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

750ml bottle poured into a CCB Snifter.

A - Pours a dark mahogany with a huge head of fluffy white that just will not lie down! Leaves big chunks of lacing as it (slowly) recedes.
S - Wow, this is some tart-smelling stuff! Smells almost like a Flanders Oud Bruin (reminds me of Marron Acidifie a bit, which makes sense given the CCB connection), big aromas of cranberry, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, and leather. Very nice!
T - OK, that was a very misleading nose. The tart Oud Bruin flavors aren't nearly as dominant as I'd expected, instead I'm getting a lot of dark roasted malt mixed with a bit of sweet cherry and a definite earthy funkiness (funky, but not particularly tart). Not exactly a bad thing (though I do love Oud Bruins), but this really threw me for a flavor loop.
M - Pretty smooth, with a medium body and fairly sharp carbonation. Finish is very dry, almost like a tannin-laden red wine.
O - This was a very interesting beer. I think I'm still a bit disappointed that this wasn't more sour, but I liked it nonetheless.

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Photo of Mississipping
3.91/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a Bruery snifter.

A: Very dark brown with a very slight ruby haziness allowing just a touch of light through. Massive 3-finger tan head billows out of the pour and recedes very slowly, leaving a small, but present half-finger head throughout, with patchy lacing.

S: Red grapes and tart cherries are definitely dominant, with hints of green apple, caramel, and vinegary spiciness. Not at all what expected, being that it is described as a farmhouse ale, however this smells great ... much more like a sour as it's missing the earthy, funky aromas I'm used to in a farmhouse.

T: Sour fruits show up first. Lots of sour grape and tart cherry with even more green apple in the taste than the smell. Vinegar quickly becomes present, along with brett, a very slight grassy taste, and tame hops. Finishes with a sour/acidic taste and a spiciness that is most noticeable on the back of the tongue and the throat. Again, very unexpected, but not at all unpleasant.

M: The body is fuller than most farmhouse ales that I've had, which I don't mind at all. Very highly carbonated, making this feel much like a cola in your mouth, and in fact tastes just a bit like what I'd imagine a very sour cherry Coke to taste like. The carbonation level is the worst of its qualities, and would be much better toned down a bit.

D: Since this drinks much like a sour, it's a sipper.

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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 Bmoyer0301
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Tonight I decided to break out one of my old favorite glasses, my Kasteel Belgian goblet with a ornate cutout of the brewery on the base of the glass. As I proceeded to pop the cap off I was greeted with a healthy hissing sound and the carbonation gasses slowly lingered around the mouth of the bottle. During the pour I decided to slightly tilt the glass and pour slowly because saisons tend to be carbonated higher than normal and as the dark ruby reddish brown colored ale came out it brought on a healthy crackling head two fingers thick. As I let it sit for a few minutes the head dissipated and was barley there and only came back when I gave a vigorous swirl that showed no real amount of lacing.


Right off the start I am getting loads of dry wine and lemon zest combined with some acidic undertones. I almost can pull out some apple vinegar and cherries with yeasty funk that reminds me of a typical grassy hay bail. I am a little confused though, from my understanding I thought that this was going to be just a saison I had no idea there was any brett or sour yeast added so I hope that this is not a flaw.


Wow! this is a nice surprise, I really did not expect any form of sour beer. There is loads of sour cherries, tart apples, and raspberries all mixed around in a crisp bubbly mouth feel. I have to admit I have a small ulcer on my tongue that is not really enjoying the acidity but I am more than happy to push through and keep going on this amazing ale. In the finish I can get some vinegar and funky barnyard stuff that I just can't put my finger on but its complex and amazing! The only thing I wish I knew was the strength of this beer, and I am willing to take a guess and say it's somewhere in the ballpark of 7% ABV even though the alcohol heat is almost nonexistent.


This was not what I was thinking at all but I am really glad it caught me off guard because it was amazing! I would love to have another bottle of this stuff hanging around to see what it would be like in a year or so because I'm willing to bet that it will dry out and get more tart. Overall this was a great addition to the Cigar City profile, and I am going to say that this one of their best and I'm glad that I had the opportunity to try it. If you get a chance to trade for it or buy it go for it because this is a no brainier if you love craft beer.

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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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Photo of WeisGuy
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle.

Very dark, cloudy brown on the pour, huge tan head with great retention and lacing. Smells a lot like a Jolly Pumpkin beer, musty funk and brett mixed with some dark malt sweetness. Sweet and tart cherries and lightly sweet roasted malt on the palette. A little harsh and bitter finish with some heat. Very unique taste. Medium-bodied with higher carbonation.

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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 TCgoalie
3.86/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Notes from 12/18/10

Pours a cloudy brown hue that does not let light through. I have to pour very gentley to keep the raging head at a minimum. An easy 2-3 fingers high, the head lingers throughout the drink. The lacing is extremely thick and coating.

Dark cherries, sour apple, cedar, and leather are present in the smell. I would like the smells to be a bit more bold, but not bad.

The first thing I notice in this drink is the wild fermentation tartness. It yields cherry, tobacco, woody, and a bit of funk flavors. The yeast takes a back seat to this one as the tartness really takes over. It is hard to decipher some of the subtleties due to the sour nature.

This bottle was over-carbonated leaving all kinds of distracting airy bubbles upon entering the mouth. The feel is light with a good drying in the end.

The overall impression of this beer is solid. It is unlike other farmhouse ales that I have had in the past.

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

Reviewed from notes, thanks to Mike for sharing this one at Halloween tasting. Poured into tulip, dark brown with a thick brown head that fades to a small cap, good retention and lacing. Smell is a bit of funk, lots of hops, slightly sour, candi sugar. Taste is a bit sour, some funk, lots of bitter floral hops, a hint of alcohol and sweet apples in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium/light bodied with a high carbonation. A decent beer and interesting for the style, but not the most drinkable saison (is it really a saison?) i can think of.

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Photo of SamuelJackson45
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a brown cloudy body with thick ass head and heavy lace.

S- smell of wild yest hint of bret.

T- sour with fruityness and wild yeast ending.

M- dry but very flxvorful to the pallet.

D- different to other CC beers I had. Very good saison.


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Photo of afksports
3.82/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Two review prefaces: I'm a total amateur, and I don't much like the saison/farmhouse style.

That said, when I heard they were celebrating the release of this during NYC Beer Week at Rattle N' Hum, I pretty much ran from class. Huge fan of CCB.

I got a pour from a bomber bottle into a 8oz-ish snifter. It's dark brown with a reddish hue around the edges at the bottom and has a little bit of graininess to it. There's a sour aroma that's pretty inviting, and the first sip echoes that. There's a lemon lime tartness going on in the middle, and that meets a sweetness. It has a solid medium to light body, but it's not too heavy. By the end of the sip it finishes clean but with "some funk" (thanks aepb1, I didn't know how to describe it). That funk ultimately turned me off to it and lowered its drinkability for me, but there's no question it's a complex and complete brew. Props to Cigar City!

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Photo of TKEbeerman
3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into my Duvel tulip this Saison pours a very very very dark ruby brown, with an impressive dark tan head that fills the rest of the glass.

S: The aroma is dominate tart fruit, grapes, and cider. (I don't want to say vinegar....vinegar is harsh this is not). The nose lacks complexity that a great sour should have.

T: The flavor is a very earthy, less extreme tartness. Again, fruit and cider. The flavor is a little harsh on the back end of the pallet, but overall this would be a great introductory beer for someone not used to the extreme end that we're taking sour beer.

MF: The mouthfeel thins out greatly, as a matter of fact, I wasn't paying attention to it until I came to the review point. This is not characteristic of a Belgium here.

D: Drinkability is good, I'd put the ABV at around 6.5 or 7....but that is just a guess.

Overall, I am somewhat impressed. It seems like CCB only improves on what they put out. I'm not sure of the brewing process of this one (Do they age it in Sea Bass tanks?), but this is a little too sour to be a Saison, and would be an excellent base to a very promising American Wild Ale.

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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 ehammond1
3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5


Thanks for sharing, Cavery!

Murky, hazed auburn and ruby, almost brown, with a thick, pillowing, persistent khaki colored head. This beer is hugely carbonated and leaves lots of stick on the glass.

The aroma is interesting and unique, like no other beer I've ever smelled, and it's an interesting combination of red wine vinegar, tart and sour cherries, other dark and tart fruits, and some sweet toffee. This probably is infected, but perhaps this beer has even been improved?--not that I would know.

Flavors of vinegar, tart and sour cherries, stinging sourness, and toffee candies combine for an interesting and wildly complex beer. One to sip and savor.

This beer is too highly carbonated. It literally feels like Pop Rocks popping in the back of the mouth and even down your throat during the swallow. Again, interesting, but certainly a flaw.

A really interesting beer to drink, sip, and talk about. I'm sure this wasn't what they intended, but it really does work quite well.

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

I bought some of these at Knightly Spirits in Orlando. The rep told me that they probably won't be brewing this again. Bullshit.

A: Since this is a dark saison, the dark color was appropriate. Dark brown, with a mildly cloudy reddish tint. The mocha head just sat there, and sat there, and sat there.

S: Big sour funk. I can't believe this didn't have Brett in it actually. Once I put my mind to it, I got some farmhouse.

T: Like an intense brown sugary saison. Does that even make sense? There was very much a dark fruit element in the mid section of this brew. Dates perhaps? The finish was pretty bitter, especially considering this was a farmhouse brew.

M: HIGHLY carbonated, with a bit of chocolatey, farmhouse lingering. The lacing was moderate.

O: Not one of Cigar City's best efforts, however, I still found this one worthy... especially considering I only bought my bottles for around $7-8.

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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 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 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 brentk56
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a cloudy brown color with a massive, creamy head that sticks and laces

Smell: Acetic blend of cherry and apple with undertones of fig

Taste: Opens with a tart apple/cherry flavor with subtle sweet undertones that, by mid-palate, becomes overwhelmingly sour, in a vinegary, acetic sense; after the swallow, the sourness continues to dominate, leaving a dry, woody sense on the palate in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation; a real puckering sensation

Drinkability: I just don't know about this one as I wish it were labeled differently; definitely not a Saison and I don't think the wild elements are well harmonized into the profile; the label says it is pugilistic and it is that

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Photo of cpanossian
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into tall clear glass - 2-3 finger beige foam head. Color is a dark hazy amber.

Aroma is sour/tart similar to but not quite a tripel or Flanders sour.

Taste is very tart/sour. Not for everyday drinking - more of a special occasion beer with some nice mild cow milk cheeses.

Mouthfeel is ok - medium bodied ale. Severe tartness disqualifies it from being a refreshing, quaffable drink, and no way I can drink this whole 25oz bottle by myself - it's too complicated and demanding for a quantity or session beer. Sadly I don't know too many people who would enjoy something this curious.

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Photo of largadeer
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks, Allan.

Dark brown with amber highlights. Clear for the first pour with a lasting white head.

Straberries coated in balsamic vinegar and sugar. Both sweet and acetic, lot of juicy fruitiness from the acid and a touch of acetone. Smells like a Flemish red to me, not sure why this is labeled as a saison.

Palate is similar: brown sugar, strawberries, cherries. Fairly light bodied and fizzy, but somewhat syrupy with the balsamic sweetness. Finishes fruity, lot of strawberry and tannins. Pretty good for a Flemish red, which is what I'm rating it as. As a saison it's an epic failure.

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