Cru D'etat | Ska Brewing Co.

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Awaiting 10 Reviews
Cru D'etatCru D'etat

Brewed by:
Ska Brewing Co.
Colorado, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This "wild in the streets" ale was aged for nearly two years in oak foeders.

Added by nmann08 on 10-13-2013

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Reviews: 6 | Ratings: 35
Photo of beergoot
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep mahogany red body; creamy, sticky, off-white head. Ripe, dark fruit aroma; figs, dates, and raisins; herbal and spicy. Bright, red wine flavor; sour; boozy; very faint oak tones. Heavy body; somewhat chewy and velvety on the palate; tart; sports a wood dryness yet sweet and sour finish overall.

A most robust and heavy hitting celebration ale from Ska Brewing. It smells like an old ale and drinks like a sour while looking damn good throughout. It's nice to have a flip-top cap on this beer yet lovers of strong Belgian beers will probably forego that upon uncapping the beer and enjoy it by themselves or share with friends. Either way, a beer to savor...

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Photo of kojevergas
2.35/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

BOTTLE: Has an odd cap which warrants some explanation: there's a white pry-off crown cap on the bottle when purchased, but also a swing-top cap hanging by the neck - seemingly for use in case one can't finish the beer. Knowing Ska Brewing, that's not an impossibility... Brown glass. 500ml. Uninteresting label art/design. 2014 vintage.

Served cold into a snifter/tulip hybrid glass and allowed to come to temperature over the course of consumption. Expectations are average on account of the brewery. Reviewed live as a Belgian style ale per the label.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1cm wide. Off-white/pale khaki colour. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass. Retention is poor - maybe 20 seconds at best.

BODY: Deep translucent transparent amber of average vibrance. No yeast can be seen within.

Appears undercarbonated. It's a decent appearance for a Belgian ale, but is far from unique or special.

AROMA: Has a tartness which is rather off-putting, especially given also the absence of any concomitant overt fruit. Stale malts, dampened oak barrel, wet cardboard...I'm not quick to cry infection, but this isn't a good aroma. I know Ska says this beer has "a repressed tartness," but I'm beginning to suspect the unlikely possibility that they may have set out to brew a traditional Belgian ale and are now spinning infection as deliberate wild characteristics. Sweetness is off.

Aromatic intensity is mild to moderate. Suggests an imbalanced untraditional ale with off-putting barrel notes and potentially even bacterial/wild yeast infection.

TASTE: The barrel character is all over the place, and of all things emphasizes rich vanilla above all else; if there's anything NOT to emphasize in a Belgian ale, that's it. Vanilla notes are best left to bourbon barrel aged stouts and the like, and here it'd be nice to have a rounded white oak presence if anything, but that isn't provided. Messy barrel sugars smash unartfully into the similarly messy malt backbone, which offers scattershot notes of sticky amber malts and syrupy malt extract. Red wine vinegar. Off-putting acetic notes. Treace, raisin, boozy prune, lychee...what am I drinking?

It's boozy, alright, and the yeast profile is lackluster. There's no vitamin-y or biscuity Belgian yeast character here at all; indeed, it seems bacteria is in control, not yeast. Off-notes of wet cardboard (indicative perhaps of oxidation) and completely unwelcome tartness run rampant. There's no real sourness here.

This is such a chaotic mess of a Belgian ale build I don't even know where to begin. There's no cohesion at all, and the barrel has nothing to do with the base. I'm not sure what happened, but nothing about this seems focused or deliberate. I'm unconvinced the brewers had basic control of this beer.

TEXTURE: Fatigues the palate with a rough dragging coarseness and a disgusting damp feel. Well-carbonated, I guess. Medium-bodied. Gushed, maybe even a bit astringent. Actually, this should be the sample in the BJCP study kit for the "gushed" descriptor. And it's definitely boozy.

As much a mess as the taste, this mouthfeel is just flat-out badly executed. Nevermind the delicate fragile feel of the best examples of the style, this doesn't even hit fundamental style conventions.

OVERALL: When it comes to questions of drinkability, I understand now why the swingtop was provided...this is so problematic a beer, I can't imagine anyone would want to down the whole bottle in one sitting. I'm not going to cry infection, but isn't it actually worse if Ska's brewers *intended* this? It's not undrinkable and I'm violently opposed to drain-pouring, but it's certainly boozy - and tough to get through. Something surely went wrong here, and I'm honestly surprised this ever made it to market.

D+ (2.35)

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Photo of Todd
4.29/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Port Wine, Dark Fruits, Tart, Oak

This "wild in the streets ale" was aged in oak foeders for nearly two years. Out of the bottle there's a push from the left and a shove from the right with a tawny copper hue and a snappy beige foam head. Vinous, oak, plums and soft spices in the nose. It’s smooth and full-bodied with a soft foundation of caramelized sugars. Layers of bold dark fruitiness reminiscent of a port wine fall on top with suggestions of prunes, charred raisin and ripe black cherries. Just enough tartness with a long vinous linger and dry oaky notes. The Circle Jerks nod is only bested by the awesomeness of the beer itself, which is indeed a coup d'état on many levels.

As reviewed in BeerAdvocate magazine #102 (July 2015).

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

500 mL swingtop bottle poured into an oversized Belgian tulip.

It has a creamy, chewy, off-white head with plentiful lacing scattered around the upper regions of the glass. The body is a dark brown color with amber hues and suggests good clarity despite being pretty dark. Trickles of carbonation are visible. Looks great. 5

Aroma first suggest dark cherries and brown sugar or burnt caramel. Certain some caramel malt characteristics but followed by a blast of tart/sourness. I'm thinking this beer is an oud bruin from the aroma but I haven't even bothered to check what Ska is calling this beer. There's a light floral quality that suggests a Belgian yeast and a lemon quality to the sour aroma. 4.25

Interesting first sip. It started off tasting like a rich port wine, think heavy raisins and brown sugar, but then veers into a more tart flavor and finishes with a lingering red wine flavor. There's a touch of vinegar here that I don't care for but mostly I'm enjoying the contrast of flavors here. 4

Feel and taste kind of become one with a beer like this; I've already mentioned the tart/sourness on the flavor. It's not overdone though and that's good and the caramel and brown sugar sweetness really work well here. The vinous quality does too. Maybe this was aged in wine barrels, I'll have to look. Finishes dry like wine though. 4.25

Quite surprised. I hardly drink Ska but I'd buy this often if more readily available.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle that a friend shared. Hazy amber color. Funky smell, bit of diaper, smells pretty good though Flavor was nice, sour, fruity, hardly any hint of the alcohol. This was actually a pretty impressive beer.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.21/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

i had no idea ska even made beer like this, a barrel aged sour type, blended, strong as heck. this might be something like 10% abv, although i dont know for sure, you would not know it from the smell or taste, but man did this bring a buzz on awfully quick. cool of ska to do this stuff, and that its up here in denver for gabf week. i love its dark amber color and big frothy tan head. it smells like dark fruits, wine barrels, and is quite tart. not sure the bacterial nature of the beer, but its definitely puckery and funky both, and drinks really nicely. its so smooth, and finishes dry. its as good as any of the big sours around right now, and i just had to keep reminding myself that it was made by ska, a total revelation for me, and likely for them. complex and layered wood and wine characteristics, and a light spice from the yeast. its a cool beer and definitely on to seek out this week, but proceed slowly, this got me hammered.

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Cru D'etat from Ska Brewing Co.
3.89 out of 5 based on 35 ratings.
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