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Nightmare On Brett | Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project

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Nightmare On BrettNightmare On Brett
582 Ratings
Nightmare On BrettNightmare On Brett

Brewed by:
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
Colorado, United States

Style: American Brett

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.66%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 582 |  Reviews: 80
Reviews by Montanabeerz:
Photo of Montanabeerz
4.46/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

More User Reviews:
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

 3,898 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.54/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11/2014 Batch 3. Poured from a bottle into snifter, the beer is a dark, almost black coloring, with a wisp of brown bubbling on the surface. Aromas of subtle dark chocolate, bitter coffee, plum and date, earthy highlights, tart cherries, whiskey spice and booze, and some woody spicing. Flavors are very sour and tart forward, with a cherry overtone on a backbone of old world fruit and warming booze. Smoke ghosts linger on your tastebuds after a while. Dig in a bit, and you'll find some chocolate and coffee character, as well as that whiskey spice and warmth. Very smooth and robust, yet dry and crisp at the same time. The aftertaste is more of the chocolate, coffee, and smoke, after the sour and tart notes clear the deck. Dry, sour, puckering, tart, lingering finish. This is a tasty damn beer.

 802 characters

Photo of whileseated
4.93/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Not a Baltic Porter, but definitely the best beer I've had this year, and it's December.

88 characters

Photo of KYGunner
4.39/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The nose is acidic with balsamic and vinegar like twang, lots of Brett, molasses and strong tart cherry.

The flavor is punch to the taste buds with a powerfully tart cherry but a natural sweetness. The cherry flavor is complimented by a barrel derived vanilla that works so well. The end is sour, but sweet and helps to round out a fantastic ale.

 347 characters

Photo of gholmes
4.79/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

When we tasted nightmare, and my buddy put this as his untappd check-in comment, my first statement was "this is a watershed beer moment." You really get a feel for how complex and flavorful sour beer can be and how well they can balance the tartness with other flavors. That's a moment I won't soon forget.

 309 characters

Photo of charlzm
4.07/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Consumed on October 21st, 2015. Poured into a Teku glass. Served at below 40 degrees F but allowed to warm almost to room temp during consumption.

Beer pours a very, very deep dark brown... okay, okay, black. A two finger dark tan head forms and slowly settles, providing some lacing and sheeting all the way to the bottom.

Aroma is tart, sour fruit and a dash of whiskey.

Flavor is intensely sour, which dwarfs all other flavor notes. Hints of dark chocolate malt flavor lurk in there somewhere, as do fleeting tastes of wood and a slightly salty and smoky whiskey note. But make no mistake: the predominant flavor is sharp, acidic sourness.

Mouthfeel is ever-so-slightly thick and smooth with a touch of alcohol heat. Definitely a sipper.

Overall, the sourness is out of whack with the other flavors, though it's still a tasty beer for what it is. I personally prefer Wicked Weed's Black Angel more in the same general category of dark sour.

Thanks to Zonk for the bottle!

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Photo of cbutova
3.8/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Backlog of reviews from last week in CO, KS and KY. This was reviewed fully at the time of consumption to my phone at Moraine Park CG, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO.

A- Dark brown body poured out of a 375ml bottle into a chalice. A light nutty tan head forms on the beer to around half a finger with a frothy foamy consistency. Head retention is decent and a medium ring remains. Sheets of lace at the top of the glass with drizzle and spots below that.

S- Sour lactic acid pours out of the glass even in the aroma with the whiskey barrel coming in strong along with that. Wet oak, vanilla, raisin, caramel and molasses dark brown sugars.

T- Extremely sour lactic lemony acids decimate the taste buds with only a bit of room for other things to shine. Whiskey and vanilla come in and are smoothed out quite a bit. Brown sugar, toasted nuts, green apple, vinegar, wet oak, tart cherry, vinous grapes and molasses hints are pale in comparison to the acid. Strong brett horsey barnyard.

MF- Light end body that is beyond bone dry and the sourness probably plays into that. Carbonation at a moderate level with a foamy and somewhat creamy consistency. The finish is very very sour.

The first few sips show a lot of promise with whiskey vanilla and wet oak playing into the equation heavily but the sour takes over fast. Lactic acid destroys the palate and takes away somewhat from the overall experience. The aroma still holds up well after time, however.

 1,459 characters

Photo of Greywulfken
4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: oily black body but not as viscous as I expected - finger of dark mocha foam slimmed quickly into a thin collar and left delicate patterns of lace behind

S: berries and wood, something herbal and medicinal in the background; vague hints of a darker malt cocoa and some distant dank funk, like (yes, I'm gonna say it) wet horse blankets

T: lots of impressions occur quickly, ranging from chocolate syrup to tart dark berries to drying wood and lemon pith; sour but with flashes of bittersweet chocolate, and maybe even allusions to a dark wine, dry and full of berry

M: fairly full-bodied and full of tart tingle, smooth but puckering astringence and drying wood keep it tight and lean despite a pulling density

O: Surprised to see it classified as a Baltic porter, but I don't know exactly what to call it either. This is some crazy stuff - forget styles - as long as you don't mind the dark pucker, you have to try this if you see one. This is an extraordinary beer. The label says a "dark sour ale" and I found it to be akin to a wild ale with some chocolaty characteristics.

 1,084 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.52/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

i guess i never realized there was a difference between this and the bourbon barrel, i thought they were the same thing, but evidently not, and i may even like this one better, its not quite as sweet, but maybe that has to do with age. dark raisin colored beer with some viscosity and an inch or so of stained tan foam. it smells like dried cherries and dark malt, more of a quad type than a porter type, dense but chocolate forward and not as rich as it looks. i smell a ton of funky sourness and whiskey, sweet but not too sweet, and woody. the flavor leads on slow sourness that starts with a more simple yeast profile, not too far off a base saison, but it escalates in both sourness and acidity, to the point where the finish is pretty darn intense. its cool in a dark beer, and i now definitely get porter here. not sure its baltic porter though, is this lagered? i didnt think crooked stave did that. bitter barley and cocoa flavors collide with again that tart cherry fruit essence, before the whiskey flavors take hold. moderate vanilla, less intense and syrupy in feel than the bourbon, and showing the oak itself a little more cleanly. well hidden alcohol too, i would have guess 6 or 7 percent abv, never nearly 10. the feel is the best feature, and i cant find a flaw. its thick but not too palate coating or heavy. its clean finishing without caustic acidity, and its carbonated just enough. its got a wonderful slippery texture and is made even more unique by the way it feels in my mouth. wonderful beer here, absolutely sensational.

 1,549 characters

Photo of GmAn613
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

W o w w i e

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Photo of G-Hawk
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of Thalz314
5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of Quackus
3.75/5  rDev -14.6%

Photo of aj_tuna
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of Tuckersmth
5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of Hootie159
4.34/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MarkyMOD
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of rodmanfor3
4.07/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of IPAchris
4.21/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of R3ason
3.86/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of FreshZ
5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of mertzhb15
4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of rjp217
4.72/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Jamato14
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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Nightmare On Brett from Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project
Beer rating: 4.39 out of 5 with 582 ratings