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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: 367
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 cpetrone84
4.26/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Russian River for the T25 party. Pour is a ruby grapefruit red, very hazy and a thin white head. The nose is a bit subtle, the plums are most prominent with some red wine notes, light acetic and lactic behind. The flavor is much more bright, strong plums, red wine and dry oak, assertive dusty brett funk, assertive sourness and light lactic note. Great body, light and airy with great carbonation and a dry finish. Very well balanced, nice sourness to balance the sweetness with a good barrel characteristic.

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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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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 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 Jmoore50
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

So I was lucky enough to go to Russian River twice during the two weeks they had Pliny the Younger on draft. I only had two glasses of Younger the total of both trips. This was one of the beers I kept going back to because its delicious.

This looks fairly golden with a light hue of pink or peach. It wasn't poured with a strong head and doesn't have the a lacing or leg. Its just a pretty good looking beverage, and the appearance on this won't stand out in my mind.

It is served too cold, thus muting any sort of smell. Once it warms up it reminds me a bit of Temptation. It has that great 'Russian River sour' smell to it that is crisp and sharp. A light fruit smell is detected reminding me of peach.

This is a delicious sour. It has a great sourness to it that again reminds me of Temptation, one of my favorite beers of all time. The fruit in this is sits back seat to the sourness, which is nice because the lemon and tart grapefruit that is produced by the bacteria pairs well with the pluots.

This beer gets you salivating, which is almost dangerous. Its one of those sour beers that is just sour enough that you keep revisiting it over and over to almost torture yourself. Great sourness and fruitiness with perfect carbonation.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler thanks to Huhzubendah, thanks a lot for this Matt. This is my 500th review, and a fittingly rare beer to have for this review. We all bow to the Russian river sours.

The beer pours a color similar almost to an ipa with an orange semi hazy hue, but the head is very bubbly not fluffy white at all. Sme lacing left on the sides, and some bubbles in the body of the beer clinging to the glass.

The smell is very nice, a great blend of berries, stone fruits like apricot or peach and funkiness, a very nice aroma that I expect from Russian river sours. clean and not overpowering.

The beer is quite sour, but has nice flavor to back it up. High acidity in the front, almost citrus like and then a biscuit type malt center and an abrupt finish. Great fruit notes in the flavor, peach and apricot, some berries.

The feel is tart and nice, almost like a very lemony tea with a little carbonation in the feel.

Overall a nice beer, glad to have tried it.

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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 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 flannelman808
4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a pale yellow straw color with just a bit of haze. A pretty true white head tops it off.

S: Stone fruit (tart peach and apricot) and grannysmith apple meet a funky spice note. Oh I guess that may all be due to the pluot but its like very tart unripened pluot.

T: Brilliant carbonation (think Cantillon) which helps develop flavors. Bright peach and tangerine along with a grassy note which adds a nice tad of bitterness. Lots of tart bright yellow and green fruit is stirred around with a very clean funky spice follow. Green plumb if you will. Very nice stuff!

M: amazingly developed carbonation which strikes the mid palate in a similar way to Cantillon. If that isn't high praise I don't know what is.

O: Very good beer, I would say that while there is a good depth of flavor its heavy handed on delicious tart fruit which perhaps takes away from i'ts complexity. Age this for 5 years if you can get a bottle!

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Photo of John_M
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub today...

The beer pours a fairly light gold color with great head retention and considerable lacing. The nose is just wild and shows considerable brett influence, with sour funk, vinegar and barnyard aromas, but with considerable underlying plum and cherry as well. The flavor profile generally replicates the nose in this complex, wild ale, and I have to say the interplay of flavors in this beer is just amazing. Along with the noted aroma profile, there's also something of a fresca/sprite flavor, with a hint of hoppy bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to light, and despite all the flavor and impressively long finish, you can tell the alcohol is fairly low in this one. Also, I'm just loving the sweet tart on tart finish in this well crafted beer. Anyway, drinkability is otherwise pretty good, with the alcohol barely more than an afterthought. The sour funk is a bit much for someone like me, but even a confirmed sour hater like myself can tell this is one very fine, well made, easy to appreciate beer.

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

Pours a every so lightly hazed and lightly darkened gold color, nice cap of white froth, leaving decent lacing. Scent is mild and at first lightly tart and sour, supported by a nice amount of fruit and freshly malted grain. Taste brings more sour and tart then nose lead me to believe was in here, strong notes of fruit (mango, light berry) and a solid amount of fresh malted grain. Medium bodied, carbonation not over the top, lightly dry. A very nice wild ale from RR, ranks up there with the bottled varities and has a bigger malt profile and a touch more fruit.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at O'Brien's Pub in San Diego, CA.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy beige head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is sour and tart with some fruity and acidic aromas. Taste is much the same with a fruity and wood flavor on the finish. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that is very tasty and easy to drink.

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Photo of nataku00
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap poured into a goblet. Beer is a light yellow, straw collored and mostly clear with a thin off white soapy head off tap. No carbonation visible through the glass.

Nose is wet hay, sour lemon, astringency from what I believe are the pluot (or plucots) skins. Nice pungent aroma for not too much head.

Taking a sip, the sour lemon and astringency is upfront, mellowing a bit into stone fruit sweetness on the finish. Medium length finish from the sweetness and a bit of tartness and fruit peel. Funky earthiness develops as the beer warms closer to room temperature as well,

Light bodied with a decent amount of carbonation but I would have preferred a bit more bubbly on the tongue. Very easy to drink, and I think this would be great to sit outside with this on a warm day like today.

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Photo of benclimbs
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap @ RR brewery
pours light yellow, golden clear with a slight head and a bit of lacing

taste is really nice, wonderfully balacned blonde sour with some dry niceness and some incredible, unique earthy, woody, delicious notes throughout

feel is very good, dry not slick - pleasant

drinkability is fantastic, what a beautiful, refreshing blonde sour. mmm

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Photo of phichifiji00
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a taster glass at Beachwood BBQ's Sourfest.

Appearance: Dark Coppery color, clear, decent white head, good lacing.

Smell: Funky, sour, oak, plums, store fruit.

Taste: Sour, funky, stone fruit, oak, berries, red wine, very complex.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, good carbonation.

Overall: A great beer, as are all of Russian River's -tion beers.

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Photo of clickpush
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour: Draught to tulip glass at the brewery. A lightly clouded pale golden ale arrives with about a half inch of white head that melts into a medium lace cap. Plenty of bubbles punctuate the body of the beer.

Nose: Rather light in the aroma, but very obviously an RR wild ale. Full of brett, must and farminess with a touch of tart fruit presence. Very dusty.

Mouth: Much like it smells - unbelievably sour, in the best way possible. Horse blanket, sour brambles, brett, puckering like you can't believe. The chalkboard says this one is aged for 1.5 years with plumcots (which in my experience are really called pluots) - a hybrid of a plum and apricot. Mouthfeel is full bodied and quite effervescent. This one takes a second for the mouth to recover from the sourness, but it goes great with the meat calzone (#2) and balances out the extra pepper flakes that I generously applied.

Why doesn't RR bottle everything?!

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at O'Brien's RR TION Weekend. Chalice.

A: Golden, clear, some off white head. Not much retention or lacing except for a few dots.

S: Funk, malt, stone fruit, cantaloupe (?). Really inviting.

T: Apricot and other fruit. Nice puckering tartness. Juicy, like biting into a ... pluot? Some sweetness really pulls this

together. Some oak in the secondary. A long tart finish.

M: Medium body and lively medium-high carbonation.

O: Delicious and well executed. Highly drinkable.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been a while since I've had a new sour beer from Russian River. I, of course, have no objections.

Lactic tones are most prevalent on this one. Woody funky tones are in there also with a mildly fruity edge. There is a vibrancy that is nice also.

Gotta love the RR sours. This is in line with all the great ones. Makes your mouth pucker with a bit of dryness that might detract for some.

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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 oglmcdgl
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at monks in philly after the rr dinner.

A- a small cap of off white head that settles rather quickly and leaves no lace. Deep pink red brown in color with some haze to it.

S- nice sharp sour hit and a good funky woody punch. Fruity and tart with some berries and grape notes.

T- opens up with a solid fruity sour and wet funky oak. surprisingly fruity with some berries and grape must. The oak keeps developing as it warms and really shows its depth.

M- a bit less then medium in body. Not heavy but brightly carbed with small bubbles. Awesome tannic semi dry quality.

O- another great sour from the man that can't brew a bad beer. For a non fruited wild ale the fruity character of the beer is impressive. I'm so glad I was able to enjoy this with by good bud onix1agr, rip little black.

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

Drove up seven hours to Sacramento to stay at Abel's (abecall98) in Sacramento this past Friday, then drove another two hours Saturday morning to go to Santa Rosa. I have heard about this beer for quite some time and am extremely pumped I was able to try it on tap.

Appearance - Poured into a standard tulip at the RR brew pub. Pours a wonderful golden hay color with less than a finger of head that dissipates relatively fast leaving slight lacing.

Smell - Woah! Tart! The smell of this immediately makes me realize this sour is different from the others Vinnie has made. Great barnyard funk, must, wet hay, and great tart fruits. This beer is making my mouth water way more than other RR sours!

Taste - "Drool"...wow. My mouth puckers up immediately with the initial sip. A very complex sour/wild ale. The barnyard funk hits the palate first which is followed almost immediately by the citrus fruits such as peaches, berries, and green apple. A bit more acidic than other RR sours out there but I really enjoy it. Finishes a hint dry. Wow.

Mouthfeel - lighter bodied, prickly carbonation, refreshing.

Drinkability - This one actually took me a while to drink, but that does not downplay it's drinkability. An amazing beer. Very glad I was able to try it.

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

On tap @ Beachwood Sour Fest on days 1 & 2.

A: Pours a nearly clear pale yellow with a very fine white head and beautiful puzzle-like lace.

N: Fruity, oak, grass, and mild funk.

T: Stone fruits (yes, pluots) up front, oak tannins, floral notes. Complex tartness.

M: Prickly fine carbonation, dry finish.

O: Been wanting this and so glad to finally have tried it. Very good - wow. Thanks Gabe (and Vinnie).

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