Captain Swain's Extra Stout | Cisco Brewers Inc.

Captain Swain's Extra StoutCaptain Swain's Extra Stout
Liked This Beer
3.88 w/ 217 ratings
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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 217 |  Reviews: 152
Photo of Gavage
3.49/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

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Photo of timtheenchanta
3.89/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow this one clearly has a ton of carbonation and I haven't even poured it yet. Less than half a minute after opening the bottle, froth begins to rise from the mouth of the bottle. After pouring gently into the glass, a large three and a half finger head rises from the nearly pitch black liquid. Large chunks of foam stick to the glass as the rocky tightly bubbled head finally recedes.

Huge aroma that is comparable to milk chocolate dipped in black coffee. There's almost a hint of toasty oatmeal flakes.

Rich black coffee flavor that has a hint of toasty sweetness but quickly turns very dry. Very dry finish.

This one is a very solid offering but lacks the complexity to take it to the next level. Overall, a great beer that I wouldn't mind having again.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.27/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - holy crap thats a lot of head, i head to let the head forth out of the bottle for about 5-8 minutes before i could pour it out. the head was half of the glass, a dark orange rocky head, the beer itself is very dark, too dark to see the carbonation, but it must be there, it has to be

S - typical stouty coffee aromas, also a strong alcohol aroma as well, very balanced though

T - great coffee and chocolate flavors, the carbonation releases to the head and does not ruin the beer, the flavor then melts into a delicious chocolate aftertaste, very nice

M&D - other than the massive amounts of carbonation, this beer is very drinkable and a great brew, a high quality stout

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Photo of oberon
3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured an ink black with a huge blooming mocha colored head,I have noticed on a few of the Cisco offerings I have had there are some real overcarbonation issues either from age or whatever but its a litle annoying.The nose was very nice highly roasted barley smoke and charred dark fruit mainly with a lighter roasted nut note as well.Somewhat prickly mouthfeel from it being a bit overcarbonated keeps the drinkabilty from being all that great,flavor wise though its a nice brew he heavily roasted barley and smokiness returns along some kaluah-like alcohol sweetness and dark fruit finishing somewhat woody.A big complex stout I bet age has something to do with that overcarbonated body I would love to taste a fresh bottle.

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Photo of Ego
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

crazy big exploding tan head, rocky foam that takes a while to calm down (and no I didn't shake the bottle). huge bubbles up on top and more uniform circular ones toward the bottom where the head finally meets the beer. not quite pitch black and not totally opaque. the lacing and stickiness is excellent.

sometimes I cna just sniff a stout all damn day, sweet and bitter chocolate, coffee, I do smell a bit of the alcohol here but the roasted smoke tones really blend well with it, the alcohol adds the right amount of burn in the nostrils to warn you of the potency of this bad boy. there is also a noticeable metallic twinge in this one.

taste etc...
thick and moderately creamy (maybe a bit too thin actually imo). this is like drinking hershey syrup from the bottle, some slight raisin flavor mixed in with the deep burnt chocolate flavor. there is a mild smokiness in the malts but it is not very pronounced. The carbonation can be a touch distracting at times.

the best cisco brew I have tried, I have not been too impressed with their other offerings but this beer is very very good. When I am in the mood for a porter with a little more ABV kick I will go to this.

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Photo of bjohnson
4.23/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

25oz big bomber. $6.50 at High Rise Bakery-Cambridge, MA. $7.49 at Downtown Liquors in Somerville. More than $8.00 at Marty's Newton.

A: Pours a jet black color with an almost two finger fluffy cloud like caramel colored head that leaves thick lace.
S: Aromas of caramel and chocolate malts. Smells roasty with a slight sweet note at the end that blends well with the almost total malt smell.
T: Tastes bold! Notes of chocolate and caramel flavors thrown together with some bitterness that leads you to recognize the hops. Nice coffee malt aftertaste. Smooth and creamy but also bold and has a medium level hand. Has a weird, turtle-head like, interlude where the flavors kind of hide for a second but then come back.
M: Mouthfeel is very nice. Smooth on the tastebuds but also complex. Very carbonated--makes you drink this guy slowly but also makes the flavors pop in your mouth like pop rocks. Better at a slightly warmer than normal stout temp.
D: Very drinkable stout that packs a punch. High abv goes undetected. Nice and tasty stout---Cisco has a winner with this one. Definately worth a try, but depending on where you can get it as the price varies. Better on tap than in the bottle.

Edit or update:
This was the best bottle I've ever gotten of this stout. I've had some seriously over carbonated bottles and I've had some extremely flat bottles. They seem to have some quality control problems to work out. Best if you get their products on island as off island brews are not the same.

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Photo of nomad
4.36/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black beer, well, almost black with loads of head from strong carbonation and a seriously dirty linen color. Three fingers of head, stacking clumpy like Ricotta and holed like Emmentaler, leaving nickels worth of foam clinging to hang perilously from every pint. If I could define formation and retention in a technical beer manual this might be example A or B.

Smells of big beany coffee, foremost, with a light grape about that grows in power but then diffuses flat as the beer warms.

Taste is dry, seemingly chalky, vinous, with a serious espresso bite in the finish - I'm talking just enough smoky char paired with a near-salty hop bitterness. Opens to just enough balancing sweetness, but not too much, and big grape flavors all over with a smidge of ethanol warmth. Mouthfeel is thinner than expected and perhaps a little over-carbonated, but not nearly as bad as others' reports.

Complex, dry, but easy to drink. The dark and dry onslaught is easier on the palate than description belies. A winner in a rare and under-understood style.

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Photo of battlekow
3.48/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

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Photo of aleyeast
1.74/5  rDev -55.2%
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.

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Photo of deBeers
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with an enormous light caramel colored head with a viscous black body the color of obsician.

Smells of chocolate, biscuity & a faint nose of alcohol. I normally let my Cisco brews 'breathe' for awhile b/c they're overcarbonated for my tastes. I decanted this to forgo most of the huge head and make this drinkable right after opening.

Tastes vinous, hints of vinegar with a bit of sweetness on initial pour. Roasted malts...this beer tasted much better after setting for a good while. I also used it to simmer asparagus in for almost an hour with garlic and a bit of pepperjack cheese added in at the end.

Delicious and practically melted in my mouth.

Worth a try but a strange brew.

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The assertive hiss upon removal of the bottlecap foreshadowed the monstrously large head. This is a slow-pour. However, looking at the glass there is no doubt as to the head’s color! Darkish tan, with a mostly creamy consistency. What little beer made it into the glass appears quite opaque.

The aroma is rather thin, lightly roasty malt, but there’s not much to get excited about there.

Very creamy mouthfeel, smooth, but perhaps a bit thin. Dry.

Oatmeal, malty base, hints of bittersweet chocolate. Develops into a very nice roasty malt finish, combined with a fairly strong hop bitterness. Bit of coffee flavor as well.

Very tasty; complex and drinkable

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.86/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours a ink black with a giant tan foamy head.The carbonation is really something.You can hear the bubbles.The smell is not strong and kind of a disappointment.You can make out some coffee,but that's about it.The taste has a good deal of coffee and chocolate,but it may be too carbonated to taste the more subtle flavors.The beer is heavy,but the balance is off because of the carbonation.This,other than the carbonation problem, is a damn good and tasty beer that I will try again.

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Photo of weeare138
3.81/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appears a black with a mild brown hue. A 3 finger tan head is formed from the heavy pour. Large head refuses to fade and leaves lots of chunky lacing around the glass.
Smell is of light caramel, crystal, and chocolate malt.
Taste is of chocolate, coffee, and cream in this decent mix.
Mouthfeel is of chocolate and black malts pumping through with sweetness and a mild chewiness. Medium-Full bodied.

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Photo of WesWes
4.07/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a towering tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a wonderful black and roasted malt scent along with a hearty hop aroma. The taste is good. It has a rich black malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes earthy and warm. It has some hints of chocolate and coffee, along with a mild hop flavor. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a full bodied beer with a little too much carbonation (bottle conditioned). Overall, this is a damn good beer. I like the big beer feel as well as the hop character. It's a tastey brew; a good drinker.

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to jcalbi.

This one lets a nice loud pop when opened. A small bit tried to escape the top of the bottle, but I caught it before it could make its way out. It pours VERY heady...about 4 fingers over top. The foam even creaps back out of the bottle after pouring 2 glasses. Wow. At least it has good retention and is only foam. I'm having a hard time pouring the rest of the beer due to the foam. The beer is a nice black color. The nose is slightly sour that somewhat obscures the rest of the nose. There are roasted tones hiding behind, but that sour really takes the cake. The flavor is also slightly sour. A light roasted and coffee note comes through, but the sourness really puts me off. The feel is light, with a light carbonation. Drinkability is actually really good for a beer of 8%. Its the flavor and nose that sort of turn me away from it.

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Photo of clvand0
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark color with tremendous sized head and leaves lots of lacing on the glass. Takes forever to pour ... and the bottle wants to push some of the foam out of the bottle while we're waiting. The aroma has a lot of chocolate tones along with some other dark malts. The flavor has a lot of active carbonation. Good chocolate flavors and only some hints of other dark malts. The roased malts seem to come forth more as it warms. A little bit of sweetness and some sourness. The body is on the thick end of moderate, but the carbonation takes a little away from it. The drinkability is great. Very nice beer, but the sour distracts a bit.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
2.8/5  rDev -27.8%
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.

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Photo of shippos
3.24/5  rDev -16.5%
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.

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Photo of carln26
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured into a snifter a deep black with virtually no highlights. It was topped by a thick tan head, very clumpy that clung to the side of the glass in chunks. The aroma has black cherry and licorice backed by a hint of chocolate and coffee. It has a little spice aroma in the finish. The taste has a nice citrus bitterness up front backed by black cherry and a little mocha. The mouth feel is full with a nice sharpness left by the hops. Nice drinakbility. I was expecting more heavy coffee and chocolate flavors, so I found the berry hints nicely refreshing

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Photo of walleye
3.81/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks goes to sulldaddy for this.I open this and it sat for 11/2 to 2 hours before I poured it into my glass. poured dark dark brown with a brown head. aromabitter sweet chocolate, toffee, roasted malts, dark fruits like plums hints of black cherries some alcohol all the thinks I like in a dark beer. flavorthe cherries came out 1st. than the roasted malts, and chocolate, dry mouth feel. not to bad

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Photo of Naerhu
2.12/5  rDev -45.4%
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.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours with a huge brown head, produced by ample carbonation. The beer is a typical pitch black color. As I pour this beer I would swear I get some hints of Brettanomyces funk, perhaps this beer will be a bit more interesting than I was expecting. The aroma is sharp and acidic from roasted malts, and there is also a funky subtle note here that is spicy, and a bit earthy. Underneath this there is a solid roasted coffee note and a bit of chocolate as well.

Ooh, the taste of this beer is definitely sour and tart, and not in the typical dark malt way, there is a definite bacterial influence here, which in all honesty I actually like. Makes for a more interesting brew. The body of this is quite light, especially for an imperial stout. The finish of this beer is quite interesting, it starts out tart and reminiscent of cherries, but then moves to a bitter cold roasted coffee note. This beer has notes of coffee, perhaps a hint of chocolate, notes of earth and must, sour cherries, and perhaps a hint of vegetables.

I certainly do find this beer interesting, but I think I would have perhaps preferred it if it was just straight Imperial Stout, as apposed to slightly infected Imperial Stout. Thanks to PisskyNights for the opportunity to try this interesting brew.

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Photo of smcolw
3.54/5  rDev -8.8%
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.

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.2/5  rDev -17.5%
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.

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Photo of Bighuge
2.58/5  rDev -33.5%
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???

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Captain Swain's Extra Stout from Cisco Brewers Inc.
Beer rating: 74.2% out of 100 with 217 ratings
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