Temptation - Russian River Brewing Company

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972 Reviews

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Reviews: 972
Hads: 3,279
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.2%
Wants: 1,711
Gots: 863 | FT: 49
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: 972 | Hads: 3,279
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
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. (542 characters)

Photo of Lnedrive14
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
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. (519 characters)

Photo of GClarkage
4.11/5  rDev -6.4%
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. (947 characters)

Photo of drewmprs
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
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. (397 characters)

Photo of SwillinBrew
4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
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. (719 characters)

Photo of TastyTaste
4.57/5  rDev +4.1%
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. (1,048 characters)

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.46/5  rDev +1.6%
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. (984 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
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. (809 characters)

Photo of RedDiamond
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
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. (885 characters)

Photo of ggaughan
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
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. (760 characters)

Photo of rajendra82
4.04/5  rDev -8%
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. (1,283 characters)

Photo of whartontallboy
4.82/5  rDev +9.8%
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. (816 characters)

Photo of DogFood11
3.4/5  rDev -22.6%
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. (640 characters)

Photo of sinistrsam
4.8/5  rDev +9.3%
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. (962 characters)

Photo of asabreed
4.85/5  rDev +10.5%
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. (1,412 characters)

Photo of GnomeKing
4.01/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

My first 5 for appearance, and it's well deserved. The head was ample and fluffy. The lacing as intricate as a snowflake. The body a rich gold, slightly cloudy.

The mouthfeel was chewy and soft, which wasn't surprising judging by the fluffy head.

I could smell a strong alcohol taste before I took my sip. The taste was balanced between tart and sweet at first, and then seesawed mostly toward tartness as I finished. There were some hints of fruits and malt to add just a tinge of complexity. I think that the strength of the tartness diminished the drinkability a bit, but if there had been another waiting in my fridge when I was done, I still would have put it out of its misery. (690 characters)

Photo of baiser
4.51/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow, is this a beer or wine? I've never experienced a beer like this. Aged in oak chardonnay barrels, the aroma certainly shows it. Apples, pear, oak in the nose. The cork smelled like ripe apples too. I couldn't get enough of the aroma. This beer is dry, fruity and light bodied. Some earthiness, fruitiness, some characteristics of white wine. An extremely enjoyable and truly unique beer. (391 characters)

Photo of Fugazme
3.9/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had some very high expectations... they weren't entirely met.

Pours very orange/coppery/slightly cloudy. Some big bubbles in the head. Very white. Great stickage to the glass. Looks very, very nice.

First whiff was pure chardonnay... apples, pear, oak, alcohol. Wow. Second whiff was the same, only with a slight hint of some malt... finally reminding me it was a beer.

The palate was very dry and gone quickly. This is where I got a tad dissapointed. It was very good, but was gone. Tart, tannic, and appley, but not a great finish. That's the only draw back in my opinion.

It really is hard to tell this is a beer. I would drink it again. (656 characters)

Photo of meathookjones
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 001. Appears a cloudy golden yellow with a quick forming tall fizzy white head. As the head dies down streaks and some rings remain. Tart fruity aroma with some interesting white wine notes that are integrated nicely. A bit of lemon and some funkiness to it as well. A bit lambic like and very unique. The flavor starts with a bit of sweet fruit with a nice tartness along side it. Some woody notes and funky Brett things are going on as well. Similarities to wine and lambic show through. All the different flavors pull together very well. Very smooth and well carbonated. For the complexities going on in this its really drinkable stuff. A unique and delicious beer that everyone should try. (699 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a hazy gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is awesome. It has a pale malt scent that is overridden with tart bacteria and yeast aroma. It's almost lambic in nature. The taste is good. It has a smooth pale malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry and tart. The mouthfeel is good. It is a low/medium bodied beer with adequate/good carbonation. This is a damn fine brew. It's light and refreshing with a kick ass sour finish that's a bit warm on the way down. This is a great drinker. (549 characters)

Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Nice head. Between gold and amber in color.

Taste is really nice mixture of the underlying blonde ale and the bret used during the process. Funky, but not overwhelming so.

Very smooth mouthfeel.

This one is quite drinkable due to being funky and having a good underlying blonde taste.

Had at Tria in Philly with a raw milk sheep cheese. A pretty good pairing. (371 characters)

Photo of Boilermaker88
4.69/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presented in a 12.7oz corked and caged bottle bearing a batch number (001 in this case) that's nearly lost amongst all the data about and instruction on how to properly enjoy this brew. Following the label's advice, I pulled out my handy-dandy Duvel glass and popped the cork.
Appearance: darker than I recall from my samplings at the ABF last June. Similar to wet straw. Sported a 1" deep spritzy white head that left ghostly etchings of lace behind and was easily recalled by a light swirling of the glass.
The nose fairly barked vino as the aroma of chardonney seized my nostrils. Quick to follow was the note of oaken woodiness and, on a lesser level, vanilla bean. The label mentions the use of Brett in the brewing - no kidding. The aroma easily stands out. Kinda like once you smell a meth lab, you KNOW it's a meth lab. Same kind of thing going on here.
The taste is a happy marriage of beer and wine as the parching chardonney flavor wrestles with the funkiness of the Brett for something that begs description but is hard to put into words. Oak and vanilla somewhat smooth things out but the dryness and tartness is inescapable. Citric tang is also present. This is one wild ride for the taste buds. The feel is light shading toward medium, smooth and bone-dry.
Overall, I think this could become like liquid meth for me. Glad I have another bottle but wish they were bigger than these puny not-quite 13oz runts. Time for Temptation to be bomber-ized, methinks. Anyway, another fabulous beer by Vinnie and the crew at Russian River. (1,546 characters)

Photo of Beervis
4.55/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours from the 12.7oz mini champagne-style, corked & caged bottle a light straw colour with a thick white head. The bottle has a nice long ramble about the beer, and says Batch #1.

Smell is musty and sour up front, with green apple and a slightly oaky scent.

Taste is amazingly complex. It stars off sour and acidic, with nice bright fruity flavours. Mouthfeel is light to medium, with spicy alcohol presenting itself as it warms. Oak flavours again are present, and complement it perfectly. Finishes with winey grape flavours, then trails off to a dry sourness.

This beer is very drinkable, but I'm not sure how many bottles I could have in a row. I love lambics, and was pleasently surprised by this my first taste of an American Wild Ale. Very impressive, and I hope to try more of these. (800 characters)

Photo of bditty187
4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lightly hazy, dull gold in hue with a sunshiny amber-coppery highlight; the liquid looks well enough but I’ve seen more eye-catching. The head was white in color, at the foams heights point the tinny bubbles bonded long enough to create one-finger of froth. Head retention was fair; it quickly subsided to a thin, soapy cap. About halfway through my slow sipping a thin, half collar was all that remained. I wish the head retention was better, something needed to liven-up the appearance. There wasn’t much subsequent lacing, only a few splashes of foam. I like how this beer looks but it is far from remarkable.

The nose is totally Belgian. Hardcore Belgian! [Note: I say Belgian but I realize that Brett and oak-aging and whatnot are not just Belgian things. Still, I can’t help but feel a Belgian connection… even if RR didn’t want one or not]. Lambic bloodlines, I bet the daddy’s name was Brett. It is funky. It is acidic. Lightly earthy but more so green apples, white grapes, and pears, hints of oak with some lemon zest. Sour candy. At the back are hints of white wine. Firm but yielding potency, the bouquet is very articulate. It is Belgium in a glass via Northern California... either that, or it is uniquely American via Russian River. The nose is inviting for me… but for you? I don’t know. The nose warns the weak and summons the brave. I am about to answer its call.

The first half sip was disappointing. It was clean. WTF? By the swallow, oh my… does this beer develop wonderfully. The lemony acidity with a sour underbelly is truly amazing. I’ve never had a beer with such an exposed soul. It is gentle but demanding. This little aspect is so flavorful. There is not much flash here; it is just some straightforward yeasty influences. There are dry white wine notes, oak, and acidic with some tangy candy, some fruitiness, wheat, and even some vanilla. The palate is complex but I think I can figure it out, which isn’t a good or bad thing. All in all, the flavor profile is stunning, especially the lemony aspects. That vibe alone makes this beer noteworthy. I want to call this beer clean… but I think what I’m feeling is just a very well put-together (and fresh) beverage. It is very tasty… I mean, scrumptious to the nth degree. Impressive, from first to last sip.

Medium in body, light but ticklish carbonation plays with the acidity to create a refreshing and enjoyable mouthfeel. There is a long aftertaste which is a culmination of everything detected on the palate. It is warm and a little raw on the throat but I would have never guessed this beer was over 7% abv. Wow.

Wow again. This beer is a drinkable beast. I need a thesaurus because I can’t stop calling this beer impressive. Tart. Acidic. Funky. Bitter. Citrusy. And truly brilliant! I haven’t had many beers like this, if any. As good as the palate is the drinkability is the shinning achievement here. It is refreshing, enjoyable, and complex but no to the point that it can’t be conquered. I am happy I purchased a bottle online from RR, it was worth every cent. Recommended.

Batch 001 (3,106 characters)

Photo of Rastacouere
4.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hazy golden sandy blonde. Head is white, small, lasting. Very vinous nose contains strong farmy and funky notes that seems to multiply the fruit presence. Banana bread soaked in cider and banged around with tart white grapes. Globally very fresh and classy, yet you feel this would survive many years. The palate is delicate, flowery and vibrantly tart in a pineapple way. Fresh fruitiness brings the complexity through the roof. It somehow manages to remain accessible thanks to a striking balance and transcendent "classiness". Bretty cobwebs, cidery salty minerals. Satisfying, juicy, yet dry. Firm champaigny carbonation, smooth palate. My new favorite from Vinnie. (669 characters)

Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 972 ratings.