Nightmare On Brett
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project

Nightmare On BrettNightmare On Brett
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American Brett
Ranked #1
Ranked #451
4.39 | pDev: 7.06%
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
Colorado, United States
Nightmare On BrettNightmare On Brett
Notes: Dark sour ale aged in Leopold Bros whiskey barrels

A demonic dark sour, Nightmare on Brett takes on many facets during its transformation to the sour side. Initially aged in large oak foeders with our mixed culture of wild yeast and bacteria, this beer is then transferred to bourbon and whiskey barrels. The various spirit barrels bring on a new life to this beer as it conditions for months, while obtaining additional bourbon and whiskey characteristics. Dominated by dark fruit aromas and flavors, the underlying cacao notes meld with an acidic tart berry finish. With each batch release being a unique blend of barrels, the multiple variations of Nightmare on Brett released throughout the year prove that with creativity and experimentation, anything is possible.
Reviews: 84 | Ratings: 610 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Beaver13
3.05/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

750ml bottle. Pours dark brown black with a small fizzy bubbly brown head that quickly goes to a thin collar.

The aroma is tart cherry and wood with a little cardboard and bourbon.

The flavor is sweet cherry with a big tart acidic vinegary sourness. The mouthfeel is a bit thin and watery with low carbonation.

Overall, a bit too much overwhelming vinegar sourness, that masks any nuances.

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Photo of zac16125
4.29/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Crooked Stave Nightmare on Brett
12oz Pour into a snifter
On tap at The Pour House Channelside
Consumed (and review written) Nov 2017

A: Black, light tan head, decent retention and lots amount of lacing. 4.5

S: Tart, lactic acidity, some oaky vanilla notes, nice dark fruit to balance. 4.25

T: Dark fruit, tart lactic sourness, some burnt plastic like funk notes. 4.25

M/D: Medium body, carbonation heavy but appropriate. ABV very well masked and drinkability is excellent. 4.5

O: Excellent beer, really enjoyed this one and will definitely have again. 4.25

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Photo of hardy008
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a small tan head which fades pretty quickly. Tart cherries, oak, and some whiskey in the aroma. Tastes like it smells.Light to medium bodied with modest carbonation. Finishes extremely dry. A solid effort.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.02/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a black color ale with a large light brown foamy head with good retention with some OK lacing. Aroma of light roasted malt with some vinous notes and some clear tart notes also perceptible. Taste is a very good mix of light roasted malt with some tart notes, funky ester, no acidity with light ok and whisky notes that are also apparent. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Good mix of complexity and drinkability for style that doesn’t usually excite me.

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Photo of mkh012
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Served at 50ish degrees in a stemless wine glass. No bottled-on date.

Deep reddish black with a tan head.

The nose is black cherry, apple, and vanilla. Subtle bourbon beneath medium-sour red fruit.

The taste is similar. Cherry, caramel, chocolate, and lemon funk. A nice dark sour. Hints of red wine.

The mouthfeel is medium, with medium tartness.

Overall, very good.

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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750ml bottle into glass. No bottling date information found. Cork and cage bottle.
Totally opaque black/crimson colored body. Slight fizzy head retreats back to a couple of islands and a thin ring. Leaves behind some strings of lacing.
Aroma of tart chocolate covered cherries, roasted malts, cocoa, oak, and whiskey barrel.
Taste is immediately tart with cherry and chocolate, joined by dry tannins, brett funk, and oak and whiskey barrel. Has hints of leather and peat. Flavors arrive in stages and provide differing expressions. Rather a dry finish. Has an affinity to oaky red wine.
Medium mouth feel, with a tart/sour tug and pucker. Good carbonation.
Complex sour beer with a very good combination of tart cherry with chocolate/cocoa. As the beer warms the sour pucker is slightly reduced and the oak, leather and whiskey become more revealed. Alcohol is well hidden.

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Photo of REVZEB
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At the very least, this is a beer that is very memorable. The whiskey dark flavors of molasses, charred wood, leather and tobacco are really felt, but delicately, bonding with the sour dark cherry, plum, pomegranate, the yeasts and the brett. All together it is complex, with all kinds of combinations in each sip. Tremendous balance in the feel, making it rich without excess, heavy without being weighty.

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Photo of WickedBeer
4.14/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On draft, Loosa Brews, AL.

Kegged 06/29/17.

The color on this beer is a deep crimson-hues brown, maybe similar to an even deeper imperial red. Hardly any head, with just an ivory ring of foam left around the outside of the glass.

The nose is full of tart, dark fruits right away. This combines nicely with thorough oakey characteristics and a faintly peaty quality underneath. Even getting some raw cacao notes, bitter but bold and roasty but subtly sweet. Complex and it works.

Very tart right away, a lip smacked no doubt. But following that up right away is a flurry of different flavors, ranging from roasty coffee, chocolate, oak, and dark fruit. They play off each other nicely, and the light acidity compliments the light, warm booze on the back end. Really well done, and this beer has developed nicely in the keg.

Some nice tannins emerge in the feel, fairly thin with that crisp acidity, low carb, and warm finish.

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.72/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of the 14 beers we have had in one session of some bad-ass tasting brew.
Maybe the most interesting beer of the session.
A real bourbon treat on the nose
The taste is incredibly complex with a great sourness, a lot of dark fruits and bourbon notes.
Finely carbonated

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to leftpaw for bringing this out to March Madness 2018. Pours a dark brownish red color with a lighter brown head 1/4" deep. Looks like a porter/stout. Cool nose, dark roasted malt, cocao, brett, cherry, wood, whiskey. Complex. More complex than Tart of Darkness I dare say.

Taste wise, not quite up to the bright cherry cola sourness of TOD, but it does bring that brett that TOD just doesn't have. Of course those barrels they use on this one are one step less used than TOD so it brings that slight whiskey aspect to the beer. Its like the dark cherry version of that Mama Bear barrel aged sour cherry pie one, but you know, without the sour cherries or pie crust aspect. Its more dark black cherry richness. The sourness is relatively mild, I would say a 3.5 on the 10pt scale. ABV is very well hidden. Some aspects of this seem a little heavy on the dark fruit bitterness (RIS or Baltic Porter perhaps base?) but at no point is it problematic. I enjoyed it.

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Photo of DaveMaciolek21
4.04/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A really exceptional sour. A dark pour with a rich mouthfeel--substantial. Then cacao notes balance tart berries , and you never even get close to a sour wince. A beautifully crafted, potent, sipping sour.

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Photo of TheGent
3.99/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

July 2015 - Batch 6

S: Milk chocolate, vanilla, coconut, oak, sweet tart candies, tart cherry, powdery, musty. The sweet and sour notes come together as chocolate covered strawberry. I’m also getting some watermelon. The aroma certainly has some sweetness to it that is not as prominent in the flavor of the beer, but nowhere near overpowering. It is complex and highly enjoyable.

A: Dark brown with a light brown head that disappears. No visible carbonation and no lacing.

T: Right on the tip of the tongue is a flash of milk chocolate/cherry/raspberry cordial sweetness. This immediately shifts to waves upon waves of acidic sour notes on the back, with just a faint hint of dark malt sweetness. This beer is super tart. Like biting into a lemon. Really hits the jowls. The taste is no where near as complex as the smell. I’m not getting any noticeable barrel treatment.

M: Moderately carbonated and medium bodied.

D: I do not find this beer all that drinkable in the strictest sense of the word because I found that there was not enough sweetness to it. The complex aroma left me wanting more and did not translate to the flavor. The barrel influence, while strong on the aroma is lacking in the flavor. There’s nothing wrong with the beer. I just found it to be lacking barrel character, which I think would have provided more complexity and drinkability. The best thing about this beer is the way it smells.

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Photo of Damian
4.39/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 750ml (25.4 fl oz) corked and caged bottle purchased at Fort Point Market, Boston, MA
Served in a tulip

Really unique and dramatic appearance. The deep, dark garnet colored body was topped by an inch-tall, super tight and creamy, saddle brown head that slowly dropped to a thick, lasting collar. A sheet of spotty lacing coated the glass and stuck around until the beer was finished.

The aroma was super interesting and complex. Really vinous and fairly tart. Loads of Cabernet and aged balsamic. Strong powdered cocoa notes. Dark fruits and dark malts came through as well. Cherries and raisins specifically. Bourbon was also apparent. Slightly oaky. There was a fairly noticeable metallic quality initially, but this dissipated as the beer opened up. The fragrant, boozy, bourbon notes intensified later in the session, as did the cocoa too. I definitely picked up some rich dark chocolate.

The flavor profile was similar to the nose but perhaps not quite as rounded or as interesting. Quite vinous and tart. Again, oaky red wine and balsamic notes came through strong. Some dark berry character too. Currents, raisins and dark cherries perhaps. Touch of sweetness. More tartness and vinegar-like acidity on the back end and in the finish. Bourbon notes were detectable as well. Slightly dry, oaky and tannic.

The mouthfeel was somewhat thin. A touch watery and nondescript perhaps. The liquid contained a fine, subtle effervescence that turned slightly frothy on the palate. By the end of the glass, the acids in the beer felt as if they were stripping the enamel off my teeth.

I find many of Crooked Stave’s wild ales to be overly acidic and somewhat one dimensional, but Nightmare on Brett was amazingly complex and surprisingly balanced. This reminded me a lot of a Flemish sour ale, and a damn good one at that. The tart, Bretty character combined with dark fruit undertones, raw cocoa and barrel notes worked together seamlessly. This is definitely one of the more interesting sours I have tried in quite a while.

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Photo of Hoonia
4.21/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I dont know where to start. It pours almost like a stout - nearly black with a 1/2 finger tan head. Mouth feel is like a light stout. Whiskey, wood, sour cherry nose. Great bright sourness with dried fruit in the back (raisins and prunes). I love drinking this mindbender.

Side note: Crooked Stave carries the “nightmare” into the ABV, which is 9.666%. The attempt at cleverness is a little off-putting.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.07/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oaky. Dark berries, bitter chocolate, lemon, hint of vanilla and raspberries. Light bodied, lower carb. Super sour up front but mellows out in the back. Short, semi dry finish. Pretty food. Nice October beer.

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Photo of Phineasco
4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look: Pitch black, with 2 inch off white head.
Smell: Tart, bready malt, and whiskey.
Taste: Very tart, bready malt, black cherries, and subtle whiskey on the back end.
Mouthfeel: Full
Overall: An enjoyable dark sour from Crooked Stave. I liked this much better than the blueberry version.

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Photo of JLK7299
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Splitting a .750 with two friends on a beercation in Vermont as we speak. Looks and smells heavenly. Perfectly balanced. Tart. Easily drinkable. Could drink over and over!

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Photo of bnes09
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Midnight black with a soft, light, bubbly head. Aggressive roasted and balsamic aroma. Flavor is highly berry forward with bitter black currants and blueberries. Toasted oak. Punch of balsamic. High level of acid. Funk and oak are there but hard to detect underneath the roast and berry-like acidity. Medium body. Sturdy, malty texture. Well carbonated. Dry finish. Very good beer overall.

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Photo of WunderLlama
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a glass

Dark liquid with a real Ng of bubbles around the edge

Tart taste with Brettamycatrs taste, whiff of blueberry

Tart, sour

Good beer

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Photo of JacobusFavier23
4.16/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L- One finger head. Dark opaque black with a slight red tint.
S- Funky... Immediate vinegar, grape/wine aromas, lemon as well. It smells extremely potent. In a good way though. Slightly pickle-y.
T- I's very funky. A Sour, slightly sweet, slightly oaky wine flavor.
Mf- Minimal and dry. Wonderful mouthfeel.
O- Delicious for what it is. Not used to this type of beer, AT ALL, but I have to say it's extremely complex for it's characteristics and I'm extremely excited to try more.

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Photo of JackRWatkins
4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours with one finger, creamy, khaki head, near opaque pitch black
S: dark cherries and oak, beautiful
T: bracingly sour, with good notes of funk, with a definite, oaky whisky note
M: silky and dry

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Photo of kojevergas
3.97/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Currently #4 in the Top Colorado beers. I've been drinking Crooked Stave since they were brewing at Funkwerks, so my hopes are high seeing as this is their highest rated beer.

BOTTLE: Brown glass. Branded black and red pry-off crown cap. 375ml/12.7 fl oz format. Appealing creepy label art.

"Dark sour ale aged in Leopold Bros whiskey barrels." 9.666% ABV. Batch 3 (11/2014 vintage).

Served chilled into a goblet and allowed to come to temperature over the course of consumption.

HEAD: ~5cm in height. Khaki colour. Somewhat creamy, somewhat frothy, but not as soft or robust in appearance as would be ideal. Retention is nice for the ABV - ~2 minutes. Leaves no lacing or coating on the sides of my goblet as it recedes. Yields no legs when the glass is tilted.

BODY: Opaque solid black. No yeast/lees are visible within, but its opacity makes determining if it was filtered or not impossible.

It's a nice looking sour ale - certainly a darker hue. Not unique or special in appearance, but it looks adequately carbonated and I'm eager to try it.

AROMA: Lactobacillus is evident, and I think I find some pediococcus bacteria as well? No overt funkiness from brettanomyces, but I guess I could see some brettanomyces lambicus contributing some of the complex sourness...I'm just not picking up on any bruxellensis.

Cherry pie crust, faint acetic aromatics, a blip of raisin (though that could be from Belgian yeast), subdued oak.

Sourness is mild - maybe 3-4/10 in terms of intensity. Barrel character is quite restrained if not reticent; I honestly wouldn't know this was whiskey barrel aged if handed a glass in a blind tasting.

Aromatic intensity is above average. Suggests a well-balanced complex sour ale with a pleasing bacterial intricacy.

I find no off-notes. ABV is well hidden.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Wood is present throughout, evoking subdued oak but not overt whiskey; there's no alcohol warmth, rich white oak, whiskey spiciness, or barrel vanillin. The reticence of the whiskey barrel is actually fortuitous, as it allows the bacterial intricacy to take centre stage - and boy is this beer's bacteria presence right on the money for the style. Though it isn't puckering in its sourness, tending more towards a mild 4/10 sourness in terms of intensity, there's ample bacterial complexity, lactobacillus and pediococcus dueling with faint brettanomyces flavours for dominance.

Dry and slightly coarse from the heavy wood presence, but smacky enough to be refreshing when coupled with the beer's perfect carbonation and slightly chewy mouthfeel. Medium-bodied, adequately thick, and approachable. Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy. Some tannins are present, drying it out and bending it towards tasting more like a wine barrel aged beer than a whiskey barrel aged beer.

Dark malt sweetness keeps it anchored. Belgian saccharomyces yeast throws out faint notes of spice and raisin. Cherry pie flavours nod to the beer's obvious Belgian influence, tipping a hat to Rodenbach. Some tart fruit/berries.

What really works here is its balance and harmony; despite its many layers of bacteria and yeast-derived flavours, it still comes off tasting like a gestalt whole of a beer, exceeding the sum of its parts. Superb depth of flavour. Mellow flavour intensity. High flavour duration; that smacky lactic acid sings through the aftertaste.

Luscious and delicious.

OVERALL: I find myself inhaling this in spite of its near 10% ABV; it's dangerously drinkable and supremely tasty. Crooked Stave defends their high reputation with this incredible ale, a sort of soured Baltic porter that fuses subtle barrel flavour with wild yeast and bacteria. Undoubtedly one of the best ales brewed in my home state and a beer I intend to revisit. Up there with New Belgium's La Folie and Odell's Friek in terms of superb Colorado sours.

High B+ (3.97) / VERY GOOD

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Photo of KensWorld
4.89/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml into goblet. Dark ruby mahogany. Cherry and chocolate on the nose. Taste is sour cherry and raspberries with plenty of Brett funk, very very sour. Opens up as it warms with complexity. The raspberries seem to be at total balance with the base sourness and are probably making this even more tart. Slight barrel feel as i get to the end but wish there were more whiskey character.

One of the most intense fruit sours I've ever tried.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.23/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500 ml bottle poured into pint glass bottled on 1/16

A: Dark brownish black body with almost no head very dense body but some light does escape the edges.

S: lots of blueberries and some light vinegar and some whiskey with a little darker fruit mixed in like raisins or dates. As it warms some of the oak comes out.

T: Lots of blueberries and maybe a little whiskey up front than a bracing amount of sourness, then it finishes with a good dose of charred oak lemon and almost like whiskey soaked figs.

M: Pretty good carbonation very prickly body is medium to fuller.

O: This beer is very unique and I am really enjoying it. The whiskey and sourness wth the blueberries they seem to come together than clash at the same time.

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Photo of LAp
4.51/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep mahogany with no head. Nose is dark saison hybridized with earthy brettanomyces funk. Notes of dark fruit, cherry, and raspberry. The palate opens with sweet fruit, predominantly raspberry and cherry. More than even earthy or clean, the sour has the character of ripe fermenting fruit. Mouthfeel is medium with subtle carbonation. An absolutely incredible, nuanced

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Nightmare On Brett from Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 610 ratings