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Temptation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,179 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,179
Reviews: 978
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
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Ratings: 3,179 | Reviews: 978
Photo of axeman9182
4.55/5  rDev +2%
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
4.54/5  rDev +1.8%
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
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
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
4.32/5  rDev -3.1%
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
1.99/5  rDev -55.4%
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
4.85/5  rDev +8.7%
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
4.62/5  rDev +3.6%
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
4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
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
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
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
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%
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
4.21/5  rDev -5.6%
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
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
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
4.43/5  rDev -0.7%
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
4.76/5  rDev +6.7%
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!

Photo of ZX6Chris
4.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 of batch 4 shared with my wife.

A-Very bright slightly hazy golden ale. Pretty much no head but that doesn't mean it's flat.

S-Sour, acidic, sweet grapes a little wood.

T-The taste follows the nose. The wine barrel really comes through in the finish, oaky, sweet a little tannic.

M-light bodied with a little carbonation.

D-Really nice. Not overpoweringly sour.

Photo of maximum12
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to jessethehutt who sent me this beer...sometime during the second age of man. A long time ago. No idea why it's been gathering dust for so long except my wife isn't wild about wilds. Split with my wife. Batch 004x004.

Pours a bouncy, spry yellow for its age, lighting up the early Minnesota evening like a young version of our nearest star (no, not Randy Moss). The smell bumps along nicely. Low notes of wine & light yeast continue the theme of brightness against the onrushing winter. Please, please Tempation, hold back the rain!(tm)

Temptation's bottle talks about "wine or beer" & this definitely threads the needle. Light, breezy, I'd like to enjoy this on a warm spring day, lounging in a hammock in a sun dress. Um, the wine makes its presence known in a drying, light, pear-like smack in the jaw right away, before backing off & allowing the spritzy, Belgian blonde underneath to shuck off her winter shawl. Brett is present but subdued, announcing only with a bite, rather than aggressive sourness. Complex yet approachable, this is a 750 ML that might contain a single serving for me.

Excellent brew, & I'm not surprised, since Russian River seems to have figured out how to brew very good beer, across a spectrum, with amazing consistency. Here's just another example. My wild ale shy wife concurs; she thinks it's great. Winner!

Photo of boralyl
4.11/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - 375ml bottle poured into an over-sized tulip glass. It produces a 1/4" of white head that has nice retention and leaves some nice thick lacing. The beer is clear with a blonde straw color. There is a ton of carbonation visible.

S - The aroma contains white wine and a fairly forward green apple smell.

M- Light in body and highly carbonated. Very dry.

T - This beer has a very pronounced wine taste, more than in any beer I've had before. White grapes, tartness and a light funk presence are noticeable in the taste. It's got a green apple bite in the finish.

A very complex and interesting sour. It borrows a lot of flavors from a white wine combining them with some funkiness, tartness, and sourness.

Photo of awalk1227
4.66/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Forgot to date this, I'm going to date it between 10/20/10-10/26/10 Got in a trade from Rock4sc96, thanks Chris, always welcoming new RR sours!

Poured into SA perfect pint.

A: I think I got some of the yeast with an over-aggressive pour, hazy straw with a faint wispy head.

S: Brett is here! White wine, white grapes, chardonnay. This is a more pronounced wine scent than I've noticed in the others.

T: White grapes, almost like a champagne. The marriage of the beer and creepy crawlies with the white wine is remarkable.

F: Effervescent; it dances in my tongue.

D: Awesome, I wish I had some more.

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

One of my favorites. Certainly my prefered sour from RR. Has a gorgeous unfolding complexity and to my taste an impecable puckery balance.
A: Ligh golden color with a hint of copper in a wider bulbed glass. Very active carbonation which makes for excellent retention of the light and delicate head that settles in.
S: Acidic lime aromas with defined barrel and vinous qualities. Light hints of animal and and barn aromas to complement the grape and pit fruit aromas.
T: Yum! Citrus and aggressive grassy flavors. Oak aged wine characteristics and kumquats. It just continues to open up and evolve.
M: Most certainly puckering. Drying. Refreshing. It is heavy on the attack and persistent on the finish. For how aggressive this is, it surprisingly is not unpleasant or burdensome. Just a pronounced expression.
D: I could drink this one all night. It's weighted palate impression requires paced consumption. But there is nothing fatiguing here and the relatively low abv and slow pace of consumption allows for extended drinking.

Photo of xnicknj
4.57/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

on tap at monks

Pours a fairly clear golden with orange hues. A light, bubbly head quickly fades leaving no lacing around the glass.

Very bright nose, with tangy sourness and assorted fruits (especially green apple) in the nose. So inviting.

Bitter and dry up front with some sweet touches. The beer is pleasantly sour throughout with apricot, apple, and wine grapes. A bit of citrus dashes through with oaky tart flavors, hints of Chardonnay, and some some soft funk. Finishes super long with tasty, lasting dry and sour notes.

Lighter body, tingly, and dry. Dances on the tongue with excellent flavor and feel. Goes down so easy you have to consciously slow yourself down to avoid drinking it too fast. A true delight and treasure from Russian River.

Photo of jlandis
4.71/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer pours a crystal clear straw golden color with 3 finger white head. Tiny little champagne like bubble continually run up the side of the glass. The nose is an interesting combination of green apple, white grape, and an all encompassing tart funk.

The flavor of this beer is phenomenal. This beer really took on the characteristics of the chardonnay barrel it was aged in. There is tart green apple and white grapes that dominate the flavor. There is a tart lemon mixed in with musty oak and wet leaves. Those flavors may not sound appetizing, but trust me - this beer is fantastic. There is a very dry finish with tons of carbonation.

I was a little apprehensive about this beer, because of all the hype it gets and the cost ($15 for 330ml), but I think it was worth every penny. One of the best American Wild ales I have ever had. I'm going to make it a point to pick up the other three Russian River sours available in the area when I can afford them.

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

A - Pours a golden yellow color with a small white head and plenty of murky goodness.

S - The aroma of funk slaps you in the face. It is very strong but mixes well with white grape, apple, and pear notes.

T - The taste has a champagne like feel with some brett funkiness. Nice layers of fruit and earthy tones. Puckering finish that always brings a smile to my face.

M - Light and crisp.

D - Very easy to drink and more so that so of the wild ales with cherries.

Photo of Ryan011235
4.1/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter on 10/23/10

Batch 05X2F

Much appreciation to Nickd717 for the bottle

Golden in color, there is a minute cloudiness from a little yeast making its way into the glass. Otherwise it was very clear while being poured. One finger head dissipates to a bubbly skim, though impressive, solid lace remains. Decent, if thin, retention throughout, though not much lace.

The aroma is quite vinous; flourishes of white grapes abound, as well as hints of apple. The first whiff struck me as having more of a tart quality than subsequent considerations, though there's a prevalent notion of sour regardless how strong. Swirling pulls out aromas of oak & undertones of funk. Vague suggestion of grains.

Whereas the nose seemed reasonably clean for such a beer, the taste is more geared toward the funk. Very dry, with prominent musty oak & Brett grime. Yeah, the light fruit aspect hits upfront & is maintained on the peripheries but the funkiness far outweighs the vinous aspect. Fine by me; I like that the mustiness is so prominent. It's the taste equivalent of hunting for records in the basement of the Galion Flea Market.

Fairly light in body with enough carbonation to accentuate the aforementioned tartness & keep things prickly. Temptation is dry throughout; the finish is no different. Lingerings of dust, dirt & 1960's record sleeves make for surprising ending to a beer than seemed so bright of appearance & aroma.

Drinkability is fine & as I mention above, I like the emphasis on the underlying funk as opposed to inherent tart & sour qualities. I'm also a fan of the more reasonable abv, allowing for such a spectrum of flavors without hovering in the 10% range.

Photo of chalsk
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle shared with Leafs93. Pours a golden yellow color with a champagne like ultra thin white head. Has a tart aroma with hints of yeast. Has a sweet tart taste. Crisp. Very gentle bitters on the backend. Excellent brew. They know how to make sours.

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Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 3,179 ratings.