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Temptation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,766 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,766
Reviews: 954
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 8.97%
Wants: 1,534
Gots: 738 | 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: 2,766 | Reviews: 954 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GRG1313


4.7/5  rDev +5.4%

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!

07-28-2009 04:35:12 | More by GRG1313
Photo of bulletrain76


4.43/5  rDev -0.7%

From the giant (9L?) batch 2 bottle opened by Vinnie at the brewpub during RBSG09. Hazy blond with a big white head. Funky, grainy, and tart lemon aroma. The flavor was a pretty straight-forward tart lemon with light grainy malt and light oaky vinous character. Some age seems to have smoothed this out, though I can't say that I've had it right after release. Medium-light body with medium carbonation. More mellow and drinkable than I was expecting actually. Very nice stuff.

07-25-2009 07:25:51 | More by bulletrain76
Photo of philipquarles


4.4/5  rDev -1.3%

375ml bottle from batch 002x3. Pours a very hazy dark gold with a billowing, meringue-like head. Very persistent and sticky. Smells lactic and citric, with a lot of light fruit. Plenty of barnyard character. Tastes quite sour, again with plenty of citrus going hand-in-hand with the lactic acid. Incredibly strong oak character with some musty brett notes. Noticeable bitterness leads to an extremely dry finish. Medium-bodied and very effervescent. Very drinkable for what it is. One of the most complex, refined beers I've had.

07-20-2009 23:01:10 | More by philipquarles


4.28/5  rDev -4%

As you pop the top on this one, the fog rolls out and carries with it a tart oak aroma.

Thick fluffy off white head reaches three fingers and turns rocky as it slowly fades. Lots of dots are left as lace. Body is a golden straw haze. Nose is absolutely penetrating as the yeast carries the sour funk like menthol. With first sip you are shown how the yeast really drives this beer. Lemon zest and cherry pits are at the heart of the sour feel that sits fat on the middle of the tongue. The tart feel is not big, it carries noticeable minerals and seems to be mellowed nicely by the oak. A nice orange, grapefruit rind sour feel stays on the back of the tongue and creates the mouthfeel. Very Chardonnay like drinkable.

06-16-2009 17:07:58 | More by SPLITGRIN
Photo of Sean9689


4.4/5  rDev -1.3%

I've been on an American Wild Ale run here as of late, might as well review this one as well. 375ml bottle into Duvel tulip.

A - Pours golden in color with a fluffy white head that leaves a ton of sticky lacing behind. Lots of white fizzy bubbles remain along the top of the beer and along the edge of the glass.

S - Funky, sour, tart, and fruity. Not as "wild" as the Supplication or Consecration, but based upon the reviews and talk, I expected this to be less of a wild compared to other offerings by Russian River.

T - A really nice blend of fruity and tart/sour with a nice oaky finish. Actually, a little more wild then I would have expected, based on the nose.

M - Light in body. A dry, champagne-like, finish. A very crisp beer that is refreshing as well. Lots of nice fizzy carbonation, perfect.

D - A super-drinkable wild. Even more so the the Supplication and Consecration, because it's a little less "wild" and a little more "tame". This is my only bottle, must find/buy/trade for more.

06-10-2009 00:31:42 | More by Sean9689
Photo of prototypic


4.53/5  rDev +1.6%

Batch #003

Temptation is very hazy and is radiant gold in color. Looks like pure sunshine with a little backlighting. Carbonation looks to be very active. It yields a foamy white head that stands over three fingers tall. Retention is nothing short of excellent. Waves of thick, sticky lace cling to the glass. Temptation is simply stunning to look at and is....well....very tempting. I can't imagine this being improved in any way.

The nose is very musky, earthy, and funky initially. A healthy infusion of Brett is very clear from the first whiff. A certain level of sourness is appreciated, but it doesn't smell overly sour at all. I certainly appreciate and like sour beer, but not when it's overly sour. Very positive sign there. Apple and pear fruity aromas are abundant. It smells a little sweet. Oak is prominent and adds a boatload of character. I'm anxious to find out how it impacted the flavor. This stuff smells excellent.

Wow! The first sip strongly suggests that this will be the finest experience I've had with an American Wild Ale to date. Apple and pear flavors are prevalent up front. They're very flavorful and have a bit of a white wine thing going. It is musky, funky, and has an impressive sour flavor that's only moderately intense. This is about as good as it gets for me in the sour world. Brett works absolute wonders here. It's delicious and not overly intense. The oak flavor is the cherry on top. It complements the other flavors tremendously. Despite the negative connotation, Temptation has loads of brilliant character. This is delicious stuff. Alcohol is masked extremely well and goes unnoticed. It finishes a little sour and funky. I'm really close to awarding a perfect score for flavor, but I just don't love it quite that much. I can't understate how close it is.

Temptation has a medium body that's very creamy and smooth. I'm frankly stunned at how smooth it is given the high carbonation. Somehow the bubbles seem light and subtle. Very impressive. Drinkability is very high for this stuff. The flavor is simply delicious and each drink invites another. This 375 is disappearing far too quickly. I only wish I had a few more.

Russian River is an amazing brewery. Everything that comes out of there is so impressive. I never imagined an American brewery crafting Belgian styles that actually rivaled (and often surpassed) authentic Belgians. But, they pull it off. Temptation is damn delicious. It's very refined and absolutely crammed with depth and character. But, it's not too bold and goes down like a dream. Personally, I believe this one's a little better than Supplication and Beatification. Not much, but enough to distinguish itself. If I could award tenths of points, the flavor would score better than a '4.5.' I've had this bottle for over a year now. I can't imagine the flavor's gotten worse. It's too good. But, it's held up incredibly well over that period of time. If you haven't been tempted enough to seek this out yet, you should do yourself a favor and do it. It's sinfully good.

05-24-2009 00:34:18 | More by prototypic
Photo of ckeegan04


4.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Thanks to crosling for the chance to try this one.

Batch #003

A - Golden orange with a huge foamy white cap. Excellent retention and huge, chunky lacing on the glass.

S - Very saison like in the aroma. Hints of barnyward and lots of sour fruits. CHerries are the dominant. A little lemon zest mixed in as well. Excellent aroma.

T - Sour and acidic up front. Some lemon and a faint grassiness. Sour apples as well. An excellent array of sour fruit flavors. A light spiciness as well that melds well with the sour fruits.

M/D - Crisp, clean and refreshing. Medium bodied with a velvety smooth feel. Excellent carbonation and ridiculously easy drinking.

05-18-2009 03:40:25 | More by ckeegan04
Photo of mikeale


4.33/5  rDev -2.9%

Received in the Secret Santa BIF 08 thanks, brandoman63

A. Blond, clear, white head and nice lacing.

S. Lemon, almost fruity, funk, brett,

T. I can taste the oak and wine barrel aging, sour, tart, refreshing

M. Light to medium body, high carbonation, tart finish.

D. I'm enjoying this, but not sure if I could drink this all the time. Not sure how rare this is either.

05-06-2009 00:46:25 | More by mikeale
Photo of ccrida


3.65/5  rDev -18.2%

Poured into my Russian River "TION" snifter, carefully off the of the yeast, which I'm saving for a wild ale I'm brewing right now. Temptation is cloudy gold with an huge, fluffy white head with nice rocky last that leaves massive chunks of lace.

Smell is a on the sweeter side, lemons and a bit floral. Nice pithy dryness too, really reminds me of a saison, especially as it warms, really nice.

Taste is on the softer side, the chardonnay definitely comes through, a nice clean malty sweetness and some fruity Belgian esters. Not much sourness or even barnyard funk though. I just had a Cascade The Vine, their muscat grape barrel aged sour, and wanted to compare them, but they're really night and day. Tempation is much softer, basically just a wine barrel aged BPA. Not really sour at all, more wine notes too. Good though, but I wanted more funk.

Mouthfeel is a bit too tannic for me, some drying alcohol, very chardonnay like there, save for the soft, creamy carbonation.

Drinkability is pretty good, a nice beer, but a bit of a disappointment in regards to my mood and expectations. I wanted a sour, and this one is really just a wine barrel blonde. But good for that for sure. And the price was stupid high, which was the final nail...

05-02-2009 05:02:40 | More by ccrida
Photo of JohnQVegas


4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Bottle into red wine glass, Batch 002. Thanks to Damien (Solomon420) for giving me the chance to try this one!

Pours cloudy apricot, with an irrepressible 2-finger fluffy white head that settles into a nice, dense cap. Solid lacing.

Smell is world class. Prominent funky barnyard and horseblanket mixes it up with nice lemony citrus and vanilla notes, with a subtle chardonnay presence underneath. Some minerals and a bit of alcohol round out the nose.

Taste is gorgeous. Tart and dry up front, with more white wine notes than you get in the nose; lemon-lime citrus, horseblanket, crisp. Finish starts off super clean, with notes of barnyard, citrus, soft white wine, oak, surfacing a bit after the swallow and hanging around, still get just a hint of dry, leafy hops at the very end. Just so complex.

Mouthfeel is light, crisp, dry.

Drinkability is very nice. Feel so lucky to have scored a bottle of this particular batch, just a great beer with so much complexity.

04-25-2009 18:31:59 | More by JohnQVegas
Photo of belgbeerdrinker


4.2/5  rDev -5.8%

a: yellow color, thick white foam layer, abundant bubbles
s: subtle sweetness on top of a champagne-like aromas mixed with slight tartness and oak
t: nice mix of tartness, mild sweetness and oak flavor; finishes crisp and slight sour
m: light to medium body, lots of carbonation and nice balance
d: surprisingly drinkable, just a nice balance to enjoy

04-22-2009 03:56:24 | More by belgbeerdrinker
Photo of sonicdescent


4.58/5  rDev +2.7%

Got this one courtesy of JDV. Thank you sir!

Pour is just fantastic. Insane head with perfect lacing over a murky golden liquid.

Smells of tart lemons, some other fruits, and a vinegary sourness.

Tastes just great, lemon zest, sour apple, a little wood. Another amazing beer from Russian River.

Mouth is relatively thin over high carbonation, this is where the beer needs to be.

Just a goddamn exceptional beer.

04-21-2009 23:06:44 | More by sonicdescent
Photo of PittBeerGirl


4.55/5  rDev +2%

375 ml bottle courtesy of Floydster. Batch 003. Thanks for the opportunity to try this beer..one of the priorities on my wants list! Poured into my snifter.

A- Body is a translucent golden yellow color. Pours with a solid 2-3 finger foamy white head. Leaves a lot of lacing behind in the glass and some film. When held up to the light one can see that this brew is uniform in cloudiness.

S-Nose is definitely there-but much softer than other sours I have experiences. The main characters are sour and salty-which I guess can be associated with vinegar-but I am getting more of an acidic sourness associated with a saltiness independent of that. Behind this all is a subtle sweetness that balances it all out.

T-Taste upfront is somewhat subtle and offers some tartness but there is enough of a presence of oak and granny smith apple (both tart and sweet components) flavors in the background to balance it out. The tartness comes trough some more for the finish but it is never unbearable or extreme in any way as there are some oaky characteristics that comes through as well. The finish is very clean as nothing lingers on the palate unless you lick your lips and get the moderately tart experience all over again... but I would not describe it as dry...because though there is a slight alcohol warmth it doesn't hinder the beer's taste.

M-Low to medium carbonation and body that has yeasty, phenolic, acidic, salty, dry, and moist components (hard to explain but something one needs to experience).

D- This is an awesome sour/American Wild Ale by Russian River and something that I wish I would have had as a precursor to Deviation, Issabelle, and Beatification as those were all much more tart than this brew. A 375 ml serving of this is perfect and offers a lot of complexity and a great tasting experience. Russian River clearly does a great job with their sours and this one is a very balanced one. This is in its current state, IMO, the perfect introduction to sours.

03-14-2009 02:58:36 | More by PittBeerGirl
Photo of PeprSprYoFace


4.88/5  rDev +9.4%

Batch 003. Bout a couple last year when they were released. I am just starting to like sours so now I am reviewing it.

Poured into my "TION" glass. Pours a very nice semi cloudy light honey color with a very nice white head that sticks all over the glass.

Smell is great. Lots of bret funk with some wine and oaky characteristics. Smells semi sweet too.

Taste is wonderful. Nice and crisp sourness with a smooth oakyness. The malt lends a certain sweet character that is wonderful.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Nothing else to say.

An awesome brew from an awesome brewery. Hands down the best brewery out there in my opinion.

03-10-2009 07:09:15 | More by PeprSprYoFace
Photo of madtowndmb1


4.25/5  rDev -4.7%

Had this on-tap at Toronado.

It poured a hazy yellow straw color. Smelled sour with a hint tart/lemon? Very nice. I liked the sour that was going on here, but I couldn't pick up much else, maybe some fruits. Very easy to drink and I could have alot of these and really enjoy every last one... Great wild ale.

02-19-2009 06:09:21 | More by madtowndmb1
Photo of lacqueredmouse


4.43/5  rDev -0.7%

It was quite a trek around the Bay Area for me to find one of these. Well, it was a profitable way to spend a Saturday.

Uncorks with a massive "thok". No gush, fortunately. Slightly cloudy with a little disturbed sediment, a nice yellow gold colour, with a wonderful thick head. Excellent lacing. Looks great.

Nose is redolent of white wine, massive oakiness and light sour overtones of must and fermentation. So much oak though - I love it. Deep and earthy, but with lighter fruitier notes shining through. Cherries, citrus and kaffir lime. Great. Just great.

Taste is huge, with a massive tongue-slicing of organic acidity. Green apples, young sauvignon blanc grapes, even tending towards the sourness of lemons and limes. Mouthfeel is quite smooth and full, lending some gravitas to the enormous spike of puckering acidity.

What an amazingly flavoursome beer. It sure packs a punch; easily as good as some of the Belgian Geuezes I've had the pleasure to try.

Amazingly drinkable and refreshing with a quite incredibly powerful taste profile. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

02-13-2009 07:43:09 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of tjthresh


3.58/5  rDev -19.7%

Batch 002. Bottle shared by MI2CA. Pours clear straw yellow with some nice white head. The nose comes off as tangy sour cream with a bit of fruit. The flavor is sort of yogurt-ish. I get some white wine character as well. Light body with sprite carbonation and a bone dry finish. Pretty good. stuff. Thanks for sharing Ted.

02-11-2009 13:26:43 | More by tjthresh
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.78/5  rDev +7.2%

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.

02-06-2009 20:08:27 | More by biegaman
Photo of organicbrewer


4.18/5  rDev -6.3%

Traded with mymrnngjckt, thanks!

375 ML, batch 003. Cork pop was crazy lound and probably freaked out the neighbors.

A-Full on gold. Slightly cloudy. Huge White head that won't go away

S- Lemon peels. light woodyness that gets stronger as the beer warms. some crackery brett.

T-Awesome dry lemonaid. Slight oak. Very Tart! Perfect for a hot day.

M- Dry, with some wood tannins on the back of my tongue. Might be a little much

D- Tasty beer that is dry and tart. I could and would have more.

02-03-2009 00:18:40 | More by organicbrewer
Photo of antilogic


4.5/5  rDev +0.9%

Served on tap at O'brien's TION night in a 13oz Chimay.

I've had this in bottle (batch 003) on several occasions, and found that I didn't enjoy it on tap as much. The oak comes through, and the beer really lives up to its description (is it a beer? is it a wine?). Blonde in color, big white head lacing. Medium sourness, tart fruits, oak, lemon come through. Medium bodied, dry, refreshing. Very good.

02-02-2009 06:25:40 | More by antilogic
Photo of BeerStine


3.85/5  rDev -13.7%

Batch 003. Poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Cork comes off explosively. An aggressive pour produced a ton of white fluffy head. Color is yellowish tan with champagne like heavy carbonation. The smell of apple and chardonnay are amazing. Also the malts smell of tree bark. Smells kind of like a musky white wine. The taste of wine is the first thing that went through my head. Makes my cheeks tingle upon swallowing. Taste is also similar to the smell: apples and chardonnay. Doesn't really wonder on my tongue but maybe its not supposed to? Mouthfeel is great: heavily carbonated with a lighter body. Drinkablility is good. Just like champagne, I'm not so sure that I'd want to drink more than one bottle (unless it were new years eve).

Overall, a very well crafted beer. Russian River definitely broke the mold with this one.

02-02-2009 01:40:17 | More by BeerStine
Photo of paytoplay


4.65/5  rDev +4.3%

World class brew. Chardonnay flavors meld well with beer. Great weight and texture. Silky, very easy to drink. Fun to drink. O'Briens 15th annv keg. Outstanding length to this beer. Distinct flavors and beautiful. The most femenin beer I've had. Also improves with age though the keg was a recent batch I believe. My #1 best RR beer aged in oak. Exceptional!

02-01-2009 00:30:53 | More by paytoplay
Photo of bbothen


4.22/5  rDev -5.4%

Summer 2008

Pours out into a chalice a pale straw color with a pillowy & fluffy 2 finger deep white head. The lacing is glue like on the glass.

The aroma. Wow. Funky, musty, requisite barnyard & horse blanket, faint wood, lemon, spicy. Unique to say the least.

Sour/tart puckering right up front, after the tartness subsides there are wonderful lemon, wood, bready, pear, acidic, apple flavors that are quite nice.

Dry, medium bodied, zesty carbonation, yeah zesty, refreshing.

A good entry level brew to American Wild style. Will be having again. No doubt.

01-30-2009 21:09:53 | More by bbothen
Photo of QuentinCompson


4.6/5  rDev +3.1%

12.7 oz bottle (Batch 003) into Orval chalice

A - 1.5 finger head into cm film; Golden, murky brew; inviting; random lacing

S - Wine, Brett yeast, peppery fruits, slight spice

T-M - Smooth, nicely carbed intro, sourness starts creeping in over malts; wild champagne taste; nose gets increasingly sour, but not too much at all; more fruit & champagne (not vinegary); nice notes from the Brett; awesome peppery finish, almost like a drop of Tabasco.

D - This beer is inspired. Amazing. May take some getting used to, but you cant deny its genius. Could drink it all night if I was so lucky.

01-29-2009 04:14:16 | More by QuentinCompson
Photo of laituegonflable


3.78/5  rDev -15.2%

Pale golden colour, cloudy appearance with steady bead feeding a decent snowy head that isn't hanging around for encores but is leaving a deliciously fragile lacing cradle. Great, for the lacing. Otherwise nothing exciting.

Really very delicious nose. Champagne characters with a slight sour fruit element but a lot of pleasant grapey aromas. Slight hint of a tang, not quite sherbety but sherbety is the closest I can come, linguistically.

Wow. And...wow. Okay, that taste really surprised the arse off of me. (If I'd known what this was, perhaps not quite as much, but still) Very, very mouth-puckering sour palate, but yes I was dead right about the tang because there it is loud and clear. It's very citrusy really, like lemon squash that's leant too heavily on the lemon. At the same time, a very rich, robust mid-palate, rather (I'd say) champagney again. Like the tang on the nose, it's kind of like poorly-hidden alcohol, only without the alcohol intensity. Just a rich billowy palate, like a cloud of octopus ink. Full marks, beer, for the surprise factor. And a fascinating palate to boot.

Not an everyday chugalug beer but an interesting, bold palate that grabs you by the balls and spits in your face "I am an interesting, bold palate." Mouthfeel is very puckering. I feel it killing my tastebuds with its acidity.

01-13-2009 05:41:59 | More by laituegonflable
Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 2,766 ratings.