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Temptation - Russian River Brewing Company

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3,123 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,123
Reviews: 975
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 9.19%
Wants: 1,599
Gots: 839 | 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: 3,123 | Reviews: 975 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.38/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle Batch 5X1F
Poured into a Duvel Tulip.

Appearance - Honey, golden orange with a smooth white head that leaves good lacing on the glass.

Smell - Honey, grapes, spice, wood.

Taste - Sour grapes, champagne, and oak.

Drink - Lively carbonation - like you would find in Champagne.

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

A: The color is gold.
S: Barnyard funk, citrus notes. Woody
T: Citrusy tartness. Alcohol level fits perfectly. Oak. Finishes dry, but with an orangey sweetness that lingers.
M: Quite dry. Light body, with velvety smoothness.
O: Close to many Gueuzes that I've tried. Perfectly balanced. Reminiscent to 3 Fonteinen Gueze. Overall, one of the most delicious and satisfying beers I've ever had.

Photo of johnbjaeger
3.9/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am a believer in Russian River. I like their labels. I like their beer. I hate them for being far away and not distributing to Chicago, but that's really not fair at the end of the day.

This one pours out and looks like frothy thoroughbred horse wizz. Ultimately, that's not as bad as it sounds, but it really was the first thing I thought of.

In fact, it also smells as I'd imagine thoroughbred horse wizz might smell. Not overly sulphuric and not altogether unpleasant, but not exactly something you want to smell unless you are expecting it. I pick up a little stale wine on the nose that reminds me a lot of how my wine bottles smell when I forget to rinse them out after using them.

As for the taste, it charges through the door like a magnificent gay friend yelling, "well hey, I brought the Chardonnay!" The most interesting thing about this after the wine slaps the palate around, is how damned balanced this brew is. The citrus notes, the sour, and just the right amount of fizz. I like this. I could drink this nightly.

Photo of stakem
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears a perfectly clear golden yellow color with a fizzy white head that holds around the edge of the glass. Bubbles rise constantly through the body and a swirl revives a finger's worth of white head. As the cap fades, it leaves a leggy pattern of lace that sticks to the glass.

The aroma of this brew is lemony citrus mixed with a touch of plastic-like funk. There is a lactic smell and sourness of rinds. A light amount of alcohol is evident as the brew warms and it makes some smells evolve that smell funked and a little pukey.

The taste is lemony and lactic. There are some plastic notes mixed with mild fruits that are a little rindy. Seemingly toasted with some oak indications. The aftertaste includes some fusel alcohol that mixes with the oak to create a dryness to the finish. There is an afterthought reminiscent of nail polish remover. As the brew warms the aftertaste gets increasingly more grapey, vinous and solvent with alcohol.

This is a medium bodied brew with a high amount of fizzy carbonation. There is a big salivation factor with this brew and it is exceptionally easy drinking for 7.5% abv. These 375ml bottles are a complete tease. By the time I'm really into this beer and digging it, the glass is empty and I want more. Certainly an enjoyable brew, I just wish the price was more reasonable and I would drink it more often.

Photo of amcmaho1
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I know, another super-superlative (oxymoron?) review...
Batch 5 poured into tulip glass
Thanks again JCDenver!

Appearance: Very nice honey-golden color, slightly cloudy though basically translucent. Sports a short lived fluffy white head, which quickly dissipates and clings in strange little patterns. Beautiful beer...

Smell: Definite funk, slight green apple, very faint "bandaid." There's a slight bit of mustiness which likely came from the barrel. This is obviously a very "natural" smelling beer. The initial sourness on the nose seems subdued, though is there regardless.

Taste: Initial pucker, leading into a fruity and earthy bitterness. I taste some apple and pear notes, along with some vinegar-like astringency, along with some more musty/earthy wood attributes. Incredibly complex beer here!!

Mouthfeel: Certainly mouth-watering, as well as drying; which while seeming paradoxical, is quite enjoyable. Everything about this beer exudes approachability...and re-approachability

Overall: A sentimental beer for me, for I was introduced to it as one of my first sours. It's not overly sour, nor overly funky, and still not overly tame. It is a well executed and exceptionally balanced barrel aged sour, and one which I hope to have again very soon...

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

Served chilled into RR glass

batch 5

Color: Bright golden blonde. Very nicely carbonated, little to no lacing and it form a thin crisp whit head.

Nose: Plenty of white fruit: pear,apple, and not white, but present kiwi. A pleasant sourness hits the nose like a tidal wave.

Palate: Crisp, clean, bubbly, and soft. The light Tartness/sour dances on the tongue giving the mouth a pleasant tingle feeling.

Finish: Nothing short of long and emaculate! this beer wow's with greatness, artisitry, and elegance. Its a firework show alll the way down the hatch.

Photo of gregshead
3.68/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a straw color. Trace amounts of head. Lots of carbonation bubbles.

S: Sawdust/barnyard aromas

T: Barnyard funk with a good deal of sweetness. A little bit lower on the sour/tart spectrum.

M: Lots of carbonation. Very light feel

O: An enjoyable sour. Probably a good entry level/beginners sour due to the less pronounced sour flavors. Probably would due well with a couple years of age on it.

Photo of OddNotion
4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 05X1F
Poured into my Russian River Belgian glass.

Appearance: Pours a semi transparent golden color with a one and a half finger white head. A lot of bubbles coming from the body of the beer, it is very active.

Smell: I can smell this beer from a good two feet away. A good amount of funk with some sourness on top of it. At times it smells very sweet and almost fruit like. Oak is not overly noticable.

Taste: Good tartness, fruity. Not overly sour. Relatively lighter taste. I feel like the Chardonnay barrel aging is shining through here. Very balanced. I really like the fruity flavors coming through here.

Mouthfeel: Decent thickness, well carbonated. Matches the taste very well.

Overall: I really like this beer. It is not in your face with any of its flavors. However, the balance is amazing and the flavors meld together in such a great way. Great beer and I would love to experience it again.

Photo of mavbrew
4.22/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip, Batch 05X2E

A: The color is a hazy golden with a frothy, two finger thick white head that slowly dissipates.

S: Smells kind of similar to a wine, slight grape like scent to it with a sour scent as well. Hints of lemon and a bit of a yeast smell also.

T: Tastes pretty much like it smells, grape like flavor upfront, followed by the sour funk that is pretty tart, almost puckering. There is some lemon present as well as a little bit of yeast and citrus. Finish is dry and sour.

M: Light to medium bodied with average carbonation. Feel is sour, as expected.

D: This is one of the more drinkable sours I've tried, not too sour, nice citric flavor. This beer is much like a wine but has a sour kick to it. Overall, this is a pretty solid sour.

Photo of mondegreen
4.4/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle into a Russian River goblet. Batch 05X2E

Pours a slightly hazy golden with a tight white head. Lots of carbonation bubbles race to the top of the glass.

Smell is slightly funky, slightly tart, and heavy Chardonnay. This beer seems to have picked up a good bit of the barrel character.

Taste is somewhat lively. Nice funky overtones with elements of citrus, breast yeast, and a light tartness. The white wine character carries through from the nose.

Mouth is light and oh so dry. Lovely and refreshing.

Overall, this is a wonderful sour ale. Wilds are one of the final frontiers for American Craft Brewing, and Russian River is way ahead of the curve.

Photo of peacebone116
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375-mL bottle, batch 05x2F, poured into tulip.

A: Straw colored effervescent body with light head and delicate, champagne-like carbonation.

N: Buttery grape; not much different than a chardonnay, with a touch of sour, almost lemony, yeastiness.

T/M: Sour taste which is almost lemony. Sweet flavor of the white wine comes in front followed by the sour. Good carbonation--a bit dry, but very interesting.

An excellent sour offering from RR. Still prefer the Consecration's tartness to this, but I really love the way that the wine barrel influences the flavor of this one.

Photo of bs870621345
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 5.

Pours a beautiful golden color with an inch of white head and tiny bubbles. Nice lacing down the glass.

Smell is of brett funk, oak, slight lemon, green apple, grape, bread, and small amount of vinegar.

Taste is lemons and apple up front, openin gup to funk, vinegar, then draws to a drying oak, funk, apple taste. Long but dry after taste that is comprised of funk and oak.

Mouthfeel is moderate, little undercarbonated, note to self- do not use Duvel tulip, tastes better out of a tumbler or straight flute.

Overall this is damn good, my favorite of the RR wilds. Fantastic beer!

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.03/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 350 ml bottle into a snifter

A- 3 ½ finger frothy head, excellent carbonation very attractive hazy golden straw appearance
S- Funky sour notes, lemon, white grapes, hints of malt,
T- Smooth funky sour taste upfront, sour grapes, lemon juice, reminds me of white wine, very refreshing.
M- Very light on the palate, carbonation is evident, medium tart mouth feel.
O- Very nice, easy drinkability, love the grape notes and characteristics of white wine. Sourness is there but not too much that its overpowering, very complex.

Photo of jsanford
4.45/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Downtown Johnny Browns in San Diego. Poured into a Tulip Glass.

A - Poured a light gold with a creamy white head that has great retention and leaves come delicate lacing. Lovely.
S - Sour white grapes, oak, Brett, lemon juice, and some nice funk. Very complex.
T - White chardonnay grapes, oak, pears, lemon juice, and more funky Brett. Excellent level of sourness, this is right where I like it, sour, but not so much that it destroys the complexity. Delicious!
M - Medium-bodied with a tannic, drying finish and medium-low carbonation.
O - Excellent, lots of wine gape characteristics, oak, and a superb level of sourness. I'm excited to try this aged in bottle form now.

Photo of steve8robin
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this gem from a friend in CA. 375ml bottle, batch 05X1F...

A: A murky golden yellow with a 1/2 inch white head that fades at a decent pace. Good.

S: Smells of a nice light malt and tart lemon upfront. Some heavy cherry in the middle and some more tartness on the backend. Good.

T: A nice earthy light wheat malt upfront blended with a nice balance of tart lemon. Some light lemon peel flavor in the middle with a nice tart finish. This is a very balanced sour.

M: Medium body with a great carbonation. A medium tart finish. Very good.

O: All in all, this is a great blended sour. It's not just all about being puckering. This to me taste like a blonde ale blended well with a tart sour. The tart is very obvious, but not overwhelming. Try if you like sours!

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

Batch 05x2F

Poured into a RR chalice glass. Clear yellow/straw body with a 1/2 inch thick white soapy that persists throughout. Crystal clear beer with plenty of bubbles rushing to the surface. Very white-wine like aroma; white grapes, french oak, apples/pears. Brett is prevalent in this beer with a medicinal/barnyard funk. Very faint acidic sourness in the nose too. Flavor follows the nose. Pale malt backbone, honey sweetness, grapes, oak, vanilla, slightly salty (olives?), and finishes with a dry medicinal/barnyard funk. Sourness is more mellow in this beer than the other RR sours, but this still creates a nice mouth-watering astringency. Bubbly on the tongue with a light body. Very well balanced, soft, wine-like beer. Overall, a phenomenal beer.

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

375mL corked and caged bottle, batch number 05x1E poured into Maudite stemmed glass, reviewed on 4/21/11

A: Opens with a loud pop, clear pale gold in color with huge white head as a billion tiny bubbles rush to get to the surface. The head recedes leaving lace sticking to the sides of the glass.

S: Brettanomyces funk with a very distinct white whine aroma from the chardonnay barrels, a touch of pale malt, tart fruity sourness and some faint alcohol.

T: Moderately sour, not quite on the mouth puckering level. Funky barnyard notes from the brett some malty sweetness, chardonnay, some oak and a hint of alcohol.

M: Very smooth and somewhat sour. Slightly creamy feel, finish very dry.

O: Somewhere in between a Belgian ale and a champagne, this is a fantastic beer. The moderate sourness really lets you taste all of the complexities here without bombarding your mouth with lactic acid. Highly drinkable, very unique creation, will be keeping some bottles of this in the cellar to see what a few years can do.

Photo of roadhouse
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 004x1, 750ml bottle split between a snifter and Duvel glass. Poured the last couple ounces and dregs in to my wild ale :)

The appearance is flawless. It's a crystal clear golden hue in both glasses with a massive fluffy white head and giant sheets of lace sticking to the glass already. Tons of tiny carbonation bubbles floating to the top. The head is like a cloud, huge and puffy with it's own shapes.

The aroma is top notch as well. I am picking up white grapes, lactic acidity, Brettanomyces, and a bit of oak. Some light fruity notes of lemon and pear. A distant graininess mostly covered up by the wild complexity. The chardonnay definitely comes through a bit in the smell too.

The taste is just as splendid. It starts out with a perfect light sour/sweet note at the beginning upon sipping and at the beginning of the swallow it gets the most sour with a strong lactic and lemon bite which is followed up by a perfect note of fruit that almost lends a sweetness while the tartness lingers, making for a most interesting combination.

Mouthfeel is very light, yet the carbonation makes it super creamy and soft in the mouth in contrast to the sharpness of the acidity.

Wow - I did not expect this to actually be a 5 beer going into it - but it just has to be. As far as pale wild ales go, this stuff is better than many of the true lambics of Belgium. It's right up there with Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen, etc. but I think there is even slightly more complexity to it. This one has had some extra time to age and it has done wonders. I need more!

Photo of flipper2gv
4.9/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to nickd717 for this great brew!

Batch 5

A: Really pale yellow color. Proper pour and the beer is perfectly translucent. A good amount of pure white head (2 fingers approx) with really good retention and really good lacing.

S: The beer is in front of me on my computer desk and I can smell it from here. Really really strong smell. First thing to strike me is the very strong white wine qualities to the smell of this beer. Strong green grapes, lemon, green apples. The wood tannins come out quite strong in the smell too, which is surprising. Strong spices: pepper, mint and coriander. Vanilla. A little bit of hay and horse blanket. Not much malts or hops. Still, one of the most powerful, complex and inviting beer I've ever smelled.

T: After supplication, I expected a very very very sour beer. This is not the case. The beer is sour, but not as sour-bomb-ish as supplication. It has quite a good amount of acidity that shows with green apples, green grapes and (most of all) lemon. To my surprise, there is a definitive hops bitterness to this, a little bit grassy. Still a good amount of vanilla and wood tannins, thanks to the barrel aging. The spices are still there: pepper, mint and coriander. Hay and horse blanket. Perfectly balanced brew while still having a strong taste.

M: Very light and fluffy in the mouth. Carbonation is high.

O: Extremely refreshing. Really taste like a more acid, fruitier white wine. Drinkability is off the charts, I could easily down many of those with only my stomach ulcer stopping me at some point. The alcohol is no where in sight. By far one of the best brew I ever had.

Almost perfect brew? Damn sure to me.

Photo of Tripphop
3.98/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 5, 375ml bottle.

Pours a hazy golden color with quick white foam. Leaves a sticky lacing in the glass. Aromas are funky and tart. A bit of wet hay and lots of grainy and herbal smells. Taste matches aromas, funky, tart, and vinous. Refreshingly crisp with a balanced sour that isnt over powering. Light acidity and vinous smooth finish that leaves a dry, citrus rind aftertaste. Overall a solid sour, but much more restrained than the other RR offerings.

Photo of robbyc1
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

For the wild style, I cannot see any great improvements here. Super funky sour nose after seeing the clear pour with amber notes, and a small white head, lace good.

Notes of wine and roses as they say, very freshing smell. Full of yeasty goodness as well.

Taste is subdued fruitiness, with the wine flavor and a bit of oak coming through. Good malty backbone which doesn't interfere with the other notes. Very refreshing and satisfying.

Light but nicely bodied mouthfeel, and an easy drinker, this is not as sour as La Folie, but very well balanced and drinkable, sized for one person for sure, thanks to the folks at Winnetka Wine Shop for the taste!

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to perhaps G311 or ChadQuest for this bottle.

Consumed on a Sunday morning, at 9:30 am. I should do this more often.

Batch 005X1E

A - It is a radiant golden hue, ultra-translucent from a careful pour, and is capped with an inch of white frothy head. Great retention, collars and sheets of lace upon the glass, and a constant stream of micro-bubbles make for a phenomenal looking-brew.

S - The nose is relatively mild and belies the true nature of this brew. Brettanomyces is noticable, contributing a medicinal quality that sits above the pale and honey maltiness. Some suggestions of tart orchard fruits are also available.

T - The flavor offers a well-rounded array of gustatory curiosities, including but not limited to white grape, oak, lemon zest, heather, pale malt, band-aid, Chardonnay, apple and pear, apricot, Calabrese olives, vanilla (on finish), and karela (bitter gourd). The sublime balance and seemingly endless flavor dynamics exhibited are nothing short of phenomenal. The brew seems to get more mouth-puckering as I get deeper into the glass.

M - This is a beautiful balance of a lighter body that nevertheless displays some tooth, and a plentiful effervescence that piques flavor prodigiously without ever getting sharp or prickly.

O - Of the many bottles of Temptation I've had, this one stands out as best. This is, in fact, just about as good as any RR sour I've had (Beatification B2) and reminds me quite a bit of the very best bottles of Petrus Aged Pale (which are as good as it gets.)

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

2nd Review:
I'm re-reviewing this beer, as I was not very into sour or wild ales when I first had this. I must say I'm ashamed of my initial review...my palate must have changed drastically, because this is a fantastic beer! Pours an almost-clear golden straw color with a medium white head that disappears quickly. Scent is strong with Chardonnay aromas and a hint of funk from the Brett. There is also some lovely lemon aromas and strong french oak aroma. Taste is initially fruity...almost juicy...with some nice tartness and lemon flavors. The french oak is very dominant and delicious in this beer. Not overly sour, and very delicious oak, chardonnay, and fruitiness. Mouthfeel is very crisp, dry, and refreshing...just like some nice champagne. Drinkability is high. Overall, my first review did not do this beer justice. An awesome beer that I would buy all the time if I could.

1st Review:
(From Notes) Appearance is very clear golden color with a very big head on it. Smell is delightfully funky, bretty, and maybe a bit of lemon as well. The taste definitely kicks you in the face with it's lip puckering sourness. After a few sips of it, you can start to taste a bit of fruitiness. Not sure exactly what fruits I'm tasting, but it's not just sour I'm tasting anymore. The mouthfeel is awesome for this kind of beer. Very crisp and refreshing. I thing a 750ml bottle is all I could handle, as I am not THAT into sours/wild ales yet. I enjoyed Supplication and Consecration a lot more, but this one was still a good beer.

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.1/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another nice sour from Russian River, though not as awesome as some of the others IMHO.

A: Straw yellow with a darker hue at the core of the beer. Nice lacing wing of bubbly head.

S: Awesome smell of crisp bright fruit and excellent deep oak. Chardonnay grape is present and excellent and little vanilla imparted from the wood adds to a great dirty farmhouse blonde malt base.

T: Clean taste with white grape, oak, bitter dry fruit at the back of the palate and nice vanilla flavors. Semi sweet with a nice level of tartness that is pleasant. You can taste little of the blonde ale base, but not a whole lot. Not super complex but certainly good.

M: Super dry overall, especially at the back of the palate. Some juicy bursts of fruit up front though.

O: Good.

Photo of bbeane
4.33/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured into an oversized DFH snifter... starts with a finger thick white fizzy head on top of a golden orange colored beer with some mild activity

S- First wiff is a bit funky and sour. After some swirls of the snifter, a hint of oak joins the sour funky aroma

T- Starts mild before becoming sour and funky tasting. The oak wine barrel aging ads a bit of flavor in the finish

M- Light bodied and slick... light/medium carbonation

O- I enjoyed as I do pretty much everything from Russian River, but this one has nothing on the Consecration imo


Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 3,123 ratings.