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Temptation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,087 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,087
Reviews: 972
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 9.19%
Wants: 1,570
Gots: 821 | 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: 3,087 | Reviews: 972 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of drabmuh
4.4/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 4. Poured from a bottle into a becher glass. Beer is yellow (eventually the sediment got released and ended up clouding the beer but it started out pretty clear). Thick white head of medium bubbles held up shortly by moderate carbonation of medium to large bubbles that rose through the beer quickly. Head leaves a lot of lacing on the glass as the beer is drank.

Beer has a good sour aroma followed by a slight funk. Sour aroma seems citric rather than acetic or lactic.

Whoa, this is a sour. Puckering citric sour flavors. Once the shock wore off, its amazing. Beer is really smooth. Drinkability high, mouthfeel great. Crisp finish, no aftertaste, there is a hint of oak in the back after drinking for a while. This is a great beer.

Photo of Kemmerlin
4.63/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: darker blonde color poured a thick long lasting white head and decent lacing.
S: light fruity yeast aroma but not much else to mention
T: sour grape/apple flavor with a slight bittering from the hops. There is a great citrus and wine like aftertaste.
M/D: The feel is really dry but sweet an light. The flavor and feel really makes this brew a great drinkable beer. Enjoy!

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

Poured from the 750ml into a Duvel tulip, batch 004.

Pours a murky straw yellow with a chunky white head.

Smells like lemon zest, oak, chardonnay, yeast and some earthiness.

Taste is sharp lemon up front with chardonnay and oak towards the end. Earthiness from the brett left on the tongue in the aftertaste.

Low carbonation and on the lighter end of medium body.

Drinkability is fair. I couldn't see myself drinking this one all night but it definitely is a solid beer, just not sessionable in my opinion. This one needs to be savored.

Photo of punkrkr27
3.68/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

375mL, batch 2. Hazy yellow pour with a dense foamy white head. Smells of white grapes, lemon, orange zest, grassiness, and a touch of candi sugar, oak, brett, and some Belgian yeast. Brett sourness is very dominant in the flavor with more white grapes and oak and a hint of candi sugar on the finish. Medium body with a very dry finish.

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

Bottle shared by dkachur at the C'ville tasting--thanks, Dan!

A: Pours a hazy light brown/orange-yellow. Nice carbonation and a fluffy, persistent one and a half fingers of head. It really does not disappear as it sits out for...quite a bit, still with one and a half fingers just sitting lightly on top. Pretty nice and fluffy webs of lacing up and down the glass, but it pales in comparison to the head on this, which is damn impressive.

S: quite nice and sour, but also some orange, lemon, and pink grapefruit citrus taste. A little funky, grassy, and hay-like. Slight barnyard smell, but not a huge one. A bit of cloves and buttery/peppery scents are also present, and maybe some sweet red apples, peaches, and tangerines as well as white grapes, white vinegar, and a slight, hard to identify funk.

T: pretty sour--perhaps the most sour I've had, but in a very mild and pleasant way somehow. It's a sort of combination of granny smith apples, cider, and white vinegar, though certainly not apple cider vinegar. A little lemony also, maybe even with lemongrass and hay.

M: Very fine, tiny bubbles, not too few or too many.

D: I'm not entirely sure, as I've been sipping this one for a bit with a friend and haven't particularly tried to drink it quickly. It seems, however, pretty drinkable for how sour it is.

Photo of mjl21
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle. Batch 003. Purchased at the brewery when it was first released and kept at cellar temperature. Poured into a tulip glass. Comes in at 7.25%.

A-When the cork is removed it lets out a nice pop. When poured it has a semi hazy straw yellow color. It has a crackling two finger off white head. The head has some great retention and results in some nice patches of lace. Plenty of bubbles continuously shoot up from the bottom of the glass.

S-It has a really nice blended nose. It is not overly sour/tart. There is barnyard funk, musty oak barrel, sweetness, and tart pear and apple.

T-It starts out sweet with some noticeable malt flavor. Fruits such as lemon, cherry, and white grapes hit mid-sip. The oak barrel flavor is definitely noticeable throughout and imparts a lot of vanilla into each sip. The vanilla flavor lingers. It is tart, but not over the top. The strongest tart flavor comes as it goes down at the end.

M-Medium bodied, dry, and nicely carbonated.

D-A really nice sour. It has a nice level of tartness that is not super strong. It has more vanilla than I remember.

One of my all time favorites. This batch is almost two years old and is tasting great. The flavors have come together quite nicely.

Photo of Plinythechugger
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was without a doubt the best beer I have ever tasted!

A - A beautiful inch and a half thick head that lead to some serious lacing on the tulip glass. The color was golden - what I would imagine an angel looks like!

S - Sour, very sour! Brett is there - but not overpowering. I just want to take a bath in it, it is so inviting.

T - Temptation is so unique and so well crafted. It tastes like Sour Patch Kids and the sourness tingles my lips - amazing!

M - Perfect!

D - Very, very, very drinkable! At 7.75% abv it goes down smooth. Do whatever it takes to drink this beer - classic!

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

Temptation, served from a 750 mL bottle courtesy of dkachur at the January C'ville gathering. Poured in to a cervoise.

Appearance: A cloudy yellow hazed body, sort of dull, sunny, juicy-looking. There's really not too much to be said about the color - it's uniform, sort of a hazed golden, and doesn't really lend itself to to many more adjectives. But beyond that - and what truly makes this beer gorgeous - is the absolutely unequivocally amazing head. The finger and a half of fluffy marshmallow foam is immaculate and unbelievablely fluffy. The initial one finger of cream does not, ever, once fade below that, maintaining a fluffy, dense, dry, rocky, clingy mass throughout the experience. The lacing continues the trend - huge, fluffy, sticky, three-dimensional. This is just a fantastic-looking brew, inviting and invigorating. I find no flaws.

Aroma: I originally had this penned at a 4.0, but as it warmed, this one got far more inviting, with the Brett coming to the forefront and melding beautifully with the more pronounced aromas. Crisp and golden pale malts provide the base for this beer, moderately sweet but with a dryness that augments most of the other aromatics: 1) a dry, crisp, mouthwatering amount of acetic tartness (more tart than sour) that isn't overwhelming but instead blends and augments; 2) a faint Bretty underpinning, funky and horseblanket-esque; and 3) the miscellany, if you will, with peaches, oranges, light tannins, Granny Smith apples, and green oak. A varied, complex, and balanced profile.

Taste: "Balance" is a word that, more than any other, describes this beer. It's a tart beer, for sure, slightly sweettart-like in places, but describing only this aspect doesn't do it justice. Pale, simple malts, fruity peach and banana and lemon notes, faint barnyard funk, estery oak and tannins, and the aforementioned moderate to heavy, acetic tartness don't overrun each other, and none struggle for time in the spotlight. Everything here is in perfect balance for someone at my stage of sour exposure, and thus I have no choice but to rate it a 5.0.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, bright, sunny, lively, effervescent ... throw in whatever words here you'd like that serve to indicate that this brew is highly carbonated but light and dry and fluffy enough to balance and balance effortlessly the flavor components here.

Drinkability: No wonder this is a top 30 beer on BA. It's easily one of the best 5 beers I've ever had, and and at a mere 7%, it's one of the few "amazing" beers I've ever tried that I could - if it were more available - drink again and again and again. The best Russian River brew I've yet to try, and thus - in my opinion - the best of their wilds (Supplication, Consecration, Beatification being the ones I've tried), this one succeeds not because it is the most sour, or the most funky, or the most <fill in the blank>, and instead excels in the authenticity and quality of what really epitomizes sours in my mind - balance. More please.

Photo of mutterfudder
4.85/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap, 7/19/09 in Orange, CA.

A - Golden and effervescent, with a thick white head that stuck on the sides of the glass.

S - Golden ale with a nice, mild funk smell. The smell kind of floored me, as I was expecting something sour-bombish.

T - Oh wow. Wonderful golden ale... the fruit notes were present and somewhat muted. The sour I was expecting? More like a nice finishing tang than anything.

M - Fluffy and crisp. Loved it.

D - Easily drinkable. I put down two of them back to back. Just lovely.

This was my first experience with Russian River and Vinnie's beers. It was an eye opening experience to be sure! I would drink this daily if it were available to me. Just shy of my perfect beer, though I can't imagine anything being better in this category.

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

Light yellow golden color, with quarter inch white head that laces well. Some licorice on the nose along with a white grape. More grape in the taste than the aroma. Feel is very light and crisp. Drinkable in that the abv is not overpowering, though the taste is different and might take some getting used to.

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.83/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip. Batch 004x5.

4.5 A: Hazy golden straw color. Two fingers of pillowy white head. Most of the head falls quickly, but the last 1/2 finger sticks around for a long time. Plenty of lacing.

4.5 S: Brett funk for sure, but way more funk that just the brett alone. Tons of barnyard funk with hay and horse blanket. Healthy fruity tartness backs up the funk. Oak tones linger. Very nice.

5.0 T: Brett barnyard funkiness again. Tart, but not overly so, fruitiness including wild orchard red apples and peaches. Straw and peppery yeast. Oak hits the spot as well. It does have plenty of chardonnay aspects as well. Excellent.

4.5 M: Lighter medium mouthfeel. Bubbly carbonation is perfect. Smooth with no major flaws. Tangy tartness on finish.

5.0 D: The most drinkable wild and one of the most drinkable of any brew. I could sip this all night long. I wish my bottle was 3L.

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

Poured from a 750 ml bottle on 11/30/09

A - pours a light golden yellow with an inch of white foam

S - slightly funky aroma, lemon and apple, light oak

T - brett sour throughout, lemon and some oak, with a nice funkiness to it

M - crisp, light, sour, puckery

D - very drinkable, just the right amount of tartness, light enough to not be overwhelming

Photo of kfsv034
4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this beer with Drink1121, received in a trade from Zestar

A - poured a hazy orangish straw color.

S - smell is sour apple and lemon, some hay or grass, chardonnay and alittle oak and funk

T - sooo good, sour apple, lemon, strong chardonnay with alittle funk and subtle hits of oak in the after taste along with a lingering sour, gets increasingly funky and sour as it warms. very very good

M - champaign like kinda bubbly

D - i could drink this all night

this is my first wild ale i went in not knowing what to expect and wow its amazing im hooked

Photo of alleykatking
4.4/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This bottle is from good ole mjl21....Mike you are an amazing trader. Thanks again for everything. Poured from bottle.

A- Pours a hazy golden yellow color. Nice 1 1/2 finger white head that dies down after a little bit. Lacing was nice with this beer being all over the glass.

S- Citrus and other sour style fruits. There is a little oak in the tail end of the nose. Big funky barnyard smells. Nice sour smell that I associate with Brett. Made my mouth water.

T- Big brett sour tones to this one. Some barnyard funk and something else I can't quite put my finger on as far as sourness. Wine vinegary taste in the middle to end of this. Lemon flavors upfront and some oak in the tail end of this.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is a little on the high side for me with this beer. Not a bad thing though. Nice sour flavors with some citrus left on the palate and aftertaste. Makes me want to lick my lips after each sip to taste more sourness. Clean tasting as much as it can be for the style.

D- Nice drinkability although I could not have a whole lot of this. I mean I could but the acidic tones to this limit it as little. Russian River cracks another one out of the park with this beer. Way to go!

Photo of emerge077
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 003, thanks Jason for helping me acquire this!
First beer of 2010.

Poured into an Oerbier wine-style glass, it pours a bright honey gold with effervescent champagne streams. Lace is sticky and adheres itself well. The surface skim never really breaks.

Aroma from the glass is strangely different from the bottle. The bottle has a sweet acetic white wine vinegar and washed rind cheese thing going on. The glass has a very minerally, flinty wet stone nose, backed by hay and honey notes. As it warms there are some florals too. I'd give the bottle a 5 and the glass a 4, so 4.5 it is.

Temptation sings beautifully. It has elements of Chardonnay, tart and minerally, bright and puckering. Light on the palate yet full and complex. Not especially oaky, which is good. Dry and fruity with grapes, orange, lemon, and cheese. Very effervescent and dry like champagne. A wine-lovers conversion beer for sure. Off the charts drinkability.

Paired well with cheese, we had Capriole Wabash Cannonball and Delitia Taleggio.

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

Thanks to RJ(Grabbin2nd) for sharing this one.
Poured a hazy golden color with a medium head white head. Nose is big and funky, as some would say "horseblanket" and "barnyard funk", lemon, tartness. Taste is like a big lemondrop, grassy and def sour. Mouthfeel has a very nice mouthfeel, very champagne like, sour but not to much, lemon, funk. Drinkability is very good.

Photo of Mora2000
4.38/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of thirdeye11.

Batch 004x2. Pours golden yellow with a white head. The aroma is very tart, with some vinegar and citrus. The flavor is tart, with lemons and a floral quality. A little bit of funk but not too much. Very drinkable sour. I had heard a lot about this beer and it didn't disappoint.

4.58/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Served appropriately in a snifter. Although served on draft, the bottle is BAD ASS and is worth mentioning.

A: A thing of beauty. Average-sized, off-white head that I can only imagine would have been bigger had I poured it. Slightly hazy/cloudy body. The body was a yellow-gold color.

S & T: Grassy, lemony hop bill, not much malt character to speak of. The big aroma and flavor is clearly the outrageously sour fruity funk. Brettanomyces are in the building. Barnyardy, earthy and surprisingly leathery (?). Residual oak flavors from 12 months of aging. Some vinous flavor/texture quality pulls through as a result as well.The fruit flavors are pronounced: sour green apple, white/green grapes, and lemony vinegar. This is one sourly delicous brew and, in my opinion, the benchmark for American Wild Ales.

M: Another incredible aspect. Full body, gritty texture with the carbonation levels of champagne. Not only is the finish astringent, every single second is like a Times Square New Year's Eve party in your mouth.

D: For me, the drinkability scale for wild ales must be adjusted, mainly because I find it difficult for any such intense brew (all styles included) to be rated with a perfect 5. That said, I slowly sipped and thoroughly enjoyed my Temptation over an hour or so. This beer gets my highest adjusted rating for Drinkability (scale of 1 to 3).

Photo of david18
4.63/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I like this beer even better than the Consecration, which is a little too strong. A great pale color, intense sour and belgian aroma, excellent sour flavor that also has a very belgian (Damnation-like) quality.

I think this is one of the better sour ales I've had, maybe even better than many of the cantillons. This is to that beer what Damnation is to Duvel.

I highly recommend this beer.

Photo of Reagan1984
4.18/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch # 004X1 stamped on bottle

A loud POP of the cork and we are off. It's a wild ale night here in Sudbury as I sit to watch the original "Rollerball" (1975) on On-Demand.
The beer pours with a fluffy white head that appears delicate. The beer itself is a shockingly bright gold color with perfect clarity. Almost a bright brass color. A decent amount of visible carbonation.

The aroma is quite bold and you can actually smell it just from sitting next to the glass. Sharp, tart, vinegar like. Definite notes from the yeast (brett) Earthy.. After a bit you can sense the oak.

Tart green apple, white wine flavors, stonger oak than I even imagined. The earthy, yeast flavors are quite bold. I try not to use the work funk... but I think I just did. Lots of barnyard notes. I drank the first part of the bottle then enjoyed some with some cheese and crackers. Went perfectly. The sparkle and brightness cut right through the fat of the cheese. Finishes rather dry with, of course, that tart tones sticking with you. The more I drink it, the more I get some nutty flavors.

Champagne like in body and carbonation. (slightly less effervescent) refreshing actually. Clearly acidic.

Very enjoyable and goes down smoothly. Like many sours (wild ales) you can only drink so much before the acidic nature gets to you. It's clear to see why this is so highly thought of.

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

Poured into snifter. Batch 004X2. 2009

Pours a nice white head. Great retention. Nice splatted lace. Color is a clear golden straw yellow. Just what this beer should look like.

Aroma: sour with brett and barnyard flavors. Oak, lemon, and sour fruits. Pretty solid.

Taste: Hmmm, this is kind of interesting. A lot of brett here with some other sour bugs. Barnyard funk with lemons. Some nice oak flavors as well. Well done.

Mouthfeel: Sour and funky. Mouth puckering. Light to medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation. Ends very clear, a tad sour.

Overall, a solid heavy beer. Very well done. I really enjoyed this beer. Very drinkable. I'd like to try this with a few years on it. I think it could get even better.

Photo of wd40
4.83/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 004X4 from 2009 release I believe

Straw color appearance with bright lemon/citrus and fruit flavors and aromas like apple and pear. Oak flavor is well-balanced and the tartness of the Brettanomyces is really nice. It really does have some resemblance in flavor to a chardonnay with some funky hay, barn, and grassy undertones mixed with some sour acidity. Everything works really well together. Vinnie Cilurzo took all these individually gross flavors and made something totally amazing! I really don't know how he is able to integrate flavors so well together, but his beers really have a lot of depth.

The mouthfeel is typical Russian River, that is soft and perfect. There was quite a lot of foam even though I made a soft pour. Definitely a drinkable beer, in fact I almost went through the entire bottle without noticing. Definitely worth a try for anyone who's interested in sours, but I'm still a slightly bigger fan of Consecration.

Edit: this beer has lingered in my mind and become one of my all time favorites! I love the lightness and dryness of the beer and really can't get enough of it. "I can resist everything except temptation" - Oscar Wilde

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

Features a pale straw golden color with a touch of cloudiness and nice carbonation. Aroma is lemon marmalade with hints of other citrus, and a big tart element. Flavor is more lemon, melon, and sweet tarts. Girardin Gueueze comes to mind as the closest sibling, though Temptation has a thinner flavor and feel, and I'd prefer the Girardin, especially with the price tag. Still a very nice beer.

Photo of portia99
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked and caged bottle (batch 004x5) received in trade from berkey. Thanks! Poured into a Russian River Belgian glass.

A - Poured carefully into the glass to yield a mildly hazy bright golden colored beer with two fingers of fluffy white head on top. An endless supply of carbonation bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass, a beautifully active and champagne like effervescence. Head lasts for a long time...doesn't seem like it wants to give it up.

S - A bit on the sweet side, plenty of brett funkiness. Lots of sour fruit, especially apples, some orangey citrus. Also a winelike light fruitiness is strongly present, obviously coming from the time in the barrels.

T - Taste closely matches the aroma. Distinctly sour and puckering, but quite flavorful and complex. Light citrusy fruit - lemons, oranges, sour apples. Lots of winelike character, though more pinot gris than chardonnay for me - this pairs really well with the other tart and fruity flavors in this beer. Only a touch of woody oak flavor comes into play, but this plays off of the brett character to blend nicely. Less funk in the flavor than the aroma although plenty prominant, probably will be more pronounced with some age on it.

M - On the thin side, as expected, and loaded with carbonation. Very prickly and a bit foamy on the tongue. Sour and tart, a bit puckering and quite drying after the swallow.

D - Extremely drinkable American Wild. Quite tart, but not overpowering - very refreshing on the tongue. Alcohol isn't overpowering at 7.25%. Very bright, fruity, tart with a touch of sweetness. A 750ml bottle is just the right amount for me. Glad to be able to try this one...gotta see about getting some more.

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

Poured from tap at Capones sour event into a smaller tasting glass.

A: A clear light gold color with a very thin white head. No glass lacing to speak of.

S: Tart smells with apple and fruit with a slight sugar sweetness.

T: Wow, this is damn sour. Tart flavors hit the tongue with flavors of sour apple, pear and some green grape. There is some slight woodiness and a nice grassiness to it from the hops with a slight sugar sweetness to slightly offset the tartness. Finish is all sour that makes your tongue curl for minutes afterwords. Crisp, clean, wow. This is much greener beer that is much sharper than that from an aged bottle.

M: Crisp, clean, tart, flavors linger. No traces of alcohol.

D: Suffered a bit because it was so young. The beer is mouth puckering but delicious.

Overall what more can I say. Spectacular, what a great beer that is infinitely more sour from tap when the flavors don't get to meld together. I think I like this more from bottle as it mellows, but this one is excellent when young and razor sharp also. Incredible.

Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 3,087 ratings.