1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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
97
world-class

2,297 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,297
Reviews: 575
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 9.24%
Wants: 1,095
Gots: 696 | FT: 49
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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,297 | Reviews: 575 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GimmeGumballHead
4.97/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

got a couple of these bottles out of a recent trade, love russian river sours. so much.

A - hazy, pretty pale, but very pretty. minimal head.

S - kind of intense, but not really for a sour, very sweet, the bret is present and AWESOME.

T - can't even think of a reason to complain about the taste of this beer. such quality.

M - AMAZING. PERIOD.

O - get some of this beer as soon as you can, I generally use sours for pallet cleansers, but this beer as well as many other russian river sours might slip into my regular rotations.

Photo of beerfan99
4.83/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 5
375 ml bottle consumed on 5/14/2011

A: Light gold and yellow in color and cloudy. Carbonation creates bubbling in the glass and a long lasting white head.

S: Powerful brett aroma, but what else would you expect from a beer that uses 100% brett.

T: Delivers tart and sourness throughout. This beer is not barrel aged and does not contain added fruits. That said, the taste is excellent and quite drinkable.

M: Carbonation provides bubbly feel to the palate. Very sour and dry finish.

O: An excellent wild ale from Russian River that competes well against their best sours. Sancitification provides clean delivery of a brett-based wild ale that is unadulterated from added barrel-aged or fruit flavors.

Although, this review is for Batch 5 (bottle), I have also had Batch 4 (bottle) and both of them on draft. There are definitely some variations between batches and drafts. My slight preference is for Batch 4, but Batch 5 is an excellent beer that should age well.

Photo of BretSikkink
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden color with a merengue-like airy foam head. Lacing is a bit less than expected.

Fully funky aroma, with pale grainy malts, Belgian yeast, and candi sugar. Fruity but with a not-so-subtle bacteria note.

Super fruity and super tart. Lemon zest and hints of pineapple and grapefruit. Pils malt and pale malts contribute moderate sweetness.

Arid finish, with notes of muscat grape, Bragg's vinegar, and green apple. Mouthfeel is light but somewhat creamy, and complements the beer well. This is a fine wild ale and well worth your money.

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

Served in to Bruery tulip. Batch 5 Sanctification

Color: A nice Hazy golden color. Reminiscent of hay stacks. Very well carbonated, forms a Nickel size head and leaves behind a nice lacing.

Nose: Light yeast fun from the Brett. Bready scents hit the nose followed by hints of lemon and grassy elements. Hints of light mellow hop appear after a good wiff.

Palate: Semi dry and medium bodied. The gentle sourness coats the tongue and then gives way to sour apples and lemon.

Finish: Again Semi dry and of medium length. Sanctification leaves behind traces of fruit, yeast funk and earth tones. Layered with flavor and personality.

Photo of cavedave
3.95/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to mikereaser for this thankyou for being a proxy. Batch 005

It pours a cloudy dark straw topped by a finger of pure white, then a lasting skim. Some nice gargoyle arms of lace paint the inner glass.

Light straw and funk front the bouquet, with sweet, green apple, a little hormonal scent, and a touch of mild tart in there. Less complex and strong than others of this style, yet quite good.

Tart green apple invites light barnyard along for a ride that finishes with some delicious tart and sweet rolling into a semi dry finish that lets the brett do the talking. Not as complex as others, but quite delicious.

Nicely low carb., but a bit thin for style, with a finish that could be a bit drier to really punch the flavors home.

This beer rocks, wish I could rate it higher, but there are too many of the finest Wild Ales ever made against which it competes. Highly recommended.

Photo of dciBA
3.5/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch #5

Poured from the caged and corked small bottle into my usual tulip. A couple inches of foamy white head sits atop a very attractive golden yellow brew. Beer was decanted off the yeast, so it's hazy but not cloudy.

The smell of brett bursts out of the bottle when the cork is popped. In addition to all the brett there's a solid amount of sour/tart lemon. There's a nice malty smell underlying everything.

The flavor doesn't have quite the same impact as the smell which is a little disappointing. Plenty of funk with the sour lemon coming in as well. Taste is nice on the palate just a little boring.

Mouthfeel is nice. Perfect body and carbonation. Overall a good beer, just not too exciting.

Photo of OddNotion
3.98/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle recently received in a trade. Batch 5. This cork was a bitch to get out. Nice big pop once it does come out. Poured into my Russian River Belgian glass, actually kept all of the dregs in the bottle this time.

Appearance: Pours a nice light golden color with a two finger white head which keeps growing and growing, looks like starsan being pushed out of the neck of my carboy. Very active bubbling in the body of the beer. Very frothy head.

Smell: Hello Brettanomyces! Very funky, some sourness, good amount of fruitiness.

Taste: Gotta wait a long time before I get to this as the head refuses to recede. Sublte sourness, lemony, a little bit of funk. I catch some oxidized flavors, possibly because the beer is still on the colder side, let's hope that goes away. A little watery actually. While there are a bunch of flavors going on, I wish it was a little stronger, more depth. Metallic taste stays a tiny bit on the end of the sip but is much less noticable than earlier. As it warms, the sourness becomes more pronounced, and the bolder flavors I was looking for seem to come out.

Mouthfeel: On the thinner side and very carbonated.

Overall: I now have had three of the four current RR sours. Will have the last of them tomorrow. This is my lowest ranked out of them thusfar. I am not one to eat food while drinking a beer in general, but I think this would be a great one to pair with a nice seafood dinner. Much much more subdued than the other sours, yet still very enjoyable.

Photo of kraken6100
3.5/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375mL Batch 005 into a LaChouffe Tulip, slow pour, yeast left behind

A- Golden, strawlike hue. Good amount of egg-white colored head, dissipating a little hastily from the top of the glass.

S- I'm not quite yet the sour connoisseur, but I imagine this what has been pointed out to me as the Brettanomyces. Nice sour aromas there with some citrus, green apples, and peach.

T- Sour, but not as acute like the Drie Fonteinen or Brouwerij beers I've had. Pronounced lemon and lime citrus, indiscernible dry spice-like taste, and just a nice meld of those flavors. Some orange or red grapefruit kind of lingers in the dryness.

M- Effervescent, but not too much, actually very refreshing. Has a dry finish, and now I'm curious to try a few of the others I have that are aged in the wine barrels.

O- This was pretty solid, and perhaps a nice gateway beer to sours if you can get your hands on some of it. As I alluded to above, now I want to see what happens with the Supplication, Consecration, and Temptation as they sit in some wine barrels. Interesting stuff!

Photo of khumbard
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

big thanks to piclee and hopburster for including this an extra in two different trades! Batch 005.

Pours a golden pale in to my oversized snifter. Dissipating head, but continues to bubble up from the bottom of the glass the whole time. Smell is definitely full of brett, some sour apples, and grassy funk... very nice. Taste is a little more subtle than most RR sours but very good. Starts off a little bit sweet and fruity, full of apple and lemon tartness. Finishes dry, mildly lactic, and just slightly puckering. Refreshing beer on a sunny evening, great stuff. Mouthfeel is lively, bubbly, and dry. Overall this is another fantastic offering from RR. Not sure if it's as good as its counterparts like supplication, temptation, and consecration... but I'd gladly take one of these anytime.

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

375ml into my Bruery tulip.

Pours a beautiful hazy yellow body with a bright orange glow around the edges. Atop sits a 1" white head that quickly fades to a nice crown.

Smell is mostly of tart citrus fruits. Orange, lemon, and grass. Slight hues of vinegar, but not much.

Outstanding taste. Follows the smell with upfront orange fading into the tart lemon and grass. Not overpowering on the sourness. Very well balanced and enjoyable.

Opened this up at 2 PM while its 90+ degrees outside. Incredible refreshing. The sourness doesn't stick around for long. It starts smooth, moves to the sourness, then finishes dry. Fantastic brew.

I'm new to sours, but this could be the one that makes me a believer. Yet again, a very enjoyable brew by Russian River.

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

Popped open a 375, pours a 2 finger head that stays, golden and hazy in appearance. Aromas of brett right away, apples and funk. The taste follows the nose to a tee only strengthened. It's dry but not too dry, just keeps you coming back for more. Russian river knows sours and this is one of the best!

Photo of SassyBootblack
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

In a small corked and caged bottle, poured into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Thin but persistant white head. Hazy orange color. I poured it carefully, I promise.

Smell: Tart and citrusy.

Taste: Mouth puckering sour, but not outrageously so, and some light malt flavor.

Mouthfeel: Sharp and acidic.

Overall: A well made and straight forward sour beer. It cuts through fatty foods nicely, if you're looking for a pairing.

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

batch 005
poured into my tulip

A: Golden. murky due to yeast sediment. 1/4" foam lingers for a while.

S: pineapple, apple, tropical fruit, picked up slight funk at the beginning, but rather clean afterwards. reminds me of saison fermented with Wyeast 3724. I do pick up slight funk here and there behind the main fruity ester.

T: light sour, and lemony, zesty finish. lemon/orange peel and bitterness like biting on citrus seeds. The sourness is NOT acetic, but more that of a lemonade.

M: light, tingly on tongue with bubbles / acid. very refreshing.

D: good.

The beer matched the spring like weather here in PDX.

Photo of abraxel
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A hazy, pale gold, with all sorts of carbonation. The head has very large bubbles, and disappears after a minute. Actually, after it's had time to settle, there's no sign of carbonation at all (no head, no bubbles).

S - Lemon, a bit funky, but altogether very clean, crisp, and pleasant. I can definitely smell the "wild", but it seems like it's been tamed just a bit.

T - Haha, it has not been tamed! The smell was mild enough that I was a bit worried, but there was no need. This is deliciously sour and tart, with lemony citrus and plenty of funk. It's not overwhelmingly sour; the taste fades quickly after swallowing, leaving me wanting another sip. This glass is disappearing far faster than I want it to...

M - A bit thin, but very smooth and clean -- though it's nice and sour, it doesn't leave my mouth feeling like a yeast infection. Moderate carbonation livens it up a bit. All in all, very good.

Overall, this is damn good. This was the first 100% brett beer I've had, and I'm quite impressed. I'm very much looking forward to the other Russian River sours waiting in the fridge.

Photo of Spider889
4.48/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of badnewsbeers. Live review.

Batch 5.

Pours a hazed golden straw color. Nice airy white head, with vestiges of foam floating around long after the pour. Lace is intermittent, but what is there leaves droopy mountain peak forms on the glass. Given that many sours/wilds have issues with head/carbonation, Sanctification stands out as a beautiful beer.

Smells very bretty. Musty dank oak lends some mild funk. The malt also provides a smooth unbaked dough type of aroma.

The taste is extremely clean. The brett certainly stands at the forefront, but it is about as balanced a brett beer as I have ever had. Most brewers don't understand enough about brettanomyces, nor likely experiment enough before selling brett innoculated beer. Sanctification is as good as it gets in this respect.

Citrussy lemon provides a slight acidic bent to the flavor. The finish is akin to sourdough bread. Very tasty indeed!

The mouthfeel is clean and slick at first, but quickly develops into something dry. Not nearly as painfully detracting in dryness as many sours can be, just appropriately so.

Overall I am very impressed. This was my first Russian River sour, and I only have more sour bottles than this in the cellar! I cannot wait to dig into those soon.

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

A.

A slightly hazy pale yellow (almost like urine) with about 2 fingers of bubbly and frothy white head. Some bubbles are flying from the bottom to the top of the beer.

S.

Some slight fruity notes like lemon zest and white grapes, funk and a slight spice in the nose. Not as barn-yardy as I thought it would be, considering its all brett in this but it is noticeable. A little yeasty and grassy aromas in here as well. Nothing really overpowering but definitely a great aroma.

T.

Tastes of funk and musty-like flavors with those small notes of grapes and spice in the nose. A little more dry and tart than sour however. Same nose, no real overpowering tastes, however everything is balanced perfectly which makes this a VERY drinkable beer IMO.

M.

A little thin but definitely carbonated and gives a nice tingle all around the mouth. A little dry like a white wine. Very crisp and refreshing however. This is cellar temp but a little colder would make this almost perfect.

O.

A very solid and extremely drinkable wild ale. Even my girlfriend enjoyed this who isn't really into sours. Relatively low ABV, however pretty difficult to obtain being in the Midwest unless you have a hookup.

Special thanks to hurfer for providing me this!

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

C: Cloudy
H: Yellow (almost like urine)
N: Tart Lemons + Funk + Acid = AMAZINGNESS!

This beer is filled with super tart and sweet lemons. Very similar to a lemon Shock-Tart. This beer in fact brings me back to the day when I was a kid and I was searching for the most sour candy available. While I loved finding things that brought a tear to my eye, I would go back to shock tarts as my go-to candy for the time.
Like Shock-Tarts, Sanctification isn’t going to make you pucker your lips to the extent that you begin to cry, but it will make you a happy little person with the balance of tart and sweet.
VERY GOOD BEER!

Photo of rtepiak
3.83/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

and thanks a ton for sharing some philippe... our inaugural brew for the evening.

all i really knew about this one is that it was fermented only with brett. a blonde. not a hot blonde but a pretty good looking one for a sour. about 2 fingers on a golden clear. nose was lemon grass and zest a hint of citronella. the palate had more of this citronella quality with a interesting creaminess that gave it the quality of lemon pulp. a bit dry, but more acidic... very subtle grain. reminders of kombucha i've brewed.

i could say this was a learning experience. sours are well rated on BA. it seems they fulfill the other side of the heavy handed craft spectrum. its sledge hammer hoppy... or its sour. either way its bombastic. like american merlots. some are rich in flavor and some have holes but that magnitude of the process is undeniable. and i drink this feeling that that is what's most important. its sour... its not a lambic. period.

Photo of BigMike
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 006

A: Crystal clear pale yellow. Pure white one finger head.

S: Lot's of citrus and funk. Lemon and funk. Zesty citrus and some peppery spice.

T: I can't wait to dig into this one. Damn do i love a good sour beer. RR does them better then anyone in the game. Great amount of funk. This one is definitely lighter then the other RR sours i've had but it doesn;t lack in flavor profile. The citrus funk is there as is the great sourness. WHite grapes and almost a white wine vinegar type flavor.

M:Tart, tangy, dry. Great carbonation mouth puckering joy.

Overall: ANother amazing beer from RR. They deserve all the accolaids they recieve as they make amazing beer. Another must try!

Photo of ChadQuest
3.63/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

hazy lemon yellow with a bone white head, this one looks lemony tart, well see what comes next.
The aroma has moderate funk, nothing overpowering or super wild, along with a juicy belgian like yeasty quality, and some lemony fruits.
The flavors hit a soft tart lemon bite right up front but fades out quickly, doesn't finish super dry or at least as dry as the tart front makes you think it would, the funk comes through with the lemon in a damp straw manner. Enjoyable and very approachable.

Good beer i'd drink any single day,but i'm still in love with Suplication & Concecration though, those are RRs gems im my eyes.

Photo of flipper2gv
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks a ton to nickd717 for this brew!

Shared with Robert that came all the way from New York to share a couple of beers and to do a massive trade. Fantastic BA!

A: Really pale yellow color, hazy. The head was correct and pure white, retention was good and lacing was correct.

S: This is nowhere as acid smelling than Supplication. There is a definitive grainy aspect to the smell of this beer. Good amount of lemon juice and zest. A little bit of hay. Light vanilla and wood tannins from the aging. Not much funkiness or barnyard. Subtle, makes me more think of a bretty saison than a wild ale.

T: Again, sour, but not in an almost exaggerated fashion as in Supplication. Also, this really does feel more like a bretty saison than your typical sour. Definitive grainy character to the beer. Lemon juice and lemon zest are more than evident. Some musky notes, but like I said, they are pretty light. Light vanilla and wood tannins at the very end.

M: Superbly light, with high carbonation. That was expected with the 100% brett. It really delivered on that part.

O: This was a really good beer. Thing is, at this price, I'd think you'd be much better off with any other of the RR sours. Unless you want something subtler, I don't see why you'd pick this one up. Even then, there are much better alternatives for less money. Still, this is a very solid beer.

Photo of palma
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden yellow with a white fluffy head. hearty lace stays throughout the session.

Aroma: Very saison like. Hay, wheat, grass. Farmhouse. Maybe some nutmeg.

Taste: less fruit than the other Russian river sours. Musty, zesty. White wine. Some lemon in the finish. Semi dry.

Mouthfeel is sharp, crisp and airy.

A great beer that I would drink more of if I could get my hands on it. I do like some of the other Russian River sour beers much better (supplication, compunction, consecration). Sanctification is not as complex as the these in my opinion.

Photo of godfathermg57
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 005 poured from a 375ml into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours golden with good carbonation.

S: Definite brett, but it doesn't overpower with its farmhouse smell. There's subtlety here and it smells like a great beer.

T: Tart more than sour. Citrus notes, but dry in a champagne sort of way. Great taste and very drinkable.

M: A bit light and with good carbonation

O: Great sour from RR and definitely very drinkable and enjoyable.

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

375ml Batch 005 poured into a flute.

A - Nice pop with a little bit of smoke upon releasing the cork. Now this is a beautiful beer. It pours a very bright and vibrant lemon color with a slight haze. Light fizzy head which quickly settles to a thin layer of tiny bubbles.

S - Fresh and energetic scents of lemon and green apples with a light acidic twinge.

T - Light and airy. Wonderful notes of lemon and other citrus. Slightly funky and acidic, but not overly so - very easy drinking. A green apple sweetness comes through more as the beer warms. Nice dry finish.

M - Perfectly carbonated. Medium mouthfeel, but still feels very light and open.

D - Great example of the style. My expectations were definitely exceeded after finishing this one. Wonderful job, RR.

Photo of dbmernin83
4.8/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Number 2 in the -ation series from Russian River.

Pours a bright hazy straw yellow with a white, small bubbled head.

Smells of sweet citrusy fruits, light grassy notes.

Tart citrus balanced with light sweet fruits. Tartness slightly dominates but is never overpowering. Long crisp dry finish. Medium sour.

Carbonation is sharp and and clean and compliments the tartness and the dry finish.

An excellent offering from the brewing artists at RR. This is more than a beer, this is an amazing beverage.

Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,297 ratings.