1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Temptation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,178 Ratings

(view ratings)
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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 3,178 | Reviews: 977
Photo of MrKennedy
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle, batch 05x1E, split three ways and served into a 7oz glass. Huge thanks to mulder1010 for this long time want!

Deep golden colour verging on old gold. Pours with a modest soft, white head of foam that is retained throughout.

The funk is obvious, but inoffensive. Slight yeasty bread aroma, but otherwise it is funk and a little hint of coconut as well.

The taste is obviously sour as intended. Tiny bits of lemon citrus come through, the middle is where the chardonnay is noticeable, capturing all the delicate fruitiness of grapes and lacking any harshness. The finish has a small touch of oak, but is otherwise very well balanced given the sour nature of the beer.

The mouthfeel is smooth, silky at times, the alcohol is not anywhere near present, let alone there to burn. There is a nice softness to it, counteracted by the sourness.

Overall, a classy, refined, well balanced, but still sour ale that lived up to high expectations.

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

Batch 005 375ml poured into my bruery tulip.

Appearance- Pours a golden tinted lemon color with a two finger head that left a good amount of lacing. It settled down into a ring around the outside of the glass with splotches in the middle.

Smell- It has a great barnyard funk that I've come to expect from RR sours. But also has a great white grape fruitiness to it. Also gets a bit of a vinegar note. More citrusy fruits after the white grape. A very layered smell that I really enjoyed.

Taste- Typical RR funk, barnyard, citrus. Where Temptation comes into it's own is the apple and grape fruitiness that you get from the white wine barrels. It has a lot of chardonnay qualities that it picked up from the barrels that are just excellent.

Mouthfeel- Very carbonated. It seemed to almost have a champagne carbonation where you could see bubbles pluming up the entire glass. It has a very good mouthfeel to it. A light to medium body.

Overall- One of my favorite RR sours. I think this one is a great example of how close we can get to beer with sours. This sour is on the sour side of the spectrum.

Photo of megahurts4
4.22/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Russian River Temptation

Appearance: clear yellow, small head, and some good lacing.

Smell: sourness and grain.

Taste: bitter sourness, slight malt with faint grain, and a chardonnay grape finish.

Mouthfeel: medium and bitter.

This is a good sour. The flavors come in stages and deliver like a nice wine.

Photo of abraxel
4.08/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted blind as part of Blind BIF 5, courtesy of sholland119. Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - A healthy golden orange, only slightly hazy, with a finger or two of pure white head. Not any lacing, it seems.

S - A touch of fruity Belgian yeast, a little bit of bready malt. Perhaps some citrus. Smells like a good Belgian pale ale, but the aroma is a bit weak.

T - Oops, not a pale ale! Lots of citrusy sourness and some yeasty funk. (I still can't confidently tell the difference between pure brett and spontaneously fermented sour/funk...) There's just enough sweet malt to keep it balanced, but the overall impression is dry and crisp, almost like a dry white wine. Really tasty.

M - Relatively smooth, with a lot of carbonation. It fits the beer really well.

Overall, awesome. This is really good and the glass is empty much faster than I expected it to be.

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

first temptation, batch 05x2F, saw that i had a few bottles and it seemed like a beer i should finally try. a perfect drink for a summer day. the color was pretty standard light blond, poured the entire bottle and no hint of cloudiness, maybe 1 finger of foam that settled a bit but lasted through the entire glass. smell was funky, obvious sour, nothing exciting, but nothing off putting either. taste was phenomenal. so clean and crisp. mostly lemons, very sour for the style. great carbonation and makes this beer incredibly drinkable. i wish I had more than 375ml.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
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
3.88/5  rDev -13%
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
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
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
3.7/5  rDev -17%
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
4.42/5  rDev -0.9%
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
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
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
4.38/5  rDev -1.8%
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
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%
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
4.36/5  rDev -2.2%
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
3.97/5  rDev -11%
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.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 3,178 ratings.