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Temptation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

989 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 989
Hads: 3,377
Avg: 4.41
pDev: 9.07%
Wants: 1,755
Gots: 927 | FT: 61
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-19-2003

A blonde ale fermented with a special strain of yeast, then aged in French oak chardonnay barrels. Flavors of wine and oak absorb into the brew throughout twelve months of aging. During this aging process, a secondary fermentation occurs using a yeast strain disliked by most brewers and winemakers called Brettanomyces.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 989 | Hads: 3,377
Reviews by tastyville:
Photo of tastyville
4.5/5  rDev +2%

More User Reviews:
Photo of GRG1313
4.67/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 004 x 4; Pours a medium clear amber, white head that rapidly fades.

Bretanomyces nose is assertive, as are lemon, unripe pears and green apples. Lacto yeast also gives a pleasant "sour milk/yogurt" nose.

Mouthfeel is fresh and thin but this brew is sufficiently flavorful and tart as to make the thinner, cleaner mouthfeel desireable. Creaminess and a heavier or thicker mouth would be a fault in this beer.

Tart, citric and green apple flavors highlighted by the fresh, clean mouth. Layers of flavors of citrus, apples, pears and lime. Balanced, layered, complex, elegant and sophisticated. Nose grows more wine like of chardonnay; somewhat "white burgundian" in character, as do the flavors grow in chardonnay and white burgundy flavors as you drink it, especially in the back palate and finish.

Bret and lacto very noticeable and the characteristics are nice. Lacto comes out in the mid to back palate and finish as you drink it. ("Sour milk" character in a good, not a bad way). Very drinkable, pleasant.

Oak barrels finally come out in the nose and mouth after several minutes in the glass. Really nice and worth the wait. Complex!

 1,150 characters

Photo of RStansel
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From RRBC's reserve, batch 4, bottled in 2009, served to us in Bordeaux-style glassware at the brewpub. An unforgettable drinking experience. Champagne-like mouthfeel, with flavours of lemon curd, brioche, yogurt and green apple butter. Refreshing acidity that lingers for minutes. Complex, but so damn elegant. Perfect. If only I could bring a case of this back to Canada...

 375 characters

Photo of M-Fox24
4.49/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy golden, yellowish, orange-y color. Nice white head with little retention, and beautiful lacing

S: Notes of vanilla oak, tropical fruit, grapes, wine, pears, pineapple, lemon, brett, and funk. Great acidity, great sourness, and a great aroma

T: Very drinkable; sour, tartness, and acidity is just about to perfection. Superb blend of oak notes, grapes, lemon, orange, citrus, vanilla, and funk

M: Light to medium body, great carbonation, excellent finish. The tartness, acidity, brett, and oak due no harm here

O: The mouth-feel, the funkiness, and the complexity is superb; Temptation is an extremely well executed product

 642 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.97/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy golden color with a huge head; the retention was very good and the beer left clumps of lace along the sides of the chalice

Smell: Except for the sour Brett tones, you would swear you were smelling an oaky chardonnay, with vanilla and white wine grapes influencing the tart green apple, apricot and sour cherry tones

Taste: Opens with a mouthful of fruit (pear and apricot) that moves in a tart, green apple direction by mid-palate; after the swallow, the tartness mellows and the more subtle fruit character (pear, melon, apricot) and oaky/vanilla elements represent themselves; unlike some of the other Wild Ales where the sour elements dominate, this one is much more subtle and complex

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body and quite creamy; medium to high carbonation

Drinkability: Another stunning achievement from Russian River; more subtle than some of the others and, in many ways, better, as a result

 934 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.72/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

"The only way to handle temptation successfully is to yield to it."

--French proverb

Batch 001. Temptation is precisely midway between lemon peel and ripe apricot. The highest compliment that I can pay the gorgeous, alabaster colored crown is to say that it would look at home on the finest Belgian ale. It becomes even more attractive as it slowly descends, leaving the glass positively coated with delicate lace.

Unlike some Brettanomyces-infused beer, the nose is full of barnyard funkiness without being completely dominated by it. It's easy to appreciate ripe golden fruit and the Chardonnay oakiness that was imparted by 12 month's contact with the barrels. 'Sublime' is the one word that keeps coming to mind whenever I put my nose over the glass.

How does Russian River manage to brew such amazing beer, again and again and again? The fact that Vinnie Cilurzo is the mastermind behind what I consider the best beer the world has ever seen (Pliny The Younger), yet is still able to create a stunningly complex Belgian-style ale like Temptation boggles the mind.

Even without the Brett, this would be an outstanding example of a golden ale. The fact that it's even possible to determine that is further evidence that the wild yeast doesn't steamroll everything in its path, but complements the beer in the best way possible.

The flavor profile consists of barely ripe apples, pears and peaches (complete with their natural sugars), a potpourri of spices (clove and white pepper especially), a surprising amount of sweetgrassy hoppiness and a perfect Brettanomyces puckery tang that wraps things up in a perfect ribbon of drinkability. Why oh why didn't they put this stuff in 750s?

Despite the label's advice to 'allow the natural yeast sediment to remain in the bottle', I'll do no such thing. The final pour clouds things up nicely and puts the already fandamntastic flavor into orbit. I can say without hesitation that Temptation is the best wild ale that has ever entered my glass.

The mouthfeel, while not up to the standards of Belgium's best, isn't far behind. Perfection would be easily achieved with a fraction more expansiveness. It's hard to argue with beer that is this lightly silky and this zestily carbonated.

I don't like to repeat myself, but it's a damn shame that this delicious ale isn't released in bigger bottles (I'm thinking jeroboams at least). It's also too bad that Russian River will no longer ship to us poor souls outside of Northern California who aren't able to otherwise experience the transcendence of their beer. I'm glad that I decided to yield to Temptation today.

 2,616 characters

Photo of RoyalT
4.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I happened to be visiting the brewery as Vinnie had finished and bottled, not yet labeled, his first batch of Temptation many years ago. He wasn't happy with some aspects of it but after chatting about the brew process for half an hour or so he brought up a few unlabeled bottles.

For the life of me I couldn't see what he didn't like about it, but then again anyone who knows Vinnie knows that he is a perfectionist. After tasting this and another beer (which I don't think ever went to market) he gave me a couple of bottles to cellar. I've just now seen it for the first time in a bottle in a beer store so was excited to down a few. This is absolutely one of the best beers that I have ever had.

Appearance - This is a beautiful, light straw blond in color with a gorgeous head. It's not big and foamy like a giant Belgian or a Weizen of course, but the bubbles are so incredibly tight and even you almost hate to drink it. Almost.

Smell - This is the most refined sour aroma I have ever had the pleasure of smelling. It's neither harsh nor offensive yet is still potent and sharp. The light grains in the background are equally refined.

Taste - The sourness is definitely a home run here. It is exceptionally strong yet not harsh like so many other Wild Ales. There's just enough sweetness to tame the flavor.

I can pick up some light white wine notes, which I'm guessing after reading up on the beer from the RR site is the chardonnay that seeped into the barrels that they use to age this beauty shop. The grain again is like a delicious light blonde ale grain that ads to the airy feeling you get when drinking this beer.

Mouthfeel - This was my favorite part of the drink. It is definitely light-bodied with a mature and technically advanced sourness and that terrific grain backbone actually makes this sail through the mouth. The carbonation is pure perfection, again according to the website the beer is carbonated in the bottle. It's just an enjoyable, light, airy texture that makes you want to keep on drinking.

Drinkability - This is the most quaffable sour ale I've ever had. It goes down so smooth and is so refreshing. How he put this thing together I'll never know.

 2,192 characters

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.63/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 001. Top notch presentation in a 12.7 ounce glass. Very unique bottle with a fantastic label. Cork and caged.

Pours a brilliant straw into long stem white wine glass. Carbonation is wildly disturbed by the shape of the glass causing a tidal clash of yeasty white head. The mountain of cream constantly dissolves and reforms each time I pick up the glass. This is a fun beer to play with. Carbonation streaming is flawless. I feel compelled to say that this is a perfect looking brew, a true 5.

Nose is a ballyhoo of citric zest but through that intensity spouts a surge of oak and then a second surge of vanilla. After a while this pandemonium blends into a nice cohesive chardonnay but that’s not all. Above the lemons and oak barrel aromas there is something much more important…Da Funk! That quality that one finds in a great lambic…yep, it’s here.

Taste/Mouthfeel: An initial blast of sour grapes is quite fun but a bit overpowering. Seconds later, however, the palate is well adjusted and the Chardonnay like subtleties become palpable. The ever-present sourness is my favorite aspect of the beer but it does not outshine all else, as is the case in some lambics. Within the sour frame and coalescing with vanilla flavors lies a buttery mouthfeel. It’s surprising and eminently pleasurable. Herein too we find a miscellany of citrus, pear, apricot, rotten hay, and white grape skins, all of which combines to form that wonderful funk that we all so enjoy.

Ingurgitate - To swallow greedily or in excessive amounts; gulp. Yep, that’s this beer to a T-funk. If I may add a new adjective to my beer reviewing vocabulary, this one is inguritatable.

 1,675 characters

Photo of Smokesnotes
4/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of tectactoe
4.52/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Jeff for sharing this one with me. Pours a golden-yellow color, translucent with lots of light shining through the edges. The foamy white head lasts for a bit as it settles and leaves some big, wet lacing.

The aroma is thoroughly acidic and tart. Sour apple skins, pears, light vinegar, faint lactic aromas. There's a mild woodiness behind all of the tart fruits, but there's no denying that this is a sour bomb. I was a bit shocked to find that there was quite a big vinous character in the aroma, too, until I read that this was aged in chardonnay barrel. Makes sense now. Very tingly on the nostrils, this one's gonna be sour - no doubt.

And sure enough, it is. Temptation is very sour, front and center. We're talking puckering sour, not just "mildly tart". Lemons are huge, as are apples and pears. Wow, this is just so, so, so, SO tart. Each sip feels more tart than the last. It hits the edges and corners of your mouth and gets your face scrunched up in no time. Not as sour as Beatification, still pretty damn tart. Light vinous notes, as well as a mild oak flavor on the tail, but the beer has a mostly sweet finish once that godly tartness finally dies down. Medium bodied, heavily carbonated.

I've come to expect a lot from Russian River, and rightfully so. Temptation delivers. It's a sour motherfucker, that's for sure. If you like sours and you haven't had this yet - get some. Now.

 1,414 characters

Photo of ricke
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to brewdan for this one. Batch 3, 2009 vintage.

A: Slightly hazy yellow color with orange hues. A pretty big ivory-colored head leaves some lacings.

S: A nicely sharp smell full of character. Funky horse blanket and aged cheese. Lots of tart fruits (apples, pears, lemon) and general notes of berries. Notes of fermenting apples as well. Light hints of oak barrel and a nice touch of alcohol in the background. A very impressive smell.

T: The taste is semi-sweet at first, but then turns rather tart. The tartness isn't really mouth-wrecking, but feels genuine and robust. A wonderful combination of pleasant fruit aromas (green apples, gooseberries, lemon) and funky notes of barnyard and mud. A hint of wood. Nice bretty flavors. In the finish, there's a mild grassy bitterness, sweet and phenolic alcohol, a gentle leafy hop note and a dry tartness.

With the last poor (I let all the yeast go into the glass) the beer changes character a bit. The tartness is muted and notes of vanilla and nuts develop.

M: Light body with a refreshing cider-like carbonation.

D: A very good wild ale. This one could probably go head to head with some of the milder Belgian gueuzes. Very refreshing and enjoyable. Impressive.

 1,225 characters

Photo of DavyJones
3.5/5  rDev -20.6%

Photo of t2grogan
4.5/5  rDev +2%

Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.5/5  rDev +2%

Photo of jono0101
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of brownbeer
4.62/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Falling Rock.

Cloudy gold with solid white lacing.

Nose is delicate, light barnyard, lemon.

Perfectly sour and geuze-like. zesty lemon,light horseblanket, acidic citrus.

Light medium body with a dry, astringent finish.

This is a sessionable sour. I'm suprised how much of this they had.

 302 characters

Photo of Schlais
4/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of hotglassmama
5/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of Tiernan
4/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of cjn40277
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Dabeel
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of SanFranJake
4.19/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SkiBum22
4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Hazy Golden Straw, Light Foamy White Head, some Lacing

S - There is a strong white wine aroma with tart pears and grapes. Yeast aromas give the nose some funk. The aroma is definitely complex and I'm sure I could have spent more time discovering its intricacies.

T - This is pretty damn sour. Very tart citrus, white grape, and apple. Bretty funk taste. On the far back end, there is a bit of a harsh bitterness, like lemon peel, that lasts for thirty seconds or so after I swallow and detracts from an otherwise wonderful sour beer.

M -Medium-bodied with just the right amount of dry, sour character. A little more sweetness than some sours, which I appreciated.

O - A great sour for sure but it didn't quite live up to the hype that the other sours did for me from RR. I actually prefer Sanctification to this. Definitely glad I tried this.

 851 characters

Photo of readicculus
5/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.46/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1.5 Liter olive colored bottle with batch #001 on the label. This bottle is 7.25% abv and barrel aged for 12 months. Poured into two Duvel glasses ... cheers to Vinnie for the big ass bottle.

A- Clear orange gold hue, etching in Duvel glass expresses a beautiful trail of bubbles that hold the white lace together. Speaking of the lace ... absolutely wonderful as it sticks all over the glass.

S- Farmy aroma with a goat-like white wine smell. Suggestions of lemons, sour cherries and wet grass. Hint of phenols and a refined fusel alcohol in the back.

T- Cherry tartness ... BANG! Underlying lime edge, a touch of mineral / salts. Biscuity bread crust maltiness, very dry. Very faint on the wood. Fruity all over with a hidden warming alcohol. Leafy hop character holds a restrained bitterness.

M- Creamy mouth feel, fluffy, light and dry.

D- So flavorful and interesting it is hard to put down. We could easily sip this all night long.

High marks for originality.

 984 characters

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Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 989 ratings.