Sanctification | Russian River Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.75%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bierman9 on 10-27-2004

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Reviews: 625 | Ratings: 2,711
Photo of MiScusi
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just as I had to give this a perfect 5 when I first experienced it (and then over and over) at the Russian River brewpub in the August of '07, I have to do the same for this bottle, Bactch 003 that I brought back from that same trip. This bottle poured a beautiful clear golden with a generous white head. The smell is just sour. Also a bit funky/earthy as it warms up, but not overwhelming. The taste I can't really describe as anything other than sour but it's just so good to me. This is my favorite sour beer of all time, at least so far.

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Photo of Barracudas
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A truly fantastic beer! I wish I could get a hold of this in my neck of the woods! I will be back to Russian River Brewpub to enjoy it again in the future!

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Photo of GimmeGumballHead
4.97/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

got a couple of these bottles out of a recent trade, love russian river sours. so much.

A - hazy, pretty pale, but very pretty. minimal head.

S - kind of intense, but not really for a sour, very sweet, the bret is present and AWESOME.

T - can't even think of a reason to complain about the taste of this beer. such quality.


O - get some of this beer as soon as you can, I generally use sours for pallet cleansers, but this beer as well as many other russian river sours might slip into my regular rotations.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.96/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This pours a hazy white good with cottony white foaming.
There's a lightly lemony note to the aroma with a slight wet hay character.
This light funk comes out further on the palate, with a Bretty lemony hay flavor that doesn't overpower in the least. Utterly fantastic. I had this on tap but would love to see what some age does to change it further.

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Photo of Bubba83
4.95/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Handling this bad boy on my own tonight, my first sampling of this beer in the bottle and my first taste of it in over 3 years. Batch 004.

Poured at 45 degrees into a tulip. The appearance is mind blowingly beautiful. A standard half at 45 degree, rest at normal height pour provided a big 3 finger width bright white pillowy looking head. Retention is incredible, and eventually mellows out into about a 1/2 inch head that sticks all over the glass in bubble bath fashion. Most bubbles are small, creating a fine head texture. Wow, all that writing just for the head? Yes.

Onto the body... An awe-inspiring slightly hazy yellow that reminds me of a hay-bail, but there's orange highlights too, and every color in between as my eyes dart around the glass. Rising bubbles from the depths keep the head afloat seemingly forever.

The smell is a crazy promotion for what brettanomyces can add to a beer. Incredibly complex aromas, if I listed them all I would go over the 5,000 character limit. A few prominent aromas I can pick out are: Lemon, Apple, Lime, Straw/Hay, Pineapple, Peach, Earthy, Musty Funk, Black Pepper, and Spicy Clove.

Again, quite impressive, I can't fault it at all. It's hard to imagine Vinnie was holding this beer back because it was "sick", well I never thought I'd say this but, the doctor that cured it deserves a raise! Everything I mentioned in the smell can also be perceived by taste, but additionally there's a bunch of tartness in that lemony flavor and a good deal of zing. On top of that, in that tropical fruit range I am able to pick out coconut too, along with other stone fruits like apricot, and pear. The funk goes on for days and has so much depth that interacts so perfectly with the straw/hay/grassy character to make it seem "rustic".

The mouthfeel is relatively light and spritzy, and I think it's about where it should be for a beer deriving from a blonde ale. Pops in the mouth, has a great head texture, it's the whole package. It is BONE DRY. There's something intangible here that's preventing a perfect score in this category, but I can't describe it with words.

Overall the beer is fantastic. I don't know what it is about this beer, but it just suits me. When I had read Vinnie changed the recipe a lot with Batch 004, I was extremely worried in what I would think about the changes. It is different than it was, it's less sour, no longer mouth puckering. I would argue that it's basically the same beer underneath the covers, but the complexity has gone off the charts. The downplayed sourness has allowed this beer to speak the rest of its mind. Vinnie was leaning more towards Orval with this batch, and he nailed it with the funk, but added the tartness and more tropical flavors underneath. An absolute masterpiece. I can't imagine ever coming across a beer that rivals this one.

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Photo of FirstMan
4.95/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

At Russian River Brewing. Oh yes.

Beautiful golden wheat color. Clear. Really surprising that such a lovely beer could live behind such a plain cover.

Smell is sour mash. Bright with slight molassas elements.

Tartness of sour pears presents itself up front, then lingers on the tongue for an eterinity. Very little hop character or malt. Sweetness like a cider, without the fruitiness.

Crisp, light.

I could drink this all day.


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Photo of OStrungT
4.92/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a slightly cloudy golden color, with a fluffy, white head. The head fades slowly, leaving a nice sized lacing.

This beer has a very mild tart aroma. It has an earthy yeast aroma as well. It has some grainy notes to it. Also, is has some citrusy lemon aroma. This is one of the more complex wild ales I have sampled.

This beer tastes like it smells. Complex. Sour, tart, fruity, grainy, and yeasty all at the same time. Very nice.

This beer is crisp and refreshing. It leaves a tart citrusy aftertaste. Carbonation is good after 24 hours in my unopened growler.

This beer would make a good session beer. It tastes great, and it is not overly high in alcohol.

Overall: I had this one on tap after the Consecration yesterday, and that was a mistake. The Consecration affected my pallette, and I couldnt fully appreciate this one. My wife insisted on a growler, and now I have come to see this beers subtle charm. This one is a winner. Not as sour as I expected, but very complex.

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Photo of kingsdirt
4.92/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 caged and corked. 2007?
A: pale straw color with a thin head and some lace
S: Grapefruit, barnyard and feet
T: Acidic funk, Some citrus and mild sweetness.
M: mild mouthfeel, no malt bomb here.
D: Heaven

One of my favorites. Has some nice citrus notes, quality funk (feet) and is very drinkable (as far as the acidity not ruining the experience). I cellared this one for a while and the subtle citrus character is quite a bit more pronounced as well as much more mouth feel than previously.

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Photo of 4thelvofbeer
4.92/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one of the first few "wild ales" I have enjoyed. I think this beer completely changed my interest and like of wild ales to a love of wild ales. Bottom line, this beer is awesome. Can't wait to try some of the other RR wilds.

A: Pours a nice golden yellow with a big foamy head. Some yeast and other floaters enjoying the ride in the beer...

S: Spectrum of orange fruits and citrus..nice and fruity with bitter and sour notes intertwined...

T: Crisp, sour (but not overpowering) and nice and clean!

O: This beer really good...borderline heavenly! I wish I lived on the west coast so I could have regular access to it!

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.85/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I believe this was batch 003.

Pretty much perfect. Sanctification could have been be an unblended lambic from one of the Belgian grandmasters. It was so wonderful that I drank four or five glasses and bought half a case on the spot. It’s simply that good. Appearance wise we are talking about a very pale, almost white golden ale body with a healthy white lacing. The aroma is powerful, previewing sourness, and boasting of perfectly created and utilized yeast strains and lots of funky, living organisms. Barnyard funk, rotten lemon peals, and apple vinegar are huge. The nose also plays at tobacco and citrus. The first taste is pure heaven. It’s tart in a lemony way, sour in a bret/funky yeast sort of way, slightly bitter in a hoppy way, light and spritsy. Sweet, very ripened grapefruit that has been eaten away at just a touch by bacteria, hay, damp corn husks, rotten melons, wood roundedness, dashes of lemon and orange zest, etc… Bone dry and fairly light body. Musty and astringent. Sourness is not over the top and although this doesn’t enter the battery acid or sweaty donkey hair area, this is at times very geuze like. Sessionable indeed. Pretty much perfect.

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Photo of stealth
4.85/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 006 in a tulip. Great looking golden pour with a thick foamy head. Great lacing and carbonation. Smell is pure brett funk. Love it. The aroma isn't super potent, but it leaves no doubt in your mind as to what it is going to taste like. Taste is pure brett barnyard funkiness. Dry, bitter, sour. Excellent. Puckering. Very refreshing.

This is a great, extremely drinkable/sessionable beer. If you want to try a no-frills brett beer, this is where to start.

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Photo of treyrab
4.85/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to the one and only Dyan for this gem. Long story short, I should have tried this before, but never did, so I'm glad I finally got to try this one!

A: Pours a hazy glowing orange/yellow with a nice white head. For a blonde ale turned Bretted ale this sure looks fantastic! Ample carbonation!

S: Wow, not incredibly complex, but for a blond ale spiked with Brett, this really shows how Russian River mastered the style. Nice dry white grapes and chardonnay followed by a nice lemony funk.

T: Very refreshing and tart with lemon juice, yeast funkiness, white grapes and chardonnay. Not the most complex, but incredibly flavorful.

Overall, easily one of the best wild ales I have had. Incredibly drinkable and flavorful!

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.84/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

375ml corked & caged bottle poured in a chalice.

Pours a very light clear yellow with a very small white was. Nose is very tart, funky and dry.

Tate is very tart and funky. Super sour and crisp, it's hard to believe this is just Brett. Mouthfeel is very light and sharp with good carbonation. Super easy drinking - phenomenal.

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Photo of corby112
4.83/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks again to Mihir for bringing this to our sour tasting.

Ours a cloudy golden yellowish orange color and cometely opaque with a one finger frothy white head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of soapy lacing.

Dry musty barnyard funky brett aroma with lots of earthy horseblanlet notes and crisp light fruit. Bready yeast along with citrus peel and crisp apple and pear notes.

Slightly creamy lactic medium body with a lot of dry bretty funk. Tart and puckering without being acidic at all. Very dry with a champagne like efervescence in the finish. Very well balanced with a sweet crisp light fruit balancing out the dry tart funk. Lots of apple and pear. Slight vinous sweet aftertaste that lingers long into the finish, making me want to take another sip immediately. Highly recommended!

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Photo of kbnooshay
4.83/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Looks like chicha. Cloudy yellow hazy milky lookin masterpeice. Frothy creamy off white head. Smells like Sour apple. Mmmm. Amazing smell. Tastes super Sour and slightly puckering. This is funky from the Brett. Woohoo. This is so balanced and tasty. Tingly dry feel.

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Photo of beerfan99
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 5
375 ml bottle consumed on 5/14/2011

A: Light gold and yellow in color and cloudy. Carbonation creates bubbling in the glass and a long lasting white head.

S: Powerful brett aroma, but what else would you expect from a beer that uses 100% brett.

T: Delivers tart and sourness throughout. This beer is not barrel aged and does not contain added fruits. That said, the taste is excellent and quite drinkable.

M: Carbonation provides bubbly feel to the palate. Very sour and dry finish.

O: An excellent wild ale from Russian River that competes well against their best sours. Sancitification provides clean delivery of a brett-based wild ale that is unadulterated from added barrel-aged or fruit flavors.

Although, this review is for Batch 5 (bottle), I have also had Batch 4 (bottle) and both of them on draft. There are definitely some variations between batches and drafts. My slight preference is for Batch 4, but Batch 5 is an excellent beer that should age well.

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Photo of brewmaster411
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sanctification is a beer brewed with 100% Berttanomyces yeast.

This was poured from the tap into a tulip glass. It poured a nice goled color with a white head and a bit cloudy.

The aroma was a pronounced lactic tang with some floral hops and a light bready character.

The flavor was definately lactic tang up-front with some bready malt character. For the lover of unique Bellgium beer,s this is a trancendant experience.

The first time I tried this was Feb 2005. My latest tasting was Nov 2007. It still is a good as I first remembered it.

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Photo of k75
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an electric yellow, head dissipates quickly.

The nose is truly remarkable - a full on blast of tart lemon with minimal funk.

Flavors follow the nose, comes across as the worlds best sparkling lemonade. Funk is not apparent. Beautiful, delicious and well structured.

Finish is long - no, really long, and leaves you wanting more.

A great one.


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Photo of madtowndmb1
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Russian River

A: poured a cloudy straw color with a frothy white head.

S: Wow, Brett. It has the trademark funk scent, along with tart green apples.

T: One of the best Brett beers I've ever had. The apple tartness is right up front, then moves to the middle of your tongue and the funk takes over! Seduces you right in for your next sip. Fabulous

M: The beers made your taste-buds almost dance next time you were about to take a sip.

D: I could drink this beer for days on end and not get sick of it. It was one of two at R.R. that did that but the other was 10%. This was great!

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Photo of mynie
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Goodness me does RR make some fine sour beers.

Pours like a pretty run of the mill blonde. Not all that much of a head, even in a Duvel glass. Still, nice and hazy and it's pretty like sunshine.

Smells of near perfect sourness. Tons of lemonade, white cranberries, green grapes, and very tiny light spice.

Tastes like the best kind of soda pop you ever did let past your mouth. Very firm limejuice sourness mixed with an incredibly light (but somehow still firm) burn of the yeast. The balance is so amazing that even though it's not hugely complex it still deserves a perfect score. And--well, Geez I can't even get my head around what it takes to craft a beer as wonderfully unique as this one.

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Photo of 01001111
4.8/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pale, clear, almost fluorescent yellow.

S: Vinegar, green apples, dandelions.

T: Sublimely tart with a slight wash of caramel and a Pilsner-like floral quality.

M: Dry, crisp, and refreshing.

O: While not my favorite of Russian River's sour ales, this is absolutely a world class brew.

December 2014 update:

2-3 year old bottle. Tartness has dropped off. It's sweet with a slight bitter bite, muted grassy funk, and some pineapple esters. Pretty underwhelming.

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Photo of notyourdadsbeer
4.8/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from 375ml bottle at Euclid Hall into a white wine glass.

A: Perfect clear bright straw light color. Head starts thin and bubbly, but quickly fades. Great lacing and and it just rests on top of the beer. A good swirl brings the head back to life for just a bit.

S: Big sour and tartness from the yeast and brett. Hints of apple and tropical fruit balance the barnyard funk and earthiness of the beer.

T: Bright crisp tart sour notes. Sour apples muted only the earthy brett that dances with the flavors. Tart on the back of tongue causes salivation after every sip. Tangy citrus notes linger on the finish.

M: Full bodied like a chardonnay but with the clean crisp tropical fruit of a sauv blanc. Amazing how similar to wine this beer comes across. Cotes the palate evenly and is extremely balanced. Beautiful carbonation brings a zestiness to the beer.

D: Amazing beer. The balance between wild yeast and earthy brett flavors with tropical ripe apples and perfect carbonation is a treat. Perfect with white meat, hot days, cold nights, and just to try something different.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.8/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy yellow color with a white head. In the aroma, sour and a small, sweet yeast presence. In the taste, a small dryness, and sweet tarts, a nice lemon like citrus in there too. A sour bite and medium to lighter bodied mouthfeel, with a lightly dry lemon and tartness in the aftertaste. A small dryness, small yeast, small lemon like citrus, and a nice good sour all day long.

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Photo of abecall98
4.8/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thank you Loki83 for sharing this one. Also hooked mr up with a couple bottles for aging.

A - pours a bright off yellow color, nice rapidly forming white head, dicipates quickly, but it's sticky. I like that.

S - I love this, smells very fruity and bready. Te first wiff was like a lemon pie. Further wiffs hint with some Brett and funk. Smells like a lemon pie that had just came out of the oven.

T - such a big lemon zest upfront. Sour and funk follow. Taste of a lemon peel stays throught the the taste.

M - very carbonated, dry and refreshing. Wow, great coating, ad excellent finishing going on here.

D - probably the most drinkable sour ever. From start to finish I wanted more. I wanted more of the lemon zest. The sourness is not offputting, the funk is at a beutiful level, and the mouthfeel finishes leaving you thirsty. Lovely.

O - amazing job Vinnie. Wow, I thought this was all hype, no substance, but I was wrong, this beer deserves all the hype it got.

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Photo of BeerTruth
4.8/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pick this one up myself at the brewery this past summer, I think it's time to give this one a try.

Batch 003, 750 mL bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a super clear burnt golden hue with a full fluffy two finger pillowy white head that slowly dies down. Stickiness remains all over the sides of the glass. Crazy bubbles race to the top. Smell is sour all the way. Tart cherries, sour apples, fresh cranberries, and faint lemongrass. Just a good ol' typical RR brew. Strong yeast presence and hints of wood in the nose as well. Taste starts off with a light lemon zest followed by tart Granny Smith apple flavors. Taste is sour, but not too sour. Yeast is present throughout, but is just one of the many flavors in this unique brew. Aftertaste is a bit oaky with hints of vanilla. Such a drinkable complex brew, not many breweries can accoplish this. Mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Everything about this beer is in check. No flavor stands out or overpowers the others. I haven't had a beer like this in a while, glad I still have more than half a bottle left on this blizzard like night. Pick this one up for sure.

Who's afraid of the "big bad BRET?"

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Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
4.3 out of 5 based on 2,711 ratings.
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