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Sanctification - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,986 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,986
Reviews: 571
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 9.24%
Wants: 1,061
Gots: 619 | FT: 39
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: 1,986 | Reviews: 571 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev -4.2%

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.

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


4.45/5  rDev +2.8%

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.

07-30-2011 05:26:54 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of david131


4.2/5  rDev -3%

A- Pours a hazy luminescent yellow-orange liquid with a thick and craggy white head that has astounding retention. As good as it gets.

S- Sour fruits and bread. Complex, aromatic, and inviting.

T- Sour fruits with some bready malt. A tad simple but very tasty and refreshing.

M- Smooth and creamy with light carbonation. The finish is clean and acidic.

O- A simple but well done take on the style. Drinks fantastically on a rainy summer night.

07-28-2011 04:08:37 | More by david131
Photo of dpnelson1978


4.03/5  rDev -6.9%

375ml bottle into glass tulip.

A: Cloudy straw body topped with a big, fluffy off-white head of moderate retention that leaves behind a thin bubbly cover and ample lace.

S: Distinct brett aroma that always strikes me as banana and citrus. Really bright and enjoyable.

T: Tart and fruity up front giving way to a graininess on the back end. Very light sweetness and very little bitterness.

M: Light carbonic bite and moderate sour astringency. Light to moderate body with a crisp finish.

O: Very refreshing due to the body and tart crispness. More potent than one would expect. I wouldn't drink several bottles, but I would buy this selection several times. Very solid beer, and an excellent first impression.

07-27-2011 03:43:38 | More by dpnelson1978
Photo of pmarlowe

District of Columbia

3.98/5  rDev -8.1%

Batch 005. RR 'tion glass.

Pours a clear pale gold, a finger of pure white foam, so-so retention and minimal lacing. Smells like sour lemon (in a non-harsh way), brett, nice floral and freshly cut grass notes. Long finish. Taste is brett, crisp lemon and floral, slight sweetness. A nice, moderate level of acidity gives this a very good level of bite. Medium carbonation and body, no alcohol at all here. Overall, although I tend to enjoy the barrel aged sours from RR best because of the complexity, this is very tasty and refreshing. Great for warm weather days. This had enough sweetness and body to pair quite well with Indian food.

07-26-2011 01:31:13 | More by pmarlowe
Photo of jonvan04


4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

This was the latest RR sour to finally hit Philadelphia, this was sampled months back so this review is off of old notes. This beer poured a straw, pale color with a thin white head. The aroma was similar to a tart chardonnay with notes of white grapes, sour apples, with some brett. The taste consisted of notes of what was mentioned in the aroma above, with the funk more in the forefront. There was a nice level of carbonation which coated the toungue on every sip. This beer was very drinkable compared to some of the other RR sours that were so tart that it would be difficult to have more than one in one sitting. Another solid beer by Russian River.

07-24-2011 19:38:35 | More by jonvan04
Photo of leschkie


3.85/5  rDev -11.1%

Batch 005. 375 mL bottle poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a mostly-transparent gold with a very frothy head that reminded me of whipped creme fraiche. Very nice lace left behind as the head dissipated.

Smell: Aromas reminded me of a Belgian pale (funky yeast, hay, lemon) with a slight hint of tartness, leather, coconut. First impressions is that this one will be a very mellow sour...

Taste: ...and I was right. The sour tartness is very subdued, perhaps a little too much. The tartness tastes something like a lemonhead that started to dissolve as a result of getting wet. But the Belgian profile unfortunately dominates the taste buds. Nothing too complex going on here.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied like a Belgian pale with a substantial amount of carbination, as expected with this style. The mouthfeel is very pleasant as a matter of fact.

Overall: Eh. Refreshing, but nothing to get too excited about. Honestly, I'd have to say that I think this one is a little overrated, just like Supplication. When I see sour written on the label, I expect to taste sour but this simply wasn't the case here. Consecration still tops my list among the RR sours.

07-23-2011 16:23:29 | More by leschkie
Photo of beergod1


4.22/5  rDev -2.5%

Pours a clear yellow body with a small carbonated white head. Smell of pepper and aroma of lemon, grapefruit, leather and graininess. Taste is Tart and slightly has a flavor of lemon, hay and grapefruit with a tart peppery finish. Damn refreshing and tasty! Even when warming.

07-17-2011 23:08:26 | More by beergod1
Photo of BetterWatching


4.58/5  rDev +5.8%

A- Golden with a quickly disappearing white head.

S- Funky evervescence with hints of pear and other sweets.

T- Before it hits your tongue the funkiness in the smell tells your senses this beer is sour, but the first thing you notice is a the blond ale characteristics. Different fruits; citrus, pear and others with a mild sweetness. They give way to the tart sourness my nose was expecting.

M- Crisp with medium to high carbonation.

O- Very excellent beer. When compared to the rest of the RR catalog I would consider this by far the most sessionable of all the sours. I could sip on this beer everyday after work.

07-10-2011 06:09:48 | More by BetterWatching
Photo of flagmantho


4.38/5  rDev +1.2%

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.

07-08-2011 04:02:47 | More by flagmantho
Photo of peacebone116


4.35/5  rDev +0.5%

Poured 375-mL bottle (Batch 005) into Delirium snifter.

A: Cloudy bright pale straw color. No head, but lacing on sides and a wispy spiral (again, reminds me of a swirling galaxy) at center of glass.

N: Tart Meyer lemon rind and musk.

T/M: Lemony sourness creeps through my mouth and causes my jaw to clench! The prickly carbonation provides a good backdrop to the tartness. There is a slight vinegar note to the beer, reminiscent to that of Kombucha. The hops' bitterness and spice bridges the transition of initial malty sweetness (which hits with a quick flash) into the tartness.

Overall, this is a tasty beer, but it is not my favorite of the RR sours. It is crisp, refreshing, and jaw-breakingly sour, which I like, but there is a lack of depth to this, as compared to the other sours in the flight.

07-06-2011 16:52:54 | More by peacebone116
Photo of Jemonster


4.33/5  rDev 0%

A: Pure gold with little visible carbonation and no head after settling. Medium bubbled carbonation. Looks a little richer than most beers.

S: Clean almost soapy suds scent, but sweaty socks almost too...Some grapefruit. The descriptive words sound bad, but it actually smells pretty good.

T: Grapefruit, green apple, clean mineral crispness. Musky funky flavors, pineapple...This one is a fruit basket. Light on the sweetness too.

M: Wonderful. Perfect viscosity and carbonation. Balanced, light, and refreshing. Crisp and cool.

O: I always like their stuff. Feeling a little biased, but they do make wonderful beers.

07-06-2011 04:33:26 | More by Jemonster
Photo of AwYeh


4.1/5  rDev -5.3%

12.68 oz bottle; big thanks to madvermin for graciously giving me this bottle.

A: Cloudy but bright golden-yellow with half a finger of fine white head. Good lacing around the glass.

S: Lots of citrus– sweet and sour alike. Grapefruit and lemon stand out. A little bit of funk.

T: Sour upfront; getting a lot of lemon once again. Decent amount of sweetness floating around to balance things. Lingering, tangy finish.

M: Medium-bodied, quite smooth and carbonated.

O: A really good beer; compared to the other reviews here it looks like I dig it just a bit less, but for sure worth checking out (if you can get past the price tag).

07-02-2011 02:55:16 | More by AwYeh
Photo of mikereaser


4.2/5  rDev -3%

A - Pours a hazy golden yellow with a short layer of white foam that quickly faded.

S - Nice light citrus aroma with a bit of an earthy undertone.

T - starts with a nice tart fruit taste up front then a more mild citrus taste reminds me of peach, lemon and grapefruit. There is a nice earthiness to the base of this beer and the slight tart sweetness comes out and makes this very enjoyable.

M - Light bodied with a nice carbonation.

D - The sweet tartness along with a nice dry finish helps to bring me back to this one again and again. Dare I say a summer beer? Too expensive for that but hey, on special occasions, like when I actually mow my lawn.


07-01-2011 03:37:28 | More by mikereaser
Photo of aasher


4.35/5  rDev +0.5%

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.

06-29-2011 02:20:42 | More by aasher
Photo of Adrianized


4.38/5  rDev +1.2%

Batch 5, poured into a snifter.

Pours a hazy light orange with a half finger thick white head.  Settles to thin film with big bubbles.

Smells very citrusy, mostly oranges, clementines, and maybe some lemon.  Pretty big gueuze-like sour nose.

Right up front it's sour and funky Brett.  Most of tartness reminds me of orange rind and zest, some white cherries.  Very slight peppery and dry aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with plentiful carbonation.  Prefect for the style.

Overall this was very enjoyable, it reminds me of Cantillon Gueuze, but not as balanced.

06-24-2011 01:57:07 | More by Adrianized
Photo of alenonbeeradv


4/5  rDev -7.6%

a - hay blond yellow with a slight orange glow. hazy with a bubbly champagne like head half a finger thick with surprising retention.

s - funky.. slightly metallic. sour barnyard. very musky.

t - sour citrus peel. grape fruit. green apple.

m - again very champagne like. very zesty and alive. nice and crisp as well. very clean aftertaste for a sour.

o - great. love it. want it. age it. spread it. great go to sour as long as i got 10 bucks to throw down on a glass.

06-23-2011 06:57:47 | More by alenonbeeradv
Photo of claytong


4.47/5  rDev +3.2%

appearance - golden pale and clear and then i poured the bottom of the beer and it got cloudy like no ones business, opaque even

smell - a bit of ham, sour cherries, a bit of brett but nothing strong or offending

taste - im not crazy about wild ales that are too intense so this was really nice for me, dark cherries and some brett, minor sour

mouthfeel - smooth for a sour, love it, great carbonation like most of their beers

06-21-2011 16:16:00 | More by claytong
Photo of thedindaniel


4.3/5  rDev -0.7%

Batch 005 from a bottle. Pours a hazy golden yellow with a thin layer of head and a good amount of small fine bubbles (almost champagne like, I'd guess from the bottle conditioning). Smell is funky like a strong cheese with a hint of tartness. The initial taste is an oaky funky flavor but fades out and showcases a pale grain flavor. Mouthfeel is dry and the carbonation is enough to pop on the tongue.

Perhaps not as much going on flavor-wise as Consecration or Supplication but it's still a great beer and a mouth-puckering sour. Recommended for sure.

06-19-2011 06:02:35 | More by thedindaniel
Photo of samie85


4.45/5  rDev +2.8%

Reviewed from notes; originally 6/9/11.

A-Pours a hazy blonde color with two fingers of dense, cratery white head.

S-Leather and cherry pie notes with some light pale malt aromas.

T-Tart, refreshing cherries with leather and some earthy notes on the finish.

M-Light to medium bodied with a good amount of prickly carbonation and a dry feel.

D-Very palatable and refreshing beer that is wonderful after a full day of walking all over sunny San Francisco.

06-19-2011 05:30:50 | More by samie85
Photo of kbnooshay

New York

4.85/5  rDev +12%

Looks like chicha. Cloudy yellow hazy milky lookin masterpeice. Frothy creamy off white head. Smells like Sour apple. Mmmm. Amazing smell. Tastes super Sour and slightly puckering. This is funky from the Brett. Woohoo. This is so balanced and tasty. Tingly dry feel.

06-18-2011 02:30:12 | More by kbnooshay
Photo of TenHornsProud


4.38/5  rDev +1.2%

Pours a vibrant yellow with hues of orange. Has a small white head and is cloudy.

Smells sour and acidic. Not much distinction beyond that.

Tastes of pineapple and sour, tropical fruit. Has a nice level of sourness, something akin to the New Belgium sours. Hints of wheat as well.

It is highly carbonated from the bottle conditioning and is light and goes down easy.

This is a fantastic sour...lighter but with a distinct, fruit-like sourness that is completely pleasing. I want more of this.

06-17-2011 23:21:03 | More by TenHornsProud
Photo of BarrytheBear


4.05/5  rDev -6.5%

Batch 5....375 ml bottle generously provided by Alex. Thanks buddy!

Pours the color of pineapple juice and just as murky/cloudy. Some clumpy lacing grabs at the edges and holds tight.

Smells of a funky lemon wearing his best Brett laden cloak. A man around town he'd be.

Mildly puckering and sour. Opens lime and green apple peel and then transitions to a dusty middle with a touch of rubber. It doesn't necessarily detract, but it is slightly distracting. Finish is cracker and funk with a tart dryness.

Mouthfeel is snappy and carries the flavors quite well.

Overall, it's not the Brettiest, tartest, our sourest beer on the block, but it's comfortable in it's own skin and ain't that what's it's all about?

06-16-2011 23:38:45 | More by BarrytheBear
Photo of black13


4.05/5  rDev -6.5%

Batch 005

Heard a nice pop when I popped the cork, which was a great relief to know my first Sanctification would not be a flat one. Poured a golden hue of yellow into my HotD tulip glass giving a nice full inch of fluffy head. The head did dissipate leaving a nice splattering of lace and a good ring of bubbles on the edge.

Being a newb to the world of wilds, this one seems pretty mellow, but not in a bad way. I pick up some acidity and some lemony citrus aromas. There is also another aroma I pick up and I would guess that is the yeast as its almost bready to me.

Very crisp and refreshing. It starts off with what I would call a lemon apple zest, then finishes with a dry brett/bready maltiness. I look forward to trying more brett and getting a grasp for its full flavors.

Medium body with an almost champagnesque carbonation. After having a bottle of champagne the other night, I would say this is a champagne beer, and this is a good thing. Alcohol is not detectable.

Very drinkable. I still need more time with sours and wilds to get a feel for them, but this one was a nice introduction. I'm still not sure what barnyard funk and hay taste like, but someday I will get there. I will be enjoying many of these if the weather gets nice and hot.

06-16-2011 20:35:06 | More by black13
Photo of jwinship83


4.18/5  rDev -3.5%

375ml corked and caged bottle acquired in a trade with azurescens. thanks dan! drank out of the appropriate russian river "tion" glass while coincidentally wearing my russian river t shirt.

A- the beer pours out of the bottle a glowing bright golden colored body with a haze to it. on top sits a bright white head that quickly fizzes away to become no more than a crown. thick rings of lacing are left on the sides of my glass. very nice.

S- strong odor of funky brett erupts from my glass. barnyards, wet hay, and wild cheese immediately come to mind. lemon zest and green apple skin also show up but are less pronounced. a spicy peppery thing going on towards the end.

T- the taste starts out with a bretty kick that was much weaker than the smell would have indicate. pepper, lemon zest, funky barnyard odors, green apple skins and maybe a hint of grapes. lightly puckering also.

M- the body is on the upper side of light. the carbonation is on the upper end of medium. sour without being over powerfully puckering. nice dry finish.

O- this was an enjoyable beer that went down very quickly. the alcohol is extremely well hidden. something id love to pick up again to drink as well as lay some down to age. russian river is the king of the american wild ale.

06-13-2011 03:17:40 | More by jwinship83
Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,986 ratings.