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Winter Woods - Cisco Brewers Inc.

Not Rated.
Winter WoodsWinter Woods

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

74 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 74
Reviews: 37
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 16.36%
Wants: 15
Gots: 28 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Cisco Brewers Inc. visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Flemish Braggot Smoke Spice Oak: Lambic critters, French oak barrels. Pinot Noir grapes. Mulling spices. 1000 lbs raw local honey. Cherrywood smoked malt.

(Beer added by: woosterbill on 01-12-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 74 | Reviews: 37 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Pahn:
Photo of Pahn
4.43/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

750ml bottle into Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Careful pour yields a two inch, rocky offwhite head that dissipates steadily leaving a couple ridges of lacing. Pours a dark, hazy ruby and occasionally leaves thin, spread out lacing islands.

Smell: After loudly popping off the cork, I can smell notes of tangy Brettanomyces, red wine, and some mild acetic acid without any need to put my nose near the bottle. The smell is the same in the glass, but spicier and fruitier. Unfortunately, while the smell remains a beautiful mix of Brett, Pinot noir grapes, and mild spices, it gets overall a bit fainter with time.

Taste: Malty up front, slightly sour, with lots of Brett funk through the middle and into the smooth red wine and oak finish. Very nice. The spices from the smell are more slight accents here than prominent notes. Semi dry and puckering finish smooths out into a soft, vanilla cake-like French oak aftertaste (I have a real weakness for that flavor in a wild ale).

The somewhat smokey, chocolaty malt stays prominent throughout, and works really well with strong Brett and Pinot noir flavors. 9%ABV is on the high for a wild ale, but there's no solvent flavors getting in the way. In fact, as I get deeper into the bottle, the mild boozy influence in the finish serves only to augment the existing flavors.

The only factors really keeping this beer from a 5.0 are the bitterness that usually helps but occasionally detracts from the flavor, and the somewhat limited complexity. It doesn't want for being interesting or engaging, but it's not particularly complex; bold tangy funk, bold but not really multi-note Pinot noir grapes, decent sourness, solid malt backbone, light spiciness, great French oak influence. Good flavors that you don't get to experience together every day, but not that complex. Not much of a complaint, but there you go.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Dryish, somewhat sticky and puckering finish doesn't always work well with the bitterness of the beer. Pleasantly high carbonation.

Overall: I buy a beer like this because I'm interested in the results of ingenious experimentation with different ingredients and barrel aging. This is the kind of beer that affirms that practice. Braggot with Brett, Pinot noir grapes, and mulling spices? What? But the result is a beer as satisfyingly delicious as it is intriguing.

Cisco's Woods series is, in my opinion, one of the current high points in craft brewing in the northeast United States (where I happen to live). This particular beer hits notes that I happen to be especially fond of (Pinot noir, tangy but not dirty Brett, large French oak influence), but it's also an innovative, well-crafted beer. I hope Cisco makes more of it, and more beers like it.

Pahn, Mar 29, 2011
More User Reviews:
Photo of LiquorsInc
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

LiquorsInc, Jan 02, 2013
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Sammy, Jul 22, 2013
Photo of jh1982
3/5  rDev -20.8%

jh1982, Feb 26, 2012
Photo of augustgarage
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Caged-and-corked 750mL bottle courtesy of ShogoKawada (thanks!) - poured into my De Dolle Oerbier wide-mouth tulip.

Pale sangria liquid, clear with carnelian highlights. A tall creamy (cream/pale vanilla colored) head recedes to a thick finger with a large sticky paw of foam reaching out against one side. Large three dimensional bubbles for a latticework of lacing.

Red wine vinegar, wild yeast, cherry pits, and a deep malt note in the nose.

Tart, tannic palate entry with a puckering over-steeped-tea-like quality coming on rapidly. Very low bitterness, hops undetectable. Slight vanilla and smoke in the finish along with a parade of berries, melon, and other fruit. The malt, wood, and vinegar notes bring to mind an Oud bruin at times, but there is a spicy undercurrent and a lambic-like funk that defy style conventions. Excellent flavor profile.

Creamy, lightly effervescent, moderately astringent, with well hidden ABV.

Highly drinkable and expertly crafted - after reviewing, I took some time to look up the brewing process which was enlightening (you can pick out most of the flavors that each step of brewing and blending imparts).

augustgarage, Feb 26, 2011
Photo of gdkersey
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a pain to open - cork was covered in sticky, yeasty beer so it was stuck in the bottle. I was worried it would be flat as there was no real pop, not the case though.

A - deep red to brown color, slight hazy. has a light tan head with big bubbles; appears to be pretty strongly carbonated

S - delicious funk, lots of wood, cherries, strong sherry-like smell, little bit of bubblegum

T - big, juicy fruitiness (lots of cherry), followed by a significant tartness that lingers well after the drink is finished. finishes sweet, but not close to the level of a Duchesse De Bourgogne (slightly reminded of this)

M - pretty high carbonation, but works very well with the sourness.

Overall an awesome New England sour ale - doesn't have the vibrance of something like Consecration, but definitely a great beer.

gdkersey, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of SpeedwayJim
2.53/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to BlessedBeBeer for this one. 750ml corked and caged bottle. Shared with schen9303 Out of a Cigar City snifter.

Pours a frothy 1 finger light brown head with great retention. Beer is a clear, dark purple. Great color. Lacing is patchy and thick with great cling. Definitely one of the better looking AWAs out there.

Nose is sharp grape tartness with hints of wood, cinnamon, and other floral and pungent spices. Not conventionally tart with the spices being a touch too prominent here. Interesting though.

Opens sweet and tart grape. Various spices completely overwhelm my palate. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be getting here. Its sweet, sour, and even a bit salty. Very dry towards the middle and puckering. End is grape and virgin wood. Finishes tart, spicy, and peppery with a peppery tart finish. I don't get this one at all.

Light bodied with ample carbonation. Dry in the mouth and foamy going down. Finish is dry with a lingering, saliva-sucking aftertaste. Appropriate.

This beer is decent on all levels except the taste. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be getting with all the woodiness, fruit, and weird spices mixed together but I don't like it. And I'm sure age on this one won't change my mind.

SpeedwayJim, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of Cnorrisl
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Cnorrisl, Aug 24, 2012
Photo of cjacobsen
2.65/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to sweemzander for pouring this one.

(A) Pours a dark red with ruby, maroon, and brown. There's a big head on this one.

(S) A lot of funk and sourness. Yeasty with oak and wood. It's really kind of weird.

(T) The oak really comes out in the flavor. There's a defined funk but still has an odd flavor to it. Some odd spices in there as well. Not sure what to think of this one.

(M) Not nearly as carbonated tasting as expected. It almost has no body to it which kind of makes it smooth and oily.

(O) It was only after we had this that we looked up the actual brewer's description of it. It makes sense. The bacteria in the French oak lend a different aroma and flavor to the beer. Still put, this is an odd one.

cjacobsen, Sep 14, 2011
Photo of Gonzoillini
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Gonzoillini, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of thagr81us
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to LarryG for sending me this one in a past trade! Shared during a recent tasting! Gusher!!! Served bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured ruby red with a three finger off-white head that subsided to half a finger slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, wood, fruit, sweet alcohol, and earth. The flavor was of sweet malt, cherry, earth, wood, sweet alcohol, and funk. It had a light feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was a fairly decent brew. The flavor on this one really let me down unfortunately. All of the right aspects were there, but they just didn’t have the right intensity level to make this one enjoyable. Really wish more of the cherry would have come through, but still decent though.

thagr81us, Mar 30, 2012
Photo of Kinsman
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this at Julio's today. It's too bad that don't send these up to NH with the regular lineup.

Dark ruby colored body with a slight haze and a nice looking frothy and creamy/sticky tan colored head which fades slowly.

Aroma is upfront with a fruity (apples) and juicy sweetness which is followed by a sour cherry tartness with some spice qualities too but not much else.

First sip brings up a lot more complexity than the aroma had suggested. Juicy fruit characters with a bit of a cider-like quality before the sourness comes a long. Notes of cherry and vinegar but still tasty. Mulling spices with the wine barrels aging seem to give it some similarities to a mulled wine but without the cloying sweetness. Finishes with a slight yeasty funk that seems to become more pronounced as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel is smooth and fairly dry but doesn't quite come across with the crisp finish that you often find in sours.

Overall, this is my first beer from the Cisco Woods series and I think they've got a good thing going here. Not overly priced for this style either and quite enjoyable.

Kinsman, Mar 01, 2011
Photo of cfrobrew
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

cfrobrew, Feb 14, 2013
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dark reddish color ale with a relatively large foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma of tart notes with some oak and sour cherries notes also noticeable. Taste is close to most Flanders Red with some vinous notes with some oak and tart cherries with limited acidity level. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well done and probably a good idea to add some honey to cut down on the acidity.

Phyl21ca, Oct 15, 2012
Photo of angrybabboon
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 4/28/12

Appearance: An interesting color, brown with shades of purple, orange around the edges - hazy, cloudy - bubbly off-white head, leaves little spots of lacing - eventually fades to nothing

Smell: So many things going on here - light fruits, oak, and some funk - lots of spices, with a ton of cinnamon - some typical Cisco Woods funk (reminds me of Chap Stick) - some dry sugar and some honey - some tartness - some pale and slightly caramel malts serve as a base

Taste: Perhaps even more complex than the aroma - not exactly a ton of depth, but a ton of different flavors here - slightly sour, tart, and a little juicy - light fruits with a touch of dark fruits - something akin to peaches, as well as some tart cherries and dark fruit skins (grapes?) - some sweetness, fruity and malty - some dry honey - decent malt base - French oak tastes more like straight-up oak to me, which is good

Mouthfeel: Medium to somewhat full body, sticky, adequately carbonated

Overall: Perhaps even more interesting than I expected

In general, Cisco Woods beers are great. This is no exception. Based on the beer's description, it's as if Cisco decided to just throw a bunch of ingredients into barrels to see what would happen. The result is a nice mix of sour, tart, honey, spices, and fruits.

angrybabboon, Apr 28, 2012
Photo of tzieser
5/5  rDev +31.9%

tzieser, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of liamt07
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

liamt07, Jul 22, 2013
Photo of Arenbeer
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml Bottle into a Tulip Glass

Poured at Cellar Temp around 55 degrees. To warm? We'll See

A- Pours dark blood red in color with a nice bubbly 1 finger off white head that fizz's out pretty quickly to leave a nice layer on the top.

S- Oak and wood up front with plenty of funk, vinegar, and sourness to follow. Digging deeper you get really nice sweet dark cherry notes and a slight alcohol presence.

T- What!? The smell didn't prepare me for this. Super strong band-aid, medicinal, and funk flavors up front that are almost smokey??? Strong cherry, vinegar, and almost apple cider like flavors. A solid oak and wood presence there as well that's mixed with some slight vanilla.

M- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a nice sour tart finish.

Overall this is a pretty decent brew. Definitely not at all what I was expecting and definitely took me by surprise. Could use a little more sourness on the tongue and less medicinal.

SkÅL!

Arenbeer, Mar 28, 2011
Photo of dwarvenstout
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle at Bauer Wine & Spirits in Boston last time I was out there. Beer guy was great- pulled this beer from a personal box.

A: Cloudy red-brown. Hissed when opening the bottle, but very little head.

S: Oak, tart cherry, slight acetic sour notes along with tart fruit. Fair amount of brett funk after a year or more of aging. Some peppery smoke in the background.

T: Big sour up front takes a couple sips to get past. Smoky malt comes through without overwhelming. Tart stone fruit midpalate- cherries and plums. Some strawlike Brettish character. Slight brown sugar sweetness before a lingering oaky finish.

M: Puckering sourness fades into oaky tannins. Very light carbonation gives the beer just enough life to be palatable- would prefer a little more.

O: Not the best in the Woods series (I preferred Pechish, but haven't had the newest ones), but I liked this beer quite a bit. Expected more funk for a beer this long in the bottle, but what I got was more appropriate to the beer than my expectations. Sour and smoke is a hard combo to pull off, but this beer did a good job of it.

dwarvenstout, Feb 20, 2013
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap 1/11/2010 at Julian's in Providence, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark color, with a large dense off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a very thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains sour cherries, Belgian yeast, caramelized malts, some spices and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out very sour up front with flavors of tart cherries and mild spices. Then some very mild flavors of Belgian yeast and caramel come in. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and brings a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly sour.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good blend of styles with the emphasis clearly on the Flemish Red Ale, this a good sour beer to drink for a while.

TheManiacalOne, Jan 12, 2011
Photo of kfsv034
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - pour mahogany red with a huge white head that took a few minutes to subdue enough for me to not be drinking foam.

S - funky, sour cherries and some fait sweetness probably from the honey.

T - sour cherries up from, some mild sweetness, lots of spicey notes and some oaky dryness on the back end that definitely linger in the mouth.

M - Medium bodied, and very smooth really like it.

D - An interesting brew drank the whole bottle by myself and it was certainly enough.

kfsv034, Feb 17, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Pours a dark brown color with a bit of a reddish tint. Off white head with some moderate lacing. The nose brings forward quite a bit of sourness along with some nice cherry character as well as a bit of spice. The flavor doesn't meld completely as the spice and the fruit never fit together all that well. A slight barrel character is there as well. Medium body and slightly sour with a dry finish. Bit of mild earth lingers throughout. Pretty good, though not as good as others I've had from them.

Thorpe429, Mar 15, 2011
Photo of chrispoint
3/5  rDev -20.8%

chrispoint, Feb 18, 2012
Photo of crusian
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Douglasjamjak, thanks man...

Pours a really nice dark brown/black with a two finger head. A quick swirl brings nice crimson flashes to the glass, quite amazing...The aroma flows to my nostrils from feet away. A lot of tart cherry on the nose, along with some cinnamon. A bit of whipped cream smell in there too.
Taste has a lot of tart cherry with some porter flavors on the back end. Nice dark malt flavors, roastey... a bit of a burnt flavor on the finish. The darker sours are typically not done very well, dark woods included, but this is much better than the dark woods.
This is still not as good as their lighter sours, the cherry, lady or the monomony, but not bad for a dark one. Overall a decent winter sour... a good attempt to try and make a dark sour for the winter season.
Wow, just noticed this is 9%... awesome...can't believe it. I like that this is higher abv. I subtly feel like I am being cheated with the 4% sours.

crusian, Mar 05, 2011
Photo of sweemzander
2.68/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750mL corked and caged bottle poured into a taster glass. I believe thanks go to AleLuvinRuskie for the bottle!

(A)- Pours a hazy mahogany amber color. A nice tan frothy head.

(S)- Tons of funky murky Brett; almost minty. Lots of spicy oak tartness.

(T)- Spicy and oaky. Bits of tartness and Brett funk. Some malt in there.

(M)- A Bit higher carbonation level than normal. A different combination of flavors and funky spices that I do not think is for the better overall.

(D)- Very unique and spicy, but in a very muddy overpowering sort of way. Reminds me of the JP Collababeire beer alot. . . not necessarily a good thing though.

sweemzander, Sep 10, 2011
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Winter Woods from Cisco Brewers Inc.
85 out of 100 based on 74 ratings.