Or | Cigar City Brewing

very good
175 Ratings
no score
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Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by CampusCrew on 11-12-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 175 |  Reviews: 103
Photo of MufflnMan
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured vigorously from a 12oz bottle into a tulip. Produced a 3 finger foamy mocha head over a pitch black body.

Smells mostly of hops and grapefruit with a hint of sweet malt.

Whamm!! Tastes of bitter hops, lemon, grapefruit and citrus, sweet malt, coffee and chocolate. Hint of booziness in there at the end. Everything but the kitchen sink.

Feels thick as motor oil. No carbonation.

This brew is a nice kick in the face, very intense.

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Photo of dstc
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the bottle into a pint glass, drinking along side "Either" for comparison. Color is the same, very dark with a deep, tan head that has hints of orange to it. This head is much more creamy yet it falls almost as fast, bit slower maybe and stays as a thin one. Thin, coating lace.

Milder in the nose. Still roasted and bitter smelling but plenty of woodiness in the smell. You can smell the alcohol too.

Nice roasted malt taste, almost burnt. Coffee and mild chocolate and plenty of bittering hops. There is a sweetness there that must be the honey. Cedar is present as is the alcohol.

Thick and smooth in the mouth with low carbonation and a slight alcohol bite.

Good stuff. Bit milder than the "Either" but just as interesting.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.6/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Pours out of the bottle dark brown almost motor oil thick. Gives a great three finger cocoa brown head, even makes some good noise. Body is a dark dark red/black brown color. Real good looking here.

A good sense of cirtus grapefruit and sugared orange. Very sweet smelling almost with powdered sugar sense. Wonderful nose.

Taste is a bold bountiful stout with milk chocolate and grapefruit sugar sweetness. Mix of balance of caramel like roast and crystal sugars. Hop citrus on the finish, and silky milk throat coating. Hints of milk chocolate coated orange and grapefruit. I feel like I am eating dark chocolate covered oranges.

Killer black ale, what can I say, all that flavor and feel and a masked ABV. Super great beer in the bottle.

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Photo of nuggetsofnectar
4.31/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

App: Dark murky brown nigh black...massive 1 1/2" deep tan pillowy head with great lacing as the cap slowllly dwindles to 1/4"

Smell: Porter/Brown ale aroma with some dark figs....vanilla and mocha tannins

Taste: wow....thick dark malts with load of cocoa and vanilla in the back...more on the stout side I would say....chewy oats....slide soy sauce at the tail end...some rye notes and cedar is a bit present

MouthfeeL A beautiful thing...so smooth and creamy and the heat is barely noticable for such a high abv, marvelous

Overall: Very much enjoyed this one...I could see myself sessioning this but I know I would hit the floor hard after 3 or so...

cheers cigar city!

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A vigorous pour into my Lost Abbey Teku glass produces a four finger thick, nicely browned, dark tan colored head. The beer is an approaching black, concentrated brown color that shows brown notes around the edges when held up directly to the light. This is extremely hoppy and fresh smelling with notes of tangelo zest, lychee and lots of herbal notes that contribute notes of pine and even some nutty hemp seed aromatics. There is a soft, supporting malt character here that provides notes of toasted / roasted malt and even hits of spicy grain (more crystal malt than rye). This really is quite hop dominated though; the fruit-leaning hop character also contributes notes of ruby red grapefruit juice, concentrated floral tropical fruit notes. At times the roast malt character is quite a bit noticeable (though still plays a secondary role), but at others it is quite consumed by the hop character. As the beer warms up a spiciness and a touch of hot alcohol starts to come out a bit more, though the fruity hop character is certainly still the dominant note.

Lightly sweet tasting up front, but it is hoppy enough that it has a certain dryness to it. As it rolls across the tongue an amped up fruit-hop character combines with the malt and accentuates a smooth sweetness; the combination provides flavors of lychee, orange blossom nectar, concentrated tangelo zest as well as kumquat zest flavors. The finish has an herbaceous hop bitterness to it that is a bit green at times and gets accentuated by a roast / burnt roast malt character. Despite how dark this beer is, the roast malt character is actually fairly subtle, really it is just that the hop character is quite aggressive and is most noticeable in the finish, though there is a touch of dark cocoa in the middle that subtly contributes to the flavor profile. The body of this beer has some viscosity to it and some heft, though the hops help to balance this out quite well and make this quite quaffable. There is a touch of heat that provides a warming to the finish of this beer. Toasted, woody and earthy notes are found here in the finish and contribute a complexity here that is quite nice.

This is quite nice and tasty, once again though I am of the opinion that the dark / roast malt is just getting in the way in this beer. It adds a harshness to the finish that accentuates a green, sharply herbal note towards the finish; traditional, pale malt IPAs provide a cleaner focus on the hop character that just works better. Having said that, this is still a thoroughly dominated, hop focused beer that will satisfy the inner cravings of your inner hop-head. I am almost done with this beer before I knew there was cedar used in this beer; it integrates quite well with the hop character and perhaps contributes an herbal, spicy and woody character that melds into similar hop notes. Interestingly enough it also integrates quite well with the toasted / roasted malt character as well. Actually in the end I would guess that the cedar character really helps to tie together the disparate roast character and aggressive hop notes quite a bit more than would otherwise be the case.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
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 ThreeWiseMen
3.76/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired this in a recent trade with fogdog. Thanks Kevin!

Poured into a New Belgium globe.

Appearance: Pitch black body prevents any light from passing through; totally opaque. A creamy, light brown ring sits on top and drags a respectable amount of web-like lace. Excellent retention. A swirl quickly livens things up, creating a quarter inch of creamy fluff that hangs around for awhile.

Smell: Very much like barbecue: roasty, meaty, spicy, and sappy. Char, caramel, and black pepper are the three specific aromas I continuously come across. Interesting, but also strange. Not sure if I like it.

Taste: Chocolate, pine resin, black pepper, and barbecue comprise the bulk of the flavor profile. Early on, I was getting something very strange: cotton candy and/or bubblegum. That flavor faded with time, but I felt it still deserved mention. As the beer warms, the roasty backbone softens a bit and gives way to caramel.

Mouthfeel: Full, rich, bold, a touch syrupy, warm, dry, and sticky. This is a big beer, but it feels about right (maybe a little easier) for an 11.2% beast.

Drinkability: Aside from the smell, this was a great sipper. It was surprisingly smooth for being 11.2%, while still maintaining boldness and complexity. Well done.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to G311 for this brew.

Pours a nice black color, nice carbonation, very nice thick/creamy two-finger tan head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some nice hop notes, licorice, chocolate. The taste is malty, slightly sweet, hoppy, bitter, with some nice licorice and chocolate notes. Medium Body, the ABV is slightly up front on this brew. Drinkable, a tasty brew, I like this one better than the Either.

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Photo of jsanford
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a Cigar City snifter. Brewed with Ty Ty Honey and aged on toasted Spanish Cedar. Drank right after Either.

A - Dark black with a creamy, 2-inch khaki-colored head that recedes to a slight haze and thin ring. Leaves sticky sheets of lacing.
S - Lots of pungent grapefruit and pine resin hops, chocolate malt, and honey. Honestly, this smells like a dark version of Hopslam, which is an extremely high compliment to give a beer!
T - Again, nice and hoppy, more pungent flavors of grapefruit and pine resin dominate. There's some nice chocolate, coffee, and dark malt in there, along with a good dose of honey, and a nice amount of cedar character. Very pleasant bitter finish.
M - Very smooth, with a medium-full body and moderate carbonation.
D - Nice and drinkable, much like Either I'm surprised my the high ABV. No problem drinking the 12oz. bottle by myself.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It looks like most people like Or better than either but I am a bit opposit. I love them both but I like either better. But they are very similar.

The appearance is the same. Not a great head but a ring that produced a bit of lacing.

Aroma is more hop forward on this one. I smell alot more hops and I feel it's covering up the other great aromas. However I feel like I did in either that they both could use an aroma boost.

Taste is a bit more hoppy. Again I think it's covering up some of the flavors. Either had more sweet caramel. A little more wood in this one too.

Mouthfeel is same as in the hops are covering some things up I liked in either.

Overall I love them both and think they both deserve a little bit better review. I'll be trading for some more of both to see how they do over time together. But I think I like either a bit better.

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Photo of TCgoalie
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
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 TCHopCraver
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Second (duh) of an Either-Or back-to-back on 2-18-11. Thanks again, zoso and Goalie.

Or pours dark brown, nearly black, with a light brown head. Around the edges, the color is reddish and see-through. The lacing is pretty nicely dotty and sticky. This aspect of the beer doesn't differ from Either all that much.

I smell way more citrus hops showing through than I did in Either. I'm not sure if this is because of relative freshness of the two beers or just the difference between the two recipes. The cedar is quite prominent and it is also a very malty sweet aroma, like Either. However, I think the balance between malt sweetness and hops is much better in Or than in Either. I really like this smell.

The taste also brings a heavy influence of the cedar barrels. Or is not as syrupy and crazy-sweet as Either is. I taste some roastiness, some sweet fruits, and lots of cedar in my mouth. To quote Larry David, "Do you respect wood?" I happen to, so I appreciate the woodiness of Or. The sweet fruity taste in the middle leads to a not overly bitter hop and wood finish.

The mouthfeel carries a very good balance between thick, sweet malt and a bitter bite from the hops. I think this is a better feel than Either. Overall, it is medium bodied, has good carbonation, and the finish does a fairly nice job of drying the sweetness off of my palate.

After drinking samples of Either and Or, I am left with a very woody, dry residue in my mouth. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing; I just couldn't drink very much of either of these two beers. I did like this one slightly better than Either based on more of a hop balance, and would pick Or if I had to make a choice.

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Photo of zoso1967
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sending major props out to TCGoalie for smuggling this back from Tampa so we could do a side by side tasting of it with Either.

Or pours a dark black brown that has a slight reddish hue when held up to the light. It is very stout like in appearance but not quite as opaque. The head is light tan and the beer has decent staying power and leaves slightly better lace than Either, though it might just be the condition of the glass.

The aroma is similar to Either with a good dose of dark and fruity sweetness, astringent roasted malts, some citrus hop notes and spicy cedar. The cedar seems much more toned down than in this brew's sister. The aromas also seem a bit better integrated in Or.
The flavor is a nice mix of the sweet dark malt, spicy cedar, hops and roasty malts. I hate to keep calling back to my review of Either, but it is quite similar just with better integration and less of the cedar presence. This also strikes me as being a little less hot. The more I sip this beer the more certain I am that, at least in these two beers, I am not a huge fan of cedar aging.

The mouthfeel is medium with a nice smoothness but a fairly sticky finish. Sweet dark fruit and spice linger on my tongue after swallowing.

Much like Either, this beer would be more drinkable if it had less heat and a bit less of the cedar character. These were both interesting brews and I definitely found this one to be more enjoyable, but it is not necessarily a beer that I am super bummed about being a limited release.

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Photo of koopa
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased at Capone's in Norristown PA along with a bottle of "either" as well.

Appearance: Pours an extremely dark brown black that is absolutely opaque. The crown in 1 finger, khaki, shows good retention and lace!

Smell: The underlying spanish cedar smell makes me smile. Some herbal and floral hops and some dark malt round it out. It's really all about the cedar for me....definitely my favorite quality of the nose.

Taste: Same as the nose but really hop dominant. While the nose for me is about 1. cedar 2. hops 3. roast malt, I'd say the taste is 1. hops 2. roast malt 3. cedar!

Mouthfeel: A touch thicker than I anticipated but thats not necessarily a bad thing.

Drinkability: The mouthfeel and the high abv hold it back a bit.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle

A- Sampled alongside "Either". Poured into a Cigar City snifter. Pours a dark black color with a tan colored head. "Or" has better retention and lacing than "Either".

S- The aroma is similar to a black IPA. The aroma starts out with dark roasted malts and a very nice fresh smelling hop aroma. While "Either" is a little more malty in the nose, "Or" features a more pronounced hop profile.

T- The taste like the aroma is dark roasted malts up front, espresso and a lot of lingering bitterness in the finish from the hops. The alcohol also leaves a lingering warming effect in the finish as well.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, I really enjoyed sampling Either/Or in the same sitting. They are very similar but the hop profile is the main difference. I have to give the nod to "Or" as my favorite of the two. 

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Photo of billyshears
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

side by side with Either.
a: black with thicker head retention. better lacing than Either.
s: much more hoppier than either; cedar also much more present
t: hops are certainly in charge here; much more abrasive piney hops mixed with the Spanish cedar which comes in strong; definitely the more aggressive of the 2; stronger lingering bitterness; malts come as an afterthought. fruity citrus hops come through as it warms
m: thinner more resiny mouthfeel and high carbonation. works as it's more hoppy than Either.
d: hops do a number.

if you want hops, this brings it more than Either. I don't know if it's as cohesive as Either though.

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Photo of mondegreen
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
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 seeswo
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black color with a dark tan head. Smell is somewhat more subtle than Either, with a dominant roast. Taste was also more subtle than Either, this time in a preferable way. Balanced roast and sweetness combine with a nice hop presence. Much more drinkable than Either because of the balance. ABV very well hidden.

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Photo of number1bum
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank the Either last week, so let's see how this one compares.

Pours very dark brown, nearly pitch black, with three fingers of dark tan head. Keeps quite well, lots of thick, fluffy lace and a nice coating on the sides.

Smell quickly reveals some nice citrusy notes, juicy orange and grapefruit, which are soon joined by the heavy malt bill. There is a good deal of roasted and chocolaty malt here. There is a hint of wood and an earthy quality as well.

Taste is quite smooth, much smoother than the Either was, and is both very bold and malty but with a good deal of hop flavor. The roasted and chocolate malts are dominant, but the citrusy and earthy hops do their thing nicely. The honey is also very noticeable, offering some sweetness to complement the darker malt. Pretty big smack of bitterness in the finish with some softer woody notes. I really am shocked at how smooth this is; no noticeable alcohol burn at all, a big departure from the Either.

Mouthfeel is an extremely smooth medium-full body. Carbonation is active but appropriate, and the finish is pretty clean. Very creamy.

I guess I'm still not sure what the key differences are between these two beers, but frankly I'm shocked at how differently they drink. Or is so much cleaner, smoother, and well put together, whereas Either was much rougher around the edges. Or is the clear cut winner in my book. It is excellent.

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a pitch black body with a good size, foamy tan head (slightly darker then EITHER) that doesn't last too long and recedes to a ring over the course of the drink.

S: A strong floral hoppy aroma that's a bit lighter on the nose compared to EITHER where the honey is more noticeable, along with molasses, vanilla, cedar, & sweet roasted malts (chocolate & coffee).

T: A nice upfront citrus hoppy flavor followed by sweet roasted malts, spices, molasses, cedar (not as strong compared to EITHER), and honey. A bit more balanced this it's counterpart that has a pleasent long lasting aftertaste.

M: A full, very heavy body with light carbonation and an oily texture.

D: A very strong robust flavor that reminds me bit of a hoppy stout makes this one a 1 at a time kind of beer- not to mention the price is a bit high for something I'm not crazy over. Between EITHER and OR, this is the better of the two.

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Photo of Axic10
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep dark black (almost stout like) with a finger of mocha colored head.

Smell: Get a nice whiff of cocoa, some coffee, honey and a hoppy aroma. I think I like the nose on this better than the Either.

Taste: Coffee notes, roasted malt, chocolate/cocoa, nice hop character on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth.

Drinkability: Overall I preferred this version to the Either. This was almost like a hoppy stout to me, but it worked.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.86/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Jefe73 for sending this my way!

A- Body is a dark, aboding motor oil black hue. Pours with a 1-2 finger creamy dark tan head. Honestly-this brew has big imperal stout written all over it in the appearance- Lacing left all the way down the glass.

S- Roasted malt, dark chocolate, and a hint of pine in the back. Roasted malt is the main character.

T- Upfront is actually a good amount of herbal hops, a hint of spicy hops, and a hint of citrus, behind this is a huge coffee roasted malt backbone. The finish offers a big dose of refreshing pine in the back and a mild amount of roasted malt lingers.

M- Medium carbonation and a medium weight body.

D- This is another interesting "black ale". Although this one isn't as bright and doesnt seem to be as complex as EITHER- the flavors blend together a lot better and this doesnt seem to be as much of a contrast. Overall both are pretty good beers.

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Photo of Florida9
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
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 PDXHops
2.46/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle in a Duvel tulip. I'm borrowing from and adding to my notes from Either.

Pours out near black with a smallish shiny tan head that soon reduces to a skim, but this sticks around impressively and leaves scattered creamy bits of lacing.
Other than a head that's a shade lighter in color, pretty much the same.

Smells pleasantly sweet, full of milk chocolate, honey, pineapples, oranges and floral notes. Could stand a touch more roasted/burnt character.
This version seems to have the addition of a sourness along the lines of green apples and has even less roastiness in the nose.

The cedar is a background player in the nose, but the flavor is much more assertive. This cedar business seems to work better with some of their beers more than others; to me it seems distracting more than anything here. A nice sharp bitterness is drowned out first by the cedar, then a wave of sweetness and booze. All the fruit and chocolate mentioned above is present, plus a lingering raisinish tang. Kinda minty at times. Between the thickish body, the sweetness and the cedar becoming increasingly strong as it warms, it's a bit of a chore to finish.
Mostly the same story, but as in the nose, there's a tart apple quality that adds another dimension of oddness.

Interesting sipper, but the shortage of dry and roasted flavors and lack of focus on the hops limit its appeal as a CDA.
Somewhat less appealing due to the green apple stuff. Glad to have tried it, wouldn't revisit.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

and away we go with hobo tasting number four. me and calton in the parking lot of chucky cheese, drinking top 100 beers in crystall glass ware from the back of his trunk. we both have too many issues to get into right now.

pours, well you guess it a dark black with a nice tight and compact head of tan that seems to come up around an inch or so before settling back down to earth and coming through with a nice medium layer of lacing around the sides, fairly impressed. aroma is hops, dark roasted malts, a touch of burnt brown sugar, hints of licorice and a touch of dark fruits as it warms, very complex. flavor follows suit nicely, albeit not as strong, but still very nicely done. rich dark malts and piney hops blend together with a deep roasted flavor that carries over into a moderatly dry finish that sums it up quite well..

overall a really great beer an one i would have no issue with going for again. still floored how well that abv was hidden, damn!

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Or from Cigar City Brewing
4.06 out of 5 based on 175 ratings.
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