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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

2,056 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,056
Reviews: 571
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 9.01%
Wants: 1,071
Gots: 629 | FT: 38
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: 2,056 | Reviews: 571 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Mebuzzard
3.5/5  rDev -19.2%

Mebuzzard, May 06, 2012
Photo of BillRoth
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

BillRoth, Jul 11, 2013
Photo of mdaschaf
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Morgan for sending this one my way!

A: Pours a hazy straw color with a slight orange hue to it. Solid 2 finger head on top with great retention, slowly dissolving to a nice white cap on top. Streaky lacing all around.

S: Rather bretty with a very faint tartness. There is some citrus fruit that comes forward, mostly lemon with a little bit of orange rind/zest.

T: For a change, this RR beer is tart but not really sour. Definitely a sweet flavor profile with some more citrus and grass flavors. Tart lemon and oranges for the most part.

O: Pretty good, but probably my least favorite RR wild thus far. Almost more like a slightly tart Belgian Ale. Still very tasty though and would certainly never pass on it.

mdaschaf, Jun 04, 2012
Photo of brandoman63
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%

brandoman63, Nov 18, 2011
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.

biegaman, Jul 30, 2011
Photo of John_M
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.

John_M, Jan 27, 2008
Photo of smakawhat
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

smakawhat, Apr 19, 2012
Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev -7.6%

rab53, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of Kelp
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Kelp, Dec 02, 2013
Photo of Viggo
4.33/5  rDev 0%
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!

Viggo, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of billab914
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

billab914, Jun 22, 2013
Photo of sendbeer
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%

sendbeer, Dec 09, 2012
Photo of chinchill
2.7/5  rDev -37.6%
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.

chinchill, May 11, 2013
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.58/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

Beerandraiderfan, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of DrJay
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

DrJay, Dec 08, 2008
Photo of Zaphog
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Zaphog, Apr 06, 2012
Photo of DrBier
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

DrBier, Aug 07, 2014
Photo of JohnGalt1
4.55/5  rDev +5.1%
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...

JohnGalt1, Oct 13, 2009
Photo of PEIhop
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

PEIhop, Aug 04, 2012
Photo of liamt07
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

liamt07, Jun 08, 2014
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.

HopHead84, Feb 17, 2009
Photo of rolltide8425
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

rolltide8425, Aug 29, 2012
Photo of glid02
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

glid02, Nov 20, 2010
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

harpus, Aug 14, 2010
Photo of ShanePB
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

ShanePB, Feb 22, 2013
Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,056 ratings.