Cigar City Brewing

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Barleywine - English
4.46 | pDev: 7.85%
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: Brandy Barrel-aged Barleywine-style Ale. Released again as an El Catador Club 11th Edition Exclusive.

Leon Jay Coker. Craftsman, soldier, father. Born in Lily, Florida. Died in Arcadia, Florida. 1926 – 2012
Reviews: 72 | Ratings: 576 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Dfeinman1
Dfeinman1 from Florida

4.23/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A great comin I nation of grape, fig, apricot and plum sweetness combined with a perfect mouthfeel and subtle carbonation. Pairs really well with appetizers!

Mar 04, 2021
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.57/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into a snifter
2014 Vintage

A- pours a deep brown color with a one-finger foamy white head that reduces to a thin film on top

S- plenty of barrel on the nose with huge apple brandy notes that brings out aromas of candy red apple, caramel, red grapes & spiced wood. The base beer brings out bold notes of raisins, figs, tobacco, leather, dark cherries, brown sugar. There's also a light perfume-like note that I can't quite put a finger on

T- as with the nose, the apple brandy barrel takes center stage up front; red caramel apples, molasses, brown sugar, vinous grape. Mid-palate brings out earthy notes of pipe tobacco, as well as fruit cake, dark cherries, figs, booze soaked raisins & chocolate. The finish brings out more apple brandy, peppery oak, red apple and booze

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that continues into a slightly warming finish

O- this is a beer for the apple brandy fans, as it is present throughout and matches brilliantly with the base beer, well done

Sep 06, 2019
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Fireman_RK from North Carolina

4.59/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Dark mahogany and raisin hues with a frothy khaki head and ample lacing
S: Leather, tobacco, figs, and caramelized panela
T: Dark fruits up front undercut by fresh oatmeal raisin cookies dunked in apple brandy
F: Medium bodied and evenly carbed with a smooth velvety texture
O: Very solid barleywine entry by Cigar City. Delicate depth of flavor underpinned by a bold apple brandy barrel-aging that builds with each taste. Phenomenal sipper here and hope they bring it back soon.

Aug 09, 2018
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Rristow from Ohio

4.18/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tasted from draft. Pours a dark reddish brown with off white head. Aroma is sweet with dark fruits and caramel. Taste is moderately to heavily sweet with minimal bitterness. Flavors of dark fruits, caramel, syrup, earthy notes and brandy. Not my favorite barley wine but definitely one of the better ones.

Jun 24, 2018
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Shogun250 from Vermont

3.64/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Honestly think this is way past its prime and have no idea why it's no retired. Kind of weird and intersting but its aftertaste was kind of minty. don't know this is from age or apple brandy barrels. Kind of off flavor. Smell was sweet and candy like

Dec 08, 2017
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JohnnyHopps from Indiana

4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance – The pour was a murky brown color with little visible carbonation.

Smell – The brandy just radiates from the nose. There is a big sweetness here.

Taste – My initial impression is to notice the grapes from the brandy aging. These are smooth grapes with a little bite at the end. The malts are sweet, giving prune and raisin impressions. The after effect is warm, but does not burn.

Mouthfeel – The feel is downright sticky as it coats the mouth. IT seems as though this could linger forever.

Overall – I love English barleywines, and this is near the top of my list.

Nov 21, 2016
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Sabtos from Ohio

3.85/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2012 version on draft at Hunahpu's Day 2016.

Reddish brown with little to no head by the time it was in my hands.

Caramel, fig, prune, leather.

This Leon was remarkably smooth. I know it's a liquid but for some reason moist comes to mind. There are some boozey notes of brandy but it's not overly hot. Age has done this very well, too bad it was a hot and sunny day trying this. I would love to have had this on a cold Winter's day in Ohio under the covers...hnnnnnnnnng!

Apr 03, 2016
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cjgator3 from Florida

4.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this beer at Cigar City's Hunahpu's Day 2016 in Tampa, FL. This was a 2012 vintage that was a treat to see being poured 4 years later in 2016. It was extremely smooth and malty as you would expect from an older barleywine vintage and quite a treat to enjoy.

Mar 18, 2016
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-Rick from Massachusetts

4.6/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a murky brown color. This beer is loaded smells of sweet caramel, brown sugar, toffee, and brandy. Tastes like it smells. So nice and sweet, loaded with warming toffee flavors. The alcohol is very well hidden in this one. One of the best from CCB!

2012 vintage.

Mar 15, 2016
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PsilohsaiBiN from New York

4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle, batch 2.

Appearance: Looks like a glass full of rusty water...very different.

Smell: Intense caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, toffee, angel food cake, chocolate...there's some brandy and booze in there too.

Taste: Brandy heat and sweetness in the beginning give way to a big caramel/toffee/brown sugar middle with hints of apple. A lingering, but not cloying chocolate sweetness that just rolls off the tongue and drops off the palate, leaving a pleasant, dry aftertaste that's a bit chocolatey...almost like you just ate a brownie. This is great. This beer is pretty complex and unfolds as you drink it, very unique for a barrel aged barleywine. Drinks smooth for 13%, although you can tell it's a big beer.

Mouthfeel: Huge, velvety and still drinkable...CCB's trademark for its big brews.Although this drinks smooth and velvety there is significant carbonation to speak of...just enough without being too much for the style.

Overall: This is a great brew. The coolest thing about it is the chocolate fudge/brownie element it has to it that most other barleywines don't. A very unique brew that I would love to drink again, if I can find one.

Jan 31, 2016
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danh53 from Florida

4.57/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I've been wanting to try this for a while and it did not disappoint. Starts of with a decadent aroma of brown sugar, caramel, brandy, and dark fruits. Definitely a dessert beer. The flavors are huge with caramel, brown sugar, and chocolate blending with a medley of complex fruit flavors like Apple, cherry, figs, and raisins. It's a touch too sweet and doesn't have a lot of barrel character, but I love the flavors going on here. Mouth feel is thick and rich like the rest of this beer.

Oct 24, 2015
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cpetrone84 from Pennsylvania

3.22/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pour is murky brown with a tan head. Nose is wood, Brady, sweet malt, caramel brown sugar and some light berry notes. Flavor is heavy sugar, caramel, a good bit of brandy and a hint of green apple. A bit of heat in the finish with strong cArb and a full body.

May 22, 2015
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.24/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

always crazy to have a bunch of big rare beers in a night. it sort of spoils you, but there is also a beauty in this type of gluttony, provided it is with a lot of good friends and only on occasion. leon here was the perfect beer for that kind of thing. its literally liquid caramel with a shot of bourbon. sounds simple, but thats what it tastes like, of course with farm more nuance, but thats the gist all the way. hazy thick look, like a melted werthers candy, short lived lazy off white head. it smells like the bourbon more than anything else, and tastes like about the longest boil with the sweetest grains in the game, sludgy sweet almost, and radiantly alcoholic. sounds harsh and sloppy, but its actually very mature and calculated, and i was surprised it comes together as well as it does for how big it is. i think some of the love for it on here is some cigar city flamboyant fandom, and you get that a lot with those guys, but this is a fantastic example of a barrel aged barleywine, and it deserves at least a mention in the conversation with those from guys like firestone walker and goose island bourbon county versions of the style. some toasted marshmallow notes, an almond nuttiness, maybe candied almond with all the sugar, and a long drawn out finish where the body and sweetness slowly melt off the teeth and glide away into oblivion. there is a lot of beer in this bottle, so be prepared to either share it around or get silly and sick.

May 13, 2015
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lupercmda from North Carolina

4.81/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark brown with a syrup type look. Smells of figs, raisins and brown sugar. Taste does not disappoint as the caramel, and toffee tastes predominate. Fabulous CCB Beer

Apr 11, 2015
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chinchill from South Carolina

4.16/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

CCB Leon bottled on Sept 2012. In a large bottle shared in Feb. at the RBWG-2015.
Hazy mahogany body with a good head.
Rich, attractive and complex aroma.

Flavor: Rich, mildly sweet and moderately complex with a hint of sherry.

Feb 28, 2015
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timc100 from Illinois

4.68/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 2. Had next to a well cellared King Henry and defunct Aaron.

Pours out heavy and murky brown, has the menacing and brawny appearance of all CCBs strong ales. Vibrant, bright sweet brandy on the nose with sweet dark fruits, apple, oak, booze, molasses, brown sugar, and holiday spice. The barrel blends very well, and compared to the King Henry it is significantly sweeter because of it. Huge on the palate carrying the strong sweet brandy flavors as well as the molasses, dark fruits, and caramel. Fantastic and impressively smooth, slick and viscous mouthfeel.

Great beer I've been wanting to try a while, and one of the best I've had. Falls a hair short of King Henry and A Deal with the Devil - both of those had a more interesting barrel character and more balanced sweetness.

Feb 25, 2015
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ThickNStout from Georgia

4.97/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750mL bottle acquired via lottery through the El Catador club. Bottled 11/17/14. Served in a Cigar City teku.

Pours almost fully opaque- only a tiny bit of light escapes arond the thinnest edges. It rests in the glass a murky, swamp brown with one finger of dirty sand hued head. The foam gradually dissipates to a meager halo. I'm not sure that the few specks left on the glass can rightfully be called lacing. All in all that may not sound like an aesthetically pleasing brew but it absolutely is.

Beautifully sweet nose full of rich caramel, toffee, dark fruit, earthy oak and brandy. The aromas are mouth watering.

Holy hell this is such rich, decadent, malty, barreled goodness! Toffee, raisins, brandied dates, molasses, oak, vanilla, apple and singed caramel. It's fairly boozey but in a wonderfully warming and appropriate way. The brandy barrel melds beautifully with the toffee and dark fruits creating a multi-layered treat.

Syrupy, thick, almost sludgy feel with soft, silky carbonation. Coats the tongue with toffee, dark fruit and flavorful brandy for a delicious, lingering finish.

Leon is an outstanding, near magical elixir. It has been well over two years since a beer has blown me away like this and completely shown me the pinnacle of a style. I can't think of a way to make this any better. Super happy to have had the opportunity to try this and wish there had been much more.

Jan 21, 2015
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KevSal from California

4.27/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Looong time want! Good way to start 2015. The apple is still there in the nose and taste, the body is slightly thin missing a bit of heft. Very tasty flavor. Wouldn't consider this world class however. Interested to try batch 2. Don't see this one improving any more

Jan 03, 2015
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WTKeene from New Mexico

4.59/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared courtesy of Thereal_adam and Gunch52, alongside Abbbp. Poured from a 2012 bottle into a Jester King Funk and Sour Fest Tulip.

Appearance: Hazy and dark chestnut brown with an eggshell crown. No head, but the crown is quite persistent. A certain amount of lacing too, but not a crazy amount.

Smell: Loads of brandy, dark fruits and molasses. Beautiful.

Taste: Sweet, fruity barleywine flavors accented by a dark, almost chocolately note. Hints of amaretto on the finish, which gets stronger as it warms up. This is gorgeous.

Mouthfeel: Sticky, lower carb. Thick and sugary. Very nice.

Overall: A very, very nice barleywine that has a few stout notes to it. The almond, amaretto notes make this a memorable and unique barleywine. Great job, and I was thrilled to get this tick.

Aug 01, 2014
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PHBoiler from Illinois

4.46/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really warm and sweet nose on this deep amber/brown body with minimal carb. The brandy really gives a warm booziness on the nose and on the tongue. This is a really nice malty barleywine that essentially acts as a vessel for the brandy. It looks a little thin and I'd say that the mouthfeel is true to that for such a big boozy barleywine. It almost made it a bit easier to drink though and added a slickness. Very tasty dessert beer.

Jun 30, 2014
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3.86/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Murky ruby brown body. A few bubbles in the collar make up the head with a few surface wisps.

Smell - Apple sweetness. Brandy and vanilla. Caramel.

Taste - A little more dynamic. Lots of vanilla and caramel. Apple brandy is more subtle. Dry and astringent finish with apple sweetness lingering.

Mouthfeel - Very sweet, but still manages to dry out and leave oak in the back. Medium heavy body.

Overall - A dramatic improvement over Church on a Hill, but Cognac Church is still the revelation of the bunch.

Jun 15, 2014
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jlindros from Massachusetts

4.39/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Another cracked at the CCB bottle share night, thanks to rudzud.

Light fizzy head, dark murky brown color.

Nose fruity candy, lots of candy brandy, caramel, toffee, little nutty, candy syrup,

Taste semi sweet candy, toffee, caramel, candy syrup, little brandy, barrel notes, fruity, little booze, etc. Nice beer.

Mouth med to fuller bod syrupy.

Apr 04, 2014
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rudzud from Massachusetts

4.39/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received in a trade..

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice thin halo and left lacing.

S - Aromas of lats of candy, brandy, chocolate, very nice.

T - Taste is light brandy, good malts, caramel, toffee.

M - Mouthfeel is really smooth and creamy.

O - Overall this beer was mighty tasty, super smooth.

Apr 02, 2014
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homebrew311 from Illinois

4.38/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep caramel brownish color with minimal head and heavy visual weight. The nose is strong with caramel and raisin coming first.The apple brandy influence brings on heavy green apple notes which support the caramelized malt bill. Taste starts with some brown sugar and caramel notes followed by more green apple. A bit of caramel apple notes come out and everything is surprisingly smooth and well balanced. A bit of booze at the back. Mouthfeel is thick and mildly carbonated. Overall, a delicious barleywine that is reminiscent of king Henry and bcbbw. Very good!

Mar 17, 2014
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inlimbo77 from Delaware

4.24/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml, Bottle date 9/7/12
Mini snifter

A: Murky brownish red color. Layer of light tan head. Forms a collar after a little while. Alcohol feet for days.

S: Sweet vanilla. Oak. Dark fruits malt sweetness. Oak. Some sweet Brandy barrel. Can I say Oak again :).

T: Delicious dark fruit. Sweet vanilla. That barrel character works so well. The finish is long and lingering. There is booze there, but the year of aging has done this brew nicely.

M: Big medium bodied.

Nov 18, 2013
Leon from Cigar City Brewing
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 576 ratings