Supplication - Russian River Brewing Company

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1,351 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,351
Hads: 5,578
rAvg: 4.48
pDev: 7.59%
Wants: 2,525
Gots: 1,810 | FT: 124
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: 1,351 | Hads: 5,578
Photo of AlexJ
4.79/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a Magnum bottle (thanks to Ray and Cornelia) this ale is a murky, dirty apricot color with a frothy off white head that leaves delicate patterns of lace.

The aroma is a mouthwatering melange of sweet/tart cherries, rotting pit fruit, vanilla and oak, light spice, and something that is just impossible to put into words. The wild yeast really works a strange kind of beer magic here.

The flavor first strikes you as tart, cidery, and lightly acidic. Warmpth brings out a sweet and sour fresh cherry note with hints of almond and pear. The layers of oak and vanilla add a not so subtle complexity that is heightened by the funky yeast that is both rustic and farmy. Definately has Flemish Red Ale qualities but is in a league all of it's own.

Body is very smooth and buttery, with a soft, creamy texture and amazing drinkability. Another superb product from a brewer that is quickly becoming one of my all-time favorites. (941 characters)

Photo of Backer2004
4.05/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ray and Cornelia who shared this at the Charlotte BA tasting. absolutely beautiful bottle score extra points (hey, it's my opinion). The only other Wild Ale I've had is also from Russian River (Insanity?). Nice copper color with sour grape taste and smell. It's hard to be "wild" over this style, but I believe Russian River has nailed it. (349 characters)

Photo of instrumentality
4.03/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured the contents of a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. The head filled it to the rim, then settled to a dense 1/4" lacy layer. The color was a light orangy-copper color. I held the beer up to the light and saw a swirling cloudiness that made it seem like something significant was going on inside that glass. I was anxious to proceed.

I perceived the odor as a mixture of cherries and pine.

Upon entering my mouth, the first sensation I felt was tartness, extreme tartness to the point where could actually feel the glands in my neck swelling from the shock. I quickly identified the source of this tartness as a cherry flavor which gradually became sweeter and more soothing as my taste buds adjusted. Mixed with this was a flavor reminiscent of champagne.

It was very abrasive on the palate, acidic, somewhat vinegary, somewhat heavy on the carbonation.

Tart cherries? Acidic? Vinegary? Abrasive? Despite all of these seemingly deterrent qualities, I actually enjoyed this one. It went down more easily with each sip, and not just because the alcohol was taking effect. I liked that the cherry flavor was tart rather than sweet, as it tasted more genuine and better complemented the other intense flavors.

Supplication is unlike anything I've ever had; in a blind taste test, I'd wonder if this was, in fact, a beer, and not some other category of alcohol with which I'm not familiar. Maybe I'm just not that well versed in high quality brown ales, or maybe this one's just in a league of its own.

I decided not to read the bottle before trying this so as not to bias
my senses, but now that I read the description--the year of aging, the winemaking background of the brewer, the similar process to champagne making--I understand why this beer tastes so unusual.

I'll definitely pick this one up again on occasion, and I'd like to try it with a heavy meal, perhaps some tri-tip and mashed potatoes. (1,928 characters)

Photo of Westsidethreat
4.73/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Hazy amber grape fruit color. Head is tight bubbles that last the run of beer.

Smell: Aroma is oak, cherries, yeast...mystery.

Taste: The wild yeasts have been hard at work. Scores of dried apricots, tart cherries, yeasty goodness with a touch of citrus. Truly amazing.

Mouthfeel: Cream and silk, perfectly balanced.

I :heart: this beer. (365 characters)

Photo of Px2GrafX
3.72/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy orangey-brown with floaties and a white 1-inch head. Aroma is stong cherries as soon as the cork is popped. Vinous with a faint band aid aroma. Taste is sour cherries and grapes. Vinous, vinegary alcohol. Sourness hides any hop or malt complexities. Mouthfeel is nice. Bubbly creamy,medium body. Drinkability is hindered by extreme sourness & alcohol. Not my style, as I prefer the temptation. (398 characters)

Photo of clvand0
4.2/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color with very little head that falls fast and doesn't leave any lacing on the glass. The aroma is slightly sour, but not nearly as sour as I expected it to be. The flavor is surprisingly smooth. Slightly soured, but very mellow. Some fruits linger on the palate as does a light bit of maltiness. The aftertaste is very inviting. The body is light and the drinkability is very good. Very nice beer. (414 characters)

Photo of kmpitz2
4.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a lightly ambered color with a finger of head over top that falls to a healthy cover over top. Clarity is moderate, with a bit of haze and without apparent carbonation. Good looker. Nose is excellent, with moderate sourness, with a very solid backing of cherry. Its not biting, but very inviting. Almost a touch of acetone-like aromas that I associate with sour browns. Flavor is very nice, mildly sour, moving towards a very smooth cherry fruityness, finishing with a light tartness. Aftertaste is very solid sour cherry that lingers well in to the finish, enticing me to drink more and more of this beer. Very nice balance between fruit flavor and sour tinge. A mild sourness hangs on the sides of my tongue into the finish as well. Very excellent. Feel is moderate with a moderate carbonation. It doesn't interfere with the flavor while having enough carbonation to make it lively. Drinkability is awesome. No hint of the alcohol at all in this one. Its smooth and enjoyable while having a prominent sour character. The fruityness is excellent, and compliments the base beer excellently. Well worth the wait. (1,117 characters)

Photo of drewmprs
4.62/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A rich tangy pour with bubbles clinging in ribbons on the glass. Mouthfeel is a soft spritzy flavor with gentle hints of brets. Similar yet remarkably different from the temptation. Was it worth the 8.99 a bottle? Let's just say i'm not gonna go run and get a 6 pack (266 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Remarkable! A brilliant beer!

A long-standing bottle pours a clear, deep-crimson-amber body beneath a full head of creamy light tan foam that holds exceptionally well and leaves some very nice lace about the glass. The lacing could be better, but the retention is impressive.

The nose is sparkling with Brettanomyces and tartness; metal, oak, wet and oily leather, acetic acid, uric acid, chalk, must, damp newspaper, wet straw, papaya, plum, citrus rind, and cherry.

It's delicately effervescent in the mouth with a medium body that leaves it quite smooth, a bit airy, and somewhat creamy despite it's initial spritz.

The flavor is just as the nose suggests, but with a much fuller character. The sourness appears upfront; followed by the delicate, tart fruit (cherry, papaya, summer berries); and then mustiness and some very drying oak in the finish.

It's quite simply remarkably bizzare and flavorful, yet somehow completely pulled together and ultimately refreshing! It's astonishingly entincing, enaging, and almost consuming. (1,050 characters)

Photo of CRJMellor
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy, cloudy maroon with a very effervescent, faomy head that then settled rather quickly.
Aroma of musty fruit with maybe some cherry, blueberry and raspberry evident. Some earthy soil and musty hay with a nit of weahtered leather as well.
Flavors of dark fruits, some licorice, a bit of pepper provide an amazing but almost confusing set of flavors.
Mouthfeel is moderate but very tart and crisp. Very tart and juicy with some saw dust dryness on the finish.
Drinkability is very high. Amazingly complex and I can imagine each bottle tasting very different from the last. Memorable for sure (604 characters)

Photo of Crosling
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Simply an amazing brew, with a fiery orange color, a dynamic and vibrant aroma and an astonishing medley of flavors. Meticulous balance of cherries, yeast and oak, producing a range of flavors. Vinnie does great work with Sour Belgians. I love the wine barrel aging and the vinous character. (291 characters)

Photo of brewandbbq
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 001, cellared on the side.

Pours turbid, dark red, with an ambitious, spritzy head that falls immediately.
Hissing and prickling akin to a Schweppes.
Persistant release of carbonation not evident through the depths of the body, but revealing on the placid surface.
Sour cherries up front in the nose, with peppered leather and dusty boards.
Quite earthy and musty, with warming spice.
Cinnamon bark, anise, cardamon, paprika, dried mint, and schezuan peppercorns step forward as it breathes.
A cedar chest in the loft of a barn, filled with spice satchels, dried cherries, and old leather soles.
Medium bodied, subdued carbonation, but still lively- juicy and crisp.
A moderate amount of tartness leads the pallet, with a zesty cherry kick and a drying woodiness.
Developes warm and spicy, with some continued puckering, and tannic drying.
Finishes lengthy with some playfull, musty funk- and warming, dried citrus zest.
Not over-the-top wild, but already quite complex, and another 3-5 years in the cellar should further "Supplicate" this Vinnie masterpiece further. (1,088 characters)

Photo of mmmbeer
4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this bottle (375 mL, olive green, batch 001) a month or two ago and finally mustered up the will to open it - which I had a hard time doing as the cork was a bit stubborn. I served it just below cellar temperature in a flute/goblet type glass I've got. It pours a beautiful hazed golden/orange/peach color with lots of carbonation and 2 fingers of tan head which consists of small bubbles and reduces to a half-inch, sticking to the glass throughout. It smells sharply tart with sweet and sour cherries, not-quite-fresh milk, oak, a good funkiness, and grapes, currants and blackberries which show up later. It's really making my mouth water wondering how it's gonna taste. It is sour/tart, but not as powerful as I thought it was going to be. There's also some malts, sour cherries, oak, the fruits I mentioned above, and some medicinal and vinous qualities. The pinot noir barrels in which it was aged contribute mainly to the aftertaste, which has grapes, blackberries, and currants, and a dry, woody coating effect similar to the few pinots I've tried. Initially the body is sharp and dry with a carbonation that is high but not prickly and it evolves from being light and airy to medium and smoother. Quite an interesting beer, and one that tastes like a gueuze mixed with a pinot noir. Hats off to Russian River for attempting such a mysterious creation. My only complaint, as others have noted, is that the bottle is too damn small, but other than that, keep up the good work. (1,490 characters)

Photo of Sephiroth
4.82/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to BeerBeing for the trade. Pours with moderate foam, body is a cloudy brownish red. Has characteristics of a nice red wine, vanilla, oak, faint Brett.

Taste is fucking amazing! Great pinot noir flavor, vanilla, cherries, oak, plus dirty barnyard notes. Slightly sour. Mouthfeel is great, just like that of the Temptation I had before this. Just as impressive as Temptation. I've found the new crack! (411 characters)

Photo of mattcrill
4.22/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks again to cmaruschak for the chance to enjoy this one.

Batch 001

Appearance: Cloudy amber colored pour with a light tan head.

Smell: Smoke, oak, sour cherries, vanilla. It smells warm (can warm be a smell???)

Taste: Sour cherries, apple cider, tart apples, chardonnay grapes, and a slight lactic astringency.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with mild carbonation. Very drying to the palate.

Drinkability: The tartness beats down the palate but I found it to be very interesting. The best of the tasting flight we had. (535 characters)

Photo of Dogbrick
4.42/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to cmaruschak for sharing. Batch 001: Ruddy amber color with a thin light beige head that disappears almost immediately. Barely any light penetrates. Tiny rising bubbles and lacing that races down the sides of the glass. Aroma of grapes, brown sugar and sweet candy. Medium body with a smooth mouthfeel, and a bold vinous character. Flavors of dark cherry and light spice and oak. The flavoring does not linger too long though. The finish is extremely dry and feels like it is sucking the moisture from your tongue as you drink it. The finish is moderately sour and peppery. Overall a very well-made and enjoyable beer. (626 characters)

Photo of Bighuge
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Muted copper/orange appearance. A tightly packed one inch vanilla color head. Retention is fabulous and the lace left behind is picture perfect. Beautiful aroma. Tart cherries and brown sugar and acidic properties and wood mingle delightfully on the nose. This beer starts with a mild tart, acidic attack of the palate. But as you drink on, this trait subsides and cherry skin, wine notes, oak properties and Brett-induced sourness surface. A light little prick of carbonation tantilizes the tongue. And the body of this beer is hovering just below medium or so.

Gotta send thanks out to the Bum for yet another RRB product. It's much appreciated. (651 characters)

Photo of whartontallboy
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a hazy, cloudy orange-red color with a tightly-packed beige head that held for quite a while and left a nice little lacing in the glass.

Smell is interesting, there's a definite white-wine aroma that wafts up out, with some juicy light fruits, but there's also a yeasty/vinegary side to it that gives it a lambic-like tartness. The cherries come through pretty clearly here, too.

Flavor is interesting. Mildly acidic, but not a complete pucker-inducing ravage on your tongue. The lactic flavors blend well with the cherry flavors, and the oak comes through more clearly as it warms up a bit. The aftertaste is fairly acidic, but pleasantly so, and the wood lingers on this one in a very similar way to how it does in the Temptation. Mouthfeel is well-carbonated and pretty lively.

Overall: This is a truly interesting brew, and although I don't love it quite as much as Temptation, I would highly recommend it if you want to try something funky and tart. One note, though, is that I really felt this one got much better as it warmed even after I served it at just under cellar temp. (1,102 characters)

Photo of sloejams
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 001

After having this for several months, I finally broke down and opened it. The color is a nice amber/copper with very little head that disappeared quickly. The aroma was subtle: hints of cherry, oak and apples. As subtle as the scent was I didn’t expect a big taste – I was wrong. It has a nice sour flavor with the entire cherry flavor coming through with a wine bit (something lighter – like a Pinot Grigio). The body is something akin to quality champagne – very crisp. I’m glad I opened it, but I do wish I had more. This is a fine special occasion beer that I had no special occasion for.

Reading the label while I imbibe, it’s tells of all of the work that went into creating such a brew.: the 12 month aging in French oak Pinot Noir barrels for one year with three strains of Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, & Pediococcus. This is a labor of love, brewer Vinnie Cilurzo is clearly ahead of the curve in his creativity. (944 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a hazy deep red color ale with a medium foamy slightly off-white head with average retention. Aroma of sour cherries and oak are clearly detectable. Taste has a clear sour cherries feel to it with some distinctive note of acidity and oak. Tartness was delectable but could have been more present. Even though this is an excellent Flemish sour, I though it could have had more tart and more complexity in general (i.e. De Dolle Oerbier Reserva). I’d definitely take more RR Temptation over this any day. (518 characters)

Photo of SacoDeToro
4.44/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a nice copper hue with a short foamy white head. I served this one up in a tulip glass to help capture the aromas. The smell was that of a tart lambic with note of toasted oak. The yeast in the aroma was somewhat remeniscent of Orval. The flavor was full of tart cherries, oak, and chardonnay. The malt fills out the flavor and provides a medium mouthfeel. Considering this beer is 7% ABV, it's amazingly smooth - very drinkable. The carbonation is tight and compliments this beer's punch. Highly recommended if you can score a bottle. I recently went to Russian River Brewing and sampled 6 different Belgian beers on tap. All were excellent, but Supplication was notably different and much more complex than those on tap. (737 characters)

Photo of bditty187
4.82/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

"Batch Number 001"

375ml bottle

Hazy, peachy coppery bronze in hue with an amber highlight; the liquid is lovely, it has great color intensity. Off-white head, at the apex the foam was almost one finger high. The bubbles quickly faded to a thin, soapy cap and then a slim collar. There wasn’t any subsequent lacing of note, just a couple spots of residue, what a pity. I do like how this beer looks; it is eye-catching but not jaw-dropping.

The nose starts off vibrant, it is very tart. Sour cherries and hints of crabapples are the strongest aromas. Acidic, funky Brett notes, I also smell old wood. I guess it is the barnyard and barn I smell! There is even a smattering of vinegar at the back. The malt base meekly shows itself but clearly the lacto/wood/Brett/cherry combination is the show stealer. Moderate potency, the nose is complex, there is a great frame to the bouquet but it seems kind of skinny. In other words, the nose could fill in a little. With that said, the aromas that are present are great. Truly inviting, it is mouthwatering good. It is almost perfection.

Wow. It first the cherries are sweet and quite lovely. Next the malt shines, it tastes like a Brune for a moment. At this point the palate is very good. But, in the middle, oh my… the tart, acidic cherries and vinous note emerges. By the finish are flavors of wood, leather, horse blanket, horsehair, crabapples, old orange peels, sour cherries, oak, and sharp acidity. I am truly impressed at the depth and complexity of the palate. Nothing smashed my tongue with a sledgehammer but everything played my tastebuds like an orchestra. It was a beery symphony. The aftertaste is a tug-of-war between sweet malt/cherries and sour cherries/Brett. I am the winner of this epic struggle. This is an amazing beer that my words could not pay it justice.

Medium in body but this matters little with the mouthfeel. I can’t think of many beers where the body is so irrelevant. The mouthfeel is all about the low, fizzy and soothing carbonation and the super refreshing acidity. Somehow – I don’t really understand why – the mouthfeel is absolute perfect for this beer. It is amazing because there is nothing to it, just a soft body, a few bubbles and some sourness. It must be voodoo.

Give me funky cheese, some grapes, some apples, some more bottles of this nectar and a glass. Astonishingly drinkable, this beer is so simple but so complex. It is genius. The warmer the beer became the sweeter and more luscious this beer turned out to be. If you love sour beers, you must try Supplication. I am happy I purchased a bottle online from RR, it was worth every cent. I highly recommended. Why did I wait so long to drink this gem! (2,727 characters)

Photo of beermanbrian
4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked this one up at Once Upon a Vine in Richmond Virginia. Was hoping to save for review #100 but New Years seemed to be a good time to sample it. 375 ml bottle labeled Batch 001.

Golden color with almost no head. Ton of carbonation going on though, which gives this a real lively appearance. Smell is all sour fruit but very inviting. Also some oak and cherry notes. Taste is sour like the smell but not overpowering. There are enough other interesting flavors to make it very enjoyable. Just so much going on i can really single individual flavors out, but in a very balanced way.

The mouthfeel is what made this beer for me. Very champaign like. Supper smooth and so active on the tongue. What an incredibly fascinating beer. I highly recommend this beer to anyone who wants to try something different. Not a typical beer by any means but a great example of creativity in brewing. Wish i had more of these. (917 characters)

Photo of mjohn27603
4.73/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Comes in 375 ml bottle with blue, black and white label. Labeled Batch 001. Sent to me in a beer trade with Lou91. Cork is hard to remove then suddenly comes out with one twist. Pours golden with perhaps a slight reddish pink tinge. Carbonation is quite pronounced. It reminds me of champagne. Head dissipates quite quickly leaving transparent large bubbles that lead to a thin film.

Aroma is of extreme sourness combined with a musty oaky smell. A slight vinegar smell tells of sourness.

First taste reveals - wow! The first thing I noticed is the softness and silky feeling of the beer. Mouthfeel is exceptional although some might say a tad on the thin side. Not as sour as the smell indicates. A little bit of a gueze taste with slight hint of cherries. Not pronounced cherry flavor. A coating of silk remains on the tongue for a while. This is not a big huge beer but subtle in it's flavor. The sourness is nice but not overpowering. I'm comparing this to a La Folie I had last night and that was orders of magnitude more sour.

This stuff could be drunk in huge quantitites. I wonder why they make this in 375ml and La Folie in 750. Amazing that the wild bacteria could do this. One of the best tasting experiences I've had since starting beer advocate.

A real eye opener in terms of what can be done with beer in the U.S. (1,342 characters)

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours an amber cherry color with a thin uniform bubble head that is sustained by a few little bubbles from the bottom. There isn’t any lace as the head just slides down the side.

Smells strongly of oak with a bit of cherries, mandarin orange, raisins and a pungent chemical smell.

The flavor is at first dominated by oak, but then transitions into a delightful wild cherry and sour milk flavor and then finishes with a clean oak that left my tongue tingling.

The mouth feel is light to medium with a smooth carbonation.

This is an awesome sipper. Definitely give this a whirl. (603 characters)

Supplication from Russian River Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 1,351 ratings.