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 ChrisPro
3.72/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Russian River on 6/30/09. Pours an almost opaque yellow, with beautiful frothy head. The sour lemon and grapefruit almost sting the nostrils, in a good way. This is straight up sour in it's cleanest form. The Brett certainly dominates and makes this a truly unique beer. However, beyond the great aromas and interesting sourness, there isn't a ton of complexity of flavors. Still a great beer that I am lucky to have tried.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Whole Foods in Berkeley, CA
Batch 006 (though not clear when this was bottled)
Poured into a standard US pint glass

The general impression I had of this beer was of a blonde ale blended with a mildly sour gueuze. While the sourness was balanced well, the pairing resulted in a beer that featured characters (noticeable malt, floral hops, some sourness) from both of these styles, but failed to stand out in any particular character or way. At times, I thought I was drinking a rather weak gueuze. At the price point of RR beers, I could have bought a similarly-sized bottle of Girardin and enjoyed its bacterial complexity much more. Given its limited distribution, not one I feel the need to necessarily revisit or seek out.

Pours a ~2cm head of off-white, medium-sized bubbles, that dissipates somewhat quickly to a thick ring around the glass and some islands of foam atop the body. Minimal to no lacing. The body itself is a pale yellow color, slightly hazy, with visible carbonation along the sides of the glass.

Aroma is a mixture of mild floral hops reminiscent of those in a pilsener, noticeable Brettanomyces/Lactobacillus (slightly musty, slight acetic acid sharpness), and slight biscuit malts. Not a bad aroma by any means, but not particularly distinctive or prominent.

Taste opens with some malt flavors and vaguely floral hop(?) presence. Sourness appears alongside these by late in the front palate. While sourness/tartness is there, and palatable, this isn't particularly sour/tart, compared to other wild ales, at least for me. Sourness proceeds through back of the palate through the finish, alongside lingering, mild malt and floral tastes. The blend is tasty, and certainly not off, but I'm not impressed by the resulting characters; neither of the two types of ale really seem to enhance or demonstrate characters of the other that weren't present individually.

Body is medium in heft, with prickly carbonation and a dry finish from some residual sugars. Carbonation feels right for the beer, avoiding having a somewhat acidic beer linger on the palate too long.

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Photo of Sammy
3.76/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bit barnyard and yeast aroma. A Good wild ale, it's so great sourness in your face initially,I detect the wild yeast, then you get used to it, in a lemon yeasty haze. Good lacing and head. Satisfying aftertaste.Great with supper. Thanks Solomon420.

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Photo of jmarsh123
3.76/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy gold with a 2 finger creamy white head retaining 1 finger and leaving excellent lacing down the glass.

Not much to the aroma. Tart green apples, brett and some wheat malt, but pretty subdued.

A mild tartness starts out the palate. Some funky pilsner or wheat with some brett in the middle. Very misty with hay tones. Finishes fairly dry.

Creamy mouthfeel. Good carbonation.

Not a bad beer, but my least favorite of the -tions. There is a pleasant tartness, but I could use more lacto and a little less brett as the mustiness got overpowering at times. Still will go back, but not as often as the others.

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Photo of airohead2001
3.77/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Part II of epic RR tasting including Tempt, Sancti, Beati, Suppl, and Consec. Thanks to glazeman for contributing this one, as well as the other two rarities in the bunch. Split this one with glazeman and z-pack while we watched some hillbilly show about hunting for gold; the protagonists spoke with a southern drawl and frequented phrases such as "frick" and "god-dangit."

Appearance is run of the mill for a RR sour - one finger head with decent retention, no lacing, and hazy yellow. This smells more like a saison and less like a sour - some banana, funk, and nutmeg. The taste is all about balance - not nearly as sour as I was expecting, which for the style, is not exactly what I'm looking for. Theres some lemon, but also some banana and clove. As was said by another BA during the tasting, this one sort of tastes like a saison as well. I don't feel that there is much depth to this - the drinkability is somewhat limited by the one dimensionality of this brew.

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Photo of harrymel
3.77/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 005: 100% fermented with Brettanomyces

A: pours a blonde ale with excellent clarity and three fingers of eggshell which slowly falls to a sheet of the same. Spotty lacing.

S: Lemon, hay, slight grain. Definitely smells sour. The brett is fairly earthy (for lack of a better term in my lexicon). As I take slower and longer pulls, I get some tropical fruits: pineapple and mango, weird.

T: Slight lemony tartness I associate often with gueuze's comes up front, then disappears nearly as quickly. then I get the bitter, baking soda flavor I normally feel from Brett. Deceptively easy to quaff. I'm using my limited experience with Orval to generalize here, but I don't think I normally like Brett and yet this one is pretty good. Some nice bitterness from, something. Theres a slight vegetal flavor on the finish.

M: Light with hi carb - matches the beer well. Semi dry finish has me coming back for more.

O: I'm taken by this beer. I am not in love by any means, but I'm certainly happy with the acquisition. I have an additional bottle, and will let it age until I trade it, unless I get a hankering for it prior to that time. This is solid, and would be great for a blazing hot day, ice cold. Great substitute for a shandy IMO.

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Photo of ghetto90007
3.77/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Disclaimer: I'll be reviewing again after I try to age a couple bottles at some higher temperatures. Some of the feedback I've gotten suggests that my bottle needed a little more time.

I'm fairly unexperienced in the sour business. I've had a couple sours before and at least a couple that were unintended sours (ruined batches). I'm not sure if I'm going to become a fan of the style or not, but I do respect the style as a great example of the beer-making craft.

My bottle was from Batch 005, poured into a wine glass because my tulip was in the dishwasher and I don't know what my wife did with those champagne flutes I was planning to use. I think the glass worked out fine for serving.

A - I was scanning through a few reviews the other day as I was planning to crack this open this weekend and there were mentions of "pillowy" white heads and lacing. None of this seemed present in this batch. There were a few bubbles, but really no head. As I noticed this when I started pouring I tried to step the pace and slosh it in there a little but not much reaction.

Color is like cloudy Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Juice. It's as close of a representation to urine, in terms of color and opacity, as I can think of in the malted beverage milieu.

S - Being new to sours I was a little put off by the smell until the beer aerated a little. There were some sulfurs up front, but I'm assuming those compounds must have broken down with exposure to oxygen because that went away. There was definite funk and a tart sour smell like a really dry chardonnay.

T - Sour and funky. Then a little bit of the dry white wine character comes through. Honestly a bit vinegary.

M - Not completely flat - there is a bit of a carbonated bite to it, but the carbonation is not incredibly active or heady. Medium bodied.

Drinkability - It was decently refreshing for me, but I need some more exploration in the sours department. One at a time seems good.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.78/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Andy for sharing this one. Poured into a chalice. Pours a slightly hazy golden color a finger of fluffy white head that settles leavin some sticky lace. Lots of visible carbonation.

Lots of brett in the aroma, Hints of garden vegatable in the aroma with a good funky aroma. Slight hints of berries in the aroma. Funky brett on the pallet. A little bit of a band-aid (or adhesive strip) flavor with a touch of sourness on the finish.

The body is nice a light but the carbonation is a little bit high. I kind of just expands in your mouth. Overall this one is nice and funky. Pretty enjoyable.

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Photo of silentjay
3.78/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a slightly hazy golden with a smallish, yet fluffy pure white head that settles at a good couple of cms, and sticks to the glass well.

very yeasty, and slightly funky aroma not too far from a saison with lemon pepper, herbs, and must.

much more tart, up front, than the aroma. with some funk and spice and acidic citrus. finishes tart again on the swallow, with a bit more lemony acidic citrus.

effervescent and dryingly tart on a light/medium bodied brew.

overall, its decent, but not what id be seeking out from this brewery.

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Photo of KajII
3.79/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

[Best served in a Tuilp glass]

The pour was a murky golden yellow with an average sized (1-2 finger) white frothy head that dissipated down to a thin film and had some fair spotty lacing.

The aroma was a bit musty with a light grain malt, some citrus hops and a funky scented yeast with notes of citrus (lemon), green apple and apricot.

The taste was a little sweet and acidic with notes of lemon and apricot in the beginning but became sour very quickly with a big note of green apple and being a bit acetic towards the end. The flavor lasted a good long time after the swallow with a strong sour fruity ending.

Mouthfeel was light in body and dry in texture with a nice prickly carbonation.

Overall a great sour Blonde Ale with a nice apple peel bite at the end...

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Photo of beerandcycling88
3.8/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 005, poured into a snifter from a 350ml bottle.

A Pours a pale golden color with a nice white head on top.

S lots of citrus especially lemon with a bit of barnyard funk from the brett.

T the taste follows the nose with lots of sour lemon citrus flavor, I can't seem to get more out of it then that.

M nice light mouthfeel with a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall this is a very good sour that I would recommend to anyone new to the style. Its not overwhelming in the slightest which combined with the light body makes it pretty easy to drink.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.83/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not my favorite offering from RR but still a good beer.

Delicate straw orange color with lots of lacing and a nice head. Semi clear, has some haze to it though.

The smell is of funky, barnyard yeast saison with notes of bright fruit, brett.

Nice classic funk in the taste with a lesser wheaty saison base. Lemongrass notes are prominent, but theres a metallic edge that isn't great to it. Sweet as well. The mouth is good overall, bright on the palate.

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Photo of leschkie
3.84/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 005. 375 mL bottle poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a mostly-transparent gold with a very frothy head that reminded me of whipped creme fraiche. Very nice lace left behind as the head dissipated.

Smell: Aromas reminded me of a Belgian pale (funky yeast, hay, lemon) with a slight hint of tartness, leather, coconut. First impressions is that this one will be a very mellow sour...

Taste: ...and I was right. The sour tartness is very subdued, perhaps a little too much. The tartness tastes something like a lemonhead that started to dissolve as a result of getting wet. But the Belgian profile unfortunately dominates the taste buds. Nothing too complex going on here.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied like a Belgian pale with a substantial amount of carbination, as expected with this style. The mouthfeel is very pleasant as a matter of fact.

Overall: Eh. Refreshing, but nothing to get too excited about. Honestly, I'd have to say that I think this one is a little overrated, just like Supplication. When I see sour written on the label, I expect to taste sour but this simply wasn't the case here. Consecration still tops my list among the RR sours.

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Photo of Samuel906
3.85/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very cool, unique beer here. This brew pours hazy, light amber with some sediment and a very thin head. Smell is mostly of yeast and bretts, with some grapefruit, pear and apple. You can smell just how tart this beer is, and the taste is there to match. Tons of citrus (predominantly lemon and lime), tart and crisp, very refreshing served very cold. Fairly dry, and not overly acidic. Very light with tons of carbonation. Stimulates every taste receptor in your mouth and makes you salivate. Super clean finish, just leaves you wanting more. A little pricey, but super drinkable... this is a new favorite.

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Photo of rtepiak
3.85/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

and thanks a ton for sharing some philippe... our inaugural brew for the evening.

all i really knew about this one is that it was fermented only with brett. a blonde. not a hot blonde but a pretty good looking one for a sour. about 2 fingers on a golden clear. nose was lemon grass and zest a hint of citronella. the palate had more of this citronella quality with a interesting creaminess that gave it the quality of lemon pulp. a bit dry, but more acidic... very subtle grain. reminders of kombucha i've brewed.

i could say this was a learning experience. sours are well rated on BA. it seems they fulfill the other side of the heavy handed craft spectrum. its sledge hammer hoppy... or its sour. either way its bombastic. like american merlots. some are rich in flavor and some have holes but that magnitude of the process is undeniable. and i drink this feeling that that is what's most important. its sour... its not a lambic. period.

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Photo of tjthresh
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 002. 750ml bottle provided by csbosox. Pours a murky (gusher) straw yellow with a big white head. Funky, hourse blanket, sweet socks, yadda yadda yadda, with some citrus also. frizzzzle's SweetTarts analogy was pretty good. Really fruity and tart. Dry finish with high CO2. Really love these Russian River beers.

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Photo of deebo
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at RR.

A-Cloudy and golden with a clinging white foam.

S-Not very aromatic, barley malt with a hint of hops with a faint Brettomyces funk.

T-Upfront is barley malt and taste typical of a flavorful golden ale. End note is hoppy then the Brett takes over.

M-Medium/light bodied with a slight puckering astringent end note.

O-This combo of golden ale + Brett gives a finished beer somewhat remniscent of a Belgian wit with lemon. Very unique and fun to try.

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Photo of jneiswender
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this beer in a 2oz sample glass at the brewery as part of a sampler.

A-almost skim milk color, one of the whitest beers I have ever seen.

S-lemon smell,

T-tastes like a lemon smoothie

M-medium somewhat slick

D-Odd tasting at first but when you get used to it the "smoothie" flavor, its not bad.

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Photo of jbakajust1
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 keg poured into 12oz Tear Drop @ Bier Stein

A - Pours a clear straw w/ 1 finger white head, lots of tiny bubbles, quick fades to a slick on top, leaves good lacing on the glass, and has lots of carbonation dancing.

S - Smells of hay and straw, pears, lemons, spices, pepper, white wine.

T - Tartness jumps off w/ lots of fruit, pear, apple, cherry, lemons, very dry. White wine.

M - Light body, bone dry finish, prickly carbonation, bitterness acentuated by the dryness.

O - Good beer, refreshing, tart and dry, big fruits, some hay, not a lot of funk for a 100% Brett beer, but still good.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: fizzy yellow appearance, nice clarity, white foamy head, great retention and heavy lace

S: white grapes are prominent with mild hints of funk, notes of cork and white oak come into play

T: lemon zest up front with citric notes, a quick dash of tartness on the palate, spicy finish

MF:high carbonation, light body

O: nice wild ale with moderate funk that pairs with a bit of acidity

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Photo of Duff27
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Short lived white head on a murky golden orange body. Leaves a collar throughout.

Slight tartness on the nose.

Very tame sourness, I'd give it a 2.5 on the sour scale. Pick up the Chardonnay barrel notes. Barely any alcohol hint.

Nicely carbonated. Medium mouthfeel.

A solid brew although I've had better from RR. Very tame, could be a beginner sour. Thanks stupac2!

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Photo of JDV
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle shared at tasting. Thanks!
Pours a semi cloudy yellowish orange color with a very short lived head. Smell is tame, lightly bretty, oaky and well rounded. Taste is oaky, dry, tart, and a light but sharp and pleasant funkiness to the malt. Very drinkable and remarkable smooth, I thought. Great beer.

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Photo of THECPJ
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes: 2/20/2011

A: golden yellow to orange with a 1/2 finger head, leaves decent lacing on the glass

S: very slight sourness and a hint of sweetness, citrusy (mostly lemons), and a speck of apples

T: very dry, tart, citrusy, and that hint of apples found in the smell, has a slight sourness, but finishes sweet

M: moderate carbonation, crisp, refreshing

O: can imagine sitting on the deck on a hot summer day throwing one of these babies back without a care in the world


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Photo of ffejherb
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Russian River on 7/17/09.

A - Cloudy pale golden body with half inch of bright white fluffy head that settled into a patchy film and deposited some intricate lace around the glass.

S - Sweet candi sugar with only a hint of sourness and Brett character, surprisingly. Aroma was not as sour as I was anticipating. A slight lemony character also emerged as it warmed up a bit.

T - Slight boozy character akin to a strong white wine with mild sour fruity notes reminiscent of green apple or tart grapes. Mild spicy notes also emerge with hints of pepper.

M - Light to medium bodied with a slight syrupy texture and only a hint of carbonation. Dry finish with a subtle tart, sour tingle on the palate.

D - This was definitely not as sour as I was expecting, especially given the "100% Brett" slogal associated with this wild ale. However, I found this to be quite drinkable and not too over-the-top, as some other heavily Brett-ed brews. Too bad there were no bottles available.

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Photo of natemort13
3.9/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 006

Pours a murky pale gold with orange highlights. White fizzy head that fades into a puddly cap with a solid ring.

Nose is a citrusy sour with a hint of vinegar. Chalky and slightly medicinal. Tiny bit of barnyard funk.

Taste is very chalky and the sourness takes a back seat to that. Some smarties just before the clean chalky finish. Aspirin, sour green apple.

Mouthfeel has a smooth base offset by the effervescence of the carbonation. Medium bodied.

Overall I enjoyed this sour. Great sour presence that isn't overwhelming.

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