Captain Swain's Extra Stout | Cisco Brewers Inc.

very good
151 Reviews
Captain Swain's Extra StoutCaptain Swain's Extra Stout

Brewed by:
Cisco Brewers Inc.
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Foreign / Export Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-21-2001

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 151 | Ratings: 216
Photo of aleyeast
1.74/5  rDev -55.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I read the reviews to be sure my bottle wasn't errant. $7.99 at whole foods for a 750ml. Was expecting a really good stout with the packaging and brewery location.

Virtually undrinkable. To say the carbonation is a slight problem is an understatement. Poured gently into a pint glass, I received less than an inch of beer and the rest head, and it did not settle. Subsequent pours even very slowly produced similiar resuts. And the carboation was in the beer which ruined the taste (which was hiding) and of course the mouthfeel. I was unaware you could dissolve this much carbon dioxide in beer. The only way to choke down this beer was vigourous shaking of the glass to emancipate the carbon dioxide. Actually, the flavors weren't bad in my mechanically flattened beer, but for the price, I don't expect to have to work this hard. Buyer beware. I plan to bring this up to my merchant and emailing the brewery if possible.

I have seen other reviewers speak of nothing ut head in the Cisco Beers, but then rate it ok. I think this is a major defect and needs to be fixed.

Update after contact with brewer. Brewer admits to carbonation and suggests letting the beer settle, offered to send me a fresh one which he believes will not be as heavily carbonated as the one I sampled. Very good response and quick, will update after I have the next one.

 1,355 characters

Photo of Naerhu
2.12/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thanks to Jimbo to sending this off to us BAs in Japan.

A - Dull black body on a fine brown head.
S - Odd chemicals, old socks, and hoppy spice.
T - Slightly roasty, slightly sour. A lambic stout? Cola. Next to no bitterness.
M - Light body, too heavily carbonated. Tasted like it had less than half the 8%.
D - Three of the four people in the tasting group poured out their share.

 388 characters

Photo of hopdog
2.57/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle.

This one poured all head (light tan). Settled into a dark/deep brown color. Aromas of yeast, roast, chocolate, and somewhat earthy. All thought that sounds fine, they just didn't work well together. Tastes of roast, some dark fruits, and light chocolate. Had a sour finish. Body over carbonated. This one just didn't pull anything together and was going in a million different directions.

Notes from: 3/7/07

 424 characters

Photo of Bighuge
2.58/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Black beer with a bubbly brown rimming. Lace comes in sporadic rings. Milky and chocolatey and coffeish. Decent. The taste is immediately tainted with a sourish, lemon juice off flavor that sticks around on my tongue long after the swallow. This aspect overshadows anything good that is happening underneath. It swallows it up. The mouthfeel is more on the flat side, which could actually be acceptable if the taste was good. Bad experience once again with Cisco.

I've heard this place makes good beer. I've just yet to witness it. Seems like a pipe dream to me after 4 samples that were either way overcarbonated and off or just plain ass sour. Do they have quality control over there???

 692 characters

Photo of biglite351
2.74/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - very dark with only a crack of red at the edge. Tall tight lasting medium dark head.

S - equal parts of malts and hops. Slight chocolate.

T - high o roasted malts with a hop flavor coming through in the middle. Some chocolate and oat in there as well. After taste is light but mostly hop.

M - mild coating with slight tingle on right side of tongue and upper throat.

D - one would be okay, but my dislike of hop flavor would keep me from having a second.

 462 characters

Photo of MuddyFeet
2.8/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reminds me of my first attempt at a homebrew: a caramel porter. Overly sweet that comes across as sour. Pours a very dark brown, but I could hardly get any head to from in the glass. Spots of lace around the glass. Smell is really sweet and makes me think of a Belgian, except for the roasted malt aroma. Odd sugars are present in the nose. Flavor is really sweet. Like sweetened chocolate, but just the sweet and no chocolate. Very sour caramel and toffee notes as well. Mouthfeel is deceptive. Medium body, but very thin. Not too sure I am gonna be able to finish the rest of the bottle.

 589 characters

Photo of brentk56
2.83/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a dark brown color with a nice frothy head that laces well

Smell: Decent coffee aroma

Taste: Starts out OK, with a nice coffee flavor that quickly turns rather sour. (I think this bottle may be old although I just bought it.)

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with way too frothy carbonation

Drinkability: Bearing in mind the source, this beer is a real disappointment. I haven't been on Nantucket since 1976, but I suspect I would like this beer a whole lot better if I were there. Put a date on it, Cisco!

 520 characters

Photo of lpayette
3.05/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark and black with just a hint of a red hue. The head is big and frothy with some staying power and plenty of lacing.

The first thing I noticed in the smell was the very pronounced citric acid smell. There's a deep roasted malt background in there too, but the citrus is just too much for me and very distracting.

The taste is an improvement for me over the smell as the various malts meld together to form a nice rich flavor. bakers chocolate, chocolate pudding, coffee, dark milk chocolate, orange peel, and some smoke all are flavors that come to mind. I really wish this had less of the citrus rind sorts of the flavors though... also seems a bit oxidized. Gets better the warmer it is.

Mouthfeel is real nice to begin, but the finish is less enjoyable. Drinkability is average with a slight improvement as the beer warms to room temp.

Overall a well crafted beer with an impressive supposed 13 different malts. I was hoping for something sweeter with less astringent citrus flavors however. It just tastes like the yeast was a little stressed to me... I never find those citrus tastes in stouts very pleasant.

 1,125 characters

Photo of thepeter
3.07/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours black with a slightly more than a film head. Smells of dark fruits, coffee, roasted malt, and booze (more than I would have thought for 8%). Tastes much of the same but with a very bitter bite right up front that was not one of those pleasant bitter bites. The fruit came back towards the end but not enough to balance this out. Medium to heavey bodied and not very drinkable at all in my opinion.

 403 characters

Photo of maximum12
3.15/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to kelp for this bottle. Needed a bottle to celebrate a rare Twins win. Often need two or three after watching a game so far this season. Alex Burnett, please go use whatever kind of degree you have, somewhere else.

Pours black. Smell is warm stout - roast, little smoke & chocolate.

Captain Swain's Extra Stout is a notch above average, a solid black beer with all the classic trimmings. More smokiness than I expected, it's the beer's defining characteristic. Bitter roast is strong, too. Plinking notes of chocolate.

Decent enough stout that I'll be happy to quaff, but nothing distinctive about it, & the smoke/roast/harsh combo just doesn't quite do it for me.

 677 characters

Photo of CRJMellor
3.2/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours dark bacl with just a hint fo dark maroon. Largest head I've ever seen on a stout. Pratically exploded out of the bottle once the cork was popped. Actually seemed overcarbonated.
Aroma of milk chocolate, lactose, sour apple notes and a Belgian-type yeasty profile.
Flavor of lightly bittered chocolate, very sour green apple. Is this a stout or a dark Belgian. To me the yeast style they chose for this stout just doesn't work here. Too many conflicting and contradictroy flavors for the palate to enjoy.
Mouthfeel is medium, maybe even light bodied. Definitely off for style. Sour aftertaste is actually a put off-putting.
Drinkability is average. Very creative for sure but low mars for overall appeal.

 714 characters

Photo of shippos
3.24/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bubbly froathy coffee head on a dark brown body.
sweet roasted burnt coffee aroma.
has a thin body but a decent mouthfeel, the carbonation takes away from the body and hurts it.
dry finish with some bitterness and a spicy carbonation.
drinkable and worth a shot but i wouldn't seek it out.

 296 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.28/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Picked this up at Bert's, a new edition to the growing selection of beer available in NH.
Pours a pretty solid black color with a huge light tan head that sticks around forever.
Aroma is heavy on the brown and candy sugar side with hints of vanilla and perfume. Very little roast or chocolate or coffee in the nose, odd. Hint of milk chocolate as shes warms, but also brings to the forefront a Belgian-esque phenolic aroma as well.
Taste is rich malty and chocolaty with a bevy of dark fruits and a slightly acridic taste in there as well. Slight hop bite midway through leaves a long lingering roast bitterness in the finish. Creamy mouthfeel, medium body, high level of carbonation. I'm not sure if there are some wild yeasts in here or if its supposed to taste this way. The Belgian character is subtle, but its strong enough to notice and the carbonation is a bit high. Its an ok brew as is, but I think it could be so much better. If I dare resample this one I will re-review.

 982 characters

Photo of Nipitato
3.3/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased a bottle at Julio's Liquors in Westborough, MA.

A: Deep brown. Opaque. Poured with a huge medium tan head with a good 1/2 inch retention. Sticky lacing.

S: Lots of rutiness - plums. Roasted character. A really nice sharp hop aroma.

T: Strong roasted grain. Lightly burnt. Long bitter aftertaste.

MF: Dry. Smooth and creamy. Lightly carbonated.

D, notes: Roasted and dry - too much so.

 401 characters

Photo of YouSkeete
3.3/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Very dark brown, black appearance. Red tint at the edges of my snifter. Short khaki head with weak retention. Fades into slightly bubbly lacing.

S: Roasted, almost burnt coffee, dark bittersweet chocolate, molasses, caramel. Hints of cream and oak/wood.

T/M: Bitter coffee upfront; almost tastes like old/burnt coffee. Smooth hops, bittersweet chocolate, molasses compose most of the body. Light hints of dark wine-like fruits permeate through the heavy bitterness of the overall flavor. Aftertaste is tangy and almost sour. Medium carbonation with a medium body as well.

D: A decent stout, with an overpowering hop bite that doesn't really fit in my opinion.

 665 characters

Photo of meathookjones
3.33/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This came in a nice big 750ml bottle. Pours out black with a tall tan head. There were decent rings of lace left around the glass as it is consumed. Aroma smelled of licorice, fruit a bit of chocolate and an odd soy sauce type note. Taste was of chocolate, coffee, a bitter earthiness and a bit of sourness. Very complex and interesting taste but the sourness and another odd flavor kept me from enjoying this as much as I could have. Mouthfeel was a bit thin but not too bad. Drinkability was pretty good even though there was some off flavor lingering in the background. I will probably give this another chance if I come across it again but this time it just seemed off.

 673 characters

Photo of aracauna
3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Definitely a foamer. Luckily, I was quick enough to get it to the sink before it spewed everywhere, but that's because I caught it before the lid was fully off. Huge tan head eventually fades completely away. The black body has a bit of a gray cast to it. A bit of the imperial stout fruitiness on the nose over a little chocolate. The flavor and body are thin. Some chocolate, some lingering hop bitterness. Definitely not one of the fuller flavored stouts of this size.

 471 characters

Photo of Bendurgin
3.36/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a chalice. Shared by Joe. Looks black with a finger of fluffy mocha colored head. Nice retention with sticky lace.

The aroma is just full of bitter chocolate with a bit of coffee in the background. The aroma has a bit of a grassy hop background. The flavor is a lot like the aroma here. Bitter cocoa and bitter coffee on the pallet. A bit on the hoppy side here. Finishes with a prominent grassy hop finish.

The body is a bit on the light side but the carbonation is good and somewhat soft. Not bad here. Kind of underwhelming. Enjoyable nevertheless.

 573 characters

Photo of farHillsBrewer
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

An interesting brew but tough to judge.
First, this bottled conditioned stout was over-primed and tried to explode from the bottle. I wasn't sure where to detract points, so I deducted on drinkability, because I had to wait until the massive foam cload settled. The appearance was pleasing, a chocolate malt with a kick.
The second flaw was the quantity of yeast in the bottle. I can't remember when I last had a beer that collected visible yeast in the glass. Being a homebrewer, I detected an evident yeast flavor, which I consider a flaw when I brew.
Negatives aside there was plenty to enjoy in this bottle.
The deep dark color was matched with an array of tasty notes, including coffee, cocoa, roasted malt and a mild hoppines to bitter and support the malt complexity. the yeastiness did swirl somewhat around the tongue and also imparted a warm bubbliness on the tongue.
Overall, the quality factors were not worth the premium price that I paid for the bottle. I'll wait a year and try again because I think the brewers can greatly improve this recipe.

 1,064 characters

Photo of emmasdad
3.41/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Saw this one today at Mile High Wine just west of Denver, not knowing Cisco was distributed out here. Poured a medium black color with a loose finger of light brown foam. Aromas of bitter chocolate, piney hops and roasted malt. On the palate, medium bodied, with roasted malt, chocolate and ash.

 295 characters

Photo of aerozeppl
3.44/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle split.

A: Pours black with an insane amount of tan head. It has been 10 min and I still cannot actually drink the beer. 5 Fingers of head. No matter how carefully I poured the head would just explode.

S:Musty chocolate is the best way I can describe this.

T: Very bitter up front. Tastes like coffee grounds. Then not much in the middle. It finishes with a nice subtle chocolate flavor.

M: The carbonation was a little too much for this beer. Stouts should not have this much carbonation.

D: Fairly easy drinking and the 8% is hidden well. Beer just seems to not quite reach what it could have.

 612 characters

Photo of marc77
3.45/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A mild, but incessant gusher... Beneath the tremendously thick, excessive carbonation induced, dark beige, sticky head lies a virtually black brew with flashes of clear deep garnet when held to light. With patience, the head settles into a manageable, blanket of loose foam fluff. Sweet, milky chocolate malt and caramel combination upfront in aroma, supported by a buttery diacetyl undertone. Mellow suggestion of mocha dipped pear adds a stately fruity contrast. Understated, but well rounded aromawise. Sharp, lightly tart carbonic acid bite hits the palate at first, then yields to a balanced combination of burnt barley bitterness and deeply toffeeish dark lovibond caramel malt. Roasted grain presence tapers mid palate, allowing moderate hop bitterness and chocolate malt to surface concomintantly, lending a dryish, only lightly sugared baker's chocolate presence. Faint, token prune like esters emerge late along with a mild, but perceptibly nut driven impression of spicy nutmeg and dry roasted almond. Persistently prickly in mouthfeel, from both the high attenuation and over carbonation. As the CO2 dissipates, the overall body is revealed to be thinnish, with its passable viscosity somewhat akin to that of an American brown ale. Finishes mostly dry, yet pleasantly sweet, with notes of molasses drizzled graham crackers and butter. Captain Swain is a flavorful stout unfortunately marred by overcarbonation. The superfluous attenuation suggests they prematurely bottled... This is more spritzy than a Duvel! Drinkability is only decent simply due to the inherent patience required for dealing with its excessive carbonation. Almost an excellent stout, but their yeast strain apparently behaved unpredictably. Tasty nonetheless and without outright flavor flaws.

 1,777 characters

Photo of battlekow
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I had the same problem as others with the carbonation. I currently have beer all over my hands, courtesy of the CO2 bomb contained within this bottle; on the bright side, the beer smells great.

Taste and smell dovetail well. Very sweet chocolate. Moderate roastedness. More and more vinuous as it warms. Some chalkiness and a pleasant amount of hops. Bit of a peanut shell finish. Alcohol is slightly apparent, but not obnoxious.

Once the carbonation settled down, this was a pretty good beer, though a bit too vinuous for my tastes.

 541 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.49/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: clear black in color with a 3" fluffy dark tan colored head. Nice lacing develops.

Smell: soft roasted malts and chocolate tones.

Taste: roasted malt, dark bitter chocolate, molasses, and soft coffee tones are the main components. As this warms the dark chocolate tones really come through.

Mouthfeel: smooth with a bit of a prickle at the start, but very smooth at the finish. Heavier in body but not as strong as some other stouts. Brief aftertaste.

Drinkability: decent, but personally this brew did not satisfy the "I need a good stout" urge when I picked up the bottle. Worth a try though.

 618 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.54/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another great head from Cisco! It's a solid three fingers (and that's without a nitrogen widget). Nearly black in color, no light shines through. Patchy thick lace adorns the side of my glass.

OK, this is bizarre, but I smell tuna. I don't know why, but it is the aroma I notice. If I try, I can detect some dark malts (chocolate, black patent). Sorry, but this is a real detraction.

This is a very good dry stout. There's a variety of flavors that come through--strong hop, bitter dark malts, a creaminess to the liquor, a high level of carbonation. I'm curious how this might stack up to the big three of Ireland. It's different in that it's not as "smooth", but yet it still goes down easily. The taste is extraordinary considering the aroma.

While not as thick as its Irish cousins, this is a flavorful brew. I suggest avoiding the smell and enjoy.

 861 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Captain Swain's Extra Stout from Cisco Brewers Inc.
3.89 out of 5 based on 216 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.