Temptation - Russian River Brewing Company

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972 Reviews

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Reviews: 972
Hads: 3,278
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.2%
Wants: 1,710
Gots: 864 | 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: 3,278
Photo of hobojon
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 004x4. 750 ml split and in a tulip.

Aroma- mellow pleasing sour. pineapple, fresh tropical fruit. wax. citric acid. lemon. powder/chalk. floral. very subtle oak.

App- yellow/gold. clear. white foam. dissipates and laces nicely.

Taste- tart and sweet. lots of lactic. some spice in the finish. lots of tartness followed by a bready sugar sweetness. sourness is greater than the sweetness. tart green apple. grapefruit sourness (not cascade hops). mellow oak. more sour than in the smell.

Mouth- creamy high carb. minerally finish. lots of acids that are almost astringent. dry warming acid finish.

Overall- very good. clean finish. nice brett character. too sweet for my taste but i like the barrel sourness. (718 characters)

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

Pours pale straw, light gold; slight cloudiness. Condensed white head has little staying power, leaving a thin film. Remarkable lacing forms.

Smells of bright, tart lemon and grapes (in the sense of white wine). Mild funk, mild sourness. Very light oak.

Lemon is strong initially while the beer is still chilled, and then the sour cherry takes center stage, all the while green apple is in the background. Subtle sourness, with a light lactic bite, tart.

Light bodied, but far from watery; High carbonation makes it fluffy, and effervescent. Finishes dry with a lingering soft mouth puckering and tingling sour note.

Though not immediately 'wowed' by this beer, i fell deeply in love with it during the session. Its subtle and delicate, yet bright and bold. Some great fruity notes, paired with some soft sourness. Being aged for nearly a year in oak barrels, i was expecting more wood in the aroma (very light) and finish (nonexistent). Stellar mouthfeel. I am very jealous of those whom have this at their local liquor stores throughout the year. (1,052 characters)

Photo of wchollif
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

first temptation, batch 05x2F, saw that i had a few bottles and it seemed like a beer i should finally try. a perfect drink for a summer day. the color was pretty standard light blond, poured the entire bottle and no hint of cloudiness, maybe 1 finger of foam that settled a bit but lasted through the entire glass. smell was funky, obvious sour, nothing exciting, but nothing off putting either. taste was phenomenal. so clean and crisp. mostly lemons, very sour for the style. great carbonation and makes this beer incredibly drinkable. i wish I had more than 375ml. (568 characters)

Photo of MVassar
2.77/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I'm a tad reluctant to submit my review since I'm clearly in the minority here. I've tried this beer twice, and had consistent notes each time.

Slightly cloudy, light gold color. Minimal head, which doesn’t last long. Looks (and behaves) like a glass of Martinelli’s cider. Scant lacing.

Smells of Martinelli’s, too. Lots of crisp apple scent, which is very pleasant. Not much else.

Would be hard pressed to identify this as beer. Tastes like a sour apple cider, with little depth. Tart apple, hints of sour cherry, and a touch of grapey Chardonnay flavors. Raw flavors. Unimpressive.

Very carbonated, (unpleasantly fizzy,) with an acidic finish. Clean texture, but a little difficult to get down.

Clearly, this isn't my style. Not one I'll be sipping again. (777 characters)

Photo of Intelligentsia
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750-mL bottle into a chardonnay glass. Figured it was the most appropriate vessel.

Poured a beautiful chardonnay but a bit more orange color with a fluffy white head that I admired. Left some nice but not over-the-top lacing.

Smelled of oak, green apple, lemon, grass, wildness.

Tasted very similar to the nose, but with cherry. Delightful taste supplemented by high carbonation and a medium body. Good enough to have an entire bottle myself. (461 characters)

Photo of crvcac
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Yellow and straw-like in color. Has the appearance of an English barley wine
Smell: White wine zin, grassy, hints of lemon
Taste: sour tartness, white wine grape,
Mouthfeel: puckering with nice carbonation. A comfortable sour.. not one of those off putting sours
Drinkability: Awesome (297 characters)

Photo of Nashvillain
4.8/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a stemless crystal Chardonnay glass. Thanks Chickencoop!

Pours a brilliant gold into the glass, a light head rings the outside of the glass. Small bubbles float on a lake of beautiful pale yellow.

The smell wafts up, hitting me in the face. A puckering sour full of bright fruits, white grapes, muscadines, and a light barn-like flavor.

Taste is reserved and elegant. This beer knows what it's doing. The wine-like brightness and light sour blend in an amazing combination. A metallic bite on the end that has an earthiness to it, this beer is a gentle giant, a soft-spoken hulking behemoth.

Clearly this beer is over my head. I'm not sure I can pick out all the flavors, and I'm not entirely certain I ever could, no matter how much I had. I said a prayer silently thanking God and Vinnie for this thing of beauty. It's unfortunate, not sure other sours will ever be able to measure up. (902 characters)

Photo of kbm
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Toronado. Two 8 oz pours. It is my third encounter with Temptation - first time on tap.

Appearance: Slightly cloudy straw. Little to no head (probably due to up-to-the-rim pour). Decent lacing.

Smell: Strong oak overtones. Sour fruit with tones of apple, white grapes and lemon.

Taste: Dry with moderate to extra tart sourness. Tones of sour fruit and lemon. I am definitely picking up the Chardonnay. After taste is sour apple with slight corn/grain. The tart resonates on the palate for a good while.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation with a light body.

Drinkability: It's a sipper but surprising drinkable.

Very refreshing on a warm day. (654 characters)

Photo of AndrewNations
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz cork and caged - Batch 05x1F

Nice Wild Ale. The oak isn't apparent until the finish and the carbonation is just a bit more than I prefer. The mouthful is nice and not to thin or viscous. Its almost like a Saison with Brett added. I get some peach and white grapes that I'm guessing, comes from the yeast. I think this is an excellent wild ale to introduce people to Brett C. Its too funky and is a good representation of the style. I dont think this is one is too complex but all in all a solid offering from Russian River. (529 characters)

Photo of Shagtastic
4.18/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to vissai for one of my first sours!

Poured from the bottle into my brand new Bruery Tulip

A: Pours a hazy yellow without much head that recedes quickly. I love the chardonnay color with it.

S: Yep, this is totally a sour, every whiff comes through strong for me

T: wow the barrel aging really comes through on this one. I love the flavor that it brings to the beer.

M: Great carbonation on this one. Easy to drink at the alcohol volume and really enjoyable.

O: I really liked this beer. It was one of my first sours so I'm new to the style but I really enjoyed it. One i would come back to for sure! (613 characters)

Photo of mutterfudder
4.83/5  rDev +10%
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. (766 characters)

Photo of tburus
4.76/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Perfect pop of the cork upon opening. Beautiful pale gold opaque liquid with a two finger head. Fairly rapid carbonation climbing through the beer. Lace remains solid throughout the session.

Smell: Smell of apple cider and faint citrus/hoppiness.

Taste: Wow! Incredibly strong and sharp taste of apple. As it wears off a hint of bourbon/liquor flavor hits the front of my tongue. The smell did not prepare me for how intense the apple flavor was going to be!

Mouthfeel: Wonderful flavor profile leftover. Faint cider taste, no bitterness or booziness or carbonation. Amazingly smooth.

Drinkability: I tried not to drink this one too fast because I'm sure it's the last one I'll have for awhile, but I probably could have put down a whole case of them if available. Delicious beer and absolutely no let down from the expectations I had. Simply outstanding! (900 characters)

Photo of dfernandez77
1.99/5  rDev -54.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Bright and tart, slightly metallic; lemongrass and peaches, with notes of saddle leather, vanilla, fresh cut cedar, and wet hay. Reasonable promise here.

Very clear light gold, with a slight warmth. Pours with a light fine bubbled head that dissipates quickly leaving light lace. Appealing.

Dominated by a metallic sourness of a single focus. Lacking in complexity. Moderated by a warm fuzzy moldy summer fruit (peach like) funk. Finishes slightly astringent and papery. Completely fails to deliver on what small promise there was in the aroma and appearance.

A bit like diet soda, with a little slickness you might find in a light session ale with wheat. No redemption for the flavor.

Overall impression:
Perhaps I'm not the one to ask, because I've had many different lambic ales. Fruited, straight young and old, gueze. And I've had Rhodenbach and other Flemish red ales. That means I'll be bringing a higher standard to my evaluation than some others.

The Temptation is thin and one dimensional. It is very unsatisfying - especially considering the price. I've had Cantillon, Boon, Mort Subite, and Lindeman's that just blow the Temptation out of the box with great complexity and depth. I finished it because I couldn't bear throwing $10 down the drain.

If you asked me if I wanted another one of these - I would not be tempted. (1,381 characters)

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

now i havent had many sour ales and i figured i would give this one a try as i was bottling my homebrew.
poured a light yellow. breat carbonation and oak notes. this one reminds me of consecration.
aromas are sour and chardnay like. very inviting and not offensive.
starts with a slight tart and carbanation buttles begin to help spread the flavors. hints of grapes and raison and some oak for sure. well balance. i enjoy the complete mouthfeel but i think it would do much better on a warm day paired with some fruit. (519 characters)

Photo of nhudson
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am sure my review will be like most others. This I savored this beer for over an hour. I wish I had a easier access to it. Served from a 375ml bottle into a Stone tulip glass. Bottle date was 05X1E.

a: Honestly I could have given this a 5, I didn't cause well I hope I never find a perfect beer... But the appearance is quite crystal clear. Golden to very light orange in color with noticeable carbonation throughout the drinking process. Head stuck around as well. I could look at this beer all day.

s: Along with looking at it, I spent 10 minutes just smelling the beer before I even took a drink. The smell of oak, grapes and chardonnay hit you at 1st, then the brett takes over which leaves you to smell again. Aroma is very complex.

t: Taste is just as complex as the aroma. Wine grapes, oak, earthy funkiness, melons, citrus some apple. The tartness of the beer hits you up front but then quickly give way to the complexity

m: Very carbonated, which is a good thing. Prickly on the tongue. Very dry finish which I love in a good beer.

o: I have to say that before I had this that Supplication was my favorite RR beer. That has been beaten by this. One if not the best beers I have ever drank, and wish I had access to all the time. I kind of hate myself for drinking it.... (1,286 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 mikeale
4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in the Secret Santa BIF 08 thanks, brandoman63

A. Blond, clear, white head and nice lacing.

S. Lemon, almost fruity, funk, brett,

T. I can taste the oak and wine barrel aging, sour, tart, refreshing

M. Light to medium body, high carbonation, tart finish.

D. I'm enjoying this, but not sure if I could drink this all the time. Not sure how rare this is either. (374 characters)

Photo of RStansel
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From RRBC's reserve, batch 4, bottled in 2009, served to us in Bordeaux-style glassware at the brewpub. An unforgettable drinking experience. Champagne-like mouthfeel, with flavours of lemon curd, brioche, yogurt and green apple butter. Refreshing acidity that lingers for minutes. Complex, but so damn elegant. Perfect. If only I could bring a case of this back to Canada... (375 characters)

Photo of gigaknight
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- The cork lets loose with a convincing *POP*, and the beer pours a very evidently bubbly gold ale. A pleasantly filmy 1/2 finger head lingers atop the bright and lively body.

S- You can smell this one from a foot away, cheek puckering tartness of a lemony persuasion met with some dank wet wood. This is definitely an acquired taste, as the nose is almost unpleasing if taken out of context. If you're a fan of the style, however, it's divine.

T- Soft citrus and a bit of hop roll across the palate before the tartness crescendos into full on sour. Oak flavors give some great texture to the finished product, smoothing out the rough edges of such a bold yeast strain. The chardonnay comes through a bit less than I had expected, probably because it gets overwhelmed by the acidity of the sour. There's hardly any detectable alcohol.

M- Dry and tart, this is a very refreshing beer. It's quite bubbly, of course, and it wouldn't have worked were it any thicker. The sour kick never gets old, and doesn't wear on the palate much. The aftertaste rolls through lightly with a nice blend of mild hop bitterness and resonant acidity.

O- Though American wild ales aren't my sour of choice, the four that I've had from Russian River's series have been greatly enjoyable and a refreshing change of pace. (1,303 characters)

Photo of QuentinCompson
4.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12.7 oz bottle (Batch 003) into Orval chalice

A - 1.5 finger head into cm film; Golden, murky brew; inviting; random lacing

S - Wine, Brett yeast, peppery fruits, slight spice

T-M - Smooth, nicely carbed intro, sourness starts creeping in over malts; wild champagne taste; nose gets increasingly sour, but not too much at all; more fruit & champagne (not vinegary); nice notes from the Brett; awesome peppery finish, almost like a drop of Tabasco.

D - This beer is inspired. Amazing. May take some getting used to, but you cant deny its genius. Could drink it all night if I was so lucky. (592 characters)

Photo of beerfan99
4.72/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 4x1 - 750 ml bottle - cellared since Fall 2009

A: Light golden in color and unfiltered. Carbonated well enough to create a lasting white head. Bubbles persist well after pouring.

S: Very sour, tart, and funky. The oak and wine aromas are the only things that make it past the brett.

T: Equally impressive to the smell. Oak flavors hit the palate, follow by the wine flavors. This is one very tart and sour beer, though not overdone.

M: Carbonation levels are on the high side, which is good because this provides a bubbly feel to the palate. Mouth feels coated with Temptation flavors long after swallowing. Very nice.

O: After being introduced to Temptation in 2009, this beer has been near the top of my list since. In my opinion Temptation is an excellent wild ale, that although is very sour and tart, remains very drinkable and is very smooth and easy to drink. The batch I reviewed is Batch 4 and is several years old with a couple remaining. I think the taste is changing a little, but still fantastic, from the bottle I opened several months ago. (1,065 characters)

Photo of BeerStine
3.88/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Batch 003. Poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Cork comes off explosively. An aggressive pour produced a ton of white fluffy head. Color is yellowish tan with champagne like heavy carbonation. The smell of apple and chardonnay are amazing. Also the malts smell of tree bark. Smells kind of like a musky white wine. The taste of wine is the first thing that went through my head. Makes my cheeks tingle upon swallowing. Taste is also similar to the smell: apples and chardonnay. Doesn't really wonder on my tongue but maybe its not supposed to? Mouthfeel is great: heavily carbonated with a lighter body. Drinkablility is good. Just like champagne, I'm not so sure that I'd want to drink more than one bottle (unless it were new years eve).

Overall, a very well crafted beer. Russian River definitely broke the mold with this one. (837 characters)

Photo of mkorpal
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had on tap for $5 for 1/2 pint. Yet another beer that made me jump up and down for. Pours a crystal clear, straw color with a minimal head. it's really just a ring around the glass. There is a steady stream of carbonation bubbles rising up the glass. It could pass as a lager, but has so much more to it.

Smell is of mild barnyard funk, a bit of sour apple and grape, and a tinny bit of oak in the background. I may not have picked it up if I didn't know it was oak aged.

Taste is much more forward on the barnyard funk. I pick up more wine like notes in the taste. No oak in the taste, but it is still well rounded with the sour and the funk.

This beer is the definition of dancing on the tongue. Wow, it was by far the most interesting mouthfeel. The sourness hits you at first in the back of your mouth. But towards the end, a sudden burst of funk and carbon dioxide creates what I can almost describe as a chalky, alkaline feel on the tip of my tongue. I have never had something feel quite like this.

This beer isn't the most drinkable. But it is something I could enjoy drinking often. I was quite happy with this beer. yet another world class sour from Russian River. (1,178 characters)

Photo of ASymon13
4.54/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 003

It pours a nice clear golden blonde with a huge amount of creamy white head and lots of continuous carbonation. The head leaves a thick lacing as it slowly recedes. The aroma is really wonderful. It is just full of ripe fruits; cherries, some melon, and even some lemon, which is all backed by some really solid belgian yeasty goodness, subtle oak and some hints of a dry white wine. There is also the underlying sour undertone you expect.

This is truly an extremely complex beer. Upon first taste it is very very tart. Sour cherry takes a leading role, while melon and grapes are both present and come through stronger as it warms up. The oak flavors are subtle but present, and there are some light phenols there. It comes off as being very wine-like with it's dry finish, but with a more refreshing mouthfeel. Sipping on a bottle of this is a wonderful experience and I'm thankful stores near me still have more in stock for me to horde. (952 characters)

Photo of northernbrews
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally get to try the much sought after Temptation. My first Russian River beer.

Thanks Westsidethreat for this wonderful beer.

Appearance: 375ml corked bottle. Pours a honeyish orange in my Piraat snifter. Starts with a one finger white head that fades quickly and forms a nice layer on top.

Smell: Starts with an initial smell of tart, musty, barrel aged greatness. The oak and chardonnay notes come through near the finish. This smells fu*king amazing.

Taste: Damn...The taste follows the wonderful aromas. Starts out tart and dry. The finish is oak, vanilla, tropical fruits and spices followed by a very nice dryness.

Mouthfeel: Nice and spritzy mouthfeel. The sourness and oakey notes hang around for a bit.

Drinkability: I could drink this all day any day. Even though it's quite tart, it goes down quite smooth. Very drinkable.

Lots of time when beers are hyped up, they become a let down. Not in this case. This is the first offering from RR that I have tried. If this is any indication of their other offerings, then I can see why the awards keep piling up in Santa Rosa. If you see this and don't buy it....shame on you. I just wished they shipped to MI. If they did, I'd be celebrating Christmas and New Year with the 3 litre badboy. (1,268 characters)

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