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St. Bretta (Winter) - Crooked Stave Brewery & Taproom

Not Rated.
St. Bretta (Winter)St. Bretta (Winter)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

32 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 32
Hads: 218
Avg: 3.9
pDev: 25.9%
Wants: 8
Gots: 29 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Crooked Stave Brewery & Taproom visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: LotsofLupulin on 01-31-2014

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 32 | Hads: 218
Photo of PatrickKellyCT
4.48/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown maybe even blue, a shade lighter than black. Good looking beer, little head with lingering lacing.

N: Funky, lots of brett, a little bit of blueberry-like fruit, maybe some citrus. Very nice smelling beer.

T: I get lots of blueberry, some citrus and lots of funky brett. Not sour, but a little bit tart in a refreshing type of way. Some balsamic vinegar like notes.

M: Medium bodied, decent amount of carbonation.

O: Probably not worth the $9 a bottle, but definitely good stuff in a style that is not cheap no matter where you look. I would buy again, though.

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.14/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a St. Bernardus Chalice. Label states 2014 Batch 5. Opened 08/26/2015.

Brett driven aroma of sweet hay, moist soil, a fresh and fruity accent on the classic barnyard melange, and perhaps a hint of dark sugar.

Tartness opens the flavor, which centers on a citrus snap paired with a bit of apple skin and some light but ever-present funk. More acid than the brett seems to have contributed, perhaps the Cara Cara Oranges? A shifty and hard to catch hint of lightly roasty malt comes and goes as the aftertaste centers on the funk. Not as complex as some CS beers I have tasted.

Conclusion: This type of beer is the future, and is largely uncharted water. Like the beginnings of the American IPA, a few front runners experimented with things never done before to finally land on the beers which would eventually define modern American brewing. I see Crooked Stave as such a front runner in the age of wild fermentation to come, and this beer is an example to trying new things. This isn't an attempt at American Lambic, or a copy of some other style. It is innovation. Do l like it? Yes. Does it transcend the best American wild ales out there today? No. Is the very fact that I can buy this for well under $10 a sign of excellent things on the horizon? YES. Keep it up Crooked Stave, this beer is good and it is taking you to great places.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle. Pours a dark brown. Almost no head. Looks flat. Agitating the beer grows some head; then it dies. Aroma is very funky and tart. I also get some cola notes. It smells very sour. I don't always love the interplay between sour and darkness. The flavor is better than anticipated. The darker malts do surprisingly work with the sour and funky yeast. Blood orange flavor and sourness. more blindly sour flavor. A bit of root beer. It almost has a spicy ginger finish. Tangy, tart, medicinal finish. This is one of those beers where my opinion changes drastically after each sip. Highs and lows. It definitely fufills any sour cravings I may or may not have had.

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Photo of JamesStreet
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep dark brown with a reddish tint. Nice head disappears quickly. Smell is of wild yeast, some red wine, oak. Taste is slightly tart with a berry (elderberry, gooseberry maybe?) on the back end. A bit acidic. Not noticing much Brett. Feel is medium with a nice puckering tartness not overwhelming though. O- another excellent brew from CS. Just wish the Brett was a little more present.

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Photo of Rutager
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Ruddy brown with a little amber, thin ivory head. Funky red wine and wood, cherries and dark fruit, lactose sour. Taste is sour dark cherry, light funk and wood, touch of unsweetened chocolate. Good stuff.

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Photo of Moose90
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tasted 5/10/15 for NBS
Batch: Winter / 2014 / Batch 6

Appearance – (3.75) Pours a deep, dark, honied amber color. Settles to a rich ruby brown in the glass and is overall much darker than anticipated. Head is initially tan and fluffy, but disappears pretty quickly and leaves behind minimal tracing down the inside of the glass. Thin, tiny bubbles lay around the edges of the glass.

Aroma – (4.25) Light notes of oak, citrus, oranges, mandarins, lightly tart grapefruit, sweet and bright citrus, lightly funky and yeasty, little bit of a vinegar tone as well, dry and sharp notes of oak and orange pith.

Taste – (4.25) Sweet and tart, lightly fruity, some berry tones here as well, raspberry, strawberry, lemon, orange peel, mandarin sweetness, yeasty dryness, funky sour and bitter vinegar notes, light malt sweetness, very nice balance of initial sweetness with a dry and tart finish.

Mouthfeel – (4.5) Medium bodied, a very nice and light effervescence to it, coats the inside of the mouth with a little bit of residual sweetness. Leads to a long lasting finish that highlights some of the vanilla and sweet oak tones.

Overall – (4.25) Very nice offering from CS, this poured a bit darker than I expected and tasted a tad richer as well, still a fairly bright, clean, crisp, funky, and enjoyable brew, this highlights the citrus very well and balances it out with a lightly sweet oaky tone. I'll have to do this NBS thing more often.

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Photo of russpowell
4.14/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014/Batch 6

Pours a super effervescent crimson/mahogany with a pinky of tan head. Stays effervescent, middling head retention & lacing

S: Sourness, leafy hops, oakyness, nice, not great nose

T: Much sourness, tartness, oakyness. hints of raspberry & sour cherry up front. Grapefruit & orange rind as this warms, nice dryness, tartness. Finishes tart, sour, with a little grapefruit, & lemongrass

MF: Light/medium bodied, subtle carbonation, very dry/pucker. Almost feel my enamel coming off my teeth

Very refreshing, tart, sour. Just got better as it warmed; picked up more citrus

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Photo of CASK1
4.21/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Finally got to try a Crooked Stave brew. I'm a huge fan of all brews Brett, so this is a brewery high on my list. $$ slowed me down, but worth it.

Look - Dark red-brown, good clarity. Off-white head fades quickly to a tiny ring of foam.

Smell - Brett is the intense, up-front dominant character. Hints of dark fruit. Not much else.

Taste - Complex, tart, delicious. Hints of malt, a lot of dark fruit (plums, raisins), and an overload of Brett character (barnyard, hay). Low bitterness, but malt is balanced by a moderate, pleasing sourness.

Feel - Medium body, fuller than expected for the sourness and Brett fermentation. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Love the Brett character. Would like a bit more of other characters for balance, but for a Brett fan, this is heaven!

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

April 6, 2015

375 ml bottle, tulip

A – Dark brown with an almost purplish hue. Slightly off-white, bubbly head is about an inch, with low retention. Poured somewhat thin and light.

S – Very funky and very sweet. Fruity, sweet cherries and tangerines. Funk is prominent, slightly barnyard but comes across as tart because of the accompanying sweetness. Perhaps some bread crust malt, and no hop aroma.

T – Brettanomyces character is much more prominent here, funky, barnyard. A slight sour impression again because of the high sweetness, which is not cloying. Maraschino cherry, perhaps grape or blueberry, and some lemon-orange notes. Malt and hops are not really discernible.

M – Fairly thin, with low carbonation and somewhat high residual sweetness. A bit of acidity on the finish lingers and strengthens on the aftertaste.

O – A solid offering from Crooked Stave, but not their best. Would do well with a bit more carbonation. I wonder if additional bottle-conditioning / aging would have helped.

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Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy murky brown color with off-white head. Funk, tartness, citrus, and oak on the nose; follows onto the palate. Some dark fruits emerge on the finsish, but ultimately ends tart and dry.

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Photo of babaracas
3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2014 batch 6. Pours a mostly clear but quite dark brown / red / black with instafade fizzy white head, like a one bubble thin ring sticks. Smell: oaky, musty, leather, cola and dark fruit notes. It's nice, a little subdued. Taste: tart citrus blast like sour orange and lime, into lactic and grainy middle with candy-like sour cherry and berry, finishing more earthy and acetic with a bit of an herb-ed goat cheese aspect to the finish. A little steely, a little quick on the palate. Definitely shows off brett. Worth a try.

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Photo of SFC21
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Not really a wild/sour fan but I found this one to be decent. Certainly the brett dominates but the darker malts and citrus provide some balance. Super dry finish reminiscent of dry red wine. Overall, an approachable beer if you are just beginning to test the waters in the wild/sour ale category.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Tipples, noted 2014 Batch 6 on the bottle. Pours dark brown with a very small off white head. Aroma of citrus peel and lots of Brett, light roast. Flavor follows with bretty tart citrus peel, light roast (hey just like the smell), dry body and oaky. Finishes dry with medium carbonation, tart zesty mouthfeel. Overall decent but really enjoyed the Summer version much better. The darker/roast just doesn't work for me with sour or tart flavors.

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Murky dark brown with an amber tint that is revealed when held up to light. No head retention. Aroma is Brett,citrus,and a tart red wine note mingled together. The Brett dominates the palate but the citrus lingers after the fade. The mouth is dry,crisp and refreshing.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

2013, batch 3, snifter.

A: Pours a slightly hazy pale amber with a nice thick and fluffy bright white head that slowly collapsed into a faint collar.
S: Huge and dominating notes of earthy and musty brett, with just the faintest scent of cheesy funk. The oak is right there alongside the yeast and is easily noticeable. Mild notes of citrus comes through underneath, and maybe a hint of tart acid.
T: More citrus than the nose let on, with flavors of lemon juice, and what reminds me of bitter kumquat rind. Earthy, spicy and musty brett flavors follow next with woody and damp oak coming through in the finish. The aftertaste is full of buttery oak and lingering sour notes of brett and bitter citrus rind.
M: Medium-full body with a clean mouthfeel that has a good chew to it. The carbonation is fluffy and fairly soft, and the tartness is very mild with just a touch of acidity.
O: Tastes as advertised . Not my favorite but definitely a clean and flavorful brett witbier. Very earthy.

375ml into snifter. Batch 5:

A: pours a dark cola brown with a couple fingers of foamy dark tan head that slowly faded into a bubbly collar.
S: earthy and spicy scents of brett dominate followed by bright citrus and bready wheat. I get a very faint hint of tart acid and red berries as well.
T: tart and bright citrus and acid hit first and hit strong. Much more tart than the nose let on. Citrus mixes with the oak and brett and gives off a citric acid quality that has quite a bite to it. The finish is full of dark fruits, red berries, and blood orange. I get a strange hint of coffee, and a bready touch of wheat. Blood orange and buttery oak linger.
M: tart and acidic mouthfeel, dry and tannic medium body, with bubbly and splashy carbonation.
O: definitely rough around the edges. Decent flavor but distracting harsh tartness.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.64/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle picked up locally, enjoyed from a stemless snifter wine glass. Brew poured a deep brown almost black. Thin bubbly cap that didn't hang out long. Nose is dark sour brett and vinegar. Big tart flavor. Burgundy sour. Big mouth pucker, one of the more sour crooked stave brews I have tried. Vinegar. Overall not a bad brew but very different than the other bretta seasons I have tried. Glad to have tried but not really my bag, some of their dark sours I love, this was a bit too much for me.

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Photo of mrfrancis
3.81/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours an opaque black with a creamy, thin khaki head that recedes quickly.

S: Strong aromas of funky wild yeast, oak, cider vinegar, must, citrus, and dark chocolate fill the nose.

T: Notes of cider vinegar, sea salt, oak, must, wild yeast funk, cream, dark chocolate, roasted grain, black currants, black cherries, plums, lemon zest, and blood orange fill the mouth. The finish is sharp with an odd, yet pleasing juxtaposition of oak, vinegar, and dark chocolate.

M: Moderately full in body and dry. Carbonation is spritzy on the entry, but mellows to reveal smooth, creamy sensations in the mouth.

O: A respectable enough wild ale, though everything could be a little more integrated.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Batch 5 - 2014. 375ml capped bottle.

A: Pours a very dark brown with reddish highlights under a quarter-inch thick tan head which fades to a thin cap and rim leaving spots of lace.

N: Sour and tannic, lemon citrus zest, slightly bretty.

T: Sour oranges, oak tannic bite, barnyard brett, fruity, faintly basalmic.

M: Medium body and carbonation. Finishes orange fruits and astringent/acidic tannins.

O: Interesting dark saison/wild ale. The oak and citrus crush the brett funk.

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Photo of metter98
4.11/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is close to being jet black in color—only slight traces of dark brown are present near the edges of the glass when it is held up to a bright light. It poured with a short off whit head that died down, leaving delicate lacing on the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of sourness are present in the nose along with notes of orange citrus.
T: The initial taste starts off like a Belgian Dark Ale but is sour and has notes of oranges towards the back end that lingers through the finish along with the sourness.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and a little tart on the palate with a low amount of carbonation.
O: This beer doesn't initially look like a wild ale from the appearance, but once you taste it you start getting the sour flavors from the brett. The orange aromas and flavors add an interesting touch.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.33/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

A thick chestnut brown malt color out of the bottle, and fills with a very dark mahogany brown and a bit of faint red. Barely a finger of tan head, leaving a thin collar. Looks a bit like a weak oud bruine.

Weak and subtle nose. Strange whipped milk chocolate, and brett like lemon dryness. Kind of subtle and not very distinct.

Palate is a bit lifeless particularly in the mouthfeel. Extremely wet bodied, and almost seltzery. Slightly juiced flavors and quality save it a bit, with hints of citrus orange and almost fruit punch. Minimal malt sweetness and a moderate acid. Not really much going on.

Overall it's not terrible, but really not that great either with not much for me to say.

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Photo of Brew33
3.28/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I adore Crooked Stave and that's the only reason I went for a Dark Saison. When I was looking at this I was wondering "why?" Why brew this beer? It was darker than I expected and the nose was incredibly roasty. I wouldn't say off-putting but the combination of roasted malts, citrus, and yeast was incredibly odd. Luckily, it tasted better than it smelled. The roasted malts aren't as prominent in the flavor as the aroma. It's a little messy and a touch more sour than I remember Spring or Summer being. The mouthfeel was fine, no complaints. Overall an interesting experience but I would prefer they left the dark malts out.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle opened on 4.11.14
2014/Batch 5

A - Pours a dark brown with a fluffy light brown head that fades slowly.

S - Spices, oaky, smokey-roasted.

T - Tart oak, cherry, roasted malty, citrus finish.

D - Good carbonation with a medium body.

O - Tart and citrus, but nice winter spices and roasted malts.

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Photo of Brob245
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - pours almost black with little carbonation and no lacing.

Smell - dark fruits, maybe a dusty burnt hay.

Taste - initially sweet upfront but sours quickly. An assault of flavors on the tongue. Tangy citrus lingers as it finishes.

Mouthfeel - smooth feel with medium carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall - a good beer. I'm consistently impressed by the beers coming from Crooked Stave.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Where Crooked Stave and their wild friends contribute a powdery-dry spicy wood tone, and then chase that "house" flavor across a brevity of styles as a gently rolling earthy character wafts about.

St. Bretta (Citrus Wildbier) showcases that on a surprisingly dark and mostly still ale to capture the demeanor of winter. Dark and tangy fruit captivate the nose and initial taste with sour black cherry, plum, dry cider, blackberry and currant; but with an earthen undercurrent of mushroom and game.

Acute in its sourness, the middle opens with jaw-locking acidity that plays out on the palate with near-red wine vinegar, cabernet, the bitter-sour taste of lime and an overall briny sense. Its subtle and dark balance is of mild toast, coffee, Curacao bitter orange and prune as a juicy taste resists the beer's drying texture.

But alas, dryness prevails as the finish continues to intensify in souring. Stripping the thirst form the palate with ease, the beer finishes mildly tannic, tart and with a feathery wood texture. Its clean aftertaste is ready for another sip immediately, leaving only echoes of black cherry and plum behind. There's surprisingly little "dark" taste to coincide with its macabre color.

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.55/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown, thin head that leaves just a few islands floating on the surface.

Very odd scent. Musty and tart, with a bit of sour milk. Light citrus. It's unappealing.

Thankfully, the tart and citrus are more pronounced in the flavor. Juicy and sour. A hint of dark roasted malt.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side of medium, as is the carbonation.

Overall, very meh. It's hard to get past the strange smells spouting from it.

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St. Bretta (Winter) from Crooked Stave Brewery & Taproom
87 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.