Sea Bass | Cigar City Brewing

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Sea BassSea Bass
Sea BassSea Bass

Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States

Style: Belgian Saison

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
According to the head brewer, this a "dark farmhouse ale".

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 107 | Ratings: 194
Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.87/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass from a 750ml bottle.

A - Pours a very nice rich mahogany with a HUGE! pillowy head that is about 4 inches tall. The head is quite sticky and dense and there is a nice ecru color to it.

S - Starts off funky with some tart notes and some slight sweet notes and some slight toasty bread. Strong yeast notes. There is some slight chocolate notes as well as some mild caramel as well. Definitely some tart notes.

T & M - Starts off funky, dry and tart and mixed in with a very nice caramel and slightly dark fruit notes. Some plum and some toasty bread mixed in. There is some nice strong funk to the beer so much so that it almost overwhelmed me with a sip. The nice tart notes balance well with the malty backbone and it gives it a really nice dry finish. The mouthfeel is light but the flavors are complex and there is a nice refreshing dry finish.

O - This is a nice beer and was a very surprising and delicious Saison. The flavors are well crafted and the tartness is tamed and fresh.

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Photo of byrdman16
3.69/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

So I tried to fit this thing into a big ass mug that my friend "borrowed" from Ruby Tuesday's. It did not come close to containing this fizzy monster! Pours reddish/dark brown with a huge tan head. Smells of dried fruit, cherries and a slight hint of vinegar. Very tart and fruity taste which balances each other well. Slightly boozy at the end. Not my favorite style of beer but decent for what it is.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.61/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A solid pour yields a four finger thick head initially that fills my Lost Abbey Teku glass that then grows two fingers more in height above the rim of my glass. The beer looks incredibly viscous as the head is produced, surprisingly so. The head is an amber tinged, tan color. The beer is a dark amber / brown color that shows a lightly hazed ruby-amber hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells of sweet caramelized and sour plums with lots of spicy, woody oak. The oak leans towards buttery oak notes, and dusty wood after some time and there are other aromas that produce some musty notes and even a touch of strawberry like aromatics. This last is brought out by an acetic acid character, in fact I really don’t smell any real lactic acidity in the nose; the acetic character is at a low enough level to be supporting / accentuating of the other notes though. When you really dig long and deep the acetic seems to disappear and the most dominant note becomes that of cut, oxidized apples that are backed by a toasted, slightly spicy, whole grain character. There is a distinct note of clove towards the finish that took me a while to notice. There also a touch of acetone character in the nose as well.

This is sweet tasting and fruity as the beer first hits my tongue, the acidity is not really aggressive but adds a nice counterpoint to the chewy malt character. The sweetness of the first sip disappears pretty quickly and the acetic acid provides an almost sweet sensation. The beer finishes with an oaky astringency that lingers a bit in the back of the mouth along with a crystal malt like toasted grain character. The acetic acid definitely adds a spiciness to this brew and it also accentuates a fruitiness that leans towards strawberries, but there are also notes of sweet-tart plums, oxidized apples, and perhaps even some fermented dried fig notes. Some of the spiciness is contributed by the oak flavors and perhaps a hint from the darker grain notes. This beer is actually quite thick and viscous (especially when you consider the typical sour), but it actually isn’t nearly as thick and viscous as I expected from the visual of pouring the beer. A hint of green, almost vegetal character is noticeable as a hint on the palate every once in a while, but nominally I can’t taste it. As the beer warms up some of the sweetness starts to come back and accentuates some flavors of caramelized grain and a bit more of the fruitiness. More, underlying, whole-grain flavors start to come out as well with brown bread notes, generally sweet bread notes, and perhaps even a hint of toasted bread character is noticeable.

Visually this beer was quite interesting with how thick and viscous it looked with its slowly cascading carbonation, but I must admit I was a little worried about how thick and chew this would end up being; it is thick and chewy, but nearly as much as I had feared and the extra dimension of the body works here as this beer really isn’t that sweet. I was hoping that the sourness in this would be lactic, but it is completely dominated by acetic acidity; luckily this is fairly restrained and actually is at the right level to help counteract the thick, chewy maltiness without being overly harsh or distracting.

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Photo of SFLpunk
4.17/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL brown glass pry-top champagne bottle. Purchased at Knightly Spirits, OBT, Orlando FL.

Pours super dark for what i was expecting with some thin tan head. Nose is surprisingly tart smelling...didn't know this was funked...smells like rum-soaked raisins and cranberries.

Palate is super tart and very reminiscent of an oude bruin. Acetic acid is prevelant and Brett too. Super tart with lots of dark fruits.

Lovely and delicious. Under-rated and mis-categorized. Should be Wild Ale.

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Photo of UDbeernut
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"puglistic dark bodied farmhouse ale" bottle poured into a tulip glass.

a: muttled brown amber, gushing foamy head. This one has very active yeast.

s: brett, lemongrass

t: This is NOT a saison. Slightly puckering sourness. Cherry and lemon are noticable.

m: light mouth, slightly slick going down.

Good beer, needs to be reclassified as a sourbeer or Bruin


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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Body is a quite murky translucent dark brownish hue. Pours with a massive 3 finger + foamy light tan head. Lots of lacing left all the way down the glass.

S- Pretty awesome. Saison mets Flanders Oud Bruin type nose. Lots of yeasty funk, apple, maybe a hint of Brett, a hint of tart sourness, lemon, and a hint of vinegar. Nose is both funky and sour.

T- Flavor is decent but the nose is quite misleading. Initially the flavor is quite tannic and metallic, a mild to moderate sour tartness and kemon flavor is upfront as well with a quite mild funky yeast backbone as well as a faint hint of both cherries and wood. The initial tartness wears off for the finish but the metallic character lingers a mild spiciness also emerges for the finish.

M- Medium to high carbonation and a full somewhat chalky body.

D- Overall this is a pretty good brew-but the nose is very misleading. The initial tartness seems to be a teaser but if its the tartness and not the underlying characters of this beer that you seek (which is the case for me) this is not a slow sipper. The alcohol is well hidden and this reminds me of one of those off the wall hit or miss brews from the Fantome lineup. Not bad for a brewery that doesn't specialize in the style.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.37/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Andrewinski1. Poured into a tulip. This beer turns out to be a gusher. Took a while to pour because it was mostly foam to start. It eventually settles down to a brown bodied beer with a thick residing off white head. When it's all said and done, this one doesn't look bad, but too much is too much.

The nose is kind of weak on this one. Just faint sour cherry aromas. Honestly, this doesn't resemble to much a saison so far. Really a dry flavor on this. Toasty malts with a bit of pepper to it. Slightly lemon grass flavor to it but there's not a heck of a lot going on.

Rough carbonation on this, with a relatively light body. Nice dry finish. Overall this doesn't seem to hit the mark for a saison in my opinion. Not the worst beer I've ever had but nothing special here.

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Photo of tbrown4
3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this bottle from my friend Greg in a trade about a month ago. It's been in the fridge in the on-deck status since then.

750ml -> Duvel Tulip

A - Brown, slightly translucent, mega foamy off-white-almost-tan head. Constant carb streams coming from sediment for about 20 minutes.

S - Not too much aroma. Was expecting more of a spice presence. Light sour fruit notes.

T - Whoa. Crazy funky tart. Definitely not expecting that. Tart cherries, bitter grapefruit. The citrusy note surprised me as well. As it warms it's got kind of a creamy smooth middle. Finish is long and sour tart.

M - Feels medium bodied.

O - This one really threw me for a loop. I haven't had many from Cigar City. I'm a long time fan of the loose style of the saison. From the very beginning of the pour through the end of the last sip I struggled to find any obvious saison characteristics. If you go in to this tasting with the same mind set that you would an American wile ale, you will love it. For that style I thought it was very good. I know nothing on the background of this specific brew, but was something wild let loose inside?

It's a mistake to drink this one any colder than 50 degrees.

Being categorized as a saison is a mistake in my opinion, but I will rate it as one.

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Photo of Wisconsinality
2.09/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Bottle poured into Duvel tulip.

Thanks to McDiddypop for this one.

A- Pours a deep cola brown with no light let in. A huge head, four fingers at least, sticks around forever and leaves gobby lacing on the side of the glass.

S- A little worry sets in. Lots of sourness right off the bat. I am having a hard time picking up anything else. Maybe some cherry but that kind of plays with the sourness.

T- Big sourness just like the nose predicted. Maybe infected? I can barely detect some roasted malt and that is about it.

M- Medium to lighter bodied with crisp carbonation and a biting sour. Dry on the finish.

O- Pretty disappointed that this one is infected. Lets hope Cigar City can get some of these QC issues under control.

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip. This one is a gusher! It took quite a while to pour this one because of the large amount of foam. The body is dark amber and can bee seen through very lightly.

The aroma has pineapple and musty lemon.

The taste is a lot like a sweet tart. The start is sweet and fruity. The finish is very dry and sour.

The body is light to medium. The carbonation is heavy. I rather enjoy the sharp carbonation in a sour.

This is very enjoyable for me. The sourness in the finish is a little harsh, but it's enjoyable.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Victor for opening this up at the Hulmeille, i'll get you back.

A few pours into a goblet shows that this saison is quite dark, not black, but a muddy ruby red with some big not so tight bubbles up above. It was quite foamy after a bit and it looked infected, I know that look.

smells fruity and like it's going to be slightly acidic. Don't know if this is supposed to be infected but something is there, not in a bad way though, yet. Some berries with a strange yeast. Smells like strange fruit juice.

Taste is quite strange. a mix of red and blue berry slightly tart. Sea bass is mostly fruity. I cant really pick up on anything else. My head is wrapped around, trying to dicypher this.

feel is less than medium goes in tart and finishes slightly acidic. It's carbed up nice and is a little bitey roughing up the tounge a bit. A little big in body for your typical saison, yet Sea Bass is not your typical beer.

Overall, a decent beer worthy of a go if you get the chance, Not one I would recommend aging, who knows where this will go, it;s all over the place now.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.13/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle.

Pours dark brown with a massive, glass-filling eruption of beige, dense froth. After aproximately five minutes the head sank to an inch and the beer was accessible. Tons of lacing and a solid foam cap for the duration.

Aromatics lead off with tart, vineous fruit, acid-laced wine, and shades of raisins, toffee, and horsestall. Fairly funky with a tart, fruity promise.

Medium bodied with a crisp, sharp mouthfeel.

Tart cherries, bright acid, balsamic and cider vinegar, and soured apples start the palate.
Tannic, musty notes follow through and hint at red wine barrels.

Finishes with lingering tart fruit, vinous funk, and bright acid.

Nice beer, but certainly more tart that expected for the style. I dig it.

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Photo of THECPJ
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark amber brown with a 2 finger off white head

smell: sour, dark fruits, apple, cherry

taste: sour, tart, dark fruits

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body

overall: very interesting take on a saison / farmhouse ale. I'll have to say I liked it and would try it again.


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Photo of mdaschaf
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes 4/8/11.

A: Pours a hazy dark brown with a very large, off-white head. Very nice retention and leaves rings of lacing. Darkest saison/farmhouse I have ever seen.

S: A surprising amount of cherry, a little bit of apple, and some raisins.

T: Surprisingly tart for the style. Lots of cherry and apple again.
Definitely sour with some wood.

M: Medium bodied with high carbonation. Makes your mouth pucker a little due to the sourness.

O: I quite like the flavors, but if I had to guess the style, I would never have guessed saison/farmhouse, none of the aspects present make me think of a classic in this style.

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Photo of beergod1
3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This name made me wait a while to try, but glad I finally did. Pours a murky brown with a red glow around the edge, an off-white fluffy head. Nose is vinegar, slight funk, tartness, and sour grape character. Flavor is similar with lots of red wine vinegar and sour red grape character and tartness all over. A hint of Oak smoothness on the finish. More I tasted, the more I liked.

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Photo of peabody
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a fairly dark brown with lots and lots of very foamy tan/brown suds. Lacing here.
Smell is sour apple and sour cherry with a hint of spice like nutmeg or cinamon.
Taste is sour and malty. Can't taste the alcohol in this at all. It's mostly just sour apple peelings with dark cherry skins.
Mouthfeel is very clean after the initial sticky leaves the palate.
Overall, this is a Good beer from a very good brewery. Thanks Geiger for this.

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
1.56/5  rDev -56.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

A: Poured into a pint glass and got massive amount of head which has me worried. 90% Foam & 10% beer. Once it settles, the body is brown with a bubbly off-white head that last forever.

S: Smells like sour cherries, funkiness, and vinegar.

T: I've had sours before and farmhouse ales and saisons. This one has a strong mouth-puckering flavor of vinegar & sour cherries. Can't pick anything else out because of the vinegar flavor.

M: Medium body & high carbonation.

D: I heard good and bad things about this before I bought it. Couldn't even finish the glass and poured it down the drain. First beer I've had from CCB that I strongly dislike. Would never get this again.

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Photo of pdoran10
4.15/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a very dark brown almost black color into a New Belgium snifter. A full hand of head. Had to cut the pout short. Nice lacing.

Smell is musty basement tartness. Wet blanket and lemon tart.

Taste is bet of a let up on the sour from the smell. More malt comes through as well as a spicy pepper note. The malt is sweet and caramalized, but balanced by a still strong sour basement presence. Think pepe nero but sour and more malty.

Mouthfeel is pretty damn thick with moderate to high carbonation. Drinks like La Folie mouthfeel wise.

Really unique beer and nice flavors, but I'm not sure they all mesh 100% for me. I find myself really liking the beer, but feeling like there is something off about it. perhaps the big malt, spicy yeast, and sour bacteria are a bit overwhelming, while still tasty.

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Photo of Avagadro
3.92/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Cola in color, and topped by an explosive head, Sea Bass is quite hazy. It's head is mocha and color, has amazing retention, and lines the glass between sips.

S: Bouquet pops with life; Granny Smith, horse, and cider form a seriously appetizing bouquet. Any doubts as to whether this is sour have been answered with the nose.... yes it is a sour saison.

T: Sea Bass has an overall sharp acidic flavor, lacking the balance offered by many of the Belgian examples. While it is quite enjoyable, I feel as though it is too heavy in acetic character, and is lacking the overall complexity promised by the nose.

M: Very dry, slightly puckering, and well carbonated.

D: Another great attempt by an up-and-coming brewery, but I feel that they need some fine tuning. Most of their sours have been too sharp, sharing many of the same flaws that this one does. I have hope, however, that many of these flaws will be smoothed out in the future, as this is the first wave of wild ales by this young brewery.

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.15/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

A. Pours a clear brown with one finger fizzy tan head with some amber edges.

S. Apple cider vinegar with characteristic brown/ amber malt aromas.

T. Like a sour brown ale or a flanders red ale, vinegar tart and funky

M. Thin to medium body with medium carbonation

D. Much different than I expected, but paired well on Thanksgiving with the smoked turkey.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
2.05/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

$11.99 for a 25.4 oz. bottle from Ward's in Gainesville, FL

A: extremely deep mahogany color with nice lacy head
S: mild nose with sharp acid qualities, I'm hoping the taste isn't the same!
T: yikes, sharp, sour with funky aftertaste, I'm hoping it's not supposed to taste like this, appears to be infected with sharp yeasty bite
M: not good with sour qualities
D: not

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Photo of chickenflea
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle. Pours a cloudy reddish brown. There is massive fizzy head sitting on top of the brew. Lots of funky farmhouse smells to it with some apple cider and sour cherry scents too. The first sip is a rush of funkiness. You are hit with a splash of tart cherries. grape leaves and effervescence along with loads of funkiness. A creamy vanilla tone underlies it all. Bubbly on the palate. Very light. On the dry side, except for an apple peel finish that lingers on. A crazy brew. Refreshing and great to sip on a quiet afternoon.

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Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle I bought at Rattle 'N' Hum. This is a wild ale, and is more reedish flemish than saison. I smell yeast and cuvee. Dark reddish colour, lacey. A smooth creamy head and mouthfeel.Vinegary sour and citrus hoppiness that makes it more of a sipper but addictive.

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Photo of alcstradamus
2.23/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a cola brown with an out of control head that engulfs the glass and has me worried about the i-word

The aroma is medicinal and metallic, with notes of cherry and oak underneath and a heavy vinegar character.

The flavor is a gross mix of cigarette ash, cherry, vinegar, and cough medicine.

The body is fine despite the high carbonation.

Overall this beer is an absolute mess. I hope that this is a bad bottle. Please let this be a bad bottle. There is no way this should have made it out of the test-batch stage.

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Photo of meatyard
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark and murky, reddish brown with a large, whitish head that has good retention with the slightest bit of lace. With each pour, if you're not careful, there's the possibility that the head will overflow the glass.

The smell is tart with a vinegary base. I don't get the usual aromas you might expect from a very traditional Farmhouse Ale.

The taste is the same as the aroma and there are some fruit elements but it ends with a real tangy bite that isn't unpleasant.

Mouthfeel is pretty full, much more than I would expect and there's plenty of carbonation.

Drinkability: While not traditional, not much from Cigar City is, it is a pretty nice easy, slow drinking ale. It seems to have more elements of a sour but not completely.

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Sea Bass from Cigar City Brewing
Beer rating: 3.62 out of 5 with 194 ratings