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Dark Woods | Cisco Brewers Inc.

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Dark WoodsDark Woods

Brewed by:
Cisco Brewers Inc.
Massachusetts, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by soccerman7 on 01-22-2010

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Reviews: 61 | Ratings: 108
Photo of Jayli
4.62/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Track 84 10/2
Served in a tulip

A: This beer pours a deep, dark chocolate brown with a one finger of creamy light brown head. Head recedes at a moderate pace leacing thick sticky chunks of lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is funky, hay, oak and cherry tartness. Reminiscent of a port wine.

T: Taste is where this beer really shines. Taste starts with a mild milk chocolate sweetness before lending in to an oaky, sour, tart cherry presence. Finish is where a good deal of roasted malts come through before a charred malt, bitter chocolate, and coffee flavoring hold through.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, creamy feel.

D: Goes down very easily, somewhat filling, nice kick. This is a complex beer that is the perfect blencd of wild and stout. I would drink this all day every day if I could!

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Photo of soccerman7
4.54/5  rDev +23%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had it last night on tap at Three Penny Ale House
Served in a Tulip

A - Nice tan head though disappeared quickly. Has a dark brown wine color to it.

S - Intense smell. Dark fruit, wine, funk. There is so much going on in this.

T - Sour and funk are the first things that you notice. There's a wine character in the beer with a lot of dark fruit notes there along with an interesting chocolate malt character. A coffee note is in there too. The funk lingers pleasantly.

M - For a wild/sour this has one of the best feels I have had. Very smooth with a light dryness to it.

D - Simply outstanding. This was a true experience for me with an east coast wild. I lingered on it for nearly an hour. I hope that Cisco continues this route with their interesting releases.

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Photo of pmlondrigan
4.47/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I first had this beer on tap and fell in love with it, all I wanted was for Cisco to bottle it, thank you Cisco! Pours with the apperance of a porter, dark blackish brown nice tan head with tight carbonation. Surprisingly a bit of lacing. Great aroma, you get oak, wine, grape, some nice earthy leathery tones, a bit of funk. The aroma is my favorit part of this beer. Taste, well malty up front with the flavor of mostly stouts and porters. Fruity and winey tannins with some nice dark roasty flavors. Reel chewy beer. Lingering finish of chocolate and wine tannins. Nice body. I really like this beer and because of that I might think it is more drinkable then it is. All I know is when I first had it on tap I sessioned it hard and loved it.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.41/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared on a beautiful Chicago afternoon with Alex, Sean, and Mike. 750ml bottle into a Lost Abbey glass...A dark brown pour with a light tan head, carbonated, good retention and lacing...The aroma lets you know without a doubt this is a blend, you can really pull out almost all the different beers from the 8 blended. Its super complex, at one point I think too much is going on, but it balances well. Notes of red wine, vinegar, oak, vanilla...The taste is equally complex but doesn't pull it off as well as the aroma, but still pretty good. Very vinous, lots of oak, vanilla, sour but more qualities of a strong ale in the taste. The more you drink this the better it gets and more easier to drink.

A surprise in how good a blend can be, worth trying for the aroma alone.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.4/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Prime 16 into a Birra del Borgo tulip (awesome glass, btw)

A: The body of this mysterious brew appears black at first, but when held up to light it glows a translucent ruby around the edges; above sits a finger-depth layer of fine light-brown foam that recedes slowly and leave closely-woven lacing on much of the glass. Great-looking beer.

S: Cleanly funky, slightly tart Brett up front, accompanied by some dark fruit (cherry + plum, maybe cassis) that gives off a vinous vibe that's augmented by some wood. This is wild without being intimidating in the least - very inviting.

T: Moderate tartness, funky Brett, ripe fruit, bready malt, and a lovely dry, woody, tannic finish. There's so much going on in this beer that it's tough to pin down the specifics - suffice to say it's hugely complex and thoroughly enjoyable.

M: Fairly thin with lively carbonation. Not bad by any stretch, but not quite up to the same level as the beer's other components.

D: The exquisite balance of sourness and funk keeps from being overbearing in any way, and the dry finish keeps me thirsty for more. Surprisingly crisp and refreshing.

Notes: I offered sips of this beer to several of my friends who were nearby and had never had a wild ale before, and (somewhat to my surprise) they all loved it. It provides a great introduction to everything that makes sours delicious without piling on (to use my friend's phrase) "40,000 years of funk." Good stuff, and a big thanks both to Prime 16 for getting it and to HopStoopid120 for encouraging them into doing so. Great stuff.


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Photo of brian44556
4.33/5  rDev +17.3%
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.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a very dark red color with a tan head. The aroma is tart cherries with some vanilla. The flavor is great. I get notes of chocolate, oak, tart cherries and vanilla. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

This was tried side-by-side with the Cherry Woods. Most of those in attendance liked the Cherry Woods better, but I felt this was the better beer.

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Photo of glid02
4.32/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Brodie - much obliged!

Pours a hazy brownish-amber color with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of dark caramel malts with large amounts of tart cherries. Also present are hints of funk and even lighter hints of oak.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Smooth caramel malt flavors kick things off and are overtaken almost immediately by mildly tart cherry flavors and moderate amounts of funk. Midway through the sip the sweetness of the malt flavors fades a bit and the cherry flavors and funk take over. Mild amounts of oak make an appearance before carrying through to a crisp ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I enjoyed this beer slightly more than cherry woods as it had a bit more complexity however both are fine beers. Worth a shot.

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Photo of rowingbrewer
4.32/5  rDev +17.1%
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.

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Photo of WesWes
4.3/5  rDev +16.5%
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.

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Photo of jedwards
4.24/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On draft at La Laiterie.

Pours dark brown with a tall (2-finger) but texturally thin head that quickly drops, some lacing sticks to the glass. Nose is tart brett funk and slight roast coffee. Taste is absolutely perfect -- berry tartness and chocolate on the front end fading to brett funk and rich cocoa/coffee on the back. Exactly what I want from a wild porter/stout -- funky roast without harsh tannic notes. Mouthfeel takes a hit, but is much better than most dark beers that have been infected -- good body, maybe a little thin, with aggressive and bubbly carbonation. Would love to get a bottle, if there was any guarantee it would age.

Been really impressed with Cisco's wild/barrel-aged offerings of late.

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Photo of emmasdad
4.22/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this one up in a recent trade, having had nothing from this brewery, and I was very impressed. Poured a nice medium reddish brown color, with a tight light tan head. Somewhat funky on the nose, with wood, vanilla, brett and light brown sugar. On the palate, somewhat vinous, with red wine, roasted malt, brett funkiness, oak and vanilla. An excellent beer, one of the better wild ales I've had. I really wish I had another bottle of this one.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.22/5  rDev +14.4%
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

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Photo of nas5755
4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
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-

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Photo of MasterSki
4.17/5  rDev +13%
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.

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Photo of portia99
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Another bottle recently with an extremely difficult to remove cork...seems to be becoming a trend lately.

A - Pours a very dark brown color that allows almost no light thru it...I can see just well enough to see a steady stream of carbonation bubbles rising to the surface. A near constant finger of fizzy but foamy tan head sits on top of the glass.

S - A bit tart and full of fruitiness. I seem to get a mixture of various berries - strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and some cherries. A bunch of earthy and somewhat dirtlike aromas, some oak, marginal malty contribution. Not much funk...at times I think I pick up a bit of brett, other times - nothing. Really like the mixture of berries in the aroma...somewhat unique in the beer world.

T - Unlike the aroma, I pick up some dark roasted malts, some bitterness seemingly coming out of these although I wouldn't characterize at coffee-like or bitter chocolate like...a bit different, perhaps coming from the oak barrels (maybe with some char to them). Mildly tart/sour but definitely not at all puckering - just enough so you know it is there. Fruity - mostly getting cherries with some raspberry mixed in. As it warms I start to pick up a little bit of funk in the flavor...might develop more over time in the bottle. Interesting combination of flavors that works pretty well.

M - Medium in body with light to medium carbonation. Carbonation is smooth, creamy and bordering on foamy in the mouth. Beer is very dry with lots of bitter and tart flavors taking up the slack and leaving lingering flavors after the swallow.

D - Pretty interesting wild ale. My bottle says 7.7% alcohol, but I would never know it just from drinking it. Mildly tart combined with the dark roasted and woody flavors blend well and create a surprisingly refreshing combination. Bottles are a little pricey, but I think I will probably grab a couple more of these before they disappear.

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Photo of koopa
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this one on tap several times at the Three Penny Tap Room and at the Black Back Pub (both in VT).

Appearance: Pours a deep russet brown with a 2 finger khaki crown that shows good retention and lace.

Smell: Nice lightly charged barrel over cherries thing going on here. Earth notes an a mild funk round it out well.

Taste: Same as the nose but it doesn't wow me as much. A bit of roast malt bitterness comes through but isn't flawless in its integration as the sourness of the cherries trumps it.

Mouthfeel: On the light side of medium bodied with good carbonation and crispness.

Drinkabilty: Not bad considering the abv but after a couple of glasses I usually want to move on.

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Photo of Sammy
4.12/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.12/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

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Photo of bruachan
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

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Photo of rtepiak
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

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Photo of darklordlager
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

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Photo of Pencible
4.05/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.02/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on draft at Track 84. Served in a tulip. Poured a deep reddish brown, almost burgundy, with a quarter inch tan-colored head. Some thin strands of lacing were exposed during the tasting. Great nose - a combination of both sweet and tart cranberry, as well as cocoa and a slightly vinous character. Taste reveals cranberry, chocolate, some medicinal sourness/bitterness (reminds me of grapefruit seed extract). Mouthfeel is medium bodied and lightly carbonated with a hint of acidity that comes out around the cheeks. Really interesting, but not something I would go to on a regular basis - a little more bitter than sour; however, I really applaud Cisco for stepping up and doing some experimentation. If you can, give it a go.

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Photo of jnn4v
4.02/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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Dark Woods from Cisco Brewers Inc.
3.69 out of 5 based on 108 ratings.
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