Dark Woods
Cisco Brewers Inc.

Dark WoodsDark Woods
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Wild Ale
Ranked #1,677
Ranked #31,862
3.76 | pDev: 16.49%
Cisco Brewers Inc.
Massachusetts, United States
Very Good
Dark WoodsDark Woods
Notes: 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.
Reviews: 61 | Ratings: 108 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of jlindros
jlindros from Massachusetts

3.48/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Probably about 4-5 years old.

Dark creamy head, nice lacing, dark brown little ruby light.

Nose big dark biscuity chocolate malt, chocolate cereal, little syrupy, some Brett like funk, little marshmallow, tart sourness.

Taste brings more biscuity chocolate, cookie marshmallow thing, tart sour Brett native bacteria, lacto sourness, lactic acid perhaps, decent funk but sour, candy syrupy thing to.Finish sticky flemmy tart funk sour dark malts.

Mouth is med to heavier syrupy bod lighter carb, flemmy.

Overall eh not my style but not too bad.

Jun 27, 2016
Photo of meson13
meson13 from Massachusetts

2.95/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Old as fuck dark woods. I'm not gonna get into but it basically doesn't need to exist. I guess that's the only part of drinking it I don't regret, at least now it no longer exists. I'll take a fuckin geny cream over this any day. Christ

Sep 07, 2015
Photo of billab914
billab914 from Virginia

3.63/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into my Allagash glass. Dark brown in color with a half inch of frothy foam covering the top. Great head retention and lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a pretty nice mix of funky, fruity and malty. Sour cherries, caramel and oak wood are the first things that jump out at me, but I started to get a touch of chocolate and red wine as it warmed. The tart fruit qualities have a little bit of an acidic quality to them, but not too bad.

The taste is where things don't come together that well for me. It shows a lot of the tart fruit and sour cherry flavors up front. The finish is where it seems to thin out and get a little watery. I get more of a lighter, porter like quality in the finish with just a little of the tart, funky flavors that it had up front. A little of the wood is lingering in the finish as well.

The mouthfeel is on the thinner side with carbonation being a little low for the style. Overall, it was a pretty good beer. It had a good aroma to it, but the bold flavors just didn't hold up in the taste. Pretty good beer to sip on this evening, but not a standout in the style.

Aug 18, 2012
Photo of thagr81us
thagr81us from South Carolina

3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks goes out to LarryG for sending me this one in a past trade! Shared during a recent tasting! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured a massively dark brown with a one finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, wood, caramel, fruit, and subtle tart. The flavor was of sweet malt, earth, caramel, wood, fruit, and nutty. It had a light feel on the palate with a medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a fairly decent brew. I have to say that this was one of the more disappointing brews from the series. Not really sure what they were shooting for here, but the sweet note definitely dominated this one unfortunately. Wish there was a little more sour and tart in this one to help out with the sweetness. Glad I got to share it with the rest of the series though.

Mar 30, 2012
Photo of Sammy
Sammy from Canada (ON)

4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

tom's bottle, thanks for sharing. Dark coloured with a dark lacing. Complex aroma with a fruity edge. Taste like a shiraz wine, and also fruity, edgy, rum and coke, edge from the cranberries, other dark fruit. Brett in the secondary. Everything adds to the complex taste, yet smooth and drinkable. Aging gave it maturity.

Feb 20, 2012
Photo of Goblinmunkey7
Goblinmunkey7 from Massachusetts

3.02/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to angrybabboon for sharing the bottle.

Appearance: Deep rich brown. Head is tan, smooth, and creamy. Leaves a decent cap on the beer throughout. Relatively clear, but holds a slight haze overall.

Smell: Faintly toasted. Citric bite. Deep cherry notes. Oak adds a nice counter to the sour. Earthy. Faintly sweet with a nutty finish. Almost bready, as in multigrain bready. Cocoa notes. Some roasted malts.

Taste: Where did the sour go? Nuts nad wood, but the malts run to cocoa and leather with a lingering sweetness. Sweet berry mixed with old wood and cocoa. Literally straddles the line between a stout and a barrel aged wild. Flavors meld after half a glass, but don't really get along.

Mouthfeel: Moderate. Carbonation is on the low side, especially for a Cisco Woods beer.

Overall: The most lackluster beer in the Cisco Woods series. Has a lot of potential on the nose, but the taste can't figure itself out. Stout and sour are present in equal measure, but refuse to work together.

Jan 27, 2012
Photo of angrybabboon
angrybabboon from Massachusetts

3.41/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review adapted from notes taken 1/21/12

Appearance: Dark brown, nearly black - starts off with a big tan head, keeps a nearly half-inch cap for a long time - sticky lacing, too

Smell: Basically smells like a stout with Cisco Woods funk - slightly burnt malts, a little roasty, wood - some funk - slight barnyard, some sour, some weirdness that reminds me of Chap Stick

Taste: It's sour and stout-like, but not really a sour beer and not really a stout - malts are slightly burnt - not as burnt or roasted as the appearance would suggest - some chocolate malts, with some lighter malts that add depth - slightly sour, with some funk, acidic - somewhat works with the other flavors, although the malts kind of overpower the sourness - some oak, some dark fruit, a lot of hard to describe flavors

Mouthfeel: Medium body, great carbonation, smooth, slightly sticky

Overall: Not bad, but not that great

There is a lot of stuff going on in this beer, and some of it is just weird. Sour with tons of acidity and somewhat burnt malts... It's strange and a bit messy.

Jan 25, 2012
Photo of donkeyrunner
donkeyrunner from Massachusetts

3.61/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle says "black beer with a khaki head." It is correct. Thick blanket of retention drapes lace down my glass.

Unmistakable aroma of char grilled chicken that has been marinated in 1,000 islands dressing. I kid you not.

Tastes like Kingsford charcoal briquets, or at least what I think Kingsford charcoal briquets would taste like: a dry roast character mixed with a sweet twang. More sweet tang than roast.

I'm sure that some one better voiced in beer tasting lingo could create a more eloquent description but that's what I'm getting. I good grilling beer I guess.

Oct 07, 2011
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander from Illinois

3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750mL corked and caged bottle poured into a stemmed glass. I believe thanks go to AleLuvinRuskie for this one!

(A)- Pours a rather dark burgundy/burnt sienna color. Produced a great frothy tan head with surprisingly great retention and lace.

(S)- A fun combination of nutty oak, cherry fruits, vanilla, and a mildy funky tartness.

(T)- Exactly like the smell. A big butty oak and vanilla component. Heavier in the yeast department too. Bits of cinnamon and cocoa show up before finishing in a mild tartness.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Very mild tartness, but heavy in the nutty, oak, and yeast departments. Overall, fairly rich for the style, though not necessarily a weak point.

(D)- Overall, a solid wild ale; though more akin to a mildly sour porter. Richer, but enjoyable.

Aug 27, 2011
Photo of AgentZero
AgentZero from Illinois

4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown beer with a moderate khaki head that had some decent retention and left some lace on the sides.

S - Interesting beer, definitely has a ton going on. Lots of wood, with vanilla, oak, wine, tiny bit of roast. There is a bit of chocolate and some nice tartness. Very complex, but the blend is good.

T - A little bit of yeast, some good sourness, wood, vanilla. There is a a bit of a roasted malt backbone complimented with vinegar and chocolate somehow. A little too malty and roasty for a wild, but it's a reall interesting and pretty good beer.

M - Fairly smooth, with some soft carbonation and something medium-full bodied.

O - Good beer, pretty different, seems to have components of just about everything I could think of in there. Worth trying.

Aug 19, 2011
Photo of rtepiak
rtepiak from Poland

4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

an excellent blend beer. a cacophony of flavors that will doubtfully sit. The boardness in palate is ridiculous but has an underlining fruit loops of fruity cereal. Excellent render of sour notes blended with the acidic notes of baker's chocolate. Pour is like a porter with a good lace but short retention. Nose of nose of mild smoke porter with minerals, hints of oak sour funk. Palate that declines over time but has a distinct note of several styles. Noted as a english porter in mineral... Chocolate dry one dimensional malt. Slightly accented hopping. Apple... Every subtle citrus... With a cross over into the sour yeast notes. Chalk wood dry or a lack of a lasting malt finish. Making it just one spec when settled. Notes of vanilla.

Jul 03, 2011
Photo of bruachan
bruachan from Massachusetts

4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

dark khaki froth over some dark liquid. the head remains throughout the sipping experience, which is uniquely wonderful

sour and bretty smelling. cherries, almonds and a touch of coriander or something like it (and perhaps something else even sharper)

every other sip makes me think i'm licking a barrell--the flavors are sharp and robust--but i can't say i don't like it! plenty of lactic tartness to some degree overshadows other putative flavor experiences but i suppose this is to be expected. oaky/woody and even a little smoky.

Jun 30, 2011
Photo of HopHead84
HopHead84 from California

1.86/5  rDev -50.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5


Thanks to Jason for opening this.

A: Cloudy brown with a red tinge. Small bubbly head.

S: Cranberry with a lot of acetone. Cranberry nail polish. Tart with oak and booze.

T: Wow. Tons of nail polish with evident cranberry. It possesses a faint tartness and accompanying lactic sourness, but the acetone is all consuming and ruins it. Finishes boozy as well.

M: Medium body with low carbonation. Mouthfeel is sticky and dry.

Overall: Consumed by acetone, alcohol, and astringency. Not recommended. The dump bucket drank deep of this beer as everyone poured it out.

Jun 25, 2011
Photo of brian44556
brian44556 from Kentucky

4.33/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Me and a buddy shared this one today while dry-hopping one of our homebrews. Poured this one into a wine glass.

This pours a very dark color, reminds me of a Belgium Dark Ale, good fizzy head, and great lacing along the walls of the glass. I had a hard time placing my finger on what exactly this beer smelled of. Notes of light cherry, some peppermint, and and some sort of light vinaigrette. The taste threw me off, not in a bad way though. I have never experienced a beer of this color have this sour of a taste, and I really enjoyed it. Tasted of roasted malt with a sour twist. Notes of cherry and tart also. Mouthful was good and carbonation was average. Overall this beer was phenomenal. I have had the Cherry Woods and Monomoy Kriek and they have both been average. This one is a class above the others. Really glad I had a chance to try. Best of "The Woods" series IMO.

May 02, 2011
Photo of ktrillionaire
ktrillionaire from Florida

2.76/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Big thanks to McDiddypop for bringing this one over.

A - It pours a deep brown-black hue and is capped with a fizzy one-finger head that is quite persistent and even drops a bit of lace.

S - The nose is band-aids, roast barley and red wine. Not a hugely winning combo in my experience. This beer is evocative of three others: CL's Smoke from the Oak - Wine, CCB's Red Wine Sea Bass, and Odell's Saboteur, though this is lesser than either of the first two. The heavy roast and brettanomyces seem to be clashing hard.

T - At first this tastes sorta good, then it tastes interesting, then it is boring and I've had enough. The wine contribution is very heavy throughout, but unfortunately it tastes like some poor Chianti; if there were any sweet-fruity vinous notes imparted by the wine, they would meld well with the roast base, but there aren't. The roast contribution is also quite heavy, but offers little nuance.

M - The feel is medium, with nice effervescence, but too mouth-drying on the finish.

O - This beer was not that impressive, quite simply. Certainly not on the level of the other two Cisco offerings I've had: Monomoy Kriek and Capt. Swain's Export (Extra?) Stout.

Apr 17, 2011
Photo of crusian
crusian from Oregon

2.85/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottle from awesome trader Douglasjamjak. Thanks man.
Pours an awesome black with 2 fingers of head and lacing that clings like its life depends on it.
The nose is incredible, bright cherries with a mild sour and toasted almond.
Taste, however is disappointing. Tart, yes, cherries, yes... but the char flavor and the dark malts just don't really work for it. Almost like a porter and sour mixed together... interesting idea, awesome look and smell, but no thanks.

Feb 26, 2011
Photo of Gfunk720
Gfunk720 from Connecticut

3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark black, light pure white head. Looks like a nice porter. Decent lacing too.

S- Smells oaky and sour, with underlying notes of caramel and dark malt.

T- Smooth and funky with strong oak notes. Not terribly tart, but works quite well. Some creaminess from the base beer

M- Nice and light, with a good balance. Little vinous and oaky, but good.

D- It's easy to drink, and pretty smooth too. Not insane, but a good balanced beer for the style. Interesting, but not amazing.

Feb 09, 2011
Photo of rowingbrewer
rowingbrewer from Massachusetts

4.32/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at the tasting at gordon's fine wine and spirits last night

Pours a nice dark brown color, with a decent off white to light tan head.

the smell is nice and funky, but not over the top. can definitely pick up small hints of the darker malts used in the darker beers that went into this blend, but just barely.

The taste is along the same lines as the smell, a good amount of funk but not crazy, a nice acidic tartness, pretty well balanced.

the mouthfeel is nice, leaves you puckering just a little bit. a very drinkable and underated sour.

Jan 28, 2011
Photo of Arenbeer
Arenbeer from Connecticut

3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml cork and caged bottle Into a Tulip Glass

A- Nice pop from the cork and plenty of smoke. Pours a really nice dark dark reddish brown that appears black with out any light next to it with a khaki off white head about 1 finger or so. Slow moving lacing on the side of the glass, pretty sticky.

S- Really strong sour yeast note up front from the Brett with a decent sweetness from the cherry's and maybe cranberries? or raspberries? If you dig deeper you get a slight oak and almost roasted note. Kinda surprised and happy about that, usually with oak aged beer you get swamped with the smell but this is nice and subtle. Interesting for sure.

T- Whoa not at all what i expected. Tons of roasted malts and what seems like an almost coffee and slight dark chocolate flavor in there.Some slight tart cherry and fruitiness but not much. Really hidden behind the more darker beer flavors. Once again not much oak but is definitely present. Maybe they could have aged it longer??? Plenty of brett and sourness though, the yeast is pretty strong on this one.

M- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a really nice tart sourness that dries you out.

Overall this is a pretty decent brew. I've been wondering what a black style sour would be like so this hit the nail on the coffin for that.


Jan 09, 2011
Photo of craytonic
craytonic from District of Columbia

2.16/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pour is black with some mahogany highlights and a tan head

Aroma: Something off about the brett here; I get some weird berry deal (cranberries and cherries?). Kinda a disaster.

Taste: Train wreck! This is a good argument against blending eight barrel aged beers. Really just a lot going on, there is this weird/off brett funkiness with some berries behind it and some roast and ash. I gave up.

Mouthfeel: Bit fizzy; bad finish

Drinkability: Ended up down the drain. Nasty stuff.

Bummer. I had Cherry Woods and Monomoy Kriek before this bottle and they were both excellent. This one turned out to be a drain pour. Is it a 2.5 or a 1.5? I dunno, but is nasty. I had a look and the three highest scores for this one were all on tap; perhaps it turned on them once it hit bottles.

Dec 10, 2010
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail from California

3.43/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to Nick for this one. Shared at Strong Ale.

A: The pour is a dark brown color with some definite amber notes to it and a slight murkiness. A large tan head forms.

S: Starts off with lots and lots of oak, which is somewhat damp and musty. A fair amount of vinegar along with a bit of dark fruit character such as currants and black cherries. There's a mild grassiness as well as a touch of cork. Sort of all over the place.

T: Like the nose, lots of wet, damp, oak flavor along with some grass, hay, and cork. There's a touch of chocolate flavor, likely oxidation, as well as black cherries. Quite a substantial amount of vinegar is present on the finish.

M: The body is medium to full, for a sour beer, with a medium level of carbonation and a dry and puckering finish.

D: A little too acetic for my tastes, and the corkiness is not exactly what I look for. Overall, though, not a terrible effort.

Dec 06, 2010
Photo of darklordlager
darklordlager from Wisconsin

4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown/black, 2" head of dark tan with initial pour. Good retention with some lacing.

S: Light acetic and lactic notes, red wine, cocoa, oak.

T: Smooth sourness greets the palate moving quickly into cocoa notes and a dark malt acidity. As it warms and the mouth gets acclimated, the sourness seems to drop off significantly. The acidity of the dark malt helps tone down the tannic wine-like finish while preserving the oak flavor.

M: Medium carbonation. Thin mouthfeel, yet a creaminess is definitely present from the oak & wine, which also provides a drying finish--interesting.

D: Very interesting. The textures are very complex while the flavor seems to be a bit muted. A very enjoyable offering from Cisco.

Nov 11, 2010
Photo of tpd975
tpd975 from Florida

4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Sea Bass for this one.

A: Pours a cola brown with a small fizzy tan colored head. Light retention and mild spotty lace.

S: Aromas of rich dark fruit, black cherry, currant and hints of raspberry. Mild chocoalte tones with hints of leather and oak.

T: Oaky, nutty with mild chocolate. Sour without being real tart. Cranberry and dark cherry, hints of mild spice.

M: Medium in body, smooth,

D: Good a nice treat love these woods beers.

Nov 06, 2010
Photo of ppoitras
ppoitras from Massachusetts

3.96/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle purchased at WineNation, Millbury, MA. Corked & caged.

Poured into a DFH snifter, formed a 1/2" light brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head lasts very nicely, especially for a barrel-aged brew, with lasting coating lace. Aroma is chocolatey sweet, with lots of tartness.

Taste starts with a light maltiness, which promptly gives way to the cherry flavors in the middle, and then slides into funky tartness for the close. Sour lingers after the swallow. Mouthfeel is smoother than expected, with reasonably good drinkability. I will admit that the flavor does not match the appearance, but definitely an interesting brew to check out.

Oct 31, 2010
Photo of JohnGalt1
JohnGalt1 from Idaho

3.45/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

received this a while back from Gsisk03.. Thanks Geof for the awesome trade!! Shared with the boys, reviewed from paper notes.

Pours with a pretty persistent dark tan head.. deep dark brown brew.

Aroma is oaky with minor funk and some tart cherries..

Flavor is pretty dried out... chalky sour cherry... roasty elements that seem out of place.. hints of cocoa.. just enough funk to let you know bugs are present... hard to describe spicy notes mid palate toward the finish.. a bit of cigar wrap..

Medium body with a nice carbonation.

Ehhh... Didn't really care for this one. Thanks though Geof for the chance.


Oct 15, 2010
Dark Woods from Cisco Brewers Inc.
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 108 ratings