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Temptation - Russian River Brewing Company

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3,175 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,175
Reviews: 977
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 8.97%
Wants: 1,643
Gots: 862 | FT: 48
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: 3,175 | Reviews: 977
Photo of Spider889
4.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Review #500!

Bottle traded to me by bobertkuekn. Outside of Beatification this was the last Russian River sour that I was really excited to get my hands on. Luckily I got two 375's, one for tonight, and one for a later date.

This is batch 05X1F, bottled on 7/06/2010. Just over a year of age on her.

Poured into a Lost Abbey tulip. Temptation is a bright golden honey color that has some of the best clarity and lacing I have ever seen on an American Wild. The head is white and sticky, with a nice short cap of foam that lasted the entire glass. Just stunning.

Smelled immediately of white wine, the minute the cork popped. On closer inspection buttery chardonnay and sweet golden grapes spring forth. Funky oak and juicy brett waft up at me, even at a distance. I am finding that I really enjoy sours aged in white wine barrels. This is the best Russian River beer I have had to date.

The taste explodes with all of the attractive qualities of a fine white wine. The beer is nice and sour, but not anything overpowering or enamel peeling. Oak and dusty attic funk round out the beer. The lasting finish is of a more mineral quality.

Dry with a nice oaky presence. Light body with moderate carbonation.

Overall an exceedingly excellent beer. Far better than I could have wished it to be. Now my appetite is truly wet for a taste of Beatification. The hunt is on!

Photo of Beejay
4.32/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch O51XE

A: It pours a light straw color, almost the color of a light pilsner. In the glass it is a slightly dusty pear or grapefruit color. The head looks very dense, but soft, and is white.

S: Tart, with a lot of acidic smells, the vinegar is really present in this. Some oak notes, and just a hint of a light fruitiness that reminds me of champaign. As I continue to smell it, there almost seems to be a hint of vanilla.

T: Very tart at first, with some light citrus flavors. A little bit of vinegar, but not the bomb I was expecting. Some light wine notes as well as a touch of oak. This is a gentle flavor, and not overpowering. There is a little something odd that clings in the finish, but overall I really enjoy it.

M: Medium to medium light in body, with a certain softness to it. Plenty of carbonation, with a decent tingle.

O: Overall I really like it, enough sour that you can get your kick, but not so overpowering that it wrecks your palate for the rest of the night.

Photo of beerfan99
4.72/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 4x1 - 750 ml bottle - cellared since Fall 2009

A: Light golden in color and unfiltered. Carbonated well enough to create a lasting white head. Bubbles persist well after pouring.

S: Very sour, tart, and funky. The oak and wine aromas are the only things that make it past the brett.

T: Equally impressive to the smell. Oak flavors hit the palate, follow by the wine flavors. This is one very tart and sour beer, though not overdone.

M: Carbonation levels are on the high side, which is good because this provides a bubbly feel to the palate. Mouth feels coated with Temptation flavors long after swallowing. Very nice.

O: After being introduced to Temptation in 2009, this beer has been near the top of my list since. In my opinion Temptation is an excellent wild ale, that although is very sour and tart, remains very drinkable and is very smooth and easy to drink. The batch I reviewed is Batch 4 and is several years old with a couple remaining. I think the taste is changing a little, but still fantastic, from the bottle I opened several months ago.

Photo of jcartamdg
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden 1 finger head into my ccb snifter, a lot of carbonation is present. Aroma of white wine, oak and green apples. Tastes follows the nose, a mix between apple cider, oak and white wine. Very smooth and drinkable. Very tasty, complex yet easy to drink and refreshing.

Photo of kbnooshay
4.92/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a cloudy golden dark straw color with a small frothy white head. Not much lacing. Aroma is sour with loads of chardonnay. Wow. Tastes like Chardonnay and grapefruit. Acidic like a dry white wine with a pleasant citric flavor. Very drying. Lots of palate cleaning scrubbing bubbles. Incredible. So complex, bright and oddly refreshing! A Sour bretty masterpiece. Tingly feel and very drinkable.

Photo of philbe311
4.77/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 05X1F

A - A full three fingers worth of pure white head that is tightly packed and whimsical... Very solid retention gives way to a slightly creamy froth of lacing... The color is a pale yet sleek golden yellow... There are an array of mixed sized moderate paced bubbles within...

S - The aroma is dominated by charming white wine and oak notes... White grapes... Golden raisins... Apples... Pears... Some yeasty notes... Just a very subtle muskiness... Complex, rich, and rewarding...

T - Woody and oak notes are the first to touch the palette... The white wine notes are undeniable... Apple... Pear... White grapes... Golden raisins... Just the slight tart notes on the back of the tongue... Just a touch of funkiness...

M - Regal and sophisticated... Very limited carbonation yet effervescent... Slightly lush to start... Slightly dry to finish... Sleek and smooth throughout...

D - This is the first Russian River "tion" that has liven up to the hype... Complexities galore... Sophistication galore... I could drink this endlessly... Wonderful concept... Excellent execution... A must try for all BAs, just to see what the upper limits of brewing really are...

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

05X1F in a Duvel tulip. Been staring at this one for a while ...after an exhausting weekend, on this warm late-summer evening, it's time.

Appearance. Pours a clear, light gold-amber with a fluffy white 2 fingers that lasts a while.

Smell. White wine, funky bret and wood. A little mixed tart fruits ...apples, pears, peaches.

Taste. Tart, green apple, pear and peaches. White wine and oak present, but less than the smell. Nice light funk and yeast. Very tart without vinegar qualitites. Alcohol well hidden.

Mouthfeel. Light body, especially considering abv. Medium, lively, fine carbonation.

Overall. Very nice. Drinking something sophisticated like this makes beer seem very serious. I'll drink it again.

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

Russian River : Temptation

12oz corked and caged. Opens with a resounding pop, and pours a bright gold sporting a fierce, crackling white head. The aroma is full of brett, funk, and alittle grapey. Strong sour notes, almost mimicking lemon rind, but more bitter and sour than that. Musty, funky, and oaky tannins are present with some wood notes, mildly astringent but sour the whole way through. Mouthfeel is light bodied, very dry, yet quenching as well. Overall, this is a serious beer, for serious beer crusaders. Fantastic.

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

I am sure my review will be like most others. This I savored this beer for over an hour. I wish I had a easier access to it. Served from a 375ml bottle into a Stone tulip glass. Bottle date was 05X1E.

a: Honestly I could have given this a 5, I didn't cause well I hope I never find a perfect beer... But the appearance is quite crystal clear. Golden to very light orange in color with noticeable carbonation throughout the drinking process. Head stuck around as well. I could look at this beer all day.

s: Along with looking at it, I spent 10 minutes just smelling the beer before I even took a drink. The smell of oak, grapes and chardonnay hit you at 1st, then the brett takes over which leaves you to smell again. Aroma is very complex.

t: Taste is just as complex as the aroma. Wine grapes, oak, earthy funkiness, melons, citrus some apple. The tartness of the beer hits you up front but then quickly give way to the complexity

m: Very carbonated, which is a good thing. Prickly on the tongue. Very dry finish which I love in a good beer.

o: I have to say that before I had this that Supplication was my favorite RR beer. That has been beaten by this. One if not the best beers I have ever drank, and wish I had access to all the time. I kind of hate myself for drinking it....

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

375ml bottle, Batch 05X1E

the elusive temptation - nobody ever sent you to me so I moved to the west coast to find you. well not really, but its good to have.

appearance: served in my ale asylum chalice, glowing pale golden body, bubbly carbonation

smell: instantaneously - ah yes, the chardonnay barrel...big oaky aroma, vinous white grapes, tart green apple, brett funk

taste: obviously exceptional - the undisputed (in my eyes) best american brewery really hits the mark with temptation. I guess a prerequisite to enjoying this beer is the appreciation of a nice oaked chardonnay. Oak, belgian sugars, tart green apple, white grape, funky brett bite, melon. Righteous.

mouthfeel: light, lively, well carbonated

overall: exceptional

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

My favorite sour yet. Uncanny balance, layers and layers of grass, goat, saison-ish funk, lemons and other tasty tart-ness countered with chardonay style tropical flavors, baltant but not overstated oak, and custardy malt with hops all up front. Dry and lovely.

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

A: Pale yellow color with a thin off-white head.

S: Chardonnay, wood, lemon and a touch of white vinegar.

T: Green apples, a punch of sourness and some apple cider vinegar on the finish. A definite touch of lemon as well. This is definitely the most delicate of the RR sours I've had but everything about it just works. Amazing.

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

drank this on friday night along side several other RR sours.

reviewed from notes.

Appearance: Brilliant yellow bodied beer with a nice tall 2 fingers head made of many small bubbles.

Smell: Lemon, citris, light hay.

Taste: lemon and citrus. Hay and a sour funk. White grapes and hints of an oak barrel. This is an elegant beer!

Mouthfeel: Light in body and high in carbonation. Dry finish that does tend to remind you of a champaigne.

Overall: man what a beer! This is my favorite beer from RR hands down! It is delicate, balanced, and complex. WOW!

Photo of surlytheduff
4.12/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 05X1F into a Duvel tulip. A vigorous pour left a big pillowy white head that sat hissing atop a clear golden-straw colored body. Head didn't stick around long, and left small blotches of lace along the sides of the glass. Nose was white grape, oak, grass, apple and an overall light sour funkiness. Taste brought out a lemon component that I didn't get in the nose. The white wine presence was more noticeable in the taste than the smell. The tartness was relatively light in the taste, but pleasantly refreshing. Finish had a slight bitterness to it. Mouthfeel was light with a high amount of carbonation and a dry finish. Overall a tasty and refreshing beer.

Photo of jamescain
4.62/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 375ml into a White Birch flute glass, thanks to jwjon1 for sending me this one

Appearance: Light yellow with small bubbles streaming to the top with a fluffy white head about two fingers thick that fades into a thin lacing over the top of the beer.

Aroma: A hint or lemon zest, tart apples and barnyard funk with a subtle fruitiness. Very complex and very enjoyable to just there and smell.

Taste: Sour and tart up front but incredibly complex. A touch of oak on the finish with, citrus, sour apples, and white grapes interwoven in the taste upfront.

Mouthfeel: Champagne like effervesce with a dry lingering sour finish.

Overall: So far this is the best sour/ wild ale I have had to date. Incredibly complex and very well blended. This is easily a beer I could drink all the time.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.39/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

enjoyed this at a barrel aged tasting on 2011-08-06 alongside a sanctification, supplication, and consecration.

much like the sanctification this one is straw yellow and with a thin bubbly head. the nose is sweet tart, apple, pear, but more green grape than sanctification. much better in the flavor as well. quite tasty...apple, pear, and green grape. mouth is nice, but nothing crazy. this was a great sour. i'm not a huge fan of sours, but this was one that i was very impressed with.

Photo of ShanePB
4.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Signature Russian River corked and caged 375 ml bottle pulled from the cellar. Batch 05X1F, I've been sitting on this one for just a few months and decided I was in the mood for something sour. Served at cellar temperature, around 55ºF, poured into a tulip glass.

A: Golden orange semi-hazy body, topped with a pure white fluffy and sudsy head. The dissipation is rather rapid although a retention cap sticks around for the entire consumption. Some minor lacing is present, a bit less than I like to see but still quite a gorgeous beer to look at.

S: Dandelions, rose hips, floral "spice," peach, lemon zest, oak and white grapes. All come through on their own but blend to give a very light, crisp and tart fragrance. Towards the end of the nose, a hint of white grapefruit comes forward with its acidic character.

T: At first, the tart and puckering nature of this beer is obvious. Sweet and tart white grapes coat the palate, along with lemon and honey. A slight oak note is in the finish but there's really no lingering taste other than a bit of a dry bite. The woodiness I thought might be overpowering but it is well displayed and evidence the use of the French Oak Chardonnay barrels for it's secondary aging is masterfully done.

M: On the lower end of a medium-bodied beer, sparkling and bubbly like a champagne. The finish is semi-dry across the palate and slightly prickly.

Well, of all the "standard" Russian River Wild Ales I've sampled, this one might just be my favorite. I feel it's extremely balanced in both aromas and flavors, while providing enough depth, complexity and balance to be a showpiece for a Wild Ale. The aging on French Oak Chardonnay barrels was the touch that took this beer above and beyond my expectations for the style.

Photo of projectflam86
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml batch 05X2E

A- Pours a crystal clear golden color with a thin white head that leaves some lace.

S- Bright lemon sour nose with some wine and Brett funk. Ripe citrus fruit with a hint of oak.

T- Tart right off the bat with plenty of must and sourness. The Chardonnay Barrels work wonders with this flavor profile. Some light oak and vanilla flavors are noticeable in the finish with just a tough of alcohol. Tart apples and pepper add some depth.

M- Medium bodied with good carbonation. Fairly dry and mouth puckering!

O- This is one fantastic sour. Huge flavor without any individual component being too overpowering.

Photo of rlee1390
4.45/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Cloudy yellow, two finger head, carbonated and some lacing.

S-Wheat, yeast and grapes

T-Tart, not quite mouth puckering sour but what it lacks in extreme sour it makes up for balance. Lemony and grassy. Some oak. A Sharper not as long lasting sour.

M-Light and carbonated, unlike the other RR sours I've had so far.

O-So far the best. Not the most sour but it is the most balanced of the bunch. The lemon like flavors make this a great brew.

Photo of birchstick
4.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 05X2F; poured into a RR snifter. Both provided by KevSal.

A - pours a straw yellow without much of a head

S - soft white grapes, tart fruits, and a Brett blanket thrown on top

T - tart green fruits (apples, pears, pineapples (not green)) make a grand entrance and set the tone for the rest of the brew. A nice vinous flavor is up next, as to be expected from the chardonnay barrel aging. Somewhere in here is a nice sweat-like funkiness added by the Brett. Ends with a semi-acidic rind tartness and more vinous flavors intertwined with some subtle oak character. More sour than I was expecting and has a really nice depth to it as well. Really good stuff!

M - a champagne-like mouthfeel with spritzy bubbles and a nice foamy, yet slick (almost buttery), body.

D - this is the best 'tion' RR beer I have had to date. Really enjoyable all the way around. Good thing I have one more bottle, but I feel like that still isn't sufficient enough. Highly recommended.

Photo of starrdogg
4.12/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a golden-yellow with a thin white head and tiny bubbles floating through. No lacing to speak of.

S: Aroma incredibly sour (you pucker just smelling it) with white grapes and a little bit of funk to it. Perfect wild ale smell if you ask me. I can't wait to drink it.

T: After the intensely sour smell, the taste is a bit of a let-down - it's not nearly as sour as I expected. Still somewhat sour, but I'm getting a lot more oak and white wine notes from it. It's quite light and easy to drink, definitely not as big of a flavor as the other two regular RR sours.

M: Very light with a dry finish. It's also rather carbonated in a champagney sort of way.

O: My personal opinion - this is the weakest of the 3 regular Russian River sours, but it's still one of the best year-round wild ales out there. It's just not as complex as its brothers. Perhaps it's just because I'm more of red wine than white wine drinker, but I just don't find this one as interesting. It's a tasty, easy to drink, refreshing wild however.

Photo of Adrianized
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 05X2E poured into a snifter.

Pours a pale golden color, carbonation is seen rising from the bottom of the glass.  Half finger white head quickly settles to only a thin film.  Nice lacing.

Immediately I'm hit with sour Brett.  This is followed by a winey note, light citrus, and soured fruit such as cherries and a touch of strawberries.

Taste is initially light.  Sourness is gueze-like, not any particular fruit.  Well, maybe cherries... Im having trouble picking something.  Barrel aging is evident with woodey, oakey notes.  Chardonnay does come through, a nice touch.  Finishes lightly sour, moderately funky, and dry.

Mouthfeel is full-bodied, yet light and easy drinking.  Carbonation is just right.

Overall, this was a solid barrel aged sour ale.  Also, not mouth puckeringly sour.  Nothing bad can come from RR.

Photo of gigaknight
4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- The cork lets loose with a convincing *POP*, and the beer pours a very evidently bubbly gold ale. A pleasantly filmy 1/2 finger head lingers atop the bright and lively body.

S- You can smell this one from a foot away, cheek puckering tartness of a lemony persuasion met with some dank wet wood. This is definitely an acquired taste, as the nose is almost unpleasing if taken out of context. If you're a fan of the style, however, it's divine.

T- Soft citrus and a bit of hop roll across the palate before the tartness crescendos into full on sour. Oak flavors give some great texture to the finished product, smoothing out the rough edges of such a bold yeast strain. The chardonnay comes through a bit less than I had expected, probably because it gets overwhelmed by the acidity of the sour. There's hardly any detectable alcohol.

M- Dry and tart, this is a very refreshing beer. It's quite bubbly, of course, and it wouldn't have worked were it any thicker. The sour kick never gets old, and doesn't wear on the palate much. The aftertaste rolls through lightly with a nice blend of mild hop bitterness and resonant acidity.

O- Though American wild ales aren't my sour of choice, the four that I've had from Russian River's series have been greatly enjoyable and a refreshing change of pace.

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

Served in a stemless crystal Chardonnay glass. Thanks Chickencoop!

Pours a brilliant gold into the glass, a light head rings the outside of the glass. Small bubbles float on a lake of beautiful pale yellow.

The smell wafts up, hitting me in the face. A puckering sour full of bright fruits, white grapes, muscadines, and a light barn-like flavor.

Taste is reserved and elegant. This beer knows what it's doing. The wine-like brightness and light sour blend in an amazing combination. A metallic bite on the end that has an earthiness to it, this beer is a gentle giant, a soft-spoken hulking behemoth.

Clearly this beer is over my head. I'm not sure I can pick out all the flavors, and I'm not entirely certain I ever could, no matter how much I had. I said a prayer silently thanking God and Vinnie for this thing of beauty. It's unfortunate, not sure other sours will ever be able to measure up.

Photo of beergod1
4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very carbonated pour from the bottle, big bubbly off white head, which dissipates quickly. Hazy straw yellow pour.I smell Oak, Tropical fruit, some alcohol and funk as the beer warms up.
Delicious wild ale taste, tart, yeast, and bready, a subtle oak barrel woodiness, a soft spicy hoppiness, the alcohol is well masked, but warming in the palate, and a dry. Palate is medium to thin which makes this very drinkable. The sourness is present in the taste, but is not overpowering. RR knows what it's doing.

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Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 3,175 ratings.