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Sanctification - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

601 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 601
Hads: 2,569
Avg: 4.29
pDev: 9.09%
Wants: 1,170
Gots: 825 | FT: 59
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 601 | Hads: 2,569
Photo of claspada
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

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Photo of glid02
4.42/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.68/5  rDev -14.2%
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.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.34/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours cloudy and is the color of hay. Head is tall and fluffy. Head pops away and leaves plenty of lacing. I see some light clouds of yeast-dust swirl around my glass.

S-The all-Brett yeast is surprisingly not as startling as I expected. There is plenty of tartness; but its clean. I really pick up some strong notes of wet hay. Tart pale-fleshed fruits. The Brett has been trained quite well; many a beer have I had where the Brett kinda gets a bit too zany.

T-Sour and tart and zesty. I find it to offer a bit less complexity than some of the other "-tion" brews by Russian River. There is the tart fruit, hay and even some lemon meringue, so there is clearly still a bunch going on it this one's defense.

M-Light and drinkable. The carbonation isn't too volatile. Tartness begins to permeate the skin on my lips and the enamel on my teeth.

O/D-Another well-trained stud from Russian River. Not my favorite "-tion" but its better than 80% of anything sour I have tried. Next time I have a chance I will gladly lay lip to this wacky, Bretty beast.

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Photo of THECPJ
3.88/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes: 2/20/2011

A: golden yellow to orange with a 1/2 finger head, leaves decent lacing on the glass

S: very slight sourness and a hint of sweetness, citrusy (mostly lemons), and a speck of apples

T: very dry, tart, citrusy, and that hint of apples found in the smell, has a slight sourness, but finishes sweet

M: moderate carbonation, crisp, refreshing

O: can imagine sitting on the deck on a hot summer day throwing one of these babies back without a care in the world


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Photo of DefenCorps
4.15/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I'm not one to go for the tick, but this is Vinnie's recently reformulated recipe that I was lucky to get a growler of thanks to Chris. Split this with a few friends as a precursor to a gueuze tasting.

The pour is hazy yellow-orange with good retention and mild lacing. On the nose, this reminds me of my friend Mike's homebrews in a good way. Plenty of clean citrus aromas, with mild lactic character. When revisited after a real gueuze, it reminds me of a hoppy beer, that's how bright the citrus/pineapple character is. Pretty awesome, it's radically different from past incarnations, but still very,very good. On the palate, the gamut of citrus fruit flavors with orange and pineapple are replicated with a moderate, spicy funk with lemon pepper. The finish is dry with more citrus. The mouthfeel is rather surprising, with a definite "ropiness" leading to a slick palate that's out of touch with the bright citrus and light body. Carbonation is solid, but all told, the finish is a little disappointing. That said, I did not have a problem revisiting this beer 5 separate occasions tonight, each time being a different experience. Highly recommended

**Edit 16 Mar 2014**
Bottle, batch 003 that I received in separate trades from Faro and largadeer. Thanks, guys. This particular batch got a 4.95 from me back in 2008. Let's see how it's coming along.

A clear golden amber with a thin, wispy head that falls off to a ring leaving little lacing, this looks solid. The nose has a beautiful melony funk, mildly earthy, a little dusty, nutty ( almonds) , honeydew melon, a tartness reminiscent of Meyer lemons. The palate is similarly delightful. A light yogurty lactic tartness, a clean citrus note, a brightness that has flavors of white peach, cantaloupe and honeydew melon. A mild Brett note- a touch of clove, a wisp of bandaid, are also present. Drying on the finish with a soft, buttermilk-like lactic tartness, along with a touch of honey, this is exquisite. Carbonation is moderate, lending a mild carbonic mineral bite, beautifully so. Still spectacular. 4.5/4.75/4.75

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Photo of dirtylou
4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

batch 002 - thanks to whoever sent me this

appearance: poured from the corked/caged 750ml bottle into a bells tulip...active and lively bubbles, huge foamy crest, bright golden body, very clear but full of distortion

smell: if an aroma can be bright, this would meet that characteristic...sour and tart lemon and citrus, explosions of active yeast, cider vinegar

taste: funky brett yeast all over the place, apple vinegar, tart-sour cherry/lemon/orange citrus, refreshing hop presence, bready, high complexity. its a belgian pale with tart/yeasty interminglings throughout - quite enjoyable

mouthfeel: light and full of life

drinkability: easy street

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Photo of ccrida
2.39/5  rDev -44.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Batch 005 375ml bottle poured into my large Gulden Draak tulip,
Sanctification is a murky piss yellow with a few big bubbles on the collar, a smattering of it sticking to the sides of the tulip as I drink it down.

Smell is musty, smells like vegetables that have gone bad. I love sours, all strains, single and combos, and this is the worst smelling in a hard to be able to even take another whiff way.

Taste is similar, a big vegetable taste that is rather unappealing. There some chalkiness, a little malt sweetness, but very little sourness, no horsehair,

Mouthfeel is watery, thin, a bit like a lambic, with a little acidic pucker.

Drinkability isn't that good, not digging this one at all. Russian River is pretty hit or miss with their sours, depending on where you drink them in their evolution, and judging by the high scores, I obviously should have given this brand new batch more time. The problem is, it's so bad, I'm not sure I want to buy another one just to see if it improves. Regardless, it's pretty bad right now, I want my $10 back!

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle split and poured into a tulip. 6.75% ABV, Batch 004, "Serve in a tulip". Label complete with classic, hideous, Comic Sans font.

Thanks to "King of Beers" sweemzander for #2 of the epic sour night!

A - Very lightly hazy golden yellow in color with a well-formed, two-finger head. Nice retention and some lace left on the glass but nothing screaming "sexy".

S - Mildly sweet pale malts balance the lemon-lime citrus hops. Big barnyard wild funk is awesome in the nose. A swirl really brings out tart, sharply funk sweat socks. Damp straw and horse-blanket cover the back end.

T - The wild side of this brew sticks to the aroma predominantly. A lot of citrusy, floral hops in the flavor with the Brett funk coming through after. Barnyard aplenty, it's backed very well by pale malt.

M - Deliciously tart but not outrageous, this lighter-bodied wild has a sharp and crisp carbonation finish that's great on the tongue.

D - A nice drinking wild with subtle complexities, easy drinking and flavorful, this goes down well and pairs nicely with a host of cheese!

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Photo of xnicknj
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5


375mL bottle poured into wine glass. Batch 5

Pours a clouded straw yellow with some lighter golden tones. Soft fluffed white head dissolves into spots and wisps of film with plenty of spots along the glass.

Strong scents of bretty funk with Belgian yeast. A bit of straw and grain along with soft fruit sweetness. Zesty tart as well.

Bitter and tart up front with pronounced brett character. Some cracker and light graininess underneath continuing sour tones. Juicy citrus zest with lemon and orange, lightly sweet and a touch of acidity. More dry sourness throughout the finish.

Lighter medium body, tingly carbonation, dry and refreshing on the tongue. Super drinkable, nice level of sourness but not really lactic or overly acidic. I finished my glass and was ready for another right afterward. Another incredible wild ale from RR.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.29/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazed ppale straw color, as expected a rush of bubbles forms a pillowy head, diminishes quickly but leaves sticky rings around the glass. Scent is all about the sour and funk... while being 100% brett, I would expect the funk to dominate, but it is there in perfect amounts while letting other components come through, the tart and sourness is welcome considering the yeast used. Hints of musty grain complete the profile. First sip is whats expected from the scent, great blend of tart and sour flavors with barnyard funk, musty wet straw and a kiss of riper watery fruit. Medium bodied, bubbly carbonation, dry and slightly puckering. A nice simply constructed beer that shows the quality of ingredients and crafstmenship are what makes a great beer.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.29/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks again to Jeff for splitting his RR sours with me. Sanctification pours a hazy, golden-apple color, appearing translucent as light shines through it, although it's impossible to see through to the other side. A soapy and foamy white head leaves some light dredging along the glass as it falls.

The aroma contains a ton of funk - wow! Musty cellar, cork... just huge amounts of Brett left and right. Makes sense, since as this is brewed with 100% Brett. Some mild sour fruits back up the aroma, but the more and more I sniff, the more and more Brett becomes the only thing I smell. Mild oak and wood on the tail end, still wet and funky smelling, with a touch of tart and sweet apple skins. Certainly a funk-head's dream, but I can't accurately judge how sour this one's gonna be. It smells more funky than tart, but RR sours have been known to play that trick on me. I guess we'll see.

Up front, the taste is extremely sour, even more so than the aroma would lead you to believe, so I guess there's the answer to that question. This bad boy is puckering right from the start - green apples, white grapes, super-ripe and sour pears. The assertive tartness is not alone, however, as the funk is very nearly as strong. Wet wood, cork, damp cellar, and huge barnyard notes, left and right. The sourness seems to tone down a bit as the beers warms, and the finish is pretty dry overall. Medium bodied, medium-high amount of carbonation with a slick mouth feel.

Another damn good Russian River wild ale. I don't think it's possible for them to put out a bad one. This is probably one of the more funky ones that I've had, but it still had an intense sour element right off the bat, so nothing was lost in that department. Thanks again to Jeff for breaking this one out.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

550mL bottle poured into a stemmed Ommegang flute; batch 005

Pours a golden yellow with a foamy, frothy paper white cap. Cap settles to a thin layer over the body with a bold collar forming along the edges. Decent lacing.

The aroma is deep and musty. Lemon, soft peaches, tartness, chamomile, and horse blanket funk. Soft and inviting.

Loads of lemon tartness, soft hay, peaches and white grapes. A Belgian Blonde with Brett, very nice. A fantastically light and playful beer. Flavors all hit at once and subside into a tart finish.

Light and playful, crisp and clean, with a tart, dry finish. Perfect.

Delightfully drinkable. The tartness never really builds and makes itself unwelcome.

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Photo of dar482
4.51/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The aroma offers white grape, white wine, lemon.

The flavor hits of a touch of Warhead tartness along with the fruitiness of tart peach, apricot, candy peach rings and a drying finish.

An underrated one of the Russian River sours.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.63/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared by friends at a tasting in December. Compared Batch 3 and 4. Rating from batch 3 as 4 fell far below in terms of quality.

Batch 3
A-bright hazy golden yellow liquid with active bubbles and a creamy fluffy white head.

S-the nose is soft and delicate, light brett aromas, slighlty perfumey, fruits come in with lemon, mango, and white grapes. the aroma is tight and balanced.

T-the flavors are amazing. everything works so well together. the brett is up front but completely integrated and remains with a slight perfume flavor. the juicy mangos roll in with vinous white grapes and notes of limes with a touch of spicy yeast underneath.

M-good soft medium body with a strong carbonation but not quite as lively as the batch 3 tempation. semi dry crisp finish.

D-extremely drinkable and well balanced. this is so well integrated and the flavors are tight and play in harmony with just a touch of sourness in the finish. extremely complex and deep beer.

Batch 4 is far less impressive and would be in the 3.7 range. The pours is pretty and birght golden in color with an active body and a pure white fluffy head. The nose is brett forward, slighlty eggy and perfumey. juicy citrus and lemon peel with some soft golden pears. The taste has a ton more juicy vinous flavors and brett. still some eggy flavors, notes of spicy yeast. white graps and notes of citrus and ripe mango. Soft creamy feel with a dry finish and light carbonation. overall the brett in this is overpowering and the flavors are flabby. not a bad wild but no where near what Batch 3 is.

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Photo of champ103
4.34/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to Dajtai007 for sharing this with me and several other BA's.

A: Pours a beautiful hazy straw yellow color. A bubbly white head forms and recedes after a minute. A white color sticks around, with some light lace.
S: Just awesome. Funky Brett, spice, and flowery aromas. Tons of tart fruits. Lemon, pears, apples. I can just plant my nose in the snifter all day.
T: Follows the nose with funky yeast and tart fruity esters. Tart lemon and pears again. Very nice.
M/D: A medium body that is creamy and smooth. Not watery at all, I just wish it was a bit more crisp. Very easy to drink. There is plenty of tartness, but it is not overbearing. Which makes for an exceptionally easy to drink beer.

I really enjoy this. Not over the top sourness or alcohol, and just all around enjoyable. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.39/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Haw River Farmhouse Ales teku glass. Label says Bottled On: 053014.

A- Pours a medium golden color with a 1/2 inch white head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a small strip of sheer surface foam. Not-so-resilient lacing slides quickly down the glass.

S- Bright aroma of tartness with some solid Brett character.

T- Nice soily flavor with some medium tartness and tropical fruit notes. The Brett funk is mild but apparent. Just well-rounded overall with lots of character and oh so drinkable.

M- Somewhat dry with medium carbonation and a light body.

O- A fantastic blonde sour that rides that perfect middle ground between tart and funky.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.15/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

thanks to ablackshear for this extra from a trade!

batch 6. nice loud pop when cork came out of the bottle.

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: opaque and hazy straw yellow bodied beer with big fluffy white head. Drops down slowely to a ring with clumpy lacing.

Smell: green apples, oaky, lemons, earthy with mild funk.

Taste: mild tartness in the for of citrus, but primarily lemons. Oaky and a touch of vinous. Really earthy and funky mostly musty and barnyard. Nice oak barrel notes as well with just a hint of white grapes.

Mouthfeel: light bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Soft and gentle carbonation. Really easy drinking beer.

Overall: I think this is more brett forward sour than a tart sour beer. I really liked it and its just another wonderful offering for the sours line up at russian river.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.1/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in sample glass at the brewery. From notes. Reviewed 14 April 2012.

A: Pale straw milky gold. Translucent. Light head with some lacing.

S: Banana and spice...it smells like a hefeweizen. Funky.

T: Light and pleasant...sort of sour...then BAM! the Brett hits after several seconds in a wave of funky weirdness. Yeasty-spicy, acidic, but rather light in flavour.

M: Bright, interesting, and moreish.

O: Super-light, very drinkable, and quite tasty. Highly recommended. Will have again.

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Photo of tigg924
4.17/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful funky beer. Appearance is hazy caution light yellow with 1/4 inch head and high carbonation. Taste is funky with white wine, oak, and funk in the taste. Body is light and bubbly. I prefer other Russian River beers better, but would not hesitate to pick this up again. Great beer.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Massive thanks to thunderroad12 for this necessary tick on my RR -tion Quest and also a big thanks to Huhzubendah for letting me try one of his bottles at Sexual Chocolate '11! Batch 004! Served from bottle into a Green Man snifter. Poured a hazy golden yellow-orange with a two finger bone white head that subsided to one finger very slowly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, tart, sour apple, and funk. The flavor was of sweet malt, sour apple, tart, subtle fruit, and a dry funkiness on the followthrough. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this brew was nothing short of excellent. Everything in this one seemed to be spot-on for what they were aiming for here in all aspects. Had an awesomely balanced flavor and great aroma going on here. I have yet to try a bad Russian River brew as of now and this one is no exception... This is an absolute must try for any sour-head out there and is definitely worth the time/effort of tracking down!

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.8/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy yellow color with a white head. In the aroma, sour and a small, sweet yeast presence. In the taste, a small dryness, and sweet tarts, a nice lemon like citrus in there too. A sour bite and medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a lightly dry lemon and tartness in the aftertaste. A small dryness, small yeast, small lemon like citrus, and a nice good sour all day long.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle of batch 003 courtesy of Asymon13. Nice orange-yellow color and a funky smell. there was a hint of the perennial favorite barnyard, brett, brett, brett. The taste was a little sour with a bretty pineapple flavor that reminded me of DeProef La Deux Brasseur. Good beer, not as sour as I expected but easy drinking and delicious.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.97/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank at our Epic Chicago Tasting (I'm like 200 reviews behind).

A - Light golden color with a bit of off-white head. Not much retention with a slight bit of random lacing that didn't look all that great.

S - Reminds me of a toned down version of Temptation with some brett funk in it. Solid.

T - It tastes pretty good actually, really does taste like Temptation with some brett funk. Decent amount of sourness, with a little bit of oak, brett kind of detracts in my opinion. Nice sour bite on the end.

M - Lighter side of medium bodied, appropriate carbonation.

D - I think this is getting the RR sour benefit here, it's good, but not nearly as good as some of their other offerings. I like Temptation much better.

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Photo of mynie
4.82/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Goodness me does RR make some fine sour beers.

Pours like a pretty run of the mill blonde. Not all that much of a head, even in a Duvel glass. Still, nice and hazy and it's pretty like sunshine.

Smells of near perfect sourness. Tons of lemonade, white cranberries, green grapes, and very tiny light spice.

Tastes like the best kind of soda pop you ever did let past your mouth. Very firm limejuice sourness mixed with an incredibly light (but somehow still firm) burn of the yeast. The balance is so amazing that even though it's not hugely complex it still deserves a perfect score. And--well, Geez I can't even get my head around what it takes to craft a beer as wonderfully unique as this one.

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Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 601 ratings.