Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project

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American Wild Ale
Ranked #149
Ranked #1,076
4.27 | pDev: 6.79%
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
Colorado, United States
Notes: Burgundy sour ale aged in oak barrels.
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Reviews: 78 | Ratings: 618
Photo of rodbeermunch
2.88/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Gotta say I was not a fan of this when we drank it at the airbnb place we stayed for the Firestone Walker Invitational 2018. Pours a ruddy brown and dark red, 1/4" off white head on the top. Ain't much in the way of clarity for this beer. Biggest aroma being pushed out of this was red grapes/red wine barrel. Big in that way. Wet American oak. Mild earthy leather counterpart.

The taste was about a 5/10 on the sour scale, but about a 8/10 on the vinegar/acetic acid scale. Wasn't super enjoyable in that regard. Still pounding insides with red wine barrel dominance. Overall this beer just didn't do it for me, seems to be pretty pricey, but you don't get a top tier product out of it despite the huge cash influx to acquire. There are superior beers with red wine impact like this that don't get all vinegar in the taste and mouth feel. Would not recommend.

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Photo of bump8628
4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle.

Hazy burgundy to brown body. Off-white head that starts super creamy and then fades to a nice sticky lace.

Complex balance of warm toasted maltiness, musty aged oaky flavors, red wine, faint acetic sourness, with some funky brettanomyces nuances and just a trace of roastiness on the finish.

A fantastic sour beer with plenty of complexity to sip and savour but also the balance to keep the drinker coming back. Drinks much “bigger” than the 6.5% abv. A worthy American version of a Flanders red/brown - seems to be a hybrid of those styles.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.76/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Currently #26 on the Top 100 Colorado Beers list; I'm excited to try it especially since it's from a beloved brewery in my home state I've been drinking beers from since they were still putting them out at Funkwerks' Taproom.

BOTTLE: Purchased at a beer store in Colorado. 750ml brown glass format with a hood-and-wire cage over a branded cork. Label is classily understated; peach in colour.

"Burgundy sour ale aged in oak barrels." "Ages in large oak foeders, and finally, smaller wine casks." [It's unclear if they actually use virgin oak barrels given their suspicious alternate utilization of the terms 'foeder' and 'barrel']. 6.5% ABV. "Serve at 46-54 F."

HEAD: ~1cm in height. Pale khaki in colour. ~1 minute head retention. Leaves no lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: Auburn/copper colour. Nontransparent. Semitranslucent. No yeast/lees are visible.

Appears aptly carbonated. Not unique or special in appearance, but certainly appealing for the style.

AROMA: Grape must. Acetic acid. Wine-soaked barrel wood. Brettanomyces funkiness. Red wine vinegar. Obvious bacterial acidity. Faint tart cherry. Berry skin. A scintilla of leather. Bacterial twang.

Malt profile seems neutral, letting the yeast take over and guide the aroma. Lacks any overt hop character.

Aromatic intensity is moderately high. Promises an acidic beer of moderate (~5-7/10) sourness.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Cherries. Berry skin. Acetic acid/red wine vinegar. Leather. Wood. Brettanomyces funkiness (bruxellensis). Bacterial acidity, twang, and sourness (in terms of sourness it's about a 6/10 - not puckering, but certainly obvious).

Has a smacky yet refreshing mouthfeel rife with high acidity. Smooth. Slightly dry. Leathery. Evokes withered fruit skin or rough vine.

Oak isn't vivid in the mix; I get wood but it isn't recognizably oak. Wine tones do surface, but they're not so intense as to eclipse the beer. The wine barrel complements the flavour profile but contributes only mild flavour itself.

Not oily, gushed, hot, astringent, or boozy. A bit undercarbonated perhaps.

OVERALL: A worthwhile American answer to the Belgian sour ales dominating the sour ale category. Though its oak aging (which I assume is just foeders for virgin oak, not barrels as implied by the label description) and wine barrel aging fail to bring as much to the beer as a whole as they ought to and it wants for the microfloral and bacterial nuance of proper spontaneous fermentation, it's a solid beer that's well worth trying and possibly even aging.

I don't know that I'd contend this is one of Crooked Stave's finest beers, but that says more about the ubiquity of quality beers in Crooked Stave's lineup than it does about this beer. Definitely one I'd happily order again - and one that I would were it not for its relatively high price - and a brew I'm proud is from my home state.

It doesn't one up most quality Belgian sour ales nor does it best U.S. favourites from the likes of Russian River, Jolly Pumpkin, Allagash, Lost Abbey, or the like, but it's definitely upper tier fare.

Low B+ (3.76) / VERY GOOD

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.36/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours brownish red, good head of foam and lacing. Smells of tart cherries, wood, some malty notes of light toasted bread and caramel, vinous. Sour cherries, acetic acid, vinous, but with a malt kick. Finishes woody and very dry. I am glad that I bought this rather expensive 750ml. ~$30.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.93/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Our homage to the history of barrel-aging and those who have influenced us along the way." Brewed in the style of an American Wild Ale aged in oak barrels. Available in 375ml. bottles and on limited draft.

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

(Appearance) Pours a crisp frothy head of a pale caramel-beige white tone over an assertively carbonated burgundy body with high clarity. Retention is above average and lacing is light and spotty. 3.75

(Smell) Moderate sourness and acidity with a malt backbone of smooth bread and caramel malts, softly doughy, slightly spicy oak tannins with a moderate drying effect. Potency is mild. 3.75

(Taste) Slightly more acidic sourness up front, mostly tart acidity, some moderate vinegar tanginess, giving way to a very clean and subtle dark malt body of light bread malts, dark fruit sugars and drying oak. This beer is notably dry on the finish and very clean otherwise, drinkable with an enjoyable level of residual sweetness on the back end. 4

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, smooth, lightly viscous, moderately dry. Carbonation is medium, generating a light frothiness and a moderately crisp finish. Body is medium for the style, shy of medium overall. Balance is moderately tangy and vinegar sourness over sweet. Alcohol presence is light and there are no off characters. 4

(Overall) A very enjoyable traditional sour with lots of variety and depth to the souring character, with a clean but smooth and gently sweet malt backbone. I did not get much oak barrel character aside from a slightly dried out malt base and some gentle tannins that play well into this beer's flavor. Very enjoyable with a pleasing sour dimension; not very complex but nice subtleties which make for a quality, gentle sipping sour. 4

Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project's
Origins: Burgundy Sour Ale Aged in Oak Barrels

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Photo of moose1980
4.27/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Smells like what one might imagine vinegar-soaked oak to be like. It's acidic, but less so than the raspberry version. Drinks like an Oud Bruin, a very good one.

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Photo of beergoot
4.01/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Deep, dark red copper color to the body; fair, light tan head. Sour cherry aroma; faint note of caramel; some woody hints bouncing around. Very sour cherry and red wine flavors; finishes with a lemon or lime character. Medium-heavy body; very tart and juicy.

This is a lovely wild ale, delivering some intense tart and sour pit fruit qualities. The burgundy barrel aging isn't too prominent, but it does bring some nice acidic, mouthwatering fermented fruit flavors to the palate.

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Photo of LAp
4.09/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark wood color with no head but trace lacing on the glass. Nose is brett and oak. Palate is clean, but deep and dark funk. Mouthfeel is a touch too watery. Overall, a solid sour, but not on par with the other offerings here today.

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Photo of zeff80
4.32/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a reddish brown color with a small, off-white head of foam. It smelled of fruits and subtle caramel notes. This hits you with a sour, tart punch up front and adds a touch of sweet fruitiness.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.34/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark in color yet bright in taste, the sour beer that started the layered fruit series stands tall without any fruit additions and carrying its own sour, spice and fruit character. Crooked Stave releases this somewhat naked brew in all its tangy, tart and rustic glory.

Russet garnet and with a foggy tawny brown glow, the beer's scant eggshell froth swirls with a nutty, sour, cidery, winey, peppery twinge to the nose. Mild sweetness carries a toasty and nutty tone across the front of the tongue and awaits the beer's premiere sourness.

As the low lying sweetness lifts, the sourness rushes in. Dry cider, dry red wine, weathered limes and lemons, sour grape, gooseberry and crabapple begin to frame the beer's sour middle palate while its late taste is one of peppercorn, dark wood, charred toast and a slight mushroom gaminess.

Medium light in body, the beer's sharp sourness has the taste and texture trending dry, spicy and pleasantly tannic. A trailing drift of saddle leather and damp burlap give a sense of Belgianesque oud bruin but with the unique piquant sourness that this Colorado brewery brings.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nose has oak, red wine, vanilla, blueberry. Flavour is similar. Oak and vanilla up front, red wine alongside. A bit sour, with a light dry funk in the finish. Nice stuff.

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Photo of maximum12
3.53/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to CaptCleveland for this 375ML bottle that’s been sleeping in the fridge for most of its life. Time for a good winter cleaning.

The pour is a deep red with spare carbonation that fades faster than the memory of a bad gose. Smells like fruit & something that’s going to trigger my acid reflux disease. I hope my meds hold out.

Origins is grapey. Ever been to a grape stomp? I’ll be this tastes just like the stuff that’s ground into the bottom of the big oak containers by all the nice, clean bare feet. Strong oak, grape must, white grape juice, sharp plums, red wine vinegar. Acetic. Acidic? Acerbic? Dry. Half the bottle will do me fine.


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Photo of kitch
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A 375ml bottle from batch #5, bottled in May 2015, and poured into a Cantillon ballon glass.

Appearance: It poured a clear but dark burgundy reddish brown colour with a one finger beige head that had decent retention and left spotty lacing.

Aroma: Fruity grape, red wine, blackberries and cherries. Lightly tart with hints of oak.

Taste: Sour and tart, fruity grape, cherry and red wine with a touch of lemon, oak and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall: Nice, balanced and easy to drink.

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Photo of stortore
4.24/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375 ml bottle into a tulip glass. Batch #5, bottled 5/2015, had 5/29/16.

Pours exceptionally dark for a Wild Ale, opaque, with a one finger head, some lacing. Smells of oak, red wine, some funk and Brett, cherries, purple grapes. The taste is a little more malty, red wine, Brett, sour- but really more tart, purple grapes, less oak than the nose, cherries- stronger as it warms, some plums, a little vanilla. Smooth, full bodied for the style, good level of carbonation.

Certainly has lots of layers of flavor, well made and well blended. The Burgundy barrels really add a lot to this. A bit of a high price point, but well worth a purchase.

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Photo of OrangeMen
4.28/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 Vintage
~1 year since bottling date

Appearance- Pours a dark reddish-brown, burgundy color, some glistening light flashes through. Half finger thick, light tan colored head, fizzy and soapy, spotty head lacing, dissipates to fine layer.

Aroma- Tart fruits, cherries, blackberries, red wine grapes, vinous. Slight jammy fruitiness and sweetness. Dry oak, dried nuts and raisins, herbaceous notes, hints of vanilla and even chocolate.

Taste- Acidic, tart lemon mixed with berry notes. Sour cherry, sour grape, tart raspberries. Sweeter red wine grape, vinous notes, jammy fruits, candied sweetness. Dry oak on the finish w/ slight creamy flavors.

Feel- Sharp tartness up front but does not linger into the finish or aftertaste. Medium body w/ moderate carbonation, slightly creamy finish.

Overall- Exploding with juicy and tart fruit flavors. Upfront tartness is balanced well by a fruity sweetness akin to a jammy dessert. Tartness is not too abrasive, hits up front but then goes away, doesn’t linger on and lets some sweetness come forward. Dry oak barrel and vinous notes on the finish, not too much to lose the other flavors.

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Photo of Marius
4.31/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

37cl bottle. Gusher. Pours a deep burgundy red, with visible carbonation and a beige head with no retention. Smells of red grapes and wine, dark fruit, prunes, raisins, caramel and quite a bit of oak. Sour and very rich in flavour, with notes of unripe grapes, red currant, gooseberries and a very feint but perfectly integrated caramel background. Very nice.

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Photo of Raj
3.69/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Batch 4, 11/2014, consumed 1/31/16. Aged room temp, consumed 50F

A: dark brown, opaque red highlights, wispy khaki colored head that quickly dissipates.
S: a little muted at first, may have been a little cold. Once it warmed get a lot of of tart dark fruit- red apple and cherry skins, sour plum, malt, caramel, wood
T: Tart upfront but there balanced by some sweet. Sour dark fruit continues with red apple, sour cherry, slight fig notes. Also some sweet caramel and wood. The flavor was a little muddy when cold, but felt more integrated with bright fruit flavor as it warmed up. Some wood notes towards to the finish.
M: Medium, a little carbonation at first but flat by the end of the glass
O: Decent flanders style / sour brown ale but nothing special. I wish the tart fruit flavors were brighter, but this may be related to aging. Compared to some of the my favorite beers in this style (La Folie, Rodenbach grand cru) the flavor was a little muddy and lacked barrel character.

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Photo of KyleDavis
4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375mL bottle poured into Teku glass

Pours nearly black despite it being a "burgundy sour." Aroma is a touch cloying. Lots of acidity throughout the taste with some good oak character and hints of cherry.

More oak and fruit comes out as it warms.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.65/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

375ml bottle served in a pair of Georgetown samplers. 11/2014 Batch 4.

Pours translucent reddish brown with very little head and very little carbonation. Smell is tart and oaky, dark fruit, but mild.

Taste is very tart, sweet tart but not very sweet. Tasty, but not much detectable character to it.

Mouthfeel is super dry, cottonmouthy. Overall, pretty good, but not great.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.63/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Batch 5 from May 2015 served in a wine glass

Appearance: dark ruby with brown notes as well, tons of carbonation. Nice and complex lacing.

Nose: cherries, lactic sourness, raspberries, vanilla, some Barrel character, some chocolate notes as well

Taste: initially verty tart. Cherries, raspberries and lactic acid dominate the palate, candy like tartness, like smarties, well carbonated, delicious and complex.

Overall: wonderful Crooked Stave offering. I liked the creamy lactic sourness and thought it was very well balanced with the lactic and acetic acids. Nice acid profile. I have another bottle that will stay hidden away for years to come. This is a beer that I will buy more of in the future.

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Photo of Jusdolive09
4.68/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours clear, deep burgundy in color, moderate carbonation. Smell is fruity/citrusy, reminds me of lemons and black currant. Taste is out of this world, perfect level of sour and tartness, hints of citrus and berries with a surprising hoppiness at the end. Would buy over and over, absolutely worth $16 for just under 13 oz.

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Photo of grover37
4.51/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Batch 4 from Nov 2014.

Dark reddish brown with orange highlights. Large ring of big bubbles.

Cherry pie nose. Sharp dark fruits and oak. Funk is prominent but the cherry and plum dominate.

Taste is like a tart Oud Bruin. Stinging acidity hits first with sour cherries and some oak tannin. Other dark fruits through the middle with some malt sweetness. Sweet and sour lingers with a drying sensation.

This is one of the better Oud Bruins I have had to date. Wasnt expecting it to be so squarely in that flavor profile, plus some extra acidity. Well balanced anyway and really well done. Worth seeking out if you are into this style.

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Photo of bubseymour
4.54/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not the most funky smelling but the taste is extremely sour with a nice dark fruit sweetness in the finish. An excellent sour beer but wished it had more funk in the smell dept.

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Photo of GuitarIPA
4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L - black/plum color, off white head with plum tinge, attractive lacing
A - sour/salty, fig, lime, dark fruit
T - prune or plum, cherry? dried fruits
F - light bodies (not thin), dry, and sour

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark fruits, lacto, cherry, cherry skin, and oak. Very nice depth of flavor. Real sour, but has a mellow, dry finish. A ramped up Flanders Red type of beer. It's good.

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Origins from Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 618 ratings