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Temptation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

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3,178 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,178
Reviews: 977
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 8.97%
Wants: 1,648
Gots: 861 | FT: 46
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,178 | Reviews: 977
Photo of billab914
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 4 poured from a 750ml bottle into my Russian River tulip glass. It poured a pale golden color with a big and bubbly white foam filling half of the glass. It had excellent head retention and left some nice lacing as well.

The aroma is sharp with a good amount of tartness and funk to it. It's moderately acidic in the nose. A bit of a musty, basement like aroma comes through in the funkiness also. A bit of a sour grape, fruit flavor is present as well.

The taste has a bold sourness to it with more of a sour lemon citrusness coming through. It has a grape, apple, fruity and tartness to it as well. Towards the finish I get some of the earthiness to the Brett coming through. The sourness lingers for a while after the finish as well. Very nice and complex flavors to it overall.

The mouthfeel is on the lighter side with high carbonation. Drinkability is good, it had some great sour and tart flavors to it overall with some great depth. An excellent American Wild Ale overall.

Photo of KAF
4/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of John_M
4.37/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a .375 bottle.

The beer pours an impressive, hazy gold color with impressive head retention and very good lacing. The nose on this beer is the best thing about it in my opinion, consisting of honey, citrus, white pepper, vanilla and some light sour funk. This beer smells very complex. However, considering the way this beer smells, I'm a bit surprised by the level of sour in this beer. There is a hint of honey and vanilla, but it's just about overwhelmed by the sour funk. As the beer sits in the glass the sour dies down a bit and blends in more with the other flavors. I get some more vanilla and even cherry now, which is interwoven with the sour funk. The beer is medium bodied, but there's a crispness in the finish that I really like, that helps to make this beer very refreshing and drinkable.

Very interesting beer. Not entirely my cup of tea, but it was fun to try nonetheless.

Photo of biegaman
4.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An eccentric corked and caged, 12.7 ounce bottle. Batch 003.

Canary yellow with a golden brass glossing. The beer is both lambent and radiantly clear despite its light haze. It's much darker than champagne, but otherwise shares an awful lot of resemblance. A milky blanket of lace comes to overlay the glass. This because an immaculately pristine capping of whipped mousse lay bountiful with an almost dizzying steadfast stream of determinant, hyperactive bubbles that maintain its perfect physique.

The smell of long over-ripened fruits, time-tested French oak, fresh baked bread, the rich yet delicate scent of Chardonnay grapes and a maturing strain of Brettanomyces makes for an aroma as pleasant and complex and unique as any drink is capable of possessing. The character of Chardonnay grapes add lush, ripe, fleshy and almost buttery qualities. It prickles the nose like champagne. I never knew there could be such a wonderful smell.

Still relatively young, the Brett is only starting to impart its notes of earthiness, barnyard and just a hint of singeing smoke. The contribution to taste is noted as well although still not yet more pronounced than the effects of the barrel. The oak itself plays a relatively minor part although it's imparted so much lush, buttery, lightly fruity flavours from the Chardonnay. Drinking this beer puts you right in a Grand Cru vineyard of Burgundy.

Especially with the Brett continuing to develop the most lucrative and unique of barnyard flavours, what people taste in the beer could be a highly subjective thing. Apart from the unbelievably strong resemblance to white wine and Champagne, I'm also picking up on all kinds of lightly suggestive fruity notes. These would include stone fruits (apple, pear), citric fruits (lemon, lime), and tropical fruits (mango, kiwi).

The mouthfeel is light but sharp and acidic. Although a mere 27 IBU's there is plenty of (almost puckering) tartness to take the place of bitterness. At times, the beer can also be rather oaky and buttery. A slightly higher alcohol percentage never factors into what is an absolutely sociable drink. The yeasty bread quality is never lost and the wild yeast continues to turn up with new - even more funky - notes when the beer's allowed to warm.

It's absolutely incredible what 17 months in a used Chardonnay barrel and a strain of wild yeast will do. This is certainly starting to come into its own after almost exactly a year since bottling. Oh how I wish I had more! Russian River's Temptation is a study in contradictions: it's so tremendously enjoyable - a light bodied, tart, highly sociable drink - and yet it also happens to be one of the most delicately intricate examples of brewing artwork.

Photo of Axnjxn
4.39/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

375ml corked and caged bottle into a tulip. Batch 006

Pours a hazy yellow with a half inch white head. Some fizziness from the bottom to the top, with a huge amount of lasting bubbles. On the nose i get a strong vinegary scent very reminiscent of a geueze. The taste is also very similar to the traditional gueuze style - tart white grapes with a very lasting sour on this one. As my favorite style is a gueuze, im really digging this. Exceptional mouthfeel, like all RR beers ive had thus far, makes this beer extremely easy to drink. Though i find myself savoring it as the flavor is superb. Finishes dry. Very dry in fact.

Overall another excellent beer from Russian River. As close to a gueuze that youre going to get in America.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.44/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375 mL bottle poured into an RR -tion glass. Batch 006. Served a touch too cold at 45F.

Appearance - Remarkably clear golden yellow body. Not a lot of head. Biggish bubbles that settle quickly. The lacing is nice and bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass like champagne.

Smell - Chardonnay is most prominent. Oaky with a nice lemon tartness. Funky, but not like a lambic. Complex aroma, but it isn't overwhelming.

Taste - Again, complex without being overpowering. Initially tart, with a slight funk in the flavor. Lemony like the aroma. The tartness is immediately tamed by the chardonnay, which makes it one of the easiest-drinking sour ales I've ever had.

Mouthfeel - The chardonnay cuts any unpleasant harshness that may have arisen from the souring process. Light and bubbly. I could easily drink this too quickly, but I would be missing out.

Overall - Not intense like many other sours. A variety of subtle flavors that play nicely together. Something I definitely need more of.

Photo of rolltide8425
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of Dicers
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of Wasatch
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks flexabull for this brew.

Batch 002

Corked and caged.

Poured into a chalice a nice cloudy yellow color, nice carbonation, nice small foamy white head, leaves some nice islands and sticky lacing. The nose is of malts, hops, yeast, citrus (orange, grapefruit), pears, apples, and grapes. The taste is sweet with a nice tangyness to it, fruity and a nice dryness to the finish. Very carbonated, medium body, a complex brew. Very drinkable, this is my second RR brew to date, love both of them. Highly recommended.

Photo of PEIhop
5/5  rDev +12.1%

Photo of ppoitras
4.06/5  rDev -9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle received via Secret Santa 09 from vasdef42. Corked and caged, Batch 004x2. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into a DFH tulip, formed a 1 1/4" bright white head over the slightly cloudy golden brew. Head continues to grow for awhile, snowconing above the rim, with thick coating lace. Aroma is tart with a touch of funk. Taste is tart from the moment it hits the tongue, coupled with some barnyard and sweetness throughout. Mouthfeel is smooth over the tongue, and drinkability is very good. Not as calm as my last one, but still a great sensory experience.

6/18/08 - 4/4.5/4/4.5/4.5
375ml bottle received via not sure when or from who, probably another I Want That BIF or something cool. Corked and caged, Batch 001. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1/2" bright white head over the slightly cloudy golden brew. Head recedes sedately, with sticky lacing. Aroma is tart with a bit of funkiness rounding things out. Taste is surprisingly sweet to start, goes moderately tart in the middle, and hits a few more interesting flavors near the close, with the funk and barrel character. Mouthfeel is smooth esp for a wild brew, and drinkability is easy and refreshing. Moderated tartness at this point makes it almost a starter to the wild side.

10/26/07 - 4.5/4/4.5/4.5/5
375ml bottle received via I Want That BIF 2 from Lou91. Corked and caged, Batch 002. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 3/4" bright white head over the cloudy golden brew. Head falls slowly, with heavy coating lace. Aroma is lighly sweet with dominant tartness. Taste follows, delicate sweetness upfront, powerful tart in the middle, but with a strong oak and alcohol character at the close. Mouthfeel and drinkability are quite pleasing. Always an adventure, and I like these type of rides.

Photo of Lare453
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%

Photo of chippo33
4/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of johnnnniee
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375ml Bottle from batch 003
Pours out with just a hint of hazy on a golden background with a fluffy white head that persists forever with massive stickage. The aroma is quite vinous with a sour funky edge. Grapes, lemons, cherries, plums, oranges, tartness, sweaty horses its all in there and it smells great. The first sip pierces my tongue with lactic but smooths out quite quickly. Grapes, candy sugar, brown sugar come up front and provide a great balance against the lemons sour cherries and apricots that come in next. A bit of lactic and funk find its way in there towards the finish but smooth out with a fruity sweetness. Medium body with a spirited level of carbonation and a sweet tart mouthfeel. This is a beautiful beer! Wonderfully complex and incredibly drinkable. I've had this in the cellar a few years and have lost track of where I got it, if you sent it to me thank you so much.

Photo of liamt07
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.5/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed back on 888, reviewed from fairly meticulous notes. Shared with SAS, Inflatablechair, and theotherbeerguy.

My share poured into a Chimay goblet... I believe this was Batch 3... Sam decided to throw this down after we had cracked all the planned brews.... BadAss!

Hazy straw with a good head and a little bit of retention.. sorta looks like a slightly cloudy sparkling wine.

Aroma is like a dry white wine.. citrus zest.. underripe peaches and grapes..

Flavor mirrors the aroma.. sour and fruity and a little oakey.. never reaching acedic territory.. wonderful and very complex... has a puckering quality like when sucking on grape skins and seeds. Body is champagne like with prickly carbonation... and the drinkablity is fantastic... I would pick this over any sparking wine any day, any where, and any circumstance.. awesome.

Thanks again, Sam!


Photo of tobelerone
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 006, caged and corked 375ml bottle.

Small white head that falls fast, leaving only a thin band on top. Hazy apricot color, sheets of creamy lace left behind clinging to the glass.

Tart, fruity aroma. Granny smith. Noticeable brett note. Musty, funky undertone. More than a hint of chardonnay.

Medium levels of tartness and sourness in the flavor, hints of oak, white grape, nice brett character, lemon, other citrus fruits. Very mildly sweet. A little puckering in the finish, but not too much. Bitterness emerges just a bit in the aftertaste. Again, the mustiness and funk is there but it's well integrated. Good white wine flavor, more than just chardonnay...white Bordeaux? It has that acidic green apple thing you get in certain tart white wines.

Spritzy carbonation, clean and crisp, with a dry finish. Quite refreshing. Overall a delicious and beautifully crafted beer with moderate sourness and funk characteristics.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Photo of DrJay
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy golden straw colour with a fluffy, bright white head. Constant streams of bubbles supported the cap of foam, which left clumpy lacing behind once it started to subside. The brett aroma was apparent across the table. White wine and grape notes as well, with some earthy woodiness. Citrusy sweetness with some acidity, similar to sweet tarts, hits up front. A more substantial, almost syrupy, sweetness follows. Solid bitterness with floral hops and a bit of spice in the finish. A bit of barnyard funk as well. The sweet tart character melds with a bit of oak in the lingering finish. Light dryness, medium bodied, with effervescent carbonation. This beer has plenty of character and goes down very easy. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Notes from 12/16/2006 (Batch 002): This beer produces tons of lacing. The aroma was a little funkier than before - some horseblanket, a little salty with some vinegar (almost like salt & vinegar chips) - but strangely appealing. Citrus flavour was more lemony and there was a little spicy alcohol character as well. Very dry. Again, a beer that I enjoyed quite a lot. I'm tempted to give it a "5" for Taste, but it just wasn't quite there. Maybe next time I try it.

Photo of flagmantho
4.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750mL corked bottle into a wine goblet. I can't wait!

Appearance: beautiful golden hue with a hint of opaqueness; lots of evident effervescence contributing to a thick, white, gorgeous head.

Smell: tart, fruity, bready; apples with notes of citrus. There's a very light aroma of something chalky which I quite like as well.

Taste: tart, chalky, yeasty/bready, very much in line with the aroma profile. Like a good cheese, this tastes like it's gone bad in the most delicious way. This would probably pair spectacularly with a nice roquefort or gorgonzola.

Mouthfeel: body is not particularly thick, and there is a huge well-integrated carbonation from bottle conditioning. I'm always a fan of a creamy texture in a higher-alcohol ale, and this sure has it.

Drinkability: definitely a sipper, with its over-the-top tartness, but this beer is interesting enough to keep me sipping until I finish the bottle.

Photo of Viggo
4.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corked and caged 375 ml bottle, thanks DrJay, you spoil us!

Pours a hazy blonde/yellow, gushes out of the bottle, white head, some nice lace and good retention. Smell is crazy, sweet, yeasty, horse blanket, spices, toffee, honey, some brett sourness, oaky vanilla, amazing. Taste is sour, oak, vanilla, pineapples, more sour, spices, very tart acidity, almost salt and vinegar, excellent. Mouthfeel is light bodied with medium to high carbonation, crazy and my first wild ale, love this style though.

Photo of Bighuge
4.38/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep golden with shades of amber. Carbonation rises slowly through the hazed body. The snow white head has great retention and lace ability. Aroma is lemony, a little acidic, orangey, biscuity and funky. Lemon tones hit me first upon sipping. Other citric fruits are present as well. And some funkiness. A little sourness, but it's quite reserved in this one. Oak and wine of course. And a thirst quenching dryness. Carbonation is gentle yet noticeable. Light body. This one grows on you.

Thanks yet again to TheLongBeachDweller for yet another stellar ale from Russian River.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.53/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Comes out dark yellow and hazy, almost like a hefe, tons of lace, better looking than any wilds, could be bumped to a 5 on successive tastings. Definitely not a hefe in the nose, wood aroma, funkiness, lemony.

Taste, white wine sourness, oak, grapes, so pucker inducing. Hides alcohol extremely well, extremely dry finish to this, very drinkable. Probably the least complex of any RR sours I've had, but no less good. I'd give this to a noob before Consecration or Supplication. They're all excellent and world class.

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Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 3,178 ratings.