Sanctification - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
SanctificationSanctification

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

2,475 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,475
Reviews: 601
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 9.01%
Wants: 1,151
Gots: 793 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,475 | Reviews: 601
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.2/5  rDev -3%
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

Photo of John_M
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

Photo of akorsak
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.

Photo of biegaman
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.

Photo of Wasatch
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.

Photo of ppoitras
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
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?

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.52/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #3.... I've been sitting on these for too long.. shared with the best beer buddies on Friday... mine was poured into MNFG.

perfectly clear.. straw gold.. big white head .... nice lace and fantastic carbonation.

Nose is so much better than my last bottle a long while ago... very funky and plenty of lemon and horsey notes.

Big and bretty.. of course.. funk with dry leather.. reminds me of a super funky saison.. sour remnants are more from the lemon elements.. no where nearly as sour as any other RR American Wild.. as it warms.. so does the funk.. some "cheese" develops.. sorta moldy.. vineous without any wood.. grape skins..

I needed to keep grounded on this one and remember that no wood touched this beer.. purely stainless. It is a science experiment that I am damn glad that I had numerous opportunities to enjoy.

The brett funk is going to continue to develop long after Vinnie says on the label... I may try and trade my last bottle, but seriously.. I doubt it .. I will be happy to do a tasting with my homies in another coupla years...

Photo of tobelerone
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 005

A cloudy, pale-gold colored brew with a small, fast-falling head and slippery lace. A steady stream of tiny bubbles makes their way to the top of the glass as I drink. Aroma is lovely, tart, slightly funky with brett, lightly sweet, a hint of lemon.

Flavor is quite delicious, mildy funky from the brett but only just-so; tart, acidic, citric, lemony and quenching. A little grassy, traces of green apple, no hops to speak of. Very low bitterness overall.

Carbonation is quite lively. This is a super-refreshing, champagne-like beer I’d drink all the time if I could afford it. Medium light body with a crisp, clean, slightly puckering finish. Made for a great Thanksgiving morning treat while others enjoyed Prosecco with strawberries.

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

375ml bottle, Batch 005 courtesy of the immortal nickd717 awhile back. Thanks again Nick!

This one had a nice pop when I pulled the cork. It poured a nice moderately cloudy gold in color with a one and a half finger bright white head that just sits atop the beer for minutes on end. It resembles a quality berliner weiss. It smells of light citrus, light yeast, some hay, light grapefruit, is lighty acidic and has what I'd describe as tartness, not so much sour. The flavors consist of sour grapefruit, sour apples, brett, lemons, and it has a nice tart and dry finish. It drinks light and only moderately dry. I find it the most drinkable of the Russian River sours that I've tried thus far. It just has really nice balance. Overall I really like this one and prefer it to their other rotating sours.

Photo of Duff27
3.88/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Short lived white head on a murky golden orange body. Leaves a collar throughout.

Slight tartness on the nose.

Very tame sourness, I'd give it a 2.5 on the sour scale. Pick up the Chardonnay barrel notes. Barely any alcohol hint.

Nicely carbonated. Medium mouthfeel.

A solid brew although I've had better from RR. Very tame, could be a beginner sour. Thanks stupac2!

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

Poured from 375mL corked bottle into a tulip. This is labeled as batch 005.

Appearance: slightly hazy light yellow body with a ton of effervescence and a thick finger of pillowy white foam. An attractive beer!

Smell: a dry, bright, tart aroma reminiscent of champagne. There are some light peppery notes here which I find quite alluring, but otherwise it's not notably complex. Still, it's rather nice.

Taste: huge tartness with a light candy sweetness. There are some orchard flavors here which come through at the end -- a nice dynamic quality to the flavor experience. Maltiness is blown away by the tart flavor up front but eventually develops into a nice sweet malt flavor of its own. Quite tasty indeed.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a great big huge carbonation and lots of creaminess. A little too astringent for perfection, but damn nice.

Overall: this is just a really good beer. I don't know if it lives up to the high, high bar set by its Russian River brethren, but I find it delicious and refreshing and definitely worth having at least once.

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

Big thanks to Viggo for cracking this one open. Day 1 of the 2008 Biergotter Tasting.
Cloudy straw yellow with a big, fluffy white head. Good retention, some clumpy lacing. The aroma was heavy on brett earthiness, with some wet straw, grass, and funk leading the way. It also smelled of a sharp tartness that had an edge of vinegar and lemon. Flavour was tart too, light vinegar character and a bit of saltiness. It was juicy too, with a fair bit of berry flavour. Nicely balanced overall, with the sourness kept from overpowering the beer. Light bodied with slightly spritzy carbonation, surprisingly smooth texture. Really quite tasty and balanced for a sour beer, likely due to the brett playing nice with us.

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

A: Pours a lightly cloudy straw-golden body with orange highlights. I didn't get any sediment in mine, so it's crystal clear, with a moderate off-white head that settles slowly.

S: Strong lactic sourness in the nose. Mild brett funk (hay, horse blanket) and earth. A buttery, sweet white wine presence with light, bready cracker. As it warms, it develops a tropical fruit flavor too (mango in particular).

T: Starts off quite sour with crisp fruit, specifically apple, pear, lemon peel, and vinous white grapes. Dry cracker in the mid-taste that progresses into a melange of restrained bretty flavors, namely earthy hay and horse blanket. The dominant characteristic here is lactic sourness, by far; it's puckering, but not acetic.

M: This is semi-dry, with a light body. Great bubbly finish, almost like a champagne but not as crisp. A fantastically vinous aftertaste.

D: was impressed with how balanced it is. It's not puckeringly sour

Photo of Gobzilla
4.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: poured a murky apricot orange with pineapple yellow highlights that had a finger of white head that dissipated quite fast but it did leave some bubbly lacing sticking to the glass.

S: a very nice bouquet of cirtus and oaky barrel funk from the brett pop out first on the nose with slight apples, vinegar, and acidic character which makes me think its gonna be nice and sour. It also has some vinous notes as well.

T: very tasty acidic citrus, vine grapes, and apple fruit mesh very well with corky barrel musty funk. You can definitely tell that it had brett but I also seemed to pick up apricot flavor and a touch of underlying spice.

M: the brew was medium in body with a perfect amount of prickly carbonation which had an acidic, fruity, bretty, slight spice, and tart finish.

D: it was drinking amazing and after every sip it I was fiending for more. Russian river really knows how to brew these wild ales and this one is definitely no exception. I'm really glad I was able to get my hands on one.

Photo of Viggo
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to HopHobo for sending this my way in a trade. Day 1 of insane DrJay visit epic tasting.

Pours a cloudy golden, big thick pillowy off white head forms, drops some nice lacing, settles to a thin layer, great retention, looks nice. Smell is neat, brett funkiness, some acidity, lemon and orange zest, wood, leather, honey, vanilla, barnyardiness, straw, pretty nice. Taste is acidic to begin, oak, quite tannic, lemon juice, funky, grapefruits, very juicy, nice and sour in the finish, vinegary, pretty kickass. Mouthfeel is light bodied with high carbonation, very drinkable sour, sourness is well balanced, very nice. I dig this one a lot, lots of character but not over the top. Thanks a ton Matt!

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 HuskyinPDX
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375ml bottle, batch 005 opened on 4.15.12

A - Pours a light cloudy, pale orange with a small white head that fades to a few small white bubbles on the edges.

S - Lots of funk, lemons, wheat, and some oranges.

T - Sour oranges and lemons.

D - Good carbonation and a medium body.

O - Wonderful tartness and flavor. Making me wonder if I should fly to RR or not?!

Photo of Bitterbill
4.52/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml( room temp-Batch 002) a cloudy lightish gold with a huge head of foam that shrank slowly leaving lots of lacing and a solid layer for the entire session.

The smell is *all* spicy with notes of yeast, orange, corriander, and a whole lot of funk!

The taste is *hugely* sour up front. Almost to the point of knocking my socks off but there's also the yeast, orange, and corriander I mentioned in the smell and there's some peppery notes, hoppy bitterness, and even some malt sweetness .. man.. this one sure is complex as all hell and a literal delight to sip on. I'm glad I have another bottle and plan on cellaring it for a spell.

Bottom line: A superb American Wild Ale, in my book. My hat's off to Russian River for, once again, travelling down the off the beaten track!

Photo of wordemupg
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml corked and caged bottle poured into tulip 15/4/12 batch 005

A a little cloudy in bright golden yellow body, no carbonation issues that's for sure lots of pinprick bubbles popping up from everywhere and feeding a nice two finger bone white head that retains very well ending up as a little island leaving a few rings of lace as it falls

S pear and apple cider notes, heavy funk, and some vinous notes with a little vinegar, I'm liking this one, I want to say its simple and straightforward but that's not quite the case

T what I smell with more sour cider notes, not as funky as the nose but still very nice just not as strong as the smell,

M lots of pinprick bubbles leaves a tingle, quite alive in the mouth with a nice sour bite, a little funky lemon on the finish, somewhat clean actually aftertaste is faint

O well made beer for sure, smells and feels great and I'd use .25 if I could for taste, a nice sour blonde that I wish I could find in my part of the world

I could drink quite a bit of this stuff without getting board, my first RR sour and I'm very pleased I'm going to get to try 3 more in the near future thanks to the most awesome Rutager

Photo of SadMachine
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from notes from 4/14

A- Pours a slightly less than clear pale hay color. It is capped with a finger of white bubbles that dissipates quickly to a collar that maintains well thanks to lots of lively carbonation. A little lacing is left on the glass.

S- The Primary Aroma is bubble gum and Belgian candi-sugar. Mild tartness, grapes, some dry white wine, and some tannins.

T- The flavor is bright and much more tart than expected from the nose. This actually reminds me a lot of an oak aged saison like Surette. White wine grapes, Belgian yeast, and a good bit of oakiness.

M- The mouth feel is a bit thin, but has great carbonation. It finishes extremely dry.

O- Overall this is a very good sour blonde, but nothing incredible. This would be a good intro to sour beers, especially for converting wine drinkers.

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

Thanks to Dave (BuckeyeSox) for this bottle, which he brought back from San Francisco. The bottle was 750 mL (bigger than the other RR wild ale bottles I had in 2006), cork topped and labelled as batch 003.

The beer looks like most others, clear golden color with a thick but finely celled foam. There was a thin layer of yeasty sediment at the bottom of the bottle. The aroma and taste are sour, very nice and puckering. There is a hint of sweet maltiness in the smell but mostly this disappears from the flavor as the Brettanomyce takes over. Another excellent Russian River brew.

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

On tap @ Monks in Philly for the Zwanze 2012 celebration/release.

Pours a cloudy light golden color with a frothy white head that retains fairly well and leaves some spotty lacing on the glass.

Aromas begin with some crackery pilsnery malt and some champagne-esqe vinous oak notes. As it warms I get some light citrus, funk, earth and doughy yeastiness with emerging green apple.

The tastes follow the nose with the clean pilsner, maybe some wheat maltiness and then the sour lemon, funk, oak and apple skin flavors come in. The backbone has a definitive Belgian Bretty yeast presence throughout.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with above average champagne-esqe effervescent carbonation. Finish is plesantly sour and dry but not overly so in either category.

Overall I enjoyed this very much for my first time sampling it. I was always hesitant because of the inflated price tage but for $5 on draft at a bar during Zwanze Day, why not give it a go (or 2). I enjoy this offering more than Supplication as I feel it is a bit more complex and the flavor profile pops just a bit more.

Photo of spinrsx
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle from Whole Foods San Jose CA for $12 or so

Appearance - Gold colour with an average size white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 4-5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Breads/grains, lemons, peppery spice mix, citric, funk

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste breads/grains and some tart lemons. There is also some white grape juice and some woody notes.

Overall - A simply fantastic beer. My bottle is from 2011 and it is holding up very well. Actually reminds me a bit of a Lost abbey cable car in some ways. World class stuff.

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.

Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,475 ratings.