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Defenestration - Russian River Brewing Company

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very good

168 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 168
Reviews: 53
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 10.89%

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: rkuhnel on 09-25-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 168 | Reviews: 53 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Growler shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike!

The beer is golden hued and mostly clear, with only a slight haze. The white head displays lasting retention and leaves some decent lacing in its wake. The aroma brings yeast, malt, hops, spice. Decent flavor, with everything in the aroma balanced equitably. The beer is slightly sweet, and could stand more hop flavor and bitterness. Coriander comes through quite a bit. Not as dry as I would like. Overall, a decent brew, but not the customary excellence one comes to expect from Russian River.

Serving type: growler

08-12-2011 22:25:34 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of BeerLover99


4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: golden, shiny body, trace white head, scant lacing

S: candy sugar, earthy malt, hint of sour apple, nice aroma

T: sweet floral, citrus, strong woodsy/earthy malt,
mild boozy, pepper?/mild spicy finish

M: med body, smooth, mild sticky

O: Surprised me; love the style and RR nailed
it on this one. Flavors had me wanting to gulp
this brew.


Serving type: on-tap

08-02-2011 20:36:15 | More by BeerLover99
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Russian River, in Santa Rosa.

This bubbly, glossy golden beer is far too pretty to be named after such a violent thing (defenestration is the act of throwing someone out of a window, and apparently there have been some pretty gruesome instances of it in history). Although it shines like sunrise against the light, it has an icy complexion (and, indeed, its lace appears frozen to the glass).

Something like this is a fairytale aroma for beer geeks; it's what I romantically fantasize the whole of Belgium to smell like (except for the parts that smell like cheese and chocolate, that is). And given the tremendous presence of flowers and grasses and tree fruits (apple, pear, peach) it's bound to be true of at least one farm or orchard, somewhere in the country.

Not only could I describe the flavour using one word, I could do you one better - I'll describe it using just one letter: M. As in: 'mmm' to an exponent of three. It tastes like rustic country baked bread, with a mellow honey sweetness and toffee crumble, and lots of green hoppy notes that resemble chamomile leaves, grapefruit, and orange marmalade.

This is likely the best 'Belgian yeast meets American hops' fusions I've had simply for the way it simultaneously highlights and balances both of those elements. There's not so much yeast that it clouds the hops, there's not so many hops that they monopolize the flavour and there's certainly no alcohol to get in the way, still plenty of malt to be appreciated and even the phenols are on good behavior! It drinks lighter than most 7.25%/55 IBU beers I know.

It is a fact that Vinni Cilurzo is among the best brewers when it comes to both Belgian-inspired and hopped-up American beers. (Argue with me on that and you're arguing against many thousands of others too.) He's one of the few American brewers who could go to Belgium and explain to the islanders how to cast their nets and he's also responsible for the highest rated hop bombs. Is it any surprise that a combination of the two would be among the best?

Serving type: on-tap

07-27-2011 19:16:18 | More by biegaman
Photo of treyrab


4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Landed in San Francisco International Airport, and immediately rented a convertible to drive up Highway 101 to the Russian River brew pub. After a leisurely drive with clear blue skies, I ordered this:

A: Defenestration pours a nice golden copper with a bellowing white head. This really looks like Damnation. However, Defenestration is a touch hazier and softer looking. The head is nice and creamy white and laces pretty well (most likely due to the additional sticky hops added to this brew).

S: Smells like Damnation on hops. Tons of banana and Belgian yeast esters, coriander, pepper, and dried orange peel. Blended with that comes the citrus and grapefruit elements of the hops. I would guess one, two, or three of the CCC hops. Smells great, and very spicy.

T: Similar to the scent, this has a very spicy Belgian yeast kick to it. Pepper and coriander come to mind. But those blend well with the spiciness of the hops and citrus elements. Orange and mango predominantly.

Overall, this was a nice brew. The spice character really took control in this one (like a nice authentic Belgian Pale Ale), and the hops were second in line, but still very noticeable. Well done.

Serving type: on-tap

07-21-2011 11:34:16 | More by treyrab
Photo of impending


4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At the source. Served a golden bronze with half inch of fluffy white froth, retained nicely, excellent lacing.

Aroma is all about the hops, yeasty hops. Pungent.

Pine dominates the flavor, citrus is present but minor, wrapped in yeasty goodness. Nice complexity with sharp definitions. Aftertaste trails off bitterly, it invades all corners of the mouth and lingers pleasantly. Medium bodied prickly mouthfeel.

Seems there are belgian ipas and ipa belgians
this is an ipa belgian
this is exactly what you expect from RR
very nice

Serving type: on-tap

07-09-2011 00:38:43 | More by impending
Photo of corby112


3.58/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Draft at Monk's Cafe.

Pours a slightly hazy, dark golden orange color with pale golden peach edges and a 1.5 finger white foam head that slow fades into a lasting cap/ring.  Spotty lacing left behind.  

Spicy hop aroma with a estery yeast and light fruit notes.  Earthy hops with some pine and citrus as well as some sweet alcohol and crisp light fruits, notably apple and pear.  

Medium bodied with dry, earthy hops up front which are countered by pale malt, phenol alcohol and esters/yeast that give of hints of light fruit.  Earthy and slightly grassy followed by sweet light fruit notes and subtle spice.  Hints of apple and pale as well as some grapefruit and orange peel.  Well balanced but just a touch too much alcohol toward the dry finish.  

Serving type: on-tap

07-05-2011 01:03:36 | More by corby112
Photo of ngeunit1


4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Served a hazy golden-orange color with a thin finger of frothy white head. The head faded down slowly leaving behind some nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

S - The aroma is a nice mix of citrus hops and orange aromas with a bit of yeast, spices, and grassy hops. There is also a bit of sweet caramel malts.

T - Starts off with a mix of sweet caramel malts and some citrus hops and orange. Through the middle, a bit of hop bitterness comes through with some yeast and banana flavor and just a bit of spices. The finish is a mix of sweet malts with some light spices and some hops and bitterness that linger.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Very smooth and crisp. Overall, fairly dry with a nice lingering finish from the bitterness and yeast.

D - Very drinkable. The balance of the Belgian and American elements here is really spot on a present a nice hybrid beer.

Serving type: on-tap

07-04-2011 04:07:38 | More by ngeunit1
Photo of akorsak


4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Imagine walking into a bar, anywhere other than Santa Rosa, and seeing 4 Russian River beers on tap. How awesome? Very awesome. Janlud to my right.

A: The Belgian IPA is a golden color, bright and clear. The only haze is the condensation on the outside of the glass. A white head, less than a finger, came with the pour.

S: The nose is earthy Noble hops, plenty of 'em, along with the sweet fruitiness of candi sugars. Very earthy with that awkward transition from bitter to sweet (I love that stumble in the middle of a Belgian IPA).

T: The hops, earthy, have a floral and herbal presence that doesn't skimp on the bitterness. The dirty hops are paired nicely with the tripel flavors. Fruits and pepper, candi sugars and booze all come together quite nicely with a twangy bite throughout. The abundant noble hops really make the ale work. I enjoyed sipping my way through the glass. A Belgian IPA's Belgian IPA.

M: Bitter and sweet, sharp and well-rounded. This Belgian IPA is a conundrum of flavors. I was enamored from the first sip, a luscious beer.

O: Possibly my favorite beer of the day, bitter and spicy. Quite good.

Serving type: on-tap

06-11-2011 02:04:25 | More by akorsak
Photo of oglmcdgl


4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at monks with my boy onix1agr.

A- arrives with a killer two fingers of bright white head that holds nicely and leaves a bit of lace. Brilliant golden yellow in color with great clarity and some bubbles clinging to the glass.

S- belgian yeast right off the bat and some nice fruity esters coming forth. Herbal green hops and a slightly honey sweet pale malt backbone.

T- complex interplay of yeast and grassy hops. Herbal and fresh with the yeast giving a bold powdery dry musty hit that rolls smoothly in the biscuit dry malts. Lightly fruity and just so damn fresh and green. Long grassy finish.

M- just about medium in body and perfectly carbed. Long very dry finish.

O- one of the better of the style and so fresh and so green that you can almost feel the hops in your mouth.

Serving type: on-tap

06-08-2011 19:00:33 | More by oglmcdgl
Photo of BARFLYB


3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On Tap at Monk's Cafe for beer week, what a place.

A- Defenestration comes looking pretty pale in the glass, a faded gold color and some yellow background, A nice looking head of whiteness, semi stick, ok retention.

S- Grassy hops and a nice floral setup, leading into light crisp fruit scent. Bready yeast, banana. The Belgian yeast strain ain't the showstopper here, this is a nice mix of grassy hops and sweet malt, yet it is not a mess.

T- Very nicely hopped with earth, no pine, grass and the yeast comes out a bit more. Floral and bready. The fruit comes in the middle and finishes pretty dry.

M- I found the feel to be a bit lighter than your average IPA, It's kinda on the pale side to me, kinda dull and lighter than usual per style. The yeast does not make much magic and it does not stick. Less than medium in build.

O- Not what I was expecting, not that I did not enjoy this, it was different. A lighter Belgian IPA if you will almost like a bigger redemption.

Serving type: on-tap

06-08-2011 07:26:06 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of mjyoung


3.58/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A growler, thanks to scottfrie for sharing. Drank 4/4/2011

A: A mildly clear honey color w/ a frothy (~2 finger) head and some ballin' lacing.

S: Hints of hops & Belgian yeast but overall very mild. There's the slightest hint of cat urine, which doesn't endear t to me entirely...

T: Grassy hops, but extremely mild. Still a hint of Belgian yeast, but that's all it is, a hint. Underneath it all there is an undercurrent of bubblegum, but that's a subtle flavor.

M: Very smooth, but a delightfully syrupy finish.

O: 'Twould be easy to drink. A LOT. Very smooth, and quite tasty. I approve, but it isn't the best I've had of this style.

Serving type: growler

05-29-2011 02:53:32 | More by mjyoung
Photo of FosterJM


4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

407th review on BA
growler to chalice

Thanks to joeneugs for this one.

App- Out of the growler poured a very pretty clear yellow, a lot of bubbles, nice head to it, very white. Good cling.

Smell- A lot of Belgianness to this one, the yeast smells were quite aromatic and the hops produced a very nice pairing aroma as well.

Taste- For me this was very different. I am still on the fence for the Belgian IPA style. This leaned towards the better side with more of the yeast to balance out the hops.

Mouth- Medium bodied with a high carb level. A lot of bubbles on this one.

Drink- A very nice beer, I was thankful for this growler share. Its not as hoppy as I expected and this worked in its favor.

Serving type: growler

04-14-2011 23:03:26 | More by FosterJM
Photo of womencantsail


4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared by Tim.

A: The pour is a very clear golden straw color with a nice big white head and plenty of sticky lacing.

S: Quite the nose on this beer. Fruity and yeasty with plenty of citrus hops, giving a nice grapefruit note. A bit of weed and some regular grass, too. A little bit of unfermented wort smell right at the beginning, too.

T: More bitter than I was expecting, but it's welcomed. Grass, pine, and grapefruit peel seem an appropriate summary of the hop flavors that are present. A mild yeast driven fruitiness and spice. A solid bread base.

M: Medium in body with a surprisingly lively carbonation from the growler.

O: Not usually a big Belgian IPA fan, but this was much more IPA than it was Belgian. A great example of the style.

Serving type: growler

04-04-2011 23:48:38 | More by womencantsail
Photo of scottfrie


3.6/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Growler poured into Delirium tremens snifter.

A: Pours a dark amber-golden with a bubbly bright white head that slowly faded into a thin collar leaving streaks of soapy lacing down the glass.
S: Not getting a whole lot here but I can definitely smell some Belgian style yeast and light hops.
T: Notes of lightly bitter grassy hops a touch of bubblegum yeast. I get notes of banana and lightly toasted malt as well. The finish is dry and not overly sweet.
M: Slick mouthfeel over a medium body. Dryness is refreshing and the carbonation is smooth and easy.
O: Super easy to drink and well rounded. Not the greatest of the style but I would definitely have this again.

Serving type: growler

04-04-2011 01:01:47 | More by scottfrie
Photo of dookiepower


4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had Defenestration at the RR brewpup today after a magnificent CBC Sour Brown.

Appearance- Poured into a tulip glass from the tap with a 1/2 finger head that withered away rather quickly, left a nice amount of lacing, and had a great golden color to it. Not too much carbonation coming from the heart, but a nice looker.

Aroma- Mostly a Belgian yeast, hoppy aroma. It had a little bit of a cedar/pine nose to it, and also had a little bit of a lemon aroma as well. Aroma's weren't pouring out of the glass exactly the way I'd like, but it was a nice balance.

Taste- Defenestration had a great balance between a rather hoppy Belgian style pale ale and a very nice Belgian yeast flavor. It also had a bit of a pine flavor in line with the nose of the beer. Also had a bit of a fruity nuance with a nice lemon/apple pucker very faintly on the front palate. It was a very well put together beer that flowed nicely from start to finish. It had a great long finish that I could taste for 5+ minutes.

Mouthfeel- A nice dose of carbonation, with a medium hoppyness allowed the beer to flow over nicely, and it went down very easily. Would be a great beer for a humid day.

Overall- Defenestration was a really great beer, I liked it all the way through with little to no faults, if anything maybe a little bit more balance between yeasty doughy bread and hoppyness.

Serving type: on-tap

03-30-2011 05:48:57 | More by dookiepower
Photo of marcpal

New Jersey

3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this on tap a couple days back at Magnolia in San Francisco.

A: Well done pour producing a nice Belgian gold color. Thin filmy head with strong lacing.

S: Not too much smell, there are hops but not anything distinctively Russian River. Definitely more Belgian and spicy than Americanized.

T: More bitter than the aroma. Grassy notes tied in smoothly and adequately for the provided sweentess. Something fruity in the flavor with the spices. Sometimes lemony citrus, sometimes more banana. Would have preferred to have more of one or the other.

M: Very thin and very light. Would have liked more chew to the texture.

D: Surely worth a try. Went down easy and paired great with the super spicy sausage platter at Magnolia. Not a favorite but would have if it were distributed.

Serving type: on-tap

12-11-2008 00:36:44 | More by marcpal
Photo of sloejams


4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap last week at Magnolia, San Francisco

In my quest to drink as many Belgian IPAs as I can, I was ecstatic to see that Magnolia had one of my favorite brewery's stab at it.

Pour a crisp pale yellow. Thick white finger head. Aroma is as I like - thick Belgian sugars and American hop bouquet. The yeasty sweetness of the Belgian yeast hits the palate first and moves on the hop sweetness to the biting bitter strength end toward the back of the mouth.

I love this style and this is a fine example of it.

Serving type: on-tap

12-02-2008 22:55:32 | More by sloejams
Photo of largadeer


4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Russian River brewpub.

Appearance: Golden in color, clear with a slight haze. Arrives with an inch of pure white froth that leaves thick rings of lace.

Smell: Tons of hop character in the usual Russian River fashion, but with yeasty undertones of banana, ginger and graham cracker. The hop aroma seems to be a mix of noble and Northwestern hops, both floral and citric in character. No noticeable sweetness coming from the malt.

Taste & mouthfeel: Big floral hop notes with a complex backbone of spice, banana and cracker. The malt foundation is simple and dry, light in body, crisp. Drying in the finish, bitter enough to be an American IPA. I'm generally not a fan of this style, but Vinnie shows his talent for hoppy beers once again here. The yeast provides plenty of interesting fruit and spice flavor without overwhelming the hops, while the bone-dry malt base allows the hops to shine through in all their complexity. Beautifully done and incredibly drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

11-29-2008 05:12:40 | More by largadeer
Photo of lhaqq


3.63/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Light gold body, not much head when served, but off-white.
S: Not very effervescent; some sweet grains.
T: Floral hops with a noticeably bitter finish.
M: Not a ton of carbonation--a little too flat I think.
D: Fine in terms of drinkability. Probably won't get it again, though, only because of the myriad of other great beers to get at RR.

Serving type: on-tap

11-09-2008 05:43:02 | More by lhaqq
Photo of GClarkage


3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11/03/08- Purchased at Russian River Brewery.

Presentation- Via the tap into a growler. Poured into my Russian River tulip.

Appearance- Medium to darker golden colored pour. Slow emerging head which reaches almost an inch. Slightly creamy and ultra white in color. Settles at a slight rim and leaves light spotty lace.

Smell- Scent of fruity, yet european style hops. Smells bready with a suprising toasted malty scent. Smells rather sweet as well.

Taste- Kind of like a Pliny that's laid back and using saaz or some kind of european hops. Very nice light caramel toasted malt background. About the right amount of sweetness. Lemon-orange citrus hop flavors abound, but are held in check by the malt.

Mouthfeel- Average carbonation level. Short lasting hop aftertaste. Crisp and straight forward.

Drinkability- Glad I got to try this brew. Not my favorite per style, but it's quite good. Worth a try for sure.

Serving type: growler

11-05-2008 16:17:55 | More by GClarkage
Photo of popery


4.7/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Defenestration is an exceptional beer. It's an interesting and delicious shoehorning of RR's gigantic IPA style into a Belgian. I would love another glass of this beer because there was a lot going on that I didn't catch from my initial time with it. The beer pours a bright gold with a nice head. The smell was more of RR's west coast hoppiness than I was prepare for. It looks like a Belgian but smells strongly of pine, citrus and floral hops. The hops come through in the flavor as well but there are also some earthy notes and a complexity fruitiness that is difficult to describe. There was caramel and bread in the balancing malt. I really should have bought a growler of it. That big West coast hoppiness in a Belgian is a fine treat.

Serving type: on-tap

10-20-2008 23:48:37 | More by popery
Photo of waltonc


4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap last week at CBS.

A: Hazy golden color with significant head.

S/T: These components are more subdued than the Pliny series. If I remember right, Craig at CBS explained that this beer is brewed with European hops, which are more earthy in character with less of the pine/citrus notes present in the Plinys. Definitely more drinkable than some of the west coast hop bombs.

My overall impression was that this beer is good, but nothing crazy delicious.

Serving type: on-tap

10-20-2008 05:17:00 | More by waltonc
Photo of BevMoPatrick1


4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a growler from RRBC, appearance a cloudy, golden hue with nice lacing, smells like Pliny and tastes like it too, delicisous with nice citrus and pine notes with a smooth belgian yeasty finish. Amazing flavor and drinks like Pliny. Enjoy some if you can.

Serving type: growler

10-19-2008 08:27:14 | More by BevMoPatrick1
Photo of abfraser


4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden yellow/orange with a nice fat white head

S: Floral aromas from the hops, lavender, yeasty

T/M: Hops, but not super bitter, fruit and spice. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation.

D: Quite drinkable, very well balanced and relatively lower abv

An interesting IPA with the floral-ness from the hops. Definitely not a pine oil hop-bomb, but the hops are definitely still there. Overall pretty tasty brew.

Serving type: on-tap

10-13-2008 00:03:42 | More by abfraser
Photo of Offa


4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a good, tasty, somewhat unusual beer. I don't really taste much of a "Belgian" character in it, though, as it seems more like a caramelly, less grapey, maibock mixed with a west coast IPA.

First, the name is rather interesting. From the Latin for "to go from or out of a window," in English it commonly means to be thrown out of a window and specifically for me conjures up various events in history when people were done away with by being defenestrated.

Anyway, this is amber with a small-medium, off-white head that shrinks quite slowly to a thin, lasting top and leaves pretty good lace.

The aroma is the weakest point. It's muted and a bit weak and mostly musty grapes with a bit of citrus.

The taste, though, is quite good. It's nice and bready with hint of toasted cracker, grapes, hints of raisin and buttery caramel, a hint of herbs and pine, plus citrus, mostly lemon and grapefruit. It starts sweetish then gradually morphs to a slightly bitter, mostly citrusy, finish. It's quite nice and holds up well.

Serving type: on-tap

10-12-2008 15:45:52 | More by Offa
Defenestration from Russian River Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 168 ratings.