Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project

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Wild Ale
Ranked #895
Ranked #6,557
4.06 | pDev: 8.37%
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
Colorado, United States
Notes: Belgian Style Dark Sour ale aged in Sherry barrels.
Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 107 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of hopsputin
hopsputin from New Jersey

4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: dark cherry color with a some brown and black notes. 1/4 finger fizzy tan head

s: dark tart cherries, vinegar, caramel, apple cider. big bready notes, lemons, leather, and pepper spice

t: red wine vinegar, tart cherries, and brown sugar. sweet grass, caramel, and something almost like sourdough. prunes, and raisins with some cloves. finish is tart vinegar and cherries

m: medium mouthfeel with high carbonation

o: quite nice. almost tastes like a Flanders Red. Cherries and vinegar are the two driving forces in here, with a malty and dark fruit backbone

Jun 19, 2020
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Beejay from Virginia

3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown in color with a small amount of tan head.

S: Dark fruits, a touch of dried cherry and oak, with sour notes and a hint of candy.

T: Dark cherry, almond, with a nice tartness and a bit of a caramel kick. Something clinging in finish, and almost a touch abrasive.

M: Medium light in body with very high carbonation.

O: Overall darn tasty, but the finish is a touch syrupy or cloying. A bit odd.

Jun 30, 2018
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Franziskaner from Missouri

3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown and murky with a fingernail of beige around the rim that also covers a quarter of the top. The aroma offers dark Belgian candy sugar and fruity Belgian yeast. The taste is overwhelmingly sweet between the dark Belgian candy sugar, Belgian malt, and the fruity Belgian yeast. The mouth is very dry, crisp, and carbonated.

Jun 15, 2018
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pubscout from New Jersey

3.48/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This mixed fermentation Belgian style dark ale reminded me of Rodenbach and any number of Flemish sours. Tart cherries and tangy dark fruit in the nose and on the palate, with no significant hop presencetgst I could detect. It’s an 8.92% sipping beer for sure, acidic and somewhat vinous, probably the result of being aged in Sherry barrels. It’s definitely true to style, but sours—even Belgian Dark sours—are not my favorites. Clearly well made though, and if you’re a sour lover (like Brett, Alix and Natalie) you’ll probably love this effort from Crooked Stave.

Jan 01, 2018
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Phil-Fresh from California

4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Fairly vinous upfront with lots of barrel character, followed by a moderately light sourness.

A: Deep brown color, opaque, with a head that quickly forms a thin ring around the glass, with light accompanying lacing.

T: Moderate dark malts upfront, followed by lots of vinous notes with a clean moderate sourness through the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderately-light carbonation.

O: Solid; the beer's sherry aroma and flavors with accompanying dark malts, gives the beer an almost Flemmish Red quality.

Nov 10, 2017
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Bitterbill from Wyoming

4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours really dark reddish brown, lots of off white foam, admirable lacing. Smells tart like sour cherries, maybe plums, acetic acid, yeast, hints of Brett but very mild hints. Sour cherries for sure, a bit acetic, yeasty,somewhat oaky, can't really taste any funk. Body approaches full and the carbonation is up there. A pleasing sipper.

Sep 21, 2017
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metter98 from New York

4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: When viewed from afar, the beer is very dark brown in color; the beer is hazy reddish brown in color. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that settled down very quickly, leaving a collar consisting of medium-sized bubbles around the edge of the glass and a thin film covering the rest of the surface.
S: Light aromas of sour dark fruits are present in the nose—cherries seem to stand out in particular—along with faint hints of woody oak.
T: The taste is a little sour and acidic with fruity flavors of cherries, grapes and plums and faint hints of malty sweetness and oaky vanilla.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and both a little tart and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very easy to drink as it isn't overly sour or sour and masks any traces of alcohol from the taste.

Serving type: bottle

Aug 21, 2017
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kojevergas from Colorado

3.37/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

BOTTLE: Pry-off crown cap. Artsy label design. Brown glass. 375ml format. October 2015 vintage.

Regrettably brief impressions below. Served cold into a goblet and allowed to come to room temperature during the review.

"Mixed Fermentation Belgian style dark ale." "9.0%" ABV.

APPEARANCE: Pale khaki colour head; has some creaminess to it that's nice.

Body is a dark ruby; has obvious red hues. Translucent yet nontransparent. No yeast/lees are visible within.

Sultry and enticing, with a nice ~4-5 minute head retention. Appears well-carbonated and looks right for the style, if a bit bright compared to something like Chimay Blue.

AROMA: Far more tart and even sour than a traditional Belgian expression of a Belgian dark ale style beer, hinting at pomegranate seed, acetic acid, tart cherry, and cranberry seed in addition to the more conventional Belgian yeast-derived date, fig, and raisin. Sourness seems mild in comparison to actual sour ales, but Crooked Stave wasn't spewing marketing jargon when they labelled this "mixed fermentation;" brettanomyces is evident - possibly even lambicus?

The tartness is present right up front, but there is some malt backbone evident towards the back end: brown sugar, Belgian dark malts, caramel(ized malt), brown bread, possibly candi sugar.

Aromatic intensity is moderate, bringing style-appropriate intensity aromatically but overcommitting to its less traditional notes. The vividness of the pomegranate seed is arresting, and the wild yeast(s) offer interesting promises of flavour, but the rudiments aren't there.

No off-notes come through (unless you nitpickily include brettanomyces as an off-note). No obvious booziness, metallic notes, etc.

TASTE: Tart and acidic, showcasing pronounced brettanomyces (probably lambicus) and probably bacterial flavours. Cranberry and pomegranate seed ride the tartness wave, playing well with the mild (~3-4/10) sourness as well as with the unfortunately subdued dark fruit flavours from the yeast...I'm getting fig and date but not prune or plum. Tends more towards grape than towards raisin, which is a mis-step in a Belgian dark ale (at least to my tastes).

I'm missing the overt candi sugar and brown sugar I thought I noticed in the aroma, and the malt backbone is a bit timid given the style, with the dark malts cowering beneath the dominant tartness...yeast and bacteria are the stars of the show here, but more malt emphasis is really needed to lend this the bready body it needs to compete with the greats.

To style, there are no overt hop flavours.

I dig the American wild ale leanings they've brought to this hybridized ale, but I'm not confident this captures the best of both hybridized styles as fully as it could. Depth of flavour is good, but the pomegranate seed almost eclipses everything else here and I'd like to see it toned down in the mix. Flavour duration and intensity are true to style. Complexity is adequate but unimpressive (particularly when compared to the best Belgian dark ales).

TEXTURE: A bit gooey, playing further into the pomegranate seed vibe. Smooth, wet, acidic, somewhat soft, medium to full-bodied, filling, and of apt thickness and heft on the palate. Not heavy or overbearing, but it could mimic Chimay Blue with a more fragile delicate presence on the palate.

Not syrupy, oily, hot, gushed, boozy, astringent, rough, scratchy, or plasticky.

OVERALL: Surprisingly drinkable for its high ABV and interesting work in terms of experimentation with style hybridity. Its pomegranate seed focus helps set it apart from the pack even if that particular note is a bit loud, and I can't help but love that element of it. Some drinkers may find it bends a biteen medicinal in terms of its borderline syrupy fruit and tartness, but I think it works - at least in small quantities. I don't know that I'll really savor the last 4oz of my 12oz bottle, and I'd like to see this offered in smaller format bottles, but it's a solid brew in ill-defined stylistic territory and I'd recommend it to any drinker who enjoys both sour ales and Belgian dark ales, even if it isn't as effective at combining the two as it seems to want to be (and tends a bit sweet for either intended style). In any case, it's inspired work from a brewery that's earned its high reputation and it's well worth picking up.

Pair with fig newtons, Belgian chocolate, and/or pumpernickel pretzels.

B- (3.37) / WORTHY

Aug 19, 2017
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TX-Badger from Texas

4.46/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque dark brown color with dark ivory colored head. Dark fruits, caramel, some citrus, yeast, and a little oak on the nose; follows onto the palate. Full bodied. Finishes with dark fruits, oak, and some bitter sweetness.

Jul 31, 2017
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Jadjunk from Georgia

3.62/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

No label information. Motif is brewed in the style of a Belgian Style Dark Wild Ale with mixed fermentation. Available in 375ml. bottles and on rotating draft.

Poured from a 375ml. bottle to a tulip glass.

(Appearance) Pours a medium tan creamy foam head over a moderately hazy dark brown body with mahogany undertones. Retention is very good and lacing is light and spotty. 4.25

(Smell) Bready caramel body with tangy dark fruits- fig predominantly, gentle molasses, nutty, mineral qualities, delicate roast and chocolate undertones. Potency is moderate. 3.5

(Taste) The flavor has considerably more sour qualities over the aroma. Strong acidity and dry tartness forward meeting a soft malt base of dry bread malts, gentle roast and toasted caramel. Finishes very dry- I was hoping for more residual sweetness to better counter the acidic sour qualities, which are very strong in here but arguably unchallenged. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, lightly residual, acidic, chalky dry. Carbonation is mild, generating a mild frothiness and a mildly crisp finish. Body is medium for the style, medium+ overall. Balance is slightly tangy and acidic over sweet. Alcohol presence is mild and there are no off characters. 3.25

(Overall) A favorably enjoyable blended sour ale with a lot of sharp, enjoyable souring qualities, but a bit dry on the back end, resulting in less of a balance than I feel is necessary to keep things enjoyable. As it stands, enjoyable flavor but a distracting lack of balance. 3.5

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project's
Motif: Mixed Fermentation Belgian Style Dark Ale

Mar 08, 2017
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grover37 from District of Columbia

3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

375 split with Lisa into El Cat tulips. Bottled Oct 15. I like the touch of sweetness to balance an assertive sourness. Something is missing though, could use some cherries. Variants with more aggressive barrel character are wayy better.

Feb 25, 2017
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Intensely sour, but also toasty, bitter and peppery- it's clear that Crooked Stave's dark ale uses a mixed fermentation to build a depth of sourness with dark grains, hops and acidity to strike the tongue from all angles.

Medium brown and with mahogany and maroon ribbons of light tethering through its moderately hazed body, the beer's fast dissolving ecru froth leaves behind aromas of green apple, sour cherry, cola and nuttiness. With a mild sweetness, the taste of steely caramels, cola and faint maple grace the front of the tongue but falls away quickly.

With the fleeing sweetness, the middle palate is left with the remnants of malt to contend with powerful sourness. Coffee grounds, toast and peanut skins are the balance to the microfloral of crabapple, lime, sour cherry, grape and gooseberry. Its spicy and bitter finish is riddled with oak spiced, peppercorn and fruit skins for balance and a persistent extra bite.

Toasty dry and medium-light on the palate, the beer's dark color wants to register firmer on the palate, but its acidity renders the malt to a dry echo of nuttiness and toastiness en route to a sour and peppery finish with a short and refreshing afterglow.

Jan 05, 2017
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Pray_For_Mojo from Colorado

3.49/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

on draft, poured into a wine glass.

Aroma: non-existent. You might as well be congested. There is simply nothing there other than perhaps the slightest hint of anise.

Appearance: dark brown with ruby hues only when held directly to light. No head other than a very slight lacing at the edge of the glass.

Flavor: sour, but on the moderate side. There is a prominent - unbalanced - anise flavor. The flavor falls short. Sour and anise is all there is going on. No other flavors and no other depth/layers.

Mouthfeel: medium-light.

Overall: This beer is disappointing. This is not only the worst Crooked Stave beer I've tried, but it is the worst by far. I can't be polite. This beer falls way short of the reputation well deserved from many of CS' other beers.

Oct 22, 2016
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russpowell from Arkansas

3.76/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours an effervescent & hazed mahogany with a pinky cream colored head. Lacing is okay, head retention is lacking

S: A suggestion of grassiness & funk, some red wine surfaces once warm

T: Pear skin, slight sourness, white grape & golden delicious apple up front. Sourness picks up as this warms, pear, a little lemon as well, a little red wine as well. Finishes like a Cab, dry with big time red grape presence

MF: Medium body, firm carbonation, a little warming sensation

Drinks pretty easy, tasted better than rest of the package ( nose, mf & appearance )

Aug 18, 2016
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dipso123 from Oregon

4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perhaps my expectations were set to high. Nice malt character. Hides the 9% ABV very well. Pleasant to drink but not much going on - lacks complexity. As Chief Wiggins would say, "Move along people, nothing to see here."

Jun 27, 2016
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Buck89 from Tennessee

4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Hazy cola brown color with a thin fizzy tan head. Wispy lacing remained after a quick retreat. Aromas were muted, but there was plum, raisin, vinegar, oak, and brown bread. A lot going on in the taste: sour cherries up front, followed by raisin, fig, and plenty of funk - bleu cheese and musty barnyard. Moderately sour. Not much in the way of estery Belgian character, but very enjoyable. Alcohol was well-hidden and the finish was very dry.

Apr 09, 2016
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BLChristie from Texas

4.85/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Tinge of lactic on the nose and tongue on first sip, opens up to show some dark fruit and raisin character around the edges but very subtle as the beer is exceptionally dry for its gravity, little discernible Brett character per se, but the wild yeasts contribute an unmistakable complexity. The bourbon and sherry barrel variants are markedly different and highlight the characteristics of the base beer in remarkable ways. Well done Chad!

Jan 31, 2016
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Benish from Wisconsin

3.79/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a dark brown color and presented a moderate head that dissipated quickly. Aromas were of vinegar, dark fruits, and cherries. As the beer warmed up, it became more vinous and the vinegar notes became more prominent. The flavors were very rich and flavorful. Started out tart and sweet with notes of brown sugar, cherries, dark fruits and vinegar. But just as it happened with the smell, when the beer warmed up, it started to taste more vinous with greater notes of vinegar. It's a good beer chilled, but the complexity actually seemed to diminished when the beer slowly warmed up. I'd suggest pouring a half serving in a glass and stick the remaining bottle in the fridge for a second serving.

Dec 26, 2015
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zonker17 from Texas

4.34/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown with a light tan head. Detectable funk on the nose along with some lightly burnt sugar. Sour, bretty funk, stone fruit, cherry. A bit creamy and funky finish. Moderate carbonation. A unique beer that gets better as it warms.

Nov 22, 2015
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

loosely a belgian dubbel at its base, then intensely soured with lacto, this is one of the more sour crooked stave beers ive had in a long time, maybe ever. the color is brick red in the light, deep brown against the bar, heady and lasting foam on the top, and a mouth watering lemony lacto oaky nose, just so pungent and sharp. it also smells like its a little higher in alcohol than some of the others, not hot at all, but a little tingle is there for sure. i get a fair bit of dried fruit in this, cherry or raisin, with plenty of funk to go with the sour. the belgian aspect never really comes through as far as yeast is concerned, its trumped by the sour, but the grain base is there, even maybe some candy sugar to beef it up, thats all present. its a weird beer, a real original, and i like to see crooked stave getting back to that kind of thing, its awesome. carbonation is enormous, and although i couldnt drink more than one of these without curdling my guts, i really dig whats going on in this glass!

Nov 14, 2014
Motif from Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 107 ratings