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Temptation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

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3,150 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,150
Reviews: 976
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 8.97%
Wants: 1,636
Gots: 857 | 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: 3,150 | Reviews: 976 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.66/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked 375 ML bottle purchased at Olive Tree Market in Ocean Beach ($12.99) and poured into a Bitburger branded stemmed pilsner glass.

Batch - 05X1E

A: This stuff looks amazing - pours a golden straw-like hue that is slightly hazy and very effervescent with a decent head and solid lacing from start to finish.

S: Funky woodiness with some sour apple, pepper and citrus. To be honest, I expected a little more out of the smell; don't get me wrong, it's real nice just not the best i've smelled with this type of ale.

T: Taste is crisp and sour rounded out with some sweet grape and citrus that finishes dry. There's also hints of sourdough and funky yeast that add a whole dimension to the flavor - really quite an amazing ale.

M: Light bodied and perfectly carbonated - crisp and refreshing.

D: These are real easy to drink; light, crisp and refreshing.

Photo of ptykozoon
4.11/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful (and glowing) sap color. Bubbles race to the top of a strong cloudy head that arises with decent lacing.

Smells sour (of course) with a touch of muskiness and a light fruity citrus tang.

The taste is very pleasant, refreshing and crisp for a sour. Decent lip puckering mixed with a clean texture and delicate floral subtleties make this not too complex but decently tasty. The beer is still a bit cold but I don't really pick up any Chardonnay.

Mouthfeel is smoother than expected, not quite thick but somewhat dense. Oaky dry and fun to drink with nice carbonation. No alcohol heat. Excellent.

Drinkability is confusing on this one! Its so easy to drink with the abv so well hidden, and with such a refreshing taste. A solid wild.

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

A - typical blonde ale appearance with great sfull lace and small head

S - smalls like a tart chardonnay. grapes. vinegar

T - Amazing. tastes like a sour blonde ale with chardonnay. grapes and slight vinegar. Tartness is certainly there definitely some sweetness in there too. exceptionally balanced. well done again RR.

M- feels dry. very smooth. very drinkable. slight pucker reaction

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

thanks to Largadeer for this bottle

A - golden pear/honey in color, huge rocky-foamy white head

S - super sour grapes/grapeskins, chardonnay/muscat grapes specifically, some honey sweet twangs balance the tartness

T - super tart grapes dominate the taste, tart apples, granny smith-esque, accentuate the tartness, the honey sweetness is lesser but still present

M&D - dry and champagney, super tart, these characteristics may put off some, to others (like me) they will make the beer prized, well done RR

Photo of kbutler1
4.15/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Batch 4 x 4. Pours a straw yellow color with a light white fuffy head. The smell is more sour than the Consecration I had but with less funk aroma. Sour taste up front with a slightly bitter medicinal ending. Strong Brett flavor profile. Light/medium mouthfeel.

Photo of hooliganlife
4.52/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pour was a deep yellow with dark hues. Head was crisp and quick leaving behind nothing but ale.

Lots of sour grapes and apples. Light malty funk. Hints of vinegar.

This was quite sour, lots of grape and lemon with hints of apple. The oak was light but carried through out. The funk was well overpowered by the sourness.

Lots of carbonation, very tingly. A bit dry in the finish.

This was different than the bottle. More amplified and fruit flavored. Granted, could be that they were different batches. Either way, delicious and I bought a bottle to go, so yeah... Drinkable!

Photo of zoolzoo
3.98/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pale golden, straw colored. Massive white head, excellent retention.

S: Sour grapes, brett, wine barrel.

T: Can really taste the chardonnay here, crisp and dry. One dimensional in its sourness. Impression of lemon and perhaps some other ripe fruits, but never fully materializes. Brett funk adds some zing.

M/D: Big carbonation keeps tart and sour flavors "popping", lively on the palate. Straight forward, easy drinker as far as sours go.

Photo of Proteus93
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Hay coloured/golden/blonde, murky. Big white head hangs out throughout.

S: Big hay, pepper, funk scent. Even almost salty

T: Much of the same... Lemony, hay pepper, salted sour fruit - lemon mostly.

M + D: The very carbonated and dry feel are an odd combination. A tad syrupy, but not... and then crisp and sparkling. A little odd, but interesting, as well. Not one of my favourite RR brews, but quite good, nonetheless.

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

A- An ever so slightly hazy blond liquid with a craggy white head that has excellent retention.

S- Extremely aromatic with boat loads of sour fruit, oak, and funk. Very crisp and enjoyable.

T- Sweet and sour. Funky and fruity. The sweet and sour bounce back and forth. Complex and tasty.

M- Acidic, dry, light, and clean. Very nice.

D- Very "simple" and funky. Refreshing and delicious.

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

A: poured a pale straw yellow with a half finger of head that left good blotchy lacing on the glass.

S: you can definitely smell the barrel oak funk and vinous characters at first whiff with faint brett, acidic citrus, slight vanilla, and a little vinegar notes.

T: the vinous barrel funk charaters are more potent on the palate with wine, slight vinegar, and acidic citrus accents. You could taste a little brett notes as well.

M: the brew was medium body with a good amount of tingly carbonation that had a slight sweet, sour, and dry finish.

D: I love my sours and this one is no exception but isn't the greatest I've ever had but it still drank very good and had me feining for more after ever sip; great brew.

Photo of urwithdave
4.18/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mrstevens for sharing. Poured into a tasting glass.

A- Pours a hazy, golden yellow color. A fingers worth of white foamy head. TONS of bubbles. Some sudsy lacing left behind.

A- Smells of chardonnay, white grapes, oak, and lemon. Some funk is in play. Doesn't particularly smell "sour" like the other sours we cracked.

T- Starts off a lot more sweeter than I was expecting. The sweet chardonnay characteristics come into play right away. There is a strong oak presence that brings a tame tartness into play. The funk is light and not to extreme. There is a bit of lemon and green granny smith apples that helps with the tartness.

M- Light bodied with intense carbonation. A crisp dry finish.

D- Very nice...a little tame for me. Definitely not of the mouth puckering variety.

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

Batch 3. Thanks psprings!

Poured into a Hill Farmstead tasting glass. A big, fluffy, white head sits on top of a clear, golden-yellow body. Sudsy lacing down the glass. Lots of bubbling beneath the head. Looks beautiful!

Light barnyard funk and white wine grapes on the nose. Oak barrels come through nicely. Light citrus and a bit of earthy brett. Some sweet malts.

Sour white grapes and tart green apples on the tongue. The brett has really come through and given the flavor a nice dry and tart presence. Sweet malts linger in the background. The lacto is coming through nicely as well, giving off some good sourness, but brett is still the most dominant. Overall, lots of green apple and white grape pulled together nicely with brett.

Mouthfeel is crisp, with a good amount of sour/tartness. Fairly smooth with spritzy carbonation and slight alcohol warmth. Quite dry, especially on the finish. The brett has done nice things to this beer. Less foamy in the mouthfeel than other Russian River wilds. Could be due to the age. I like it.

Drinkability is good. This is definitely a tasty wild. Age has treated the bottle quite well. I'm really enjoying the increased sourness and dryness. With some age though, this beer is a bit more of a sipper, but still an enjoyable one. A 375 ml bottle is the perfect serving. I should really pick up a few batch 4 Temptations to age. Highly recommended!

Update: Just had some Batch 5 Temptation. Great stuff. Fruity with light sourness, lots of white grape. However, I think this beer really shines with about 2 years of age on it. Definitely pick some up to cellar.

Photo of Reaper16
4.62/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750mL bottle - batch 004x4 - served into a tulip glass

Pours a very pale yellow. It is hazy from yeast but there is little visible yeast sediment. The haze makes for a beer that glows when held to light, but at the same time there is some small amount of translucency. A tightly constructed finger and a half of small, very white bubbles sits on top, providing nice lacing.

Temptation's aromas seem to be less intense than those of the Consecration that I enjoyed last night. However, this beer is no less complex. The funk is a lot stronger here than in Consecration. A nice, even-keel hay-and-horseblanket set of Brettonamyces aromas is much welcomed. Some light tartness that comes across as lemon and nectarine. Fleeting whisps of flowers. Some astringency for balance comes from the Chardonnay barrels and from some medicinal phenols. Everything works together beautifully. If you've had enough lambics, guezues or wild ales then you won't find anything that will surprise you. But then not everything has to surprise.

Sweet & tart peach, nectarine and lemon flavors jump out right from the first sip. That tartness fades fast, leading to a slightly sugary malt taste. The beer's complexity unfolds over the next many sips. Funky sweat, musty leather and dried hay make for a deliciously funky counterpart to the sour fruits. There is a combination of phenolic flavors and especially oak barrel that I recognize from last night's bottle of Consecration (perhaps this is a signature taste among Russian River's wild ales?). The beer finishes very dry and funky; a positive thing given the nature of the flavors here.

Superb mouthfeel. It is light in body with carbonation that is perfect in both its amount and intensity to the tongue. I couldn't imagine the mouthfeel being any better for the flavors that this beer delivers. Temptation's drinkability is simply tremendous. It is light enough in alcohol (7.25 % ABV) to be able to drink a whole bottle carefree. The drying finish and overall subtlety and balance make for a beer that you will drink and drink and crave for more.

Scythe beer! I love you, Scythe Beer; you are my new friend. This is a great beer. Great beer. Oh, to have the disposable income to buy a case of this. Totally worth the retail price. Totally worthy of adoration.

Photo of Chizoad
4.79/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really glad to try this one from a bottle. It's definitely better than on tap. It might be my favorite beer.

Nice looking in the glass, with a pale golden tint and slight haze, depending on which pour. Yeastier down at the bottom of the bottle. Crisp head that faded to good lacing and a film.

Stupendous aroma of top flight white wine. Excellent tartness in there.

Depth of flavor that surpasses all but the best of the best. A very unique wine-like taste that begins sour but mellows into a complexity that I wish white wine had. I would substitute this for white wine with a meal every time.

Surprisingly great mouthfeel. Good carbonation, and the sourness never builds. Very drinkable and refreshing.

Photo of farrago
4.1/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Healthy two finger head of bleached bone white, tiny microfoam throughout, credible retention and more thicker streaks of lacing than expected. Metallic orange rust color, also clearer than expected, strong bubble storm inside the glass, few actual beads. Raw yeasts and super-sour white grapefruit to lemon citrus set the tone in the nose, matted wet straw, old kindling wood ashes, charcoal, then angular green apple, green grape and pear scents, white pepper and caraway seeds, Full-bodied, in large part due to the carbonation foam which feels like someone emptied a fire extinguisher in your mouth, expands to near dripping out of your mouth. Sour, yet would be much more so were it not for that carbonation, keen edge to the lemon, white grapefruit citrus. However, here more vanillin oak comes through to at least momentarily soften things. Does not have the funk of the nose but no sense trying to avoid the earthen straw, mud and animal hide notes. Boozy, even with the relatively low alcohol percentage, pear, pineapple, white grape, apple citrus, were it a wine it would likely need malolactic fermentation. Violets, anise and more caraway, at times recalls dried Indian spices. Its tight grip on your palate extends the finish texturally way past the flavors. Interesting but I'll be the first to admit that wild ales are not my faves. (Batch 004X2)

Photo of hardy008
4.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 004X3.

Pours gold with a slight amount of haze. There is a lot of carbonation coming up from the bottom. The head is brilliant white, and three fingers high with very nice retention and lacing.

The aroma has sour/tart Brett, barnyard funk, lemon, and green apple. Very nice tart aroma, which should have a nice flavor to it as well. Wow, the flavor on this one is nice. The tartness, the barnyard funk, lemons, and green apple all come through.

Tart, dry, nicely carbonated, and light bodied. In many ways this reminds me of a dry, white wine. Nice drinkability.

Photo of djmichaelk
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the RR brewpub. I've had this out of bottles before, but this review is based on a sample in the brewpub.

A - Slightly hazy golden yellow color with orange highlights, with a slight head that actually stuck around for a long time. Plenty of lacing down the glass. Impressed with how nice this one looks.

S - Perusing reviews on this site, I've always wondered about the barnyard descriptor -- until now. This beer definitely makes me understand it. Funky barnyard is in your face, followed by some chardonnay notes. Citrus sourness, and some sweetness comes in the back. Just a hint of the barrel.

T - Lemony citrus notes, plus that funkiness. Lots of flavor from the wine barrels. The woman sitting next to me (a wine not beer drinker) called it -- she said it tastes most like a dry white wine, and she's right. The finish was dry like the wine, but had a ton of the sour character common to RR's belgian line. Absolutely delicious.

M - Effervescent like a nice champagne, but very silky at the same time, if that's possible. Lots of bubbles but small ones. Dry finish.

D - On the one hand, the sourness will tend to get to you (I seem to always be obligated to mention this with sours). On the other, it's subtle enough with this one, and the beer just tastes so damned good, that you just want to keep reaching for more.

O - This is probably my favorite from RR, at least of their sours. The only thing keeping me from buying it all the time is the price (and the availability, it's not easy to find outside the brewery).

Photo of pmccallum86
4.57/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a effervescent straw color with a light white bubbly head.

Nice funky barnyard notes here, also some woody notes from the barrel aging. Quite a nice smell, I can already tell this beer is going to be tasty.

Barnyard funkiness, Belgian yeastiness, brett, earthy notes, and light malt all parade on the palate. Very nice tasting beer, one of my favorite sours from Russian River.

Very nicely carbonated, nice sour dry finish.

Super drinkable, it cannot get anymore drinkable than this for the style.

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

Thanks to BeerFMAndy for this one.

Bomber poured into Bruery tulip. Batch 004x3

A- Pours a nice golden with a good amount of haze due to getting the last pour out of the bottle. A half finger worth of head that recedes quickly but leaves spotty lacing.

S- A fairly decent amount of grapes, mainly green grapes. A little bit of funk and what seems like champagne yeast or sparkling wine. Some oak rounds out the nose.

T- A nice bit of oak, more present than in the nose. Some nice sourness and funk. I pick up hints of vanilla on the back end and just a touch of yeast.

M- Medium to light bodied. This one is a nice puckering sour. A great amount of carbonation that tickles the tongue as well. This brew, although sour, feels creamy on the tail end.

D- A very good beer that isn't overly sour and has really good balance. Another winner from RR.

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

750ml Bottle - Batch 004

Pours a golden color with a nice white head. Smell is sour lemons with some funk, grapes, oak, and some spices. Taste is sour with lemons, apples, yeast, brett, and oak. Medium mouthfeel, medium carbonation, with a dry finish. Overall im glad I finally got to try this one.

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

750ml bomber

Appearance: Pour is orange-apricot with great belgian head and lacing.

Smell: Full of bitter barnyard funk and must, chardonnay oak (more like a cheap chardonnay than a good one) and ripe golden fruit. I think it might have almost spent too long in barrels.

Taste: Bitter barnyard funk (with a cat piss element to it), chardonnay oak, and ripe fruits like apricots, pears, peaches, and apples. There is a bitterness to it that doesn't quite fit in. Just a bit too much oak. Actually I find more oak in the bottle than the on-tap version, along with more of a funkiness.

Mouthfeel: Not in love with the carbonation or coating aspect, but good

Drinkability: Drinkable enough but I am not crazy about this one; I admire Vinnie as a pioneer of this style in America but he just never caught up with the Europeans and has now been surpassed by several americans. The first doesn't always go the farthest, even though he sets the path.

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

Well holy crap my first rr. 750ml huge thanks to G311!!! Bottle pours hazy golden yellow with crisp white head, leaves lovely amount of lacing, actually crazy lacing, around the glass. Aroma of hay, grass, very light funk, pinapple. Very small amount of oak comes through with white wine. Taste of tropical fruit, white n green grapes, such an amazing balance of flavors! The chardonay oak is apparent, first time I've had a beer aged in a white wine barrel pulled off so well. The beer is tart and sour, but not as bracingly sour as I had expected. I imagine this is due to the quality and age of the barrels aged in imparting a smoother quality then more raw oak. This beer straight up fills your mouth with flavor on all sides. I could drink this everyday, I'm ruined.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.49/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle split and poured into a Bruery tulip. 7.25% ABV, tulip serving shown, Batch 004x3. Purchased at Russian River.

A - Totally clear golden yellow with a dense white head, there is good retention and lace that covers the glass with thick fingers. It's very attractive.

S - Lemony golden citrus and floral hops with a massive, delicious funk! Light horse blanket and musty wheat has a great combination with a nice light sour finish. Mmm, Brett.

T - Thinner than expected, a bit of the lemon citrus comes through but the majority of the flavor is heavily wild ale with a thin horse blanket and nice barn yard funk to it.

M - Temptation is light-bodied with a funky sour finish that's right up my alley. Nice tart finish with a great clean and crisp texture to it.

D - Definitely a bottle worth sharing with people but probably not worth the $25 price tag. Very good beer with a nice wild kick to the finish.

Photo of beerwolf77
4.69/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to BeerFMAndy for bringing this one back from Cali and splitting it with us.

Split and poured into my tulip the beer is hazy golden yellow with about a finger of white head. A thin lace ring is left around the glass after settling.

The aroma is a rich boquet of spices and yeast. A good dose of sour grapes and apples mix with plenty of funk and barrel wood. Spot on wild ale.

The flavor is pretty much a mirror of the nose. Lots of tart fruit with loads of funky wood and straw. I've never tasted a horse blanket but I'm going to assume this is what one might resemble.

Medium bodied and not as dry as I had assumed it would be. Plenty of carbonation.

Overall another winner from RR. Wild ales are starting to become my favorite style. I could easily polish off the whole bottle myself.

Photo of Chico1985
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml (Batch 4x3) split with cbutova. I could not resist the..Temptation...much longer. Thanks to wavers1 for trading this.

Pours beautiful golden orange, nice white head and lacing that's not going anywhere. It is..dare I say it..tempting?

Smell is pretty much that average sour, funky scent you'd expect from a beer like this. Chardonnay and funk, a simple yet excellent smell.

...and a simple yet excellent taste as well. Sour chardonnay, funk, lemon. Oak and vanilla are present mostly in the aftertaste. Not as complex as Supplication, but simple and great in it's own right.

Mouthfeel is pretty spot-on for the style. Well-carbonated, no problems here.

Very drinkable, big price tag on this but I'd say it's deserved.

**more notes - 7/25/11**

Just finished a 375ml (Batch 5x2E), a little over a year old in the bottle. Great stuff! I think I liked it even better than the first batch I tried. Similar to a gueuze, had a great funky, farmy chardonnay vibe, extremely drinkable. I have one more bottle of this batch left and can't wait to try it around the 3-year old mark.


Just over 3 years in the bottle. Once again, great experience. Still great flavor and carbonation, maybe a bit tamer overall but very tasty and drinkable. This along with Consecration and Supplication all held up great after 3 years.

Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 3,150 ratings.