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Sanctification - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

607 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 607
Hads: 2,598
Avg: 4.3
pDev: 18.6%
Wants: 1,180
Gots: 841 | FT: 59
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale | 6.75% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 10-27-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 607 | Hads: 2,598
Photo of trevorwideman
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle bought at City Beer, SF. Shared at a tasting with oakbluff and fisherman34. Poured into a snifter.

Pours a yellow-peach colour, lots of lively carbonation, pretty lacing, and 1 inch of head that subsides fairly quickly. Aroma is funky and fruity with a bit of peach and some spice. Subtle yet full of life.

Taste is very fruity and and sour and peppery, and it all melds together to an almost mellowness. Peaches, unripened apples, herbal, spicy, and cheesy. Wow, complex with so many subtleties. Mouth is dry, dry, dry, sticky, medium body, feisty carbonation. This is an outstanding beer, and one that I could honestly drink over and over again. It may never pass my lips again, but at least it did, once.

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

Poured from a 750ml corked and caged bottle in my DT tulip. It was a bright golden color with a slight haze from little bits of yeast. It had a small bubbly head that quickly went away. A little carb but no lacing. The smell was Brett and barnyard as others have mentioned. Love the Brett aroma but I like the smell on Temptation better. Same on the taste - very Brett with an awesome sour bite but Temptation was a little better. Mouthfeel was great with the sour tearing up the tongue - in a good way. Overall, another great beer from RR and highly recommend. Wish I could get a steady supply of this one.

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Photo of BeerTruth
4.8/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pick this one up myself at the brewery this past summer, I think it's time to give this one a try.

Batch 003, 750 mL bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a super clear burnt golden hue with a full fluffy two finger pillowy white head that slowly dies down. Stickiness remains all over the sides of the glass. Crazy bubbles race to the top. Smell is sour all the way. Tart cherries, sour apples, fresh cranberries, and faint lemongrass. Just a good ol' typical RR brew. Strong yeast presence and hints of wood in the nose as well. Taste starts off with a light lemon zest followed by tart Granny Smith apple flavors. Taste is sour, but not too sour. Yeast is present throughout, but is just one of the many flavors in this unique brew. Aftertaste is a bit oaky with hints of vanilla. Such a drinkable complex brew, not many breweries can accoplish this. Mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Everything about this beer is in check. No flavor stands out or overpowers the others. I haven't had a beer like this in a while, glad I still have more than half a bottle left on this blizzard like night. Pick this one up for sure.

Who's afraid of the "big bad BRET?"

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Photo of bradford
4.19/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle purchased from Monument Wine and Liquor for $9.99
Looks fairly below average. Very golden in color with a huge cascading head that dissipates quickly
Smell is very intoxicating. Sour, barnyard-y type that comes with the territory with Brett inoculated beers. This is described as a 100% brettanomyces beer with no sacchoramyces. And you can smell it. Very sour nose
Taste was good. Not as great as The Temptation or Supplication, but a very different beer as well. Sour, tart, lip puckering, but quite quaffable
Mouthfeel was ggod. The tart Brett doesn't make it undrinkable and it is quite balanced and under control
Drinkability is very good. I want another...oh yeah, I have 2 more sitting in my cupboard.
Another winner from Russian River

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Photo of weeare138
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to phnphilly for opening this at Phatz's sour beer tasting...
Batch # 3.
Appears a cloudy pale gold with a white head that fades into a thick cap with tons of lacing left around the glass.
Smell is of pils malt, brett abound, lemony zest, and oaky vanilla.
Taste is of the same but slightly weaker with soapy lemon and mild hints of coriander pulling through.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, sweet-tart, soapy, oaky, and fizzy.

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Photo of franksnbeans
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy pure blonde with a frothy white head that laces sheets as it dies slow. Smells of a sour, wheat and almost a little clove and some spice. Tartness hits the tongue first thing followed by a fruity finish with I swear some clove and spice. Medium in the mouth with a tickle of carbonation. Sip her in delight.

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Photo of mynie
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Goodness me does RR make some fine sour beers.

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

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

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

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Photo of brewmaster411
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sanctification is a beer brewed with 100% Berttanomyces yeast.

This was poured from the tap into a tulip glass. It poured a nice goled color with a white head and a bit cloudy.

The aroma was a pronounced lactic tang with some floral hops and a light bready character.

The flavor was definately lactic tang up-front with some bready malt character. For the lover of unique Bellgium beer,s this is a trancendant experience.

The first time I tried this was Feb 2005. My latest tasting was Nov 2007. It still is a good as I first remembered it.

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Photo of Risser09
4.8/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared by Phphilly at Phatz' sour beer tasting • This is my soft spot

This beer was brewed with 100% Brettanomyces yeast!

Appearance: Very blond in color with plenty of haze and lots of apparent activity. A white heads forms and leaves plenty of lacing behind in its wake.

Smell: Brettanomyces yeast, lemon peel, white grapes and barnyard funk. Sour apples are there with a dank, earthy aroma.

Taste: Tart lemon and apple, asian lemongrass with nice malt undertones. Funkiness and citrus flavors bring the depth chart to another level. This taste is a lot to handle, which I love.

Mouthfeel; Sharp and tart with nice, earthy brett tones. Low alcohol content makes this beer shine, IMHO. Nicely carbonated and refreshing finish.

Drinkability: Awesome brett content with plenty of twang and earthy flavors. Very highly drinkable like many other beers from this brewery. They certainly have carved out a big niche that many of us have figured out and have become festidious followers. Seek it out.

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Photo of Phatz
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

"Sanctification is one of the most unique beers you will ever taste! It was fermented with 100% Brettanomyces, rather than the traditional Saccharomyces."

All Brett and no regular Ale yeast, makes Phatz a happy lush. mmm. This was very graciously shared by phnphilly. You are a saint, sir! A true gem. I am not sure that is has quite as much going on as Supplication but the Brettanomyces is right there in you face and coating your palate and I love every second of it.

Appearance: Pours a yellow gold that is translucent and extremely active. The carbonation is really putting on a show in my snifter glass and fueling a solid white head that fades very slowly.

Smell: Sharp acidity, grapefruit lemons balsamic vinegar and plenty of sour apples. Wood and must and earthy funky yeast. Spectacular!

Taste: Nicely sour but not without depth and character. It has a funky leather wood cinnamon lemon grassy sour apple Brett taste with a bready malt element underneath that is washed over with citric acidic and sour fruits. The flavors play paddle ball with the palate and leave you kissy faced.

Mouthfeel: It is a medium body beer with a malt backbone and a fluffy feel with the big carbonation. Sour and refreshing.

Drinkability: This is the type of beer I love. I could drink this sour stuff day and night and Russian River really has this figured out.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of bennetj17
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Medium gold, slight haze, thin foam with good retention. Thre are very nice streams of carbonation plus there is a sticky lace along the glass. Wonderful tangy aroma of sour lemon and Brett yeast tartness. Mmmm, enticing.

The flavor is sour, slightly dry with more tart fruit like lemon and sour apple. The finish sort of hangs there without much change or closure. The body is very smooth with a softer carbonation than expected.

I enjoy this type of beer anytime, and this was no exception. This doesn't have the sheer puckering tartness nor the complexity of some of their other Wild Ales, but it is a good, straightforward sour ale worth enjoying time and time again...

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Photo of Onibubba
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Blonde with a short lived white head. Moderate lacing. Wonderfuly aroma of funk and peppery spice hits the nose immediately. Taste follows suite - Black pepper, funky tart green apples and under-ripe pears. Quite tart, but not overwhelming. Other tastes are allowed to exert themselves. Mouthfeel is nice, especially as the beer is allowed to warm. Carbonation is not too prickly, a problem my other favorite sour brewer JP often presents. Drinkability is super high for me. Alcohol is not noticable, and the level of tartness is perfect. I'll have to make more trips out West for this baby.

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Photo of drseamus
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It starts off good with a slightly cloudy blond body topped with a thinish white head. The aroma is good and sour and have some apple fairly prominently. The apple caries over into the flavor and the sour is good but not too intense. Towards the back of the palate there is a slightly heavier almost dusty sourness that reminds me of Orval. The body is still nice and light and I would love this to be my standard hot weather drink.

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Photo of brentk56
4.37/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 003

Appearance: Pours a cloudy golden color with a frothy head that retains fairly well and leaves shards of lace

Smell: Immediate whiff of Brett, with undertones of funk, lemon and pepper

Taste: Initial light fruit flavor becomes increasingly tart by mid-palate, with plenty of sour elements; interesting undertones of other fruit such as green apple, banana and melon appear underneath; after the swallow, the sourness abates but leaves a lingering tartness that allows the other fruit flavors to play a more significant role

Mouthfeel: Medium body with prickly and effervescent carbonation

Drinkability: Sour beers are always a challenge for me and I like this one better than most as it has a lot going on in addition to the sourness

Thanks, BeerTruth for the opportunity

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Photo of Overlord
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful golden color, nice head and robust and lively carbonation. Mouthfeel is, as is normally the case with Russian River, quite good.

Tastes almost cider-ish, with a nice apple/pear/grapefruit bite. Delicious blonde ale, the yeast is chewy and delicious. Quite drinkable, with a bit of sour and zest

Might be a bit too much going on with this beer. The sour isn't really straightforward, and the yeast is a bit misplaced. The fruit component also seems to not be integrated all that well.

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Photo of Lothore
4.73/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 003

A- Pours a nice deep golden color with a frothy white 2 finger head that leaves tons of lacing. The beer looks extremely carbonated.

S- Smell is a bit sour, almost sparkling apple cideresque. Some other sweet fruit notes behind the predominately strong apple.

T- Taste is very sour. Yeasty and earthy with a taste unlike any beer i've ever had. At first I sort of cringed but I found myself unable to stop taking sips.

M- Mouthfeel is light and bubbly. It seems to work perfectly well with the taste, absolutely amazing.

D- This beer is sublimely drinkable. I could drink glass after glass. The sour taste really does it for me.

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Photo of dbalsock
4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this while stopping in Santa Rosa at the brewpub... amazo.

App: Pale golden yellow, very similar in appearance to a belgian pale ale, with similar monumental head. Very thick head with a little lacing, but mostly clean glass sides. Once I started eating, the head disappeared from the grease, but I'm sure it would have lasted an eternity otherwise.

Smell: Very geuze lambicesque with a slight mustiness and a citrus aroma that wasn't fruity.

Taste: Quite yummy and amazingly balanced. It was like they combined a strong belgian pale ale with a geuze. It was sweet and malty with a definite belgian malt backbone which was balanced not by hops, but by the sourness of the mouthfeel:

Mouthfeel: Medium sour, not the most sour I've had from them or anyone, but it does a great job of balancing the malty taste. It's very well carbonated which provides a well rounded experience.

Drinkability: This is an amazingly drinkable beer. I could go for this again and again, and can see picking up a case of this if funds permitted (I never buy cases, but this one would be a rare exception). I like it.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.85/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I believe this was batch 003.

Pretty much perfect. Sanctification could have been be an unblended lambic from one of the Belgian grandmasters. It was so wonderful that I drank four or five glasses and bought half a case on the spot. It’s simply that good. Appearance wise we are talking about a very pale, almost white golden ale body with a healthy white lacing. The aroma is powerful, previewing sourness, and boasting of perfectly created and utilized yeast strains and lots of funky, living organisms. Barnyard funk, rotten lemon peals, and apple vinegar are huge. The nose also plays at tobacco and citrus. The first taste is pure heaven. It’s tart in a lemony way, sour in a bret/funky yeast sort of way, slightly bitter in a hoppy way, light and spritsy. Sweet, very ripened grapefruit that has been eaten away at just a touch by bacteria, hay, damp corn husks, rotten melons, wood roundedness, dashes of lemon and orange zest, etc… Bone dry and fairly light body. Musty and astringent. Sourness is not over the top and although this doesn’t enter the battery acid or sweaty donkey hair area, this is at times very geuze like. Sessionable indeed. Pretty much perfect.

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Photo of k75
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an electric yellow, head dissipates quickly.

The nose is truly remarkable - a full on blast of tart lemon with minimal funk.

Flavors follow the nose, comes across as the worlds best sparkling lemonade. Funk is not apparent. Beautiful, delicious and well structured.

Finish is long - no, really long, and leaves you wanting more.

A great one.


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Photo of czechsaaz
4.74/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

BATCH 1. Lovingly cellared. At celar temperature. (I'm moving so I'm drinking a lot of the good stuff these days.)

Aroma is very malty with a lot of brett effect. It smells lemony (not in a Weizen way, more like lemon juice) and a lot of wine like character. The yeast that remains smells like champagne. In the background is a nice grainy malt aroma too. It's spicy too but I can't really pick out any particular spice. Very complex.

Golden colored and completely clear. Very thin head and small amounts of rising carbonation. There's little puddles of foam on the surface but not much else.

Flavor is simultaneously malty and sour. But not lambic sour. This is more of a wild funk. It starts off fruity and malty and then the Brett character kicks in providing the bitterness. Whatever hops might have been there young are now gone and only a hint of hop bitterness remains. More wine like fermentation character is apparent. It has a nice berry component in the flavor and a back of the mouth butter effect.

Mouthfeel is on the light side. With the carbonation fading with age, it seems a little light. But with the age it's understandable.

Very nice beer. Good that an experiment in 100% Brettanomyces beer holds up so well with age. The overall balance and uniqueness is pretty special.

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Photo of SacoDeToro
4.67/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap poured by Vinnie himself at the NHC in Denver.

Poured a pale straw yellow with a generous merengue head.

The aroma of the beer was full of the wonderful brett goodness. Tart fruits and barnyard funk dominated the nose and damn did it smell good.

The flavor of the beer was assertively tart and crisp. The floral hops came through nicely in the finish. The maltiness was very light and a good proportion of wheat tartness came through as well. This beer presents an interesting juxtaposition of funky brett flavors while being a very clean beer at the same time.

The carbonation was dialed in just right. The mouthfeel was light and slightly creamy.

This beer was masterfully brewed and formulated and the brett did an amazing job of creating a truly unique flavor profile.

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Photo of illidurit
4.68/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The lucky receptacle for this brew is my trusty Duvel tulip, which cradles a honey colored translucent beer with 3 fingers of french vanilla head.

Lemon zest, honey, green apple, barnyard funk in the nose.

Tastes a lot like gueuze, maybe a little sweeter. Tart but not sharp, sour lemon and sweet orange, hay, yeast. Lots of complexity but blended very subtlely.

A great puckering finish leaves you wanting more. Perfectly carbonated as per usual with RR wild ales. At 6.5% abv (this is batch 3, I guess the BA value of 7.5% abv is for previous batches) this is very drinkable. RR's wild selection has yet to falter, every single one has been excellent and this is definitely no exception.

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at the brewpub in Santa Rosa. Batch 003.

a - bright golden/amber color, one-finger head with slight retention but great lacing, fairly transparent

s - sour, funky smell from the big bad brett, heavy on the green apple, not much alcohol in the nose, aroma is slightly subdued

t - much like the nose, very funky/sour smelling, lots of green apple with a little pear in there as well, slight lemon, no alcohol detected, the only real knock I have is that the finish does not last long...this is where the Temptation is slightly better

m - lots of carbonation, light-bodied, fairly dry finish from the sourness

d - this style is not super-conducive to being highly drinkable, but I could sip on Sanctification all night, the dry finish is not palate-destroying at all, very interesting taste and smell as well

It's been a few months since I last had Temptation, but I think Sanctification is fairly similar. A great wild ale and another fine example of RR's mastery of the style.

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Photo of flexabull
4.77/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch #3 acquired from a very nice person in Santa Rosa.

Pours a very bright slightly hazy light gold color with a huge billowy white head. Pretty looking beer.

First sniff... ahhhh! This is one of the most wonderful brews I have smelled. I love hops, but this odd brett induced aroma is great. Sour, funky, creamy, and with a very lemon zest like smell. Quite citrus like, and while the funk is there, it's not overpowering.

Flavor is great, incredibly smooth and well balanced. Beer has a very full crisp and clean up front flavor. Dominated by creamy, yet light crisp and bright malt flavors. Finish has a funky wild yeast quality, that is lemon zest like, tart, while at the same time very soft. Wow!

Mouthfeel is top notch. Follows along the lines of other Russian River brews. They always seem to have the perfect balance and a full thick mouthfeel. Carbonation in particular is so well done. Prickly up front from the bubbles, but the finish is long crisp and very smooth.

Drinkability? Do I need to say more? I think I have found my favorite Wild Ale. I love the other Russian River Wild Ale offerings... (Temptation, Supplication, Depuration, Compunction...) But this one seems so perfectly balanced, and so easy and pleasant to sip, that I think it wins. Not too over the top on any level, the funk and the Blonde Ale flavors meld perfectly.

Russian River does it yet again...

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Photo of bosco7
4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 003 obtained at the brewpub.

Golden beer top with a cream-like head that sticks around for awhile. Beautiful lacing.

Lemon zest, clove, horse and soured aromas . Smelling it makes my mouth water.

Pucker up this is quite sour. As soon as this hits your mouth a ton of tart lemon pulp flavors dominate. Musty barnyard flavors follow (sounds bad but is oh so tasty). The sourness makes this beer very thirst quenching. Bone dry finish.

Thin mouthfeel is expected from the high levels of attenuation that wild yeast bring to the table. Lots of carbonation. Very nice beer I would recommend this to any beer enthusiast.

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Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 607 ratings.