Life Is Like... | Cigar City Brewing

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Life Is Like...Life Is Like...

Brewed by:
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States

Style: Milk / Sweet Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 15.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Imperial sweet stout brewed with cherries & cacao nibs & aged in bourbon barrels.

Added by MatthewPlus on 08-15-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 58 | Ratings: 621
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.21/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle pour at Woodshop 8 held at The Hermosillo in Los Angeles, CA.

Thanks to mrbubbler for sharing this one.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. No lacing on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, slight dark fruit, bourbon, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a nice balance between the base beer and the barrel aged aspect.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a really really good beer, generously shared, but im not sure it deserves a perfect score. that said, our bottle had maybe a little extra age on it, and therefore had a hint of oldness to it, but it was amazing nevertheless. the cherry part is really really dominant, authentic and sweet, which the chocolate provides some balancing bitterness and the bourbon brings it all together in a sweet vanilla laden finish. had i known it was this strong while i was drinking it, i may have paced myself a little better, which shows how well hidden this 15% abv is. you dont notice it at all. i love the dynamic between the cocoa and the fruit, and although it falls short of the stated goal of replicating biting into a chocolate from the box, i still think the overall project is a highly successful one. i get hints of licorice in the dark grain base, and even a spot of black tea for a moment. if it tasted more like a cherry cordial candy, it might have drank a little slower, but it seemed so much more organic and earthy than an artificial red waxy cherry thing with crappy booze inside. dark chocolate and wood, caramelized sugar and fresh cherry, even cola notes, its just really unique and well done. as a mikkeller fanboy, its cool to try this on another level as well, his collaborations are all so awesome. thanks as always to drlovemd87 for unearthing this rarity for our pleasure!!!

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.44/5  rDev -0.9%

Reviewed from notes. 750ml bottle shared by Richard - thanks.

A: Pours black and nearly still with a few bubbles struggling to the surface and racing to the rim without a trace of lace.

N: Dark cherries, vanilla, bourbon, oak, chocolate/cocoa.

T: Yeah, you dip the cherries in the bourbon and wrap it up in a layer of dark chocolate.

M: Moderate body and very light carbonation. Finishes decadently smooth, thick, luscious.

O: Deeply satisfying, hidden ABV but it is there nonetheless. Prepare to dream dreams.

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Photo of orangesol
4.05/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to DocJ007 for sharing this one with who cares.

A - Pours pitch black with a nice one finger tall khaki colored head, dissipating down to a light film, leaving light lace down parts of the glass.

S - Smells of strong bourbon and intense caramel malt sweetness. Cherry, chocolate and vanilla creep in as it warms up. A nice mix, maybe a touch too sweet.

T - Starts off just like the nose with the intense malt sweetness and the strong bourbon burn. Once they die down a bit of the vanilla and chocolate come in with some light hints of cherry coming in toward the end of each sip. Finish is pretty sweet with some mild heat, lingering on the palate long after the finish. I was expecting more cherry in this one, just tastes like a normal bourbon barrel stout.

M - Medium-Heavy body with moderate carbonation. Smooth feel for the most part, goes a touch watery toward the end. Not overly thick like most in the style, that said I think it needs a little more body to help it hold up all those bold flavors.

O - A nice enough stout. It has all of the flavors I look for in a bourbon barrel stout but I was expecting more cherry than I actually got. It just ended up being a regular bourbon barrel stout for the most part which is fine but not really want they were going for with this.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.1/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Jet black. Thick and viscous. Like other Cigar City stouts, it stains the glass. Not much of a head.

Smell - Bourbon, sweet caramel, dark chocolate and fudge. Cherry is bright and a little bit acidic.

Taste - Bourbon incorporates well. Some vanilla. Lots of dark chocolate and fudge. Very sweet. Cherry flavor is a bit tart and lingers in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Very thick and fudgy. Medium carbonation and boozy, especially as it warms.

Overall - I'm impressed. All the components are nice, but it's a huge beer. It gets very sweet as it warms.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.29/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle to snifter.

A - Deep ink black with a thin layer of dark mocha brown head that quickly disappeared.

S - Sweet chocolate fudge, bourbon and vanilla notes dominate. Lighter char and roast notes. No cherry coming through at all.

T - Bourbon and vanilla notes up front that immediately give way to a huge chocolate fudge presence. Char and a very light cherry tartness in the finish.

M - Full body. Sludgy/viscous. Light carbonation.

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Photo of dar482
4.93/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer comes in a thick black color with barely any head.

The aroma has huge luscious milk chocolate, vanilla, roasted malt, molasses, and then the cherries come through. The bourbon barrel notes come through too.

The flavor follows with that fudgey sweet chocolate, vanilla, molasses, and then a dark chocolate covered cherries. They are almost this overly sweet dark cherry. Alcohol is extremely well hidden.

Throughout this beer reminds me of BCBS. The sweetness, barrel character, and huge body. Not that it is like Cherry Rye, that has a different cherry character with its pop of big juicy and tart cherries. This has large chocolate and vanilla notes to keep that cherry in the back and mellowed.

This was a fantastic surprise. Absolutely loved this beer.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.03/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

750ml bottle from the 2013 vintage (though I assume this won't be made again), poured into a Darkness goblet last night, 12/7/2013.

Pours an opaque, abyssal black body, reminds me of Marshal Zhukov really in how oily and viscous this beer pours. Comes with a decent but small brown head that dissipates quickly. No lacing to be seen, a very placid beer.

Smells... well, I don't know what to think of it, really. Its a hodgepodge of bourbon, oak, cocoa, tart cherry aromas and some bitter black coffee. It's honestly not that mind blowing at all; I don't get much sweetness in the nose though that seems to come out a bit more as it warms up.

Flavour-wise, this is a strange puppy. Starts off a bit like a thick, bitter coffee espresso mixed in with some oak and some bitter black chocolate along with a lactose sweetness and perhaps bourbon sweetness. Its a bit medicinal as well. The cherries are in the background, and only add in a bit of flavour as the beer warms up. I mean, the cherries are definitely noticeable but altogether I'm not entirely sure this meshes all that well.

Typical Cigar City stout mouthfeel, nothing more needs to be said. There's just something they do to their stouts to make it so full bodied and creamy and so drinkable.

I'm not sure what the hype really was behind this beer. Its probably because of the bottle's cost and rarity. Its a good beer, don't get me wrong, but I would easily take Cherry Rye over this one.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.3/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to egrace for the share!

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: black bodied beer with medium brown head. drops to a thin ring.

Smell: bakers cocoa. bing cherry. hint of sweet bourbon. wet oak.

Taste: Lots of cocoa. Hint of bourbon sweetness. roasty malt. chicory. cherries and dark chocolates in the finish.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with low end of moderate corbonation. Smooth beer. Well hiddden abv.

Overall: This is an awesome take on the Imperial Sweet Stout! CBB really knows how to brew unique barrel aged dark beers!

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Photo of cbutova
4.45/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Last beer of an insane weekend of tasting and reviewing. My cousin Sonny shared yet another great brew. Fully reviewed to notes.

A- Alright, another insanely thick, pitch black motor oil CCB stout. The pour of their big stouts is just a signature at this point. Viscous, oily black with a dark mocha head. The head reaches a finger or so with decent retention. A small ring drops some nice legs and a few spots of lace.

S- Pretty much a fifty fifty blend of stout and the cherries. The cherry feels natural and more flesh pith than in your face, it blends into the dark roast malts quite a bit. Rich roast malts, chocolate, raisins and caramel malt sweetness beyond that.

T- As with the Hunaphus variations and Zhukov's, Cigar City somehow seems to find how to make a thicker and richer stout that has ever existed before. Decadent cocoa powder, heavily roast chocolate malts, raisins, caramel and a large sweetness. And then the cherry, it brings pith and flesh of cherries somehow feeling natural and just earthy. The barrels are a bit subdued but with time the come out more and more. Nice medium toast oak, vanilla and whiskey join the party and create a dessert of a beer.

MF- Chewy and ultra thick bodied. This brew takes on an oily texture that becomes a tiny bit creamy with agitation. Slight cherry tartness and dark bitter cocoa powder lingers on the palate with a moderate alcohol warmth.

Multi-dimensional beast. Cherry and whiskey barrels compliment another insanely large CCB base stout.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.41/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle opened on 11.20.13

A - Pours a very dark brown with a thin dark brown head that moves to the edges quickly.

S - Bourbon, chocolate, cherry.

T - Nice bourbon, then sweet chocolate covered cherries, very nice.

D - Heavy body with low carbonation.

O - Sweet chocolate covered cherries surrounded with bourbon. Very good beer.

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Photo of maximum12
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to fourbetter for this bottle, rec'd in a meth-style furtive hand-off in a cold Wells Fargo parking lot. 750ML bottle that makes me a bit perky just looking at it.

Poured expertly by my little one, this is La Brea Tar Pits black. Little if any evident carbonation. Nose is big Belgian chocolate, vanilla & bourbon, sweet malts. Don't pick up any of the cherries, but I'm sure they're only a taste away.

If Like is Like a Cigar City stout, sign me up for a couple more go-rounds, & I'll skip my snail & cow phases. Nothing comes to the fore: I can taste everything & it's all in beautiful balance, a word I normally despite. The bourbon barrels are luscious, drying, lending vanilla & an alcohol sucker punch. Sweet malts lend the beer that trademark CC stout thickness, like 7% of the liquid stays behind from each sip to coat everything it touches (are my teeth black?). Chocolate in the nose is less distinct in the taste, but twined with a stronger cherry zing. A beer where the lack of bubbles doesn't hurt it at all: I could drink this out of a fishbowl. Please?

I expected this to be excellent & I am not disappoint. This kicks very shapely ass, & it's within a gentle lick of being a top-shelf brew.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.55/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Last bottle in town. Yay! Pours deep dark black with a small dark brown head. Aroma of fudge, fudge, fudge, some light licorice, vanilla. Smells so freakin’ rich. No cherry to start on the nose. Thick rich mouthfeel with medium carbonation. Flavor is sweet rich chocolate, tart cherry, vanilla, and finishing with a fudge bourbon left on the palate. Just a hint of alcohol burn. Not as much barrel as I was hoping. Definite dessert beer...guess I should have opened with a friend. Oh well. Not sure if I dig the cherry, as it adds an over the top sweet to this. Something to be enjoyed in smaller quantities. Gonna be a long night. 2 days later: only had a small glass fist night then let this sit in the fridge with a wine stopper for a couple days. Came back to it and while still crazy sweet, seems less so this time and a little creamier with lower carb. Still not keen on the cherry but a slight uptick and more vanilla today.

Yeah I'm just that guy that doesn't dig this. Wish I would have traded it for the crazy crap people offered up on the trade forums.

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Photo of mportnoy
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Stunning. As good as it gets.

Amazing complexity and structure. Perfect balance between cherry, chocolate, and bourbon as it moves across your mouth. No artificial sweetness and not syrupy at all. Finish is dry baker's chocolate.

Easily the best milk / sweet stout that I have ever had.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.34/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got this one from 7clutch in a recent box, as well as one from hotpipes a while back. Dboon also tried to hook me up but it busted in transit. Of all the beers to bust in transit… Cheers everyone!

From a 750 into a snifter
Collaboration with Mikkeller
Imperial sweet stout brewed with cherries and cacao nibs and aged in bourbon barrels

APPEARANCE: Pours out sludgy black but not quite as black as some others they’ve done. Still, this is completely menacing. Yields a one finger, medium looking, slightly fizzy, tan head that quickly fades to a swirly wisp and ring. Head is not as dark as some of their other brews, but still darker than 90% of others in the style. Head could use a little more staying power as well. Jet black body with no carbonation evident. A ring remains until the end but leaves no lacing down the glass. Blacker, thicker and more menacing than the vast majority of its competition, but not one-hundred percent up to CCB standards.

SMELL: Dark cherries, pure dark chocolate, bourbon, oak, sweet wood, vanilla and sweet cream on the nose. This is very bold and enticing. The cacao works really nicely with the fruit and barrels, with a bit of roasted malt and roasted coffee underneath. Wonderfully wicked. Lives up to the billing here.

TASTE: Big flavors and rather boozy as well, but that’s to be expected given the 15% abv. Cherries initially for sure, with bourbon, oak, some sweet dark fruits and alcohol at the swallow. Big and lingering finish of more cherries, bourbon, sweet wood, vanilla and sweet cream, hints of coconut show up eventually and some pure dark chocolate adds a touch of bitterness. A good dose of alcohol contributes a bit of warming spices as well. This is very flavorful and complex, with the cherries certainly taking a leading role here. The chocolate is a bit outdone by the sweet cherries and barrels though, which is a little off-balance perhaps. Not quite as wonderful as the nose had shown; still, this is a decadent brew all around.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Not overly creamy per se, a bit prickly on the palate and a touch lighter than hoped, goes down fine with a bit of a burn at the swallow and finishes rather sticky and silky. Some heat lingers on the palate. Good, but not as big, thick, creamy and menacing as some of the others in their repertoire.

OVERALL: This is a standup brew for sure. It’s big, bold, complex, interesting, and very enjoyable. That said, while it is certainly a delight for the senses, it is unfortunately a small step down from their usual stout brilliance. It’s a touch lighter in color, which, since it’s still more brutal than 90% of its competitors, is a minor issue, and the feel is not as thick and heavy as other stout beer they’ve done in the past. Moreover, the cherries outplay the chocolate and barrel flavors just a touch, and it is a couple % higher than it really needs to be. Nevertheless, this is another fantastic stout by CCB and I understand why so many people would love to give this a try. The label says this is an attempt at re-creating the sensation of biting into a chocolate covered cherry candy, and I think they’ve done a very good job. I’m certainly glad I finally got the chance to drink some of this beauty as well. Thanks again for the bottles guys. Much appreciated.

EDIT: Tried another one of these on 22 December 2015 and it was great. The heat has really died off and the flavors have melded really well. Definitely a beauty.

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Photo of M_chav
4.46/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hidden alcohol at 15% is pretty damn amazing, all thick chocolate covered fruit - I was in the minority of the tasting group when I said it was a bit too sweet for me. Probably just a preference thing but this was damn good. Awesome bourbon notes throughout the aromas and taste - definitely one to savor.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.34/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to injuredreserve for sharing!

Pours black as night, with a dark brown head. Aroma wafts of cherries, dark chocolate, roast, coffee, fruits, bourbon and vanilla. Tastes cherry forward, with accompanying bourbon to calm down the sweetness of the cherry and stark dark chocolate. Feel is thick and chewy, rich and full bodied. Drinks great, can't really get the alcohol at all. Great stuff!

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.58/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 750 mL bottle into a Peg's snifter.

A: Black and opaque, with a thin tan head that fades rapidly to a foamy ring around the glass. Has some oily lacing on the sides of the glass, and essentially no visible carbonation.

S: Cacao, a moderate boozy bourbon, dark fruits, and vanilla oaky wood.

T: Chocolate, boozy bourbon, dark fruits, a bit of cherry, roasted malts, and wood with the accompanying vanilla tannins. The cherry flavor does increase as the warms, but it's not a big cherry flavor here. Sweet with some bourbon burn in the hang.

M: Thick body, alcohol presence is obvious but it not over-the-top hot, and low carbonation sensation. Sticky, chewy mouthfeel.

O: This was really tasty. A few complaints - it's maybe still a little hot, and while there are nice fruit flavors here, I didn't get a bunch of obvious cherry flavor. And while I'll put a bottle away to see if the booze calms down a bit, I'm concerned the cherry may fall out as well. Still, really really good.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.19/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours pitch black with some dark brown head which retains very little. Nose starts with considerable amount of tart cherry character which is then joined by notes of leather, cocoa, oak, tobacco, and vanilla. The taste starts with heavy chocolate nots and quickly is taken over by a strong tart whiskey soaked cherries. Th finish is a bit sweet and has a touch of booze. Mouthfeel is thick and luxurious. Overall, a nice dessert beer with huge flavors.

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Photo of Danny1217
4.58/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle into a snifter. Shared with a couple of my favorite people.

Pours jet black with basically no head, but what can you expect from such a thick, high ABV beer? Not much lacing either. Giving the appearance a 4 is a stretch, but this thick, black look gets me excited for what I'm about to drink.

The smell has a big punch of bourbon and oak at the front. Lots of vanilla from the oak and some chocolate. Not too much cherries in the smell, but some vaguely fruity smells. Some of the typical roasted flavors from the dark malts. Very complex.

The taste is surprisingly mellow on the bourbon and oak, but it's definitely there. The flavor at the forefront here is the chocolate. It really does taste like biting into a piece of decadent dark chocolate. The cherry is in the background here as well, but is noticeable. Quite sweet (but balanced by the myriad of flavors and intense dark malt character). This is a dessert beer if there ever was one. The body of this beer is intensely thick and carbonation is medium low.

My first experience with barrel aged CCB brews, and an amazing one. One of the best stouts I have ever had and a highly enjoyable experience.

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Photo of doremite
4.43/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Tasted like the piece of chocolate from the holiday box with a cherry center. Not necessarily my cup of tea but uncanny how similar the flavor is and in general how much flavor this beer brings.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.39/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours oily black with a creamy brown head that leaves decent lacing throughout. The aroma is loaded with luscious, lightly tangy cherries and thick chocolate that follow up with figs, molasses, malt and vanilla. Those aromatic qualities are then followed up by a sweet flavor with some more chocolate, cherries, malt sugar, and mild alcohol. Full bodied with good carbonation. This is a very good lightly chewy beer that exhibits modest warmth, rich chocolate, ripe cherries - indulgent and decadent, yet still well balanced!

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Photo of AndyEdgar
3.87/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Kind of disappointed. Got olive juice and briney notes out of this. Not sure on how it was stored, so would like to try another to see if it lives up to the hype on the second go-round

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Photo of Mikeypnh
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Small mocha ring around the glass, not much of a head. Very black. Smell is nice, although the cherries aren't coming through as much. Chocolate, coffe, bourbon. Taste is super Chocolatey up front. Finishes with slight coffe, bourbon, ad cherry skin. The cherry Isn't very tart, which is good, slightly sweet. It's not bitter and everything comes together very well. Cherry comes through very nice on the after tastes. Medium bodied, not a great deal of carbonation but it's perfect for this. Very smooth, and a great beer. I absolutely love the chocolate cherry aftertaste.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.61/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle acquired through the El Catador club. 20.00. Bottled 8/13/13. Served in a Terrapin snifter.

Pours oil black with a quarter finger thick brown head that slowly fades to a thin halo without leaving any lace.

Enticing aromas of sweet bourbon, cherries and chocolate. Yum!

Taste follows the nose. Like a syrupy sweet chocolate covered bourbon soaked cherry bomb. Bing cherry, bourbon, dark chocolate, vanilla tinged oak, plums, creamed coffee with a little booze presence throughout. Fantastic.

Syrupy medium thick body with moderately light carbonation. Lingering boozy sweet chocolate cherries in the aftertaste.

An outstanding stout and one of the best collaborations I've come across. No doubt in the upper 90th percentile of sweetest beers but I happen to love super sweet brews. The bourbon really plays to it's sweetness well. I'm really happy to have had an opportunity to try this. Highly recommended for fans of big sweet delicious barrel aged imperial stouts.

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Life Is Like... from Cigar City Brewing
4.48 out of 5 based on 621 ratings.
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