Cigar City Brewing

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American Black Ale
4.09 | pDev: 11.25%
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Reviews: 103 | Ratings: 177 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by strangefate:
Photo of strangefate
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had alongside a bottle of Either.

Pours pitch black with a one finger tan head with nice sticky lacing.

The scent is very prominently of floral hops with a bready malt behind it.

The taste is very hoppy, but of the floral variety more-so than Either - that is to say that there isn't much citrus present from the hops as there is with Either. Following the hops is a roasted woody malt from the cedar-aging.

This is a medium-carbonated, medium-bodied, silky smooth, dry brew.

As I said, I had this alongside Either, which I preferred. They are both great - probably the two best Black IPAs I've ever had.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of GRG1313
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of iheartmanatees
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shaun Hill handed the pair of bottles to me. He encouraged no refrigeration, to enjoy them at room temperature. Who do you take me for Mr. Hill? 15$ for the pair.

A vigorous pour into a snifter produced a half-inch dark tan head. This beer was one shade lighter than black.

Scents of very dark roasted malts creep out. Dark chocolate. Herbal and Floral hops mix with warm alcohol.

Tastes of big and dark roasty malts. Herbal and fresh hops, like fresh cut grass. Cedar and warm alcohol are prevalent. A slight sweetness pokes in here and there. It's like a forrest. A lot going on.

This is a smooth beer with medium carbonation. Dry.

This sucker is a sipper. The hops and alcohol can wreck the taste buds, so don't have anything new after this.

This is a great beer for special occasions, or for turning a normal night into a special occasion.

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Photo of Florida9
3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Much like Either, this one is unsurprisingly black in color. Forms a large dark khaki colored brown head on an aggressive pour. Great retention, though it eventually reduces down to a flat black surface with a ring around the edge. Very light lacing.

S: Molasses, roasted malts, chocolate and a faint bit of aromatic wood.

T: Sweet dark malts. molasses, brown sugar and dark fruit. Some citrus on the back end that subsides as the beer warms. Very faint bitterness.

M: On the heavier side with appropriate carbonation and sweetness that becomes cloying as the beer warms.

D: Another good, but not great, beer from CCB. Much like Either, this one is packed full of flavor from start to finish, though the weight of this beer seemed wear on me a bit more than Either.

- - -

Tasted this alongside Either. Both beers look identical. There is no difference there. Or's nose is mores roasty. Either is a bit sweeter, with more of a "Black IPA" character to it, while Or has a bit more a citrus and seems to push more towards the stout side of the spectrum. However, at the end of the day, both are very similar.

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.24/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

Pours a nice dark brown, it looks near black in the glass but while pouring you can see light hints of red, it's a nit lighter than 'Either'. There's a nice creamy one finger head with some light lacing. The nose is super fresh and fruity, floral hops and mango.

Taste is better than 'Either' right off the bat. That graininess is present but it takes a back seat to the sharp bitterness and dark malts. There's a nice roasty finish that just seals the deal for me. Prime time. Mouthfeel is also pretty highly carbonated, but it's still creamy and smooth. Very good!

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Photo of TCgoalie
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Notes from 12/21/10. Much better on tap than in the bottle!

Pours black with a long lasting beautiful tan head. Lacing is very good leaving a wall where the head had receded.

I can smell this from my seat 1 foot away from the glass. So many things in the scent, cedar, rye, dark fruits, light pine, with a stinging heat.

Yum...subtle dark fruits start off the taste which transitions to loads of cedar. A touch of anise, rye, chocolate, tobacco, coffee, and mild hops round out the taste. Really flavorful and delicious.

So full, creamy, and delightful in my mouth with a sticky dryness in the end. I believe mouthfeel is the best aspect of this beer...at least on tap.

A rich and delicious brew to be enjoyed over time. With so many demands on the tongue, more than one may be stretching it. I highly recommend having this on-tap opposed to the bottle form.

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Photo of jrohrbacher
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Photo of youbrewidrink
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had the Either/Or side by side.

They both appeared almost black in color.

The aroma of the Or was a pleasant hop aroma with a subtle cedar note.Much more pleasing to my nose than the Either.

The taste pretty much mimicked the aroma. The Or had a smooth hop profile and the cedar was present almost like spruce tips as a bittering agent unlike the Either where the cedar was overpowering and made the alcohol bitter instead of warming.

The mouthfeel of the Or was smoother and the alcohol less forward. This also contributed to the drinkability.

It's hard to believe that the ingredients for these two were basically the same. The Or wins out for me.

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Photo of billshmeinke
3.58/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Side by side with Either. Review from old notes.

Black with half a finger head. Lacing and retention are a touch nicer than Either.

Smell's about the same as Either. Not quite as pungent or cereal-y though.

Tastes about the same too. Less dark fruit, more chocolate and sweetness, no cereal notes.

Mouthfeel is a bit less carbonated than Either.

I liked it a little better, but that isn't saying much.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Shared a bottle of this last night with drabmuh, thanks Matt!

A: Black color with brown on the rims, nice tan full head with excellent lacing and retention. Excellent

S: Hoppy clean dark malt scent. I can definitely tell it was aged in cedar, it comes off well. Very earthy outdoorsy smells.

T: Smoky overall like drinking burning wood. Meaty bacon mixed with citrusy hops and malty bitters. Salty as well with a sweet edge of honey. Grapefruit hops come through strongly in this. There are just so many flavors all at once, I am quoting Matt but everytime you smell or taste this something else comes through.

M: Creamy and the carbonation is excellent. Smoky and very well done.

D: This seems like an IPA mixed with a rauchbeer, very tasty but hard to drink a lot of. The half bottle I got was plenty! Nice work from Cigar city once again.

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Photo of abuliarose
4.84/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a Hill Farmstead tasting glass, revealing opaque black body under a barely-there crema head. The body is promising for a black IPA. Smells deliciously hoppy and roasted with an effervescent floral presence and something spicy and smoky that I can't put my finger on... maybe the cedar? Aside from going out into the forest and sniffing cut trees I don't know if I can solve this one. Smells good though.

Tastes exceptionally creamy and bittersweet with just the right amount of sweetness to balance the "copious amounts of hops" advertised on the bottle. Nice citrus rind presence, slight roast-iness and coffee-like acidity. I can't think of a black IPA that I've had with this level of sweetness but it is still well-balanced and the wood adds a certain mellow funkiness to the flavor which I absolutely love. I've also never had a black IPA with this much body to it, very coat-your-mouth silky. Mouthfeel is creamy with gentle carbonation. Very drinkable, alcohol extremely well-hidden.

I don't know about the definition of "black IPA" except that it's supposed to be black and supposed to be bitter. Hopefully we get more of them out there like this bottle.

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Photo of xnicknj
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of DoctorB2B
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of AgentZero
3.53/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Black with a brownish-tan head that left some stick on the sides and a partial cap.

S - Resiny, decent bit of hops, some dark fruit.

T - Mostly dark fruits and malts with some pine hops and a touch of citrus. Little bit of coffee and wood.

M - Medium bodied and a little bit sticky. Moderate carbonation.

O - Not bad, slightly hot which is explained by the ABV. It's not bad, but nothing I'll ever seek out.

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Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of oline73
3.75/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of bob727
5/5  rDev +22.2%

4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From bottle to wine glass, poured side by side with "Either." "Or" is part 2 of 2 in the collaboration between Cigar City, Grassroots Brewing (Denmark) & Hill Farmstead. Both beers are brewed at CCB.

$10.75 for the 12oz bottle.

A: Half of a finger of medium-dark brown head is produced on the pour and fizzes out rather quickly. The body is the darkest brown imaginable with tawny tints along the top edges of the glass. Moderate lacing.

S: Or is the older brother to Either, it's more heavily roasted, has a noticeably bigger hop bill and a stronger presence of Spanish Cedar. Heavily malted with notes of molasses and pumpernickel bread. The hop bill is enormous with a fresh pine wood scent mixed in with other citrusy notes. It seems that, what would normally be considered huge hop aromas, are actually just big hop aromas that are being elevated by the toasted Spanish cedar, something that Cigar City does very well. The more assertive hop, cedar and alcohol in Or combine to form an even stronger acetone character than was in Either. Newer leather and danker earth in part 2.

T: From nose to mouth, Or is relatively consistent. The cedar and hops remain at the front while not exactly pushing the malts out of the way. Flavors of tar and sasparilla add to the appeal. The monstrous ABV is integrated rather than concealed. General sweetness is evident, but I think it is more of a result of the fermentable sugars than the Ty Ty honey* which, in my mind, has a greater impact on the mouthfeel than anything else.

M: Or is more abrasive than it's counterpart, partly due to it's livlier, fizzier effervescence. The body is medium full, slick and sticky. A big hop bitterness comes through at the finish which is more than likely accentuated by the dryness that the honey provides.

D: Above average drinkability, all things considered. An inventive, very bold and assertive brew with an addictive nose and great flavor. I didn't have any trouble finishing the 24 ounce side by side for comparison's sake. Both beers are fantastic, but I think Or is the better beer.

*Ty Ty honey comes from a native American chestnut tree that is said to produce large, honey sweet kernels of unparalleled taste and quality.

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Photo of mondegreen
3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. into a Founders Tulip. Served alongside Either.

Pours black with a one finger off white head.

Aroma is roasted malts and citrus hops.

The dark malts really shine through in the taste. This could almost pass for a very hoppy Imperial Stout. Finishes with a long-lingering bitterness.

Mouth is medium full.

Drinks very well. In the end, this beer comes off as a bit more straightforward than Either. They are both excellent brews - chalk this up to a successful collaboration!

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Photo of steve8robin
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got this on a trip to Florida. I have had many great CC brews. Let's see if this one follows suit. 12oz bottle...

A: Super perfect pitch black with a thick 1 inch mocha colored head that fades slowly. Very good.

S: Super bitter citrus hop upfront with some nice creamy chocolate cocoa notes quickly followed. Some great caramel in the middle with some sweet vanilla and earthiness on the backend. Very good.

T: Get a super intense bitter hop blended with a boozy warming burn. Some chocolate notes in the middle with some sweet fruits blended in. More of a boozy burn on the backend. Very boozy. Good.

M: Full bodied with a very nice carbonation feel. Super dry boozy finish. Good.

D: A little harder here from the heavy booze burn. Decent.

All in all, this is a good brew. Not one of the CC greats, but definitely solid. If you like boozy BIG hoppy IPA's with a unique twist, here you go. Definitely worth the try if you like CC brews.

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Photo of LiquidBread219
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- I had this beer and Either as the same time. It looks excatly the same. It looks like a stout with good head and lacing.

S- The smell has some cascade hops, it smells earthy/bready.

T- You get the flavor of hops, no bitterness, and smooth.

M- This beer is really smooth and light.

D- This beer is really good, especially when drinking it with EITHER.

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Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -2.2%

Photo of masterofsparks
3.25/5  rDev -20.5%

Photo of mgbickel
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to by Tampa connection for sending this one up in a recent trade (damn Lightning).

Poured from a 12oz bottle into the Cigar City snifter I also received in said trade. Everything about the way this looks screams "stout". Deep black body with a dark finger of foam sitting on top. Slow dissipation with tons of lace.

The nose is...well...odd. Is sweet a smell? You can pick up the honey quite easily. It combines with the cedar to form a caramel like odor. There is something resin like in the background...

The hops come through in the taste...up front and at the finish (where it is more pine-ish). The middle is sweet and sugary...almost like an aged barleywine. Very unique flavor combination. The ABV is well hidden...

The MF is on the heavy side of medium, oily with very little carbonation.

Overall this is a really enjoyable beer. Unique in flavor from start to finish, it is definitely worth seeking out.

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Or from Cigar City Brewing
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 177 ratings