1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Sanctification - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,392 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,392
Reviews: 589
rAvg: 4.33
pDev: 9.01%
Wants: 1,126
Gots: 752 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,392 | Reviews: 589 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RodBurg
4.07/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Two of my good friends came down from Santa Rosa to celebrate New Years and were gracious enough to bring me a growler. Pours a slightly cloudy golden color with a small white head and Spotty lacing.

Nose is all funk. Lots of bretty barnyard with lighter notes of sour lemon and citrus.

Lemony funk dominates the taste. Less carbonation than I expected. Ends with a dry and crisp citrus flavor. Not too sour, but still a tad puckering.

Another great wild/sour from RR. Flavorful, crisp and refreshing. Supposedly this one is all brett and it really shows.

Photo of egajdzis
4.07/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 001... Poured a hazy, yellow orange color with a small, white head that left no lacing on the glass. Aroma of leather, horseblanket, dank cobwebs, citrus fruits as well. Taste of brett, orange, citrus peels, white grapes, and sour lemons. Really nice beer.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Morgan for sending this one my way!

A: Pours a hazy straw color with a slight orange hue to it. Solid 2 finger head on top with great retention, slowly dissolving to a nice white cap on top. Streaky lacing all around.

S: Rather bretty with a very faint tartness. There is some citrus fruit that comes forward, mostly lemon with a little bit of orange rind/zest.

T: For a change, this RR beer is tart but not really sour. Definitely a sweet flavor profile with some more citrus and grass flavors. Tart lemon and oranges for the most part.

O: Pretty good, but probably my least favorite RR wild thus far. Almost more like a slightly tart Belgian Ale. Still very tasty though and would certainly never pass on it.

Photo of nickd717
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had the latest batch of this beer (Batch 6?) out of the bottle, and wow, this really varies insanely from one batch to the next. This one goes back to the more one-dimensional bretty character that I didn't like about the tap versions. Don't get me wrong, it's still very good, it's just not amazing. Going to go 4/4/3.5/4.5/3.5: B+ on this one. Will average the two more or less for an overall score.

***ORIGINAL RATING 1/30/2010***
5/4.5/4.5/4.5/5: A+
So I had given this beer a B on tap after trying two batches (4&5 I believe). I had pretty much put this in the "meh" category and figured it was overhyped. So then largadeer was kind enough to share a bottle of Batch 3 from 2007, and this beer totally redeemed itself! I now feel like it's actually underrated. Even crazier, my girlfriend, who hated this beer on tap and would have probably given it a D-F rating if she wasted her time rating beers like I do, loved this batch out of the bottle and probably would have given it an A-A+. Maybe the listings should be separate for a beer that can vary so much.

Appearance is excellent. Pours a cloudy golden color with a massive pillowy white head and great lacing.

Aroma is very bretty and mildly tart. Some very mild horseblankety funk, as well as excellent tropical fruit notes, and some green apple as well.

Flavor is amazing. Brett, sweet pale malt, and maybe even some wheat. Lots of fruity notes in there: pineapple, mango, lemon, and sour green apple. Sourness is very restrained and the beer is well-balanced.

Medium-light on the palate with only mild acidity and nice high carbonation, making the mouthfeel lively. Very dry and crisp. Not at all mouth-puckering like other batches have been.

Well, I give out A+ ratings like candy on Halloween it seems, and this is going to be another one. Is it really my fault that I drink so many awesome beers? I will drink this any time I can though, no doubt.

Photo of mkotsayfan
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 375ml bottle (batch 006) into a snifter. Pours a hazy light copper color with a nice foamy and inviting head. The aroma has nice brett funkiness along with some fruity tart flavors. The taste is dominated by the brett, but there are some fruit notes (apple/lemon) and hops mixed in. The mouthfeel is light bodied with good carbonation, with nice smoothness rounding out to a dry finish.

Overall, a nice sour from RR, but it's a notch below the likes of Supplication, Temptation, etc.

Photo of kbuzz
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Here we go...another RR beer to review...very excited about this one. Poured from the bottle - Batch 006 - into a tulip glass.

A: Pours a slightly hazy straw yellow color. To call this a super bubbly beer would be an understatement...looks straight up like champagne in the glass. Fluffy bright white head that sticks around a bit which I would expect with the amount of bubbles streaming through it.

S: Brett. I get Brett funk up and down the nose on this. Mixes with some citrusy notes - lemon, orange juice...a bit of grassiness.

T/M: Tart, not sour...but wonderfully flavored. I hate to use this description, but it tastes like a sweettart candy to me. Hits you tart up front, then ends with a pleasant candy sweetness. Not as much Brett funk in the taste. Fizzy on the tongue and finishes dry.

O: Really pleasant beer. Not necessarily puckering sour, but a good amount of tartness. I prefer the Supplication for sure, but this is a nice light warm weather beer.

Photo of Tony_D
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of TheBrewo
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

We crack the cage and cork on a bottle of Batch 005, and pour a brew the color of raw honey. It holds a two and a half finger tall head of creamy, off-white bubbles. These billow and fluff, leaving sheets of soapy lacing down the glass as the head eventually disappears into a hearty film. A thick haze permeates the clarity, with chunks of yeasty sediment bouncing around the base of the glass. Carbonation appears active. The nose sings with massive Bretty glory. This is sour, juicy, extremely tart, and metallic. The malts are soft, wheaty, and Belgian, with fruity esters and crisp citrus. This inherent spiciness is enhanced by sage, mold, and light piney earthiness. Finally, with warmth, comes a far off burnt rubber quality, adding a bittered, even tarter tail. Our first impression is that the flavoring is wildly tart, but kept nicely in check by sweetness at the back of the sip. As we sip, the juiciest Brett crashes the palate. This puckers, along with raw lemon flesh and rind, metallics, musk and mold, and crisp malty paleness. The malts actually maintain a nice backbone throughout, helping in their own right to cool the funk. The peak hits with more acidic qualities of vinegar, vinyl plastics, more chalk and bite to the yeast, fermented chokecherry bitterness, mineral, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Washing through the finish are sweetened floral notes, honeysuckle sugars, herbal bitterness, big muskiness, barley grassiness, coin, faint banana esters, and more of that big bad Brett. The aftertaste breathes with fermented vegetable rottenness (in a funky, good way), citrus, wet flour, cooked plastics, coating metallics, and watered down tropical fruitiness. The body is light to medium, and the carbonation is light to medium. There is nice slurp, smack, cream, froth, and pop to each sip, as afforded by the ever present head. The mouth is left wet, salivating, and coated, with only slight pucker and astringency when it’s all said and done. The abv is easy, and the beer sips the night away.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was the heavy tartness to the nose and flavoring, and the broad sweeping complexity of it. From the time you pop the bottle your nose fills with this juicy, insanely funky beast of an aroma, with crisp paler malts, and an accompaniment of yeast, fruits, and musky components. These translate well through the taste buds, with a massive bittering tartness from the first drop to the last. The nicely retained head affords soft creaminess to every sip, and helps Sanctification hold up proudly amongst its brothers and sisters in the series.

Photo of MordorMongo
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 006, served cellar temp in FFF Teku

My first official review, figured it was about time!

A : Hazy yellow, bright like soft sunshine, nice 1 1/2 finger fluffy powder white head with constant lacing throughout.

S : Definitely smells like Brett as it should, some soft light lemon in there as well.

T : Brett, brett & more brett, touched with a kiss of soft lemon & citrus. Some slight wet hay mid-palate with a crisp, dry brett-y finish.

M : Lightish for style, airy & crisp

O : Defines Brett nicely, refreshingly tart and not overly sour. I could session this forever on nice warm summer days. Well done American Wild Ale by Russian River who never lets me down. While there COULD be more to it I suppose, this is what it was designed to be I think - an homage to Brett.

Photo of PhatAtUT
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

poured from the corked and caged bottle into a duvel tulip.

A: solid light orange/golden. not the least bit translucent. about an inch of thick white foam that holds together for several minutes before beginning to slowly dissipate.

S: musty. not an overpowering scent. kind of bready and yeasty with a faint sweetness. not getting a ton here, but my sense of smell isnt the sharpest.

T: sharp tartness at the start. mellows quickly to a slightly sour orange and grapefruit taste and then kind of a zesty orange-ish finish. i can taste a little hop bitterness, but every converges and the overall impression is well balanced.

M: well carbonated but incredibly smooth. its got the mouthfeel of a creamy champagne. perfect.

overall this is a very well crafted, impressive beer. it didnt blow me away and i wouldnt regularly seek it out (if it was available where i live), but im glad i got to try it, enjoyed drinking it, and hope to enjoy it again in the future.

Photo of MbpBugeye
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 005. I received one bottle from Boatshoes and another was purchased for me by Ryan011235.

Hopefully its not too ironic to pour this into a Lost Abbey tulip.

Very bright yellow with a pure white head. Big dimensional chunks of lace are torn off as it fades to a thick cap of long lived retention. The beer is fully hazed and when held to the light it glows a bright lemon yellow.

Lots of Bretty funk right off the bat. Lemon backs it up with a tart and lively citrus bent. Certainly yeast aromas are strong, there is even a touch of estery fruitiness but a strong horsey funk covers most of it. There is an unmistakable aroma of melon, namely cantaloupe, its light, juicy and refreshing.

Sourness is kept in check by a sturdy funkiness. Theres really only a light tartness that develops into the slightest grand twinging sourness by the finish. Flavors of fresh lemon are strong along with a lot of crab apple. Sanctification seems amply hopped, there is some citrus bitterness left behind after the swallow which becomes a long, grapefruity aftertaste.

A light body matched with active carbonation and a cleansingly dry finish makes for a crisp, clean beer. Very refreshing. The carbonation is just right, theres not a lot of it and its not too sharp. Its comprised of very fine little bubbles.

Decent stuff but not Russian River's most memorable. Just a solid, crisp sour that doesn't try to show off. I'll be saving my other bottle for a nice outside summer drinking day.

Photo of CBack465
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of inlimbo77
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375ml, Batch 006
Lost Abbey tulip

***Review #450***

A: Pours out a cloudy golden yellow color. Very bright color. Two fingers of fluffy bright white head. Lots of carbonation. Leaving lacing bits already.

S: Smelling through a thick head, but definitely getting that Brett character. Funky, wet hay, notes. Crisp white grape aroma too, as well as some lemon-zesty citrus. Not crazy sour hints like I was expecting.

T: I was expecting much more sourness from this one. I get a touch of tart white grape in the tip of the tongue and that lemon that I smelled. You then get those funky Beglian like spicy flavors in the mid palate from the Brett. The finish is white wine dry. Not as mouth puckering as Belgian sours, by any means.

M: Light leading to medium. Very drinkable

O: Heard some Orval comparisons, but again the Euro makers do it better. Orval blows this out of the water. Good though. A-

Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

blitheringidiot was nice enough to split his bottle with me.

"Sanctification" means the process that makes someone or something holy. And "holy" means set apart. This one is set apart by brett. Brett, brett, and more brett.

I like brett and the taste, but this one was so overwhelming with the brett it was hard to discern anything else going on. Underlying blonde ale gets overwhelmed. Not nearly as good as Orval. But nice and a very good beer.

Photo of Soonami
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 005, I shared this 375ml with a friend. Sanctification is a beer that I have been waiting for a long time to try this beer and unfortunately it was a let down. When I opened and poured this beer, it was definitely very funky, with the signature brett aroma. The lightly colored beer was as pale and effervescent as champagne but decidedly cloudier. And the nose revealed little more than brett. The palette was similar, it was a little tart, lemony, some mildewy straw, but that was about it. Though it was good, it didn't have as much complexity as I was anticipating. Perhaps this beer just needs some more time. It was easy drinking, but not a wow beer.

Photo of n2185
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy straw yellow with two fingers of white head that fades into a thin cap with good lacing.

S: Light aromas of Belgian spices, candy sugar, sweet breads, a hint of bubblegum, tart cherries, lemons, and hay.

T: Lemony sourness and tart fruit flavors dominate with some musty barnyard flavors and hints of the Belgian spices and candy sugar. The finish is clean and lightly tart.

M: Light body with lowish carbonation, this beer avoids being watery or overly carbonated.

O: A great beer overall without being overwhelmingly tart or sour and is super drinkable.

Photo of Gotti311
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Photo of ChrisISO_SJ
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of brdc
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to sykdoc for sharing this one. Poured from a growler into a tulip.

Golden color, no haziness to be mentioned, small white head that goes away quickly, with little lacing.
Aroma is delicate but pleasant, sour and tart, acidic, with fruity notes.
Medium bodied, holding carbonation nicely for a growler, quite refreshing. Again delicate, but has fruity notes, white grapes and lemon, sour and acidic components, but not very tart. I prefer added punch with more acidity and/or tartness, but this is still a very refreshing beer.
Cannot argue with the high drinkability having downed a growler.
Another solid Russian River.

Photo of laituegonflable
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very pale, almost dayglo straw colour, with mega-opaque haze and mega-fluffy head, white and dense the consistency of lightly whipped egg whites. Nice sheets of lace, looks great.

Smell is very pleasant. Lots of funk to it, with a lovely tart edge of lemon zest, a touch of guava and some underlying barnyard characters. Touch of vanilla and even meringue on there, really lovely and refreshing nose.

Taste knocks your socks off. Mega, uber sourness with vinegar from the get-go and develops into a strong, puckering lemony flavour. Bit off-putting at first, but it does develop some lovely complexities and smoothes out by the mid-point. Still very tart but with a touch of cinnamon, underripe raspberries and some cake batter malt underlying. Bit too tart for the "wow! Drinkable!" factor, but still very good.

Yeah, tartness really comes through as puckering and sharp on the feel. Feels like this would cut my mouth up if it went unchecked and unshared.

A bit overdone just in parts, but I do like a good sour beer, and this is definitely a good sour beer. Maybe some more age on this would mellow out the sharp edges.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a pretty even and smooth wild ale. Nothing really showy, but it's consistent and smooth. The brett is in no way obnoxious or outlandish. I have to say that this beer is in no way blowing me away. It's good, yeah. But there is no real outstanding character. Consistent, sure. Amazing? Not so much so.

Photo of AgentMunky
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in sample glass at the brewery. From notes. Reviewed 14 April 2012.

A: Pale straw milky gold. Translucent. Light head with some lacing.

S: Banana and spice...it smells like a hefeweizen. Funky.

T: Light and pleasant...sort of sour...then BAM! the Brett hits after several seconds in a wave of funky weirdness. Yeasty-spicy, acidic, but rather light in flavour.

M: Bright, interesting, and moreish.

O: Super-light, very drinkable, and quite tasty. Highly recommended. Will have again.

Photo of patm1986
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thank you, hulmeville inn, for the great RR tappings on 1 march 2011

draft into 8oz goblet

a- pale, pale, cloudy yellow tint. bubbly from bottom to top. light ring of foam, but didn't pour with much of a head.

s- butterscotch, plantains, white grapes, sour apples. sour aroma is light but penetrating, like pinot grigo or chardonnay.

t- lemon juice, granny smith apples, chardonnay, a hit of clove spice at the very end. sour, sweet-tart-like. very crisp shot to the palate.

m- dry, dry, dry. bitter and metallic. pucker up a bit. very dry finish injects the sour right into the corners of your mouth.

d- excellent. this has such a light body and a cool, dry, crisp finish that it's very reminiscent of a cider or a pinot grigo/chardonnay.

this is a delicious drinker. even for a sour or something so dry, this is a beer i'd have several glasses of. the 5-6% abv keeps you honest, too

Photo of busterthecat
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle batch 005, poured into wine glass

A- Pours a light hay blond. Some soft foamy head develops. Very light lacing from the thin rim of foam.

S- A clean sour followed by musk and some barnyard funk. Medium robustness. Fresh and inviting.

T- A mild tart & sour, like a lemon skittle. The body is round and has as light earthiness to it. The sour lingers well. The barnyard is gentle but last well in finish.

M- A light refreshing body. Medium in size. Tingles the palate. Not over powering at all. A mild sour.

O/D- A really great beer. This is perfect for a light meal or relaxing on a nice warm day. Well done again RR.

Photo of seaoflament
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Tip Top for this one.

Batch 002.

Pours a slightly dull apricot gold color with a rocky head which leaves some lacing as it settles.

A big yeasty aroma is the first thing I detect with a mixture of peaches, apricots, orange and cherries right behind the malt. There's are a spicy aroma and hints of wheat that remind me of a Belgian wit. Some sweet lemon is hiding in the back with the spices.
Sweet bread and honey make up the malt in this beer.

Tart fruit and sea salt is what I get at first contact. Not as fruity as I though it would be but there is some bitter nectarine, lemon, and un-sweetened peach. There's a good dose of funk and tartness which makes this a sipper. The mouth-feel is also a thin enough to make this a good candidate for the summer days.

My least favorite wild ale from Russian River so far but that isn't necessarily a bad thing to say, this is a very well done funky beer.

Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 2,392 ratings.