1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Sanctification - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
SanctificationSanctification

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

2,089 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,089
Reviews: 571
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 9.24%
Wants: 1,080
Gots: 636 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,089 | Reviews: 571 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 003. Brightly buffed lemon with light showers of yeast and near Champagnesque carbonation. The upper third of the glass is occupied by a thick slice of alabaster colored foam that has good (not great) texture. More rockiness while melting would have helped. Small sheets of sudsy lace don't affect the appearance score in either direction.

From a Brettanomyces standpoint, the nose is neither subtle nor bombastic. Proportions of Belgian blonde and barnyard funk are juuust right. Each sniffs delivers lightly spiced golden fruit and the pungent horse blanket muskiness that lovers of this type of yeast... well... love. Mixed microorganisms (bacteria presumably) were used as well.

Sanctification is beautiful, beautiful beer. That's no surprise at all, considering the brewery and the brewer. Blonde ale is probably technically correct (I'll take Vinnie's word for it), but it tastes like more like a lemony, summertime saison. This American wild ale may not be the most complex ale on the planet, but it's as delicious as they come and is insanely drinkable.

Pale and/or pilsner malt provides no flavor and no appreciable sweetness. Contributors include yeast (and other assorted bugs) and hops. Specifics: lots o' lemon zest, snappy pears, white grapes, a wee splash of apple cider vinegar and bitter grasses. Maybe it's pretty complex beer after all.

The finish is downright Saharan and is pleasingly puckery. After each mouthful, it feels as though my mucous membranes are being drawn toward the center of my mouth as a screw in the center of my tongue is being tightened. Tart, tangy and terrific. Sauvignon Blanc is an apt comparison if you're an oenophile.

The mouthfeel doesn't quite have the expansive creaminess of a world-class Belgian ale. Even though that wouldn't necessarily match its flavor profile, the next highest score can't be granted without it. Kudos to Mr. Cilurzo for creating beer that is perfectly carbonated after having spent 2 years, 4 months and 28 days in the bottle.

Sanctify (verb): to entitle to reverence or respect. Sanctification and Russian River are worthy of both. This is a tremendous American wild ale that deserve to be brewed again and again. If you're cellaring a bottle, it's drinking great right now.

BuckeyeNation, Jul 30, 2009
Photo of 0110x011
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - pours a slightly hazy gold with a fluffy two-finger head. Not much staying power, but some very nice lace is left behind.

S - lemony citrus first, with some bready yeast and mushroom. Barnyard funk for sure, but more in the style of a Brett-spiked saison than a sour. Big yeast in the aroma, but not in the expected lacto sour way.

T - lemon first, followed by the same bready/earthy/funky yeast flavors. Some peachy stone fruit comes through, but the flavor stays in the more saison area, with a light dash of tartness. Sour would be an incredible overstatement.

M - soft and creamy. Light bodied, with a crisp, clean finish.

D - very, very high. This would be a great intro to this style of beers, before moving to more extremes in sourness.

Quite unlike the other RR sours. Not nearly as tart, with more earth and bready components. Infinitely drinkable, a fine beer, even if it doesn't rely compare with it's brethren.

0110x011, Jul 14, 2009
Photo of womencantsail
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The pour is a slightly hazy golden yellow color and a fluffy white head.

S: The nose was not quite as funky as I was expecting. That said, there was some nice lemony acidity and notes of green apples and perhaps grapes.

T: Again, not nearly as funky as I would have thought. Lots of fruit, but primarily green apples and maybe some green melon.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied, good carbonation with a dry finish.

D: A very good beer and one that I wish was more readily available. I'm new to the world of sours at this point, but I like where things are going.

womencantsail, Jul 07, 2009
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.

akorsak, Jul 05, 2009
Photo of rhinos00
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So I was going through my old notebook and realized that for some reason I never recorded this. Had at DLD 09. Poured out of a growler from a very generous gentleman.

A- Golden yellow with a decent amount of clarity. Two fingers width of white head. Some lacing as the beer was consumed.

S- Tart and sour. Getting lots of citrus in the nose. Not as potent as I was hoping for.

T- Very much like the aroma. Lots of citrus. Getting some lemon zest and sour grapes. Not as sour as I had hoped for. The flavors were there, but a little more of the lacto flavor would have added a lot to this beer.

M- Light bodied and well carbonated.

D- While it was not as sour as I had hoped, that factor really added to its drinkability.

Overall, another solid sour from Russian River. I wish I had access to this beer on a daily basis.

rhinos00, Jun 24, 2009
Photo of gford217
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle, batch 003, courtesy of connecticutpoet poured into a tulip.

The cork popped out with some force and it pours a bright, cloudy yellow orange with a one-inch creamy white head that recedes to a small cap and leaves good lacing.

The aroma has lots of light tart fruits, with lemons, and a slight vinegar acidity. The brett funk is present but not predominant.

The taste has the big lemony tartness up front but the sweetness of the fruits and yeast are more prevalent than in the aroma. The finish is dry and slightly funky.

The mouthfeel is lively with plenty of carbonation and dry and vinous in the finish.

This is one of the more drinkable sours I've had as the tartness and funk is perfectly balanced with the underlying sweetness. A great beer.

gford217, Jun 04, 2009
Photo of willjschmidt
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle (Batch 003) into a Russian River barrel aged glass.

A: Pours a bright golden color with a nice sized white head.

S: Lemon, bardyard funk, tart fruit.

T: Light fruits in the form of green apple, melon, lemon, and a hint of citrus. Layered over that is the funky brett flavors. It's tart, slightly sour with a dose of bardyard funk.

M: Very fine carbonation over a medium bodt.

D: One of the more drinkable and approachable of Russian River's wild ales, due to the beer being not as sour as some of their others. Really enjoyed this one.

willjschmidt, Jun 01, 2009
Photo of brdc
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to sykdoc for sharing this one. Poured from a growler into a tulip.

Golden color, no haziness to be mentioned, small white head that goes away quickly, with little lacing.
Aroma is delicate but pleasant, sour and tart, acidic, with fruity notes.
Medium bodied, holding carbonation nicely for a growler, quite refreshing. Again delicate, but has fruity notes, white grapes and lemon, sour and acidic components, but not very tart. I prefer added punch with more acidity and/or tartness, but this is still a very refreshing beer.
Cannot argue with the high drinkability having downed a growler.
Another solid Russian River.

brdc, May 27, 2009
Photo of SykDoc
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this originally from the tap at the brewery and then purchased a growler and brought it back to Wisconsin, fortunately getting to share it with brdc.

Poured from the growler into a tulip and a goblet. It pours a nice golden color and is clear with a <1/4 inch white head that reduces to minimal lacing. Carbonation is noticeable.

The aroma is primarily a sour/tart cocktail that includes some notes of lemon and a spicey/herbal component. Minimal acidity.

The taste is quite sour and tart. This is remniscent of lemon rind. There is a mildly sweet/fruity component and almost like a good white wine.

The mouthfeel sealed it for me because it combined with the taste very well. Light/medium bodied with a mouth puckering sour. A significant dryness lingers and the carbonation highlights the flavor.

I was not expecting to be floored by this beer. The initial drink sent me for a loop but as I drank a little bit more, the complexities and pleasantness of the taste definitely came out. This is a very easy beer to drink once you get started and will continue throughout.

SykDoc, May 27, 2009
Photo of mjl21
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewpub. Poured into a RR Belgian glass. This version comes in at 5.67%.

A-A beautiful gold color and is very clear. Has a one finger head that reduces in half and results in a really nice foamy ring. Lots of lace is left on this one.

S-Tart and sour thanks to the brett. Funk and notes of lemon are present.

T-Sour and tart, but not so much that it wrecks the palate. Has definite notes of lemon and funk. There is a sharp citrus aftertaste that reminds me a lot of a well aged bleu cheese.

M-Medium bodied, smooth, and very dry. As previously mentioned, it is sour and tart, but not overwhelming in either category.

D-About as refreshing as possible from a sour. Tasted great on a beautiful 80 degrees day.

One of the more accessible sours that is out there. A great beer that I would like to see reappear in bottles.

mjl21, May 16, 2009
Photo of bulletrain76
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Draught at the brewpub, 5.67%abv. Light straw with a white head. The aroma is floral, and quite lemony-tart, with maybe a light acetic touch. The flavor is sour, and a little funky, with some lemon, leather, and light fruitiness. Light-to-medium bodied with crisp carbonation. After the last two all-brett beers I've had (proef and avery) I wasn't expecting that much acidity in this, but this guy is pretty damn sour, with great leathery, funky tastes going on.

bulletrain76, May 11, 2009
Photo of treyrab
4.88/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to the one and only Dyan for this gem. Long story short, I should have tried this before, but never did, so I'm glad I finally got to try this one!

A: Pours a hazy glowing orange/yellow with a nice white head. For a blonde ale turned Bretted ale this sure looks fantastic! Ample carbonation!

S: Wow, not incredibly complex, but for a blond ale spiked with Brett, this really shows how Russian River mastered the style. Nice dry white grapes and chardonnay followed by a nice lemony funk.

T: Very refreshing and tart with lemon juice, yeast funkiness, white grapes and chardonnay. Not the most complex, but incredibly flavorful.

Overall, easily one of the best wild ales I have had. Incredibly drinkable and flavorful!

treyrab, May 11, 2009
Photo of xhcadamx
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at RR

A - cloudy honey with a bubbly head and surprisingly leaves some lace

S - Sour (brett) lemons and a bit of spice. mainly pepper.

T - A very tart beer indeed. An array of sweet / tart fruit flavors.

M - carbonated well with a dry finish

D - sours are a "one and done" beer for me. Very tart. I will get this beer as my first beer from now on.

xhcadamx, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of FirstMan
4.95/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

At Russian River Brewing. Oh yes.

Beautiful golden wheat color. Clear. Really surprising that such a lovely beer could live behind such a plain cover.

Smell is sour mash. Bright with slight molassas elements.

Tartness of sour pears presents itself up front, then lingers on the tongue for an eterinity. Very little hop character or malt. Sweetness like a cider, without the fruitiness.

Crisp, light.

I could drink this all day.

Excellent.

FirstMan, Apr 12, 2009
Photo of wagenvolks
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle courtesy of stopbarking at the Austin BA tasting.

Releases a clear, golden-straw body with a surprisingly aggressive carbonation level that supplements a well-retained head of meringue bubbles. Amazingly sour nose, with notes of lemon zest, funky Brett, and toasted biscuit malts. Almost singes the nose hairs, but the sourness is delicately intoxicating.

On the other hand, the flavor is more on the punishing side, with a sour, lemon peel dryness balanced by lots of stinky funk. Imagine James Brown singing with a mouthful of Lemonheads...yeah, that's about right. Body is crisp and clean, with a puckering, dry finish of wild yeast. Although I'm still not sold on the whole "wild/sour" experience yet, I can appreciate the craft with which Sanctification was brewed. A must-try for any extreme beer lover.

wagenvolks, Apr 06, 2009
Photo of Kegatron
4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at O'Briens (San Diego, CA) on 3/20/09. Part of a full day of Russian River beers here. Served in a Chimay glass.

Pours a hazy orange gold with a thin brite-white head. Retains at just about the same level, leaving back a nice foamy cascade of lace. The aroma is quite refreshing and crisp smelling, with a fruity citric tartness to it, as well as a touch of funk and spice and some lightly sweet backing character.

The taste is fruity with lemon and green apple character which imparts a nice firm crisp tartness to the profile. What I really like about this, is that it starts tart and stays that way during the duration of the glass, never once coming off as souring at any time. Spiciness and some sugary sweet character punch up the background, nicely complimenting the fruit and Brett and giving the overall profile some nice polish. The mouthfeel is lighter-medium bodied with a lower feeling carbonation at times. While this has a touch of a viscous feel (almost like it was barrel aged), it's definitely on the lighter side, enabling all of those crisp flavors to go down very easily.

What a great beer! The balance between the tartness of the citrus and Brett was fantastic, with both taking equal control of the profile, giving this an exquisitely fresh and crisp feel. Great drinkibility on this as well, I killed this glass in no time flat! Another really great tasting Wild Ale from Russian River!

Kegatron, Apr 02, 2009
Photo of yeastsipper
4.63/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Toronado

Beer is a bright yet deep yellow with a head that disappears quickly. Nice looking stuff. Smell is really nice. Sour funk really slaps you in the face at first and there are very definable smells or lemon zest, other citrus, green apple. Taste is out of this world. Very tart with heavy citrus/acidic quality. Sweet and sour up front, the beer finishes with a full-bodied almost barrel aged quality despite the fact that it is not barrel aged.

A fantastic brew and one of my favorites from my favorite brewery. Seek this one out....

yeastsipper, Feb 25, 2009
Photo of madtowndmb1
4.83/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Russian River

A: poured a cloudy straw color with a frothy white head.

S: Wow, Brett. It has the trademark funk scent, along with tart green apples.

T: One of the best Brett beers I've ever had. The apple tartness is right up front, then moves to the middle of your tongue and the funk takes over! Seduces you right in for your next sip. Fabulous

M: The beers made your taste-buds almost dance next time you were about to take a sip.

D: I could drink this beer for days on end and not get sick of it. It was one of two at R.R. that did that but the other was 10%. This was great!

madtowndmb1, Feb 23, 2009
Photo of magictrokini
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle @ Hamiltion's. Poured a hazy bright yellow-gold with a billowy white head. Thick lacing. Funky straw and citrus. Lots of lemon and sugar, kind of like Lemonhead candy. A fruit basket of other aromas; apple, peaches, pineapple, its all there. Taste is a sweeter sour. Very bretty, but it accents the peaches and pears instead of overruning them. Wheaty/bready flavors in the background enhance the tartness. Its unbelieveably easy to drink. Higher carbonation gives a pop in the finish. Just wish it wasn't so freaking expensive.

magictrokini, Feb 20, 2009
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 tjthresh
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 002. 750ml bottle provided by csbosox. Pours a murky (gusher) straw yellow with a big white head. Funky, hourse blanket, sweet socks, yadda yadda yadda, with some citrus also. frizzzzle's SweetTarts analogy was pretty good. Really fruity and tart. Dry finish with high CO2. Really love these Russian River beers.

tjthresh, Feb 11, 2009
Photo of antilogic
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at O'brien's TION night in a 13oz Chimay.

Less sour than I expected (next to beatification, etc). Straw colored, Like a saison meets sour, medium bodied, almost no head, aroma of funk and sours. Some tastes of fruits, apricot maybe, dry finish, but crisp. I'd love to get my hands on more of this.

antilogic, Feb 02, 2009
Photo of paytoplay
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brett bomb. Yeast, bready a bit. A little tart and would be a treat to find this beer properly stored 5 years down the road. sampled from keg at o'briens 15th annv. Complex mid palate, aroma was just funk and brett. Creamy though. A treat to try this brew.

paytoplay, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of Halcyondays
4.03/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at O'Brien's,

A: Pours a hazy yellow, with a fizzy, hissing acidic head.

S: Light fruit notes, orange perhaps, acidity is prevalent.

T: Fermented and sour citrus fruit, with a lighter acidity than Beatification which I had before. Apricot for sure. A hard beer to get a hold of, has a lot of things going on. A beer I would like to try again.

M: Medium acidity for an RR sour, the acidity is quite smooth and makes for a damn drinkable sour brew. Closest thing to a session sour I've found.

D: A top 100 beer and I was anxious to try it. Didn't quite live up to the hype, but very tasty and worth the purchase. I hope to get a bottle someday and delve into it more.

Halcyondays, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of MisterClean
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A special beer for review #300. On tap at Vinny's.

A - Pours a light blonde, with 1 fingered head. Dissipates fast.

S - Bretty, fruity: maybe peaches and nectarines, and slight caramel.

T - Pretty much matches the smell. Very consistent beer.

M - Holy crap. Has full mouthfeel and great viscousness for a lightly colored beer.

D - So good, probably could not drink more than a snifter at a time.

MisterClean, Jan 19, 2009
Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,089 ratings.