Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

Sanctification - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
SanctificationSanctification

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

597 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 597
Hads: 2,534
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 3.5%
Wants: 1,156
Gots: 813 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 597 | Hads: 2,534
Photo of GabrielM
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter.

A - beautiful cloudy golden color with a 1/2-inch of bright white head on top.

S - fresh funk, earthiness, summer grass, bread, and oak.

T - same as nose but with some citrus and extra funk. Surprisingly awesome!

M - the first sip, as always, is SOUR! It bites my tongue and cheeks with a crisp, cool sting that quickly fades away. I love it!

D - non-stop. (385 characters)

Photo of billshmeinke
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Batch 005.

Semi-hazy golden body with a huge fluffy white head. Fat chunks of lacing left behind.

Smells of dry bretty barnyard funk up front. Some pineapple, and also a touch of rustic bread.

Tastes of a touch of pineapple up front, rustic bread, some hay, a bit of barnyard funk, just a tiny bit of oaky tanins, and then slightly acidic/citrusy tartness.

Very light bodied with spritzy carbonation. Refreshing.

A very pleasant and tasty beer. (476 characters)

Photo of RoyalT
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This one is light orange in color with a beautiful white, puffy head that was just enchanting. I just couldn’t stop staring at this ale.

Smell – The wonderful Belgian yeast was dynamic. I can’t tell you how excited I get when I find a true, authentic yeast smell in an American effort at this style. There’s a rich sourness there too that’s way off from a Flanders Ale but big nevertheless.

Taste – The yeast is terrific at the taste, and the sourness is similar to what you’d find in an Unblended Lambic. It’s not overpowering and comes on more complimentary. The hops give a light tartness to the ale. The flavors work together in perfect harmony.

Mouthfeel – This one is medium-bodied with a light tartness and very pleasant sourness that is mixed with some lively carbonation.

Drinkability – If there’s such a thing as a session Belgian Ale than this is it. I could have drank this one all night.

Comments – I was in town one week early for the release of the next batch (last batch was out) but Vinnie the brewmaster was nice enough to bring some out from the back room. What a treat it was drinking this incredible ale with the brewer, my wife, and rapopoda who was also in town for barrel tasting weekend.

Vinnie described it as a “sour blonde Belgian ale”. It is primarily fermented with 100% Brettanomyces and bottle conditioned to create lush carbonation. It may not fall perfectly into a BJCP Guideline (other than Belgian specialty, of course) but this is one of the most drinkable ales on the planet. I kind of see it as an American made Belgian equivalent to a German Berliner Weisse, but that’s just my own take on it. Whatever you call it, this ale is good good good. (1,730 characters)

Photo of Auraan
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice cloudy gold with a one finger white head that grew to a two finger white head and stayed around as a ring of white as the glass was emptied, leaving some thin lacing. Abundant bubbles flowed up the side of the glass. Quite beautiful. Scents of brett, barnyard funk, white grape skin, white wine, overripe fruit, green apple, slight pineapple, and the slightest hints of vanilla and candi sugar. A very good aroma, complex with the usually sour, fruity, white wine notes and some more common Belgian notes beneath. Flavor is sour upfront, with that musky brett funk, white grapes, tart green apple, lemon juice, sourdough bread undertones, some oak, some slight medicinal bitterness, finishes bitter with a bit of a citrus rind flavor and aftertaste as well as a dry finish. A very sour flavor, with all sorts of sour fruit and sour funk flavors. Very nice with some complexity brought in by the sourdough bread and oak. Mouthfeel is light bodied with high carbonation and a nice refreshing feel with a drying finish. Nice and drinkable, on point for a sour, very good. Overall this is a very good sour. The 100% brett gives it that incredibly sour flavor but it manages a bit of complexity in spite of it, that gives it a fine flavor profile. Very good, and I wish I could get it easier. (1,301 characters)

Photo of CruisaC
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to Urbancaver for saving a couple bottles of this for me.

pours a pretty golden color with 1 inch of white head which settles nicely along the sides of my New Belgium glass as the head fades.

Smell is a perfect balance of funk and lemony tart, very refreshing.

Wow. I am fairly new to the world of sours. I have had several that I was pleased with so far: 3F Oude Gueuze, Cantillon classic, Consecration, but this was the best of the lot. Tart, just enough funk to let you know what you're dealing with, with a nice slightly sweet ending that adds to the overall drinkability

Nicely carbonated, just dry enough to make you raise your glass all the sooner for another sip

Truly exceptional; I'm glad I've got another which I may have to save for a warm evening...hopefully those are coming soon (810 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 cpetrone84
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared by friends at a tasting in December. Compared Batch 3 and 4. Rating from batch 3 as 4 fell far below in terms of quality.

Batch 3
A-bright hazy golden yellow liquid with active bubbles and a creamy fluffy white head.

S-the nose is soft and delicate, light brett aromas, slighlty perfumey, fruits come in with lemon, mango, and white grapes. the aroma is tight and balanced.

T-the flavors are amazing. everything works so well together. the brett is up front but completely integrated and remains with a slight perfume flavor. the juicy mangos roll in with vinous white grapes and notes of limes with a touch of spicy yeast underneath.

M-good soft medium body with a strong carbonation but not quite as lively as the batch 3 tempation. semi dry crisp finish.

D-extremely drinkable and well balanced. this is so well integrated and the flavors are tight and play in harmony with just a touch of sourness in the finish. extremely complex and deep beer.

Batch 4 is far less impressive and would be in the 3.7 range. The pours is pretty and birght golden in color with an active body and a pure white fluffy head. The nose is brett forward, slighlty eggy and perfumey. juicy citrus and lemon peel with some soft golden pears. The taste has a ton more juicy vinous flavors and brett. still some eggy flavors, notes of spicy yeast. white graps and notes of citrus and ripe mango. Soft creamy feel with a dry finish and light carbonation. overall the brett in this is overpowering and the flavors are flabby. not a bad wild but no where near what Batch 3 is. (1,563 characters)

Photo of mondegreen
4.64/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From a 750ml shared by a generous BA. Thanks, Zack.

Pours a hazy golden with a dense white head. Aroma is sharply tart. Funky sour fruits present up front, with hints of Belgian style yeast throughout.

Taste is pleasingly sour. Not overbearing, not too simple. Just right. A good balance of sour and funk, with a crisp finish. This is a great beer for sipping on a warm summer evening. Mouth is superb, very well carbonated. Would love to have these readily available.

This has to be some of the best stuff going in the American Wild category. Glad to have had the change to try it. (585 characters)

Photo of LittleDon
4.64/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nearly clear and golden. Fruit and grain aroma. Starts mildly sour with a mild bitter finish. Finesse. A bit on the soft side for the style, but still a nice amount of carbonation. Lots of head and lace. Not sure how this could be made better or more interesting. (263 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 drtth
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically. This bottle is from batch 006.

Appearance: As poured the beer is a hazed dark lemon yellow with a 1/2” white creamy head that soon begins to recede to a ring and a 1/16” layer. Sipping creates sheets of foam that slide back down to the liquid on one side but on the other leave arches, legs and speckles of foam to show where the sip was taken. While the layer of foam thins over time the effects of taking a sip persist for most of the beer.

Smell: The pleasant gentle aroma is immediately detectable during the pour and it is clear that Brettanomyces yeast has been at work here. There is some musty funk mingled with lemon zest and traces of green apple. In the background there is a bit of malt but in a very muted supporting role.

Taste: The flavor is crisp, clean and refreshing with a nice dose of tartness from the lemon zest and the green apple. The malt and funk remain in the background, noticeable but in a supporting role. I can easily imagine that the funk will become more pronounced with more bottle age.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is on the light side of medium bodied, soft, slightly creamy with persistent gentle carbonation. The finish is on the long side o medium with the tartness and a touch of sweetness fading out into a nicely dry, slightly bitter finish.

Drinkability and Overall Impression: I’ve quite enjoyed this beer and am looking forward to aging a couple of these to see how it changes over the next year or so. This is a well made version of the style and its very interesting to be able to explore the complexity contributed by the Brettanomyces as the primary ferementation yeast. My overall impression is that this is a very well made beer that can be summed up in two words, “complex” and “subtle.” (1,840 characters)

Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: served on tap into a goblet, hazy golden yellow with a short white head that lingers leaving some lacing, very cloudy

S: salty and sour, heavy on brett smells, funky

T: very sour up front, tart and tangy fruits, persimmon, nice hop bitterness on finish

M: light and fluffy, higher carbonation

O: fantastic sour wild ale, the yeast melds well with the flavors persent in this beer, reviewed from notes taken on 3/7/14 (423 characters)

Photo of Beerandboards
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Cork and cage 375ml bottle

A - translucent golden color. Apricot in color is the best I can do to describe it. Very nice color. Any sort of aggressive pour produces a large amount of thick white head, retains for a very long time.

S - mild vinegar, sour grapes, apple cider, some warmer almost floral type notes.

T - best sour I've had to date. Pronounced sourness without any pucker, a champagne like dry grape flavor, funky earthy type notes going on in the background. Finishes super quick super dry. It's an interplay between beer, champagne and white wine in the best way possible. Very very good.

M - super high carbonation, really plays well with the flavor. Nice presentation.

O - like I said above, my favorite sour to date. Ultra balanced between the flavor profile, level of sourness and mouthfeel. Just an excellent beer, would buy this again and again. (870 characters)

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

batch 003

a: This was a mostly clear, pale, golden yellow color. It poured with a large frothy white head that lasted a long time and stuck nicely to the side of the glass.

s: This has a surprisingly gentle, yet still enticing nose. Sour is of course the dominant characteristic. Apple cider vinegar comes to mind. I also detected some funky, semi-rotten grains, honey suckle, and just a touch of alcohol. I feel like there is more here beyond my ability to describe.

t: As with the smell, there are layers here that I just do not have words for. Adjectives like sour and funky come to mind of course, but there is more. Musty, grainy, apple cider flavors with some vinegar dominate. The finish is dry, peppery, and a bit floral. Upon further consideration, there are some apricot and peach flavors as well.

m: Most sour beers I've tried have had very lively, aggressive carbonation. This one though is gentle and almost creamy. So with this one, the sour assault on the tongue is blunted somewhat by the lack of peppery carbonation. The sour dryness lingers for quite a while after the last sip.

t: I've wanted to try a RR wild ale since I first logged on to BA. Big, big thanks to JohnGalt1 for the chance. The gentle carbonation makes 750ml relativley easy to drink. I hope I get the chance to try more from RR, as this was outstanding. (1,344 characters)

Photo of klikger
4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Russian River

A - Amber in color with plenty of yeasty cloudiness. There's a decent amount of head, but not much lacing.

S - Brettanomyces. Love it or hate it.

T - Lemon juice, yeast, and sour patch kids - blended, then force-fed down your throat. The middle is at times grapefruit bitter and, at others, pure penicillin. A touch of cider vinegar appears here and there. The finish is limey citric acid with no sweetness.

M - Medium-bodied and extremely lively. Crisp and invigorating drink, this is!

D - It would be easy for me to drink more, but it may be too sour for some palates.

I just returned from my first trip to Northern California, and I drank so many good beers. Sanctification was easily the most memorable and almost surely the most enjoyable. If you like sours, this is a must-try. (813 characters)

Photo of JohnG190
4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 003. Pours a hazy straw with a thick white head that dissipates quickly. Nice lacing. Bread and Brett on the nose, with hints of lemon and fresh-cut grass. Sour on the palate with green apple and lemon notes. Dry finish. Light bodied with effervescent carbonation. Overall, a well crafted sour. (301 characters)

Photo of WestValleyIPA
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Russian River. Nice medium golden color with about a finger of head. Smells lightly of citrus, heavy Brett, some tree fruit like apple and pear. Nice fruity flavors, dry. Great sour bite without ripping my face off. Nice mouthfilling small bubbles. Dangerously drinkable. One of my favorite sours ever. (316 characters)

Photo of UnknownKoger
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's been a while since I've had Sanctification. Time to give it a proper review. Batch 6 poured into Bruery tulip. Appearance is golden yellow. Good carbonation. Slightly vigorous pour yields a nice head which dies down to a nice ring with an island in the middle.

Smell is fantastic. The crisp, tart Brett is there. Smells of lemon zest and other citrus fruits. Some grapefruit. Taste is excellent. It's got a nice bit of sour funk to it. Very crisp and refreshing. This is outstanding. I forgot how good this beer is.

Mouthfeel is great due to the carbonation. Overall, you should expect nothing less from Russian River. It's outstanding. Buy as much as you can (afford) (676 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 Kadonny
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked and caged 375ml bottle into a snifter glass. Most recent batch #005. This beer is fresh.

A: A hazy golden straw color with some nice cloudy yeast at the bottom of the bottle. Loved the small chunks pouring out. Small white head that quickly disappears and leaves almost no lacing.

S: Wow, fresh fruit and brett come to the nose right away, and are pleasantly paired. Lemon, grape, apple, barnyard funk, hay, yeast, wow.

T: First sip makes you pucker up! The sour fruit flavors start in right away with flavors of lemon, grape, apple and pineapple with some yeasty bready notes. I'm getting almost a sourdough bread in the middle. The brett starts early and lasts in harmony perfectly with the huge tartness. Brett produces barnyard funk and wet hay, but does not overly do it. A perfect match with the sour fruit. Finishes bone dry with still a bit of puckering sour.

M: The mouthfeel on this beer was amazing. Tart, sour, lasting, crisp, clean with no alcohol at all. Carbonation was perfect for the style.

D: High. This beer was really enjoyable and I could have easily had a second. But alas, one must remember the rarity and cost of the beer and restrain yourself to just one.

Overall another kick ass wild from RR. The brett mixes perfectly with the sour funk, so if you are not a brett fan this one might not be for you. I am looking forward to cellaring a few of these to see how they change. More brett flavor maybe? I bet yes. Great, great beer. (1,481 characters)

Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this from 2beerornot2beer in the Blind Beer Round 6 BIF.
375ml. bottle poured into my Bruery snifter:

A: Pours a wonderful cloudy gold with very little head. There is only a thin ring of pure white bubbles that lines the top of the beer, hugging the glass.

S: The smell is huge brett, some grape skin, lemon zest, and earthiness. It’s really crisp smelling.

T: The taste follows the nose, spot on. There are essences of light grape, citrus, grass, and grains. There is also a perfect amount of bretty funk. It’s fantastic.

M: Light bodied beer. The mouthfeel starts off a bit wet, and it finishes crisp and dry.

O: This is a great sour, and a great beer all the way around. I’m loving all of the big funk and puckering sour. (739 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with just over one finger of white foam on top of a perfectly clear, golden body. The foam dissipates fairly quickly but leaves nice, thick lace on the glass.

S - Soft, bready malt with notes of pear and pineapple as well as lighly funky brett and herbal hops in the background.

T - Rich malt with light, lemony sourness up front. Some more lemon peel and black pepper notes come out in the middle with more bread-like malt. The beer finishes with notes of pithy lemon, moderately bitter herbal hops and black pepper. Some light, herbal funk lingers on the palate.

M - Medium-thick body, high carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Very nicely done, as expected. This is quite reminiscent of Orval, with a lighter malt body and more citrus character. The aroma has quite a bit of earthy funk, the element that brings Orval to mind, while the wild character comes out more as a lemony tartness in the flavor profile. Well balanced, relatively simple and absolutely brilliant. It certainly wasn't a cheap bottle, but this is one of those rare beers that is genuinely a bargain at any price. (1,098 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 ThreeWiseMen
4.69/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked this up at Plumpjack Wine Store in San Francisco. Batch 004.

Poured into a New Belgium globe.

Appearance: Lightly hazed, golden body with a very thin, white, sticky head. A sparse column of carbonation stems from the etched bottom. Good retention. Impressive lacing.

Smell: Whoa! I can't help but smile when smelling this. Brett, overripe banana, lemon, flowers, and leafy vegetation. Pungent, complex, balanced, and gorgeous. Can't get enough of this.

Taste: Brett, lemon peel, candy-like tartness (think Warheads), and lighter flowery and/or herbal flavors - awesome!

Mouthfeel: Light-to-medium in body, moderate-to-high in carbonation, and very tart. There's a bit of creaminess to this one, and I dig it. Very nicely done.

Drinkability: Very sour, very complex, and very enjoyable. Get some! (809 characters)

Photo of vicsju1991
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from 12 oz bottle into pint glass
A - nice golden amber colour, small white head that dissipates quickly, lots of carbonation
S - sour apples and cherries
T - very delicious, tart and sour,
M - crisp and carbonated and very easy to drink
O - my new favourite sour
additional info Batch 006 (297 characters)

Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 597 ratings.