Beer/Cigar Reviews: Stone Xocovesa, Toraño Vault TM-027 and Alec Bradley American Sun Grown

Welcome to another edition of my beer and cigar reviews where we take a look at some notable (and some not-so-notable!) beers and cigars. I’ve got an interesting lineup for you tonight so let’s get right into it starting with tonight’s beer selection:

Stone Xocovesa

This beer is an Imperial Chocolate Stout hailing from Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, California. It weighs in at 8.1% ABV and 51 IBU with an unspecified gravity rating.

Had on tap from Flying Saucer in Garland, Texas. Pours a pitch black with a tan head that retains and laces the glass. Big nose of coffee, roasted malt, chocolate and dark fruit. Flavors follow the palate almost exactly: semi-sweet dark chocolate, roasted malt, a hint of caramel, a hint of dark fruit and anise in there followed by a big semi-bitter espresso finish. Alcohol well hidden. Thick in body and medium in carbonation, this one drinks easily but is a definite sipper.

Bold and balanced but won’t weigh you down. Another solid offering from a perennial favorite brewery. Rating: 4.25/5.

And now for today’s cigar reviews:

Toraño Vault TM-027

This 5″ x 50RG Robusto vitola features a Mexican San Andreas Maduro wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and long fillers.

The first light revealed a rather firm draw but producing ample smoke output. Medium/full bodied earthy smoke with a substantial pepper kick on the back end and a hint of wood on the retrohale.

Getting into the first third the smoke mellows somewhat to a medium body and the flavors get more complex. The core is still earthy but a rich semi-sweet cocoa and medium roast coffee enter the mix. The pepper and wood are still present on the nose but not as biting as the first light. There’s also a slight metallic zing on the finish. Entering the 2nd third the draw opens up to perfection and the smoke gets really creamy as the cocoa comes more to the forefront – at this point it’s pretty much the prototypical San Andreas Maduro experience. The last third is dominated by flavors of coffee and nuts while the pepper, wood and earthiness drop out completely. The smoke started going hot at 50 minutes and the strength matches the body at a medium.

Good construction with an almost razor-sharp burn. Ash holds on about a third at a time.

Overall a very solid cigar and one I would smoke again and especially at the price point (about $5.50/stick online). Would go well with a smooth Jamaican rum. Rating: 4.25/5.

Alec Bradley American Sun Grown

This cigar from Alec Bradley is a Nicaraguan puro. The size reviewed is the 5″ x 50RG Robusto vitola. Admittedly this one was a freebie I wasn’t excited about (I’ve not been a fan of AB in the past) but I was willing to smoke it.

The first light revealed a pretty snug draw but producing plentiful thick medium/full bodied smoke. The draw flavor is a rich milk chocolate while the finish and retrohale feature an aromatic cedar and a sweet nutmeg spice.

Getting into the first third the flavors are largely the same but a light roast coffee mixes in along with a tinge of black pepper on the finish. The flavors are all very smooth but very rich. The smoke mellows slightly to a medium body in the 2nd third while the coffee transitions to more of a roasted nut and a fleeting hint of caramel enters the mix. There were no further changes. I ended the cigar at 50 minutes where it went warm and brought in a subtle mild/medium nicotine strength.

Construction was very good with a only a slight wave to the burn which did require one small correction around the halfway point. Ash holds on about a third of a time.

This one surprised me for sure. Though not an AB fan I did enjoy this one. This would be a 4+ rating if the draw wasn’t tight-ish, but a tight draw is a huge pet peeve of mine so I’m rating it accordingly at 3.75/5. This one would go well with a stout beer or red wine and is also a good value for money (about the same price as the Toraño above).

And those are my reviews for today. Have you had any of today’s selections? Let me know what you thought of them!

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