Sanctification - Russian River Brewing Company

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2,478 Ratings
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Ratings: 2,478
Reviews: 601
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 9.01%
Wants: 1,153
Gots: 795 | FT: 56
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  6.75% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 10-27-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,478 | Reviews: 601
Reviews by BruChef:
More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This one is light orange in color with a beautiful white, puffy head that was just enchanting. I just couldn’t stop staring at this ale.

Smell – The wonderful Belgian yeast was dynamic. I can’t tell you how excited I get when I find a true, authentic yeast smell in an American effort at this style. There’s a rich sourness there too that’s way off from a Flanders Ale but big nevertheless.

Taste – The yeast is terrific at the taste, and the sourness is similar to what you’d find in an Unblended Lambic. It’s not overpowering and comes on more complimentary. The hops give a light tartness to the ale. The flavors work together in perfect harmony.

Mouthfeel – This one is medium-bodied with a light tartness and very pleasant sourness that is mixed with some lively carbonation.

Drinkability – If there’s such a thing as a session Belgian Ale than this is it. I could have drank this one all night.

Comments – I was in town one week early for the release of the next batch (last batch was out) but Vinnie the brewmaster was nice enough to bring some out from the back room. What a treat it was drinking this incredible ale with the brewer, my wife, and rapopoda who was also in town for barrel tasting weekend.

Vinnie described it as a “sour blonde Belgian ale”. It is primarily fermented with 100% Brettanomyces and bottle conditioned to create lush carbonation. It may not fall perfectly into a BJCP Guideline (other than Belgian specialty, of course) but this is one of the most drinkable ales on the planet. I kind of see it as an American made Belgian equivalent to a German Berliner Weisse, but that’s just my own take on it. Whatever you call it, this ale is good good good.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.85/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I believe this was batch 003.

Pretty much perfect. Sanctification could have been be an unblended lambic from one of the Belgian grandmasters. It was so wonderful that I drank four or five glasses and bought half a case on the spot. It’s simply that good. Appearance wise we are talking about a very pale, almost white golden ale body with a healthy white lacing. The aroma is powerful, previewing sourness, and boasting of perfectly created and utilized yeast strains and lots of funky, living organisms. Barnyard funk, rotten lemon peals, and apple vinegar are huge. The nose also plays at tobacco and citrus. The first taste is pure heaven. It’s tart in a lemony way, sour in a bret/funky yeast sort of way, slightly bitter in a hoppy way, light and spritsy. Sweet, very ripened grapefruit that has been eaten away at just a touch by bacteria, hay, damp corn husks, rotten melons, wood roundedness, dashes of lemon and orange zest, etc… Bone dry and fairly light body. Musty and astringent. Sourness is not over the top and although this doesn’t enter the battery acid or sweaty donkey hair area, this is at times very geuze like. Sessionable indeed. Pretty much perfect.

Photo of tectactoe
4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks again to Jeff for splitting his RR sours with me. Sanctification pours a hazy, golden-apple color, appearing translucent as light shines through it, although it's impossible to see through to the other side. A soapy and foamy white head leaves some light dredging along the glass as it falls.

The aroma contains a ton of funk - wow! Musty cellar, cork... just huge amounts of Brett left and right. Makes sense, since as this is brewed with 100% Brett. Some mild sour fruits back up the aroma, but the more and more I sniff, the more and more Brett becomes the only thing I smell. Mild oak and wood on the tail end, still wet and funky smelling, with a touch of tart and sweet apple skins. Certainly a funk-head's dream, but I can't accurately judge how sour this one's gonna be. It smells more funky than tart, but RR sours have been known to play that trick on me. I guess we'll see.

Up front, the taste is extremely sour, even more so than the aroma would lead you to believe, so I guess there's the answer to that question. This bad boy is puckering right from the start - green apples, white grapes, super-ripe and sour pears. The assertive tartness is not alone, however, as the funk is very nearly as strong. Wet wood, cork, damp cellar, and huge barnyard notes, left and right. The sourness seems to tone down a bit as the beers warms, and the finish is pretty dry overall. Medium bodied, medium-high amount of carbonation with a slick mouth feel.

Another damn good Russian River wild ale. I don't think it's possible for them to put out a bad one. This is probably one of the more funky ones that I've had, but it still had an intense sour element right off the bat, so nothing was lost in that department. Thanks again to Jeff for breaking this one out.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.58/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle. Batch 002. 100% Brettanomyces fermented.

Pours into my tulip glass a beautifully vibrant clear golden orange that reminds me of a fall harvest. Two fingers of creamy white foam sits atop the brew and the plentiful active carbonation makes it linger on. Can't ask for much more looks wise, downright enticing. Aromas start with fresh pale malts showing a bit of sweet grain scents. Fruit, lemon and honey come through with a bit of a floral accent. Tartness and a barnyard hay backbone emerge with the Brett. Lovely.

First sip brings wonderful sweet and tart malt upfront with a mix of fruit flavors including peach and lemon. Barnyard funk, honey and hay flavors roll through with a bracing tartness that engulfs the mouth. Woody oak tones along with a bit of dryness. The flavor lingers on after each sip of this tasty Brett enhanced golden ale.

Mouthfeel is smooth, velvety and effortless with an effervescent carbonation throughout. This beer is simply amazingly crafted and downright delicious. I would drink this constantly if it was more available. A tart, funky, beauty in a bottle. Russian River knocks it way out of the park once again.

Photo of andyfrancis
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

cloudy straw with a pretty white head, nice clumping and lacing. A little lighter in color than I expected.

Smells yummy. Some fruity esters, with a hint of the sour funk.

Sour/fruity eruption blossoming on my tongue. Tart all the way through.

Carbonation starts with a low rumble, peaking in a sharp bite on the tip of your tongue. Crisp, fairly clean finishing.

Almost sessionable. I like it a lot. Not quite as much character as some of the other 'tions but very good and highly recommended.

Photo of bishopdc0
3.94/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Shared the bottle with my wife.

The beer pours a light yellow, golden straw with a light carbonation at the edge of my tulip glass.

The nose is sweet but mostly a Brett tart, apples hints of oak and a little vanilla.

The carbonation is upfront and reveals more tart apples, and Brett funk. The soundness lingers as the beer dries. There are also white wine note

Good beer but not russian rivers best

Photo of tjthresh
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 002. 750ml bottle provided by csbosox. Pours a murky (gusher) straw yellow with a big white head. Funky, hourse blanket, sweet socks, yadda yadda yadda, with some citrus also. frizzzzle's SweetTarts analogy was pretty good. Really fruity and tart. Dry finish with high CO2. Really love these Russian River beers.

Photo of Mora2000
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

Batch 003. The beer pours a clear golden yellow color with a white head. The aroma is tart lemons with some malt notes. The flavor is tart lemons with some yeast and brett character. The beer is not too acidic and is very dry and drinkable. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of magictrokini
4.23/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle @ Hamiltion's. Poured a hazy bright yellow-gold with a billowy white head. Thick lacing. Funky straw and citrus. Lots of lemon and sugar, kind of like Lemonhead candy. A fruit basket of other aromas; apple, peaches, pineapple, its all there. Taste is a sweeter sour. Very bretty, but it accents the peaches and pears instead of overruning them. Wheaty/bready flavors in the background enhance the tartness. Its unbelieveably easy to drink. Higher carbonation gives a pop in the finish. Just wish it wasn't so freaking expensive.

Photo of deebo
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at RR.

A-Cloudy and golden with a clinging white foam.

S-Not very aromatic, barley malt with a hint of hops with a faint Brettomyces funk.

T-Upfront is barley malt and taste typical of a flavorful golden ale. End note is hoppy then the Brett takes over.

M-Medium/light bodied with a slight puckering astringent end note.

O-This combo of golden ale + Brett gives a finished beer somewhat remniscent of a Belgian wit with lemon. Very unique and fun to try.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.84/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

375ml corked & caged bottle poured in a chalice.

Pours a very light clear yellow with a very small white was. Nose is very tart, funky and dry.

Tate is very tart and funky. Super sour and crisp, it's hard to believe this is just Brett. Mouthfeel is very light and sharp with good carbonation. Super easy drinking - phenomenal.

Photo of dogfishandi
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

batch # 4. 750ml. cork and caged bottle shared at a tasting with some lacal BA's. poured into a new belgium snifter. all brett you say?...yes please.

pours out a lemonade like hazt yellow color with a nice pure white head. decent lace and retention.

very tart, very funky. lots of musty, barnyard brett and tart lemony citrus.

wow, loving it. very tart, citrus of all kinds, mostly lemon juice, with some grapefruit, orange. very tasty barnyard funk, musty, but definatly not overdone. very sour finish.

light mouthfeel with the perfect feeling, perfect amount of fizzy carbonation, compliments the taste nicely.

overall, one of the most memorable beers of the day which included lots of sought after beers. an ideal wild, one of the most tastiest expieriences ive ever had with brett. this is something i will seek out again.

Photo of ehammond1
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

A clear shimmering golden ale with beautiful carbonation and an appropriate thin white cap atop its head. Love it!

A biting and bright aroma consisting of tart fruitiness (lemon), Brett funk, and a bit of spicy black pepper.

Supremely sour yet also plenty of bright fruit sweetness as well: lots of lemon, a bit of apple, earth, grass. Balanced nicely; a complete sour.

Thin to medium mouthfeel, plenty of carbonation--a delight to drink.

Just about a perfect American wild. This beer's greatness lies in it's perfected simplicity. The flavors are clean, bright, and powerful. This is a world-class sour.

Photo of Soonami
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 005, I shared this 375ml with a friend. Sanctification is a beer that I have been waiting for a long time to try this beer and unfortunately it was a let down. When I opened and poured this beer, it was definitely very funky, with the signature brett aroma. The lightly colored beer was as pale and effervescent as champagne but decidedly cloudier. And the nose revealed little more than brett. The palette was similar, it was a little tart, lemony, some mildewy straw, but that was about it. Though it was good, it didn't have as much complexity as I was anticipating. Perhaps this beer just needs some more time. It was easy drinking, but not a wow beer.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a fuzzy and inviting yellow haze. Aroma is salivation inducing, tart, slightly lemony, just perfect.

Taste is great, straightforward sour, similar to temptation in many ways, although a little less complex. Gets the salivary glands working overtime, small amount of white wine residual to it. Very easy to drink. Seems to go good before or after any beer. Light in body, relatively high in sourness. No real discernable fruit feel to it, other than maybe the aforementioned lemon.

Photo of mondegreen
4.64/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From a 750ml shared by a generous BA. Thanks, Zack.

Pours a hazy golden with a dense white head. Aroma is sharply tart. Funky sour fruits present up front, with hints of Belgian style yeast throughout.

Taste is pleasingly sour. Not overbearing, not too simple. Just right. A good balance of sour and funk, with a crisp finish. This is a great beer for sipping on a warm summer evening. Mouth is superb, very well carbonated. Would love to have these readily available.

This has to be some of the best stuff going in the American Wild category. Glad to have had the change to try it.

Photo of chinchill
2.69/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.25

12 oz bottle. Not counting a couple of collaboration beers, this is my first R. River - too bad it has to be a Brett beer. I have a very limited tolerance for Brett and even less for vinegar. With that in mind:

Pours light amber, hazy, with a small head. The aroma bodes poorly: Brett/wild ale with some vinegar. Intimidating. Given that, the taste was a bit better but still too funky. Nicely sour with a hint of old bread. Fine medium-light feel.

Photo of OStrungT
4.92/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a slightly cloudy golden color, with a fluffy, white head. The head fades slowly, leaving a nice sized lacing.

This beer has a very mild tart aroma. It has an earthy yeast aroma as well. It has some grainy notes to it. Also, is has some citrusy lemon aroma. This is one of the more complex wild ales I have sampled.

This beer tastes like it smells. Complex. Sour, tart, fruity, grainy, and yeasty all at the same time. Very nice.

This beer is crisp and refreshing. It leaves a tart citrusy aftertaste. Carbonation is good after 24 hours in my unopened growler.

This beer would make a good session beer. It tastes great, and it is not overly high in alcohol.

Overall: I had this one on tap after the Consecration yesterday, and that was a mistake. The Consecration affected my pallette, and I couldnt fully appreciate this one. My wife insisted on a growler, and now I have come to see this beers subtle charm. This one is a winner. Not as sour as I expected, but very complex.

Photo of 01001111
4.8/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pale, clear, almost fluorescent yellow.

S: Vinegar, green apples, dandelions.

T: Sublimely tart with a slight wash of caramel and a Pilsner-like floral quality.

M: Dry, crisp, and refreshing.

O: While not my favorite of Russian River's sour ales, this is absolutely a world class brew.

December 2014 update:

2-3 year old bottle. Tartness has dropped off. It's sweet with a slight bitter bite, muted grassy funk, and some pineapple esters. Pretty underwhelming.

Photo of jeonseh
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375ml, Batch 008 poured into Mikkeller tulip

A - Dark golden color with a slight haze to it. It poured a two finger rocky head that settled down to a layer of foam. Really a nice looking sour

S - Smells of lemon, hay, straw, barnyard funk, slight oak, and green apple. Strong nose that smells like a nice spring beer

T - Lemon zest, green apple, oak and vinegar are the first impressions. It then morphs into Bretty, funk and almost blue cheese that gives it that earthy farmhouse feel. The finish is lemon and vinegar that gives it a tart bite that lingers on

MF - Light carbonation that makes the beer bounce around in the mouth and goes well with the apple and lemon flavors. Finish leaves a slight tingle on the tongue.

O - Great beer from Russian River that reminds me of a tarter and more lively version of Orval. It has a nice mix between Brett funk and the tart sour flavors you come to expect from Russian River. Really was surprised by how good this on was.

Photo of glid02
4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Joe - much obliged! Batch 004.

Pours a hazy golden color with a half-finger white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of light malts and huge amounts of brett - funk, wet hay, and light citrus.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Light malt flavors kick things off and are joined almost immediately by large hits of brett. There's less funk than in the aroma and the wet hay and citrus hold more sway in the flavor profile. The lightly tart citrus flavors intensify through to the end of the sip before they fade out into a crisp ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass very quickly and could easily have another.

Overall after my first sniff of the beer I knew this was the most brett-forward beer I've had from RR. After giving it a few sips I found it to be close to a drier and more brett-forward version of Temptation. A very good beer that's well worth a shot.

Photo of Shane_Gr
4.56/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great smell and pretty sour. I liked it.

Photo of Auraan
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice cloudy gold with a one finger white head that grew to a two finger white head and stayed around as a ring of white as the glass was emptied, leaving some thin lacing. Abundant bubbles flowed up the side of the glass. Quite beautiful. Scents of brett, barnyard funk, white grape skin, white wine, overripe fruit, green apple, slight pineapple, and the slightest hints of vanilla and candi sugar. A very good aroma, complex with the usually sour, fruity, white wine notes and some more common Belgian notes beneath. Flavor is sour upfront, with that musky brett funk, white grapes, tart green apple, lemon juice, sourdough bread undertones, some oak, some slight medicinal bitterness, finishes bitter with a bit of a citrus rind flavor and aftertaste as well as a dry finish. A very sour flavor, with all sorts of sour fruit and sour funk flavors. Very nice with some complexity brought in by the sourdough bread and oak. Mouthfeel is light bodied with high carbonation and a nice refreshing feel with a drying finish. Nice and drinkable, on point for a sour, very good. Overall this is a very good sour. The 100% brett gives it that incredibly sour flavor but it manages a bit of complexity in spite of it, that gives it a fine flavor profile. Very good, and I wish I could get it easier.

Photo of pwoods
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to zminor for the trade!

750ml corked and caged brown bottle, poured into a tulip. Batch 3 from '07.

A: Bright lemony color with a nice pearly white head. Decent retention and lacing.

S: Nice soft funkiness, barnyard and musty. Light grainy with a bit of Belgian sweetness.

T/M: Pleasant funky and tart flavors. It's been in the bottle awhile and I definitely think that's helped develop the very tasty flavors. No hops to speak of but it has a nice husky, earthy grain bill that doesn't overpower the tasty funk. Body is light with healthy carbo, still.

D: Drinks very easily, too bad it's impossible to get.

Photo of quirkzoo
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

batch - 005

Pours a deep gold with 2 fingers of fizzy white head that quickly recede to a thin layer. The aroma is very tart up front, lots of sour green apples, slightly vinuous behind the tartness. As it opens up I get some wet hay funk. The taste is slightly puckering but not overwhelming. This is extremely well balanced between tart and funky.It is so well balanced that it is extremely drinkable, no problem finishing off the small bottle myself. A top notch American Wild, Russian River deserves their reputation and I will definitely pick this one up again.

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Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,478 ratings.