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Temptation - Russian River Brewing Company


Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,470 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2470
Reviews: 941
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.17%

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: 2,470 | Reviews: 941 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of OldSock

District of Columbia

4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance and Presentation – 12.7 oz caged and corked bottle. Labeled batch #1. White head with good retention and lacing. The color is a light golden yellow.

Smell – Fruity cherries, oak and definitely some sourness. As the beer warms the alcohol pokes through just a bit in addition to floral hints. Unique certainly.

Taste – Smooth oakiness at the front, slightly sour and dry in the back. The grapey wine flavor shows through in the aftertaste. Nicely balanced, the sourness is less than expected from a beer made with wild yeast.

Mouthfeel – Smooth with medium carbonation and a medium body.

Drinkability and Notes – A really interesting beer, but not one that I am overly in love with. The wine like character makes this slow, but enjoyable to drink. Glad I picked it up when I saw it, but not sure if I would get another at the steep price.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2005 01:05:30 | More by OldSock
Photo of egajdzis


4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

RBSG 2005... Poured a hazy orange gold color with a small, white head that left spotty lacing on the glass. Aroma of cherries, brett, chardonnay grapes, and faint diactyl. Taste of oak, strawberries, tart grapes, while finishing nice and acidic. Damn fine brew!

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2005 02:43:22 | More by egajdzis
Photo of GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the chalice clear pale golden with a white frothy head which rose tall and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was slightly acidic with a grapeskin/seed aromatic found in many lambics. Some fruity and earthy character melded with oak was most notable and in the forefront. A slight spice and a low citrus were also present.

The flavor was light with an oak flavor and vanilla when the beer first contacted the palate. The oak flavor was light and lasting with a citric and acidity that assisted with drying out the beer. The flavor was very complex with a nice lemony citrus and light fruitiness coupled with a slight spice and vanilla and light peper. The complexity of the flavor was interesting and well done.

The finish was dry and relatively benign with only a light oak, vanilla and citrus that drifted away in the finality of the aftertaste. The body was just below medium and creamy due to the carbonation level. An extremely interesting beer that definitely falls into the category of American Wild Ale and stands apart from the crowd.

12 ounce corked and bailed bottle, Batch 001, $9.29 at Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, VA.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2005 21:33:56 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of pentathlete


4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pale yellow, big head and subsequently a firm ring. Didn't look as good as its sibling, the Supplication. Oh, the nose...huge American funk. I've never smelled this before. The oakiness, the wild nose, the vinous character blended into a single olfactory blitz that I was praying didn't overpromise. The taste was bone dry, woody, grapeskin, with a funkiness throughout. Then at the end, a swell of zest before a long soft cheesy finish. I remember spontaneously yelling some euphoric expletives while sitting at the bar.

Capital Ale had just put some bottles in the cooler. They had entered the pricing in the system which wouldn't be available to the next day. I nabbed one, price unseen, and the manager had to key it into the register. The 375ml bottle ran $21. Takes it out of the "I'll have two more" range. But, damn, this is a great, original beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2005 03:09:06 | More by pentathlete
Photo of LuckySevens82


4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2005 00:57:46 | More by LuckySevens82
Photo of pjwilson


4.33/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On label it says "Is it wine or is it beer?" Well, this is the closest tasting to wine beer i've ever had. Chardonnay flavors dominate this beer...but there's more than just that also a sourness..mild compared to some lambic. typical descriptions of malt and hops don't really work here. This one was served chilled and it's so darn drinkable...if it wasn't 8 dollars a bottle i could go through a 6 pack like nothing. maybe one of those 1.5 litter bottles would a fun way to spend a summer evening alone. a very different beer for sure. tastes alot like chardonnay. .. but's it's better :)

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2005 07:01:44 | More by pjwilson
Photo of goodbyeohio


4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

batch 001, thanks biglove for the hookup

hazy and foamy carbonated apple cider appearance.. some frothy lacing.. poured into a flutelike fischer tasting glass. pleasant barnyard aroma with buttery wood notes and a bready yeast that dulls the beer's potential for unbridled funk. tastes like a mild lambic infused with the chardonnay from the barrels.. love the dryness this imparts. splitting a bottle of this two ways yields too small a sample to get too much out of.. not to mention that when served chilled, this is a refreshing, thirst quenching beer that you just can't put down. alcohol is mild and all that makes a wild ale a sipper is muted here. a pretty excellent brew, not nearly as complex a brew and worthy of the hype as supplication. ill have no problem drinking the remaining bottles of this beer in my closet. will certainly re-review with further notes when i can hog one of these bad boys for myself.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2005 12:38:15 | More by goodbyeohio
Photo of connecticutpoet


4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 001, 375 mL bottle, corked and caged. Received in trade from GClarkage. Poured into St. Bernardus chalice glass.

This was a light amber, hazy beer with a one finger, white, dense foamy head that persisted throughout the experience. It left a lot of foam on the glass.

Aroma was of white wine and oak, but a little sour too. Very complez, not quite like a beer... damn, I love when beers are aged this way. They become so much more.

Taste was even more complex than the aroma. Massive Chardonnay and oak notes, and some maltiness thrown in. Slightly sour, but not out of place... it served to tie everything together.

Mouthfeel was smooth and mellow... a little foamy, too.

Drinkability was excellent... I had to make myself slow down to let it last, as this was all I had and all I would have for a long time. But I think I may well trade for this one again.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2005 02:06:56 | More by connecticutpoet
Photo of Px2GrafX


4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

presentation: 12oz. tall slender neck bottle with a cork and wire crown. grey label with a scythe graphic and temptation barrel aged ale printed. number 23 is on the scythe. "blonde ale aged in oak barrels" also printed on label. "barrel aged 12 months" presented. the russian river interpretation of "temptation" is on the back of the label along with, an image of a tulip glass, and batch 001. 7.25%abv is displayed, and there also is a graphic that is further explained on the russian river website to mean that the bottle can be cellared up to 4 years. what else do you need to know???

appearance: pours a hazy caramelly orange with tangerine hilights in my favorite snifter. 2" fluffy white head that dropped to about a quarter inch quickly. the lacing and sticking is near perfect. stream of bubbles rise from the stem.

smell: very aromatic. lemon citrusy with a soapy clean grape aroma. bubble gum, wheat and perfume. love the bouquet!

taste: salty and lightly spicy wine/champagne. very vinous flavor. nice sour lemony acidic finish. light bitterness. not overly complex, but very flavorful. alcohol is well masked. incomparable to any beer i've ever had previously.

mouthfeel: unusually crisp while also creamy. there's an amazing champagne carbonation that you feel at the top of your throat when you swallow. smooth. love it.

drinkability: every sip begs for more. the bottle is deceivingly small, and when you finish, you check the label to make sure it wasn't less than 12oz. where did it go? alcohol is almost completely masked. the true "champagne of beers". (sorry miller high life)

overall: what can i say? i love it. i have one other bottle that i'm gonna lay down, but i don't know if i can be patient. i ordered this from russian river's website and it was worth every penny. (almost $12 after shipping) i also have some supplication waiting in the fridge, and that's supposed to be better. it'd almost have to be perfect to be better than temptation. 2 enthusiastic thumbs.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2005 03:45:56 | More by Px2GrafX
Photo of Naerhu


3.35/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Hazy dark yellow, pure white head.
S - Slightly sour and slightly guezey chardonnay aromas
T - Extremely dry, quite bitter for the queze style. Lambicy, but none of the punishing sourness or any of the harshness.
M - Smooth and small carbonation. Delightful.
D - Interesting and tastey, but not refreshing.

Confirming my suspision that BAs are generally the finest people you will ever meet, I met with DonneBaby this evening, and had quite a good time. Thank you for bringing this beer all the way to Japan.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2005 15:48:41 | More by Naerhu
Photo of Dukeofearl


4.68/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

375 ml bottle- very oddly shaped, but after trying the Supplication, I could not wait to try this one as well.

Cage comes off and cork comes out with a very solid pop-thunk, and a lot of gunsmoke. Aroma of wood and sour lambic-style funk and, yes, chardonnay come a running before I even get this poured. That gets high aroma marks all on its own.

But it pours an orangy-golden with a medium white head in my Duvel glass that is actually smaller than I would expect. A steady stream of carbonation keeps a little bit of head going for quite a while (not long, see drinkability below). Nice-even very nice, but not just screaming to be drunk.

But here's the aroma again. I would be remiss if this isn't a 5, just for its complexity and uniqueness... I can't pretend to tellyou what all is going on. Lambic-like, but not. Funky, but not overly harsh.

Flavor- this could be a glass of wine. Perhaps not a Chardonnay, but it's dry, white-grapes, and there's a lot going on in this wine, I mean beer. Complex. Wow. Not sharp-sour like a lambic, much more mellow and accessible without being plain. This has a lot of goodness going on here!

Mouthfeel is lush and very comfy, it would be better if this stuff wasn't so damned drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2005 00:25:49 | More by Dukeofearl
Photo of lou91


4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I drank this a day after supplication so I can compare them with clarity. It looked and smelled good with the honey, tartness in a bubbly golden yellow package. The taste was very good with definite white wine crisp clean notes with a oak aftertaste - not quite like a beer spritzer. This is very well made with so much depth and complexity but sublte like a good white wine or gueze. Unlike supplication, it should be enjoyed colder. Warming didn't hurt but it didn't help. Also $8.00 at Ledger's.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2005 04:42:33 | More by lou91
Photo of Gueuzedude


4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 2, Sampled December 2007
It was definitely a slight mistake to serve this at near cellar temperatures (60ºF / 15.5ºC), as the beer foamed up and started gushing as soon as I popped the cork. I only lost a couple ounces though. The beer forms a frothy, scant fat-one-finger thick, pale, off white colored head that is actually quite persistent. The beer is a hazy, slightly chunky, orange tinted, dark straw color. The oak character seems much subdued from the first batch (which is a good thing as this was my main complaint with that beer). This is nice and funky, notes of urea, aromatic goat, farmhouse-stinky-cheese, a definite cattiness, mushroom spore and a host of sharp phenolics that at times approaches fresh curing plastic. Underneath the funk is a nice fruit character reminiscent of tart, un-ripened white grapes (sauvignon blanc & gewürztraminer come to mind), as well as touch of green apple and tart pear aromas. The aroma on this is really quite nice, it is definitely ringing my funky bone right now.

Tart, but not aggressively so (at least for this Gueuze addict), it is somehow soft and creamy feeling, despite the still present carbonation. This creaminess has definitely been picked up in the barrel as oak notes add some tongue coating softness to this brew and even some heft to the body; suggestive from the butter-like oak flavors this makes the beer actually feel buttery in texture. Soft oak contributions of vanillin, a definite sharp spiciness and perhaps a hint of buttery-oak notes are all found here, though the spicy notes are definitely the largest oak character here. The wine analogy continues as the process used is definitely a contributor; definitely reminiscent of an oaky chardonnay as this beer has flavors of green fruit, star-fruit, flint, a certain light metallic quality and that definite oak presence. The funky wee-beasts and the oak contribute spice notes of white pepper, piquant ginger, The flavor is not quite as funky as the aroma might have suggested, but I think this is ultimately a good thing as it allows the complexity of the fruit, oak and spiciness to come through. The sourness, while present and definitive, is so well integrated that it is not overly noticed on its own.

The oak character is much more in check with this the second batch. This is a far superior beer in my opinion (and it hasn't taken anywhere near 5 years as I last predicted) as the oak, while present, now plays a supporting role. If successive batches keep getting better, then I am going to need to re-baseline my scoring. Just a fantastic brew. The texture is phenomenal & the flavor is just so well integrated and nuanced. The aroma, while absolutely engaging and complex, may actually be a bit too funky. Let me explain that though, because I absolutely love funk and the funk found in the aroma, while dominant, is so well integrated together, but it is a bit too dominant to let the nuanced oak, grape and malt notes through (despite being so inviting and characterful). I may even need to crack a batch 1 just to see what is happening to that .I still maintain that these 375ml bottles just aren't quite enough, as I always want more of this brew after draining my glass. Though if it was a 750's worth, my proliferous text might be pushing the extremes of my already superfluous text.

Batch 1, Sampled June 2006
4/4/4/4.5/4.5 total 4.1
Pours a lightly hazy orange-copper color, it is pretty well carbonated and has a frothy pale, almost white head. The aroma is quite oaky with lots of buttery notes, an astringent woodiness, notes of grapes (perhaps sauvignon or chardonnay), notes of pears, and some subtle spice notes. Quite an interesting nose on this one.

The beer is quite light on the palate, and very dry. The dryness actually suppresses the oakiness a bit, but it is definitely still here. The finish is quite long with a subtle tannic woodiness to it. There is a light acidity (for a Lambic at least) here as well, more similar to the lactic character of a Lambic than the acetic character of a Flemish sour beer. I am really quite relieved that I don't get any diacetyl in this beer (I am quite sensitive to it), there is a bit of buttery character (mostly in the aroma), but this is definitely oak derived. There is a certain spritzy character to this beer that is a combination of the carbonation and the acidity.

This beer is really quite interesting, Vinnie still has a ways to go, but this has more to do with letting the barrels reach an equilibrioum point than Vinnie at this point. I think that Vinnie has the touch, in perhaps 5 years (if the wee bugs are compliant and amenable), subsequent releases of this should be quite stellar.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2005 02:39:14 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Crotor


4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2005 20:16:37 | More by Crotor
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 001
(Brewed on 27-Mar-04 and Bottled on 14-May-05)
Primary: Bastogne Ale Yeast (White Labs)
Conditioning: R.R. Wine 1

Listed as:
7.25%ABV / 1.062 O.G / 27 BUs

Presentation: 12.70 fluid ounce (375ml) greeny-brown glass bottle which has a rather unique look to it, flask like the dimpled underside and wide base with the tall proboscis like neck lend it a wine bottle feel. Single grey-white obverse label has a picture of the Grim Reapers Scythe and is quite literally saturated with information about this brew. Principle data is that this is a Blonde ale aged for over 12 months in used French oak Chardonnay wine barrels. During this period Brettanomyces is added. Refermented in the bottle, it is listed at 7.25% Alc. By Vol.

Listed as Batch 001. Cork and Caged with a white steel cap which has the words Russian River Brewing Company on it.

Appearance: I followed the guideline pictures of the preferred dispensing glass on the label and opted for my trusty Duvel Goblet. The head is white with a spumantean presentation that rings the glass edges with tidelines and produces a central volcanic eruption that produces a centrally located Hawaiian island which forms and rescinds constantly. The lacing is a sight to behold. Low level radioactive orange glow exhibits a healthy shine with a rustoleum blooming sheen from the body. Massive levels of dissolved carbonation impart a fluidic soda-like crashing oceanic wave on the shore feel when the glass is gently swirled. Pornographic looks.

Nose: Shattered aromas, sharp natural lemony citric elements fight hard with organic yeasty oak soaked white wine flashes which exhibit a light vanilla odor. Warm odors of recently full blown piss stained underwear reeks with a urinary tract acidity akin to that of the urea as it cools. A mild funky alcoholic woody trait lingers throughout with a smidgeon of Oak-aged Brett stained toilet paper. Urophilian Quercus odors with a disturbing urolagnian attraction - Funckin great!!!

Taste: Vanilla and Dill entrance the silky smooth, almost oily, Oak stained starting line. The naked white haired Chardonnay-stained oak lingers and plays a multi-racial cross-border game of “hide the sausage” with its long lost funky blonde haired Brett laden beery cousin, this one has six fingers for sure, but it also has two sets of genitals….a shockingly appealing Hermaphrodite of a fermented libation. Grape buggers Grain, I should be repulsed by that, but I keep one eye on this one throughout.

Mouthfeel: Slick oak aged vanilla feel on the tongue with some light alcoholic woody tones. Moderately huge, a low flying high baller, big but small, it has it both, hard to mark accurately, but it really is an easy 4.5.

Drinkability: This is extremely thirst quenching from the get go. Temptation is a great name for this one. Highly Suppable!

Overall: Simply Superb!

White West-Coast Wine meets Blonde Belgium Beer.

Russian River. Once Tasted – Always Loved - Never Forgotten.

Another inspirational creation from the master brewer Vino-inie Cilurzo that I am sure the Beer Whore-Pimps will eulogize and remorselessly trade for all the wrong reasons. Get some and try it for the right ones!

Definitely not a Dumb Californian Blonde!!!

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2005 07:20:01 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of Crosling


4.08/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Well aged bottle.

Stunning, sour aroma of funk (brett), honey, melon, wood and dry, tropical fruits.

Lightly bodied. Quite flavoful. Wheaty, barnyard, leather, nice brett character,spices (possibly) along with a dry, almost winey (sauv blanc), oaked finish. Nice.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2004 06:50:22 | More by Crosling
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Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
99 out of 100 based on 2,470 ratings.