Cisco Brewers Captain Swain’s Extra Stout

By: Daniel Marcoux

Cisco beer

What is it about cereal TV commercials?  Their kitschy taglines are engrained into our heads well into adulthood: “Kid tested, mother approved.”  “They’rrrreee Grrrreat!”  “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!”  “Breakfast of champions.”  “Snap! Crackle! Pop!”  “Hey Mikey!  He likes it!”  “I’m coo-coo for Coco Puffs!”  “You and the Captain can make it happen!”  (Sorry for wasting 10 seconds of your life there, but need I say, point proven?)  Walking through the aisles of my local bottle shop, I took one inspirational glance at Captain Swain and thought to myself, “Yes, we can make this happen.”  I mustered up the courage to join Mr. Swain on an adventure navigating though a black sea of clandestine malts and spine tingling hops.  Will it be safe sailing?  Time to run them numbers.

First Impression:  Love the simple packaging.  The picture of the captain reminds me of an old baseball card that used to be attached to a pack of cigarettes in the late 1800s, Honus Wagner style.

Cisco beerPour: Jet black with a khaki head.  The lacing was prominent on the side of the glass as I drank.  It smelled like a malt bomb with some chocolate, molasses, syrup, and alcohol.

Taste: Mmmmmmmm!  I have to say, I was a little nervous with the smell of this beer that it would be too syrupy and one noted, but that’s not what I get with the taste.  Right of the bat there are really rich chocolate malts with a robust and roasty flavor.  I like this Swain guy, because for a stout, it actually has nice piney, hop bitterness to it.  It is a little floral as well, but the main stay of the brew is certainly the roasted malt.  If you’re looking for a super creamy and thick stout, I don’t think this would be the beer to get, but it has such a unique flavor to it for what can be a pretty mundane style of beer.  The carbonation of the brew is nice, but its mouthfeel is thin for the style.  I wish Cisco would have put some protein in this guy to beef it up a bit.  The finish on the beer has a molasses character to it with a touch of alcohol; I’m not shocked this beer is 8% ABV, on the way down it does have a subtle burn.

Final Impression:  Hey Mikey! I like it! It’s a solid beer and certainly a unique stout, however in my opinion it really drinks more like a charred and roasted black IPA.  The roasted flavors dominate, but I’ve never had a stout this piney before.  Additionally, the thin mouthfeel fits with the aforementioned style rather than an extra stout.  It’s nice on a cold day, but not hearty enough to replace a breakfast of champions.

Grade: B+

ABV: 8%

IBU: Not available, but would be interesting to know.

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Cisco Brewers Extra Stout