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Sugar Plum Brown Ale | Cigar City Brewing

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Sugar Plum Brown AleSugar Plum Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Cigar City Brewing's official celebration of Christmas. A rich-bodied brown ale forms the stage for holiday flavors which dance a festive ballet highlighted by pirouetting leaps of Christmas inspired spices. Cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, rose hips and chamomile compliment the subtle chocolate and light coffee notes of the malt and the addition of roasted carob and chicory complete the performance. Brewed once a year to celebrate the Christmas season. Pair with fresh cracked nuts, fruit cake and share with friends and family. Merry Christmas from the CCB family!

22 IBU

Added by tpd975 on 01-03-2009

For Trade:
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Reviews: 61 | Ratings: 278
Photo of Holland
1.98/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: looks like a nice brown ale - dark brown, lighter highlights, tan head of a good size.

S: smell is full of spice like cardamom - very difficult to smell anything else.

T: taste is also overpowered by the spices; same kind of thing. Very dry tasting.

M: medium carbonation, medium body, about right for a "brown" ale.

O: not a beer I'd drink again. $8 per 750ml bottle is such a waste when you can get far better beers for that. This was really disappointing since it was the first disagreeable beer I had from Cigar City.

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Photo of corby112
2.14/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark chestnut brown color that's nearly opaque with a one finger beige head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Spotty lacing left behind.

Intensely spicy aroma with tons of ginger, pepper, cinnamon and others that overpower the light roasted dark malt character. Way too much wintry spice that simply overpowers everything else in the nose.

Medium bodied with a blast of harsh, peppery spices that overwhelm the palate and overtake all of the other flavors. Tons of ginger, cinnamon, pepper and other spices kill the dark fruit and toasted malt notes that are hard to pick up. This beer is a mess with just too much going on at once. I'm glad that I split it with a bunch of friends because I had trouble finishing a few ounces.

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Photo of drgarage
2.54/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Had a bottle on New Year's Eve that I'd brought back from a trip to Florida earlier in December. I could not have been more disappointed in it -- it's utterly lacking in body, like a Bud Light hit up with all the spices in the world. More than anything, it just doesn't taste finished. It's possible that with another several months in bottle it would improve (if it was bottle conditioned, I can't remember) the way premature home brew does. But I wouldn't count on it.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
2.66/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

750ml into Chimay glass.

Pours with almost no head over dark orange to brown body. No lacing.

Nice seasonal aromas of roasted spices, light fruity sweetness, and herbal esters. Somewhat smokey, as many CC beers are.

Flavors are somewhat harsh and roasty. Coffee grinds, ginger, and old cigar. No discernable sweetness. Not expected, or pleasant. Aftertaste is like next-morning-cigar-breath. There is a film on my tongue that won't go away.

Mouthfeel is appropriate for a 6% brown ale. Above average carbonation, but pretty thin... was hoping for more depth and richness.

One of the few times I have not been impressed with Cigar City.

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Photo of rudzud
2.99/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Received as an extra in a trade and poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a nice darker cloudier brown hue with a thin half finger head that fades almost immediately to leave a thin light cloud. Pretty standard.

S - Aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, sweeter malts. Has an almost dirty aroma. Weird.

T - Taste is faint faint plum, lots of spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, faint ginger. Awfully sweet here, candy and cloy. Like a very sweet winter warmer. Getting none of the usual brown ale notes.

M - Mouthfeel Is lightly carbonated, very syrupy/heavy.

O - Overall, not a huge fan of this beer. Overly sweet and spiced.

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Photo of dstc
3.03/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Was planning on aging this bottle for next year to see if it would mellow out a bit. Noticed the other day it was starting to leak at the cap. Chilled it and opened it tonight, plenty of carbonation, a bit of a gusher.

Murky brown color with an enormous tan head. Head is very slow to fall. Thick, clinging lace.

Nose has plenty of spice especially from the cardamom and ginger. Interesting aroma.

Taste is all spice , booze and bitterness. Bit of a mess to be honest.

Medium bodied in the mouth with moderate carbonation and a slight bite on the tongue.

I love Cigar City and the beer they brew but this one just misses. Too wrongly spiced and oddly bitter. Was looking forward to it but not a fan.

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Photo of justintcoons
3.04/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a burnt ruby with 2 fingers of sudsy head that dissipates slowly. Excellent layer of lacing clings to the side. Moderate carbonation.

N: Smells like a bar of hand soap with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.

T: A clove-like spice really dominates overall. Some hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and rose petal appear on the front end followed by subtle roasted malts, cocoa and raisin mid-palette. Finishes with a bouquet of spices and floral notes along with some earth and leather.

M: Medium-full bodied, creamy, chewy and dry.

O: Way too many spices used for a 6% English Brown base. A higher octane Brown or more subtle spicing would vastly improve this beer. This one is on the verge of cloying and quite a disappointment.

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Photo of oline73
3.07/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a murky reddish brown color with a layer of of white head that fades to a ring around the edge of the pour.

Smell: Sweet malt with some dark fruit and Christmas spice notes.

Taste: This beer isn't overly sweet at all. There is a Christmas spice note, but it is overshadowed a bit by an herbal bitterness in the finish of the sip.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with aggressive carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This isn't a particularly good beer by any means. The bitter herbal notes in the finish didn't go very well with the other flavors. I wouldn't have another.

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Photo of Vec2267
3.23/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: medium brown with red highlights, good lacing

S: spice dominates, a little malt sweetness

T: cardamom dominates the taste, though I think I detect the rosehips, and chamomile

M: typical for a brown

O: a heavily spiced seasonal brew - not something I would seek out again, but another quality brew from CCB

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Photo of SigEp
3.28/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked it up to try there seasonal offering. Think they also have a "winter warmer".
I would pass on this one though. Lists a plethora of spices including cinnamon, cardamom, chamomile, chicory... Whatever the combination or amounts they used, they ended up with something that is brown, slightly earthy and medicinal.

I am traditionally offended by Harpoon's winter warmer (way too heavy-handed on the spice); but drink a couple every year because it gets me in the spirits. Go with that instead of this, if you have the option. The herbal/spicial/chicorial additions are muddled and indistinguishable in this beer. I think the message of a little spice goes a long way is truly proven here.

Don't shy from Cigar City beers though... they have a lot to offer.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.29/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours dark amber/brown with a ruby hue in the light and small head. Smells like plums, raisins, sour cherry, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg. Spices are subdued in the aroma and it is more fruit than anything else. Spices dominate flavor though, with a cinnamon plum nutmeg combo. Medium mouthfeel and pretty smooth. Finishes slightly dirty. About what I expected, a bit bland, and not something I will have again. Just can't get into the studf with cinnamon/nutmeg overpowering the flavor. They did what they wanted here, but I would have preferred a seeeter brew with lots of fruit.

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Photo of ShanePB
3.34/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle shared with Nick at Craft Ale House. Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Deep medium-dark brown and burgundy colored body with a fluffy sort of fizzy off-white head. A few vigorous swirls brings it back but the retention is lacking, and there's really no lacing at all. Nothing out of the ordinary, mediocre appearance even to style.

S: Decent amounts of spices initially - cinnamon, ginger, spicy clove and touches of dark fruits. Plum and raisin coupled with a sugary sweetness towards the back end. Not really overdone and definitely a pretty good smelling beer. Well spiced without losing the Brown Ale base of the beer.

T: Front of the tongue brings the toasted barley, caramel and faint dark malts. The spiciness comes in towards the middle with a plethora of different flavors. There's more cinnamon, ginger, honey, and a distinct peppery note lasting into the back end of the palate. Finishes crisp with just a hint of clove into the linger.

M: Very carbonated, perhaps too much for what I expected. This would work better with less bubbles, allowing the spices and other flavors to coat well instead of wash away quickly.

As soon as I heard about this beer being brewed and bottled, I had to try it and I'm not disappointed. It really is one of the better spiced Brown Ales although I haven't come across an abundance of them. Nice offering, certainly one worth trying when priced right.

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Photo of johndoe8
3.35/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beer a fair amount of spice. Nutmeg maybe some cinnamon. Lot of bitterness from hops and I get this slight pit bitterness to it as well. The nose is pretty good but in the end this combination of spice and flavors was a little disappointing. I was hoping for a sweet tasty sugar plum but this didn't quite deliver

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Photo of VncentLIFE
3.37/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour is exactly what Ive come to associate with Cigar City Browns. A muddy, murky brown. No real head.

Smell isnt exactly easy to discern, but that might be from the fire burning next to me. Nice notes of caramel, brown sugar, and plums. Smells like Holiday Spice Cake.

Very spicy. Dry from the nutmeg, cinnamon, and other spices. Tastes like an over-spiced spice cake. The body is light, allowing the spices to take the forefront. Its got the spices of some other winter warmers, so I guess I dont understand why its not a Winter Warmer.

In the aftertaste, I get a leafy tobacco feeling that is a bit off. I still really enjoy it. Who would have thought that I would like tobacco in a beer? guess Im moving up in the world.

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Photo of BobZ
3.38/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Pours dark brown with little to no head leaves only a thing ring. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Spice (cinnamon) and a fruity sourness stands out.

Taste: The fruit flavor comes through with much less sour in the taste that was present in the nose. The spice again reminds me of cinnamon and does leave a warming effect. The malts are not really noticeable but for the style the beer is pleasant enough.

Mouthfeel: Medium body (to style) and clean on the palate.

Overall: Interesting beer (thanks for the extra Mike) and I’m always happy to try a CCB offering. I’m generally a fan of fruit or sourness but I did enjoy tasting this unique take on a Christmas themed brown ale.

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Photo of TX-Badger
3.39/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a nice brown color with off-white head. Sweet dark fruits on the nose, with some subtle spices; follows onto the palate. Finishes with a nice little sweetness.

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Photo of Bung
3.4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. Cloudy brown pour, thin layer, really just a ring of white on top.

Aroma, smells like a snicker doodle cookie. Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, light brown sugar. A Christmas ale for sure.

Taste, luckily not as sweet as the aroma. Still pretty much like a liquid ginger snap or snicker doodle. Faintest caramel malt background. It's just a tad watery without a stronger base for all the spices.

Just gets somewhere between light and medium body. Gentle carbonation, more would not really do anything though. Drinks easy, you just have to get by the spice.

Not bad, I just feel the same meh for most Christmas ales.

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Photo of bierguru
3.45/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark woody purple/brown with a 1 finger light tan head. Excellent lacing.

Smell: Sweet winter spices with ginger dominating. Cinnamon and nutmeg also come through nicely. Faint fruitiness that lingers on the backend

Taste: Spices dominate up front followed by typical malty brown ale flavors , a touch of hops and a bit of fruitiness at the finish. Aftertaste is mildly bitter like the skin of a plum.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: High drinkability. You could easily have a few of these over the course of an evening.

Overall: Very good beer overall. Was not expecting much from the negative reviews i was getting from friends, but i enjoyed it very much

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.45/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a pint glass. Thanks to hoppy99 for sending this up to me.

Appearance: My pour has a medium hazelnut brown color with a plum tint and dark ruby edges. A modest tan cap rests on top, fading slowly, and leaving a few spots of lace.

Smell: Brown toasted bread and caramel malt, plum and assorted dark fruits, cinnamon, and nutmeg. There are some other lighter spices that I cannot really place. That must be the cardamom, chamomile, rosehips, and the like.

Taste: The flavor starts off with a fairly mild sweetness. A little bit of caramel accompanies plums and dark fruits, but the malt has more of a toasted brown bread flavor. Lots of spices come in, with a burst of nutmeg and cinnamon for sure. Even though the spices are varied, it feels like they went too intense with the. Toward the end a strange bitterness does not really fit with what I would like out of the beer. A strange, pseudo-alcohol medicinal bite is in there as well.

Mouthfeel: The body starts medium and somewhat bold but ends up a bit dry and on the light side. The carbonation is medium and sits somewhere between creamy and crisp. Toward the end it starts feeling acrid, which I could definitely do without.

Overall: The spice blend is quite nice. If I had my way, I would up the malt a little bit, increase the body, and kill that weird bitter acrid finish. Even with some interesting flavor, those are too many improvements to warrant a really good score.

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Photo of DrewShal9
3.47/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks wscaffe!
A: a purplish brown that's reminiscent of a barleywine with a white head that leaves a beautiful lace along the sides of the glass
S: ginger, cinnamon rolls, spices, and bready malt
T: intense and complex yet very tasty! Spices and sweet that finishes with plums.
M: somewhat light bodied with moderate amount of carbonation
O: very tasty brew that I want to revisit and try one aged!

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Photo of AgentZero
3.48/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Brown colored beer with some touches of red on the edges. Tan head that left some spots behind.

S - Dark fruit, cinnamon, caramel malts. There is some plum in there that gives it a slightly acidic note. It's pretty spiced which is fine, just not really my thing.

T - A little bit mild with some caramel and plum notes. Spice consists of nutmeg and cinnamon. Some moderate sweetness, not as malty as you would have expected.

M - Lighter beer than expected, pretty dry finish. Needs more body.

O - Not a bad beer for the style, but it's just a style of beer that I haven't found to put out something great yet. Worth trying, particularly if you like beers of this style.

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Photo of Heatwave33
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle to a Dogfish Head Signature glass.

Color: Deep murky amber with a khaki head.

Smell: Roasted malts, cinnamon and chocolate up front. Followed by coffee and spice.

Taste: Same as the aroma.

Mouthfeel: Mid-low carbonation, lightly coarse with a medium dryness on the palate.

Overall: A secent winter ale. My buddy and his girlfriend enjoyed it. Medium bodied with a decent balance. Don't know if I'll pick this up again. But definitely worth trying. Cheers.

 487 characters

Photo of BlackBearForge
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sugar Plum is a dark brown beer, nearly opaque with maroon hightlights around the edges. A light brown head builds quickly upon pouring and subsides to a thin covering with lots of lacing.

The aroma yields dark malts with orchard fruit notes and a touch of earthiness.

First sip yields some rather harsh spicing and leaves a rather flat and bitter aftertaste. Subsequent sips as it warms are quite a lot better and a traditional English brown base with added dark malts with dark ripe orchard fruits open up a bit. Strong hints of brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon and perhaps cardamon are present. Hop presence is low and earthy.

Mouthfeel is medium and a tad flat. Very smooth but a bit of creaminess would be welcome.

This beer really needs you to take your time with it especially if on first sip it doesn't seem all that welcoming. Sitting in the glass and warming does a world of good to open up the flavors.

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Photo of speter
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep hazy brown with a one-finger+ fluffy tan head. Light lacing.

S: The cardamom dominates the nose, although the carob and brown sugar notes provide a solid backdrop.

T: Like the nose, the cardamom dominates the taste and together with the other spices, creates a sense almost of nutmeg. The finish is quite bitter and spicy.

M: Light and refreshing, like an oatmeal cookie.

O: Not a bad little winter ale.

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Photo of brewandbbq
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle, $8.95 from New Beer Distributors.

Pours dark mahogany with crimson edging and a quarter inch head of beige. A few stretched dots of lacing and a fine bead around the surface for the duration.

Aromatics are filled with holiday spice and toffee-laced malt. Cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, star anise, menthol, and candied fruit.

Medium bodied with a chewy, sticky, almost syrupy mouthfeel.

Zesty spices aplenty lead off the palate. Peppery, minty, and licorice-laden. Heavy nutmeg and cinnamon. French toast drizzeled with dark rum and Sambuca.

Finishes with sweet nutmeg-infused malt and sugar-dusted dark fruits.

The spicing is a bit overboard in this one, perhaps a few or ten years in the cellar would mellow it out. Otherwise the beer is sweetish and rich.
A good beer to share.

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Sugar Plum Brown Ale from Cigar City Brewing
3.56 out of 5 based on 278 ratings.
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