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Temptation | Russian River Brewing Company

1,004 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-19-2003

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,004 | Ratings: 3,486
Photo of gueuzer
4.82/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

App- Straw colored with beautiful lacing

SM- A small amount of funk,, balanced with lactic tartness, chardonnay and sweet blonde malts.

Ta- Ecstasy. The fruitiness of the Belgian blonde yeast plays off of the oakniess form the chardonnay barrels. The complexity of goat cheese and other funk flavors meld into the blonde malty goodness.

MF- Nice balanced carbonation. Low.

Dr- World class, this is one to be smelled savored and contemplated.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.82/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to DaveJanssen for supplying me with this fantastic brew.

Poured from the 1pt. 9.4 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

The color is a glowing orange/yellow with a good amount of carbonation and three fingers of foamy white head. Some thick lacing on the glass.

The smell is funky at first. Some banana and a touch of clove. There is a green grape flavor that touches lightly on the nose and then comes back to let the sweet malt flavor shine.

The taste is like a jolly rancher or a sweet tart, very sweet and sugary that is sings in my mouth and brings about visions of green grape fun dip. It is a roller-coaster of flavors that hit me over and over and I really am amazed at how complex this beer is. Wow will not suffice.

The feel of this beer is light and really tart. The wild feel is welcoming and sweet to the taste buds. If you have this beer it is a pleasure of the senses. It really is what most brewers dream of achieving.

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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 LuckySevens82
4.82/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

375ml bottle Batch 001
Pours a pale orange yellow with a very nice two finger white head. The head gives way to a decent white lacing and a very nice white collar. A fine looking beer even if head retention is kind of lousy.
Smell is oak, musty yeast, some lactic sourness. There is a definite fruitiness (grapes, pears, peaches) makes itself known.
Taste is somewhat sour, but not nearly what I would have expected given the style. Fruits make themselves known (chardonay grapes, pears, peaches, etc). Followed by a massive oaky flavor as well as spicy and bitter hops.
Mouthfeel is pretty damn impressive. Dry, smooth and all enjoyable.
Overall, I could easily drink this one all night. Plain and simple, I could just have this all the time. Russian River continues to prove to me that they are an amazing brewery and Vinnie is just an amazing brewer. This beer is phenominal.

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Photo of mnphish
4.82/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Shared with yamar68! Poured into a wine glass.
Smells of sour green apples, champagne, tart fruit, funk, super yeasty.
Tastes like the cristal of beer. Sour green apples, white grapes, lemons, barnyard brett funk, chardonnay. Very tart.
Mouthfeel is light, bubbly, smooth, nicely carbonated. I'm having a hard time putting this down.
The best sour beer i've ever had. I'm already trying to find another bottle!

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

Batch 001 corked and caged 375 ml very cool bottle thanks to todd1.

Slight haze suspended in a golden body with blonder, yellower edges. Solid finger of dense, pillowy, glass-crawling, soft white head with good retention. Vibrant complex nose of honeysuckle, lemon juice, chardonnay, wet oak, sweet-tart fruits, pears, sharp sour funk, and old hay. Wonderful; I could smell this all day!

Metallic, dry, cobwebby, acidic taste up front. Tart fruits and fruit skins follow with a citrus bitter sour edge. Pear and grape sweetness round out the palate. There's a pronounced funk throughout that goes very well. Oaky, vinous finish with some leftover fruits. Mostly dry. Medium body feels bigger due to lively carbonation and a very long aftertaste.

Wow. A fantastic beer that is well worth the price/trading/traveling. I would love to have easy access to this gem!

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Photo of mutterfudder
4.83/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

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Photo of KMcG
4.83/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this at the RRBC before a sampler flight of all their beers on Saturday 12/10. It came in a tulip glass. This review is from notes.

A: A big fluffy, frothy head of about 2 fingers. Great retention and nice glass lacing.

S: There is a strong white wine aroma with tart pears and grapes. Yeast aromas give the nose some funk. The aroma is definitely complex and I'm sure I could have spent more time discovering its intricacies.

T: Wow! As complex as the aroma, but clearly has hints of sour apple or pear and oaky white wine. The tannins give this some tartness and bite.

M: Light, well-carbonated, thirst-quenching and 7.25% ABV not so noticeable.

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Photo of riored4v
4.83/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured in to a Duvel tulip. Batch 004x4 from 2009 release I believe. 2.5 finger, frothy, egg-white like head. Beautifully clear, golden colored body. Good lacing.

Aroma had an excellent tart aroma to it. Some light musty Brett aroma. Cherries. Light notes of oak which some light acidity. Some light bready notes.

Taste was amazing. Solid tartness up front with a crisp finish that had a light lingering tartness. Mild acidity with some cherry notes. Light notes of oak. Some mellow fruity notes with a light bready flavor. Some noticeable musty, brett notes.

Mouthfeel was medium/light body, high carbonation with a super dry finish.

Overall this was an excellent beer. Wish I had more of it laying around. Amazing tartness with some great complexity behind it.

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Photo of younger35
4.83/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bought these on-line from Russian River and was generously sent to me by 0110x011. I love Russian River and I especially love these sour wild ales. Drank from my Stone India Pale Ale tulip. Batch 003.

Appearance- Pours a lowly hazy light yellowish orange with a HUGE two finger fluffy white head that evenly turns into a HUGE three finger bright white head. I didn't touch the beer either... It has a mind of its own. Maintains a one finger cap and collar for the entire duration of this treat.
Smell- Mildly funky but not to the extent of some other Russian River varieties. Light Hef like banana is present without the spice which I think would be there for it not for the barrel aging. The lightly woody vanilla is way more evident once it warms and at this point the beer really shines. Tart and sharp on the nose (tarter and sharper when cold) it's just a good all around smell.
Taste- Lightly tart and sharp this brew graciously takes on the characteristics of chardonnay without giving up its true identity of a delicious beer. The wood is way more present in this beer than in the other RR barrel aged I've tried. Light vanilla and oak are probably more predominant that the Brett; which instead of dominating the beer, turns out to play a gorgeous second fiddle. A tiny bit of green apple puckering shows toward the end with its peach/banana counterparts. The finish is über smooth and full of woody goodness. Amazing...
Mouthfeel- Really smooth and light with a soft creamy body and light crisp carbonation that looks like it should be more aggressive than it is.
Drinkability- This is one ridiculously good brew. I honestly didn't think I could like a Brett filled brew more than I liked Supplication. Wrong! Although probably not as complex and confounding, it's the very definition of simpler is better (in relative terms of 17 months barrel aging, adding of Brett, maintaining perfection, etc...). This is a ridiculously good beer that thank the lord, I have one more of coming. Thanks Matt!

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

I happened to be visiting the brewery as Vinnie had finished and bottled, not yet labeled, his first batch of Temptation many years ago. He wasn't happy with some aspects of it but after chatting about the brew process for half an hour or so he brought up a few unlabeled bottles.

For the life of me I couldn't see what he didn't like about it, but then again anyone who knows Vinnie knows that he is a perfectionist. After tasting this and another beer (which I don't think ever went to market) he gave me a couple of bottles to cellar. I've just now seen it for the first time in a bottle in a beer store so was excited to down a few. This is absolutely one of the best beers that I have ever had.

Appearance - This is a beautiful, light straw blond in color with a gorgeous head. It's not big and foamy like a giant Belgian or a Weizen of course, but the bubbles are so incredibly tight and even you almost hate to drink it. Almost.

Smell - This is the most refined sour aroma I have ever had the pleasure of smelling. It's neither harsh nor offensive yet is still potent and sharp. The light grains in the background are equally refined.

Taste - The sourness is definitely a home run here. It is exceptionally strong yet not harsh like so many other Wild Ales. There's just enough sweetness to tame the flavor.

I can pick up some light white wine notes, which I'm guessing after reading up on the beer from the RR site is the chardonnay that seeped into the barrels that they use to age this beauty shop. The grain again is like a delicious light blonde ale grain that ads to the airy feeling you get when drinking this beer.

Mouthfeel - This was my favorite part of the drink. It is definitely light-bodied with a mature and technically advanced sourness and that terrific grain backbone actually makes this sail through the mouth. The carbonation is pure perfection, again according to the website the beer is carbonated in the bottle. It's just an enjoyable, light, airy texture that makes you want to keep on drinking.

Drinkability - This is the most quaffable sour ale I've ever had. It goes down so smooth and is so refreshing. How he put this thing together I'll never know.

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

Batch 003. Bout a couple last year when they were released. I am just starting to like sours so now I am reviewing it.

Poured into my "TION" glass. Pours a very nice semi cloudy light honey color with a very nice white head that sticks all over the glass.

Smell is great. Lots of bret funk with some wine and oaky characteristics. Smells semi sweet too.

Taste is wonderful. Nice and crisp sourness with a smooth oakyness. The malt lends a certain sweet character that is wonderful.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Nothing else to say.

An awesome brew from an awesome brewery. Hands down the best brewery out there in my opinion.

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

Was suprised to have found this at Whole Foods right next to a bottle of Damnation and an Eisbock (Aventinus), Prior 8 (St. Bernardus), and "Pete's" Tribute (B. R.) was not far away on the same shelf.

Pours a hazy apple juice color with a blond hue, an off white frothy head, some lacing, and evident carb action.

Ahh, a very crisp sour dough and cheesy malt smell with a pine and citrus hops aroma.

Moderately sweet, bitter, and acetic cheesy malt taste and a grassy, spruce, grapefruit, and lemon/lime hops flavor.

Medium bodied, slightly syrupy texture, soft and kind of fizzy carbonation, and a smooth pleasantly astringent and maybe slightly chalky finish.

An excellent balanced beer some what like a Lambic, chewy, smooth, and has a long lasting crisp grapefruit aftertaste. Note: the bottle states 7.25% abv. and was empty before I could finish the review.

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

Poured from a 375ml corked and caged bottle. The bottle is interesting in itself with the odd ml size, dippled bottom like a wine bottle and long slender neck. The label has a story about the beer. Poured into my Chimay goblet. It has a hazy golden yellow color with just a few bits of yeast floating around. It had a small head that turned into a constant partial film that was fed by a carb geyser. The aroma was amazing. I love sour beers and this had a great sour beer smell. It was heavy on the brett but you could also get a good hit of the oak and some lemon in the back. The taste was also exceptional. Nice and sour with a carb attack on the tongue. Reminds me of Le Terrior from NBB. Mouthfeel is great with good sour bite and carbonation. Overall, I loved this one and highly recommend. Can't wait to try it and some other RR wild ales again. (5, RR, T, Y)

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Photo of DNICE555
4.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The best sour I have had to date. Had in line at the Heady Topper Release. The smell and taste offered all the best qualities of a sour without being too overwhelming. I enjoyed the subtleties rather than having it blow me away like a sour patch kid. RR does them the best and this is the best that I've had from them. Perfect feel to it. Drinks like heaven in a cup. Cheers to the cool dude who hooked us all up with this.

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Photo of Nachojon
4.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Awesome thing to sit down with a RR Wild.

The complexity of the look here is matched in the aroma, is matched in the flavor. Great lemony, green apple funk on the nose and matched in the taste. Such a beautiful blend of sour and oak and vanilla.

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

Pours a slightly cloudy light amber with two fingers of dimpled egg-white head, good retention.

The chardonnay comes into the aroma rather aggressively, bringing vinous notes and bright, tart, light fruit. Behind there's slight must, a hint of tartness, but really the brett is rather subdued in the aroma right now. No actual oakiness noticable in the aroma.

Sweet jebus. I don't know where to begin with the taste on this thing. Holy freakin' monkey. There is so much going on and all so subtle. There's the chardonnay fruit again, but it's only a light accent in the back. The brett is definately there - horsey-edged cherry tartness. Uber-dry in the mouth, scouring the edges of the palate with insane, indiscernable flavor. The oak flavor is noticable, providing a rounded, darker element in the back, but none of the unpleasant tannins that I've found in other oaked beers. Tart and effervescent up front, backed by crisp chardonnay fruit, then finished with dry horse-funk and deep & buttery oak. Freakin' mind-blowingly good.

Thank you Vinnie. Thank you for pushing the bounds of beer, and thank you for making, in the heart of wine country, beer that can stand up to the scrutiny of the wine establishment. The making of this beer is true beer advocacy.

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

Pours a pale apricot/straw shade with a billowy off-white head of tiny white bubbles, indicating yet another RR wild ale with impeccable carbonation. Several columns of bubbles stream upwards. The head leaves huge chunks of lacing on the glass.

Nose is full of a nice brett funkiness. In the background there are notes of fruity sweetness, champagne tartness, lemon, and a hint of the sour cherry found in Supplication.

Taste is very tart, almost sour. Unripe apple, lemon, lime, and white wine all make an appearance. Mouth puckering and exquisite.

Just as I thought, the carbonation is beautiful. Russian River is easily king of the Belgian style mouthfeel. Smooth, drying, tart finish.

If you can handle sour, this beer is very drinkable. I'm glad I have another in the fridge.

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

Batch 05X2E 375ml Bottle

A - Cloudy golden yellow with a 1 finger tight white head.

S - Some yeast funk. Reminds me of a typical Belgian. Getting a subtle wine aroma as well.

T - Tartness hits me right off the bat. Very pleasent. Starts off as a tingle then progresses to a slight pucker. Finishes off with a dryness that makes you take another sip.

M - Smooth and silky. Perfect!

D - I wish I had another bottle. Could drink this everyday.

Overall for one of my first Sours this beer is fantastic. I hope I didn't spoil myself.

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Photo of Mages64
4.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 5 from 375ml bottle into tulip glass.

A- A beautiful hay color that reflects light beautifully. a little head with intermittent lacing. Head returns upon agitation bringing great aroma with it.

S- Barnyard and pineapple and orange. Perhaps apple as well with a woody smell too. Definitely smells like soured fruit.

T- Surprisingly Saison like. Now it could be that all the saisons i've had recently have had Brett in them but it tastes like a slightly more sour saison or golden ale. Compares to New Glarus's R&D Golden Ale. Soured Fruit, wood, vanilla, pineapple, and slight funk.

M- carbonated and sticky. lingers everywhere in your mouth and throat. finish is long and delightfully sour and fruity.

D- First sour I feel like I could drink 10 of. Smooth, crisp, and refreshing!

Don't miss this! I waited a whole year before giving in and buying this obviously expensive bottle. Don't wait too long:)

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

Batch 006. Pours a murky orange with steady carbonation rising up the sides of the glass. Very little head, mostly due to the slow pour. Nice belgian ale aroma mixed with the brett funkiness. Sour citrus that gets the mouth watering. Like the other RR sours, this has lots of sour tartness and finishes real dry. Cherry and lime flavors mix to really make this one pop.

If you like sours, grab this asap.

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

Another brilliant, brilliant brew from Vinnie and co. Appearance is great, bright golden with a huge fluffy white head that is bubbling over the chalice that this stuff is served in. Aromas are all Belgian funk and refreshingly hoppy/maly Belgian blond ale notes. The chardonnay barrels that this was aged in also impart some lovely light oak, and big fruity white wine grape notes. The mouthfeel is superb, creamy smooth, and unfaulted. Drinkability is absolutely insane. Refreshing and just killer. Damn, I love this stuff. A fantastic, one-of-a-kind brew!

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

Bottle Batch 0001

A--A lovely gold copper hue, cloudy with a ncie head. Gorgeous

S-First thing is the oak, smellls like a chardonnay. Spicy apple notes

T Sour flabours permeate the mouth upon first sip. Very tart yet slightly sweet. Very well balanced. The oak comes out at the end.

M-Bubbly with body

D-Not sure how many of these i could go through, but possibly alot.

Wow what a unique beer. If chardonay tasted like this i would be a white wine drinker. There are just so many different tings going on here. What a remarkable beer. HIGHLY reccomended.

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

Batch 004X1

Golden body capped with the creamiest alabaster head. Retention is fantastic leaving a nice trail of lacing as it subsides.

Solid barn yard funk and plenty of tartness dominate the nose. There is incredible balance though between the two dominating aromas. Tart young grapes and green apple meld with rather earthy notes, oak and musty horse blanket.

First sip was an all on attack of puckering tartness. More of this is attributed to my lack of familiarity than the overall tartness of the brew. Assertive sour apple, lemon and wine like acidity. Peppery spiciness sits mid palate and clings to the tongue. Very subtle graininess and light earth grass flavor can be found as I search my palate.

Light to medium bodied. Sharp and crisp while the finish is smooth and dry.

Tremendously enjoyable. Very hard to find a weakness in this beer. As this is my first experience with the Russian River sours I can now say it is well worth the hype. Thank you to Spdkilz for providing such an awesome beer for review #150.

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Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 1,004 ratings.