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 maximum12
4.09/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks go out to the newly generous (to me, at least) stormking47 & the always generous moose3285 for bottles of this Cigar City brew. Hit twice off my wants before I could remove it - would that I had that trouble with all CC brews! Split with my wife on another cold Minnesota night while readying my ice-fishing gear for the my Sunday hard-water debut. Seemed fitting.

Pours midnight-dark red, with only the edges allowing faint glimmers through. Mountainous head rises & refuses to let go of the top of the brew. Smells...really good. Farmy, but with more tart that sour, dark cherries peering out of the mist. All saisons should smell this fair.

Sea Bass is something I have zero chance of catching this weekend, but I'll take this one. Tart cherries follow the nose down to the last detail, with helpings of syrupy goodness, an acidic edge, unfocused spices. Plus a sharp tang of bittering hops at the end, a nice touch that keeps the tartness nicely in check. Akin to the New Glarus twins in easy-to-grab territory, this is an easy sipper with too much alcohol for that silliness.

Saison isn't my favorite style, & this doesn't really match the image, which is perhaps why I like it. Very good beer. No idea if this borderline-wild is what Cigar City was aiming for or not, but the outcome is very good. I'm going to sit on the other bottle for a while, betting it's going to turn into a very nice sour.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.08/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Bruery tulip.

Pours near black with a tan head. Three fingers of head to start out with some nice and sticky lacing. The nose brings a slight lactic character with a bit of cherry. Some nice roast notes there as well. The taste brings a slight sourness and just a tad bit of funk. There is some light roast there as well. Sourness in the feel and I really like the body. A bit of acetic cherry character in the taste and feel. Medium body and low carbonation. This is quite interesting and I'm glad I got to try it.

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Photo of awalk1227
4.07/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Consumed 10/9/10 The bottle refers to this beer as "Pugilistic." Punchy!

A: Poured into Duck Rabbit snifter. Dark brown, almost a deep, deep crimson/purple/mahogany. Maybe that's just my light. Big froghty off white-yellowish head.

S: I like this a lot! Slight funk of a saison, mmm can't wait to see what this tastes like. Sour grapes, apples, pears, dried fruit. The "dark" comes through a little bit in letting the slightest chocolate cake smell through the funk.

T: Ooh, okay, so the malt is there. Finishes like a darker, malty ale on the back end. However, Grapes and plums are right out front, with caramel in the middle. It doesn't taste as sour as it smelled. A lot of people are saying this is super tart, and "could tell it was a sour from the scent." I disagree. Maybe I've ravaged my taste buds with binge drinking and spicy food, but I don't think this beer is that sour.

F: Light, mild carbonation. For a refermented beer (yeast sediment poured into my glass, whoops!) I was hoping for more pop on the tongue. I reckon' that's the darker aspect of the beer balancing it though.

D: Went down easily. I finished almost the entire 750 by myself. No ABV on bottle, but I'd place it at around 6%-7%. There's a lot of flavor in this though, so it could be higher.

I'm curious what some age would do to this, and I may pick up another bottle. I also agree with what another review said in that this may be a great base for a sour beer. Some Brett and a red wine barrel would do crazy things to this!

I like what the guys at CCB are putting out, and this just shows their creativity.

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Photo of ibbjamin
4.06/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this 750ml bottle in a trade and I pour it into my Lost Abbey tulip to review.

Not quite what I'd call a gusher, but I'd certainly recommend opening it over the sink nonetheless. Huge tan colored pillowey head rests atop this dark brown beer that has carbonation bubbles rising constantly keeping the retention at an inch or greater. It takes some time for the retention to fall below this marker, but the next pour of this big beer puts it right back above that level. Thick, lasting lace lines the inside of the tulip.

Quite fizzy and citrusy on the nose with tons of lemon and some vinous qualities a la white and red grape. Citrusy and grassy hops in addition to hints of sour and oak help balance the fruity tones out.

Taste is even more vinous than my nose suggested with red grape dominating. The citrusy hops and lemon are still there, but they take a backseat to the sour red grape taste. I am even getting hints of chocolate malt in there.

Mouth is on the dry side with a medium body and massive prickly carbonation. Pretty smooth medium length finish of dry sour grape.

Certainly they get bonus points for this being quite a unique beer to me. Actually one of the better saisons I've had to date and I like the heavier body and sour grape notes that I usually do not find in the style. Wish I lived within their distribution limits so I could try some of their other beers.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to Mike at our tasting...I'm surprised instantly by this beer as its a dark brown pour with a light brown head that has good retention and lacing...The aroma is not a typical saison either, more like a oud bruin with notes of tart apples, vinegar, and dark fruits...The taste is an extension of the aroma tartness mixed with dark fruits, a little alcohol undermines the flavor.

This is an interesting and decently tastey beer, but I wouldn't call this is a saison as that is immediate distraction.

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Photo of Cheesemoose
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle split with friends.

A murky raisin brown. A bit of light shines through, giving a nice depth to the color. Off-white head with a great bit of head. 3 fingers linger for a bit, but resede's into a nice film with a smattering of lacing throughout.

Wonderful funk. Seems to be well balance with the malt base. This is most definitely not your typical saison, with a very strong and rich malt backbone. Granny smith apples, candied lemon zest and unripe grape. The tart essence is rather forward, but is brought back to Earth and mellowed with the nutty malt base. Earthy notes begin to resonate in the later stages.

Similar to nose, the taste is rather similar. Nutty base of the malt adds a complex nature to funk. Tart cherries strike at first, though leading into sour grape and granny smith. The funk and the malt are rather non-complimenting, creating a void of flavor where the contrasting notes present a two sided beer where the middle ground is never reached. A grassy hop finish is hidden and never quite reaches it's potential.

Fine carbonation, mellow mouthfeel and crisp finish. Oh so nice. A bit on the creamy side, something not typical to the style.

The ABV is higher than I was expecting but was very well hidden. Definitely one to share.

This is an amazing and promising beer, but the balance was never reached, and though I enjoyed it greatly, the heavy malt base never quite mellows to a point of complimenting instead of fighting the funk. I love the funk, but with the heavy malt base, it is like a Coliseum of flavors with none becoming the dominating force.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - It pours a deep yet translucent brown hue with tannic red edges where the light passes through. A healthy cap of sandstone-colored froth deposits small flecks of lace, and sticks around for the duration of the glass.

S - Huge tartness and solvent booze are immediately apparent, and the suggestion of tart golden and tropical fruit is heavy on the nose. As it airs out, it mellows considerably while still retaining notes of guava, sour grapes, tamarind, tart apple and solvent.

T - This brew is quite strongly flavored, and the taste is very much comprised of the same elements as the aroma, though the flavor never mellows and likely intensifies with warming. There is a lot of dynamic to the flavor; the interplay between the booziness and the tart fruit impressions adds a readily discernible complexity. Lastly, I must note that the brew is generally quite robust; far more tart and alcoholic than a traditional Saison. It is a good thing in my book.

M - Less than medium-bodied, perhaps a bit too sticky.

D - Though I like this brew, I cannot see myself drinking this regularly.

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Poured from bomber into pint glass.

A: Dark reddish brown, with quite a bit of tan head. There is significant visible carbonation.

S: Sour, vinegar, funky tart, rotting strawberries, with a background sweet smell.

T: Tart, sour, sour pineapple, funky, acerbic. All with a dry finish that is a bit puckering.

M: More light bodied than it looked. Carbonation lends tingliness to the mouthfeel.

O: This is good, but I wish there were more overt fruit flavors here. I will say that this one REALLY improves as it warms up a little. So make sure you savor slowly and let it come up several degrees!

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Photo of GbVDave
4.03/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a St. Feuillien goblet. Thanks to hippityhops85 for this from our trade!

A: Pours a striking looking deep black cherry color. Almost black. Sitting on top is 1 1/2 fingers of light tan whipped meringue foam that retained forever. Carbonation was quite active and lace was plentiful and gorgeous!

S: Initial whiff brought a nose crinkling smack of tart cherry, dry oakiness, sweet red grapes, green apple, and a touch of pear and/or melon.

T: I picked out some vinous, oaky, red wine (pinot?) attributes as well as the aforementioned tart and sweet orchard fruits. For a fleeting moment, I detected a bit of Smarties candy (the dusty, pastel colored discs sold in the clear wrapper...not the shiny, bright colored discs sold in the cardboard box.)

M: Bright berry tartness that mingles, nicely, with some sweet fruitiness, and astringent oakiness (yes, I know this isn't a barrel aged beer). Finishes dry.

D: More of a Flanders than anything else. Interesting to say the least.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.02/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mike for sharing this one. Served in a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours with a finger of light tan foam that features good retention and some splotchy lace. Dark brown murky body.

S - Some very unexpected funky and spiciness to this one. Sour grapes, spicy esters, a whiff of alcohol, light acetic acid, and some implied oak. I'm pretty sure this isn't barrel-aged but the vinous and acetic quality reminds me of some Flanders beers that are. Quite unique, and my favorite smelling brew of the evening.

T - The taste is quite a bit different, and while it's still pretty good it's fair more traditional farmhouse ale. Grassy hops, dandelion, some other spices and zestiness. Finish is not so much sour as it is bitter.

M - A little over-carbonated, but not as much as some of the other beers of the evening. Medium in body, with a dry finish. No obvious alcohol warmth.

D - The beer smells great, but the aftertaste gets a bit fatiguing after a while. I'd like to try this to see how it ages over time, and perhaps with a bit more time (and a larger sample) to give it the contemplation it deserves. It feels far more like a Saint Somewhere beer than a Cigar City one.

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Photo of Heatwave33
4.01/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle to a Dogfish Head Head Snifter.

Color: Dark brown with a huge tan head that won't quit.

Smell: Spicy, Earth notes, hop and slighly pungent.

Taste: Lots of spice, some earth tones with hops, slightly sour.

Mouthfeel: Lots of carbonation, coarse with a dry feel.

Overall: Open over the sink! I didn't but it wasn't too messy. The was huge but awesome. I enjoyed but a bottle was too much for my brother and I to handle. It's a wild brew that I'm glad I tried. Cheers!

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

Thanks to hophead84 for sharing this brew at barrel blast

A: poured an amber brown in color with brown highlights that had a thin head but left some good lacing sticking to the glass.

S: pretty intresting aroma consisting of cherries, bretty funky character, oaky, vineagr, and. Plum notes but had faint vinous notes.

T: the taste actually had more dark fruity vinous flavors but still had the bretty funky oaky character with cherry, accents, and a touch of vinegar.

M: the brew was medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a funky, vinous, dark fruity, mild tart finish.

D: I like the take on a farmhouse style but was kinda all over the place, it was still tasty and was glad to have some.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a dark color ale with a huge dirty beige foamy head with excellent retention and some great lacing. Aroma of tart notes is more powerful then I had expected with some funky yeast and some light spices. Taste is a weird mix between light balsamic notes with some wood and a subtle vinous feel with strong tart notes and some funky yeast. Body is slightly above average with great carbonation. Very interesting beer with a mix between lightly roasted malt and balsamic vinegar.

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

Split a bottle with Thorpe, thanks Mike. Poured into a Bruery tulip. Beer is black with a tan head. Head is big but falls away quickly.

The aroma is sweet and sour with cherries and mild lactic notes. Smells a little yeasty but really good.

There is a brett character to this beer that is accented by the presence of the lactic acid. The beer is creamy and medium bodied, the finish is bitter with the roasted grains. There is a mild tartness in the corners of the mouth. Its a decent beer.

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

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a New Belgium globe.

Appearance: Pours an opaque dark brown with caramel highlights and a 2-3 finger creamy light tan head. Excellent lacing.

Smell: Fermented fruit notes similar to a riesling wine along with Concord grapes and vinegar.

Taste: Grape skins up front followed by sour fruit in the middle and ending with mild hops and vinegar at the finish. Aftertaste is dry and mildly bitter.

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

Drinkability: Good drinkability. The alcohol is well-hidden so this one could sneak up on you.

Overall: Good beer overall. Not as fruity as I tend to expect from a Saison. but this is still one to check out. Another solid offering from Cigar City.

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

Had this on tap at the Icehouse In Punta Gorda. Poured into a snifter, pour a hazy brown with a foamy head that left a bit of lace on the glass. Smell has a tart like character to it, sour apples with figs. Taste is spot on with the smell very sour up front but grows on you, this beer towards the end was going down very nicely. This beer was possibly to sour upfront but overall enjoyable.

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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 mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lots of haze and cloudiness here with a large two finger high head of white foam that just would not receded. Lots of carbonation coming up from the bottom to reinforce it.

The aroma was loaded with spices. Hints of lemon and cinnamon where abound here, with a rich earthy mix to it. Lots of almost a nutmeg I am picking up here. The flavor took off right where that left off. A rich mixture of lemon, fresh grass, light fruit flavors and a ton of spice. Nice hints of allspice, cinnamon and pepper here. Nice light to medium body feel capped it off very well and the overall drinkability was very nice,

Overall not half bad. Not the best in the style I had ever had, but definitely worth seeking out to try again

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

Black body, massive off white head.

Aromas of tart cherry, green apple, and brett.

Flavors are more like Oud Brun than Farmhouse Ale. Coca cola turns into sour cherry. Moth watering acid, mouth puckering sourness, musty brett, and a dry finish.

Medium body, carbonation isn't as brisk as most Saisons.

Cool beer. Never expected this flavor. Not much Farmhouse/Saison character to it, but who cares. Think barrel aged sour.

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

Thanks to Kevin for sharing this one.

A: The pour is a slightly murky dark brown color with an enormous tan colored head.

S: The nose starts off with tart dark fruits and a mild spiciness. Sour black cherries start to take over and there's a bit of an acidity to go along with the roasted malts. Probably infected, but it works.

T: The "fears" of infection are almost certainly corroborated. Lots of tart fruit notes, particularly cherries and blackberries, and just sour overall. Still, it's quite complex with some earthy and mildly chalky qualities.

M: The body is medium with a high level of carbonation and quite dry.

D: I don't normally give very favorable reviews to beers that are infected (or give off the appearance of being so), but this was certainly an exception. Nice flavors and aromas, and I don't think a saison getting infected is really all that big of a deal...

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

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Out of the bottle, the color is a blend of dark cherry and walnut color, with a very lively beige head. It nearly overflows at first, so I must patiently wait for it to subside. Some nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: Lots of acidic and vinegary aromas. Tart cherries, some pale malt, and a bit of plum.

Taste: Tart cherries upfront, and this is a very vinegary beer overall. A flash of pale malt, but the malt backbone just does not hold up to the tartness of the flavors. More tart cherries, with a hint of sour apple and plum as well, with a tart, acidic nature throughout. More like Duchesse de Bourgogne than a typical saison. The finish is acidic, but sour flavor fades in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Seas bass has a light to medium body, with very full carbonation, and a very acidic puckering feel.

Drinkability: I was expecting something completely different, but once I was over the initial surprise, I enjoyed it. This is something I would try again.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle pour at Woodshop 7 held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours a dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt and some sour and tart fruity aromas. Taste is much the same with a slightly tart finish. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is quite tasty and easy to drink.

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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 lnashsig
3.93/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Many thanks to Beenitty for this one. I have had this 3 different times. Once fresh, once with about a year on it, and then now. This probably has 2+ yrs on it. Poured from bottle into farmhouse ale glass. Pours a dark murky brown color- this one is a gusher for sure. uh oh. Head fills the glass, takes awhile to recede. Smell- sour cherries, band aids, plastic, candied sugar. This is probably a CCB infection that has developed over time. Sadly, this was a great beer when I had it fresh and better about a year later. The extra time here hasn't helped. Taste- sour cherries, tart brown sugar, funky funky twangy tart! I love it! This was not what I expected when I smelled this one. Mouthfeel is tight carbonation to the point of being a little stingy, but it works for the style. This is just a crazy funky brew that has developed into something that I am sure CCB did not intend, but I like the result.

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