SLOUCH & HORDEUM TAKE ON: CIGAR CITY SEA BASS

Kick our ass, Sea Bass!

In a cynical but pragmatic attempt to get us to hang out more (albeit virtually), Mama and Papa Sixpack have been sending beer packages from sunny Florida. Shortly after our review of Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout, Cigar City reinforcements arrived in the form of Sea Bass– a complex ale from the Tampa brew masters that defies neat categorization; billed by Cigar City as a “Dark-bodied Farmhouse-style Ale”, this beer could also be described as an Imperial Dark Saison, a Dark Sour Ale, or perhaps a Dark Wild Ale. So what can we take away from this?

NOTES: Slouch’s Cave and the Hordeum Ranch (Via Skype)

STYLE: Dark Farmhouse Ale

ABV: 8%

APPEARANCE:

Slouch: Very dark and murky amber; extremely high turbidity

Hordeum: Pours  a dark reddish brown, quite turbid.

Slouch: It’s basically a lava lamp- lots of chunky sediment  floating about.

Hordeum: The sediment is strange and black; Some floating, some bottom-feeding in the snifter.

HEAD:

Slouch: Crazy beige head. Very carbonated. Oh shit! Sea Bass has breached the glassware!

Hordeum: Party foul! I would hate to shake this thing and see what happens. I poured as slowly as I possibly could, and got three fingers of head. Then again, I poured it into a Cigar City snifter, so maybe that is the key.

Slouch: I was clearly too aggressive with the pour, but I’m taken aback at the carbonization… I’ve got 3 fingers of beer and about 7 fingers of head. Any more of the fluffy stuff and I’d have to start using toes.

LACING:

Hordeum: Once the head finally dissapates, it really leaves nothing.

Slouch: Agreed- despite the massive initial foam we’re missing the “Belgian Lace”  one might expect to find in a Saison/ Farmhouse. Just slight flecking here and there.

NOSE:

Slouch: Hey-oh! This is potent stuff- I’m thinking you could waft this under the nostrils of a concussed footballer to decent effect. Notes of Balsamic vinaigrette, maple syrup and brown sugar.

Hordeum: I was going to say vinegar as well, but adding balsamic sounds fancy. I can’t put my finger on the other smells, but I kind of want to marinate some meat in it. This should have gone into a cooking conundrum.

TASTE:

Hordeum: I think it’s going to be weird.

Slouch: I think you’re right… wow, extremely sour, lactic. Distinctly vinegar flavor as implied by the nose.

Hordeum: Mom told me she bought it because she liked the fish on the bottle.

Slouch: A classic misstep first noted in The Art of War: “He who chooses his beer by moniker and label risks his money, his palate, and his pride.” (Also known in some circles as “The Skullsplitter Zugzwang”).

Hordeum: Careful, if we come down too hard on her she won’t send anymore.

Slouch: Dried cherries, Dr. Pepper? Currants. Watermelon Jolly Ranchers. I’m clearly reaching here.

Hordeum: Ok, just started eating dinner (T-bone cooked rare by the fabulous Lady Jay, and some side dishes I’m ignoring because I’m a bad person), and I’m really coming around on this beer. I get more of the cherry, and less of the acid with the food. It cuts through the grease like a knife.

Slouch: Belgian yeast starting to come through as the beer warms. Maybe I served it too cold.

Hordeum: This post has gone waaaaaaay to long without mentioning a horse blanket.

Slouch: Reminding me of an uber-tart lambic. This beer is sour, folks. Wishing I had a steak… or at the very least a Bloomin’ Onion.

MOUTHFEEL:

Hordeum: A ton of carbonation. Medium body. A lot of warming booze in the aftertaste.

Slouch: Too much booze coming through on this one, especially at 8% ABV. A little tingle of hops on the finish, but to say this beer is balanced would be factually incorrect. I can’t even pick out the toasted malts. If I was blindfolded no way I’d be able to guess the color of this beer.

DRINKABILITY:

Slouch: Very low.

Hordeum: I am actually enjoying this now with food. It was not good before, now I like it. Maybe there is something to this “pairing food with beer” thing. Or maybe its supposed to be the other way around. The point is, you want to eat this with something fatty. Also, this should come in smaller bottles. I would recommend serving the bomber to about 6 people.
Slouch: Of course 6 people = roughly 1.5 Aleheads.

RATING:

Slouch: Even as a Cigar City fanboy, having a hard time talking myself into this beer. Help me out.

Hordeum: I’ve never had anything like it; food (steaks) helps a ton. Barbecue conundra… plus the sour and tart side dishes that go with BBQ.

Slouch: This thing would make the base of a really solid marinade. Just make sure you drink the bloody beer after taking out the steaks.

Hordeum: This is the first beer that Aleheads will give two ratings in one tasting. Alone, we award 2.5 Hops. This beer is difficult and unapproachable, and not for the faint of heart. If you gave it to a teenager, they would never want to drink again (keep this in mind, parents). Kind of like how mom and dad gave us 7up when we were little, and it completely turned us off of pop, which we deemed “gross.” That said, this beer is now without its merits.With steak, I award three hops. The acid bite and tart cherries compliment a delicious cut of grilled meat. However, I shudder at the thought of polishing off the rest of the bottle.

Slouch: Well send a shudder my way, Hordeum. I’ve no steak or Aleheads to help me finish this badboy, but I’m damned if any Cigar City brew goes to waste on my watch. Say your prayers, Sea Bass.

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7 comments

  1. I kind of like this dual tasting note model. Sounds like a challenging brew though.

  2. Mama Sixpack · · Reply

    That would be your father that liked the label!!!!

  3. Slouch, I can’t believe you cut Lady Jay’s Icthyology bits. Lame!

  4. spencer · · Reply

    i actually really enjoy this beer. they were serving a red wine barrel aged version of it at hunahpu day and it was delicious.

  5. Captain · · Reply

    I’m so confused by these fabulous beers coming out of my birth state. I’ve still had nothing from Cigar city. This year I went to Hawaii instead of requisite visit to the folks, but next year, I’m going head over on the beeline for a brewery tour.

  6. Mama- it was inarguably a snazzy label. Keep them coming…

    Hordeum- Please apologize to Lady Jay, I just felt like our site relies to much on Icthyology humor.

    Spencer- I was thinking some barrel aging is just wheat this thing needs… I heard the wine barrel one is awesome. Can’t believe you got down there for Hunahpu day, lucky bastard.

    Captain- I might be able to get you some CC in the near future.

  7. […] Hordeum: This is a lot better than the Seabass… […]

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