Minaret Extra Special Bitter
Cigar City Brewing

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Style:
Bitter - English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #69
ABV:
6%
Score:
85
Ranked #29,678
Avg:
3.79 | pDev: 12.93%
Reviews:
37
Ratings:
186
From:
Cigar City Brewing
 
Florida, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  4
Gots
  16
SCORE
85
Very Good
Notes: Opened in 1891 across the Hillsborough River from downtown Tampa, the Tampa Bay Hotel, with its resplendent Moorish Revival design and crescent moon-topped minarets, quickly became one of the most recognizable and iconic features of Tampa's nascent skyline. Henry Plant's grandiose hotel boasted Florida's first elevator and is now the home to the University of Tampa and the Henry B. Plant Museum.

Cigar City Brewing celebrates Henry Plant and his historic hotel with Minaret English-style Pub Ale, a malt-forward yet easy-drinking ale that brings to mind the nuanced and quaffable beers of the UK. Brewed with Maris Otter malt and traditional English hops, Minaret English-style Pub Ale boasts complex malt flavors, woody hop notes and a perfect balance between these two qualities. Nitro dispense rounds out the beer and emulates traditional cask conditioning, making it a beer to revisit again and again while contemplating the man and the hotel that made Tampa famous.

40 IBU
Reviews: 37 | Ratings: 186 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

it has been awhile since i have had a cigar city beer that wasnt something extreme. i love a good pub ale type, and thats exactly what this is, straightforward and well made, served on nitro, which i think is always a great format for an esb type. this one is radiant amber in color with a frothing shaving cream thick head, off white and leaving thick rings demarcating each sip. it doesnt smell like a whole lot, but i think thats more a product of the nitro than of the beer, i often think that on nitro beers for whatever reason. the flavor fortunately is more robust, a nice english malt profile, maris otter and a richer crystal type, clean though and fermented down to near dry. apple slices and toffee and bran and raisin all come to mind, but this isnt overly complex or anything. a mild hop bitterness is there at the end, and there is a lot of body, but this is just a beer for drinking, an old worldy style but made to be somewhat modern here. its nice to have more classic stuff like this from these guys, who i tend to associate more with the absurd than the drinkable. this was tasty and serviceable.

Apr 22, 2018
Photo of cjgiant
cjgiant from District of Columbia

3.89/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nitro:
Pours a clear acorn brown including the red-orange shading. Head is a frothy almost doughy top of very tightly packed mini-nitro bubbles.

Nose has a light mineral aspect to toasted grain. A little bit of dried pine or grass seems like it play be the bitter side, but it’s a more malty nose overall.

The taste has the toast and minerally aspect of the nose, and they hit first. They step aside to let a little chocolate come in, but not to overpower. This fades as the bitterness comes on as fall leaves, then maybe a tad grassy, but finally a bite piney. The mineral aspect holds up, but the toasted malts I think really influence how the bitterness is kept at bay.

A balanced beer that is decently bold on both malt and bitter sides, probably bandy leaning malty in taste, but with a toasted crumb and piney bitter lingering aspect. Smooth as expected on nitro.

Apr 20, 2018
Photo of jancona
jancona from Pennsylvania

3.96/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this on tap (nitro) - beautiful cascading beer - super creamy feel, touch of floral hop bitterness and malty caramel. A touch of fruit at the finish (apple).

Jul 31, 2015
Photo of Slatetank
Slatetank from Pennsylvania

3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I enjoyed this on tap at Vito's Pizza and Beer, served chilled nitro tap in a tulip pint.

The color is ruddy brown with cascade-creamy head with thick lace stickage. The smell is a bit of dried fruit and mild yeast ester with mineral element subtle woody hop note. The feel is medium bodied with nice balance nitro seems to subtract some body but good for the style with mild bitterness in finish.

The taste is very good with a slight toasted and gently sweet malt flavor up front with a bitter element in the middle but slight English yeast character with a mellow mineral quality with dry finish. Overall I liked this ESB a more American style with less fruity/caramel but style has balance and is very drinkable.

Apr 30, 2015
Photo of chinchill
chinchill from South Carolina

3.24/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

On tap at the Pinglehead brewpub in Jacksonville, FL.

This ESB is fine looking but otherwise unexceptional,

Mouthfeel: The body is smooth but too thin.

Mar 18, 2015
Photo of barfootbandit
barfootbandit from Maryland

4.09/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had nitro tapped. A good ESB and quite smooth compared to others. Hazy amber color with a think head, most likely due to the nitro tapping. Very full bodied and surprisingly not so bitter. A higher ABV is always appreciated but the smoothness from this ESB made it very drinkable. Overall, a refreshing change from run of the mill ESBs.

Feb 05, 2015
Photo of Budinetz
Budinetz from Pennsylvania

4.01/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured in nitro tap at rattle and hum in NYC.

Has an awesome look to and super smooth flavor with great drinkability. The nitro really does this beer good, as I don't think it would be as good without it. Would get this again if I saw it

Jan 15, 2015
Photo of huysmans
huysmans from New Jersey

3/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Had on draft (nitro) at the brewery. Nice looking nitro head. Nice rich color. Very little smell, maybe a bit musty. Great creamy nitro mouthfeel, but very little taste. Admittedly, this is not my favorite style, so my rating is really just for my personal remembrance of what I thought of the beer. I am sure this is a good example of the style, or at least better than my rating suggests.

Dec 31, 2014
Photo of BMMillsy
BMMillsy from Florida

3.09/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

On nitro at the brewery. Pours dark copper with a creamy white head. Light malt and spice aroma, smooth with low carbonation. Malty mostly with ever so slight hops, lingering malt flavor and a clean finish. Not much going on here, and I am not really a fan. Very boring and not much flavor. I feel like the nitro takes away from a beer like this, making it more bland than it otherwise would be.

Oct 04, 2013
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Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.69/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On nitro, at Pingleheads. Dark coloured, tasty stuff. The hops, and of course the caramel and chocolate malts survived fine on nitro. A little creamy. Fun stuff that still hit the spot after a long day and night and day of drinking beer. I could drink this for two days.

Jan 22, 2013
Photo of brystmar
brystmar from Texas

3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nitro at Barcade.

Beautiful pour: copious white head and lace above the cloudy amber body. Malty, slightly earthy aroma. Dry, yeasty, smells like most lagers. Bleh.

I don't usually like ESBs, so it took Al's recommendation for me to order this. Surprisingly balanced as the malted barley meets earthy yeast and tangy fruit. Creamy as hell, thanks to the nitro. I enjoyed this, but gimme my pour of Huna back!

Sep 13, 2012
Photo of at7000
at7000 from Florida

4.74/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'm not a big fan of English Style Bitters, but this was a great beer. As one poster commented and I agree- It's a very well balanced beer. My general complaint with ESBs, are they tend to be on the bland side, and lacking in flavour. No worries here- This beer delivers some very, very intense flavors. Starts with a nice roasted malt flavor/mouth-feel, and finishes with a nice, very bitter, hop bite. I highly recommend this beer and I will look for it again. It is available only on tap.

Jun 16, 2012
Photo of metter98
metter98 from New York

3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Rattle ‘n Hum, New York, NY

A: The beer is slightly hazy copper in color. It poured with a thin yet dense off white head that died down very slowly but left a collar of bubbles around the edge of the glass and a patch of bubbles in the middle.
S: There are light to moderately strong aromas of caramel and toasted malts in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of grainy and toasted malts along with some hints of caramel. A very slight amount of bitterness is present.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. The finish is a little dry.
O: This is a very flavorful ESB that is also very easy to drink.

May 25, 2012
Photo of RomaniIteDomum
RomaniIteDomum from Florida

4.28/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On nitro at the brewery.

Pours a fantastic golden honey color with a big fluffy head.

Smells of light honey, caramel, and a light hop presence.

The taste is full of caramel, sweet malt, and a healthy dose of grass. Good balance.

The feel is full and velvety.

Overall, this exceeded expectations. I was quite pleased with this brew.

Mar 20, 2012
Photo of jgagne
jgagne from Kentucky

3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into cigar city pint on draft at Gainesville house of beer

A- nice burnt orange hue with a white foamy head

S-very prevalent orange hints at the nose. With a nice undertone of caramel malt.

T-very mild hop flavor with a nice bitter malt taste. Good balance.

M-mild heaviness and carbonation

O-the best esb I have had so far. Grant it Im not the biggest fan of the style but this is a very enjoyable beer. Flavorful and an easy drinker. Highly recommended.

Jan 19, 2012
Photo of JayS2629
JayS2629 from Alabama

3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber hue with a good light tan head of two fingers that fades slow and leaves nice lacing.

Aroma is of orange, pine, and grapefruit. Malty underbelly of caramel and light notes of toffee.

Caramel covered oranges and grapefruit zest. Most bitter ESB I've had.

Smooth, easy drinking.

Overall an interesting and easy drinking beer.

Jan 02, 2012
Photo of Immortale25
Immortale25 from North Carolina

4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at cigar city's tasting room.

A- Has a dark caramel color to it with a 3/4 inch white head that doesn't retain long before settling to an 1/8 inch ring and a considerably solid coat of surface foam. Wavy lacing follows.

S- Has the usual lightly malted nose of an ESB that's crisp and clean. A bit more earthy and pungent than others though.

T- Smooth and super drinkable like an ESB but way more flavorful and bitter than any one I've had before. The typical balance that's common to the style is there but amped up in a way that doesn't compromise its legitimacy. There's also an undeniably funky quality to it. Different.

M- Thin and somewhat spritzy. Medium-high carbonation.

O- Usually CC's session beers are unimpressive to me, but minaret hits the mark. Probably the best ESB I've ever had

Dec 29, 2011
Photo of Gehrig
Gehrig from Illinois

3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap at The Independent in Tampa, FL.

Nice looking beer, with a clear, dark golden body with yellow trim and a robust cap of white foam; nice lacing on the CC pint glass. Lightly hopped aromas, with some grapefruit and orange, with a nod toward caramel malt. Nice balance between hop bitterness and some citrusy sweetness. This could almost stand to be a bit more bitter. The mouthfeel is nice and hopped up, but the taste ought to be more hop forward.

Nice ESB, but not my favorite CC offering. Admittedly, ESB isn't my favorite style. Not bad.

Nov 12, 2011
Photo of jcartamdg
jcartamdg from Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark caramel brown color with a one finger head into my ccb snifter. Caramel malts with a great balance of bitter hops on the nose and the taste is intensified. This is a well crafted easy drinking session able beer. I could drink this all day!

Nov 03, 2011
Photo of GallowsThief
GallowsThief from Florida

3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The House of Brews in Jensen Beach.

A – Served in a pint glass. Copper color with a solid finger of light tan/white color that stayed around and left spotty lacing.

M - Fairly light smeller. Hops and citrus in the nose. Tiny bit of sweetness.

T – Fairly flavorable citrus rolls right out of this with grapefruit, orange and a lemon/lime taste. Has a toasted malt in there as well. Bit of caramel sweetness. Some bitterness but not a great deal. Good balance.

M – Medium bodied and medium carbonation. Pretty drying at the end.

O – Nice well balanced brew here that is pretty damn drinkable. Enjoyed this one. Well worth a try.

Oct 29, 2011
Photo of hdelavega
hdelavega from Florida

4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a plain old pint glass at palm harbor house of beer.
Pours an amber red in color with a one inch white head.
The aroma is very well balanced. Kind of hard to describe, alittle sweet yet still hoppy.
A little malty sweetness balanced by bitter hops.
Very smooth mouth feel, medium light body with high carbonation. The finish is fairly bitter.
Very nice beer, I'm pretty sure this was my first ESB, a nice style I will be exploring a little more.

Oct 14, 2011
Photo of Holland
Holland from Illinois

3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a clear brown amber with small lacing and a thin layer of head on top when it got to me. Tiny bubbles stayed throughout.

S: malt, bitterness dominate the smell here.

T: simple yet delicious. Caramel malt, pale malt, bitter hops all round out the taste with a slight sweetness.

M: this beer has the carbonation and medium body to make it delicious.

O: solid beer, I'm impressed to find a gem like this in the heart of Florida. Buy it if you find it and you like ESBs.

Sep 24, 2011
Photo of CampusCrew
CampusCrew from Florida

4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this at the Kickbacks Cigar City/St Somewhere dinner. I'm reviewing this by memory on this I had this at the Kickbacks Cigar City/St Somewhere dinner. I have had most of CC's regular beers but I have not tried this yet. toasty flavors as style suggests with some nice american citrus hop flavors. worth trying but not there best. want to try again.

Sep 16, 2011
Photo of carolinabeerguy
carolinabeerguy from North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes at Cigar City's taproom on 9/9/11 for Firkin Friday.

Draft poured into a 4 oz. sampler glass.

Appearance: Poured a medium caramel brown with golden highlights. Nice lacing.

Smell: Sweet malt with a touch of bitter hops.

Taste: Grassy hops up front followed by lightly roasted malt in the middle before ending with a nice bitter finish. Aftertaste is bitter as well. Very nice flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a decent amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Very good drinkability. You could drink several. Goes down smooth.

Overall: Good beer overall. One of the better ESBs I've had (while I haven't had a ton, I know this one is good). Worth trying.

Sep 12, 2011
Photo of jsanford
jsanford from Georgia

3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Growler split with some friends thanks to David. Poured into a Cigar City Snifter.

Pours a lovely dark copper with a foamy white head. Nice aromas of roasted caramel malt and bitter orange peel hops. Taste follows the nose nicely, lots of toasted malt, caramel, and bitter citrus hops that linger on the palate for some time. Mouthfeel is quite smooth and creamy, with a medium body and pleasant carbonation. Overall a very nice Bitter, and exceptionally drinkable.

Sep 04, 2011
Minaret Extra Special Bitter from Cigar City Brewing
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 186 ratings