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Sanctification - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
SanctificationSanctification

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

2,394 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,394
Reviews: 590
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 9.01%
Wants: 1,126
Gots: 755 | 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: 2,394 | Reviews: 590 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DoubleJ
4.12/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.5/5  rDev -19.2%

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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 smakawhat
4.12/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass at about 4 ounces batch 006 at Churchkey, much thanks to Ed!

Golden yellow appearance, with shades and hues throughout the glass looking at it in a tulip. Spider lacing crawls all over, with slow white carbonation on inspection. Great looking love this body color.

Nose hits with a wonderful mix of bret and sense of spice. In control, and tolerable without a huge funk. Faint light pepper, with a mild sense of juicy lemon. Really nice.

Palate hits with a nice rounding sense of acidity. Lambic like quality, another patron felt it tasted like a real good gueze, there is no sense of heat on this. Feel hits with a mellow yet tight carbonation.

Overall real solid as to be expected, I think I still might prefer consecration but nobody is complaining here.

Photo of atrocity
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%

Photo of brandoman63
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%

Photo of ShanePB
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

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 rab53
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of Zaphog
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of BillRoth
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of KAF
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of HopHead84
4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Russian River. The beer is effervescent pale golden with a one inch, fluffy head. Really nice lacing is everywhere once the head finally recedes.

Brettanomyces are very strong in the nose. The aroma is nice and tart with some spiciness, lemon notes, and horse blanket funkiness. The flavor is very sour with some barnyard funk from the Brett and light citrus. This is quite tart. Delicious! The finish is very dry with a long lingering tartness. I recall the last batch I had was a bit more sour, but this is fantastic.

Light bodied, very dry, and great carbonation. This is an extremely drinkable sour. I drank a growler of this the weekend afterward and enjoyed every sip.

Photo of billab914
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

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 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 Kelp
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

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 sendbeer
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%

Photo of Cynic-ale
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of rolltide8425
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

375 mL bottle poured into an RR -tion glass. Batch 005.

Appearance - Crystal clear yellow gold body with a small white head. The bubbles are big and the head isn't so pillowy. It was a bitch getting the cork out of this, too.

Smell - Bretty and a bit funky. Not overly tart or funky, though. Lemon smells and a very musty smell in the back.

Taste - A little funky at first and then some tartness. Hardly a lot; it's more of a must like I got in the smell. It finishes with a strange wet sock flavor (I may have just made that up, but it seems to fit what I'm tasting) and a hint of sweetness, which is unpleasant.

Mouthfeel - Mostly light and effervescent, except for that finish. The sweetness kills it for me. It reminds me of a not-so-good Oud Bruin.

Overall - Tasty, but not really complex or outstanding in any way. My first of the RR wilds. We'll see how the others go.

Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,394 ratings.