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Temptation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

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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 Dreadnaught33
4.12/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

O: Good.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Photo of Mavajo
3.8/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance is exactly as you would expect -- golden blonde with a white head. The aroma is a bit funky, with that typical sour smell. I honestly didn't get too much from the aroma. With the taste, I got much of the same. Sour and tart, with a bit of oak -- honestly, I didn't find it all that complex or powerful. Exceptionally easy drinking, but I wasn't very tantalized.

This is a well crafted beer, but with the Russian River pedigree, I expected a bit more. I didn't find it particularly complex, and it was a bit tame as far as sours go. Don't get me wrong -- it's a good beer. But with a solid A average, I expected to be more impressed.

Photo of zhanson88
4.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Temptation pours a clear champagne-like white grape color with about 1.5 fingers of pure white head. Retention and lacing are quite nice. Also, this beer is quite effervescent; lots of carbonation rising to the top. Very nice.

Smell: I get funk, mustiness, white grapes and subtle vinuous oak. Not overpowering, but still nice.

Taste: I get tartness and mustiness up front, along with some white grape skin. I also get faint oaky notes, and can taste a hint of the chardonnay that occupied the barrels beforehand. Lightly acidic, but not over the top. In terms of sourness not real intense, but overall funk and flavor is very good indeed.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Just a little under medium bodied with great carbonation. Awesome mouthfeel. Overall, a superior wild ale. It's not overly sour but has a nice balance of flavors to it that isn't over the top.

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

Poured from a batch 5 375ml bottle into my Russian River "tion" glass as it shall be served no other way. I've had the pleasure of having this beer on a couple different occasions and this is quickly becoming my favorite RR sour that is of the easier varietals (I don't legitimately use this term) to come by.

Pours a golden blonde in the fashion of drabmuh's golden locks as he emerges from a tranquil brook on a picturesque summer day in the rolling hills of Hyattsville, Maryland. Small amount of fuzz graces the top and dances off the sunlight, just nice.

Smell is subtle and tart with with notes of a moderately priced Chardonnay that middle-aged white women with frosted hair like to pair with a Fillet Mignon at an overpriced bistro (again, not a legitimate term) in any pseudo-metropolitan city throughout the east coast of the United States.

Taste is soft and delicate with some tartness that hits you in the corners of the mouth like the old A1 Steak Sauce commercials from back in the day. This is not an in your face American Wild, but it is tasty and the base beer really shows itself with perhaps a hint of Belgian flare.

Excellent beverage that leaves me always wanting more...

Photo of silentjay
4.27/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a hazy blonde with a soft white foamy head that recedes quickly but leaves impeccable lacing on the tulip.

lots of grape skin, white wine, champagne aromas on top of some musty yeast, some white bread, and other tart fruits like green apple, cherries and berries.

green apple skin, white wine, champagne, acidic citrus, definitely tart, with some grapes, dark unripened berries, black cherries, and just a hint of bready malts.

fizzy, yet soft on the palate with a tartness that coats the entire mouth and puckers the lips slightly.

very good. not quite as amazing as I expected, perhaps, but still tasty with plenty of nuances that come through as the beer warms a bit. Another amazing beer from Russian River, though one that would never be an everyday beer for me.

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

poured into a tulip


beer is a pale straw color....very bubbly with a pillow of thick white head. As the beer sits the head dies down a little and leaves some nice lacing on my glass. A slight haze after the final pour from the dregs but I kind of like that!


A wonderful brett/wild yeast aroma. Funky barnyard smells with some subtle aromas of white wine/grapes. Not as funky as your typical Belgian lambic but definitely noticeable.


like a combo of a gueuze and white grape juice (however not as sweet) with some ever so slight biscuity malts You get that nice sour/tart bite like a lambic with just a hint of sweet fruit like grapes or pears. A subtle musty/oak flavor as well.


light bodied with great carbonation. very effervescent qualities like a white wine. Nice slight tingle on the tongue before a slightly dry finish. A nice crisp/clean beer.


Such a solid wild ale from RR. A highly drinkable beer that would go well with a meal, as would a nice white wine. They're one of the best at barrel aged sours in the business. Unfortunately the availability knocks this down a bit as I'm in the Midwest but would grab multiple bottles of this every once in awhile if I could.

Photo of angrybabboon
4.73/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review adapted from notes taken 9/19/10

Appearance: Light gold/orange color, a bit hazy, elegant lacing

Smell: The nose is exploding with sour notes, funk, white wine, some funky esters, alcohol - very complex, and the question is whether the taste can somehow work with all of these flavors...

Taste: Simply masterful - sour, funky, tart, dry, magical - the taste is everything that I like about sours combined with everything I like about white wines - simply an amazing combination of things going on, including the subtle yet good dry biscuity malts, slight alcohol, and some wood - I cannot do it justice with words alone

Mouthfeel: Super dry yet somehow creamy and smooth, nice spicy alcohol bite

Overall: So good it could convert a non-sour fan

This is such a fantastic beer. Honestly, I am not in love with sour beers, particularly ones involving Brett. I also do not really love chardonnay. But somehow this beer compiles everything good about these things into one flavor. It is glorious.

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

A: good clarity, golden, champagne bubbles

S: vinegar, sour cream, lemon zest, Brett.

T: grapefruit pith, sweet white wine, cider, fresh green apples, seawall--seaweed and brine--a little vinegar, malt is present in the form of a slight sweetness on the, lemon juice.

M: light and sharp, with a bone dry finish.

D: This might be my favorite sour thus far. I'm new to this style and I will admit there's a little bit of a learning curve but I think it's safe to say that I'm being won over and this one has gone a long way towards acceptance. It was just the right amount of sourness for me with some great flavors just below the surface. Thumbs up for me.

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

Batch 05 x 1F

A - Pale straw yellow with half a finger white head. Lots of bubbles rising up, reminiscent of a champagne.

S - Almost all Brett on the nose. Leathery, dark cherry, plum, some hints of white grape,

T - Not as sour as expected. definitely follows the aroma, but the leather and dark cherry is pushed to the back. The sour taste is almost sweet if that makes any sense. Sour grape, apple, pear, but at the same time the sweetness of the fruits comes through. A slight mustiness from the brett and the hint of leather and oak in the background.

M - Thin bodied, great carbonation, fairly wet, but coats the mouth. Finish is slightly dry and sweet with a tinge of sour. Finish stays for a long time.

O - Fantastic wild ale. Sourness doesn't overpower the beer as it does in most examples. There is a fantastic sweetness that comes through in this one. Lives up to it's name and seduced me to it's nectar.

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

375mL bottle batch 05X1F. Tasted 3/24/2011 Poured into Ommegang tulip.

A - Pilsner yellow with half a finger of white head. Big bubbles and extreme carbonation. Bubbles are never ending.

S - Brett, sourness and a bit of white grape. Some cherry aromas as well.

T - Sour white grape and brett funk. Tart white grape, with some sweetness. A bit of leather and granny smith apple. Finish is complex and dynamic and a bit hard to pin down. Some young Bartlett pear and plenty of sweetness are present too.

M - Light body, intense carbonation. Intensely dry finish. Very good.

O - Brilliant. The white wine version of Supplication, it focuses on the best aspects of chardonnay while continually focusing on what makes beer great. Carbonation is intense but appropriate, and the sourness isn't too much. Leathery brett and white grape/ green apple combine to make a spectacular brew.

Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.34/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 05x3

Appearance -- Pours a bright golden hue with a slim fizzy white head that is woefully short-lived. Slightly disappointing in the appearance. Great color, though.

Smell -- Biscuity malt, muscatel, vanillin, vinous oak, bright acetic character. The aroma is remarkably clean and, ignoring the acetic character, incredibly champagne-like.

Taste -- Very champagne-like with biscuit and white grape, floral vanillin, cellar must, and mild acetic tartness. As the beer warms more acetic brightness becomes apparent. Finish is firmly lactic with notes of vanilla and white grape.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-light in body with medium fluffy/prickly carbonation. Feels like a fine champagne. Quite good.

Drinkability -- Temptation is so clean, so delicate, and so refreshing that, in an ideal world, I could drink this every single day. Unlike so many other American Wilds, it's really quite remarkable for being so subtle and nuanced. I especially love how champagne-like it is. Most definitely a world-class beer.

Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
4.67/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Something Special for my 200th review!!!

A - Pours like golden straw into my snifter with about of finger of bubbly head that dissipates somewhat quickly into a nice ring that leaves some lace; very visible carbonation.

S - Green grapes, funky farmhouse brett, pears, apples, lemon, and a bit of oak.

T - Sour yet sweet grapes, tart citrus and fruit, lemon, apples, pears, a little bit of oak and funk are there for sure too. This beer just simply makes my mouth water, gush even and keeps me wanting more.

M - Medium with lively carbonation, crisp and refreshing, amazingly well rounded.

D - I could drink this all day and night, it is such a pleasure on the palate, and any beer that literally makes my mouth water gets my seal of approval. This is an amazing brew that should not be passed up, ever.

Photo of Urbancaver
4.07/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 5 barrel 1F

Pours a golden orangish with a bit of head. Very well carbonated. Smells tart and fruity. Lote of citrus. Tastes tart and very sour. Lots of citrus. Very light and highly carbonated. Fairly drinkable for something so tart. Overall i think it's much more drinkable than supplication

Photo of brew3crew
4.15/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 5

A-hazy yellow with a nice white head
S-very tart smelling. Nice fruity smell
T-alot like it smells. Almost like a champaigne.
M-medium bodied and very smooth, crisp and clean
D-very drinkable. My taste was gone before I wanted it to be. Great start to a sour tasting...

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

A - Good Creamy looking head. A hazy yellow gold.

S - Brett and lacto. A little vinegar

T - Sweet and sour. A lot of lacto. Earthy and oak on the second sip.

M - Creamy and full. Mild carbonation

D - The most subdued but a the same time assertive Wild ale ive had.

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

Batch 05X1E, 12.68 oz bottle.

Poured into a snifter, half an inch white head with lots of carbonation. Golden pour with a very opaque body.

Smells like delicious stinky funk. Very musty.

Tastes very much like a geuze in my opinion. Slightly sweet, very tart with a bit of raisin. A little grape and some oak. This was a rather fresh bottle and I feel like a little age may do this one some good. Not nearly tart enough for my standards but nonetheless delicious.

I was expecting a little more of a sour mouthfeel but this had about a champagne like feel to it.

Apart from the cost, this one mighty drinkable beer. I would like to get more to sample but in the meantime this will remain a rare treat.

Photo of ehammond1
4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap (2010)

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

A clear shimmering golden ale with beautiful carbonation and an appropriate thin white cap atop its head. Love it!

A biting aroma consisting of tart fruitiness along with some warm woodiness. Very nice.

Supremely sour and bitter; just about perfect! A biting tartness but with a surprising bitterness not usually found in other similar wilds. Balanced. tart, fruity, sweet, bitter: this sour has it all!

Thin to medium mouthfeel, plenty of carbonation, and some biting sourness--great!

Just about a perfect American wild. This one does everything right from the big things down to the little things. Leading with the out-of-this-world mouthfeel, the flavor and aroma aren't far behind. Spectacular!

Photo of Blanco
4.44/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

straw colored, minimal head, very little lacing. smells of funk, but pleasantly. slight vinegar notes. very dry and puckering in the flavor like sucking on a lemon. mouthfeel very "zingy." drinkability is as high as any of the russian river wilds. very nice, clean taste.

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

Got this 375mL from youbrewidrink in my last trade. Thanks, Joe! This is a batch 5 poured into my snifter.

Appearance - a hazy gold colour, with a finger of light head that drops pretty quickly, leaving a bit of lace just above the surface of the liquid, and a bit of a coating of small bubbles over top. I really like the colour a lot.

Smell - heavy on the lemon fragrances, with a good amount of barnyard smell, too. Little bits of oak poke through as well, but the lemon and the smell of clean stable dominate.

Taste - a lot of up-front lemon and oak, but the sourness is pleasant, not at all overdone.. The wild aspect of it isn't quite as dominant as I thought it would be. I like the balance. I expected a serious pucker when I took a sip, and I was happy (relieved?) to see that, while the funk and sourness are there, they don't overpower you. In addition to all that, there is a definite mineral character, and tastes of dill and thyme as well, which surprised me a great deal.

Mouthfeel - carbonation is champagne-like, and the acidity leaves the mouth waiting for another sip. I feel it in my cheeks and lips long after it's left my tongue. Very nice.

Drinkability - if I had another, I'd pop it open. I really enjoy this beer. Time to head back to the trading forums!

Photo of DoubleJ
4.68/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Show of hands: who wants Temptation tonight? Well, you ain't gettin' a sip of my 750 ml bottle from Batch 004x1, get yer own. This bottle has been in my possession for 18 months. On to the beer:

Bright sundrop yellow in color with lively carbonation and some haze in the body. The foam on top gracefully clings to the glass and continues to hover over the beer. One smell and already my salivatory glands are reacting. Big sour lemon is present, oak, a pinch of vanilla; very pungent at first but settles down in intensity.

The beer tickles the roof of the mouth as it enters the first few times. It's hard to pick out individual flavors, but I will attempt. Lemon (especially sticking to the lips), horse blanket, vanilla, oak, and modest acidity (for a sour ale) and pucker. The carbonation bubbles up in the mouth like a champagne, and it is extremely drinkable.

Que delicia! Chalk up another tally for Russian River beers that deserve to be talked about. But like the other Russian River sours, is nearly a dollar per ounce, so bring your piggy bank to the store.

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.67/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle (05X1F) into snifter glass. Pours golden with a fluffy white head that leaves a ton of sticky lacing behind. Nose is funky, sour, tart, and fruity. Not as "wild" as the Supplication or Consecration. Tastes fruity and tart/sour with a nice oaky finish. Light mouthfeel. A dry, champagne-like, crispy finish. Lots of nice fizzy carbonation. A nice drinkable wild. Even more so the the Supplication and Consecration, because it's a little less "wild" and a little more "tame".

Photo of fastpass17
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cork and Caged 375ml Batch 005x2F

A: Cloudy in appearance, dark gold in color, thin lastig head, champagne like carbonation.

S: Dry white wine comes out first, subtle oak mixes cream then the brettanomyces comes out, finishes with a faint hint lemon zest.

T: Champagne like, apricots interweave with vanilla and oak, the brett is reserved and really enjoyable. Warms up really well in the glass.

M,D: This prickles the tongue in the start, becomes creamy in mid drink then finishes off crisply. The beer is very session worthy and, delicious.

Photo of Luk13
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle 375ml batch 003, thanks to Glouglouburp. Beautiful peachy-gold body, lasting white head, nice ring and heavy lacing. Aroma of tropical fruits (pinneaples, citrus and passion fruits), some farmhouse, wet hay, brett and musty wood but not in excess. Close to perfect. Taste is sour upfront, some bitterness with a moderatly sweet fruity finish for the style. It's all about balance. Grapefruit skin and lemon rind, white wine and woody flavors. Awesome beer, I was tempted to give it a perfect score in every class because its beautiful balance and drinkability. The only flaw would be its sweetness. As I pour the remaining lees, the pinneaples seems to be more present. Damn, this rating is getting incoherent. Let's stop this.

Photo of ngeunit1
4.72/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a slightly hazy golden-orange color with a thin finger of frothy white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is full of white grape and other light fruits with some sourness and funk. There is also some oak as well as a bit of vanilla and some Brett.

T - Starts off with some sour white grape and other light fruits with some Brett funk and some tartness. Through the middle, the oak and vanilla come through with some more tartness and hay and other barnyard flavors. The finish is a mix of sour grape and chardonnay with some oak, Brett, funk, and tartness.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sour and dry finish.

D - Very drinkable. Really nicely balanced sour. The barrel character comes through really nicely alongside all of the sour and funky flavors.

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