Dark Woods
Cisco Brewers Inc.

Dark WoodsDark Woods
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Wild Ale
Ranked #1,520
Ranked #32,484
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
Reviews by ygtbsm94:
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ygtbsm94 from Utah

3/5  rDev -20.2%

Jan 31, 2012
More User Reviews:
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WesWes from New York

4.3/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

Feb 26, 2010
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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
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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
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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
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Wasatch from Colorado

3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Sep 10, 2010
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brandoman63 from Illinois

4/5  rDev +6.4%

Nov 29, 2011
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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
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albern from Massachusetts

2.88/5  rDev -23.4%
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.

Oct 02, 2010
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TheManiacalOne from Rhode Island

3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 10/8/2010 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a large light brown head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains esters, Belgian yeast, tart fruit and light roasted malts.

T: The taste starts out with a burst of sourness from the Belgian wild yeast with a touch of tart fruit flavor. Then a hearty but not too heavy roasted malt character comes in along with some dark chocolate flavor. There's also a significant medicine-like alcohol flavors that tempers a bit as the beer warms. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is sticky but very dry.

D: A little tasty in that it's something kind of different, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, it's a decent beer, but definitely a palate-wrecker.

Oct 12, 2010
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JAXSON from Pennsylvania

2.83/5  rDev -24.7%
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.

Sep 22, 2010
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sinstaineddemon from Connecticut

4.22/5  rDev +12.2%
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

Sep 03, 2010
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Photekut from Tennessee

3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

May 19, 2013
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Pencible from Virginia

4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Sep 27, 2010
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jnn4v from Virginia

4.02/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

Sep 18, 2010
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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
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Lunch from Maryland

4/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

Feb 24, 2010
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drewone from California

3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

May 07, 2013
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largadeer from California

3.06/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks, Dave.

Dark woody appearance. Highly carbonated with a lasting head.

The nose is odd - musty and funky, a little buttery, but also quite spicy and herbal, reminding me of cardamom and bay leaves. There's some acetic sourness beneath it all.

Palate is decent, herbal and spicy with cardamom/bay leaf, tamarind fruitiness; this tastes bizzarely like an Indian curry. The finish is very tannic and oaky, with light acetic sourness.

This isn't bad, but it's strange and muddled. I couldn't drink much of it.

Oct 11, 2010
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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
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MasterSki from Canada (ON)

4.17/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

Aug 25, 2010
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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
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3leggeddub from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +6.4%

Nov 23, 2011
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nas5755 from Massachusetts

4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
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-

Jul 16, 2010
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FLBeerGuy from Florida

4/5  rDev +6.4%

Jan 28, 2013
Dark Woods from Cisco Brewers Inc.
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 108 ratings