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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 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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Photo of pwoods
2.56/5  rDev -41.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

On tap at DLD. 8oz. sample

A: Cloudy apricot. Short white head, frothy. Not much retention but a bit of lacing.

S: Very sour. Vinegar. Oh, man, what am I getting myself into? Sweet but with overpowering sourness.

T/M: Loads of sour cherries in the front. Sourness is massive. Very tart cherries, cranberries, raspberries. Vinegar is nearly overpowering. Body is light and feels very watery. Mild bitterness in the back. Gherkins pickles keeps popping into mind. It actually makes my mouth pucker a bit and then water to try and dilute it.

D: I haven't had too many soured beers but this is by leaps and bounds the most sour. I made it about half way through the sample and had to call it quits. The vinegar and sourness just intensified far too much. I appreciate what RR and all these breweries are doing with sours but I just don't think I'll even develop a taste for them. There have been styles that I've 'not liked so much' in the past but none that I have not at least come around to and none that I continually can't finish.

Note: Please don't flame me :)

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Photo of younger35
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tried this on tap at Dark Lord Day compliments of emerge077. I love Russian River and these wild sour ales are pretty much kick ass. Drank from a nice classy plastic cup (the way Vinnie intended).

Appearance- Pours a hazy golden yellow with a small bright white head that sticks around for quite a while. Leaves a decent cap and collar and some good lacing although it's hard to tell in on these stupid plastic cups.
Smell- Like you'd expect plenty of vinegary goodness stings the nostrils. Tart and fruity just the sharpness of the nose makes my mouth water. Light melon fruits such as watermelon and cantaloupe are the first thing that come to mind (it's hiding under all that twang but it's there!). Lightly funky and coarse (not as much as some) but not the focus like some other Russian River brews.
Taste- Wow, the smell prepared me for what was about to come but damn! Super sour and tart with a vinegar splash that puckers the lips. I thought it would be a bit fruitier but the amount of Brett in this badboy covers most of it up. It gets better as my mouth adjusts to the tart and the picks up a bit more. Something reminiscent of pomegranate and apricot are noticeable but all in all the acid dominates.
Mouthfeel- Medium to light body with sharp aggressive carbonation.
Drinkability- At first the beer is a little tart and is definitely a sipper. Once you adjust and the nuances begin to appear though it's a fantastic brew. Probably the most sour/tart brew that I've ever tasted and I loved it. Really tasty and a great beer that I'm glad I got to enjoy while waiting for my Dark Lord.

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Photo of
3.87/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Still getting used to sours, so read this review with that in mind.

On tap at Russian River.

Cloudy, pale yellow liquid served in a tulip glass. Topped with a medium sized, white head. Decent lacing.

Scent was tart, touch of vinegar, lots of citrus. Small bit of sweet, fruit-like in character.

Taste was TART! Pretty much entire experience for me. To my taste, this was like Supplication, but dialed up quite a bit in the tartness department. Again, chewable vitamin C comes to mind. Sour cherries, perhaps? I had no luck finding the pluots....Finish seemed to bring in a little bit of grass.

Mouthfeel was relatively light. Carbonation seemed medium to high, could be just the acidity of the beer. Pretty dry.

Overall, still getting into this style, but I can see why people develop a love affair with it. Very good beer!

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Photo of TheEremite
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Golden yellow, slightly cloudy/opaque with a small white ring of small bubbles around the glass.

S: Lactic acid! Tart, acidic nose with some apple and esthery fruitiness. There's also some apparent acetone aroma on here. It's not strong or distracting, but it's there.

T: HooWaah. TART! now, that's a lambic. It's the cleanest, most straight forward lambic I've had that was made in the states. Powerful acidic bite, but then finishes with some slight citrus and apple fruit flavors. No perceivable pluot/plumquot character here. The tartness is outstanding, but for a fruit lambic, I would have liked to taste some fruit.

M: Lively, dry, as a lambic should be.

D: I guess it's drinkable. But, after one or two it may eat through your stomach lining... Still, it's very refreshing on a hot day.

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Photo of SacoDeToro
4.97/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Matt for bringing the growler to Beachwood for Gabe's birthday. Full pours for everyone!

Poured a brilliant pale yellow with a small foamy white head. Many bubbles throughout the glass.

The aroma was of some brett funk, but a ton of that great lambic acidity and some nice acetic notes. Not really any fruit in the aroma, but damn, it reminded me of 99 Bellevue Selection Lambic. Very fresh aroma.

The flavor was intensely tart and acidic. It had a promient acetic note, much like the Bellevue and Rodenbach that was amazing. The maltiness was light, but full enough to round things out and create a very balanced profile. Some biscuit and wheat. A little grapefruit citrus quality as well. I didn't really get much fruit in this beer, but the other flavors were so intense and well-developed that it didn't matter.

The body was light as was the mouthfeel, but in no way were they thin. The carbonation was bright and lively.

An outstanding sour beer that very well may be the best I've had from Vinnie on this end. Hell, it may be the best American sour I've ever had. What a magnificent creation.

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Photo of kajerm
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub. Pours surprisingly light-- straw-colored with two fingers of fine, dense white foam. Carbonation rushes up the center of the glass in a continuous column of tiny bubbles, champagne style. Lots of lace. Holy shit, it even LOOKS sour.

The aroma is pure acid, lots of vinegar and a little lactic acid character. In the background is Brett funk, definitely musty and cidery, although I'm not getting "horse blankets" in this beer (if I ever actually smelled horse blankets in any beer.)

The flavor opens up fruity, with loads of stone fruits-- peaches and apricots, definitely. I didn't know what the fuck a pluot was at the time (it's half plum and half apricot, according to Wikipedia) but apparently this is what it tastes like. Mid-palate, finish, and the next three days are all dominated by sourness. I can honestly say that this is the sourest beer I've ever tasted in my life, and that I honestly mean this in a good way.

Mouthfeel is ruled by sourness, with only a little room for the bright carbonation.

I think the extreme sourness of this beer might cut into the drinkability a little bit (which means a lot coming from a guy who thinks that Girardin Gueuze is a session beer), but it kicks so much ass I'd keep drinking it until it corroded away my last tooth and burnt a hole in my throat.

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Photo of d0ggnate
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A recent trip to Russian River provided the oppourtunity to try this great brew. I wanted to take some home with me, but growler fills were $50+.

A: Golden / orange pout with nearly no lasting head.
S: Strong nose of sour cherry.
T: Sour taste but smooths out towards the end. A mild, light woodiness. Strong brett characteristics.
M: Sharp feel with high carbonation. This lined my moath and throat with alcohol and taste.
D: A funky sour that packs a punch. Glad to say I have tried it, but I don't see being able to put down more than two in a sitting.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.87/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at toronado in a wine glass. notes from the "tion" night last year. I figured I'd finally get around to filling in some of the 10,000 review from notes that I ahve yet to enter into the beeradvocate system. Anyways. This one is a great hazed peach flesh colour with a small off-white cap of foam that actually sticks to the glass pretty well and provides with some visual legs and lacing. Aroma is straight pluot and barnyard funk with a lot of complexity, vinegar, eacetic acid, and wild brett notes. Taste is similar with a very acidic backbone and fruity and very flavorful funkafied front palette. Mouthfeel is very refined and sharp and the drinkability is awesome, but this one is a heartburn burner for sure!

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Photo of OStrungT
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a cloudy orange color, with pretty much no head. What little head that was present was slightly off white. It left some off white leace on the glass.

This beer has a sour aroma. It smells of tart fruit. It has a slight viniger aroma as well, but the viniger aroma certainly did not detract from this beer. I could also smells a slightly spicy aroma when I looked hard.

This beer tastes just like it smells. Sour, with tart fruit and viniger. The slight spicy aroma I detected was present in the flavor as well.

This beer was highly carbonated, suiting the style. It left a sour aftertaste.

I am not sure this beer would make the best session beer. It is not high in alcohol, but it is sour, and aggressive.

Overall: I loved this beer, and could probably drink it all night. I wish this beer would be made more available.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Just now getting my reviews for Stone Sour Fest into the old CPU.

A: Hazed hay colored brew with a medium off white head on top. Pretty straight forward.

S: Grapefruit, coins, limestone and pineapple.

T: Starts tangy like vine ripened green fruit. More tangy flavors, this time pineapple, starfruit and mango puree comes next. A beautiful brett wave crashes in, bringing with it apricot, peach, banana and yogurt flavors. Vitamin C crystals pop in the mouth, bursting with flavor. Finishes spicy with aspects of dried hay and floral yeast.

M: Medium body, hard water mouthfeel yet soft carbonation.

D: Superb. Simply tremendous.

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Photo of BrewBakerE
4.87/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer at Stone's Bistro and Gardens. I wont waste any time and just say I LOVE THIS BEER. Poured golden yellow with a white head that quickly dissipated into a nice lace. The nose was fairly sour, and drew me in. For being as sour as it was, I found compunction to be very drinkable. I would love to drink this beer again.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at the First Annual Stone Sour Fest, July 2007
This beer has a hazy, copper-gold tint to it and it is topped by a wispy, barely there, white head. Green fruit aromatics greet my nostrils as I take my first draught of the aroma; I get flavors of star fruit, not-quite ripe honeydew or perhaps it is a not-ripe cantaloupe aroma. The plum notes become quite noticeable as I dig around in the nose. Actually the fruit character really starts to open up after a little bit; Pluots indeed. I can't seem to shake a sharp, green note here though; perhaps it is contributed by the sour bugs. At times I actually get some notes reminiscent of sweet cherry skins; it is fleeting, but when noticed adds a really nice note to the aroma.

Upfront this beer tastes crisp, tart and dry; it really hits that quaffable character that I like in sour beer. There is a noticeable green fruit note here as well as a touch of vegetal character in the background. The dominant note is a tartness, but I really think (at least it seems so) that the pluots contribute a roundness & extra complexity to the sour notes that are in this beer. As I expected, the fruit character is much more apparent in the nose (which is typical of softer fruits like apricots, peaches and plums). When my palate gets used to the initial flavors, I am able to pick out notes of sourdough (a mix of the funk and some malt notes) at times as well as a grassy grain flavor. Lactic acid is the most apparent acidic quality here, but like I said, there is a persistent, fruity acidity here that is really quite nice.

While the beer is light, it is not austere or bony, there is some body here, which seams wrapped up in the fruit presence / contribution. This is quite complex, though it is not necessarily on the surface and you do have to work at it. I find that I am starting to take Vinnie's artistry for granted; this beer is so well integrated, so well made. I almost don't think about it, b/c despite this being perhaps the most balanced, multi-layered, eminently crafted beer at the festival, I almost felt like it was overlooked.

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Photo of weeare138
4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub...
The waitress couldn't tell me much about this, other than "it's sour".
Appears a hazy light gold with a small white head that fades into a mild cap and a hearty collar. Streaky lacing is left all around the glass.
Smell is of sour cherries, vanilla, light lacto bacilli infection, vinegar, tart lemon, oak, and a hint of plums.
Taste is of cherries, tart fruit(ie. kiwi), strawberry juice, pomegranate, and worcestire sauce.
Mouthfeel is tart, medium bodied, and as dry as can be. Ohhh...forget about it. This was the winner of the night, even after that awesome witbier (Little White Lie). This was just what the doctor ordered to conclude my evening at Russian River. The only thing that would've made it better would've been leaving with one of those kick ass growlers full of this stuff. I wish I had more room for the luggage etc. I was bringing home with me.

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

Sampled with my cousin krkearney. Thanks keith. What a treat this is.

The beer poured a clear golden color with a thin but bubbly white head that stuck around for a bit. There was nice fruity (based on the pluots that are aged in this) aroma and some funky earthy tones as well. the taste is fruity up front, apricot maybe and tart throughout. This is another fine example of a wild ale from RR and I can't see anything wrong with this one. There is a lingering fruit taste that runs around the mouth and sticks on the tongue and some peppery notes that are mixed in as well. I think the plummy taste at the end is a nice finish to this fine beer. I really wish this made it to bottles but this sampling will do me for now.

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Photo of bosco7
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap yesterday at the brewpub. The waitress warned me of the sourness and asked me if I would like a sample before purchasing the beverage. I declined and explained to her that these beers are why I visit the establishment.

Served in a tulip glass. Golden blonde in color with superb clarity. Head is lacking. Nice lacing.

Big acetic acid aromas with some woody smells, and pluot (plum X apricot hybrid that this beer was aged on) aromas.

Lots of sour! If memory serves me this beer is twice as sour as Temptation. Still not overwhelming. Apricot, oak, and white wine flavors stand out. Very refreshing.

Slight pucker from the sourness and tannins. Delightful. Yet another finely crafted sour ale from Russian River.

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