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Sanctification - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
SanctificationSanctification

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,921 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,921
Reviews: 570
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 9.24%
Wants: 1,049
Gots: 601 | FT: 37
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: 1,921 | Reviews: 570 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of yourefragile
yourefragile

District of Columbia

4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375 mL C&C bottle poured into a tulip. Batch 5

Color is a glowing straw golden, with a slight haze. Initially a large, foamy bone white head that quickly fades to a ring of bubbles with minimal lacing.

Aroma is dry, bretty and funky with a earthy, peppery finish. In between a fresh grassy aroma sits on top of a reluctant, mild tropical sweetness. More sour and funk than tart. Smooth and well balanced without being remotely offensive to even someone unfamiliar with the style.

Front of the palate picks up lemon zest and rind with a mild green apple sourness back across the palate. Brett is present throughout but the funk is not as strong as the nose and a green, grassy sourness dominates throughout. There is a strong biscuit like malt presence throughout with a latent juicy tropical fruit sweetness. If that sweetness would be more assertive I would put this up there with Supplication, Temptation, or Consecraction, but without it this a little to one dimensionally green and sour.

Mouthfeel is light with effervescent, champagne like carbonation. Finish is dry and puckering, exceptionally refreshing.

Not crazy about this batch, but a second tier Russian River is still a few miles ahead of most other American choices.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2011 03:35:05 | More by yourefragile
Photo of lacqueredmouse
lacqueredmouse

Australia

4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ah, a Russian River sour. Always a great privilege to review a new one, although it does mean that there's one less still waiting for me out there. I think this indeed might be the last widely available example I've yet to try. How sad.

Pours a bright hazed yellow golden colour, with a frothy and relatively fine head of white, that leaves rigorous and webby lace down the inside of the glass. Looks the business.

Nose is fresh and redolent with tart citric fruit and a oak-fermented vanillin character that smooths this out. Under it all is a big earthy, funky depth that gives whiffs of organics and odour. It adds such an awesomely weird complexity to the nose. Love it.

Taste is tart and rich, with a clean feel and profile that allows the vinous acidity and smooth oak characters to meld into something that is funky and weird, but also remarkably crisp and drinkable. Green apple tinge, white grapes, earthy funk and pleasant dryness on the finish. Oh lovely.

Top-notch brew. It's remarkable how clean, drinkable and refreshing this is—usually the RR sours are about depth, complexity and mind-blowingness—this is perhaps the perfect summer drinking beer. Crisp, refreshing and biting. Lovely beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2011 05:26:54 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a cloudy straw color with good carbonation and a nice white cap.

S: Funk. Sour notes, tart fruits, lemon and hay

T: Similiar to the smell but with a notable lemonish presnce, sour, tart fruits, hay. Much more flavor and booze kick from the bottle I thought

M: Light and easy to drink and the pucker factor is there.

D; This beer was good not very attractive. I found myself wanting to sip this down so I can move on

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2011 14:51:10 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle in Colorado Springs. Poured a slightly hazy golden with a tall white head. Heck of a beer. It tasted like a clean geueze. It was still wonderfully sour, with a fantastic Brett character, but it wasn't rough around the edges (for better and worse). There seems to bet a light toast in the background, from either the barrel or barley, that makes a tasty complement to the ripping citrus sour. Mmm. What a sour.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2011 01:10:18 | More by tempest
Photo of zestar
zestar

California

4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

06-11-2013 02:59:30 | More by zestar
Photo of oriolesfan4
oriolesfan4

Maryland

4/5  rDev -7.6%

04-10-2013 05:05:45 | More by oriolesfan4
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A corked and caged 750 mL bottle of Batch 003. I've had this one for almost 2 years.

A: The ale pours with a pale peach color that exists somewhere between light brown and turbid yellow. The fullness is accentuated by sediment, yeast suspended mid-glass. Two fingers of head don't leave much lace in their wake.

S: The nose is rich, heavy with green grapes and apples. The tartness is profound, sour beyond description. The oak is evident, buttery with a strong vanilla presence. A very intriguing nose that doesn't hide what's in store.

T: The first sip reaffirms the delicious tartness, almost making me recoil at the strength. Behind, or perhaps mixed with, the bitterness, green fruits lurk with a sweet dryness. Seems like all possible sugars have been sucked out of this ale, it is bone-dry. The oak has left vanilla and boozy sweetness in its wake, flavors that struggle at first to emerge before blossoming later in the glass. As the ale warms, citrus flavors become more evident amongst the sourness, accentuating lemon and orange among others. Mid-sip, the tartness leaves a heat that lingers until the end of the sip. Even bready malts don't stand a chance against the tart and bold flavors. A standout sour ale.

M: I'd use the term vinous but it doesn't do justice as no wine has nearly this much going on. The sourness is mouth-numbing, challenging each sip with a tartness that leaves fresth citrus in its aftermath.

D: The sour, despite its boldness, is very approachable. The booze never asserts itself and the range of flavor that emerges from this simple ale is exemplary.

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2009 13:44:11 | More by akorsak
Photo of orangesol
orangesol

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle of batch 5 via trade with nickd717 thanks again nick!

A - Pours hazy golden yellow with a nice bubbly one finger tall white head, dissipating down to a light film, leaving light webs of lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of lemon, tangerine, bretty earth, and some light funk. I really liked how much fruit came thru in this one. It still had plenty of funk to go around but it really played second fiddle to the fruit. Nice and subtle.

T - Starts off with a big dose of bretty funk giving way quickly to a nice mix of bright citrus fruit and strong puckering sourness. Finish is a mix of lingering sourness and light citric acidity. Nice light sour that was very easy to drink. It wore me down quick tho. Overall it was pretty good but it got to me over the course of the bottle. Much stronger than it feels.

M - Medium-Light body and flavor with moderate carbonation. The funky feel is quite soft with plenty of it lingering for some time. It was quite easy to drink.

O - Very nice. I think I still prefer temptation overall but I really liked this one. Just a bit too strong on the funk at the moment. I could see this developing beautifully over the next year or so.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2011 03:37:48 | More by orangesol
Photo of stakem
stakem

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 4, 750ml corked and caged bottle care of CaptinRedBeard. Thanks Corey for sharing this brew.

Poured into a 6oz snifter, Sanctification appears a light hazed yellow color with a white cap of foam that fades quickly leaving faint spots of lace along the glass.

The nose of this brew is bretty with some light fruit flavors minorly reminescent of lemon zest. The primary characteristic of this brew's aroma is the funky goodness imparted by the brett and a minor almost lactic quality.

The taste of this brew is just like the aroma led on, primarily influenced by brett with some wet leathery character that clings to the tongue. A slight lemony rind flavor is evident just like the nose suggested. Throughout the body are funky notes, earthy, lactic and a light suggestion of something I keep coming across that seems to me to be quite plastic-like. It isn't offputting in any way but just adds a unique character to the brew.

This is a light bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is super drinkable and has a minor puckering quality to the tongue that made me salivate in ancitipation of the next sip.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2010 23:09:12 | More by stakem
Photo of InspectorBob
InspectorBob

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

11-29-2011 20:44:10 | More by InspectorBob
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis

North Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #6

A: Pours a lightly cloudy straw to pale golden yellow in color with some very light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall bright white head that reduces to a thin film covering the entire surface of the beer with a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate amounts of funkiness - like an aromatic cheese or almost feet - along with a lighter amount of sourness. To me, this is a very inviting aroma.

T: Similar to the smell but the sourness (an acidic sourness) is much stronger in the taste than the smell. Light amounts of lemon citrus and just a hint of vinegar.

M: Slightly heavier than light bodied with heavy amounts of carbonation. Prickly.

O: Delicious and complex, an amazing sipping beer and something I would be happy to have multiple times again in the future. Very easy to drink and very enjoyable.

Thanks to my amazing wife for bringing this one home from a business trip to LA.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2012 19:42:20 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer

Georgia

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

Well, this beer has either improved a good bit since I last reviewed it 3 years ago, or its better on draft. Had this at the RR pub. Pours a pale golden with a thin head that sticks around as a thin swirl. The smell is sour, but there are also notes of wintergreen, lactic aromas, some earthy hops and some slight barnyard, and some lemon. Tastes tangy and a bit sour, but with some distinct earthy hops and some funky barnyard. Tart and refreshing with some lingering bitterness from both the hops and the barrel.

Serving type: on-tap

09-13-2009 03:32:14 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

4.13/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the less mainstream of the Russian River sours, on-tap at Tustin Brewing Company. $8.50 for a tiny 8 ounce pour, on to the beer:

Dirty, cloudy wheat grain color with no head from the pour. A small trickle of lacing grasps onto the glass. The nose is little surprise to me, a big slap of sour lemon and lemonheads. Taste...no big surprise is the sour lemon aspect. In addition to that major flavor, there are subtle flavors of sourdough bread and vomit (in a good way). Moderately acidic for a sour; there's enough to make you sense that the enamel on your teeth is decaying. Good sour all around with an appetizing feel and approachable character.

I held the high expectation of being blown away, but I'll settle for a good sour anyday. Maybe this is a beer than loses some of its character in a keg or requires a larger sampling to better understand this beer.

Serving type: on-tap

02-23-2011 04:56:14 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

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

Thanks goes out to Bitterbill

750ml Caged/Corked
Batch 002

Poured into a chalice a nice cloudy light golden yellow color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger white creamy head which lasts a little while, then leaves some nice slicks and sticky lacing around the edges. The nose is of malts, beligium yeast, grapes, pears, and some spices. The taste is very nice, tangy/slightly sour, yeasty, slightly spicy. Medium body, highly carbonated. Very drinkable, really enjoying this one, another awesome brew from RR. Thanks again buddy.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2007 23:00:38 | More by Wasatch
Photo of mothman
mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

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

Thanks to kbutler1 for sharing this. Poured into snifter.

Pours a light layer of white head. Color is a bright golden prairie straw. Good retention.

Aroma: Very golden ale like. Some herbal flavors with some floral notes. It is funky and has a decent amount of brett. It has some lemon citrus and a bit of sweetness.

Taste: Very similar to the nose. More brett here. Lemon citrus and sweetness. It has herbal and floral notes with a touch of spice. Again, very golden ale like with Belgian yeast. Has a grape/wine like flavor with some oak. Solid.

Mouthfeel: Dry and crisp. Pretty clean. Lighter bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends pretty clean.

Overall, a really nice sour beer for RR. It was different from their others, but still good. Pretty drinkable. I was a fan of this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2010 04:46:32 | More by mothman
Photo of duceswild
duceswild

Maryland

4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

04-10-2013 02:59:39 | More by duceswild
Photo of ppoitras
ppoitras

Massachusetts

4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle obtained via trade with fartingdog. Corked and caged, Batch 002. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a cratery 1" bright white head over the cloudy golden brew. Head stand pat for quite some time, and lacing is prevalent and sticky. Aroma indicates sharp tartness and wood notes. Taste is funky sourness upfront, in the middle, pretty much everywhere, with malt backbone and barrel notes becoming apparent at the end. Mouthfeel for the wild style is very nice, with the maltiness smoothing the tart somewhat, making drinkability quite nice as well. Maybe a Cantillon warm-up?

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2006 02:03:30 | More by ppoitras
Photo of BARFLYB
BARFLYB

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at Monk's Cafe for their 4th annual RR day.

Sanctification came in the glass looking like juice of sorts. A light gold with some yellow/orange resembling lemon juice. A nice whisp of foamy white head on top, some patches of stick on the upper reaches of the glass. Smell is pretty tame considering it's RR were dealing with. Pretty much a base blond beer with some brett scent and light fruits. Simple yet so nice. A very light sour, tastes of some Begian yeast (I believe Westmalle), earth, light biscuit, banana, semi tropics, sour brett which is more funky than all out sour at this point. Some nice lemon taste on the backend. I remember this being a bit more complex out of a batch 2 bottle so maybe Vinnie tweaked this some. Feel is light bodied and very refreshing. This is very drinkable beer but expensive for what it is so not one to have two or three of. This is something I would bring to a picnic with a girl on a nice sunny day.

Serving type: on-tap

03-01-2011 11:29:02 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss

Pennsylvania

4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Russian River
Sanctification

Pours a hazed straw yellow with a fizzy, champagne like decanting and modest retention. There's a lot of active, minute carbonation and I can already see this is going to be a drier beer.

The aroma on this is very funky. Big time Brettsnomyces notes that range from pineapple, sap, musty basement. Quite perfumy and ends up smelling straigh up sour. Has a sour, yet candy like smell.

In the taste, white grapes, Chardonnay, oak, but most of all a souring Brett note of apple cider and apple cider vinegar. Has that sweet and sour componant but this is finer and more complex than simply that. Juicy, slightly drying and oaky on the back end along with a hefty sourness.

The mouthfeel is light and airy, yet dry and sour. Tart Brett notes just ride out the finish in a vinegary, almost puckering haze.

What a beer this is. Patience is a virtue, and I believe this beer is over a year in the making from mash to bottling. A perfect example of craft beer being art, and brewers becoming legends.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2013 02:49:32 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of BillRoth
BillRoth

Maryland

4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

07-11-2013 03:00:29 | More by BillRoth
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sanctification looks like it's been made holy, as if it had been touched by angels: it has a halo of pristine white foam and a body of bright yellow radiance (and no, unlike some, I don't consider Russian River's brewmaster Vinnie Cilurzo a god, not the kind capable of this kind of luminosity, anyhow). Despite the light colour and bright tone, however, it's opaque.

The aroma smells like some kind of like a lemon vinaigrette, it mixes citrusy zest with the unusual impression of olive oil. Orchard fruit and floral overtones factor in as well, giving the bouquet a very airy and fresh essence... that is until a mustiness, something akin to a humid barnyard, sets in. Then, quite quickly, you start to make the connection to vinegar.

'Quality control' may sound like an oxymoron when it comes to bacteria and wild yeast fermented sour beer, but Russian River's is astounding. Most brewers wrestle with their wild beers, some struggling with exploding bottles while others can't seem to carbonate their beer at all. But this brewery rarely (if ever) seems to have problems. This has just the right amount of bubbles and a tartness that is assured but far from overwhelming.

This is batch 005 and I've previously sampled batches 001 and 002 and, somewhat astonishingly, all have been remarkably similar in character and quality. The beer has a vinegar-y acidity that cuts through notes of grass straw, oak wood, flower petal and apricot, resembling a sharp and refreshing white wine. I'm not sure why the wine community is so afraid of Brettanomyces - they make a wine-like beer that's actually better than a lot of wines.

Consistency is not an easy thing to ensure when you're gambling in mother nature's casino, but (knock on wood) I can't recall a single sample of Russian River beer that was tainted or spoiled in any way. If you're trying wild ales for the first time, start with one of the many "-tion" beers, any will do but Sanctification is a safe bet. It is not only among the most highest rated but is also probably the one likely to be most agreeable to an unfamiliar audience.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2011 19:42:31 | More by biegaman
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by drabmuh at my tasting on August 7, 2010. Thanks Matt! Served alongside six other Russian River wild ales.

Batch 003

A: Sanctification appears a really hazy yellow color. There is a white bubbly head that fades after a few moments, leaving very little lacing on the glass.

S: The aroma is very prominent brettanomyces scents with some hints of oak. Very nice.

T: The beer tastes great. It is definitely sour, but not nearly as much as I was hoping or expecting. Perhaps a byproduct of this is that Sanctification isn't as bold and/or aggressive as the other sours in the lineup. Nonetheless, it is quite tasty. Again, brettanomyces is really present throughout. No surprise, since this is a 100% brett beer.

M: Really smooth and easy. No pucker factor from the wild yeast, just easy drinking.

D: Extremely drinkable, chuggable even. I'm glad I have more of this in the cellar.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2010 01:16:26 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of John_M
John_M

Oregon

4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the brewpub in Santa Rosa...

The beer pours a brilliant gold color with fair head retention, but very good lacing. On the nose, I'm immediately worried, as it smells pretty sour. For the most part, this smells like a hard cider, but with some underlying sour. On the palate, what can I say. This beer is very complex, with a sour component that (thankfully) is not over the top. Up front one gets a lot of honey and cherry, but then the sour kicks in. However, it's not over the top, and interestingly, the sweet honey and cherry kicks back in on the finish. Pretty impressive really. Unlike some over the top sour beers from Jolly Pumpkin and New Belgium, I can drink this and enjoy it, though certainly it's not exactly my cup of tea. Drinkability on this beer is pretty good, with the abv. well disgusied.

This is a solid beer, although there's no denying it's not quite my style.

Serving type: on-tap

01-27-2008 03:40:23 | More by John_M
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

4.53/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

375 ml bottle into tulip, batch 005. Pours slightly hazy golden straw color with a nice 2-3 finger fluffy white head with fantastic retention that reduces to a thick cap that lasts. Some soapy lacing clings to the glass as well. Aromas of huge lemon, grass, sour apple, pepper, hay, bread, yeast spices, and nice funkiness. Great aromas here with fantastic balance. Not overly funky or sour with a great mix of all aromas. Taste of big sour apple, tart lemon, grass, hay, pepper, spices, bread, yeast spices, and funkiness. Lingering notes of tart apple, lemon, pepper, bread, and yeast spices on the finish for a bit. Light acidity present on the finish as well, but is nicely balanced and not overpowering. Medium carbonation and body. Incredibly drinkable and smooth; great balance with the acidity. Incredibly crisp and clean body with a perfect amount of carbonation for the style. Alcohol is not noticed at all for 6.75% as expected. Overall this is a smooth and incredible wild ale. So much great complexity and balance.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2012 07:42:13 | More by superspak
Photo of drewone
drewone

California

4/5  rDev -7.6%

06-18-2014 17:11:34 | More by drewone
Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,921 ratings.