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Temptation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
TemptationTemptation

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

2,972 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,972
Reviews: 967
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 9.19%
Wants: 1,554
Gots: 793 | FT: 44
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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-19-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,972 | Reviews: 967 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.22/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A sour beer that is drinkable and not hard on the palate owing to good malting. Woody taste in there-something akin to a acidic chardonnay. Minerals, apples, saison like spice. Horse aroma. I am glad I tried it however this is not the greatest beverage I have had as some others claim. Thanks for sending Hopsalot.
Updated and upgraded, particulalry with improved aromas! on-tap 4.5 years later at the brewpub. Lemony chardonnay, with brett, is very enjoyable and unique. Natural carbonation.

Sammy, Jan 29, 2006
Photo of t0rin0
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

t0rin0, Dec 26, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.1/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap for Churchill's Renaissance at Churchill's Pub & Grille in San Marcos, CA.

Pours a clear golden color with a tan head that settles to nothing. Small streaks of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is sour, tart, and funky with some fruity and grain aromas. Taste is pretty much the same and there is an acidic quality on the finish. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good wild ale but I think this one smells better than it tastes.

UCLABrewN84, Mar 05, 2012
Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +12.1%

spycow, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of djrn2
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

djrn2, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of zestar
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

zestar, Aug 12, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
4.08/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery in August 2009.

A: Pours a cloudy pale amber color with a large white head of foam.

S: Lots of tarness and sourness here, with a little bit of the oak coming through.

T: Lots of sourness coming into some tartness and a little bit of citrus.

M: Quite tart, fairly full for the style. Good amount of carbonation.

D: Drinkable for the style, but not my favorite of Russian River's Belgian styles.

Thorpe429, Sep 24, 2009
Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -10.3%

acurtis, Dec 20, 2011
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -10.3%

nmann08, Nov 03, 2013
Photo of metter98
4.46/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is hazy goldenrod yellow in color. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that quickly died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of chardonnay wine barrels are present in nose along with notes of sourness from the brett.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, except that the sourness is a little stronger and there are also hints of oak.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer has a very nice balance between flavors of chardonnay and sourness that makes it both interesting and quite easy to drink.

Note: Batch 07-27-12

metter98, Jun 08, 2013
Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Texasfan549, Feb 13, 2012
Photo of brentk56
4.97/5  rDev +11.4%
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

brentk56, Sep 07, 2008
Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

kjkinsey, Feb 13, 2012
Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Undoubtedly one of the most well-balanced funky Belgians out there. Temptation is basically what brettanomyaces would do to Duvel. ...but there's more....

Temptation pours with a deep canary yellow color and medium haze (a bit more than I expected). A large stark-white head carries a combination of tight and loosely-knit bubbles. The ever lasting head laced all along the glass as though it didn't want to leave- ever.

The nose is a balanced blend of acidic lemon notes and funky-dusty-musty aromas. Crab apples and under-ripe berries come into play, but the beer takes on a typical aroma of well-played Belgian-brett beers.

Flavors are much more complex and less intense than what I got from the nose. True malt flavors of pilsner and wheat varieties shine up front and set the stage with timid sweetness and moderate bready notes. Those lemon, berry, and apple flavors come in close behind and in most tart and acidic fashion. Stopping shy of sour or vinegar, this beer shows great control and restraint. Spicy with white pepper notes from the phenolic yeast do a great job of not showing any off-notes. Still, the tartness weaves in and out of musty characters of basements or attics and light horse blanket just beyond mid palate and just in front of the finish.

What is even more remarkable about the beer is how the wheat malts give a creamy, bready feel in the beginning but then the tartness nose-dives straight into a dry, acidic, and mildly warming finish. Again, shying away fron astringency, the tart acidity and moderate alcohols do all the work. The beer is fleeting and evaporative to the mouth, leaving a very clean aftertaste and leaving me begging for the next sip.

This is a masterpiece of a beer that has all the things that I love so much about Duvel but with added complexities and artfull assertion.

Thank you slayer3604!

BEERchitect, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.7/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

BuckeyeNation, Aug 19, 2007
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.78/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle (batch 1 drank in 2006): Poured a hazy/cloudy dirty yellow color ale with rather large white bubbly head with medium retention. Nose of farmhouse, chardonnay with a sourness resembling lambic. Taste is totally incredible with huge amount of farmhouse (there is probably a better word for this but it is the only I can think of right now), sour notes resembling a lambic and Brett, which is reminiscent of Orval. The Chardonnay barrel effect is maybe a bit too accentuated but still very interesting. Also, it might be a bit too acidic for my liking but it is still very much enjoyable. A more balance level of acid and this would have been a perfect score. Now, I just need to get my hand on some more of this.

Phyl21ca, Jan 09, 2006
Photo of GRG1313
4.7/5  rDev +5.4%
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!

GRG1313, Jul 28, 2009
Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -10.3%

ygtbsm94, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
3.7/5  rDev -17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a clear pale amber with a nice thick white frothy head. Carbonation was insane, tons of visible bubble streams coming off the bottom. Almost looked like, well it really did look like champagne. Bubbles everywhere.

S - Very strong pungent aroma comes off of this one. Huge smell of grapes, with a hint of alcohol. Maybe a hoppy presence trying to come through. Smells like wine.

M & T - First impression was very sour, and it tasted like a nice white wine. Lots of carbonation and great feel, very light, again almost like champagne.

D - Overall this was very intresting and a good one time try, but not really my cup of tea. Would not turn it down if it was offered, but would not go out of my way to purchase it, a nice novelty at least for me.

mikesgroove, May 12, 2007
Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%

jaydoc, Jan 05, 2014
Photo of womencantsail
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A bottle from Batch 003 shared by Bobby yesterday (to compare with the new batch and with Depuration).

A: This one was explosively carbonated. A slight twist of the cork sent it flying through the air and to the ceiling. The beer itself is slightly hazed and straw colored with a fluffy white head.

S: The nose is not as overly "green" and tart as the servings of the newest batch have been. A nice level of Brett funk and dryness goes well with some tannic oak and a slight lactic and green apple tartness.

T: The flavor also is a bit heavier on the wild aspects and really has a nice mustiness to it. The tartness is not overpowering but provides a nice level of acidity and fruit (grapes, lemon, and apple).

M: The body feels a bit fuller than the newest batch, but that could be the high level of carbonation. The finish is nice and dry.

D: This batch seems to be quite superior to the newest batch and I see why people rave about Temptation so much. Great flavors and a really crisp, dry, and refreshing beer.

womencantsail, Feb 01, 2010
Photo of Knapp85
4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Temptation pours out as a pretty typical looking blonde ale, golden yellow color with a bit of haze to it. The head was foamy and white leaving a bit of lacing. The smell of the beer smells a lot like Chardonnay with a bit of wild yeast coming through in the back end. The taste of the beer is actually pretty good. I was surprised that it really didn't give off much of a pucker factor after each sip. The flavors of white wine, tart grapes and some wheat are what I'm picking up here. The mouthfeel was pretty good, almost refreshing. Overall I was very impressed by this beer. The flavors and the other elements that it brings to the table were really good. I wasn't sure how much I was going to enjoy this one but it turned out to be a success.

Knapp85, Jul 05, 2011
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%

SocalKicks, Jun 24, 2013
Photo of largadeer
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at Rose & Crown, batch 004. Into a 10 oz snifter, Temptation is a bright golden color, pale and clear, with a rapidly receding white cap.

Lemony lactic sourness and tart Chardonnay dominate the aroma. There's ample barnyard funk behind it, which comes out more as the temperature rises.

The barrel comes through strongly in the taste, lending a big buttery Chardonnay character. Lactic and mild acetic sourness come through with equal strength. Tart white grape, vanilla, tannic oak and spice provide depth. Intensely flavorful but light-bodied, this is almost sessionable. It finishes with drying tannins, buttery oak and white grape. Very enjoyable, but I prefer the previous two batches over this one.

largadeer, Apr 28, 2010
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Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,972 ratings.