The Dark Woods (2015)
Cigar City Brewing

The Dark Woods (2015)The Dark Woods (2015)
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Old Ale
3.92 | pDev: 9.18%
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
The Dark Woods (2015)The Dark Woods (2015)
Notes: Old Ale brewed with molasses and aged on wood.
Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 106 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of TheGent
TheGent from New Jersey

3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The aroma is subtle and semi-sweet. Notes of dark dried fruit like dates and raisins, some caramel, hazelnuts/chocolate spread (yes, I mean Nutella) and offset dry oak aroma. A touch ashy.

This beer has some upfront malt sweetness, but overall is relatively dry and slightly bitter. It’s quite nutty as well.

Very low carbonation and creamy smooth mouthfeel.

I’ve never had this beer fresh so I don’t know how it’s changed over time, but I can tell you that I am enjoying it with three years

Sep 18, 2018
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JebBeerFish from New Hampshire

4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been hanging onto some bottles for too long, and this was part of my effort to reduce the older bottles. Given the rating on this beer, my expectations were lowered going in.

A: Light Toffee color, almost no head on gentle pour.

N: Candied fruits, figs, vanilla.

T: Figs, Vanilla, Caramel, Scotch. As this beer warmed, it tasted more like an English Barleywine than an Old Ale; but
English Barley wines and Old Ales might be kinfolk.

O: I was pleasantly surprised by this beer. Although I have not had a lot of Cigar City beers, this might be one of the best I have had.

May 16, 2017
Photo of Stevedore
Stevedore from Oregon

3.66/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

650ml bottle. Served in a snifter glass. Pours a murky medium brown body with a slight toffee hue, one finger offwhite head, fair retention, not a ton of lacing. Smell is of butterscotch, toffee, caramel, brown sugar, light oak. Malty, but not in a terrible way. Flavour is more butterscotch but with a bit of an astringent bitter oak to balance things out, brown sugar, toffee, grainy malt sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, good carbonation, bitter oak on the finish. Malty as intended, solid but nothing to write home about.

Feb 10, 2017
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sulldaddy from Connecticut

4.79/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This bottle was a gift from MHorridge during a visit to Tampa this past spring. Was a great visit and Im thinking this beer is a continuation of the good times.
Pouring the cellar temp 22 oz bottle into a Westmalle chalice. The beer pours a rich, clear mahogany color that reveals bright ruby highlights when held to a light. Several lazy streams of carbonation rise to the surface, but only a minimal fizzy head of .5 cm foams up and fades soon after the pour. The aroma is all malt with brown sugar, some toffee and a bit of fruit, which I think is figs. I like the nose, there is also a bit of a boozy note as a warning that this beer packs a little punch.
First sip reveals a silky smooth texture with average to thick body and quite a sticky finish, coating my palate after each swallow. Carbonation is very small but a little tingly on my tongue. Very drinkable beer for the size.
Flavor is as the nose advertised with a lot of malt complexity, brown sugar and figs here again. But now I also get a little molasses and some mild smoke notes. I also get black peppery alcohol bite, but not really any warming notes on the swallow. Well hidden booziness in this bottle!
I really like this style and love this example. Lots of malt and some sweetness, well hidden booze, and soothing physical characteristics.
VERY glad to have tried this one and very appreciative of the gift from MHorridge. I would love to have more of these just to enjoy the beer again.

Sep 05, 2016
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Myotus from Texas

3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured at 50°F from a 22oz bottle (bottled on 29Oct15) into a pint glass. Consumed on 17Jun16.
LOOK: A fingers worth of dark khaki foam is formed after pouring. The foam head dissipates into a khaki line within thirty seconds. Mahogany in color with an extreme amount of cloudiness. Riding bubbles are not visible, but rather a large amount of small yeast particles floating throughout the glass. Lacing is thin and subtle.
SMELL: Mild aromas of molasses, leather, tree nuts, plums, and figs combine with subtle bitter hop, sweet chocolate, earthy yeast, and oak aromas along with hints of smokiness to orchestrate a mildly sweet aroma that is well balanced.
TASTE: Mild molasses, fig, plum, and bitter hop flavors instantly bring a balanced flavor profile. Balance is lost as mild tree nut and leather flavors flow in next, but bitter hop flavors grow much stronger. Mild flavors of chocolate and oak along with subtle smokey flavors attempt to sedate the bitterness, but fail to do so. A subtle earthy yeast flavor and whispers of booziness finish off the brew as all previous flavors now maintain, including the bitter hops.
FEEL: Full-bodied with subtle quantities of carbonation. This goes down smooth and creamy while also clinging to the back of the throat like syrup. The beer finishes with a strong and unpleasant dryness Due to the high bitterness. A mild and welcoming alcoholic warmth can be felt as it travels down the throat.
NOTE: Some people love the bitterness. That's personally not for me. I felt like every other characteristic of the flavor profile was well executed.

Jun 17, 2016
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Smakawhat from Maryland

3.46/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from the bottle into a Cigar City tulip glass. Bottled October 29th 2015.

Murky burnt orange body color, almost red in a way, mixing with a faint very light espresso tan head that while short, is quite creamy looking as well. Settles to a bit of a bubbled puck and fine collar.

Really nice complex and varied aroma. Hints of soft honey, a bit of sweet caramel. Sticky and taffy like in it's flavor off the nose, but also very fruity in an almost juiced orange and plum kind of sensation. Hints of dark spices and clove, but far sweeter than hot, and more of a nutmeg sense. Lots going on in here.

Palate takes a bit of a dive. Very wet bodied mouthfeel, and little malt depth for such an aged brew. Fruity orange citrus and a watery caramel like flavor in the mid palate. Lots of bitter pith like qualities in the finish, that really linger and take a hit. There's almost a sense of burnt char to this that really lingers as well, that mixes with the bitterness strongly.

As well rested as this beer actually is it tastes like an extremely young/green American barleywine. Drinkable, but doesn't come across as a superior product.

Apr 16, 2016
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Shared bomber bottle.
Seems like an interesting mix of styles. Both malty and somewhat hoppy.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with somewhat lively carbonation.

Apr 04, 2016
Photo of Sabtos
Sabtos from Ohio

2.99/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark reddish orange with a big tan head.

Prune and caramel on the nose, with some booze fumes.

Scotchy scotch scotch. A bit too much for me. Oak and molasses as well.

Apr 02, 2016
Photo of Bonkinishwa
Bonkinishwa from Kentucky

4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Cigar City Brewing - The Dark Woods. 10.8% ABV. 22oz bomber split between two snifters. 2015 Vintage.

Look: Has a reddish caramel colored body, with a small cap of off white lacing.

Smell: Alcohol is noticeable immediately, followed by molasses, caramel. raisins, and smoky wood.

Feel: Full body, thick, creamy, and smooth with a little carbonation.

Taste: Smoky wood, caramel, molasses, and raisin, all backed by the subtle taste of alcohol, with no burn.

Overall: My first Old Ale style of beer, and it sure was a good one. Lots of smoky flavor and aroma, along with sweet attributes of molasses and caramel.

Mar 23, 2016
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do_ob from Kentucky

3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle into a snifter. Deep brown/mahogany with a thin, whispy vanilla-colored lacing. Molasses, caramel, roasty oak, candied sugar, and light bourbon/leather on the nose. The taste follows with subtleness. Quite sweet with undertones of oak and honey. Medium weight - much thinner than it appears.

Overall, a solid Old Ale. Doesn't hold a candle to Curmudgeon, though.

Mar 21, 2016
Photo of cjgator3
cjgator3 from Florida

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this beer at Cigar City's Hunahpu's Day 2016 in Tampa, FL. This was my second time having this beer. Overall, really nice nose and nice sweet taste and boozy finish.

Mar 21, 2016
Photo of GreesyFizeek
GreesyFizeek from New York

3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one pours a reddish murky brown, with a veeeery small head, and no lacing.

Smells like molasses, toffee, candy sugar and lots woodiness.

This is pretty sweet, so it's tough to drink a lot of it, but what is there is tasty. It's got a lot of molasses for sure, and the woodiness is pretty intense. It leaves a very slight bitterness on the end, providing some semblance of balance to this quite sweet beer. There's a little bit of prune here, caramel and toffee too.

This is medium bodied, a little bit syrupy, with a good level of carbonation.

Nice stuff here, but only in small amounts.

Mar 16, 2016
Photo of Benish
Benish from Wisconsin

3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: murky brown with minimal translucence. A half inch white head head that dissipated quickly.

Smell: very malty and sweet. Like liquid dessert. Some molasses, honey, vanilla, notes of bourbon and subtle spices.

Taste: sweet, but not overwhelmingly sweet. Picked up ton of malt, brown sugar, bourbon, some vanilla, and a note of spiciness. It finishes with a hoppy bitterness. Do not pick up much wood though. This beer is really no different than a barley wine. Sweet, boozy, and delicious.

Mouthfeel: full-bodied and almost viscous.

Overall: it's a good beer. Not over the top, the flavors are not overwhelming but enjoyable.

Mar 04, 2016
Photo of Moose90
Moose90 from Washington

3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served from 22oz bottle with no discernible date, 2015 vintage though

A — Pours a mahogany cloudy hue out of the bottle into the glass. There is a bubbly rusty colored head that forms on top with some agitation and leaves behind rings of sticky lacing.

S — Smell is strongly sweet, boozy, Bourbony, oaky, complex. Notes of dark fruits, plums, figs, dates, meld with a sugary Bourbon kick with notes of vanilla, burnt brown sugar, caramel, molasses. Sweet and warm.

T — Much like the nose, a load of sweet dark fruits balance with boozy and rich Bourbon notes, a lightly astringent dry oaky finish. Big notes of molasses, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, dark fruit. Quite nice.

M — Medium-Full bodied, with a lingering borderline cloying sweetness.

O — Very good overall, don't have much to compare it to, but for what this is, it is very well done, quite complex.

Feb 21, 2016
Photo of jopezu
jopezu from Georgia

5/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

pours a dark, solid & murky cognac orange (that turns ruddy mahogany towards the bottom) with a small head that poofs. nose; boozy raisin, sweet oak barrel notes, & earthy hops. the last few sips of warmed beer smelled like an oak plank with burnt sugar sprinkled on it... just damn. taste; caramel malt, big raisin, earthy hops, heavy oak, plum, orange zest, light molasses, sugar & faint cocoa. heavily carbonated & medium+ mouthfeel. oak, raisin, & hops on the aftertaste. this is an old ale that i think crosses a touch into the barleywine arena on account of the slightly higher hop prescence. i usually require a second or third experience with a beer before i'm comfortable doling out a 5 rating, but i don't think i've ever been this impressed on a first pass. stupendous job balancing this thing and subduing the 11% abv. i wish i would have cleared the modica market's supply of these instead of just the one i grabbed during the holidays. i'll be looking for ways to get this one shipped to me. wayne wambles strikes again.

Feb 03, 2016
Photo of lordofthewiens
lordofthewiens from New Mexico

4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark brown color with red highlights. A small tan head.
Aroma of molasses and dark fruit. A bit of oak.
Molasses taste. Vanilla and raisins, but mostly molasses.
A nice beer to savor.

Jan 29, 2016
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madelfonatree from Ohio

4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

October 29, 2015 bottle enjoyed January 11, 2016 in a MadTree pint glass.

Look - Ruby red like an amber. Light brown tint if anything. Head is medium bubbled and thick. It settles to a ring and leaves a lot of lacing. Thumbs up for thick head, color, and lacing! Second poor made me notice the sediment.

Smell - Earthy. Boozy. Sweet. Ale.

Taste - A lot of wood. Toast. It is almost like taking a bite out of a popsicle stick. Sweet.

Feel - Very dry. It is boozy but oddly smooth. Very watery. Carbonation doesn't show through on feel like it does with the head. The 10.8 hasn't hit me yet.

Overall - Woody amber ale. Toasty.

Jan 12, 2016
Photo of Zach136
Zach136 from Georgia

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: hazy orange red small before collar.

Aroma/Flavor: medium intensity molasses, very woody, a bit of graphite pencil character though.

Mouthfeel: medium+ bodied

Jan 02, 2016
Photo of TX-Badger
TX-Badger from Texas

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with dark ivory colored head. Oak, dark fruits, and caramel on the nose; follows onto the palate. Full bodied, smooth, but boozy. Finishes with wood and dark fruits.

Dec 30, 2015
Photo of zac16125
zac16125 from South Carolina

3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a snifter
2015 vintage

Apparently “The Dark Woods” is a series that will have a completely different recipe/style each year, with a focus on wood aging. In regards to the 2015 vintage, per the website: "We used a combination of four different toast levels of White Oak on this beer. The base beer is a dark old ale that is inspired by the end of the harvest and the beginning of Winter days to come."

A: dark mahoghany, opaque, just under 1 fingers width of tan head, dissipates slowly but leaves very little lacing. 4.25

S: aroma is super boozy, some sweet characters, a bit of oak, fusel ethanol is prominent 3.75

T: Interesting. Not nearly as boozy as the aroma; some bitterness; prominent oak; decent amount of sweetness including caramel and burnt sugar. Subtle booze to compliment the flavor profile. Its quite good, if it was meant to highlight wood aging then I’d say it was a success. 4

M/D:full bodied, carbonation on the higher end for the style but not bad, ABV is there in the nose but subdued in the taste; drinkability is good 4

O: solid beer 4

Dec 29, 2015
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Alieniloquium from Florida

3.36/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle. Murky dark amber. Smells woody. A little fruity. Caramel malts. Tastes of caramel and molasses. Woody bitterness in the finish. Medium heavy. Only a little bit more interesting than Slow as Molasses, which I had just before it.

Dec 29, 2015
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TheSevenDuffs from Canada (ON)

4.43/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was the highlight of my flight at CC. Notes of caramel, raisin and dark fruit from the base beer accompanied by a massive oaky/woody component that rounds out the flavour profile beautifully. Sweet, but not overly so.

Nov 18, 2015
The Dark Woods (2015) from Cigar City Brewing
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 106 ratings