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Dark Woods - Cisco Brewers Inc.

Not Rated.
Dark WoodsDark Woods

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

102 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 102
Reviews: 59
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 17.25%
Wants: 42
Gots: 16 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Cisco Brewers Inc. visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
A blend of 8 different barrel aged beers, including but not limited to our Stout, Porter, and a few seasonal beers (on the dark side of things), a majority coming from french oak barrels previously holding red wine from Cisco's Nantucket Vineyard, adding oak character. This beer is unfiltered, so some sediment is normal. It has been inoculated with brettanomyces (a wild yeast). Rich and malty with a slight tartness and a mild, intentional, "farmhouse funk" provided by the wild yeast.

(Beer added by: soccerman7 on 01-22-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 102 | Reviews: 59 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of albern
2.83/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The oakiness of the beer is quite good, but the really Bretty yeast and the vinegar flavors just slay this beer for me. I was hoping for good things, but there is just too much vinegar and Brett that just overpowers all the other good qualities. The beer looks good, with a nice brown mahogany color with a nice creamy tan head. There is good retention and some lacing with this beer. It is a touch watery. The nose is very cherryish, vinegary, and Bretty. The cherries diminish from the taste. The bourbon like oakiness and wood feel is the best quality of this beer. There is a slight maltiness in the background, and I wish it came more to the foreground on this one. I'm done with the review and with this beer.

albern, Oct 02, 2010
Photo of mothman
2.88/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into great lakes snifter.

Pours a fizzy tan head. Color is a near black.

Aroma: Cranberries, chocolate, brett, oak, and a touch of funk.

Taste: Very funky, medicinal flavors and brett. Nut like flavors. Cranberries, sour cherries, and oak. Nothing that is really sparking my attention here.

Mouthfeel: Fizzy and tart, big funk. Medium bodied with a higher amount of carbonation. Ends dry with medicinal flavors.

Overall, the aroma is good, but the taste not so much. A weird beer. Reminded me of SFTO wine. Very slow drinking.

mothman, Oct 02, 2010
Photo of glid02
4.33/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Brodie - much obliged!

Pours a hazy brownish-amber color with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of dark caramel malts with large amounts of tart cherries. Also present are hints of funk and even lighter hints of oak.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Smooth caramel malt flavors kick things off and are overtaken almost immediately by mildly tart cherry flavors and moderate amounts of funk. Midway through the sip the sweetness of the malt flavors fades a bit and the cherry flavors and funk take over. Mild amounts of oak make an appearance before carrying through to a crisp ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I enjoyed this beer slightly more than cherry woods as it had a bit more complexity however both are fine beers. Worth a shot.

glid02, Sep 28, 2010
Photo of Pencible
4.08/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a nearly opaque dark mahogany with a little tan head.
S: It smelled like brett and oak with slight smoke and coffee and bitter chocolate and cherry.
T: It tasted like leather and tobacco and brett funk, with burnt coffee and unsweetened cocoa, as well as a bit of cherry and smoke and oak. It had a very dry and bitter aftertaste with some funk.
M: It was slightly thick with lots of carbonation.
D: This was a strange and bold beer almost reminiscent of the 108 year old Bass King's Ale, with strong leather and tobacco and funky elements. It had a decent body and hid the alcohol well, so it wasn't difficult to drink. But this complex and unique brew is much better to sip. An excellent candidate for aging, I imagine.

Pencible, Sep 27, 2010
Photo of kbutler1
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pours a dark brown color with a coastered white tannish head. The taste is very odd for me. Smells like bacteen with some medicinal notes. Cranberry, oak, and Brett also some through in the nose. Funky tasting with flavor notes of the cranberry quickly followed by funk. Not bad. Light mouthfeel. Ends with a lingering funkiness.

kbutler1, Sep 27, 2010
Photo of JAXSON
2.83/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

After popping the cork on this, the beer just started spewing out like a fountain. When order was restored, there was so much slimy yeast floating around in it that I strained it through a cheese-grater as I couldn't find a sieve. When all was said and done, it appears a completely opaque black with maybe some reddish edges. Nose has retained a lot of the roastier elements from what I imagine was some kind of a stout before they bugged it. Some brett and a light cherry sort of quality. mouth is really thin, watery almost. Maybe some cherry juice and roasted malt, some pretty nice brett unfolds in the back. Such a watery texture. This is really unimpressive, which was strange because I LOVED the Monomoy Kriek.

JAXSON, Sep 22, 2010
Photo of jnn4v
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown color. Black beer with khaki lacing.

S: Cherry, brett, oak, and dark malts. Lots of savory and slightly smoky.

T: Leather, funk, very dry. Cocoa powder. Some smokiness and tobacco.

M: Lots of carbonation, but very good. Good mouthfeel.

D: Relatively drinkable. Strong wild flavors.

jnn4v, Sep 18, 2010
Photo of Wasatch
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to ybnorml for this brew.

750ml Bottle

Poured into a chalice a nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy light tan head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, yeasty, with some cherries, oak, vanilla. The taste is malty, yeasty, tangy, nice little oak note, with some sweetness thrown in. Medium body. Drinkable, a tasty brew. It's been awhile since I've had a AWA.

Wasatch, Sep 10, 2010
Photo of mdfb79
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 08/26/10 notes. Got in a trade with monsterzero and brought to a local DC tasting.

a - Pours a dark brown color with one inch of off white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of spices, cherries, dark fruit, oak, red wine, and a hint of funk, but not much.

t - Tastes same as the nose; very heavy on spices. Some cherries, oak, sour dark fruits, and fruity malts. Hint of wine, and no brett/funk.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

d - A pretty good sour, but not as good at the Cherry Woods. I didn't get much funk from it, but had some nice sour dark fruit in the smell and taste. Would try again.

mdfb79, Sep 08, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark with some slight crimson notes. A bit of off-white to tan lacing. Smells slightly acetic along with some sweet dark malts and hints of dark fruit. Slight bit of funk. Taste is similar with a bit more oak coming through. Roasted malt and sourness. Mouthfeel is good, but something is a bit off--not quite what the taste would lead me to expect. Drinkability is good. This is a unique brew, and I continue to be impressed by Cisco.

Thorpe429, Sep 05, 2010
Photo of steve8robin
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Been waiting to try this one for a while. Hope it's worth it. 22oz bottle...

A: Super pitch black with no light shining through. Like dark woods. 1 inch off white head that fades at a decent pace. Very good.

S: Smells of some cinnamon upfront with hints of earthy hop. Some banana and malt in the middle with some bubble gum on the backend. Interesting. Good.

T: Taste of some malty booze upfront with some sweet and tart cherry in the middle. Kind of like a sweet tart. This is definitely interesting. I also get some toffee and caramel flavors blended in. Good.

M: High carbonation but does not leave much on the palate. Decent.

D: Once you get past the bready tartness, this goes down decent.

All in all, this is a decent brew. Worth trying once if you have access. Otherwise, don't bother. It's good but not great.

steve8robin, Sep 04, 2010
Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.22/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

had on tap at the AMherst Brewing Company

A - wild ale? thats a surprise to me, sure looks like a porter or stout, that kind of black, with half a finger of tan head

S - big wine flavors, deep red wine tart-ness, plus some unique floral notes

T - big tannic and very red winey, tart at first, the back of the flavor is a sweet combination of vanilla and chocolate

M&D - layered masterfully, tart and challenging at first with a smooth rewarding finish, complex and alive, could be off putting to people averse to red wine/cabernet tannic qualities, great beer, must find bottles of this

sinstaineddemon, Sep 03, 2010
Photo of youbrewidrink
3.45/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

By the color you would think porter, an mahogany brown with the rich tan head.

The aroma was rich and seductive with strong oak.

The taste was way to complex, I tasted the cherry first, then the oak and a bit of the wine. Too complex for my taste buds.

The mouthfeel was very lactic and chewy.

I had all I could do to drink one, I personally did not find this all that drinkable.

youbrewidrink, Sep 02, 2010
Photo of pmlondrigan
4.43/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I first had this beer on tap and fell in love with it, all I wanted was for Cisco to bottle it, thank you Cisco! Pours with the apperance of a porter, dark blackish brown nice tan head with tight carbonation. Surprisingly a bit of lacing. Great aroma, you get oak, wine, grape, some nice earthy leathery tones, a bit of funk. The aroma is my favorit part of this beer. Taste, well malty up front with the flavor of mostly stouts and porters. Fruity and winey tannins with some nice dark roasty flavors. Reel chewy beer. Lingering finish of chocolate and wine tannins. Nice body. I really like this beer and because of that I might think it is more drinkable then it is. All I know is when I first had it on tap I sessioned it hard and loved it.

pmlondrigan, Aug 29, 2010
Photo of jrallen34
4.4/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared on a beautiful Chicago afternoon with Alex, Sean, and Mike. 750ml bottle into a Lost Abbey glass...A dark brown pour with a light tan head, carbonated, good retention and lacing...The aroma lets you know without a doubt this is a blend, you can really pull out almost all the different beers from the 8 blended. Its super complex, at one point I think too much is going on, but it balances well. Notes of red wine, vinegar, oak, vanilla...The taste is equally complex but doesn't pull it off as well as the aroma, but still pretty good. Very vinous, lots of oak, vanilla, sour but more qualities of a strong ale in the taste. The more you drink this the better it gets and more easier to drink.

A surprise in how good a blend can be, worth trying for the aroma alone.

jrallen34, Aug 28, 2010
Photo of MasterSki
4.15/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Jason for sharing this rarity. Served in a Cigar City snifter.

A - Pours with a finger of ecru foam that settles to a thin collar and leaves behind spotty lacing. Dark brown in color, and a bit lighter at the fringes.

S - Vinous, oaky, Flanders brown flavor profile, with vinegar, sour grapes, tart apple, vanilla, and some musky funk. Very nicely balanced and integrated. Alcohol is well-hidden.

T - Taste is a bit less exciting. Very woody and tannic, with a nutty brown ale backbone that's spruced up with some light funk and vinegar. Nice, but not as lively as the nose.

M - The carbonation was a bit high for my liking, even when the style was taken into consideration. It was just a bit too zesty and harsh. Light body was a bit surprising considering the 8% ABV too. Finish was very dry and tannic.

D - Surprisingly compelling, even with the slightly annoying carbonation (which went away after a few minutes anyway). I had a few pours of this one, and I'd gladly have more if it popped up at a tasting.

MasterSki, Aug 25, 2010
Photo of koopa
4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this one on tap several times at the Three Penny Tap Room and at the Black Back Pub (both in VT).

Appearance: Pours a deep russet brown with a 2 finger khaki crown that shows good retention and lace.

Smell: Nice lightly charged barrel over cherries thing going on here. Earth notes an a mild funk round it out well.

Taste: Same as the nose but it doesn't wow me as much. A bit of roast malt bitterness comes through but isn't flawless in its integration as the sourness of the cherries trumps it.

Mouthfeel: On the light side of medium bodied with good carbonation and crispness.

Drinkabilty: Not bad considering the abv but after a couple of glasses I usually want to move on.

koopa, Aug 08, 2010
Photo of Mora2000
4.33/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a very dark red color with a tan head. The aroma is tart cherries with some vanilla. The flavor is great. I get notes of chocolate, oak, tart cherries and vanilla. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

This was tried side-by-side with the Cherry Woods. Most of those in attendance liked the Cherry Woods better, but I felt this was the better beer.

Mora2000, Aug 04, 2010
Photo of portia99
4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Another bottle recently with an extremely difficult to remove cork...seems to be becoming a trend lately.

A - Pours a very dark brown color that allows almost no light thru it...I can see just well enough to see a steady stream of carbonation bubbles rising to the surface. A near constant finger of fizzy but foamy tan head sits on top of the glass.

S - A bit tart and full of fruitiness. I seem to get a mixture of various berries - strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and some cherries. A bunch of earthy and somewhat dirtlike aromas, some oak, marginal malty contribution. Not much funk...at times I think I pick up a bit of brett, other times - nothing. Really like the mixture of berries in the aroma...somewhat unique in the beer world.

T - Unlike the aroma, I pick up some dark roasted malts, some bitterness seemingly coming out of these although I wouldn't characterize at coffee-like or bitter chocolate like...a bit different, perhaps coming from the oak barrels (maybe with some char to them). Mildly tart/sour but definitely not at all puckering - just enough so you know it is there. Fruity - mostly getting cherries with some raspberry mixed in. As it warms I start to pick up a little bit of funk in the flavor...might develop more over time in the bottle. Interesting combination of flavors that works pretty well.

M - Medium in body with light to medium carbonation. Carbonation is smooth, creamy and bordering on foamy in the mouth. Beer is very dry with lots of bitter and tart flavors taking up the slack and leaving lingering flavors after the swallow.

D - Pretty interesting wild ale. My bottle says 7.7% alcohol, but I would never know it just from drinking it. Mildly tart combined with the dark roasted and woody flavors blend well and create a surprisingly refreshing combination. Bottles are a little pricey, but I think I will probably grab a couple more of these before they disappear.

portia99, Aug 01, 2010
Photo of cpetrone84
2.9/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-pours a dark brown or black ale with a nice woody brown colored head that is quite dense and creamy.

S-the nose has a huge malt backbone, roasted coffee, chocolate, caramel and toffee. a light cinnomon spice, notes of ash, faint sweetness to it with a touch of sour or brett.

T-the malt and the sourness seems a little off, the malt backbone and the brett addition combine to make something a little weird. kevin says botanical and i tend to agree, it seems a little plant like with the malt base up front and the brett behind. there is some cranberry sweetness, the oak really isn't there, a little sourness and almost no acidity.

M-smooth and creamy on the palate, medium body with very little carbonation giving it a finish that seems to fall off.

D-not fantastic, not horrible though. it is interesting i just don't know if this works together. the brett and sour is there and the malt base is pretty solid, they just don't seem to work together.

cpetrone84, Jul 29, 2010
Photo of nas5755
4.22/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

review # 2, first batch(I think the only batch). A very polarizing beer, I tend to love Cisco and I think they age horribly. I enjoy this more fresh.

A-Dark base beer, with a tan head, more retention than I would expect with a wild ale.

S- Tart cherries, sour apples. Very strong, I could smell the cherries, apples and lactic acid from the first pop of the cork. Very enjoyable, upon further inspection, some of the dark roasted malts are present.

T-Tart, sour cherries, sour apples, roasted malt, char, pine which is an interesting spice and adds a contrast not normally seen in beers, more or less wild ales. I enjoyed it, it was not overpowering and had a slight turpentine like flavor that was interesting and added depth. Again, and odd flavor profile. I enjoy it and I understand why most would not.

M- lite carbonation, thin body from the bugs, yet it has a distinct creaminess.

O- a polarizing beer, one that I enjoy. This is one of, if not my favorite Woods Series beer(fresh Lady of the Woods is amazing). Very complex, very odd. Not for everyone as the flavor profile is very all over the place.

This is a very interesting and complex beer, it is like nothing I have ever had before and the flavor profile is throwing me for a loop.

A: A very dark base with a light brown head.

S: Funk with very light lemon notes.

T: Things get interesting here. I get some funk and sourness at the end of the palate, oak, tannins, bready malt with dried fruit, some ripe fruit, a little bit of cocoa . This beer is so incredibly complex and layered that it makes it hard to narrow down the different flavors and I love the fact that my brain is lost in the sensory pleasures of this beer.

M: Medium body for a blend of so many dark beers, I was expecting something much thicker it does have a surprising chewiness that is hidden(if that is even possible). The dryness and carbonation are both excellent.

D: Such a complex beer deserves to sipped and I am doing just that. I enjoy drinking this beer and would have another with no problems.
4.5 4.0 4.5 4.0 4.0 overall 4.25 a-

nas5755, Jul 16, 2010
Photo of WesWes
4.33/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has an excellent roasted character with nice barrel notes. The sourness is tame and works well with the cranberries and Brett. It has a brown ale/porter aroma. The taste is great! Wow, what a complex, yet highly drinkable beer. It has a solid porter/stout malt bill that showcases some crystal and roasted malts. The rum barrels compliment the sweet caramel notes as well as the sour cranberry fruit. It actually seems to mellow the over sourness. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very good sour; one of the best from EBF NoTB.

WesWes, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of Lunch
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at NotB/EBF 2010 in Boston, MA into a tasting glass at the appropriate temperature (02/20/10).

A: Pours a very dark brown with some ruby hues capped with some tan foam.

S: Interesting smell where the syrah and cranberries really shine through along with some tartness. Some funk is there as well.

T: The problem that I found with this beer is not the flavor itself, but the sense that is seemed rather hollow especially concerning the middle of the palate. Tastes like a funky red wine with some sourness and a splash of cranberry. The Brett is a nice addition and is used quite well as it melds with the wood and the dryness of the barrel.

M: On the lighter side of medium-bodied with some fairly vibrant carbonation with a nice degree of tartness and a dry finish.

D: No real sense of the 6.5% abv. and the tartness is never over the top.

Overall this way certainly and interesting Wild Ale with some nice flavors going on, but I just wish it was a bit more vibrant. Recommended.

Lunch, Feb 24, 2010
Photo of jedwards
4.3/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On draft at La Laiterie.

Pours dark brown with a tall (2-finger) but texturally thin head that quickly drops, some lacing sticks to the glass. Nose is tart brett funk and slight roast coffee. Taste is absolutely perfect -- berry tartness and chocolate on the front end fading to brett funk and rich cocoa/coffee on the back. Exactly what I want from a wild porter/stout -- funky roast without harsh tannic notes. Mouthfeel takes a hit, but is much better than most dark beers that have been infected -- good body, maybe a little thin, with aggressive and bubbly carbonation. Would love to get a bottle, if there was any guarantee it would age.

Been really impressed with Cisco's wild/barrel-aged offerings of late.

jedwards, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on draft at Track 84. Served in a tulip. Poured a deep reddish brown, almost burgundy, with a quarter inch tan-colored head. Some thin strands of lacing were exposed during the tasting. Great nose - a combination of both sweet and tart cranberry, as well as cocoa and a slightly vinous character. Taste reveals cranberry, chocolate, some medicinal sourness/bitterness (reminds me of grapefruit seed extract). Mouthfeel is medium bodied and lightly carbonated with a hint of acidity that comes out around the cheeks. Really interesting, but not something I would go to on a regular basis - a little more bitter than sour; however, I really applaud Cisco for stepping up and doing some experimentation. If you can, give it a go.

Jwale73, Feb 12, 2010
Dark Woods from Cisco Brewers Inc.
84 out of 100 based on 102 ratings.