Winter Woods - Cisco Brewers Inc.

Not Rated.
Winter WoodsWinter Woods

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

79 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 79
Reviews: 38
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 16.18%
Wants: 15
Gots: 27 | 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:
Beer added by: woosterbill on 01-12-2011

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 79 | Reviews: 38
Reviews by busterthecat:
Photo of busterthecat
3.46/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

No bottle date. Had for ~1.5 months in fridge.

A- Pours a deep caramel hue. Some off-white head develops. No lacing.

S- Acetic acid (band-aid), some mellow sweet fruit with some funk and slight musk. Mild overall.

T- Sweet funky fruit with some subdued tart. The acetic flavor is still apparent. Gala apple, cranberry notes. The medicinal flavor could be reduced.

M- Medium bodied. Lingers well. Wet. Tingles the tongue a bit.

D- No alc detected. An inviting sipper. Splitting the bottle (750 mL) was enough for one sitting.

More User Reviews:
Photo of augustgarage
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
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).

Photo of gdkersey
4.09/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
2.61/5  rDev -30.8%
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.

Photo of cjacobsen
2.66/5  rDev -29.4%
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.

Photo of thagr81us
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Photo of Kinsman
3.91/5  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.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Photo of angrybabboon
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Photo of Arenbeer
3.83/5  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.


Photo of dwarvenstout
4.06/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Photo of kfsv034
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of crusian
3.76/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Photo of sweemzander
2.68/5  rDev -28.9%
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.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass.

Big thanks to KJGAGNE for this bottle!

Finally cracking this bad boy open. The description kinda weirds me out, but that's one o' the ways I likes it. It pours a hazy russet-garnet topped by plenty o' dark cream foam. The nose comprises white wine, light apricot, oak, lemon zest, blue raspberry, very light cherrywood smoke, light booze, currants, and cranberries. The taste holds notes of light vinegar, tart black cherry, lemon peel, light raspberries, sour white grapes, light honey, very light cobweb, and oak. The body is a light medium, with a moderate carbonation and a dry, sticky finish. Overall, a very nice bit o' sour-y goodness. My tongue's not good enough to pick out all of the constituent pieces and parts, but they come together to create a pretty tasty brew.

Photo of davey101
3.96/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Palm tulip after being in the fridge for about 30 minutes. I poured it a bit too aggressively and a massive foam head formed and lasted for a few minutes. I really like these Woods series labels as well, very classy and simple.

A - Dark cloudy brown with hints of red when held up to the light. A dirty and uneven foam head and lacing that lasts a long time. Its only when it sits for over ten minutes that I can begin to see the color of the beer through the head. Looks damn tasty

S - Not its greatest strength. I can smell some cherries and a slight sour vinegary funk. Theres also some spices and the vanilla from the oak aging which seems to round it all out. Pleasant, but it seems a bit weak.

T - This is a tasty beer. Starts off with a good bit of sour and cherries, and then malts and caramel come in. Finally the oak finishes it off. The smokiness and vanilla at the end seems to really compliment the cherries. Crisp mouth feel with a good bit of carbonation. This is a really nice flavor. Very refreshing, and the alcohol is hidden extremely well. Hard to believe its a 9% beer

O - I grabbed this beer on sale for a few bucks less than I've been seeing it in other stores. It was a nice example of an american wild ale, and the barrel aged flavors were a nice addition. However, it wasn't super impressive and at this price point I probably won't be grabbing another bottle anytime soon.

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.76/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a true pint, the beer is a vibrant, crystal clear, ruby coloring without a stitch of head. Aromas of fruit sweetness and tang, including cherry and raspberry, with some earthy notes and a wine-like quality. Flavors are more towards a Kriek, with bittersweet and rich cherry tartness. A sweet, somewhat floral aftertaste leads into a puckering, tart finish. Very interesting, and very flavorful. Tasty beer.

Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: honestly, a beautiful dark red that color wise, doesnt get much dare i say, prettier. in my flute, provides a thick kahki colored head. leaves a decent amount of clumpy foam on the side of the glass.
S: you can pretty much tell that their Santas beered was the base for this brew, due to the instant onslaught of spice that emenates from the glass. except now its been mingled with some sour cherries and yeast (i really couldnt get into santas beered due to the complete overkill of spice). this has been toned down and revamped to a very desireable level.
T: again the spices come through, but they are so much more manageable this time. i love how they found a way to use this base wisely. decent amount of cherry, along with some other kind of dark, murky aftertaste... not quite sure how else to explain it.
M: because of the excellent balance of flavors, it realy does feel quite nice. i havent been a fan of a whole lot of cisco beers so far, but this one hits some good marks for me.
D: if you take your time to enjoy, it ranks high. i could see how it could get troublesome after a while, but im enjoying it.

Photo of DosBeerigos
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

C: Clear On The Edges
H: Deep Redish-Brown Color
N: Acetic, Cranberries, Faint Vanilla Spice?

The beer smells like a blend of acid and cranberries. There was a faint spice that I could not put my nose one, but the more I think about it, it may have been vanilla. The flavor was similar to the nose but filled with a spice upfront that was almost a turn off for me. Once the spice mellowed out a bit the sour cranberries came in, and that made me happy.
Very interesting beer, just like most of the American Wild Ales. This is a style of beer that really is hit or miss in my opinion. Although you find more hits than misses lately. I don’t know if I would seek out this particular Woods Series again, but I will look for other beers in the same line!

Photo of Gosox8787
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 750 mL corked and caged bottle. Split with a friend and poured into two Sierra Nevada snifter glasses.

Appearance: Dark brown in color. Ample carbonation. A beige head with not much retention.

Aroma: Some tart cherries, oak, vanilla, and caramel. Some earth and barnyard funk notes in there as well. Really interesting and unique.

Taste: A quick surge of tart cherries upfront. Vanilla and oak are also present upfront. Some interesting spice notes are here too. Some biscuit and caramel notes here too. Earthy and funk notes play a large role too. I am starting to see this as a wild winter warmer. Unique, but I am not convinced everything blends as well as I would like.

Mouthfeel: Ample carbonation, light body. Crisp.

Overall, a really interesting and unique beer. I enjoyed the vanilla and caramel notes, but this felt a little forced at times. Definitely some really nice things going on creatively, but I don't think I would buy this again at this price.

Photo of beerwolf77
2.66/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to wisconsinality for sharing this one. Bottle split into to tulips.

A: Dark brown hue. About a finger of beige head. No lace.

S: The aroma hits me with a good amount of charred wood and sour cherry. As with all Cisco beers the curse of the taco seasoning rears it's ugly head.

T: Just as I feared. The smoked aspect of this one comes through a bit too much for my taste. Smoked cherry, bbq sauce, wine soaked barrel wood, mild funk and a touch of sour cherry.

M: Medium body with mild carbonation.

O: Yet another less than stellar beer from these guys. Between the 3 of us sharing we had to drain pour half the bottle.

Photo of Chico1985
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Sierra Grille last night.

Dark brown/red color with a beige head that turns to a ring eventually, not much lacing left.

Pretty much standard wild ale smell, sour, brett, vinegar, and oak along with some dark fruits.

Flavors are pretty weird - cranberries, red wine/red grapes, cocoa, caramel, oak, and lots of spice. Sourness isn't huge but a good amount is here. Kinda reminds me of a winter warmer wild-ized which makes sense I suppose. I liked it more as it went on. A touch of alcohol.

The unique flavor profile is this beers strong point, but there are quite a few American sours I'd pick over this. Definitely wouldn't mind having this again though.

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.72/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to angrybabboon for the bottle.

Appearance: Deep clear ruby/brick red. Mahogany. No head. None. Pours nice and smooth with minimal carbonation.

Smell: Loads of raw honey. Earthy sweetness. Smoke and some cherry, tart. Typical winter spices. Some clove and allspice with a warmer almost cinnamon characteristic. Bright tartness mingles. Loads of depth. Oak adds a nice woody note. So much going on.

Taste: So much earthy sweetness. French oak is young and raw. The dying edges of a camp fire. Meady. Spices are more aggressive than the nose would indicate. Almost like a mulled wine. Cinnamon candy. Has that distinct Cisco Woods barrel aged flavor. Nicely tart with a big earthy note. Oak adds a nice touch. Nice depth. Honey adds a nice fullness, but is very raw.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a smooth mouthfeel. Carbonation is high, but manages to work with the body and the flavor profile.

Overall: Definitely one of the more interesting Cisco Woods beers. The kitchen sink approach pays off and leaves a ton of flavor without being overbearing. A touch unbalanced in the long run due to the sheer volume of some flavors. A few years would do this beer wonders.

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Winter Woods from Cisco Brewers Inc.
85 out of 100 based on 79 ratings.