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Compunction - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

78 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 78
Hads: 220
Avg: 4.39
pDev: 8.88%
Wants: 368
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: clickpush on 04-01-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 78 | Hads: 220
Photo of mithrascruor
3.95/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at O'Brien's, San Diego.

Pours a hazy light straw/gold color with a light white head. Mild sour aroma with a hint of vanilla and wheat. Light bodied with medium carbonation and easy to drink (low ABV too). Tastes of cherry, wheat, and some light yeast. Good, but not particularly compelling to me.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.7/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


On tap at O'Brien's ConsumpTION night. Pours pellucid straw golden with a foamy white cap. 

S: Aroma is not unlike Temptation, but with subtle pluot notes. I've never had a pluot, but it smells as I'd expect, which is a mixture of apricot and plum, but more apricot than plum. A little lemon is in there along with oak. Barnyard notes are subtle, and there's a firm lactic presence.

T: Flavor displays a moderate lactic sourness which accompanies notes of apricot, plum, and lemon. Fruit isn't very strong. There's a noticeable buttery oak character. Sourness is pretty clean. No real acidity.

M: Upper light in body. Moderate carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Overall: I recall liking the first batch a lot more, but that was a long time ago so it's hard to be sure. Pretty good, not great. Kinda simple and could use more acidity.

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Photo of JAXSON
4.12/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 rate.

On tap at Monk's Cafe. Let me preface this by stating that I've eaten a pluot, and I didn't care for it. I didn't get a ton of pluot influence in this beer. It poured a really clear light amber, which makes me think perhaps this would be better from closer to the bottom of the keg. Compared with the Supplication, this was was lighter in body, more sour, a little less bretty, and kind of chewier. Of course tight, refined, non-acidic, all huge positives which always make Russian River a winner in this style. It might be asking too much of the beer for it to carry a stronger pluot influence, but from what I remember that was a dull, boring fruit. Nevertheless, a nicely made, refreshing brew, kind of interesting, but I'd like to see more residual sweetness from the fruit.

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Photo of juhl31
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

-foggy, yet clear gold color. pours with a fluffy white head

-the sour lemon jumps out first, then the pluot rolls in. some banana and a bit of malt which is nice

-good tartness up front, then the fruits roll in - pluots, lemon in the back, the farmhouse taste finishes the in the aftertaste. some actual bitterness to it which is nice as well

-very dry with some tannin mouth as well

-wow this stuff is good. amazingly drinkable. i also like that it still has a lot of actual "beerness" to it. you still get maltiness and bitterness to it behind the wild ale forefront. have been back on a couple more occasions and couldnt pass this one up

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Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.52/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on draft last week at Russian River Brewing Co. listed on their board as "Blonde Ale with Pluots (Apricot/Plum hybrid) aged in Chardonnay barrels . 5.80% ABV / 1.048 O.G / 25 BUs" for $4 -poured into a tulip glass.

A: Pours a slightly hazy blonde/apricot hue with a decent head that dissipates quickly leaving a ton of lacing in its tracks.

S: Smells like the forest - piney woody and earthy (from the chard barrels no doubt), some funk and fermented fruit.

T: Wow - this one's unique! Fresh cut lumber - sweet resinous earthy pine up front big time (from the barrels, not from the hop), some sour funk that mixes very well with the woody aspects, there's some peppery citrus in the mix as well, and right when you think the pluots were a waste of time, they come through strong at the end and linger in the aftertaste. Tastes like Nor-Cal for sure!

M: Light/medium-bodied, crisp, well carbonated lending the the dryness, extremely refreshing leaving a lingering lactic bitterness that is nice.

D: Extremely easy to drink. If you don't like the flavor of wood in your ale, you won't be diggin this one and may get sick of the dry oaky presence like my buddy did with his. I absolutely love it though and could session these no problem.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.83/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

No link because I'm at the brewery dudes...pours a hazy amber, middling carbonation, and the bubbles are tiny! Champagne like...tiny wisp of head adorns this, like melted marshmallows that are just starting to cool...nice so far...only 6% ABV, I'm surprised...nose is dominated by sour peach...and tart cherry...very typical for their sours, but peachier....not much else in there but it's crisp and robust...flavor is mostly brett sourness and a lot of that peach from the nose....apparently they used pluots in this brew, and I'm getting that now that I think about it...the carbonation is super crazy on the tongue...like a Black Metal blast beating...it's all over the place. Did I mention I'm going to see Steve Smyth, Lance Skitzo abd all the rest as Sweet Leaf tonight?? Well I am...in any event..this beer is a subtler version of their various sours...I like...

What I like most: the subdued brett profile and beautiful color.

What I like least: the price at $6.75/glass and lower ABV

Verdict: fans of sours must try it...nuanced and excellent...

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Photo of Ynot2
4.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery on 12/5/2010.

The color was a pale amber with a decent off white head.

The aromas are pretty full of citrus along with strong ripe apricot. There is a fairly strong hay funky smell going on that really rounds the aromas.

The taste is amazing. This is a sour, not mouth puckering, lemonny mouth drying sour, but more of a green grape, lemonade sour with slight hay aftertaste. The fruits really come through toward the end evening out the initial sour.

Moderate carbonation in the mouth.

More drinkable than Consecration. A nice smooth easy going sour. Will have more of this really good beer.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.75/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewpub. From notes.

A: Pours an apricot body with some haziness to it. It's lighter than the Temptation I was double-fisting. The head is off-white, with good retention and some register marks down the glass.

S: Plum and apricot, yup yup yup. I've never had a pluot but I think I've figured out where the name comes from. It's oaky in the nose, with a contribution of (surprisingly) grapefruit. Lactic sourness, mineral notes, and a small barnyard note.

T: If you're looking for a fruit bomb, look elsewhere. It's fruity, but nicely integrated with other flavors to let everything have a say in the final product. Plums, apricots, grapefruit. It's quite bretty, moreso than the Temptation I ordered at the end of the glass. I pick up leather, hay, barnyard. The also brett seems to contribute a strong mineral note to the beer; I had this same complaint about Sanctification and I'm raising it again here. This is a good beer, but I just don't like the mineral finish. There is also a light, buttery oak presence in the finish. If this was wine-barrel aged, I'm not picking it up.

M: Carbonation is light-medium, but with the dry body it still seems pretty spritzy. As I mentioned above, the aftertaste is a bit of a turnoff. It wasn't harsh enough that I didn't want to drink it, but I was conscious of it during every sip.

D: It's good, and I'd certainly have it again, but I'm lukewarm about it in general. I enjoyed Temptation, Consecration, and Supplication more.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Before I get to my review, this beer was the first Russian River beer as well as the first American Wild Ale I'd ever had. That was at Dark Lord Day 2008, where my reaction was "Man, that's sour" and I went back to drinking more imperial stout. Since then, I've had a fair number of RR beers and AWAs, and I'm curious to see what I think. Thanks, C-dogg.

Pouring a brilliantly clear light amber with a dense, frothy, off-white head, this beer looks pretty excellent. Some lacing is present as well.

The nose is absolutely fantastic. Clearly, Relative Brewing needs to work on how they fill growlers, 'cos this smells rather incredible. The RR pale sour base is immediately noticeable, with a moderate Temptation-like character with grass, hay and a moderate lactic character. There isn't much barrel character, at least not a wine barrel character. And then there's the fruit. Beautifully expressed, in some ways this reminds me of fresh Fou'foune. Having had a chance to travel through CA farm country earlier this Fall and sample 4-5 different varieties of pluots, this beer brings back memories. Fruity light plums, apricots, a mild floral character, this is pretty close to perfect. A touch of acetone (just a hair) rounds out the nose, and this is one of the few beers where I like it. Brett and funk character are mostly hay-like and part of me wonders if the mild floral character is a blend of both a tropical Brett character and the pluot.

The palate opens rather bracingly sour, surprisingly so, and more than I was expecting. Very clean with a blend of lemon and lactic acids, there's a moderate Bretty leather, dry and mildly musty. This leather character is rather surprising, given the rather pale base beer, but that's Brett for you. A touch of fruity pineapple is also present, along with a nice light-plum fruitiness in the mid-palate. Light in body with moderate carbonation, this beer finishes dry and a sour with a moderate acidic character. Acetone and acetic acids are really low here, and that's not surprising given Vinnie's history brewing sours. The fruit character isn't as strong as I was hoping, but it was still rather excellent, reminding me of a Fou'foune at 2-3 years. Again, that moderate leather character lingers on the finish, working quite well with the fruitiness, a combination that is unique. Some tannins are present too. Just a little slick on the finish as well. While the acidity is high, I can see myself going through a quart of this. Excellent stuff.

Ultimately, I ask myself - how does this compare to the other RR sours? I'd say that while it isn't as good as the better batches of Beatification, Temptation, Supplication or Consecration, it is still fantastic right out of the gate. In that regard, it beats out Temptation, which needs a few months to come into its own. I hope to god Vinnie bottles this, as it is something I'd love to try again.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.93/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Relative Brewing for securing this nectar for this tasting. Served in a mini-snifter.

Pours a slightly-hazy apricot color with a half-finger of head. Aroma brings some really nice notes of grapefruit juice along with the zest of a Ruby Red. There is a slight sour character in the nose, though not all that much comes through. A find a bit of purple plum in there, but that character seems a bit muted.

The flavor melds the citrus peel character with some plum and red grapes. A good level of pucker factor hits here, though not nearly as much as is generally the case with Russian River. All together, the taste is definitely more integrated and complex than the nose, but doesn't really take it to the next level. `The finish is fairly dry and is probably the best component of this beer, although at the same time it does drink quite well and is certainly more quaffable than a few of their other wilds.

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Photo of DJButters
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The pour significantly darker than its Sanctification counterpart. I had a pour of Sanctification prior to this pour of Compunction.

S: The nose starts off with lots of tannins from the oak and pluots. Significant amounts of sour fruit smell gets the salvation glands kicked in to high gear for what is coming.

T: Smooth for a sour beer - perhaps a bit too smooth. Lots of dry oak notes along with pluot/sour fruit notes. A mild acidity and less bitterness than San.

M: The body is medium with a moderate to high carbonation and a very crisp finish. Think green apple bite.

D: I will be back for more as I was very impressed. Watching the Chargers/Raiders game at the brewery left a sour taste in my mouth... but I think this beer was sourer.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.75/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Alex for sharing this...A peachy color, decent carbonation considering the circumstances...The aroma is a very acidic grapefruit juice with typical Russian River oaky undertones. Pretty balanced...The taste represents more of the oak than I would like, loses a lot of the citrus and acidity. The citrus isn't really defineable to me, grapefruit like, but I guess that's the unfamiliarity with a plout..The feel reminds of a dry white wine.

Another decent RR sour but nothing significantly different than other beers.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Toronado. 2010 vintage served in a flute.

A - Pours with a quarter-finger of foam that quickly settles to a thin ring of bubbles. The body is a hazed golden orange color.

S - Grape skins, sour plum, white wine, acetic acid, oak. As it warms more sweetness emerges in the form of brett clausenii and graham cracker malt.

T - If you haven't had pluots this will evoke sour grapes and plums complete with skin. In the periphery there is some buttery oak. The finish is heavy in vinous sourness and tannins from both fruits and oak.

M - Some light carbonation tingle, medium body, and a very dry finish. I suspect the added zest on-tap would liven this up a bit, but it was still quite acceptable.

D - Unsurprisingly this is a very good beer, but I'm not certain it's better than Russian River's regular sour lineup. Still, I could crush a few glasses of this one.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.12/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was surprised this came to OH, Relative Brewing rocks.

Clear and light gold colored with just a ring + film for head. Still adequate carbonation, even out of the growler, but no real foam on top.

Nice fruit aromas, light tropical fruits like mango and tangerine, and apparently pluot which I've never heard of before. The internet tells me that it's a hybrid of plum and apricot, so there's your tropical fruits I guess. Funky aromas as well of course.

Nice wild flavors, not over the top tart but more widely approachable, and the fruit integrates nicely. Based on this experience I think I like pluots.

Good mouthfeel given the potential growler deterioration of carb. My small pour dissapeared in no time, extremely glad to have tried it.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes to Relative Brewing for getting this for us from Russian River. Glad you guys have a great relationship and was able to score this.

A - Pours a yellow/orange color with some very large bubbles around the edge of the glass. No real lacing or retention to speak of, just the beer.

S - Oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, sour/tart, lacto funkyness. I like the fruity notes and funk. Very nice.

T - Same fruity funk as the nose, Chard-esk grape notes, oak/barrel.

M - Light, semi-dry finish, no carbonation.

D - Another great wild from RR, what else do you expect? I would really like to try this at the source. I'm going to adjust the A and M because this is coming out of a growler.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Relative Brewing for hooking us up with this for my Bachelor Weekend tasting. Best of luck on future collaborations.

A - Golden colored beer with minimal head (we'll blame that on the fact it was growlered). Fairly clear with bubbles up to the top.

S - Fruity smell that I cannot place, this must be the pluot influence on this beer. The barrel aging is pretty subtle, with some oak, and a sweet tartness.

T - Fruity, hint of oranges, grape skins, the taste of sour plums is present, I need to try one of these pluots sometime, as their effect on this beer is nice. Tart with some barrel influence.

M - Crisp, light, if the carbonation was a little more present I imagine this would be quite effervescent.

D - Not highly drinkable given the low ABV, but a really good beer that people should try if they have the opportunity.

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Photo of nickd717
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to alfrantzell for hooking up a "special growler" of this new tick.

Mostly clear deep amber in color with a lasting bubbly white head. Really looks excellent for the style.

Nice plum aroma along with a very Russian River like yeast aroma. Funky and musty with Brett and lacto evident.

The flavor is excellent, like most other Russian River sours. Big plum and pluot flavors, slight sweet malt notes (although the sweetness is minimal). Excellent tart and funky finish.

Really nice acidic tingling on the palate with a good level of carbonation. Medium bodied and very dry.

Overall, another really awesome sour from Russian River. Never surprising but always enjoyable.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Russian River

A: The pour is a hazy golden orange color with a finger's worth of white head and some spotty lacing.

S: The nose starts off with lots of tannins from the oak and pluots. A nice lactic acidity provides some lemony tartness, along with pluots in terms of the fruit. Wet oak and grass give the requisite funkiness.

T: Very, very earthy and tannic. Lots of dry oak notes along with pluot skins. A slight fruity character from the pluots as well a fairly mild lactic acidity. There's a bit of a chalky dryness and astringency, too.

M: The body is medium with a moderate to high carbonation and a very dry finish.

D: After how much this beer was talked up, I tried to be realistic going into it and I think I was. This was indeed a very good beer, but so are pretty much all of Russian River's beers.

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Photo of largadeer
4.18/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewpub. Compunction has a bright peach flesh colored body. A slim head tops the beer, but doesn't last long. The body has a slight reddish-purple tint.

The nose is dry and dusty, white wine-like with a pluot character that grows stronger as the beer warms. Brett is prominent, lending a musty funk and juicy pineapple.

Sharply sour and acidic on the palate, the pluots come through nicely, quite plum-like to me. Lactic acidity and tannins are pretty strong. It's quite vinous too, especially in the finish, and there's a big leathery, fruity brett character.

I've been wanting to try this beer for a long time, and it didn't disappoint.

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Photo of nrbw23
4.12/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was the first sour I ever had and it took some getting used to but I did enjoy this one. I had no idea what I was getting into on this one. Had this on Dark Lord Day and waited on the review until I had a few more of the style under my belt.

A- Pours a golden orangeish color. Reminded me of grapefruit juice in appearance.

S- Super sour and tart. Some fruits in there as well.

T- Quite a bit of fruity flavours and very sour. Probably the most sour thing I've ever drank or ate.

M- Lighter to medium in body and higher on carbonation.

D- Very interesting. I drank the whole glass and still getting used to the style but its growing on me for sure.

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Photo of mcallister
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes taken at DLD '08. Didn't know much about this beer when I bought it but must say it was the best beer I had on the four day beer excursion leading up to DLD.

Pours a clean golden color with a brillian white head holding hefty retention.

Aromas are fantastic and fruity with very sour almost vinegar like appeal. Apricot, hints of peach, pear and muscat grapes.

This beer just totally dominates the palate. Fresh sour tart flavors could almost be used as paint thinner (in a good way). Nice carbonation and a great 360 from all the stouts, barley wines and DIPA's I've had this weekend. A vinegar flavor in the middle full of ripe juicy fruits taste like it smells. A fabulous beer that I'm very happy I bought.

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Photo of Floydster
4.85/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Two tasters at the Second Stone Sour Fest to start off the day, wish I had more of this one now, worth every word of hype for me, best sour from Russian River or really anybody else for that matter with the exception of their Toronado and Bottleworks collaborations probably,

A-Golden yellow with a very slight orange look, 3/4 inch thin and very bubly head, incredible retention, some lacing
S-Vinegar, malt, funkiness, apricots, various citrus aromas, salt, pears, plums, brettanomyces, grapes, complex and fantastic, smell was best part of this brew
T-Very tart, full of berries, super dry finish, never too sour like I had heard but perfect instead in that sense, great balance of fruits, gets even better as it warms, deep sweet flavors
M-Carbonation is very aggressive, very acidic and tart mouthfeel, thin to medium body, taste lasted a long time and you never wanted it to go away
D-Would have gotten a perfect all around if it was not for the fact that the acidity could really take its toll after a while, low ABV though, refreshing, not a sipper but should be attacked that way for your stomach's sake

Been wanting to try this since trying my first RR brew a couple years ago, thought this would be two taster tickets at the fest for sure and luckily it was not, cannot believe this stuff is usually fifty dollars for a growler, it is still worth it for that in my opinion, too bad this is not bottled or available year round, exceeded my expectations, cannot wait to drink again and might a trip up to Santa Rosa that year for that reason alone, truly something special, cannot recommend this one enough

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Photo of rudylaw
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Another winner I tried on-tap at DLD.

I knew nothing about this beer before it was handed to me in line. It smells like vinegar. Really tart and fruity like the previous review stated. I also detected some melon as well.

Upon first sip, my lips puckered like alum. Holy cow is this sour. Easily the most sour beer I've had in a long, long while. But delicious! I had to pull back because I kept sipping and I needed to savor it.

I love tart everything and this was a tart beer. It was perfect after all of the heavy beers I had been drinking to stay warm before the sun came out. Kudos RR!

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Photo of seaoflament
4.92/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to AgentSteve for trading me a growler of this expensive beer!

Opened this one inside the Lost Abbey during the Port 2nd Anniversary Party. From my notes.

Wow, oh wow!

Poured a golden color, very similar to an ipa. Very good retention.

The aroma was amazing. Malty, tart, fruity, well balanced. There was some sea salt, pear, citrus fruits, vinegar and funk. There were fruits like pears, apricots, and grapes.

The taste was very similar and also included some dry white grapes or white grape skins, vinegar and a mix of berries. Very tart but not overly sour. It had a nice dry finish that kept you asking for more. This was too easy to drink.

One of the best sour beers I have ever had.

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Photo of bgramer
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank this on tap at DLD.

A golden-orange/apricot color with minimal head. This beer is very sour and TART... Delicious imho, it's tartness takes some getting used to. Very fruity and light and the carbonation is aggressive.

This is one of these beers that when you realize how sour it is, you slow down and sip it, and along the way, you notice different flavors revealing itself as you keep sipping. This isn't just a "sour" beer... it's complexity reveals itself over time.

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Compunction from Russian River Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 78 ratings.