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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 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 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 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 cpetrone84
2.93/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-pours a dark brown or black ale with a nice woody brown colored head that is quite dense and creamy.

S-the nose has a huge malt backbone, roasted coffee, chocolate, caramel and toffee. a light cinnomon spice, notes of ash, faint sweetness to it with a touch of sour or brett.

T-the malt and the sourness seems a little off, the malt backbone and the brett addition combine to make something a little weird. kevin says botanical and i tend to agree, it seems a little plant like with the malt base up front and the brett behind. there is some cranberry sweetness, the oak really isn't there, a little sourness and almost no acidity.

M-smooth and creamy on the palate, medium body with very little carbonation giving it a finish that seems to fall off.

D-not fantastic, not horrible though. it is interesting i just don't know if this works together. the brett and sour is there and the malt base is pretty solid, they just don't seem to work together.

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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 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 Lunch
4/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

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