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Temptation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,089 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,089
Reviews: 973
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 9.19%
Wants: 1,570
Gots: 820 | 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:
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: 3,089 | Reviews: 973 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of trevorjn06
4.45/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear straw/yellow with a thin, fizzy head that dissipates quickly and leaves some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is tart, slightly sweet, funky, earthy, fruity and zesty. There are hints of lemon, citrus, peach, earth, vanilla and sourness.

Taste is amazingly complex, there are layers of light malt, multiple fruits (apples, peaches, lemons), some spice, light oak, funk and a very nice tartness. The finish leaves tartness, white wine flavors and fruits an the tongue.

Mouthfeel is medium/light bodied and very effervescent.

Overall this beer is light, refreshing, complex and tart, though the sourness is more retrained than in most of the sour/wild ales I have had lately. Russian River beers are not cheap, but if you want to try a beer that will bend your perceptions of the beverage, pick one up.

Photo of far333
3.65/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Many thanks to Barleywinefiend for sharing this one. Served in a tulip glass.

Slightly hazed but clear straw yellow color with a bright white fluffy head that settles out slowly and leaves swirls of lace up the sides of the glass.

Aroma of green apple, kiwi, a bit musty, some mild yeastiness. Flavor is initially tart, some yeastiness rolls in, followed by white grape and some woody notes, morphing to cinnamon and ginger, ripe pear, and a subtle nutmeg linger.

Mouthfeel is crisp and dry, a bit puckery. Average drinkability for me as this one seems more like a specialty beer and not a quaffer.

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

Another brew i have to thank Adam for cheers mate i must admit this has been one of those brews ive been hanging to sample,it pours a semi see through golden blonde hue with nice carbonation that leaves behind a two finger head and heaps of sporadic lacing,the aroma is straight out pretty much exactly like a fine wooded chardonay with hints of apples,gooseberries,kiwi fruit,white grapes and of course oak,it has a nice light to medium bodied mouthfeel which really suits it and it starts off with a white grape mouthpuckering sourness which is followed by a tropical punch,oaky hit and at the very end the sour white wine notes really come through and to be quite honest overall in my mind and palette this a truly exceptional brew where the two elements of beer and wine go hand in hand and since i dont mind the odd wine now and again i can truly say it is very drinkable and just wish it was a regular to our shores.

Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
3.88/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375 of batch 05x1f.
this beer appears to mingle with the best, its got a wonderful golden hue and just looks immensely tasty sitting in front of me. the head is thin and white and doesnt last very long. it smells like a good mix of funk, lemon, and hay. despite the fact that i gave it good ratings across the board, i feel like it really went downhill from what i expected. by no means does this mean its a bad beer, because its not. i guess its just the first example of one of many hyped beers that i was just expecting more. hopefully my second bottle with a little time on it will prove me wrong. it tastes delicious initially, but the backend lets up quite a bit and im left looking for more of a finish. the carbonation is just right. i enjoy drinking it, and were it not for the pricetag id be more willing to experiment more with it. perhaps i needed to have the whole bottle to myself but alas i shared with my girlfriend.. and she seems to feel the same way. also duely noted, as this beer warms up, it shines a bit more and starts to come a little closer to true form. ill remember that for next time for a better experience.

Photo of meeekyh
4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Before I even get to writing anything else or noticing the color or head, straight away I get bubblegum smells wafting off of the glass.

I choose my St Bernardus chalice and pour from the 750 marked as batch 004X1. Head is white and ale is light golden and clear. Dissipation of head and lacing are both quick and tiny.

Bubblegum wafts into oblivion and what remains smells salty and spicy and fruity and carnal. I am impressed with the complexity and the depth. I find the sea itself is presented in this beer; maybe the oak is the culprit here.
Taste is tart and bright with chardonnay complexities and a smooth balance.

Feel is light and carbonation is full while the finish is neither dry nor sweet, but neutral and balanced.

I have been holding this beer for rather awhile (6 mo maybe) for me and I am glad I got into it when I did. It is more drinkable than I imagined but mot worth the $23 price tag. I have had many beers that were more enjoyable for substantially fewer dollars.

I would say get some if you need a change of pace and have money to burn. It resembles a Flanders ale and is quite good if you like the style.


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

On tap at Eulogy Belgian Tavern, Olde City during their sour week.

Poured into a tulip, a hazy golden/orange color with about one finger of off white hesd that dissipates quickly leaving little if any lacing.

Aroma is sour, earthy. Sour apples/grapes.

Taste is not overly sour. Fruity and tart flavor. You can pick up on the chardonnay fritiness from the barrels that it was aged in.

The mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Dry on the finish.

Very drinkable. Becomes more funky as it warms. I like this beer...

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


A: Poured into my Duvel tulip, this brew pours a golden yellow hue with a white capped head that is a little too bubbly and quick to die off.

S: The aroma is complexly loaded with sour white grapes. Slight oak and very natural grassy/field-like aromas.

T: My favorite sour so far, this Ale has flavors of sour white grapes, cider, Belgium clove and spice; all rolled up into a nice tart ball of awesomeness.

MF: Mouthfeel is a little light for a Belgium inspired brew, but well carbonated and refreshing.

D: As far as sour Ales go, this one is very drinkable, well crafted, and not at all to tart.

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

Had this with Thanksgiving dinner (kept bread and water as a palate cleanser while I snuck this one past my grandmother pretending it was sparkling cider... you gotta do what you gotta do).

I have to say. Underwhelming. Combined with the positive reviews and the price point, I think the brett, chardonnay, and everything else mentioned in the description was just a bit too much. The appearance is downright fantastic light and golden. The head and lacing are wonderful. Its smell is funky and complex. There's a lot in there, tart, sour, dry, oak, and it's like they all come out in the smell. The problem is I just don't really like it. The taste is the same. It's a sour beer, and remains wild. But these can be hit or miss.

Much respect goes to it though, as the light body complements the nice carbonation to have an easy sipper. And it's again, highly drinkable for someone who wants it, but not for me.

Especially not at upwards of $10 for a 12oz.


UPDATE: Original 11-26-10 review gave it a "B", but having had it more recently, wow... my tastes have evolved. I really loved this one. Truly truly did. Still an expensive bottle, and I think there are others that are a bit cheaper and just as good quality, but man this one is good. It's a welcome indulgence. Moving taste from 3.5 to 4.5, smell from 3.5 to 4.0, and overall from 3.5 to 4.0.

Photo of KAP1356
4.53/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 375 ml bottle marked Batch 05x1F which was bottled on 7/6/2010 into a Victory Golden Monkey tulip...

A - Pours a hazy, slightly couldy golden yellow color. A nice well carbonated fissy white head forms about 1.5 fingers high. Head fades to form a nice collar of the same color.

S - Sour and funky with great fruit aromas. I get lemon, some green apple, white grapes and some slight banana. Also getting lots of great funk, barnyard brett characteristics as well. Really nice chardonnay notes and oak as well.

T - White grapes, lemon zest, chardonnay, and great barnyard funk, although slightly subdued on the palate than was in the nose. Oak is more apparent here than in the nose. Great fruit and funk mixed together with a nice dryness that reminds me of a saison.

M - Very light body and nice dry finish. Nice and crisp with very nice carbonation.

D - Incredibly easy drinking even with the sour funky flavors on the palate. I could drink many of these in one sitting. Really a quality brew from RR.

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.48/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split a bottle of this with a friend at the South Philly Tap Room

Poured into a small chalice, Temptation sits a cloudy golden yellow with a light and fluffy bone white cap. Head fades to form a thin collar.

Lemons, wet hay, peach, saddle leather and a strong presence of oak laying underneath. Reminds me more of a saison than a sour. Soft, but bright.

The palate is much like the aroma only I'll add sour green apple and white grapes. The oak also comes through much more in the flavor. Very nice. This isn't too wine like, the grapes/wine barrels add to the complexity and flavor, working with the brett as opposed to just existing in the concoction.

Very light and crisp with a dry, tart finish. I found this to be highly drinkable.

Photo of axeman9182
4.63/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

375mL corked and caged bottle, batch 05x1E so it was bottled on 7/6/2010 before ending up in my Duvel tulip. Cheers to my friend Jackie for hooking me up with this bottle for my 150th review.

Temptation pours a burnt yellow orange at first glance, but when held up to light it's more of a lemon yellow. At its peak, there's two fingers worth of a frothy white crown. Retention is very good, but the lacing is spotty. The aroma starts out being dominated by the aroma of chardonnay, with just a hint of funk in the background though. As the beer warms though, the balance between the two evens out some. Still, I was looking for a little bit more in the way of complexity. Whatever I didn't find in the nose made itself apparent as I sipped on Temptation. The taste of sweet apples shows up first, before a brief, subtle flash of clove reminds me that brett and other wild critters weren't the only things used to ferment this beer. The back half of the beer is all chardonnay and sour/funk, and the two are almost entirely intertwined. I'm not always a fan of chardonnay, I find it to be a bit harsh in general, but the flavor here has a bit more of a soft edge. The mouthfeel is absolutely luxuriant. For a beer so dry it's not thin at all, and the carbonation is picture perfect, very expressive without treading into fizziness. I honestly can't think of a single thing I'd change about it. With an out of this world flavor and mouthfeel, and a restrained sour/funky contribution from a relatively fresh bottle makes this an incredible easy drinker.

Photo of AndrewNations
4.15/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz cork and caged - Batch 05x1F

Nice Wild Ale. The oak isn't apparent until the finish and the carbonation is just a bit more than I prefer. The mouthful is nice and not to thin or viscous. Its almost like a Saison with Brett added. I get some peach and white grapes that I'm guessing, comes from the yeast. I think this is an excellent wild ale to introduce people to Brett C. Its too funky and is a good representation of the style. I dont think this is one is too complex but all in all a solid offering from Russian River.

Photo of sitarist
4.53/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to thedindaniel!!!
Batch 05X1E

Pours a cloudy golden color...lots of very tiny bubbles rise up to a short head that falls to a ring that leaves minimal lacing.

I smell an abundance of sour fruits...lemon, lime, green apple, with hints of sour patch kids, wood, pickles, alcohol, and a barnyard funk. I can go on and on...those who feel this lacks complexity must have their heads up their buts.

I taste pickles, citric acid, tequila, g-spot, and green apple candy. The flavors are not as complex as the nose, but still mighty fine...nice balance.

Lighter body with a citric acid kind of drying...it doesn't make me pucker, but it does attack my tongue nicely.

This is the first sour that I've had that I could enjoy multiples of. A very well crafted brew...two thumbs up and one bottle down!

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

thanks klikger for sharing this. bottle poured into my kbs snifter.

a - pour is cloudy yellow. white head dies quickly.

s - lemon zest sour. funky wet hay.

t - very sour. bretty acidic burn. lemon rind. belgian yeast. oak barrel and wine characteristics are somewhat behind the scene.

m - light body with big carbonation.

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

12oz cork and caged thanks to arbitrator! Batch 05x2F

A- Pours a real nice golden yellow with a real soft creamy looking bright white head that's sticking around.

S- Smells more like a saison than a sour. Very sweet fruity like yeast with some nice pale malts. A lot of banana with that nice stinging finish of grapes from the chardonnay.

T- Tart and sour for sure. Nothing like the taste, very pale in body and flavor malt wise but has a decent subtle fruitiness from the yeast that is complimented nicely by the grapes.

M- Moderate carbonation being a newer batch, definitely noticeable. Real strong tartness on the tongue but finishes smooth.


Photo of dfernandez77
1.93/5  rDev -56.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Bright and tart, slightly metallic; lemongrass and peaches, with notes of saddle leather, vanilla, fresh cut cedar, and wet hay. Reasonable promise here.

Very clear light gold, with a slight warmth. Pours with a light fine bubbled head that dissipates quickly leaving light lace. Appealing.

Dominated by a metallic sourness of a single focus. Lacking in complexity. Moderated by a warm fuzzy moldy summer fruit (peach like) funk. Finishes slightly astringent and papery. Completely fails to deliver on what small promise there was in the aroma and appearance.

A bit like diet soda, with a little slickness you might find in a light session ale with wheat. No redemption for the flavor.

Overall impression:
Perhaps I'm not the one to ask, because I've had many different lambic ales. Fruited, straight young and old, gueze. And I've had Rhodenbach and other Flemish red ales. That means I'll be bringing a higher standard to my evaluation than some others.

The Temptation is thin and one dimensional. It is very unsatisfying - especially considering the price. I've had Cantillon, Boon, Mort Subite, and Lindeman's that just blow the Temptation out of the box with great complexity and depth. I finished it because I couldn't bear throwing $10 down the drain.

If you asked me if I wanted another one of these - I would not be tempted.

Photo of Mages64
4.88/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 5 from 375ml bottle into tulip glass.

A- A beautiful hay color that reflects light beautifully. a little head with intermittent lacing. Head returns upon agitation bringing great aroma with it.

S- Barnyard and pineapple and orange. Perhaps apple as well with a woody smell too. Definitely smells like soured fruit.

T- Surprisingly Saison like. Now it could be that all the saisons i've had recently have had Brett in them but it tastes like a slightly more sour saison or golden ale. Compares to New Glarus's R&D Golden Ale. Soured Fruit, wood, vanilla, pineapple, and slight funk.

M- carbonated and sticky. lingers everywhere in your mouth and throat. finish is long and delightfully sour and fruity.

D- First sour I feel like I could drink 10 of. Smooth, crisp, and refreshing!

Don't miss this! I waited a whole year before giving in and buying this obviously expensive bottle. Don't wait too long:)

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

I've been set up with this beer a handful of times now by different BAs, so thanks a lot guys! Poured into a tulip. . .just as the bottle instructs me to. The pour is a very clean light golden color with just a thin fizzy layer of foam and spotty lace. As soon as I pooped the cork on this I got a big lemon aroma. The nose is full of lemon, hints of oak and cedar, sour grapes and a bit of brett and balances the aromas very nicely letting everything meld together to compliment. The taste is lemony right off the bat. Nice and sour with a little bit of wood and chardonnay flavor and a nice funky brett finish. Honestly, excactly what I would want from a wild ale. Sour and funky but not overpoweringly; just a nice brett and sour balance with other flavors showing their profiles as well. The mouthfeel is slightly dry but no complaints really and the drinkability is like none other. I could sip this guy all night.

Photo of vkv822
4.38/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle into tulip.
batch 05x1F

Pours a hazy yet bright golden straw yellow with an incredibly long lasting foamy white head and great lacing. There is quite a bit of active carbonation visible, reminiscent of a champagne even.

The nose consists of notes of brett, oak and chardonnay.

The time in the chardonnay barrels really adds a strong white wine quality upfront with sour notes of green apple and light funk notes as a very nice compliment.

The mouth feel is medium bodied, and active yet soft carbonation.

Another delicious and well done beer by Russian River. I really enjoyed the subtleties of this beer, as it relied only on the beer itself and the barrel aging.

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

a sour blonde with some cloudiness and a smaller head. golden yellow tone with a nose brett and oak. the palate is a husky quite of malt with a wooden mineral blending within it. nice balance of brett sour and grape mild sour mineral. the mineral quality is almost chalky with a quality of grape skins bitter and a floral hoppy note in there. hard on the teeth in the amount of sugar used. still a wonderful experience. would say that the brute seems to have a better feel yet this is a bit broader in palate as mild as the body comes at you.

Photo of calir1
4.22/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Popped this last night and was so pumped to do so. I have had this many times, on tap and bottle, but just reviewing it now. The smell makes my mouth water, and the taste of tartness makes me drool. This was not as sour as I remember it being, but wonderful none the less. I could drink this all night.

Photo of SolomonGrundy
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

One of the heavily loved beers from this local brewery...pouring a hazy, pale amber with some lemon peel colors, this is one unique ale. No real head forms, and it is super carbonated. Almost champagne like in carbonation. Nose is loaded with tangy sour cherry notes, sour apple (like an unripe granny smith type of sour), a slight Belgian funk and a sweet component, like a bartlett poached pear dessert type of thing. AWESOME is all I can say. WHOA!!! Flavor is off the charts complex - starts off super-tangy, like lemon juice. Some real sour notes, but never overpowering, if you can believe it. Evolves into a funky, junky amalgam of lemonade with no sugar, Belgian yeast, and some maltiness way in the back. This is clearly a World class ale, but only for sour ale fans. Finish is super-duper dry (none of the sweetness that the nose hinted at here) and long and has some funk and some slight bitterness, likely hop-induced but hard to tell. This is painfully expensive at $9.99/375ml bottle but worth every penny and likely even better on tap down the street.

What I like most: The aroma and evolving flavor profile.

What I like least: the painful price.

Verdict: World class sour ale, likely the best I've ever had, but off the charts expensive.

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

I have enjoyed this beer many times, but this is my first chance to review it. 375 mL bottle labeled as Batch 5 poured into my lost abbey stemware. The appearance is a nice straw color with decent carbonation in the form of very small bubbles that forms a very nice lacing on the glass.

The first thing I noticed on the nose was the nice funky brett smell with some slight sour cherry.

The initial taste is of sour cherries and white wine. The aging in chardonnay barrels has definitely left its mark on this beer. Definitely some citric acidity to this one, and a very strong brett finish, but not nearly as much as I was expecting from the nose.

This beer has a very dry mouthfeel which contributes to how similar it feels to a white wine. The carbonation could have been slightly greater, but not much or it would have overpowered the beer.

Overall a great drink. I could easily enjoy too much of this especially because it is just so refreshing which is very nice for a wild ale. This would be a great beer to enjoy on a hot summer afternoon, but unfortunately I am reviewing this in November...

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

Poured from a bottle into a tulip. Thanks for letting me steal this from your fridge when I was in Colorado, Fletcher! (At least I think that's where I got it...)

A: Crystal clear apple juice color. Looks fizzy, with a small but persistent white head with a bit of lacing. Second pour to finish the bottle clouds it up some, though I left most of the yeast in the bottle.

S: Lots of wood. A strong fruity character that's grape along with something else. There's also that Brett funkiness that I still can't really describe.

T: White wine is the primary taste here. Tart white grapes. It's also extremely woody, which adds a peculiar bitterness. Something else sweet and tart is lying underneath. Green apple maybe? Also some black pepper or something like it. Does that come from the bacteria? I have no idea.

M: Puckering, lots of saliva starts hanging around. Medium mouthfeel and high, fizzy carbonation.

D: Wonderfully complex and unique. I wish I had access to it regularly, because I think it would pair amazingly with food.

Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
4.78/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Forgot about this old review in my email. Here it is:

Reviewed the morning (yes, morning, couldn't resist this one) 24 October 2010, batch 004x3, 750ml, poured into 2 standard snifters with a friend. Temperature is about 50 degrees F. The first pour had a 2-finger head with fantastic retention and lacing, and the second pour had a one-finger head, decent head retention and about the same lacing. The color is a slightly cloudy perfect golden-blonde color much like the color of any standard Belgian tripel beer. The aroma actually smells like a tripel that has been soured, and is loaded with oak. Although the bottle says it was aged in chardonnay barrels, I am not an expert in wine. There is certainly an aroma and taste of white wine. The sourness is perfectly balanced.

The bottle specifically says not to pour the yeast sediment, but I cannot allow myself to review a beer until the bottle is finished, and I won't deduct points for character that the yeast will add....but I have to explore and try it. The added yeast does not change the aroma, but seems to dim the sourness and add a yeast character. Very interesting flavor. Different, yet equally good -- give it a try sometime!

Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 3,089 ratings.