Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale | Cigar City Brewing

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Cubano-Style Espresso Brown AleCubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This rich brown ale is redolent with Cuban-style roasted espresso beans, sweet caramel and toffee and hints of dry nuttiness. Cuban Espresso is a popular drink in the Cigar City of Tampa owing to its many Sicilian and Cuban immigrants. The beans for Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale are roasted locally by Mazzaro's Italian Market and Deli in St. Petersburg to our exact specifications.

25 IBU

Added by tpd975 on 05-26-2009

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Reviews: 306 | Ratings: 1,329
Photo of zookerman182
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance is a clear dark brown color with a half finger head.
Aroma is incredible. Roasted coffee beans, and roasty malt. Maple bacon coffee porter aroma minus the syrupy maple smell.
Taste is sweet at first but dark roasted coffee dominates after that. Maybe some bittersweet chocolate flavors as well.
Mouthfeel is thin but the coffee flavor does linger slightly on the back end.
This is a great alternative to an after dinner coffee. The body is thin enough to not put you over the edge. The carbonation is there but not too much.
Nicely done and I'm thankful I got to try it.

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Photo of barhoc11
4.58/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Looks like a brown ale

S: Sweet coffee and malt aroma

T: Sweet at first but then you get a sweet coffee taste followed by a smokey malt.

M: Nice and full

O: This beer is outstanding, one of the best done coffee beers I have had. I would not of expected a brown coffee ale to be so complete but Cigar City did a great job. Wish I could get it in MI.

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Photo of IrishHockey
4.64/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a can into a CCB hunahpu snifter (the only glass besides paper coffee cups in the hotel room)

Smell: vanilla, chocolate, and loads of coffee. Damn this smells great

Appearance: looks good! Brown with some red in it when I hold it to the light.

Taste: wow! Smell is dead on to the taste. The vanilla and coffee dominate, but the chocolate is there. It's soooo good! Little dry on the back end, but almost perfect.

Mouthfeel: very creamy and smooth. Little thicker than most brown ales. Almost into porter/stout range with how thick this is. Love it

Overall: hands down, one of the best coffee beers that I've ever had. So damn tasty!

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Photo of neenerzig
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 4 pack of this when my dad and I went to the main brewery in Tampa a few days ago. Poured out of a 12 oz can into a pint glass. Pours a clear, medium brown color with deep ruby/amber highlights when held up to the light. Nice slightly tan/off white head is about 2/3-3/4 of an inch thick when first poured. Settles to a nice thick crescent ring lining mow of the inside of the glass. Lacing is okay, but not that great. Aromas of dark, roasted caramel malt sweetness that gives way to some chocolate and coffee notes. Taste is pretty much the same, but stronger than the aroma, with toasted caramel malt sweetness upfront followed by coffee and chocolate flavors. Rounded out with a slight touch of hops. Has a crisp, smooth, frothy, medium bodied muthfeel with moderate carbonation. Easy to drink in the way well crafted beer ought to be. Quite a tasty brew here indeed!


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Photo of thezach
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Well, I certainly went into this thinking it was a stout. As it's a brown ale, I figured it would be like comparing apples and smaller, weak tasting, less flavorful apples. I've been pleasantly surprised. The roast aroma is rich and rounded, and becomes more so as it warms, if there's cocoa or vanilla in there, it's either so subtle as to elude taste, or it's balanced perfectly with the espresso, complementing and enhancing the coffee's roast, rather than overpowering it. There's some toffee on the back end, but the major player here is wonderfully well-made coffee with a touch of sweetness. I feel the mouthfeel would benefit from a bit more richness, or perhaps a little less carbonation. But then again, this seems to be the norm for brown ales. All in all, I'd have this again. Not right now, but tomorrow. Good stuff.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a medium brown color ale with a large light brown foamy head with average retention and not much lacing. Aroma of strong dry coffee notes with some roasted notes and floral coffee notes. Taste is also dominated by strong dry coffee notes with some floral undertones and lots of roasted notes. Body is light with good carbonation. Interesting but closer to drinking a cup of coffee than a beer.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.09/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a deep brown with auburn highlights and a finger's worth of khaki head. Fair retention, resulting in a broken layer of surface suds. Leaves a decent amount of lacing around the glass, though most slides .

Smell - Freshly roasted coffee ground aroma, backed by a lesser scent of caramel. Light cream with faint chocolate notes.

Taste - Follows the nose. Big, natural coffee flavor. Caramel finds a nice niche, while hints of vanilla and cream bounce off the middling roasty attributes. Touches of nuttiness and chocolate in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with lively carbonation. Nice, smooth finish.

Overall - Really solid coffee-infused brew. Delivers more than just a 'cold coffee' experience. My heart tells me a deeper roasted flavor would be nice, but my brain tells me this is a brown, so I shouldn't expect that. A fine brown it is.

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Photo of portia99
4.26/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle (2/1/14) poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours a dark brown color with minimal light transference thru its body. Almost no head forms, really just a thin collar of off-white bubbles and no real lacing.

S - Huge coffee aroma wafts out of the glass. Richly roasted with some sweet creaminess. A big dark chocolate fudge aroma sits behind the coffee but stands up enough to be noticeable. A light berry aroma comes on at the end with a little bit of searching. This smells quite amazing.

T - Matches the aroma quite nicely. Creamy, melted fudgy dark chocolate at the base and a huge hit of coffee. A gently blended in sweet caramel makes this super smooth. This is definitely a coffee forward beer though - any coffee lover will be pleased with this one.

M - Slightly thin body with a strong carbonation level. Tingly throughout - gives a lively feel to the entire mouth on each sip. Coffee is so far forward in the flavor profile it is hard to comment on anything else - I can certainly imagine this as being an outstanding beverage with breakfast on a weekend.

O - If you like coffee, it is going to be hard to find fault in this beer. Breakfast/dessert - I'm not sure where this works best. Coffee is intense but there is noticeable caramel sweetness in there too and I get a thick fudgy chocolate aspect as well that never causes this to approach mocha, but rather causes this to slip into a coffee infused dark chocolate cake like dessert character. I like this one a lot.

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Photo of dar482
4.26/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer comes in a brown copper color.

The aroma is bright coffee and some toasty malt.

The flavor follows of toasty malt, light chocolate, vanilla, toasted breadiness, and then a black coffee. A really good essence of coffee.

A light body, which fits the ABV. A very drinkable beer for those who want a coffee fix.

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Photo of gtcastle
3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to @Cane80 for the trade!

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: as the name implies, dark brown like an espresso.

Smell: just the amount of espresso on the nose makes me think it would be nice to drink two or three of these every morning before work if I didn't have to keep people alive. The wife could smell it from across the table and had to try it.

Taste: espresso without the sometimes bitter aftertaste. Hints of vanilla, cocoa, and toffee.

Mouthfeel: medium body, good carbonation, very drinkable.

Overall: a good beer, one I would consider drinking in the morning on one of my rare days off.

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Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.36/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Murky brown upon pouring, as expected. A 1/2 finger of off-white head quickly collars.

Smell: Espresso punch in the face, vanilla and cocoa; as advertised. There are also elements of caramel and brown sugar as well.

Taste: Mild vanilla and cocoa over espresso. Finishes dry with espresso, caramelized malt and subtle vanilla. Not very complex in terms of stages of the drink unfolding on the palate, but it is very well blended with nothing standing out too much.

Mouthfeel: A medium bodied brew with a good bit of carbonation tickling the tip of the tongue. Very drinkable.

Overall: My girlfriend usually hates all the beer I drink, and actually liked this; so that alone impresses me. This is just a very nicely balanced beer that's easy to drink, would definitely drink again, cheers!

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Photo of fmccormi
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Straight pour from a 12oz pry-off bottle to a fat, stubby tulip glass; bottling date of . . . no bottling date. But this only comes out once in a while, and the second I saw this in the cooler I snatched it up—likely within two weeks of bottling.

Appearance (3.25): A good pour elicits a solid finger of tan foam, dying down at an average speed, leaving just a tiny bit of lacing in the form of a handful of round splotches . . . the body is clear when held up to the light, and kind of a rich, cola-brown color. Handsome enough, though it could use a bit more head (story of my life, amirite?).

Smell (4.5): I suppose there’s a brown ale underneath it all, but there’s no question about it: coffee dominates. Really, fantastic, coffee. Light smoke, some fruity body, and serious roast go into the espresso component of this beer. The beer underneath is modestly malty, with a rich (but not sweet), dark wheat and barley peasant bread, a little cocoa, and a little pumpernickel. And even though the coffee is so strong, it melds extremely well with the malt base. This is a fantastic aroma.

Taste (4.25): Following the aroma, the flavor is definitely a coffee story, showcasing that beautifully-roasted, very well-balanced espresso component. And, like in the aroma, that coffee melds well with the malt underneath it, which is dry, rich, dark but not sweet or overly roasty—unmalted barley and dark wheat, light cocoa, and peasant bread. There’s a modest hop bitterness in here, too, that’s mostly herbal and a little citrus-zesty, offsetting the malt and complementing the coffee roast nicely. As it warms up, the malt pushes forward a bit not with much sweetness to speak of, but more with the rich earthiness of the grains and cocoa in the beer’s base. It works very, very well and everything is integrated nicely.

Mouthfeel (4.25): Smooth carbonation comes in and tingles very lightly, spreading out well for the lightness of the beer, helping the coffee roast to roll through and dry out the body to finish very, very nicely. Absurdly drinkable.

Overall (4.25): Oh hell yes. I love this beer. Had it for the first time a little over three years ago, loved it then, didn’t have it again until a few days ago, and still love it. This is, at its heart, a clean, simple, and relatively dry American Brown that pulls in an extremely tasteful coffee component, integrates it flawlessly, and becomes that much better for it. Seek it out, it’s worth it. Plus, at 5.5% ABV, you can have a couple without a problem.

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Photo of mwilbur
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass.
A: Pours a cola brown with faint light tan head that quickly dissipates.
S: Distinct espresso note (cafe cubano), lightly roasted caramel malt, vanilla, and a hint of cacao.
T: Follows aroma exactly. A very nice representation of cafe cubano in beer form. With warming, more chocolate and vanilla notes emerge with warming.
M: Light body. Smooth with moderate bitterness. Lingering espresso note on the palate.
D: It's tough to emulate a good cafe cubano...and CCB does a fine job with it. Definitely one to seek out.

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Photo of TheosTheories
4.55/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer was bottled on 1/31/14 so it is 9 days old

A- poors a dark brown color, like deep maple syrup, nice finger and a half of light tan head, pretty good retention and lacing.

S- fresh roasted Cuban coffee, vanilla, little bit of milk chocolate, caramel and toffee, and also hazelnut

T- wow, being Cuban this is great, big Cuban coffee espresso beans up front followed by that milk chocolate and vanilla and finishes with the nuttiness and leaves you with the coffee in the after taste.

M- mouth feel is on the lighter side of medium, very smooth going down, little sticky though, but very pleasant, wish it was alittle thicker though.

O- cigar city knocks it out of the park once again. Overall a great brew, this hit exactly what they wanted it to be, great brew with great flavors. I could easly drink this in the morning before work haha

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Photo of jbwimer
4.04/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Chad threw this in as an extra. Hadn't heard of it, but always looking for the opportunity to try Cigar City beers.

A- 12 oz. bottle poured into a Bell's snifter. Half a finger of beige head disappears quickly leaving a ring around the glass. A very dark brown color with not much light getting through. Doesn't leave much lacing.

S- Really digging the nose on this beer. Not as espresso-forward as I had anticipated, but the coffee notes are certainly there. I was at a coffee roaster the other week and smelled a dulce de leche coffee bean. I'm reminded of it when I smell this beer. In addition, there is unmistakeable toffee and vanilla. The nose is so smooth. Very dessert-like.

T- Almost as good as the nose. I get a lot of the same notes as in the aroma, they just aren't as strong here. Wish there was more coffee. Caramel, toffee, and vanilla dominate initially, with the espresso coming through more so in the aftertaste. Can't read when this was bottled. Can't imagine it was too long ago seeing as all the other beers I received were fresh. Still quite enjoyable!

M- Mouthfeel is heavier than I expected. Especially for a brown ale sitting at 5.5%. It's no RIS, of course. But it's still medium bodied with light carbonation. Feels good sipping on this beer. And I sip because the flavors are really nice.

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Photo of MacQ32
3.89/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - pours a mahogany brown light black coffee color with nearly a finger of chocolate color head,detentions a little weak as the head quickly dissipates leaving only a thin outer ring. Lacing is OK.

S - Just tons of roasty coffee beans, some sweet chocolate and almost vanilla type aromas

T - initial flavor is a little little underwhelming, mostly just over carbonation and some chocolate. towards the finish and through the aftertaste theres a really nice roasty chocolate/vanilla and espresso flavor.

M - lightish bodied. A bit too much carb

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Photo of GJ40
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 12oz bottle. No date. Thanks surge1311.

A - Brown with some light coming through. A small beige head that dissipates quickly.

S - Initially coffee with hints of vanilla and chocolate. Interesting without being overpowering. But later the cocoa comes through more.

T - Firm coffee but again not overpowering. The cocoa blends in nicely. The vanilla is more subtle but still there.

M - A moderate consistency with a low carbonation. It's got a nice smooth and silky feel.

O - I don't drink coffee but I enjoyed this beer. Nice depth and complexity.

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Photo of IPAdams
4.01/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours a very dark brown, on the verge of black. 1 finger tan head that lingers for a minute, leaves little lacing.

Smell- Like opening a bag of espresso beans. Chocolate and vanilla in the background. Very good smell, strong but not overpowering.

Taste- Not flavorful in the beginning, but as it warms up I get a good taste of chocolate covered espresso beans. Pick up a bit of caramel and a slight tart taste that I can't put my finger on.

Mouthfeel- Nice body, smooth and creamy. Good carbonation.

Overall- Definitely let this one warm up as it is much better. Lots of espresso and chocolate with some caramel thrown it. Kind of a mix between a porter and a brown.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.99/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, dated 10/2/2013, courtesy of RJ. Poured into a Cigar City snifter today, 10/30/2013.

Pours like a fairly standard-looking brown ale, but a bit darker. Dark, opaque brown body with a solid 1cm off-white head that has decent retention. Leaves a collar and spots of soapy film. Not much lacing.

Smells like a straight up espresso shot with vanilla syrup added. Not much sweetness behind the nose, though there is a little. It's really coffee and vanilla flavours dominating this beer.

I love how this beer tastes. Sweet, brown sugar and molasses are present throughout, whereas there is a nice coffee bitterness at the beginning and end, with that ever-present raw vanilla flavour dominating in the middle. It's got a lot going on, but its not too intense that any one thing dominates over the other. Smooth, complex, tasty.

Good mouthfeel- medium bodied brown ale, with very good carbonation. Smooth body yet a bit fizzly on the palate, not leaving it too dry but just refreshingly enough so. Aftertaste is a mixture of sweet butterscotch and espresso, with a dab of vanilla. Very drinkable.

Enjoyed this one a lot. It's got a more authentic vanilla flavour mixed in with a nice coffee flavour, and its all supported at the base by the base brown ale. Yet another well crafted beer from Cigar City.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
4.39/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Cigar City Cubano Style Espresso

From 10/12/13 tasting notes.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Served chilled. Split this one. Thanks Jeff...

A) Foggy brown brew with a small light tan head. The head slowly settled to a collar. A little lacing...

S) A wonderfully sweet coffee aroma. I mean I really enjoyed the nose on this one. It reminded me of exactly how I take my espresso on holiday. Toss in 3-4 sugar cubes, splash of cream. I was transported to a European cafe.

T) A very nice coffee flavor, a bit of light bitterness from the beans, but this is balanced nicely with hints of chocolate, caramel, and vanilla.

M) If I had any complaint on this brew at all, it would be that I found the body to be a bit thin. The carbonation was fine. Really, it was smooth and easy drinking.

O) I really enjoyed this beer. Cigar City knows how to brew up some tasty brown ales. It's kind of an under appreciated style, but if you have the chance to give this one a try, do not hesitate. It is unique, and quite tasty.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.09/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thank you SammyJaxxxx for sending this!

A - Pours very dark brown and is almost black in color with very little head and leaves behind a thin cream colored lacing ring.

S - Espresso and coffee beans dominate the nose along with dark roasted chocolate and some vanilla cream. The aroma is strong and pungent.

T - Espresso and coffee beans a aggressively flavored from start to finish before fading out towards then end ever so slightly to allow some caramel malt and light hints of vanilla cream to poke through.

M - Medium body and leaves a combination coating of dark roasted chocolate and coffee beans with a little cream.

O - Not a fan of brown ales but this one sits at the top compared to the rest.

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Photo of pjkelley82
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Got this one thru a trade that the trader put together... damn good choice...

Appearance was very nice... brownish hue almost looks inpenitrable but when a light comes thru from the bottom a beautifull ruby brownish color comes out. Nice khacki color 1/2 in head dispitated quickly.. ring stayed thruout.

Smell was ridiculous. .. delicious, strong, bold espresso... with the cacao. .... not chocolate(in a sense) but cacao.... backing it up ... slight hints if vanilla but very slight. . Perfect smell quality and balance and hands over fist the best part of this beer.

Taste was imiedietly stong sweet espresso that was absoultely bold and delisious... followed by a nice bittering from the cacao. .. vanilla hits ever so gently but is mostly lost into the perfect blend of ingredients. .. aftertaste was bold bitter espresso and slight hops

Mothfeel was light to medium but to my surprise was perfectly carbonated...

Overall this was an excellent brew and one I would recommend and seek out... perfect with a cigar just drinking away... only knock on it to me was I wish it was higher in abv and made more of a sipper.. the higher abv would of lent a great hand into the mix of some perfectly tasting and balanced ingredients that are already present... none the less an enjoyable brew.

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Photo of aMILESupreme
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I left this beer wanting a little more. For what it is, it's fantastic. A nice flavorful brown ale. The nose carries this insane strong coffe smell so you expect something deep and rich but it's not either. The carbonation got in the way and the lack of depth. Definitely give this beer a try. I probably won't be seeking again though.

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Photo of jtierney89
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy amber brown ale with a tan tinged head. Super rich espresso nose. Cocoa notes and rich malts.

Tasty espresso flavored brew. Sweet espresso and chocolate malts through out. Medium bodied with good carbonation. A dark ale that remains refreshing. Espresso flavor is slightly sweet with just enough bitterness to balance. a touch of lingering sweetness. ton of rich espresso flavor, really nice.

I would love to drink this beer for breakfast

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.44/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown with wrimson highlights with light lacing but good head retention Not bad for a brown ale.

S: Lots of sweet, creamy chocolate and coffee. It smells like a cup of delicious espresso. Whiffs of vanilla and caramel also come to play

T: Similar to the aroma, light sweetness upfront and creamy chocolate with robust coffee flavors permeate. Not detecting to much of a brown ale base due to mad dash of flavors. I do get some caramel and toffee though. The finish is slightly bitter with a nice lingering coffee presence and somewhat dry

M: Medium body and carbonation, this beer would benefit from a creamier body to go with the chocolate and coffee flavors.

O: Not a fan of this style but this was good. To bad you have to jazz it up for me to dig it.

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Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale from Cigar City Brewing
4.09 out of 5 based on 1,329 ratings.
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