Russian River Brewing Company

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Farmhouse Ale - Bière de Garde
Ranked #19
Ranked #9,017
3.97 | pDev: 10.33%
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States
Very Good
Reviews: 184 | Ratings: 648 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GarrettB
GarrettB from Colorado

3.12/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

July 27th, 2015 - Four more beers left in the orchestra of beer samplers left, and this one is the perdition. Dark and brown but with a solid clarity it looks like a brown ale, and smells of cherry notes, both tangy and tart. But the flavor has a touch of cough medicine on a flat body. Acidic and low and simple, it's not today's star.

Feb 18, 2019
Photo of flagmantho
flagmantho from Washington

4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer on-tap in a tulip at the brewery.

Appearance: medium brown with plenty of haze and a finger of frothy ivory foam. Nice.

Smell: malty with a nice light farmhouse character. Very autumnal; I dig it.

Taste: much like the aroma, with maybe just a bit more edge. Quite nice.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a good level of carbonation and creaminess.

Overall: a very solid bière de garde. Well worth a try.

Nov 02, 2016
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DoctorZombies from Florida

3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Amber (12) draft pour with thick off white head; cap vanished quickly leaving good plus lace; excellent clarity. Sour fruit nose. Sour fruit with just a little bit of funk. Medium lite mouthfeel and moderate carbonation. Overall very good.

Jun 15, 2016
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gandres from Philippines

4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tap to glass @ Russian River Brewing tap [email protected] Santa Rosa,CA
A: Dark Amber clear, big white foam goes away slowly
A: Grains, yeast, oaky, woody
T: Low bitterness, low sourness balance
MF: low carbonation
OA: Very good beer for the style, ok to repeat
Drank April 14, 2016

Apr 20, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.22/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Dark orange and light brown appearance, I guess that is called amber, but this was darker, like say, maybe auburn. 1/4" off white head. Aroma was specialty, thick, dark bread. Reminded me of those bad fruitcakes that your family would bring to the holidays and shit.

Carbonation was lower than I hoped, so much spice rack overload. Maybe it was the yeast contribution just being so damn loaded, overly complex. Biere de garde is just not my thing, make sure you put that into your understanding here. I can only rate to style so hard when I hate the beer itself. I don't hate this, but you get my gist.

Mar 13, 2016
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metter98 from New York

3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

On-tap at Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, CA

A: The beer is hazy dark amber in color (dark reddish brown when viewed from afar) and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving a thin head covering the surface and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of earthy yeast are present in the nose along with some hints of grainy and caramel malts.
T: The taste has flavors of earthy yeast from start to finish along with a moderately strong malt backbone of grain. There is a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is rather malty for the style but has nice aromas and flavors of earthy yeast.

Serving type: on-tap

Oct 31, 2015
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

this is one of the better beers we had at russian river that isnt already famous. its sort of like a saison in its yeast complexion, but has a lot of body and isnt quite as dry. there is a really neat fruit aspect to this, mango and green grape characteristics that dont come from hops. i suspect a high level of wheat in the grain bill, there is some weight on the palate, but it drinks pretty easy and finishes a little long with a nice grassy hop presence. i wish for more carbonation, it seemed a little flat from the tap. not flat, but not excited either. its a rustic beer with a lot of layers, more complex than perhaps some of the other non sours at russian river. i liked this one a lot, although it seems more suitable for spring than fall.

Sep 20, 2014
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M_C_Hampton from Georgia

3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: served on tap into a tasting glass, amber colored with a white head that lingers leaving good lacing, cloudy

S: light caramel and biscuits, grassy, slightly sweet with citrus fruits

T: sweet and sour flavor, slight spice, lemon, biscuit malt

M: thin to medium and quite bubbly

O: haven't had many of this style, this beer was a cool combination of old world malt mixed with new world hops with sour character thrown in, reviewed from notes taken on 3/7/14

Mar 14, 2014
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BierJager89 from California

4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Light copper color with a white head.

S: Citrus, pine, and tropical fruit in the nose.

T: Notes of lemon, orange, pine, and general citrus.

M: Medium bodied, decent amount of carbonation.

O: This is another great beer. General rule of thumb: Russian River beers ending in "tion" are good.

Jan 18, 2014
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elNopalero from California

4.73/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Another delicious Russian River beer.

This pours a light golden color with thin lacing, somewhat the color of apple juice.

There’s a slightly tart aroma on it, with some sweet notes.

Flavor is sweeter than I expected, with some malty roundness and a phenolic finish.

Nov 02, 2013
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Fatehunter from Oregon

3.74/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a goblet. One finger of head on a hazy, dark straw colored body.
The aroma is grain with ripe grapefruit.
The taste is nice: moderate bitterness with grapefruit and a sweet lemon finish.
The texture is crisp with moderate carbonation.
A tasty drink.

Sep 18, 2013
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler shared by Dr. Humbard. Thanks Matt!

the beer is amber hued with a half inch + of off white head. The aroma brings bread, hops, funk, floral notes, yeast, hops, grass, lemon zest. Nice flavor, following the aroma. Nice blend of earth, hop, floral aspects. A solid beer. Russian River remains one of the best breweries in America.

Jul 27, 2013
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.57/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On tap at O'Brien's Pub in San Diego, CA.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, yeast, and spices. Taste is much the same with a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that smells better than it tastes in my opinion.

Jan 21, 2013
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ElSid from California

4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Beers of California


On-tap at Father's Office in Culver City

A: Amber with golden highlights topped with a finger of off white foam sporting solid retention and fine lace on the glass.

S: Grainy with some funk and acid along with earth, apple, pear and pineapple. There is also some caramel and breadiness in the back.

T: There again is grain and some yeast and ester qualities of green apple, banana, pear and pineapple. The bready and caramel sweetness is there and the finish is warm with a hint of clove. There are also subtleties of funk, balsamic acid, and leather which adds complexity and interest to the palate. The alcohol is faint adding a dry warmth to the finish.

M: Crisp and substantial feel with nice linger and carbonation. The beer sticks to the glass and leaves a phenomenal amount of lace.

O: Belgiany, bright and crisp with subtle layers which add complexity. A very refreshing brew and another well crafted and interesting -tion edition ale from RR.

Jan 15, 2013
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spdyfire83 from Ireland

4.27/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

288th Review
750ml bottle poured into New Belgium snifter
Vintage: Batch 001

From notes. Enjoyed a couple summers back at a backyard BBQ with the usual suspects in the Mile High Knight's tasting crew. If memory serves correct, I can thank Brian for this one, and I'm pretty sure this bad boy was first bottled exclusively for Michael Jackson's Rare Beer Club way back when. Cheers for the .rar beer B²!

A: Amber-ish orange in color. 1.5 (fluffy white) fingernail head on passionate pour.

S: Yeasty spice, white pepper, soft herbs, hint of caramel and touch of lemon. Good earthy overtones as well. Mmmm...

T: Strong mix of Belgian yeast and spice from the start, but very crisp. Notes of mellow fruit (pear, unripe apple, and plum) offset by balanced malt sweetness. Interesting mix here, but quite enjoyable all the same. Not a huge fan of the style, but kudos to Vinnie for working his magic here!

M: The lighter side of medium bodied and full carbonation.

O: A really fun beer to try! This hit the spot on the 100+ degree afternoon this brew was enjoyed on. Crisp, clean, and refreshing. Too bad it doesn't make it to the bottle much anymore. I'm guessing it's just too expensive and/or maybe wouldn't sell as well as the other RR regulars.

Nov 13, 2012
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thagr81us from South Carolina

4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another big tick on the Russian River –tion Quest that I started once I started drinking craft beer! I’ve run out of –tion beers to tick here so if you have one I have not ticked, HIT ME UP! Big thanks goes out to BilbosNuts for procuring this growler for me! Shared by myself during BRoss242’s send-off party before he moves! Will miss you man! Served from growler into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured red-orange with a half finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, grain, wheat, earth, spice, and fruit. The flavor was of sweet malt, fruit, spice, grain, wheat, and earth. It had a light feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was a good brew. I have really enjoyed most of the brews I have had on my –tion Quest and this one was no exception to this trend. It was really well balanced and quite complex for the style which made the growler quite enjoyable for all people in attendance of the tasting. Hope I get to experience the others in the near future. Definitely worth the try if you get the chance!

Sep 04, 2012
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TheRealBigC from Nevada

3.79/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a bit of a field day at the brewery. This one, dubbed a "Biere de Sonoma,"was quite different than I expected. The Belgian phenols and fruity/spicy interplay resembled, to me, a stronger abbey style ale and not a BdG. Though the number of such beers I've had so far in my life is under 10, and I can't say with any certainty I've pinned down the key characteristics (they've all been fairly different), this one actually triggered my brain to recall beers like The Stoic. So, I don't know what to make of it.

In any case, this was a solid brew. As I said, it's got a spicy and fruity (apple most prominently) interplay. Taste comparisons aside, this one only has a mild alcohol component. I will also say that this one has phenominal lacing. The glass was practically coated in foam the whole way down - even on the side where I was drinking from.

I would maybe knock the overall score up to 4 from another brewer, but Russian River has a few beers that handily destory this one. Still worth a try!

Aug 18, 2012
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AgentMunky from New York

2.91/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in sample glass at the brewery. From notes. Reviewed 14 April 2012.

A: Hazy gold with some bubbles. Great lacing.

S: Cloves and not a lot else. Several of these Russian River beers remind me of hefeweizens.

T: I'm not crazy about this "Bière de Sonoma." It's sort of sour-fruity-amber-malty. Beery and vaguely unpleasant on the aftertaste.

M: Lightly carbonated, sorta plain, very meh.

O: I don't like it, but it's not BAD. Not recommended, wouldn't have again.

Aug 04, 2012
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lacqueredmouse from Australia

3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Russian River in Santa Rosa.

Pours a golden hue, with a touch of amber to it. Some haze forms in the glass, but it's a mildly lustrous effect. Head is firm and white in colour, forming a very solid ring. Some patchy lace, and not much carbonation.

Nose pronounced a hint of acid as a first impression, along with softer, rounder Belgian phenols and some grainy, rustic savoury tones. It's nice, and firmly in that rustic, semi-sour bière de garde style.

Light grain on the front of the tongue before the phenols ramp up a lot, giving almost a roasted, spicy astringency mid-palate. Finish is clean and crisp, with the phenols trailing off to almost drift into the realm of true bitterness. Aftertaste is slightly appley, but with a big bite, like strong scrumpy.

Solidly in style. It reminds me of some of the classics like 3 Monts. It does end up being a little harsh on the finish, but even that is acceptable for a BdG. That criticism is probably just prejudice on my part.

Jul 18, 2012
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brotherloco from California

4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Russian River. Served in a 13oz goblet.

Pours a gorgeous translucent mahogany with a couple of fingers of tan foam. Settles to a thinner covering and a frothy ring. Lots of delicate lacing.

Aroma of dark fruits and spices. Peppery Belgian yeast. Cinnamon and clove. Floral notes. Bready malt.

Flavor follows the nose but is less sweet than I was expecting. Fruity and slightly sour. Nice maltiness through the middle sweetens things up a little, and a mild bitterness emerges in the finish. Alcohol is very well buried.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Velvety. Overall dry and very drinkable.

This is just a great beer. Not as crazy as the sours, but perhaps my favorite Russian River Belgian-style next to Damnation.

Apr 18, 2012
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notchucknorris from California

3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at O'Brien's

A: Gold color with a healthy white head.

S: A little musty with light stonefruit aromas and some faint hops.

T: This wasn't a bad drink at all. Faint lemon seed and biscuity malt flavors with a faint but lingering earthy hop bitterness in the background. Very mild but pretty tasty.

Feb 01, 2012
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HopHead84 from California

3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


On tap for O'Brien's TION weekend.

A: Transparent gold with a big white cap.

S: Light caramel notes with a dash of toastiness. There's a light mustiness and some earth. Apple blends with pear.

T: Again, light caramel with a little biscuit and toasty character. Pronounced fruity esters, reminiscent of apple and pear, with herbal notes.

M: Lower medium body with matching carbonation.

Overall: Very drinkable and pretty enjoyable. If I'm eternally damned I hope it's for drinking something a little more interesting than this.

Jan 30, 2012
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Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

3.47/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served on-draught into a goblet at Russian River in Santa Rosa. I was the designated driver, but I did get to sample this. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a one finger head of slight cream, fair thickness, and bad retention. Colour is a dark auburn.

Sm: Amber hops is all me broken nose picks up. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Pleasant malts, very light hops, and some fruit esters. Light caramelized malt. Very refreshing, but a bit simple. Pleasant and tasty. Very well balanced.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but also crisp and refreshing. Very complementary of the flavours and style.

Dr: Quite drinkable, with no alcohol coming through. A quality brew held back by the simplicity of its flavour profile.

Dec 24, 2011
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HuskyinPDX from Washington

4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Russian River.

A - Served a nice amber with a near white head. Good retention and lacing.

S - Very nutty and sweet Carmel.

T - Similar to the taste. Nuts and Carmel.

D - Very light body, but refreshing.

O - I enjoyed this more as it warmed.

Dec 10, 2011
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PeprSprYoFace from California

4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I get my Russian river stuff from my college buddy Pipmeister. Thanks man.

Pours a nice brown color with a nice light tan head with very good color.

Smells of yeast and has a nice bite to the smell. Very nice.

Tastes great with a little yeast. Lots of spices. Very nice caramel body. Nice slight hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel is good and refreshing and goes down smooth.

Drinkability is high and it is one of my favorite if not the most favorite of all Russian river beers. Will have this one many times in the future.

11/24/11 Cellar Review
750ml bottle. Aged about 2 1/2-3 years. Poured into a goblet style wine glass. Pours a nice semi clear walnut brown with red hues. Nice 1/4" head and nice lacing.

Aroma is the best part. Dark fruits of raisins and figs. Dark Belgian candy sugar and malt. Nice Belgian aroma too.

Taste is great. Similar to smell just not at potent. Nice dark fruits and belgin yeast. Tasty.

Mouthfeel is smooth and good carb.

Overall vey tasty aged a bit. If I remember correctly I like it with a bit of age on it like this compared to fresh.

Nov 25, 2011
Perdition from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 648 ratings