Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

Sanctification | Russian River Brewing Company

617 Reviews
no score
Send samples
For Trade:

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.75%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bierman9 on 10-27-2004

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 617 | Ratings: 2,651
Photo of JDV
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle shared at tasting. Thanks!
Pours a semi cloudy yellowish orange color with a very short lived head. Smell is tame, lightly bretty, oaky and well rounded. Taste is oaky, dry, tart, and a light but sharp and pleasant funkiness to the malt. Very drinkable and remarkable smooth, I thought. Great beer.

 305 characters

Photo of tpd975
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Don't remember who sent it but got this one for winning one of the BA Fantasy Football Leagues. This beer alone made winning soooo awesome.

A: Pours a beautiful clear pale yellow hue with a nice thick white foamy head. A nice head is left sitting atop the brew right down to the last gulp. Nice lacing was noted all the way down the glass.

S: God I am in love. Tons of Brett in this one. This is gonna be one funky brew. Below the funk lies beautiful aromas of green apple and lemon zest. Tinges of banana and wet hay finish it out.

T: Lots of funk right up front. This baby has tons of Brett and it really comes thru. Nice touches of sour apple cut thru the yeast as does touches of banana. Citrus comes in the middle, more bitter and bitter with very little sweetness. Touches of pepper can be noted in the finish along with the lingering funk. I really like it.

M: Nice light and bubbly. The finish is fairly dry.

D: Good, I enjoyed this one thoroughly.

Overall: This is one nicely balanced funky brew. It is not over the top like some wild ales I have tried. There is a perfect amount of funk, sourness, and fruit in this one. The carbonation is perfect and oh the Brett. I loved it. If I could have only one wild ale I believe this just may be the one.

 1,263 characters

Photo of BillyB
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this one at the bar at the Spinnerstown Hotel in PA.

Poured a burnt golden with a thick, rocky white head. Some sediment settles at the bottom after floating a bit.

Aroma was overwhelmingly tart and sour. Smelled sour apples, lemon, wood and hay as well.

Tastes were similar to aroma. Strong sourness, apples, maybe a hint of citrus fruit. Lemon, wood, wet hay and a hint of grass.

Mouthfeel was very crisp and refreshing. Light bodied and highly carbonated with an acidic, dry finish.

 496 characters

Photo of Floydster
4.48/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle acquired in a trade with tevering99, thanks for giving me the chance to try this brew

Batch 003, bottle says it can be aged for up to four years, poured into my Chimay goblet, split with my roommate two nights ago

A-Golden orange with a yellow tint when held to the light, tons of little bubbles rushing to the top, soft 3/4 inch white creamy head, nice retention, impressive lacing

S-Lots of citrus including lemons, oranges, and tangerines, some funkiness, lots of white wine, some pepper, and apricot

T-Lemon right from the beginning, then fades to some orange peel and pepper, finishes with a mellow tart fruity flavor, not as sour as I thought it would be but very nice, also tasted some bananas and granny smith apples later on, as it warmed it became more sweet and even more enjoyable, balanced nicely with the pepper and spices, sweet malt, and tartiness

M-Tarty mouthfeel but not too much of a vinegar-like feel, tons of carbonation, taste lingered for a long time, body was fairly thick for a sour ale

D-Could drink a couple bottles of this by myself, quenches your thirst, light on the stomach, only six percent alcohol, complex taste keeps you coming back for more

Great beer overall, drank this a couple hours after Redemption and it blew it away, hope I see this more after Russian River is done with their expansion, highly recommonded for anybody who enjoys wild ales

 1,405 characters

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

Thanks to Dave (BuckeyeSox) for this bottle, which he brought back from San Francisco. The bottle was 750 mL (bigger than the other RR wild ale bottles I had in 2006), cork topped and labelled as batch 003.

The beer looks like most others, clear golden color with a thick but finely celled foam. There was a thin layer of yeasty sediment at the bottom of the bottle. The aroma and taste are sour, very nice and puckering. There is a hint of sweet maltiness in the smell but mostly this disappears from the flavor as the Brettanomyce takes over. Another excellent Russian River brew.

 584 characters

Photo of younger35
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank on 1/26/08, taken from notes.

Was lucky enough to try this delicious brew on a recent visit to Russian River. This was my first taste of anything from them and I'm glad I started with Sanctification. Drank from Russian River snifter.

Appearance- Pours a pale yellow with excellent clarity and about a two finger white foamy head. Excellent cap and collar is left for the duration of the beer along with some decent sticky lacing.
Smell- Plenty of dirty funk in this one! Wet dog and musty basement ooze out of the pores of this brew. Banana, sour apple and lemon zest add a bit of citrus fruitiness that is more than pleasing. The yeast dirtiness dominates though leaving a spicy lingering white pepper in the nostrils.
Taste- Starts off fairly normal with a soft banana like quality that quickly gets drowned out by the sour apples, lemon and hay like yeast. Sour but not to the point of puckering. Dirty in a most excellent way that seems to coat the mouth in this raw citrus like funk. Finishes with a lingering woodiness that is very dry and acidic.
Mouthfeel- Fairly thin but crisp and refreshing with fairly aggressive carbonation and a very dry finish.
Drinkability- Not being the biggest fan of Brettanomyces I was really surprised how much I liked this. It's not over the top sour but just enough that it's the centerpiece of the beer, not the whole beer. There's enough going on around it to keep everything in check. Great beer that drinks way to easy.

 1,471 characters

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

The chalkboard described this as a 100% brett fermented Belgian pale.

Appearance - Perfectly clear gold, a shade or two darker than a lager. A gentle pour produces about 2 inches of white froth. Retention is very solid, especially coming from a growler.

Smell - Incredibly aromatic and complex. Lemon juice, barnyard funk, horseblanket and leather. Sweeter aromas of banana and honey reveal themselves as the beer approaches room temperature.

Taste & mouthfeel - Initially quite sour, with pronounced flavors of lemons, bananas and granny smith apples. A subtle malty sweetness slowly reveals itself, mixing with the puckering sourness to create a surprisingly balanced flavor. Light bodied, perhaps a bit thin on the palate. The sweeter flavors come out more and more in the finish, ultimately leaving a faint honey-like flavor on the palate. Acidity and bitterness are fairly low. Exceptional stuff.

 904 characters

Photo of Beertracker
4.57/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From the label...Sanctification [sanc.ti.fi.ca.tion], n. 1. to set apart for sacred use; consecrate. 2. to make holy; purity. 3. to give religious sanction to, as with an oath or vow.

Sanctification pours up effervescent with a cascading white head which dissipates rather quickly revealing a slightly hazy straw golden body. The moderately acidic aroma is surprisingly complex with a nice intermingling of Brett character (earthy barnyard, horse blanket, etc...) & citrus fruits (grapefruit, lemon, tangerine) with some mild toasted oak & warm vanilla wafer notes. The flavor starts off slightly grainy with some earthy hop spiciness that carries into a tart, yeasty, zesty finish. This light to medium-light bodied sour blonde ale is refreshing and surprisingly complex. Russian River's Sanctification is truly a wild ale that will have the sour beer fans rejoicing at its wonderous pucker power. "Who's afraid of the "Big Bad BRETT?" Certainly not me!

CHEERS! Beertracker

 978 characters

Photo of John_M
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the brewpub in Santa Rosa...

The beer pours a brilliant gold color with fair head retention, but very good lacing. On the nose, I'm immediately worried, as it smells pretty sour. For the most part, this smells like a hard cider, but with some underlying sour. On the palate, what can I say. This beer is very complex, with a sour component that (thankfully) is not over the top. Up front one gets a lot of honey and cherry, but then the sour kicks in. However, it's not over the top, and interestingly, the sweet honey and cherry kicks back in on the finish. Pretty impressive really. Unlike some over the top sour beers from Jolly Pumpkin and New Belgium, I can drink this and enjoy it, though certainly it's not exactly my cup of tea. Drinkability on this beer is pretty good, with the abv. well disgusied.

This is a solid beer, although there's no denying it's not quite my style.

 899 characters

Photo of AlexJ
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pale, lightly hazed golden yellowish pour with a puffy white head that reaches high and sinks quickly to a sustained ring fed by a never-ending stream of active carbonation.

Aroma is light, golden fruit simmered with white pepper and apricot. Light, fruity yet dry, tart and funky.

Flavor starts with a lemony zing and fresh green apples that fade into white pepper and decaying hay. It is sour, but indirectly so. Complex and leaved your mouth bone dry.

Body is fluffy and expansive with carbonation. Highly drinkable and uniquely thirst-quenching.

 552 characters

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.

 716 characters

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.

 607 characters

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?"

 1,188 characters

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

 755 characters

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.

 430 characters

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.

 320 characters

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.

 699 characters

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.

 546 characters

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.

 1,001 characters

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.

 1,392 characters

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...

 677 characters

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.

 591 characters

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.

 432 characters

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

 787 characters

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.

 495 characters

Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 617 ratings.