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Temptation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

982 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 982
Hads: 3,324
Avg: 4.41
pDev: 16.78%
Wants: 1,740
Gots: 889 | FT: 53
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 982 | Hads: 3,324
Photo of mattcrill
3.83/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to cmaruschak for the chance to sample this one.

Appearance: A cloudy straw colored pour emerges from the bottle. Visible carbonation noted throughout the body and terminates in the bone white head.

Smell: Oak, yeast, and cider apples. Very light and tart on the nose.

Taste: Chardonnay grapes, oak, a brush of alcohol, and some metallic sourness that normally would be off-putting but can only assume this comes from the Brett yeast strain. Interesting but I can see how this would fatigue the palate.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with lively carbonation.

Drinkability: A little too much chardonnay wine like for me. Doesn't really scratch the beer itch at all. However, it's a very unique twist on a blonde ale. Nicely done.

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Photo of Sammy
4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A sour beer that is drinkable and not hard on the palate owing to good malting. Woody taste in there-something akin to a acidic chardonnay. Minerals, apples, saison like spice. Horse aroma. I am glad I tried it however this is not the greatest beverage I have had as some others claim. Thanks for sending Hopsalot.
Updated and upgraded, particulalry with improved aromas! on-tap 4.5 years later at the brewpub. Lemony chardonnay, with brett, is very enjoyable and unique. Natural carbonation.

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Photo of gosurfobx
4.54/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 12.7 oz corked bottle. Pours with a 1 inch head and a hazy blonde color. Bret is noticeable in the smell and taste of this beer. The acidic taste from the bret comes across very well. Wine flavors also present in this beer, as it was aged in oak barrels for a year before bottling. Good drinkablity, looking forward to every sip.

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Photo of AlexJ
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bruno for sharing this rare treat!

Lightly hazed yellow amber pour with a massive, dense, rocky-topped head of whipped froth that just stays forever, eventually falling to a 1/4 inch cap that remains. Lace is sticky and artfully applied.

Aroma is crisp golden fruits, pears and white grapes, tart wine, toasty oak, and tart funk that is similar to nearly fermented rotting apples laying in the dirt.

Flavor is complex and intriguing, bringing on notes of green apple, grapes, toasty vanilla oak, wine, and blanketed by sweet/tart rotting fruit and stinging Brett prickles. Funky and unique.

Body is medium, with a light airey texture and soft, mineral-laden mouthfeel. Irresistably sippable.

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Photo of jakester
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this at Union Jack's on the Manatawny. It came with a wine glass.

Pours a cloudy blonde/gold with a rocky, one finger head of white foam. Carbonation looks medium. The head falls to islands and a ring, with minimal lacing.

Aroma is wonderful Belgian barnyard funk, spicy, sour, with notes of black pepper and other great spices. Hop character is very low. A light fruitiness lies just below the surface. Nice and complex smell.

Flavor is barnyard, sour, fruity, spicy, and really awesome. Hop character is very low, Aftertaste is sour and crisp. I am starting to love this Belgian funk WAY too much. I can't get enough.

Mouthfeel is clean and dry, with a tongue-tingling crispness. Carbonation is medium, adding to the feel. Finish is a long dry crispness.

This reminds me sort of like a saison, with wonderful spicy funkiness. This has to have Brett in it somewhere. Clean and dry, complex as hell; a great addition to RR's portfolio.

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Photo of Backer2004
3.78/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

If you want to see a great review for this beer, keep scrolling down another. However, I'm still goving my two cents worth. This can be a beer where you can convert not the light beer drinker, but rather the white wine drinker. It seemed like I was drinking a nice balanced beer followed by a chardonnay, hence the BA notes on its aging process. can't compare it to other sof this style but will continue to search for other Wild Ales. Wish I could get my hand on more Russian River brews, I just got lucky the other night.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle (batch 1 drank in 2006): Poured a hazy/cloudy dirty yellow color ale with rather large white bubbly head with medium retention. Nose of farmhouse, chardonnay with a sourness resembling lambic. Taste is totally incredible with huge amount of farmhouse (there is probably a better word for this but it is the only I can think of right now), sour notes resembling a lambic and Brett, which is reminiscent of Orval. The Chardonnay barrel effect is maybe a bit too accentuated but still very interesting. Also, it might be a bit too acidic for my liking but it is still very much enjoyable. A more balance level of acid and this would have been a perfect score. Now, I just need to get my hand on some more of this.

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Photo of clvand0
3.92/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light golden color with almost no head at all and doesn't leave any lacing on the glass. The aroma gives a swift kick of sourness with a little alcohol and fruit. Sourness dominates the aroma. The flavor is much less sour than the aroma would allow you to think. Actually, there isn't a ton of flavor in this one. At the beginning there is a small bit of fruitiness and some sour notes along with a large kick of wood, but the flavor quickly disappears. The mouthfeel is moderate and the drinkability is good, but I'd like to see some more substantial flavors.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.67/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy straw color with a sparse coat over top. Small bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass. Nose is a beauty. Its sour and tart, but with an awesome almost candy sweetness and some nice oak character playing in the background. Very nice, but I would like to see more flavor overall. Flavor is only lightly sour, with the candied sweetness coming through dominant, but fading to a very neutral finish. Very clean and unobtrusive. Finish is a bit dry. The wood character plays thoughout the flavor as well. Feel is right at moderate with a light carbonation. Alcohol only lets iselfe be known in a light feeling of heat in my ears, as alcohol tends to do to me. Otherwise, this beer really has no flaws. The flavor needs a bit more oomph for me. I'm glad to have another one of these, as I do enjoy it.

Still my first one, just getting new profiles towards the end. I'm getting a lot more oak hanging on into the finish. I'm more happy with the flavor now.

Edit. I didn't want to add a new review since I had my second bottle so close to the first, but the second one was a much different beast. The sour wild character and light oaky and mild grape character were really more prevalent in the second go. I absolutely loved the flavor, so bump this to a full 5. Just everything about the beer seemd to be dialed in better. It danced perfectly on my tongue, not at all light but not heavy either. Right in line. I will have to get one more of these for a re-review in the future.

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Photo of IrishCowboy
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought two bottles of temptation batch 001 at the RR brewery in Nov 2005. Looks just like the pic above

Opened one up for New Years eve.

Appearance is nice. The golden ale appearance ,almost brass, is not subtle. There is a 3 finger head recieved from pouring into the RR glass I bought at the same visit. Head simmered down to a single finger and is just sitting there showing no signs of moving. Lacing is foamy and permanent. Halfway into drinking I still see thick foam rings at the top. YUMMY.

The smell is of a champagne or heavy chardonnay on the sour side but I am really liking the smell of this which is strange because I do not like to smell champagne or chard. Smelling wines is something you do for Cabbys (IMHO). Perhaps the beer is helping round this one out.

I love the taste of this beer. If I could get more of it easier I'd drink it regularly. I like the sour notes, not something I like in beer very much but this one is balanced (more so then supplication for me) and the carbonation in the taste and mouthfeel help the sour become something you want to taste as oppose to swallow quickly.

This is the most unique thing I have tasted in years. Russian River has a unique style and often I can taste the russian river signature in all of thier beers. Temptation has the russian river flavor without the piney aftertaste you find in some of thier other offerings that I often find over powers some of the better qualities of thier work.

My only complaint is that I wish the bottle was as big as the Damnation bottles.

If you are passing through Santa Rosa and also like champagne and Wine this beer offers a balance between the two worlds.

On a final note I'd say not to let the champagne/chardonnay-like part of the review scare you away from this one. Its a beer with similar qualities is all.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.03/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 375ml bottle stamped as "batch 001".

I bought this in CA a few weeks ago, opened for New Years Eve. The bottle says "Blond ale aged in oak barrels." The bottle goes on to say the oak barrels are Chardonay barrels.

After trying the Supplication last night, I was prepared for this one to taste like a sour beer. It did. Strange for a beer, but a reasonable alternative for a sparkling white wine.

I liked this better than Supplication, maybe because I expected the sour taste this time. But probably I won't have it again.

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Photo of Lnedrive14
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375 ml bottle - batch 001

Gotta say, I love the mini magnum. Coolest bottle ever. I would rate it s 5.

Very interesting brew. Almost tasted like champagne. Very fruity. Effervescent and refreshing. Definitely some tartness in there. Like a quasi cantillon. A bit sour, but not in a bad way.

I don't know what makes this beer wild, but yeah, it's interesting as hell. I hada hard time putting scores to this one. I think I would like to try it again to really see what I think. Glad for the opportunity though.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.11/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12/25/05- Purchased at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.

Presentation- 375ml bottle, caged and corked from the first batch ever bottled. Poured into my Duchese chalice.

Appearance- Pilsner golden color with a nice clouded vision. A solid 3/4 inch head forms with a full 1/4 inch remaining all the way down. Beautiful lace kisses almost the enitire glass.

Smell- Ahh, more barnyard funk, with a touch of oak and hops!

Taste- Drank immeadiately after the Supplication and found the same tartness to be there, in fact more so. This time the sourness stays in the aftertaste and lingers a bit. Slight touches of vinous notes and maybe a wee bit of oak treat the pallete to a nice suprise. Hops are plentiful as you notice them immediately.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation level, tart and sour to the back of the tongue.

Drinkability- Another winner from Mr. C. A different approach to a blonde ale to be sure, but a winner nonetheless.

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Photo of drewmprs
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What can I say that hasn't been said? This was my first experience with an american wild ale. First impression was one of the chardonnay oak barrels that it was aged in for 12 months. I was lucky enough to try this on tap at hollingshead. A contemplative beer that one can sip or chug. Another winner from Russian River, more places should carry this on tap. The brets were strong, but manageable.

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Photo of SwillinBrew
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Hollingshead, after the Supplication ran out.

A - a golden straw color with hues of lemon rind and a good amount of white head. Very bubbly inside.
S - good tartness like rice vinegar and faint forest scent. I dont know how else to describe it.
T - Ahhhh, good firm sourness that's well rounded. The sweetness and maybe spice are more pronounced in this one as opposed to the Supplication. There is a detectable oak or barrel in the taste that works with this. I could also taste faint flavors that i taste when i have a hefe, very faint though.
M&Dr - very bubbly and good on the palate. Dry and cider like. Very tasty this one. I do prefer the Supplication, but this one is damn good as well.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.57/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375 mL green corked and caged bottle, provided by OldFrothingSlosh in BIF 24. Stamp on the bottle says it is from Batch 001, cool. Poured into the recommended glassware.

Appearance: Hazy gold body, head is smaller than I expected, but still about 3/4". Lots of visible carbonation in the body.

Smell: Tart, funky and fruity much like a Flanders Red Ale . Smell is pretty much what I would expect from the style, as this is my first sample I have had from it.

Taste: Slightly sweet and highly tart flavors make up the forefront of the flavor, with an earthy wood flavor. Different, but familiar to what I have seen from Belgians that use wild yeast.

Mouthfeel: Feels a little watery going down, but that combines with the tartness of this beer to create an interesting effect. Metalic coating in the mouth afterwards.

Drinkability: Another example of American brewers taking a well established style and making it their own. I like the innovation, and would like to see more from the style. Thanks to OldFrothinSLosh for the bottle.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.46/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1.5 Liter olive colored bottle with batch #001 on the label. This bottle is 7.25% abv and barrel aged for 12 months. Poured into two Duvel glasses ... cheers to Vinnie for the big ass bottle.

A- Clear orange gold hue, etching in Duvel glass expresses a beautiful trail of bubbles that hold the white lace together. Speaking of the lace ... absolutely wonderful as it sticks all over the glass.

S- Farmy aroma with a goat-like white wine smell. Suggestions of lemons, sour cherries and wet grass. Hint of phenols and a refined fusel alcohol in the back.

T- Cherry tartness ... BANG! Underlying lime edge, a touch of mineral / salts. Biscuity bread crust maltiness, very dry. Very faint on the wood. Fruity all over with a hidden warming alcohol. Leafy hop character holds a restrained bitterness.

M- Creamy mouth feel, fluffy, light and dry.

D- So flavorful and interesting it is hard to put down. We could easily sip this all night long.

High marks for originality.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.37/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"French oak chardonnay barrels", eh? I smell it once the cork comes out.

Lovely pale amber color, nearing orange, completely cloudy, witha thick, sturdy snowy cushion of foam above.

Potent aromatics, screaming sour from afar....on closer inspection, yup, that's tart, with citrus and spice squeaking in...deep, heady stuff....beautiful.

Sourness is the main game in the mouth, blasting the tongue, then fading gently. Bracingly tart. Then smooth, but never releasing the hold of the tart, accompanied by some fruit and a bit of spice. Nice.

Full-bodied and fresh. Zesty, snappy, tangy...quite an accomplishment, matching the quality of Belgian ales so well that if you didn't know, you'd swear this bottle crossed an ocean.

Fine and mellow, this tempting ale. Delightful. Delicious. D'lovely.

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Temptation draws intentional and immediate comparisons to wine. The beer’s character develops during 12 months of aging in French oak wine barrels where it undergoes a secondary fermentation with Brettanomyces. It then gains a third fermentation in corked bottles. This produces a sour, white wine aroma with brisk, giddy carbonation feeding a soft film of head. The brew is very blond, mostly clear, and delivers a violent uncorking.

Temptation expertly showcases the refined complexities of its oak pedigree. The tart acidity of its long-term relationship with Brett yields a champagne-like expression. The beer boasts a wealth of artistry and sophistication and would achieve sublime expression in the company of sliced Jonagolds and farmer’s cheese. A standout example of contemporary west coast beercraft.

Batch 001, 7.25% ABV. Special thanks to Brewbacca for the trade.

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Photo of ggaughan
4.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this last night at the back bar at Monk's. I have been waiting to try it for awhile as I have held off on the bottle in my basement.

The Temptation pours a very hazy orange/yellow color with a nice thick and sparkling head.

The first few sips of this beer definitely reminds you that it has been aged in Chardonnay barrels for an extended period of time and then you get the sour and bitterness that is trademark RR.

I wish the bottle was a 25oz because I could have enjoyed this much longer but at $16 a bottle I was limited myself to one...for now.

After my first try of the Temptation I will befinitely age the bottle I have at home and try it a few more time at Monk's because this is another winner from Russian River. Great job Vinnie.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.04/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up by BA RedwoodGeorge for the trade with me, this beer came in an oddly sized (375 ml) corked brown bottle, with a wire cage to finish the package. The cork came out resoundingly, and the beer started forming head in the bottle before pouring! The vigorous carbonation action continued unabated in the oversized wine glass, and the head that formed kept building up over the first few minutes rather than dissipating, and at the end of this spectacle, the head crowned an inch above the rim of the glass in the shape of a volcano.

The body underlying Mount Temptation was pale, cloudy, and very bubbly. The aroma was soured unripe cherries and fresh cut hay. There was also a little more alcohol in the nose than I was expecting. The taste was oh so dry and tart. Not quite as mouth-puckeringly acidic as a gueze lambic, this beer still had a similar taste of a lemon-lime juice mixed with wheat ale. There was also a peppery zing followed by a tannic woody flavor, and a hint of sweetness. Unlike a true lambic, there was no horse blanket funk here.

The finish was smooth and vanilla-creamy, and the aforementioned sweetness a little more noticeable in the aftertaste. This beer exhibited a very complex flavor profile, and yet remained quite drinkable and refreshing.

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Photo of whartontallboy
4.82/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After much deliberation, I tried this one at Monk's.

Pours out a cloudy yellow-gold with a very small white head that recedes slowly and leaves a little bit of lacing. Not an overwhelming beer to look at.

Smell is pure brett and chardonnay, with some grapes, peach, and oak coming through.

Flavor is incredible. It's got so much going on. It tastes like chardonnay as it hits your tongue, with a big dry grape flavor and some light fruitiness, but it gradually gives way to a nutty, almost cheese-like beer flavor that lets a lot of peach, graph, and honeydew flavors come in. Lemon and yeast flavors read pretty well, too.

Mouthfeel is a spritzy medium, meeting the flavor perfectly.

Overall: Wow. I thought this one would be overhyped, but I thought it was incredible. Surely worth seeking out.

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Photo of DogFood11
3.4/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I aged this for almost a year after purchase on a reccomendation from the beer manager at High times near newport beach. Popped the cork on a special occasion served in a small tulip.

Golden with Orange hue around the edges. Head and lacing are lacking.

First gulp reminded me of a chardonay. Big grape, sour, bitter, and some sweetness to finish. Some oak, wooded, earthy interior but mostly this brew reminded me of a fine chardonay with more carbonation and earthy tones to it.

I really think this should be aged a long long time. I aged it but it didn't settle down yet. Give this one a few years. For now its a glorified wine.

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Photo of sinistrsam
4.8/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one by far one of the most unique beers I have ever had the privilege to drink. The color was light golden with a large head, which left exquisite lacing. You could possibly mistake the appearance and/or bouquet for champagne, but with much less carbonation. The aroma was outstanding, with heavy French oak, vanilla and mild citrus.
I was still trying to figure out how to describe the taste an hour after finishing my glass. I have to agree with the cliché and mention the wine-like taste (possibly some tannins?), with pear, apple, vanilla, oak, starting off sour and leaving a VERY long, sweet, smooth aftertaste of sweet fruits and banana on the back of the tongue. Mouthfeel was also excellent and smooth and creamy.
I could definitely drink this with dinner or stand-alone. It was refreshing and nearly perfectly balanced; leaving me wanting to check out the rest of what Russian River has to offer. Do yourself a favor and pick up one of these.

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Photo of asabreed
4.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 001, poured into a wine glass.

Appearance: A hazy golden yellow, huge head, and fervent, spidery lacing around the glass.

Smell: Tons of stuff going on, the oak from the barrels, vinous characteristics, some fruit like pear and sour cherries, some lemon, slight vanilla. Ridiculously balanced and you don't want to get your nose out of it.

Taste: Mostly sour at first, but this is a sour of balance, of taste, of beauty. Some light fruit like the pear and cherries comes through, the oak and vanilla comes through, and yes, the sourness. It's an altogether fantastic combination, beautifully done in all aspects. The aftertaste lingers in such great ways, too. It stays on the back of the tongue, enhances everything. And there's also some light banana as it sits on the tongue. Wowness. Is this a wine? No, this is a beer, and it should be treated as such.

Mouthfeel: Silky, creamy, perfectly carbonated. Drink slowly, savor, and swish this sucker around to see what's really going on.

Drinkability: I give it a 5 because I could drink this all day, every day. 8.5%? Are you serious? Immaculately hidden, and that's not even the point. This is a fine, fine beer. Worth the $8.99 for the 12.7 oz. bottle? Yes. Expensive? Yes. But worth it? Again, yes. I have a bottle of Supplication waiting for me, and it's slightly ineffable how juiced I am for this. Try this, you owe it to yourself.

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Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 982 ratings.