1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Sanctification - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
SanctificationSanctification

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

2,348 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,348
Reviews: 583
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 9.01%
Wants: 1,106
Gots: 732 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,348 | Reviews: 583 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of harrymel
3.77/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 005: 100% fermented with Brettanomyces

A: pours a blonde ale with excellent clarity and three fingers of eggshell which slowly falls to a sheet of the same. Spotty lacing.

S: Lemon, hay, slight grain. Definitely smells sour. The brett is fairly earthy (for lack of a better term in my lexicon). As I take slower and longer pulls, I get some tropical fruits: pineapple and mango, weird.

T: Slight lemony tartness I associate often with gueuze's comes up front, then disappears nearly as quickly. then I get the bitter, baking soda flavor I normally feel from Brett. Deceptively easy to quaff. I'm using my limited experience with Orval to generalize here, but I don't think I normally like Brett and yet this one is pretty good. Some nice bitterness from, something. Theres a slight vegetal flavor on the finish.

M: Light with hi carb - matches the beer well. Semi dry finish has me coming back for more.

O: I'm taken by this beer. I am not in love by any means, but I'm certainly happy with the acquisition. I have an additional bottle, and will let it age until I trade it, unless I get a hankering for it prior to that time. This is solid, and would be great for a blazing hot day, ice cold. Great substitute for a shandy IMO.

Photo of nhindian
4.49/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle poured into a Russian River '-tion' glass. Bottle generously provided as an extra by mikeraser in the 'Hype Train' BIF, thanks Mike!

Batch 005

A - Pours an unassuming light straw yellow that is easily seen through. A few good streams of carbonation can be seen in the middle of the glass, rising to meet the 2-finger, ivory-colored head. The head has much more retention than the other Russian River sours I've had, and actually leaves behind a cap when it's gone. However, the lacing is probably the most lacking of the sours, with conspicuously bare areas of glass that seem to repel the lace.

S - The nose on this beer screams rural farmland. Earthy funkiness, sour acidity, with a nice amount of fruits and spice. Tart lemons, ripe grapes, peaches, and some peppery spices. Everything seems dripping wet and musty, which brings everything together nicely.

T - It's been a while since I've had a Russian River sour (or any beer from them, really), and this surprises me with their signature sourness. It's definitely a shocker at first but gives it an awesome edge as I grow acclimated to it. It starts with a good amount of malts, but quickly shifts to the fruits and spices. The Brett is present throughout, boosting the flavors of the lemons and grapes. Wet hay, grass, peppercorn serve to cut the acidity and bring back the funk. Finishes with the lemon and grass lasting for ages.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately light-bodied with high carbonation. Definitely a bubbly beer once it hits the mouth and the sourness only serves to exacerbate that feeling. Finishes with a dry bite that I love. The puckering feeling remains in my cheeks long after I am done with my sips (which are more like generous mouthfuls).

D - Drinkability is high. This probably takes the cake for my favorite Russian River sour I've had so far. The flavors are complex and the Brett just adds that much more depth to it. Combine that with a great mouthfeel and you have a recipe for success. I'd love to get a few 750's of this to lay down for special occasions.

Photo of cosmonick
4.36/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Light yellow with a very thin white bubly head.

Aroma: This beer has a distinct sour "earthy" smell with lemmon grass and pepper.

Taste: I taste star fruit, lime, and freezer burned ice in this sour ale. Long after the sour aftertaste has faded, there is a slight spiciness. It's almost like an earthy, dry Sour Patch Kid.

Mouthfeel: Thin and watery with tight carbonation.

Overall: While this isn't something that I'd drink on a regular basis, that really has more to do with the tartness of the style as the sourness goes a long way. Still, I definitely look forward to having it again.

Thanks to Barfwin for sharing this intersting and complex ale!

Eis Igian,
Randall

Photo of zeledonia
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 005, bottled 1 December 2010. Have another one sitting in the cellar, wanted to try this while it was still reasonably young.

Pours a pale golden yellow, slightly hazy. Small white head, a half-finger or so, that recedes pretty quickly. A little bit of lacing sticking to the glass.

Smells like sweet lemon sour candy. Interesting tart lemon, with a layer of sweetness underneath it, kinda sugary. Not a whole lot else there, though - it's gone quickly, leaving me wanting more from it.

Taste is all right in the front of the mouth. Citrus, potent sour lemon, some white grape lightness. The sour is quite strong and balanced well by the sweetness, but doesn't have the depth I want from it. Tasty, but not real complex, and not super interesting to me.

Fairly light-bodied, decent carbonation. Dry finish.

A decent sour ale, but I don't find anything remarkable about it. It's exactly what it says it is, a sour blonde ale, and it's good, but it's rather one-dimensional. Maybe my expectations of RR are too high, but I was hoping for more out of this beer.

Photo of cosmicevan
3.97/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

enjoyed this at a barrel aged tasting on 2011-08-06 alongside a temptation, supplication, and consecration.

batch 006

straw yellow, head is thin and bubbly and gone quickly. not the prettiest, but not bad looking. nose is sweet tart, apple, pear, not much of the funk but nice smelling. only a touch of funky mustiness. very tart taste. sweet. candy-like. again, the brett is not too present, but tehre is a hint of mustiness. tart is not mouth puckering, good feel. overall, it is good, but not great. certainly as advertised, a blonde sour...but i was a bit bummed that the brett was so in the background.

Photo of doughanson78
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Straw yellow. Real hazy. One finger bright white head. Very creamy head. Good retention, awesome lacing.

S: Very tart and lemony. A funkiness that is very pleasant. Slight wet straw aroma.

T: Very tart upfront with a nice sourness in the middle. Lemon, green apple, white grapes. Slightly grainy. Finishing with some sweet notes.

M: Light bodied, with a medium to high carbonation. Very crisp and refreshing.

O: A great sour. Not overpowering with any of it's qualities. Very drinkable.

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

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into tall pilsner glass.
Batch 005

Aroma: Tart, lemony, musty brett. Slight dill note, VERY subtle honey. A faint pineapple note appears once the beer has been in the glass for a little while.

Appearance: One-finger persistent bright white collar of foam. Effervesence sparkles through the hazy honey-golden body.

Flavor: Puckering sour tartness, lemon, white grape skins, and some balanced, but goaty brett. Slight bitterness on the back end. Not much sweetness to be found, but the bottle gives fair warning of this, proclaiming that the beer is fermented w/ 100% brett.

Mouthfeel: High carbonation. Medium light body. Slightly puckering tartness.

Overall: Clean, crisp, acidic, and enjoyable. An excellent brett option for someone not yet wanting to dive head-first into a geueze. (Also delicious for someone who already enjoys these!)

Photo of rlee1390
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Cloudy yellow, one finger head some lacing, not much though.

S-Lemon, wheat, yeast and hints of tartness in there as well.

T-Rather lemony, with some mild tartness. Wouldn't call it sour but tart. Also first of the RR "tions" that had some bitterness to her.

M-Light mildly carbonation.

O-Not as sour as the rest of them but it has some bitterness. I think I poured in a little too much yeast into my snifter. However this is a solid beer that I'd love to try again.

Photo of bashiba
3.97/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very cloudy almost white yellow color with a quickly disappearing fluffy white head.

Has a nice sour smell, lightly fruity and spicy with almost a touch of balsamic.

A very mild sour, just a touch of sour up front that is quickly taken over by a nice strong lemongrass and citrus quality. There is just enough bitterness in the finish from the hops to make it very balanced rounding off the beer nicely. The tartness intensifies a bit as it warms up, especially in the finish.

The mouthfeel is fairly crisp with the tartness with a nice light and carbonated body.

A pretty nice sour.

Photo of bonkers
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

batch 5
I poured from a 375 ml into SA perfect pint glass. The pour is hazy straw with a medium white head, light lacing. The aroma has tart lemon, and some barnyard qualities. The flavor has lots of tart citrus, passion fruit, light vinegar and some funk. The flavors are sharp and it has an acidic feel. The beer finishes crisp. The beer is light and IMO very refreshing. A very good "sour", tart without being over the top. The light body makes it very refreshing.

Photo of laituegonflable
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very pale, almost dayglo straw colour, with mega-opaque haze and mega-fluffy head, white and dense the consistency of lightly whipped egg whites. Nice sheets of lace, looks great.

Smell is very pleasant. Lots of funk to it, with a lovely tart edge of lemon zest, a touch of guava and some underlying barnyard characters. Touch of vanilla and even meringue on there, really lovely and refreshing nose.

Taste knocks your socks off. Mega, uber sourness with vinegar from the get-go and develops into a strong, puckering lemony flavour. Bit off-putting at first, but it does develop some lovely complexities and smoothes out by the mid-point. Still very tart but with a touch of cinnamon, underripe raspberries and some cake batter malt underlying. Bit too tart for the "wow! Drinkable!" factor, but still very good.

Yeah, tartness really comes through as puckering and sharp on the feel. Feels like this would cut my mouth up if it went unchecked and unshared.

A bit overdone just in parts, but I do like a good sour beer, and this is definitely a good sour beer. Maybe some more age on this would mellow out the sharp edges.

Photo of errantnight
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just a great beer. As per usual, Russian River reminds that no one else on this continent aside from themselves has quite mastered the Wilds like they have.

This brilliant, pale gold beer with a huge, fluffy head with moderate lacing and fantastic retention is delicate, subtle, complex, and bursting with nuances that engage the palate beautifully without overwhelming.

Lemongrass and a touch of musty nectarine, grassy and lightly herbal on the nose, maybe a touch of thyme and white pepper?

On the palate this is bone dry, soft and smooth with a crackling bitterness from the pronounced carbonation and a lingering, puckering lactic sourness.

I love this beer. It's a great aperitif, it's a great sunny afternoon sipper (year-round in Los Angeles). If it doesn't quite reach the complex heights of Temptation or Beatification at their best, it trumps them in cost and accessibility.

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 lacqueredmouse
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of david131
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of dpnelson1978
4.03/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle into glass tulip.
55°F

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.

Photo of pmarlowe
3.97/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of jonvan04
4.27/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of leschkie
3.84/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of beergod1
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of BetterWatching
4.53/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of flagmantho
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of peacebone116
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Jemonster
4.28/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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

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).

Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,348 ratings.