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 | website

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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 299 | Ratings: 1,303
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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Photo of mverity
4.52/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Best espresso aroma of any beer I've had! Pours a deep brown with very little cream colored head. The aroma is so good. Deep, rich coffee aroma, with sweet malt and a rich earthiness. The taste is heavy on the coffee/toffee front with a back sweetness from the malt. It almost has the superb mouth feel of Maduro, where I think there might be some rolled oats to increase the creaminess, but I get much less oat than I do in Maduro. Really enjoy this beer when it comes out. Finally got around to reviewing it instead of just crushing the 4 pack in a few days.

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Photo of jbaker67
4.11/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown with a thin white head and some spotty lacing. aroma is coconut, coffee, brown sugar, a hint of smoke, and some distant hoppiness. taste is rich and dominated by a fruity coffee taste. wood, pine and maple take over after the coffee makes its statement. finish is sweet and sticky. a nice beer.

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Photo of Benish
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into snifter. Barely any foam appeared. The beer was a dark brown in color. Towards the finish of the beer, it was more of a tinted light brown.

Aroma was basically pure coffee. I cannot describe anything else. The aroma is really up front. Maybe some notes of roasted malts.

Taste like espresso poured into beer! CCB does not keep this coffee presence to a moderate. Its there in your face. At the first sip of the beer there did seem to be something missing. The coffee was pretty much dominant. Could not really detect the malts from the brown ale. Eventually it came in as I became used to the coffee presence. Note to people who do not drink coffee: this might not be the beer to try. It's robust and almost complex in the coffee flavor. The beer has a light bodied mouthfeel.

Overall the beer is fantastic however the coffee seems to mask the flavor of brown ale. It's almost like iced black coffee. I love coffee but still want to taste the beer. A great beer for any coffee lover!

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Photo of mhksuccess
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a 3FFF glass
pours darkish reddish brown with about 1/2 inch of head
smell is amazing heavy expresso coffee and vanilla
taste follows that of the smell expresso smooth and not acidity and vanilla
mouthfeel to me is a little on the thin side but very drinkabale
nice easy drinking would get again it is a nice way to finish the night after some heavy hitters

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Photo of AltBock
3.89/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Cigar City Tasting Room on 15 June. They served it to me in a standard American Cigar City pint glass.

I could tell right off the bat that it didn't pour a pitch dark coffee black color. Instead it poured a hearty dark mahogany brown with a cool looking cranberry red center. On top was a thick beige head of foam. It was a good 3/4 of inch in height. This tall head of foam had excellent retention that left behind a skim of foam and a ton of sticky beige streaks of lace around the glass. Beautiful!!

The aroma was straight up espresso! You could tell that they used quality coffee beans in this beer. They smelled really good. My nose couldn't pick up much behind the espresso. I got a whiff of roasted malt and a tiny speck of dark chocolate. It's nice to have a variety, but the rich scent of espresso was good enough for my nose.

It was pretty much the same story for the taste. The taste was all about the roasted espresso beans. For some reason, the quality of the beans was better in the aroma then what they were in the taste. They tasted dumbed down and slightly bitter. There was more roasted malt and dark chocolate in the taste as well as a tiny speck of caramel. These flavors didn't counter the dumbed down espresso bean taste. It was good, but it could have been better.

This was a straight up medium bodied coffee/espresso beer with a decent level of carbonation and a weak espresso aftertaste. There was only the taste of weakened espresso beans in the aftertaste. They won't linger. That's a good thing.

I had this beer in the bottles before and thought it was better than this. The draft really brought out the weak espresso beans. Really nice appearance, rich espresso aroma, but weak taste. I'll stick to the bottles.

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Photo of mobius387
4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: rusty brown, very opaque, thin vanilla head, minimal carbonation

aroma: a nice nose, toffee hits the hardest with some great coffee aromas, some cream and sweet roasty notes to round it out. very well done.

palate: super smooth, medium bodied, flavor distributes evenly, not very boozy (duh, its 5.5%), not very bitter

taste: the malt and coffee blend very well together. nothing overpowering; this is not a coffee forward beer, but its nice and smooth making it a very drinkable brown. and im not a huge brown ale guy. its a little lighter bodied than what ive come to expect from most browns, but its also got a nice sweetness to it which is a good twist. overall, very well done and very enjoyable!

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Photo of davey101
3.41/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dated May 10, 11...sooo, not fresh at all being almost exactly two years old. Pours a dark brown body that lets some light through. Huge mocha foam head forms instantly over flowing the glass, cools down into one fingers worth. The smell is surprisingly still coffee heavy. Cold pressed espresso with some metallic notes. The taste is much better with faded espresso beans and some lightly roasted malts. A bitter coffee bean aftertaste. Somewhat creamy mouth feel. I hate reviewing a coffee beer with two years on it, but its not as terrible as I thought it would be. The coffee is still hanging on.

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Cubano-Style Espresso Brown Ale from Cigar City Brewing
4.09 out of 5 based on 1,303 ratings.
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