtle heat/warmth in he finish. Wow, a really impressive beer from CCB and Ecliptic.

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Photo of Raziel313
3.56/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of sweemzander
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750mL bottle poured into a snifter.

(A)- Pours very dark; almost black with some reddish highlights. Minimal froth.

(S)- A big nose of the red wine barrel. Plenty of oak and raisin too.

(T)- Lots of dark fruits meets a big red wine berry oak profile. Very jam-like with lots of berries throughout.

(M)- A mellow carbonation level meets a very jam-like sweet profile overall; almost sticky.

(O)- Again, very sweet and jammy. Enjoyable though

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Photo of Kmat10
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of AndyEdgar
3.46/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of wordemupg
4.36/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had this one a ways back at mattsanders tasting (from notes)

A has a brown ruby glow when held to the light, short lived thin dark head leaves some polka dots

S black currents, dates, figs, prunes, raisins, maybe some faint strawberry, strange herbal and floral notes, some purple candy maybe? Dark toffee and jam

T a little wood, everything from the nose just kinda smashed together, interesting taste but the nose has the edge

M leaning towards full, a little bitter with some tannin, soft carbonation, spicy finish

O maybe the surprise of the night for me, very original and I can’t really think of something similar

This one was a winner in a strange way for me, something I’ve never heard of and would love to revisit

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Photo of cjgator3
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MDDMD
3.54/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Ilovelampandbeer
4.56/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

89 rating is a joke...such a unique and awesome beer

During certain stages of the sip it reminded me of a barleywine, other stages a sour, others a regular fruit much depth

Wish they would brew this again

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Photo of Phillip380
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's a little late for a reviews once this beer is over a year old now, but when Wayne (the head Brewers of Cigar City ) says it was on of his favorite beers of the year, you might have wanted to know what it was like. Just sayin. ( although I did have a bottle share of it at Hunahpu day last week and it was still drinking really nice, so go figure.

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Photo of Matagal
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of grover37
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of imperialking
3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of BDeibs
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of tommy5
3.62/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of chippo33
3.39/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Photo of SierraFlight
3.54/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Mersh
3.29/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of nathanmiller
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of billab914
2.49/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Sharp acidic sourness along with some rotten flavors

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Illuminating The Path from Cigar City Brewing
Beer rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 277 ratings