Supplication - Russian River Brewing Company

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1,379 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,379
Hads: 5,717
Avg: 4.5
pDev: 18.89%
Wants: 2,586
Gots: 1,883 | FT: 130
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-25-2005

Brown Ale aged in used Pinot Noir barrels from local Sonoma County wineries. It is aged for about 12 months with sour cherries, brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus added to each barrel. Flavors from the cherries, Pinot Noir and oak balance each other nicely with a little funk from the brett.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,379 | Hads: 5,717
Photo of tarheels86
3.98/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375mL Batch 4 at Carolina Goes Sour thanks to SpencerDB! Pours a cloudy orange with a very nice nose buttered waffles, oak, spices, almost whiskey barrel notes instead of wine barrels. Taste is a powerful lacto/pedo sourness that sits in the back of the throat. Not too much else. I was really unimpressed. Will need to try this a few more times.

375mL Batch 4 courtesy of ajm. Pours a cloudy blood orange with a towering, rocky, tan head that leaves insane lacing. Aroma of cotton candy, lacto, sour cherries, baked cherry pie. I’m still not too keen on the taste here. The body is thin and spritzy. And there is a massive oak dryness, tannin, leather quality that distracts from the cherry and sour elements. It’s damn good, but I would take Beatification, Consecration, or Temptation over this any day. 3/22/2010 9/5/7/4/14=3.9

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Photo of andrewjraab
3.98/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Pours a golden brown with what appears initially to be cloudy, but when viewed with back lighting actually has good clarity. Bubbles racing and suds present when swirled.

S - Sour apple jolly ranchers, cherries, oaky, yeast, pinot.

T - Tart cherries, pinot noir, oaky, some malts, layers of unique and different flavors. Sour puckers on the back of your palate, but balanced by a semi sweet and oak flavors in the back end.

O - One of the most unique brews I've ever experienced. I'm glad I did, as this style is not in my wheel house. If you ever get a chance to get your hands on this, it is def worth a try.

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Photo of brewerburgundy
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.68oz bottle, Boulevard tulip, batch 7.

What is this? This copper tinted pink red liquid evokes pale ale, its color like apple-cranberry juice isn't as dark as one might think cherries and pinot noir barrels would lend. The head is reserved, a creamy light brown ring. If the sediment is avoided it is ringingly clear.

First and foremost is happy light pear and green apple. Moderate tannic oak leads the way towards the funk underneath that I have not the familiarity to pick out bug by bug. Warmth is clearly needed to see more of the many facets with my nose. Just a hint of the coming sourness and rotted wood, old damp, musty, dirty wool blankets (now I understand horse blanket), vanilla.

Sharp lemon juice, damp, musty, saddle blanket, wood tannins, and almost a rose grape character. The pucker factor is moderate to high with a really funky backend rather than a laser beam of sourness.

I find mouthfeel to be relatively unimportant in a beer like this. I'm thinking so hard about the other stuff that I don't pay as much attention. I find a fairly thin, highly carbonated feel works best in these acidic beers, the funk feels like it provides a thickness to balance. This beer is almost moderate bodied, with moderate fizzy carbonation, and a lot of tannins.

To me this is a super funky beer, though I must admit not as groundbreaking as I had built it up to be. Maybe I don't know sours enough to appreciate the nuance, but I can appreciate the care taken to craft it and balance it. It's sour but not too sour, complimentarily oaked, and definitely quality.

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Photo of Takahiro
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 005X3 into tulip

S: sour vinegary, apple cider, caramel
T: tart vinegar, lemonade, cider, hint of caramel, faint oak in the back ground
M: light but not thin. There's some body left
D: good, but 350ml is good enough for me.

I don't understand why there's minimum 250 word for a review. some beers don't need a lot of word

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Photo of Immortale25
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Label says 082712

A- Pours a rubyish light brown color with a 1/2 inch tan head that bears little retention time before fizzing away to a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a small patch of surface foam. Non-resilient lacing slides quickly down the glass.

S- Bright fruity nose with some lactic acid sourness. Notes of cherries, grape juice and plum. Slightly effervescent.

T- Semi-heavy sourness plays off the cherry and other fruit notes well with some vinegar in the aftertaste. Not much else going on but there doesn't need to be. Very straightforward.

M- Prickly and crisp with a tartness that causes the mouth to salivate after every sip. Medium-low carbonation is a surprise but doesn't detract from the overall experience. Medium body.

O- Finally starting to truly develop a palate for sours. This one isn't my favorite, but it drinks well and has enough sweetness to balance.

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Photo of Pegasus
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy light amber in color, with a small white, and scattered, patchy lacing.

Aroma: Sharp vinegar sourness up front, with a malty, honey-like sweetness beneath, and a pronounced note of dark cherries.

Taste: Opens with sharp, tangy vinegar notes, followed by dark cherries, vanilla, lemon, and a musty, old cheese note. The finish is quite dry, with a wood note.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, quite full, pleasing.

Drinkability/notes: A difficult beer to review, certainly possesses a daunting complexity, but in a positive sense. Try it if you are able. Thanks to my friend and fellow BA HardTarget for sharing this rare example.

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Photo of Cinderbike
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 5 bottle poured into snifter.

A - copper with minimal head.
S - lemon, tart cherry, wet leather, dirt, hay, and toasted bread
T - cherry, dry red wine, oak, Brett funk, stale bread
M - thin with high carbonation
O - probably in my top 5 American sours. I need to get more of this to cellar.

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Photo of rjengelking
4/5  rDev -11.1%

I can't say I agree with the consensus that this is the best sour from Russian River. It is very, very good, but I would rate Consecration, Temptation, and Sanctification all above this one.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired from mikesgroove courtesy of the I Want That IV BIF, so a big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 375ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a light reddish golden brown color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is full of cherries along with some yeast, light malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is very tart and sour up front with a strong cherry flavor. There's a thin malt character and a mild hops presence. After-taste is also quite sour. If you're into the sour beers, this is a good one for you.

M: Smooth and very crisp, light body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish.

D: Flavorful, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, even though I'm not a big fan of the sour beers, I can appreciate the fact that this is a well-made beer. It's well worth drinking for a while if you're in the mood for the sour style.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 005x 2 split with milwaukeeclassic and batting lead off during tonight's impending monster snowstorm

Pours ruddy copper with a thin white collar

Tart cherry, vinegar, and heavy oak on the nose

Much livelier in taste than smell. Tart cherries at the get go muted by funk and vinegar across the middle. Highly acidic and hugely tannic on the back. Barrel is all over this beer. Perhaps memory is faulty, but I've had this beer a handful of times including on tap at the brewery and this just doesn't seem the same: less sour and more vinegar and oak.

Another conundrum lies in the mouthfeel. A lively pop from the cork portended a high level of carbonation. Once poured and allowed to settle, the promise isn't quite kept. Oddly it seems just a bit off.

Not to blaspheme, and I'm sure this isn't a bad bottle, but this just didn't deliver on the promise of what I know to be a good beer. A mild disappointment.

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 005x1

Wow, much more sour than Consecration and I don't even need to taste it to tell, I can smell it! Sour fruit on the nose. Cherry, peach, and apricot.

The sour acids make my mouth water and pucker my tongue. In fact, you don't even taste it as first. The only sensory experience is the perception of sourness. But after my mouth finally adjusts, I learn there is more going on. Sour cherries, crisp green apple, shock tarts, cider vinegar, some sweet candy character, and oak. Wood tannin is perceptible on the tongue. Still, in Supplication sourness plays the lead role and the audacity of this sourness overshadows some of the other flavors. When a beer is produced with such care, when it is aged for over a year in used Pinot Noir barrels, it develops a great deal of sophistication and nuance. Unfortunately, Supplication is so sour, I am unable to detect let alone appreciate these developments.

A great beer, but the sourness in this batch seems to go too far. I enjoyed previous batches far more than this one.

Batch 003x1

Didn't review this, enjoyed with the wife on December 31st, 2010, our last New Year's in Denver. It was given to us on our wedding night in October of 2008. This one was a MUCH better experience than a fresh batch 5. Sourness was a little less aggressive, more secondary flavors showing through. One of the best beers we have had. My ratings above do not reflect this bottle as I did not take notes, but it would have been in the 4.5-4.7 area.

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Photo of russellaaron69
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep orangish red with a solid inch tan of head that took some time to fade and left some very nice lacing. Smell is nice and pretty much what I expected...cherries, wine, and wood with a health dose of funk. The taste is a perfect copy of the aroma but much more in your face. Big cherry tartness with a smooth wine and wood backbone. Funky and delicious all the way though. Mouthfeel was thin and bubbly. Drinkability was good but the beer is definitely a sipper.

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Photo of brdc
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 003, thanks muenchnerkindl for this one.
Small corked bottle, opens with a very loud pop, poured into a tulip.

Dark golden, medium sized white head good retention and lacing.
Aroma is tart and acid, fruity, funky, with a hint of oak and vanilla.
Medium bodied yet refreshing; tart and acidic notes dominate the flavor. Fruitiness, some spiciness, with faint vanilla and oak.
This is a very nice beer, but IMHO, not nearly enough for the top 50. Certainly worth a try.

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Photo of richalexander78
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this in a bottle in Oregon. It was fairly cool bottle and had the taste of eating a dark freash cherry without the pit. You do get a hint of the p.n wine barrel. This was an easy drinking sour. I would recommend it for the ladies paired with cheeses.

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Photo of HardTarget
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle Inspection: Corked and caged warning of 7% abv. Odd sized bottle, batch 001

Aroma: Rich vinegar balanced by mild cherry and vanilla notes.

Appearance: Hazy brown with some chunky floaties. Thin collar and cover gives touches of lace.

Flavor: Vanilla front going funky Lambic sour quickly with some hints of cherry skin and a sharp lemonish finish. Very unique.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, mild carbonation

Overall Impression: Sour, but not overwhelmingly so. Tart. Wild.
A good flavor, but I didn’t do a great job capturing it here in my review. It came late in a session. I recommend it.

Thanks to Eric for hand carrying it to Texas for me!

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Photo of s1ckboy
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Red/Amber with a foamy white head

S - Sourness, oak, tart cherries.

T - A lot of sour/funk, oak, some slight sweetness, tart cherries.

M - Lighter side of medium, a good amour of carbonation, finishes dry.

O - A great sour, starting to warm up to the style.

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Photo of shleepy
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Duvel glass from 375mL bottle.

A: Dark amber; fairly fluffy, off-white head.

S: Earthy / barrel-y notes, but some sharp fruit notes cut through them.

T: Medium sourness (though I'm sure it would be rated as fairly intense by novice sour beer drinkers). Dark fruit flavors; not too similar to real krieks, in that regard... Cherry flavor is there, but so are plums. Barrel-aging provides a more earthy kind of wood flavor, rather than the usual strong vanilla notes.

M: The carbonation seems to disperse quickly, providing a very smooth, soft mouthfeel. The alcohol content (albeit not too high) provides a medium-heady body.

O: A balanced and complex sour beer. Along with Temptation and Consecration, it's one of the better Russian River beers (but pales in comparison to Beatification). Just don't compare it to a kriek... it doesn't taste like one, being much darker and heavier.

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Photo of punkrkr27
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle batch 002. A bit of a gusher. Pours reddish brown with a thick foamy off-white head. Smells of damp oak, tart cherries, grassy brett funk, some candi sugar and a bit of port. Flavor is strong sour cherry with a delicate creamy sweetness balancing it. There is a strong oak note and grassy funk from the brett, a bit vinous too. Medium body with a very lively carbonation.

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Photo of olmatty
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Low and fleeting head, tiny and persistent bubbles and a light amber color.

Smell- Lots of fresh oak barrel, light sourness of cherries.

Taste- More fresh oak barrel, cherries are light, covered by a brisk, clean, puckering sour.

Mouthfeel- Lightly but crisp carbonation. A palate scrubber.

Drinkability- A nice enjoyable drink.

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Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a surprisingly dark and malty, hazy ruby copper with a smallish light tan head that recedes at a slightly slower than normal pace to a thin fiml of microbubbles.

S - A pretty sour cherry kick in the nose that gets stronger as it warms. Only hints of funk with a slight vinegar character, a tad musty.

T - Sour sun-turned cherries, lime, and lemon zest. Oak has rounded this beer nicely. The barnyard indeed comes out here too as it warms, but never too much.

M - A little heavy for the style, but the relatively high carbonation helps to create a nice balance.

D - This brew is delicious, but far from the most complex sour I've had. It's a kriek alright, but not much more. I would seek out again, but wouldn't go too far to get it.

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Photo of spoony
4/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 375 ml bottle (Batch 10) into a tulip.

A-The beer poured a brownish red color that was mostly clear except for the few floaties that dribbled out of the bottle towards the end. The khaki-colored head was pretty solid and left a nice cap.

S-A pleasant, if not complex, smell of red fruit and berries. I thought of sour cherries and cranberries. There was a bit of oak noticeable.

T-The taste mostly follows the smell, sour cherries and tart cranberries. I also picked up some tart lemon (it may have just been the tartness I was noticing ) and a nice oaky undertone to it all.

M-There was a nice, prickly carbonation. The long finish left my mouth watering, but it wasn't all sour, there was a just a bit of sweetness.

O-A good sour brew, but not my favorite Russian River. The beer was concentrated and had a good flavor (if you like sour cherry), but a bit one-dimensional to be truly world-class. Perhaps I had too high of expectations, but I thought this one lacked a little of the complexity (oak, vanilla, chocolate, raspberry, etc.) that I was hoping for.

Edit: I recently opened a bottle from Batch 11 and was pleasantly surprised. I found much more oak and tart, vinous complexity than my review above indicates. Tasty.

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Photo of otto251068
4.02/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Acquired in a trade from Emmasdad, thanks! Poured from a 12.68 oz bottle into a Chimay chalice.

Appearance: Looks like a deep brown apple cider. When held up to the light it glows dark red. Pours a fingers worth of light brown/tan head. Very dense. It fades slightly but clings to the outside of the glass and remains throughout the drink.

Smell: Cherries and citrus dominate. Some apple as well. Smells like a wine, very robust, makes my mouth water.

Taste: Sour, very sour, plenty of tart cherries, green apples as well. Alcohol comes through in the middle. The oak comes out really strong as well with the tannin. Again, makes my mouth water, the flavors are so strong. Also has a pucker effect.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a medium to high carbonation. The sourness and the tannin remind me of a chardonnay, and leave me with a dry finish in my mouth. I am not crazy about that dry finish.

Overall: The tannin and sourness mellow as the drink warms a little, which I like. The sourness really wakes up the palate, which I also like. I could have a couple of these a night. The flavors are bold and delicious. Just flat out different, tasty, and I want more.

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Photo of Realale
4.02/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Gorgeous onion skin with amber highlights. Creamy off-white extremely fine head peaks at a solid half inch and settles slowly to a complete cap that leaves nice lace.

Extraordinary nose of deep, fleshy sweet cherry intertwined with racy sour notes. As it warms, the brett aromas appear adding horse blanket, and dark spice. There's an earthy maltiness rumbling below it all. Just stunning.

The palate is a relatively big let down from the nose (but almost anything would be). Much simpler with the flavors that are so distinct on the nose becoming muddy. It's on the full side of medium, and the malt plays the predominant role in the mouth. The cherry moves to a bit role, and it's surprisingly no where near as sour as the nose promises. Medium length, with a touch of acid coming through with a whack of oak on the finish.

Lovely bottle-conditioned mouthfeel. Really velvety and attractive. Smellability is off the scale, but drinkability not so much for me as the oak is a bit much, and the palate just isn't that interesting. Some additional cellar time might allow the sourness to build and break through the palate adding balance and interest. We'll see. Regardless, an inspiring effort and one hell of a nose. Batch one.

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Photo of DrDogbeer
4.02/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a goblet. Pours a clearish orangy-brown color with a think wispy white head. Lots of champagne type bubbles that fade quickly. I don't know if i have ever seen a color like this before, either.
WHOA- the smell is pungent. As soon as I open the beer you can get a whiff from across the room. I get a lot of vinegar, some musty red wine, some alcohol and the barnyard as well on the nose. Smell is consistenty strong throughout.
Tast is similar. I get the huge pucker of the sour cherries, vinegar etc. right up front. Aftertaste mellows it quite a bit and makes it even more enjoyable. Bit of alcohol on the end.
Nice champagne fizz on the mouthfeel.
Fairly drinkable for the style- has a lot going on throughout the beer and my mouth is pretty puckered after this one.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.02/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Simultaneously unassuming/impressive-looking 375ml bottle, corked and caged. A HUGE thank-you goes out to hwwty4 for this extremely generous gift. Poured into my late great-grandfather's etched Belgian-style chalice.

Appearance: Under normal light, this beer pours what I would call rose (kind of a mix of ruby/golden tan), but when held up to the light it turns a beautiful bright orangey amber. The cap is ivory and, after receding, leaves a thick, creamy ring and islands of foam floating in the glass. Fairly highly carbonated.

Smell: Tons of fruit and light, elegant funk. Almost delicate aromas. Oddly enough, I'm not really getting cherries, but rather a pleasant mix of fruits. At first I was getting stone fruit (slightly underripe peaches) and maybe a hint of lemon cream. As this warms slightly, I started getting sweet strawberries and now, I think I'm finally getting the sweet/tart candied cherries. No oak present, but there is a hint of something like vanilla cream that's quite nice.

Taste: The cherries come through much stronger in the flavor; tart, slightly underripe, and juicy. There's just a little bit of alcohol present, as well as a dusty, dry, very lightly tannic woodiness. I'm still getting used to sours and so while I really, really like the flavors going on here, it takes me a minute to get past the tart, puckering blast at the beginning. At the beginning, I get hardly anything but tartness and a bit of dry tannin. After a few seconds, however, the tart cherry really begins to come out, and after the swallow, a of other fruity, funky flavors emerge. The cherry character of this reminds me slightly of the bright, natural sweet/tart character of New Glarus' Wisconsin Belgian Red, but there's much more going on in this beer, whereas the NG beer is all about the fruit (not that that's a bad thing). Here, the cherry flavors are supported/balanced by a whole lotta funkiness, a touch of alcohol, and some dry oakiness. I don't really get any malty character from this until I'm down near the bottom of the glass (and it's warmed quite a bit) and it's just a ghost of toasted brown malt.

Mouthfeel: Vibrant, fairly highly carbonated, medium-bodied

Drinkability: Good, although sours are (at least not for me) quaffing beers. Still, one glass of this is warming, yet refreshing at the same time. I like!

Conclusion: I'm so glad I finally got to try one of these beers. Again, a huge, HUGE thank you to the guy who hooked me up with this. Between hwwty4 and tolann, I've now gotten to try two of Russian River's most highly-touted beers. Pliny the Elder absolutely blew me away. It was everything I expected and more. This did not have quite the same effect, but it was still quite enjoyable. The aromas are absolutely out of this world. One of the best wild brews I've encountered. The flavors are very nice here as well. The sourness here wasn't a problem for me; it was lightly puckering and just about right IMO. The flavors were very nice. If I could change one thing it would be to just ratchet the woodsy dryness back a bit.

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Supplication from Russian River Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 1,379 ratings.