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Temptation | Russian River Brewing Company

1,005 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: 1,005 | Ratings: 3,500
Photo of AdamF625
4.57/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A-clear light golden, straw, 1 finger white head that clumps and fades
S-lemon, star fruit, some breadiness, sage, earthy/grassy
T- Brett funk, fresh squeezed lemon, ripe green apple, tart, chard, a bit of oak on the finish
M- medium body and bubbly carbonation, very fizzy clears the palate. Very tart.
O- Russian River never disappoints. Very clean and well blended. Tart and fruity with some dryness from the barrel.

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Photo of mrkrispy
4.35/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 004 in tap at Toronado SD, served in a small white wine glass.

Arrived cloudy and hazy, bit of white frothy head.

Funky stanky horsey fizzy aroma, the animal farm is busting out....reserved, not boisterous

Very balanced right now even though it is young, which means it should be more complex with some more time on the bugs.
White wine flavors very apparent. A bit sour, not puckering. I would like it a bit more sour, again....needs a bit more time. I find this one drinks a little more smoother than the 003 did at the same time. Some lemon, some green apple, citrus, very little malt. Bit of tartness as the glass goes down. Nice body, well carbed...almost like The Bubbly.

Pretty tasty, goes down well. Lacks a bit of the boldness of the other Russian River sours, but that is its niche - subtle complexity. I think 003 was a bit rough for the first 6 months and mellowed. The 004 seems fairly smooth, so it will be interesting to see how it ages.

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Photo of bohemiandonut
4.57/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

My second time with this beer and I still don't know what to make of it. Other than this is the most I have ever spent per ounce on a beer and I'm damn likely to do it again.

Temptation pours out like liquid nitrogen or dry ice, heavy smoke-like vapors spilling out of the neck of the bottle. One gets the feeling he is about to imbibe liquid gold or diamond nectar.

Curse my mortal nose there is no recognition of this scent. It is lemony but sweet and funky, vinegared but not in a chemical way. Once it lets you in banana is there but nonchalantly. It all combines insanely to let you know you have entered the porous netherworld of shaven oak. This wins my prize for the most lo-fidelity of scents.

Sip after sip allows the strangeness of this beer to really sink in. In my opinion I am still being initialized into the flavor dimensions of sour ales and this is probably one monster of an initiation. I hate to admit that it is a bit much for me. I would like to taste a somewhat "toned down" version of this beer in order to see what's going on behind the acidic front. And without a doubt there is a LOT going on there. With Temptation more than any other beer I have tried (and I have tried a lot) I am able to taste the musky, the old-world, the decomposition of organics, and it is a dramatic, Biblical taste that fills your glass here. Take a moment to appreciate the microbiological aspect of this beverage. Okay now consume it.

It's hard to zoom out from the kaleidoscopic, mind-fuckedingness taste profile of this beer but it is worth doing. Temptation fills the mouth like no other. As alluded to by the snaking vapor that first met me from the open bottle, Temptation has a single place to go and that is everywhere. Picture writhing colonies of exponentially dividing shapes and cells. Yeah, you're drinking that. Go shit yourself.


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Photo of David1975
1/5  rDev -77.4%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Are you kidding? Are you calling this beer? Taste like champagne mixed with white wine with
bitter taste. It took me forever to finish drinking it. If you like nice gold or dark lager stay away from this "beer". It is hard to understand that so many people on Beer Advocate website like it.

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Photo of k3n
4.97/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Side-by-side review of Batch 04 (750ml) and 03 (375ml).

A: Deep amber color, a little bit cloudy (bottle probably a bit too agitated). Minimal head and lacing. Not much difference between the two.

S: The 04 is bright and tart in the nose, up-front fruits. The 03 is a mellower aroma, but somehow richer and perhaps with a bit of honey. Chardonnay influence is easily appreciated in both bottles.

T/M/D: The 04 is lively and tart. Opens with a good hit of sourness, finishes dry and oaky. The 03 sourness is not as sharp, and is accompanied by a distinct honey sweetness. The 03 finishes similarly dry to the 04, but persists longer with Chardonnay and oak flavors lingering.

Both are supremely easy to drink, and showcase RR's excellence at blending wine flavors with fantastic beers. Definitely looking forward to aging this Batch 04, and wondering when I'll decide to open my last Batch 03.

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Photo of TheEremite
4.78/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 03

I can't get enough of this beer. This is by far the best beer I've had yet this year. There's some yeast in the bottle, so pour gently. A good pour leaves a brilliant crystal clear straw yellow beer with lively bubbles that lift to the top of the glass creating a rocky white foamy head. The acidity is not overpowering and it plays nicely with the high carbonation and apple, citrus and wine aromas and flavors. To me, this beer defines craft brewing.

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Photo of jjh19
4/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Bright yellow appearance and fairly light.
Smell: Citrusey smells.
Taste: I got a lot of lemon and floral notes in my initial sips.
Mouthfeel: Pretty full mouthfeel. A little like white wine. Very interesting.
Drinkability: This is far from a session-able beer. At least for my tastes. But that's not the goal with a beer like this. I might not have another, but I'd recommend this beer to a friend who wanted to explore beer into this style.

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Photo of gueuzer
4.82/5  rDev +9%
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 evanlarkin
4.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of Callenak
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle bought at Naja's in Redondo Beach.

A: Pours a highly carbonated golden color. A huge white head that will last as long as you drink it. Sticks to the glass as you drink it. Very nice.

S: Carbonation comes first. Tickles the nose, then come citrus tones with a tartness. Hints of oak, but subtle. The brett/gueze smell is definitely there though. Lovely.

T: Wow. Another great beer from Vinnie of Russian River. Tartness and carbonation comes first. The oak/chardonnay comes next. Hints of fruit. I have come to love sour beers and this is another fine example why.

I actually had beatification before this. A lot of similarities between the two. I actually preferred the beatification, but as no denigration to this beer. Temptation is amazing and worth every penny.

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Photo of jojox
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - tons of white head. Big pop when opened but not really gushing - it should have stayed in the fridge a bit longer to cool down. Lots of CO2. Champagne like bubbles, poured into a small champagne flute.

s - Acid. Which? Some funky, slight oak hints. Smells good.

t - Mild sourness and oak is a strange mix. Tart but not super sour. It's really nice - RR does a great job. This is mild in terms of sourness and acid, but it has similar flavors. I do think Vinny has the best bugs.

m - sour, but mildly so. Nice and crisp and clean.

d - High. What sour? All day baby.

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Photo of throwitallaway
4.95/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Can't remember who I got this from. Totally stoked on it thought, so thank you! Decanted from the bottle into an oversized wine glass. Pours a golden color with a big, thick head. Looks great. Aroma of funk, sourness, lemon and apple. Smells very wine like and completely delicious. Taste is just good. Initially hits you with some sourness, then, lemon, apple, and back to sour. Mouthfeel is well carbonated but creamy. Drinkability is off the scales. This beer is more or less perfect and one of my favorites.

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Photo of mbrasi
4.57/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Overview: Batch 003 Pours golden with light white head. Aroma is oak and grapes like a white wine more than beer. Flavor is sour but well balanced with the oak and doesn't make you pucker after you drink. Finish is oak and sour but not lingering too long. Will review more when I get another in a trade.

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

Served on tap at O'brien's TION night in a 13oz Chimay.

I've had this in bottle (batch 003) on several occasions, and found that I didn't enjoy it on tap as much. The oak comes through, and the beer really lives up to its description (is it a beer? is it a wine?). Blonde in color, big white head lacing. Medium sourness, tart fruits, oak, lemon come through. Medium bodied, dry, refreshing. Very good.

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Photo of hughesm4
4.28/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

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Photo of leakyfaucet12
4.56/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter I drank this one as soon as I opedned the Box (thanks makdeco)

a- Beautiful Beer, Orangish yellow color that is cloudy with a offwhite head.

s- funky smell, horse blanket, straw type notes. Some fruit is in there and hint of caramel

T- Funky and sour is everywhere. you can taste fruits and a leafy aftertaste!

M- I really enjoy the mouthfeel on this one. Like a good champagne. The carbonation is there although very faint. I really really enjoy this beer.

D- Great beer. Definately one of the best uses of brett that I have had!

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Photo of kerklein2
4.74/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

batch 05X1E
poured into snifter

A: Yellow to golden color, minimal head and good lacing

S: Funky, a little bit of grapes, slightly sweet, really nice.

T: Very much like a white wine with a nice refreshing tartness. Slightly fruity, well balanced, overall badass.

M: Well carbonated. Smooth.

O: Extremely refreshing, very well made beer. It doesn't get much better than this.

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Photo of thickerfreakness
4.82/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of two bottles bought online from RR. This is batch 003. The other sent off in a trade so I am savoring this one.

It pours a peachy amber color with a fluffy, white head and it leaves amazing lacing on the glass as I drink it. This smells absolutely incredible. It has a very nice subtle sourness and an extremely inviting sweetness behind it. I could smell this all day long. The taste is predominantly of sour fruits but it is not so overpowering as to cover up the nice oakiness and light malt sweetness. This is best described as subtle but amazing. At first I had the taste as a 4.5 but it just got even better as it warmed and had to change it to a 5. The mouthfeel is great for a sour,very dry and wine like. It is extremely drinkable and the alcohol is just non existent in the taste. I wish I had bought many more of these babies. Highly recommended.

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Photo of DrewOSU
4.58/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 003, 350 ml

A: Huge pop of the cork. Pours a dark yellow to light copper. Head is bright white with small tight bubbles. Lacing webs the side of the glass on the initial pour.

S: Apple, cherry, light funk and huge sour nose. Nothing disappointing on this glass.

M/T: Puckering sour on the first taste, followed by a huge rush of cherry, lemon and apple on the second wave. Finishes very dry and refreshing. A punch to the mouth with flavor.

D: This is my favorite beer of the year. I could drink this every night. There is nothing that is obnoxious about this beer. Big nose, huge taste and dry finishing. The lemon could make you reflux after a while, but other than that, flawless.

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Photo of bmanning
4.72/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

375mL bottle batch 003
Opens with a loud pop and pours hazy light gold with minimal head but good lacing.
Aroma has lemon, pear, apples, sour cherries, light barnyard funk and a hint of earthiness.
Taste is very tart lemons and orange with a perfect balance between sweet, sour, and funk. It is so very complex and I wish I could pinpoint all the amazing flavors I'm tasting.
Mouthfeel is wonderful and like a fine Champagne with flavors bursting on every surface of the mouth.
Overall this is another homerun barrel aged beer by Russian River that gets better and better with age.

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Photo of FreightTrain
4.87/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 003. Poured into a wine glass.

Pours a beautiful hazy gold with champagne-like carbonation fizzing along the walls and a persistent one finger white head. Wisps and globs of lacing line the glass.

Nose is tart and cider-like with a whiff of white wine, cherries, and flowers.

Tart, crab apple sourness up front with sparkling, fluffy carbonation. A sublime aftertaste that is almost too good to describe: butterscotch, white grapes, warming alcohol, dry mead.

Creamy and very carbonated in the mouth; the bottle conditioning is perfect.

This is an unbelievably delicious beer. Pushes boundaries in multiple directions. The quality is impeccable. The care with which it is made is evident. The only thing hampering drinkability is price and availability.

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Photo of Reed415
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a light amber color with a thick head that maintains

S - Very sour smelling, tart, fruit

T - Very tart sour, fruity, very smooth but is very tart throughout

M - Medium bodied, Smooth, Puckering

D - Excellent beer, very unique experience but also very tasty

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Photo of Dspohn
4.57/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a corked and caged bottle, Batch 4 I believe

A. Pours a yellow to lighter orange with an abundance of tight little buddles. Decent head retention with some lacing.

S. A clean tart lemony smell that is followed by more pronounced horseblankety brett funk as it warms. Has some noticeable oak also. Quite intriguing smell, maybe could of used more of a tart punch.

T. Delicious. One of my favorite American Wild Ales. Its not super sour but has a very nice tart lemon/green apple flavor. Very bretty. Very funky. Very noticeable oak flavors. The brett/funkness is a little more evident than the sour light fruit flavor. There's also a nice bitter backing in the aftertaste. No apparent alcohol in the taste.

M&D. Nice refreshing mouthfeel, nothing crazy exceptional but quite solid. The muted sour aspect keeps this dangerously drinkable.

Note: I had this on tap at the brewery which inspired me to purchase this bottle. I must say I enjoyed the on tap version slightly more than the bottled version but did not want to review it while enjoying some beers with company at the brewery. However I may up the smell and mouthfeel slightly for the on tap version. Overall an excellent example of an American Wild Ale.

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Photo of Westsidebuddha
4/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Lucky Baldwin's Pasadena, Calif.

Poured a light golden color into glass. Nice mellow sour smell with no head. Very nice sour taste with definite hints of fruits which escapes me at the moment (had a beer or two beforehand, doh). A good mouthfeel that wasn't overwhelming to the palate. Very good drinkability in which I could have made this my drink all night and be very satisfied. Glad they had this on tap.

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Photo of nectar14
4.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap, batch 004, at Toronado SD. Poured into little port glasses.

A: Golden/ yellow in color, slightly hazy, with a 1/2 finger white head that sticks around and leaves a nice lacing.
S: Complex as it warms up. The wet cardboard of brett is there, along with assertive lemon, green apple, white pepper, vanilla, and a touch of caramel. Projected, but without volatility. Do not get any whiff of alcohol. After the glass was empty, there was a distinct scent of empty chardonnay barrels (all that dead yeast, tartrate crystals, oxidized wine... which I recall from my days working in the winery when I cleaned chardonnay barrels after bottling).
T: Tart and puckery, with lemon, green apple, vanilla, wood, and slight malt. Long on the finish. Not heavy.
M: Medium body. Linear on the palate but the flavors are easy to pick out through the moderate carbonation and acidity.
D: Easy down the gullet for a beer of such character and complexity.

Glad I got to try this. Quite unique.

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Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 1,005 ratings.