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Sanctification - Russian River Brewing Company


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1,661 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1661
Reviews: 561
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 9.24%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 10-27-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,661 | Reviews: 561 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.8/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bit barnyard and yeast aroma. A Good wild ale, it's so great sourness in your face initially,I detect the wild yeast, then you get used to it, in a lemon yeasty haze. Good lacing and head. Satisfying aftertaste.Great with supper. Thanks Solomon420.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2006 02:02:16 | More by Sammy
Photo of Dreadnaught33

District of Columbia

3.8/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not my favorite offering from RR but still a good beer.

Delicate straw orange color with lots of lacing and a nice head. Semi clear, has some haze to it though.

The smell is of funky, barnyard yeast saison with notes of bright fruit, brett.

Nice classic funk in the taste with a lesser wheaty saison base. Lemongrass notes are prominent, but theres a metallic edge that isn't great to it. Sweet as well. The mouth is good overall, bright on the palate.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2010 14:22:18 | More by Dreadnaught33
Photo of ghetto90007


3.8/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Disclaimer: I'll be reviewing again after I try to age a couple bottles at some higher temperatures. Some of the feedback I've gotten suggests that my bottle needed a little more time.

I'm fairly unexperienced in the sour business. I've had a couple sours before and at least a couple that were unintended sours (ruined batches). I'm not sure if I'm going to become a fan of the style or not, but I do respect the style as a great example of the beer-making craft.

My bottle was from Batch 005, poured into a wine glass because my tulip was in the dishwasher and I don't know what my wife did with those champagne flutes I was planning to use. I think the glass worked out fine for serving.

A - I was scanning through a few reviews the other day as I was planning to crack this open this weekend and there were mentions of "pillowy" white heads and lacing. None of this seemed present in this batch. There were a few bubbles, but really no head. As I noticed this when I started pouring I tried to step the pace and slosh it in there a little but not much reaction.

Color is like cloudy Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Juice. It's as close of a representation to urine, in terms of color and opacity, as I can think of in the malted beverage milieu.

S - Being new to sours I was a little put off by the smell until the beer aerated a little. There were some sulfurs up front, but I'm assuming those compounds must have broken down with exposure to oxygen because that went away. There was definite funk and a tart sour smell like a really dry chardonnay.

T - Sour and funky. Then a little bit of the dry white wine character comes through. Honestly a bit vinegary.

M - Not completely flat - there is a bit of a carbonated bite to it, but the carbonation is not incredibly active or heady. Medium bodied.

Drinkability - It was decently refreshing for me, but I need some more exploration in the sours department. One at a time seems good.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2011 01:40:19 | More by ghetto90007
Photo of silentjay


3.8/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a slightly hazy golden with a smallish, yet fluffy pure white head that settles at a good couple of cms, and sticks to the glass well.

very yeasty, and slightly funky aroma not too far from a saison with lemon pepper, herbs, and must.

much more tart, up front, than the aroma. with some funk and spice and acidic citrus. finishes tart again on the swallow, with a bit more lemony acidic citrus.

effervescent and dryingly tart on a light/medium bodied brew.

overall, its decent, but not what id be seeking out from this brewery.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2011 01:18:19 | More by silentjay
Photo of TheGordianKnot


3.8/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass...

A- Looks like a hazy canary yellow. Pours a low head that settles gently to a small layer of foam.

S- Very light tartness- lemony all sound. Acidulated aroma provides great twang. Funky and also grainy. Very well rounded and complex.

T/M- Sour, but slightly more funky. The sourness is very citrusy with a touch of light fruits in there as well. Nice crisp acidic flavor that is quickly followed up by a horsey, rubbery funk. Ending flavor is very warming and reminds me of an old persons medicine cabinet- yet it works well... Very light and crisp on the tongue. Lively liquid that is incredibly refreshing.

O- Awesome beer, but not as sour as I had hoped for. I was looking for a Supplication type beer here, but it was more of a funky sour. Still great and would, love to have again!

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2011 02:59:38 | More by TheGordianKnot
Photo of airohead2001


3.78/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Part II of epic RR tasting including Tempt, Sancti, Beati, Suppl, and Consec. Thanks to glazeman for contributing this one, as well as the other two rarities in the bunch. Split this one with glazeman and z-pack while we watched some hillbilly show about hunting for gold; the protagonists spoke with a southern drawl and frequented phrases such as "frick" and "god-dangit."

Appearance is run of the mill for a RR sour - one finger head with decent retention, no lacing, and hazy yellow. This smells more like a saison and less like a sour - some banana, funk, and nutmeg. The taste is all about balance - not nearly as sour as I was expecting, which for the style, is not exactly what I'm looking for. Theres some lemon, but also some banana and clove. As was said by another BA during the tasting, this one sort of tastes like a saison as well. I don't feel that there is much depth to this - the drinkability is somewhat limited by the one dimensionality of this brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2011 01:18:15 | More by airohead2001
Photo of beerandcycling88


3.78/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 005, poured into a snifter from a 350ml bottle.

A Pours a pale golden color with a nice white head on top.

S lots of citrus especially lemon with a bit of barnyard funk from the brett.

T the taste follows the nose with lots of sour lemon citrus flavor, I can't seem to get more out of it then that.

M nice light mouthfeel with a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall this is a very good sour that I would recommend to anyone new to the style. Its not overwhelming in the slightest which combined with the light body makes it pretty easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2011 01:36:40 | More by beerandcycling88
Photo of falloutsnow


3.78/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Whole Foods in Berkeley, CA
Batch 006 (though not clear when this was bottled)
Poured into a standard US pint glass

The general impression I had of this beer was of a blonde ale blended with a mildly sour gueuze. While the sourness was balanced well, the pairing resulted in a beer that featured characters (noticeable malt, floral hops, some sourness) from both of these styles, but failed to stand out in any particular character or way. At times, I thought I was drinking a rather weak gueuze. At the price point of RR beers, I could have bought a similarly-sized bottle of Girardin and enjoyed its bacterial complexity much more. Given its limited distribution, not one I feel the need to necessarily revisit or seek out.

Pours a ~2cm head of off-white, medium-sized bubbles, that dissipates somewhat quickly to a thick ring around the glass and some islands of foam atop the body. Minimal to no lacing. The body itself is a pale yellow color, slightly hazy, with visible carbonation along the sides of the glass.

Aroma is a mixture of mild floral hops reminiscent of those in a pilsener, noticeable Brettanomyces/Lactobacillus (slightly musty, slight acetic acid sharpness), and slight biscuit malts. Not a bad aroma by any means, but not particularly distinctive or prominent.

Taste opens with some malt flavors and vaguely floral hop(?) presence. Sourness appears alongside these by late in the front palate. While sourness/tartness is there, and palatable, this isn't particularly sour/tart, compared to other wild ales, at least for me. Sourness proceeds through back of the palate through the finish, alongside lingering, mild malt and floral tastes. The blend is tasty, and certainly not off, but I'm not impressed by the resulting characters; neither of the two types of ale really seem to enhance or demonstrate characters of the other that weren't present individually.

Body is medium in heft, with prickly carbonation and a dry finish from some residual sugars. Carbonation feels right for the beer, avoiding having a somewhat acidic beer linger on the palate too long.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2012 00:08:18 | More by falloutsnow
Photo of harrymel


3.75/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 005: 100% fermented with Brettanomyces

A: pours a blonde ale with excellent clarity and three fingers of eggshell which slowly falls to a sheet of the same. Spotty lacing.

S: Lemon, hay, slight grain. Definitely smells sour. The brett is fairly earthy (for lack of a better term in my lexicon). As I take slower and longer pulls, I get some tropical fruits: pineapple and mango, weird.

T: Slight lemony tartness I associate often with gueuze's comes up front, then disappears nearly as quickly. then I get the bitter, baking soda flavor I normally feel from Brett. Deceptively easy to quaff. I'm using my limited experience with Orval to generalize here, but I don't think I normally like Brett and yet this one is pretty good. Some nice bitterness from, something. Theres a slight vegetal flavor on the finish.

M: Light with hi carb - matches the beer well. Semi dry finish has me coming back for more.

O: I'm taken by this beer. I am not in love by any means, but I'm certainly happy with the acquisition. I have an additional bottle, and will let it age until I trade it, unless I get a hankering for it prior to that time. This is solid, and would be great for a blazing hot day, ice cold. Great substitute for a shandy IMO.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2011 05:24:44 | More by harrymel
Photo of Bendurgin


3.75/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Andy for sharing this one. Poured into a chalice. Pours a slightly hazy golden color a finger of fluffy white head that settles leavin some sticky lace. Lots of visible carbonation.

Lots of brett in the aroma, Hints of garden vegatable in the aroma with a good funky aroma. Slight hints of berries in the aroma. Funky brett on the pallet. A little bit of a band-aid (or adhesive strip) flavor with a touch of sourness on the finish.

The body is nice a light but the carbonation is a little bit high. I kind of just expands in your mouth. Overall this one is nice and funky. Pretty enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2011 05:19:41 | More by Bendurgin
Photo of jmarsh123


3.75/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy gold with a 2 finger creamy white head retaining 1 finger and leaving excellent lacing down the glass.

Not much to the aroma. Tart green apples, brett and some wheat malt, but pretty subdued.

A mild tartness starts out the palate. Some funky pilsner or wheat with some brett in the middle. Very misty with hay tones. Finishes fairly dry.

Creamy mouthfeel. Good carbonation.

Not a bad beer, but my least favorite of the -tions. There is a pleasant tartness, but I could use more lacto and a little less brett as the mustiness got overpowering at times. Still will go back, but not as often as the others.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2012 21:02:32 | More by jmarsh123
Photo of watermelonman


3.7/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This arrived in a unique orange and gold color, not looking like anything else I've seen of the style. The head and lacing are both pretty minimal.

The taste has some of the expected esters, but what's unique is the tangy citrus twist it has. Alcohol is somewhat apparent. Hop content is minimal. The front of the taste is dominated by the tangy esters and the finish lets some hops through.

I gather that this one was a bit of an experiment from the brewer. While not outstanding, I would say that the result was a pretty good beer.

Serving type: on-tap

10-27-2004 18:52:27 | More by watermelonman
Photo of Sean9689


3.7/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 004, 750ml bottle.

A - Pours a golden yellow, white frothy head, nice lacing, thin cap on top, and a thick ring around the glass.

S - Very Brett-forward, some slight lemon zest, some sweet fruit. Lots of funk here with some sweetness, not that exciting, really.

T - Lots of Brett, slight sweet fruits, some oak, slight lemon zest/orange peel in there as well.

M - Light, crisp and smooth, frothy carbonation.

D - Not all that exciting. Basically, a funky beer that has a light sweetness to it. Some nice when you're looking for a light/funky beer, but I usually either/or, not both.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2011 16:26:18 | More by Sean9689
Photo of jminsc76


3.7/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip.

Well, it definitively exhibits a golden body, with a white, thick foamy head forming upon the initial pour. Reemerges decently upon agitation, with the legs sliding down thick as I tilt. Very nice.

Aromas exhibit a mellow intensity of citrus (lemon and orange) and slight barnyard/horse blanket funk, the latter being mildly sharp. It’s pleasant, though I am wishing it would lift the nostrils just a bit higher.

Flavors threw me off at first, primarily because I found it fairly one-dimensional. As I continue sipping, however, a balanced blend of lemon and funk washes across the palate, signifying Sanctification’s rightful place as an unmistakable Russian River beer.

Mouthfeel is thinner, but the effervescence is perfect in creating a kind of snap, crackle, and pop on the palate. I like the dryness this exhibits as well.

Overall, I like it, though not amongst my favorites due to the fact that I have nary a preference for lemons. Sorry. If there were just a tab bit of sweetness, the taste preference would steer this in the A category. Plus it’s undoubtedly funky and smooth, though not necessarily complex. I would knock back a couple per serving, but should Supplication or Consecration or Temptation or Beautification be offered in its stead, this would be left to someone else.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2011 20:35:39 | More by jminsc76
Photo of jrallen34


3.68/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank at our Epic Chicago tasing, thanks to AgentZero. 750 ml bottle into my Narke glass...I was super excited to tick off the last Russian River top 100, but boy was I disappointed in this one...Pours light honey gold, white head, ok retention but pout lacing...The aroma is plain as day light sourness but that is it, no complexity here at all. The taste is the same, just lightly sour, a boring goldren bret is all this beer is. It might be a good representation of a plain bret, but that's not what you drink these beers for.

A totally overrated wild and with so many other Russian wilds to drink, this is not one worth pursuing.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2010 21:02:28 | More by jrallen34
Photo of Benish


3.66/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into snifter glass. A couple inches of thick white head built up and it just remained there for quite a while. It's a good presentation. The beer had that bright hay color. Very, very opaque, yet it's not cloudy with yeast sediment.

Did not pick up much with aroma. There's definitely something funky and plenty of tartness but nothing too unique.

Taste-wise this is quite sour. It's really hard to expand from that. It does finish bitter like citrus zest. Eventually as the beer warmed up, there was definitely a ton of flavors of a grapefruit rind.

It has a light bodied mouthfeel. Quite acidic, gives that gritty feeling, likes after you brush your teeth.

This is only the 2nd of the sour beers I have tried from RR. The first was Supplication. Supplication was way better as there were more flavors coming from the fruits. However this is a good beer and I'm glad to try it. RR makes so many sours that I have to try others before trying this one again.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2013 03:39:38 | More by Benish
Photo of ChrisPro


3.65/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Russian River on 6/30/09. Pours an almost opaque yellow, with beautiful frothy head. The sour lemon and grapefruit almost sting the nostrils, in a good way. This is straight up sour in it's cleanest form. The Brett certainly dominates and makes this a truly unique beer. However, beyond the great aromas and interesting sourness, there isn't a ton of complexity of flavors. Still a great beer that I am lucky to have tried.

Serving type: on-tap

03-29-2010 01:49:47 | More by ChrisPro
Photo of DarthKostrizer


3.65/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 004

Look: Golden yellow in color and a bit hazy with a fair head but little retention

Smell: Typical citrus lemony notes I associate with sours and quite a bit of Brett mixed in

Taste: Upfront the beer has quite a bit of sourness and then you get copious amounts of lemon zest

Mouthfeel: Medium to low body with ample carbonation

Overall: Glad I got the chance to try this one since I would never buy it for myself. Highly recommended if sours is your thing

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2011 21:26:36 | More by DarthKostrizer
Photo of juhl31


3.63/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

-started off great, yellowy, gold in color with some nice fogginess. not much head or any of the other good head characteristics

-it started off mostly bananas with me. as i progressed through it, some lemon came through. a bit, but not too much of the brett or sour smell

-definitely the least sour of the RR sours which is okay, just don't expect it to be when you try it. some lime/grapefruit style bitterness in the end. semi-closely resembles a corona with some salt and lime in it which is not necessarily a good thing as far as i'm concerned

-dry for the most part, but some oiliness tries to sneak in. tart in the mouth too for sure

-was an okay beer, but i don't think i would ever order again (considering all the other amazing things i can order at RR)

Serving type: on-tap

07-05-2010 23:12:38 | More by juhl31
Photo of ChadQuest


3.63/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

hazy lemon yellow with a bone white head, this one looks lemony tart, well see what comes next.
The aroma has moderate funk, nothing overpowering or super wild, along with a juicy belgian like yeasty quality, and some lemony fruits.
The flavors hit a soft tart lemon bite right up front but fades out quickly, doesn't finish super dry or at least as dry as the tart front makes you think it would, the funk comes through with the lemon in a damp straw manner. Enjoyable and very approachable.

Good beer i'd drink any single day,but i'm still in love with Suplication & Concecration though, those are RRs gems im my eyes.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2011 02:08:06 | More by ChadQuest
Photo of mentor


3.6/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thin layer of pinkish-white head over a cloudy dead straw liquid. Smells dank horseblanket with light bright cherry. Lemon, pineapple, and green grape.

Tastes woody drieness with cherry sweet pucker. Lemon, oranges, green apple, and dash of clovey phenol. Md-light mouthfeel with some silkiness. Medium carbonation and moderate drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2008 05:27:30 | More by mentor
Photo of heliosphann


3.6/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

64oz Growler. Shared and provided by my main man Infestaxion. Thanks Daive. Served in my Ithaca Tulip.

A: Bright golden pour with almost a two finger fluffy white head. Disappeared fairly quickly, but lacing is very nice. Looks as good as many other RR offerings I've had.

S: Slightly acidic sourness, with some sweet lemon. Small amount of barnyard funk and Brett. Kind of muted however.

T: Surprisingly almost no sourness whatsoever. There's some citrus and lemon paired with bready yeast. Bitter hops, Brett, and some barnyard funk provide a little tartness. Finally some spices and pepper kick in towards the finish.

M: Light to medium body. Very nice carbonation. Nice and dry on the end.

D: Not bad, but I'm still waiting for the sour and tartness that I felt should be there. It feels a little unbalanced to me.

I was to say the least, confused after drinking this. I was under the impression this was going to be a sour offering like many of the other -tion brews. It was very much more like a funky saison/farmhouse ale with Brett. A few days later trying this, I even had a friend sample it who's had Sanctification in a bottle. He thought it was very different and lacking the big sourness that's mentioned in many reviews. I wanted to get to the bottom of this, so I e-mailed Vinnie at RR. He awesomely responded within a few hours in response to my inquiry. Here is his response:

"Regarding the Sanctification, I am taking this beer in a different direction now days. What you tasted was the first or second batch where I switched strains of Brett and am using less Lacto and Pedio in the beer. This is what I always intended this beer to be, but, over the years it always went
to the sour side. The new strain of Brett is more to my liking and it worked better with less bacteria as well."

Thanks Vinnie. Still a very solid offering from Russian River. I actually enjoyed it more the 2nd time I had it when polishing off the Growler.

Serving type: growler

09-21-2009 00:01:33 | More by heliosphann
Photo of n2185

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy yellow with half a finger of fizzy white head that recedes into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: Surprisingly not sour aroma. Some clean biscuit aromas at first along with some notes of bubblegum and bananas. Light acidic flavors bring up the finish with notes of sour apples and lemons.

T: Hints of sweet light fruits at first before slightly funky flavors kick in. Lemony sourness with some sour apple flavors show up, but aren't extremely strong. The finish is clean with a lightly sweet bready flavor. A musty funky flavor peeks through on the aftertaste

M: Medium-light body with lowish carbonation, this beer is a bit watery and could use some more carbonation to accent the sour characters better.

O: A pretty decent wild ale. It's nice and clean without being overwhelmingly sour. I would like a bit more carbonation and more pronounced sour characters, though.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2011 00:10:07 | More by n2185
Photo of meathookjones


3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I sampled this at the wet-hop tasting at RFD’s in Washington, D.C. This came out a slightly cloudy golden orange with a decent bit of head to it that left some lace. Aroma was fruity and had a little spice and sweetness to it. Taste was similar with various fruity flavors over a layer of sweetness and spiciness. There was a nice tartness to it as well. Mouthfeel was a bit light and drinkability was ok. Interesting take on the style that I would try again.

Serving type: on-tap

11-30-2004 20:03:22 | More by meathookjones
Photo of russwbeck


3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Batch 005

A: Active, bubbly, yellow pour with a nice white head. Retention is great. The cork was really difficult to get out.

S: Smells a lot like a blonde ale, yeasty, light, fruits, with some Brett mixed in.

T: The taste is very sour, without much flavor to curb it. The typical hefeweizen-like flavors are there: yeast, banana, clove. But they are complimented with the sourness. Sort of an odd taste. A bit too sweet for my liking.

MF: Really carbonated, perhaps too much so. Light, but it has a strange aftertaste.

O: I was disappointed by this one. Just not enough flavor to hold it together. This was one odd sour.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2011 02:42:22 | More by russwbeck
Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,661 ratings.