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Sanctification - Russian River Brewing Company

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596 Reviews
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Reviews: 596
Hads: 2,532
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 3.5%
Wants: 1,158
Gots: 806 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 596 | Hads: 2,532
Photo of Onibubba
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
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. (591 characters)

Photo of drseamus
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
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. (432 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
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 (787 characters)

Photo of Overlord
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
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. (495 characters)

Photo of Lothore
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
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. (643 characters)

Photo of dbalsock
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
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. (1,113 characters)

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
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. (1,181 characters)

Photo of k75
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

k75 (367 characters)

Photo of czechsaaz
4.74/5  rDev +10.7%
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. (1,307 characters)

Photo of SacoDeToro
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
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. (794 characters)

Photo of illidurit
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
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. (698 characters)

Photo of WeisGuy
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
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. (1,004 characters)

Photo of flexabull
4.77/5  rDev +11.4%
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... (1,394 characters)

Photo of bosco7
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
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. (636 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to Bitterbill

750ml Caged/Corked
Batch 002

Poured into a chalice a nice cloudy light golden yellow color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger white creamy head which lasts a little while, then leaves some nice slicks and sticky lacing around the edges. The nose is of malts, beligium yeast, grapes, pears, and some spices. The taste is very nice, tangy/slightly sour, yeasty, slightly spicy. Medium body, highly carbonated. Very drinkable, really enjoying this one, another awesome brew from RR. Thanks again buddy. (536 characters)

Photo of Bierguy5
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml, 6.25 % ABV. Hazy golden in color, with a nice white foamy head. Aroma of lemon zest, and pepper. Funky aroma is present, not quite leathery.Fruity, very tart and full of lemon zest. Great patches of lace are left coating the glass. Great body, almost a creamy mouthfeel. Very soft carbonation. This is very tasty, and full of flavors. The tartness is almost puckering, but stops just shoty. What a great beer. Thanks to mcallister for sharing. (451 characters)

Photo of ppoitras
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle obtained via trade with fartingdog. Corked and caged, Batch 002. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a cratery 1" bright white head over the cloudy golden brew. Head stand pat for quite some time, and lacing is prevalent and sticky. Aroma indicates sharp tartness and wood notes. Taste is funky sourness upfront, in the middle, pretty much everywhere, with malt backbone and barrel notes becoming apparent at the end. Mouthfeel for the wild style is very nice, with the maltiness smoothing the tart somewhat, making drinkability quite nice as well. Maybe a Cantillon warm-up? (626 characters)

Photo of Vancer
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ok – first wild ale, what a funk-a-ramma! You can really get a whiff of musty funk (none of that horse blanket crap, that’s just too nasty). Pour was lacking any head, but donno if that’s normal or not. Still had some sheet lacing.

What can you say? Sour, and tasty, like a lemon/orange that’s been sitting in the brew. Sharp and tangy, this is not for the faint of heart. Like a Lambic, it takes a bit to get used to. BUT, I recommend this one, IF you like Lambic. Don’t get it and say it’s drain pour ‘cause you’re not accustomed to it.

Thumbs up to this unique brew! Savoring this 750 bomber, got another for cellering. (636 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.76/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bit barnyard and yeast aroma. A Good wild ale, it's so great sourness in your face initially,I detect the wild yeast, then you get used to it, in a lemon yeasty haze. Good lacing and head. Satisfying aftertaste.Great with supper. Thanks Solomon420. (250 characters)

Photo of mcallister
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An opaque yellow in color with mucho carbonation and yeast particles floating throughout. Pure white carbonated head leaves little lace and has good head retention.

Overwhelmed with brett of course. Hints of lemon, lime, apple, some other cirtusy hints.

Very good sour and balanced. Nice carbonation lends greatly to the citrusy fruit forward flavors. Lemon/lime, granny smith apple, huge amounts of brett, some wood notes as well. Finish is slightly short.

Easily drinkable thanks to the balance of carbonation. Nice smooth refreshing mouthfeel. (555 characters)

Photo of Westsidethreat
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 002

A: Cloudy, light copper...sort of the color of apple juice. Slow motion bubbles work their way to the top. Snowy white finger thick head rests gracefully on the body. So far so good.

S: Hello brett. Some light citrus action, spicy cloves.

T: Whoooeee thats sour. Familiar lemon juice twang, bitter grapefruit peel and some serious gueze like qualities. Loads of vitamin C. Got some undercover vitamin B notes, wet hay and lingering mellow pineapple. Some graininess towards the end, mixture of wheat and more hay.

M: Medium body, good carbonation.

D: This beer really grows on you. Citric acid sits on the lips after each sip, reminding the drinker of fresh lemon juice. I'm really digging this one. (724 characters)

Photo of Cresant
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 002, mail-ordered from brewer. 750 mL, corked/caged bottle. Poured into a Duvel tulip. Semi-opaque butterscotch disk color. Two fingers of bright white head. Half an inch of several active beads of carbonation form near the cap of foam. Bright and cloudy.

Smelled tart, of oranges and lemons. Sour hard candy. Yeast. Hints of pineapple. Alcohol mildly presented as it warmed, but it was never overwhelming or a distraction.

Tasted pleasantly sour. Mimosa-like. Refreshing. Yeasty, yet neither hoppy, nor malty. A bit like a nice party punch. I'm looking forward to trying this one again after some aging.

Mouthfeel was champagne-like. Fine carbonation, but not too bubbly.

Very nice overall. (710 characters)

Photo of ggaughan
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle, corked and caged. Batch 002. This beer poured a pale golden color with a thick, foamy white head and good lacing. The head stuck around for awhile. The aroma of this beer was lemony and a bit sour. Trademark RR brett but not overly sour and not to the extent of Beatification. The taste is very sour as I was hoping for and has a nice touch of citrus that leads to a dry finish. The body is sort of light but has active carbonation in the body so it feels bigger. Overall a very strong and tasty beer that ranks up near my impression of Beatification but just slightly lower. (590 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml( room temp-Batch 002) a cloudy lightish gold with a huge head of foam that shrank slowly leaving lots of lacing and a solid layer for the entire session.

The smell is *all* spicy with notes of yeast, orange, corriander, and a whole lot of funk!

The taste is *hugely* sour up front. Almost to the point of knocking my socks off but there's also the yeast, orange, and corriander I mentioned in the smell and there's some peppery notes, hoppy bitterness, and even some malt sweetness .. man.. this one sure is complex as all hell and a literal delight to sip on. I'm glad I have another bottle and plan on cellaring it for a spell.

Bottom line: A superb American Wild Ale, in my book. My hat's off to Russian River for, once again, travelling down the off the beaten track! (798 characters)

Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 002 - 6.25% ABV on bottle.

The beer poured into the chalice hazy pale golden with a white and frothy head which churned and fell to lace the glass.

The aroma was fruity, strongly so with a peppery spice and a citrus presence. The aroma was bready and contained a sizeable fragrance of Brett. The aroma was only lightly earthy but had a floral character and a bit of grapefruit in the background.

The flavor was acidic and tart with a strong bready character. The tartness was unexpected after the aroma, but gave way to some magnifiscent fruit complexities in the flavor after the intial rush of citric and acetic characters subsided. The flavor contained a bit of citrus, very light grapefruit with limes.

The finish was fruity and tart with a lasting grapefruit citric bite into the aftertaste. The body was just below medium with a nice carbonation level. The beer was immediately interesting and kept my attention the entire time from first pour to last drop. The tartness was unexpected, but added interest and the Brett character emerged in the aroma and flavor. The beer was decidedly bready and with the citrus presence of limes and grapefruit made for an experience that I will repeat with the other bottle.

750 ml bottle. (1,252 characters)

Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 596 ratings.