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Temptation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,975 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,975
Reviews: 967
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 9.19%
Wants: 1,555
Gots: 793 | FT: 44
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: 2,975 | Reviews: 967 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tut2528
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 3 Bottled 7/27/12

thanks to matttYCE and beachstrength49 for this one. you guys are awesome!

A: pours a light yellow/orange, head formation is quick and subtle just like a soda. it builds up to about 1/2 fingers worth then quickly fizzles out. there is a slight film that hugs the glass

S: big Brett funkiness that is complemented well by lemons and orange peel. there is a subtle spice hint (possibly a clove?), and a nice slight oak note

T: straight forward AWA in my opinion. very nice balance of citrus oranges, and lemons. vinegar, tartness, and barnyard funk all intermingle nicely together.

M: Chardonnay is extremely evident here in the mouth feel as it leave a nice dryness on the palate. its on the lighter side of medium bodied, and along with the Chardonnay note, it leaves a nice sourness that creates salivation for balance

O: drinking this makes me wish RR was easier to come by. Its a solid AWA, not overly complex and very nicely balanced. Will definitely want to seek this one out again in the future.

tut2528, Jan 02, 2013
Photo of BBP
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours hazy blonde like a wheat beer with more sufficient lacing.

The aroma is white wine, funk and some yeast. Similar to RR's other wild ales, but slightly more tame.

The taste is moderately acidic with slight vinegar. Lemon citrus forms a background but doesn't impose itself. I get some grapefruit notes as well. Balanced, but it seems to be fairly simple.

The body is medium thin with slightly more carbonation than the norm. Finishes dry.

Overall, this is quite well balanced and well made, but I feel like the wine and Brett dominated it. Not a bad problem to have, but it made it harder to find the underlying beer.

BBP, Dec 24, 2012
Photo of StJamesGate
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Luminous tangerine-gold with a film of white froth that leaves big rings and a mist of floaties.
Nectar, a touch of horse blanket, apricot, marigold, sponge cake, and white grape skin - deep nose.
Honey on country loaf up front, some yellow apple, vinegar tang, kumquat tartness, a twist of lemon zest, some oaky vanilla, a hint of chalk, perhaps some Chardonnay gooseberry and a hint of spice.
Waxy starfruit finish and clean acidic linger.
Crisp, light to medium, some chew, lively.

OK, yeah, this is pretty damn good. The secret to this, I think, is a very good golden ale as a base. Oak, Brett and beer all in finely calibrated balance, opening it up to remarkable depth. No burn, and amazing how funky it isn't.

I'd probably need to taste other, less accomplished sours to appreciate how well this is done, but I'd drink this again in a heartbeat.

StJamesGate, Nov 17, 2013
Photo of monitorpop
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep golden yellow, active carbonation with a one finger white head.

S: Tart grapes, yeast, oak, white wine vinegar.

T: Tart apple, bready yeast, acidic, white wine/grapes, earthy oak, a bit of lemon zest in the finish

M: Crisp yet creamy, decent carbonation and a slight pucker in the finish.

O: Almost wine like. Refreshingly tart, but not overly sour. Really good, but I still prefer Supplication.

monitorpop, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of TheJollyHop
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Tony's Darts Away; poured into a goblet.

Ours a straw yellow with a pinky fingers worth of soft head; chill haze.

On the nose funky must, wood, fresh apricots and chardonnay grape sweetness; definitely a funky sour nose albeit slightly subdued.

Tartness reaches full volume on the taste in the middle, and ends slightly sweet giving way to a dry semi-lingering tartness. It is definitely less tart than I was anticipating. It is lightly effervescent, a touch creamy, and fizzles on the sides of your tongue; faintly tongue drying but closer to neutral. Pale malt sweetness, fresh grapes, funk, and some faint lemon acidity; I was expecting more acidity and I was pleasantly surprised. There is a peppery/wood component that I believe is flavor associated with barrel aging. In any event, it rounds out the flavor.

The drinkability is just excellent. The flavors are well balanced and integrated. A great sour.

TheJollyHop, Sep 17, 2010
Photo of IronCitySteve
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had while at the brewery.

A: A nice bright clean yellow/golden color. Very crisp. Provided a very thin white head that dissipates quickly. There is a moderate amount of lacing.

S: A very distinct tart and sour smell with some oak mixed in. The smell was very strong but not overwhelming.

T: Wow. Never really had a 'wild ale' prior, so this taste was very unique but quite enjoyable. A good amount of sour and citrus mixed in with a little oak. The oak flavor reminds me of the oak you may taste in a chardonnay.

M: A heavily carbonated light/medium bodied beer. It is quite balance and leaves a nice crisp dry taste on the palate.

D: I certainly enjoyed this beer but only had one regrettably. This beer certainly makes we want to try other Wild Ales. Easy to drink but not sessionable.

IronCitySteve, Nov 04, 2009
Photo of gford217
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a bright hazy orangish yellow with a big puffy white head that lingers for ages leaving massive clumps of lacing. This is a gorgeous looking beer.

S: Smell is a good dose of sweet, sour and tart. There is the sweet citrus of lemon rinds and oranges along with some tart cherry and a bit of oak as well. This is all on top of the bready yeast smell in the background and some wine coming through in the nose as well.

T: The taste is a slightly more tart version of the smell with big tart cherries and lemon rind up front with a trace of barnyard funk as well. There's a little sweetness in there as well with a bready malt backbone but an oaky presence that lingers in the finish.

M: Mouthfeel is creamy but also dry like wine in the finish.

D: This is definitely a good starter wild ale for those of us still developing the palate for sours. I really enjoyed this and it's quite a refreshing brew on a hot day.

gford217, Jul 12, 2008
Photo of steve8robin
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this gem from a friend in CA. 375ml bottle, batch 05X1F...

A: A murky golden yellow with a 1/2 inch white head that fades at a decent pace. Good.

S: Smells of a nice light malt and tart lemon upfront. Some heavy cherry in the middle and some more tartness on the backend. Good.

T: A nice earthy light wheat malt upfront blended with a nice balance of tart lemon. Some light lemon peel flavor in the middle with a nice tart finish. This is a very balanced sour.

M: Medium body with a great carbonation. A medium tart finish. Very good.

O: All in all, this is a great blended sour. It's not just all about being puckering. This to me taste like a blonde ale blended well with a tart sour. The tart is very obvious, but not overwhelming. Try if you like sours!

steve8robin, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of rudzud
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to JLindros for sharing this after I shared my Flora with him. Poured into a tulip. This is batch 005.

A - Pours a beautiful golden hue with a light one finger head that fades to leave a super thin cloud resting atop the golden hue.

S - Very mellow nose here. Light funk and must with some slight sweetness. As it warmed some light cherry and stone fruits began to come out.

T - Taste is good sour fruits, especially as it warmed. There is light mustiness and light wild ale funk. As it warms more sour fruits come out like cherries and peaches.

M - Smooth, light carbonation. Incredibly drinkable and a great sour finish.

O - Damn do I love Russian River. Very glad to have tried this beer. Super enjoyable and easy to put back. Wish Russian River was readily available.

rudzud, Mar 01, 2012
Photo of cetherid
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into a tulip


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


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


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


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


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

cetherid, Apr 03, 2011
Photo of Treebs
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375 ml bottle served in a FFF teku glass. Batch 006.

A: Pours a clear golden amber color with frothy white head forming on the pour. It recedes to a thick ring and thin cap.

S: A great lemon tartness is there initially on the nose. A dry white wine with some light green grape.

T: Great lactic sourness. Really puckering at the jowls. Tart lemon, white wine, white grapes and fresh green grape tartness. Unripened pear Dried oak with a light barrel sweetness. Definite funkiness in the periphery.

M: Light bodied with a drying, sweet finish. Nice prickly carbonation as well.

O: The lightness is great and the carb is perfectly spritzy. Great tartness with a nice lactic sourness.

Treebs, Sep 14, 2012
Photo of afksports
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this with Thanksgiving dinner (kept bread and water as a palate cleanser while I snuck this one past my grandmother pretending it was sparkling cider... you gotta do what you gotta do).

I have to say. Underwhelming. Combined with the positive reviews and the price point, I think the brett, chardonnay, and everything else mentioned in the description was just a bit too much. The appearance is downright fantastic light and golden. The head and lacing are wonderful. Its smell is funky and complex. There's a lot in there, tart, sour, dry, oak, and it's like they all come out in the smell. The problem is I just don't really like it. The taste is the same. It's a sour beer, and remains wild. But these can be hit or miss.

Much respect goes to it though, as the light body complements the nice carbonation to have an easy sipper. And it's again, highly drinkable for someone who wants it, but not for me.

Especially not at upwards of $10 for a 12oz.


UPDATE: Original 11-26-10 review gave it a "B", but having had it more recently, wow... my tastes have evolved. I really loved this one. Truly truly did. Still an expensive bottle, and I think there are others that are a bit cheaper and just as good quality, but man this one is good. It's a welcome indulgence. Moving taste from 3.5 to 4.5, smell from 3.5 to 4.0, and overall from 3.5 to 4.0.

afksports, Nov 26, 2010
Photo of koopa
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml 2009 bottle received in a recent trade.

Appearance: Gorgeous frosted lemon body with a luciously frothy 2 finger white crown. Tons of retention and lacing. Seriously sexy!

Smell: Extremely nice mixture of tart lemon notes, pronounced brett, white wine / green grapes, and a hint of oak. I'm even getting a slightly smokey charred note from the barrel.

Taste: This ones opens with a nice tartness and continues on to show its grape / wine barrel quality, then finishes with a beautifully dry lemon drop tartness. This is so nice and sour with brett woven seemlessly in between the sour notes! This is seriously well crafted and I'm in awe of the brewmasters talent. Puts fresh Cuvee De Castleton to shame!

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and well carbonated but lacks a nice crispness or a nice softness!

Drinkability: Oh this one is acidic enough to limit my intake but its delicious every sip of the way.

Russian River is by far my favorite Brewery!

2/25/10 Batch 04x04 2009 750ml bottle aged for 6 months:

The flavor has lost a bit of its pungent citric goodness and the grapes are showing even more now.

koopa, Aug 29, 2009
Photo of rapidsequence
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corked bottle, batch 006, from Tim. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Beautuful yellow gold with excellent clarity. Soft, white head with good retention. Nice sheets of lacing.

Smell: I got a whiff of sourness when I popped the cork and immediately started salivating. Sour lemon, lime, grape and apple. Musty brett funk. The underlying beer has some sweetish pale malt and a bit of soft yeast phenolics. Love it.

Taste: This is pretty damn sour. Very tart citrus, white grape, and apple. The underlying malt is almost completely smothered out until near the end. Bretty funk taste. On the far back end, there is a bit of a harsh bitterness, like lemon peel, that lasts for thirty seconds or so after I swallow and detracts from an otherwise wonderful sour beer.

Mouthfeel: High carbonation is slightly tingly and acccentuates the tartness. Lively. The flavor coats the mouth and puckers slightly.

Overall: Another great one from RR. Except for the bitterness on the finish, which is short lived, this is fantastic.

rapidsequence, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

yet another one of the "tion" brews under my belt, and while its not the consecration, it is a hell of a damn good beer. it pours a murky pale blonde color with some flaoting sediment and a frothy white head just half an inch high and relaxing to less than that, but always ready to come back to life with a shake or a swirl. it smells like brett and wine acidity, grapey and musty, oaky and dank, really nice. lighter though than some of the other beers from this line, less in my face. it has a really unique flavor, somewhere between a glass of white wine and a beer. the sour element sneaks up on you too, its just a tart golden ale at first, but then after a few seconds the sour really hits you in the face. almost jaw hurting. dry as hell in the finish. i love the fruit in this, lighter than the heavy cherry stuff in the others, refreshing and surprisingly drinkable. the feel is epic, like all of these. its so so dry at the end, and the carbonation is crazy bright. body is lighter too, and i just love the sour puckey feeling i get from this. overall another, yet another, brilliant brew from the masters.

StonedTrippin, Sep 29, 2012
Photo of WiggyKGB
4.28/5  rDev -4%

WiggyKGB, Oct 10, 2014
Photo of evanlarkin
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My second sour ever. Thanks to my girlfriend for helping me get a bottle.

A very clear yellow color with a single finger of head that dissipated in the time it took me to get to this sentence since clicking review. Carbonation bubbles.

Kind of like white grapes. A champagne smell maybe, no hints of alcohol. Semi-sweet.

More of that sourish white grape flavor, with hints of orange peel and lemony citrus. It's like a sour candy! Lots of character in this one. Slightly sweet malt flavor, definitely sour instead of bitter. I'd call it delicious.

Thicker than I was expecting, and it kind of washes over your mouth and sticks to you. It leaves a bubbly sour film, which slowly slips away, leaving you feel like you've just eaten sour candy.

Reasonably high. Due to the price and sourness (my tongue starts to hurt after too much sour), I couldn't drink several of them, but on the right night, I can definitely drink one and really enjoy it.

evanlarkin, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of derkfromwi
4.28/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #6 Poured into Duvel glass

A: Half-finger white frothy head with good retention, clear light-golden color, good carbonation, small amount of nice lacing

S: Grapes (wine), earthy, oak, little bit of funkiness

T: Pleasant sourness, chardonnay, buttery, some lemon zest, vinegar, apple, same little bit of funkiness

M: Smooth and oily, good carbonation, medium-light bodied, good aftertaste

O: Very good and very drinkable

derkfromwi, Apr 02, 2012
Photo of hughesm4
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split a bomber brought back from Oregon.
a- A very hazy golden brown with a small amount of head that sticks around the edge of the glass.
s- Very sour upfront with a little fruit as well.
t- There are a bunch of flavor mixed together. The main fruit taste is of grapes with a hint of apple. It finishes extremely sour.
m/d- Very complex and full bodied. There is a very sour taste left in your mouth, but it is still a good drinker.

hughesm4, Sep 20, 2010
Photo of morimech
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review #1000

Batch 05X2E

Slightly hazy golden color with one finger of head that had good retention. The head slowly settles to a thin cap. Heavy sticky lacing is left on the glass.

Has a barnyard funk but it is not overpowered by it. The oak Chardonnay barrels play there part as well. A fruity undertone runs throughout the aroma.

Mildly tart and mildly funky. This allows the barrel aging to come out more. Slightly fruity and vinous. Finishes very dry.

Light and effervescent body. Love what Russian River do with their sour bodies.

Another amazing beer from Russian River. Not my favorite of theirs but well worth seeking out.

morimech, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of DrewZ926
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- golden orange hue with an inch of head that fades to a collar, ample carbonation apparent

S- lots of funk and hay, lemon rind and tart apricot, a hint of green apple

T- not overwhelming acidity, perfect amount, lots of funk and horseblanket and must, tart fruits are abundant

M- prickly yet full, lasting and evolving taste, a bit creamy

O- fantastic sour ale from RR, very similar to Ithaca Brute, wish I had year round access to it. if you like sour, seek this out with a vengeance.

DrewZ926, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of MCImes
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - who cares what a beer looks like?

S - Citrus citrus citrus. Lots of lemon aroma. A little funk, a little wood

T - When its cool-cold, its a lemon bomb. Not overly sour, but lots of lemon/citrus flavor, but not in a hoppy-citrus way. Its more of a tamed down lemon kind of citrus. As it warms up it improves, as with most sours. As it approaches 60* more wood and funk emerge.

M - medium-light body; what a bright sour should be.

O - Another very good -ation for RR. I have tried Supplication and Concecration also. In order, I prefer Supp, then Conc, then Temp, so its my least favorite of the -ation's that I've had, but its still a great beer. Im really splitting hairs. It mostly depends on what flavor profile you are in the mood for, as those 3 are all fairly different, so its not an entirely fair comparison.

MCImes, Jan 02, 2014
Photo of glazeman
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 4

A: The beer pours a light, light, hazy orange with a 2 finger white head that has moderate retention and nice lacing.

S: The smell is of flowers, some berries, and acidity. There's a little bit of oakiness. Nice balance on the nose

T: The main flavors I get are sour grapes (although more sour than grapes), and some yeasty earthiness. There's a little bit of white wine, but I really don't get the "subtle oak" that's supposedly in here. Not as much balance as in the nose.

M: Perfect level of carbonation, and pretty good aftertaste. The viscosity is appropriate, though I found this beer a little viscous for the style.

D: I would have this again, but I'm not sure I would trade for it. It was interesting, but not mind blowingly special. It goes down easy.

glazeman, Feb 02, 2011
Photo of mattmarka1
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%

mattmarka1, Jan 16, 2014
Photo of _morandi_
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%

_morandi_, Sep 10, 2014
Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 2,975 ratings.