Sanctification | Russian River Brewing Company

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SanctificationSanctification
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
619
Ratings:
2,673
Avg:
4.3
pDev:
18.6%
 
 
Wants:
1,183
Gots:
857
For Trade:
56
User Reviews
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Reviews: 619 | Ratings: 2,673
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Russian River
Sanctification

Pours a hazed straw yellow with a fizzy, champagne like decanting and modest retention. There's a lot of active, minute carbonation and I can already see this is going to be a drier beer.

The aroma on this is very funky. Big time Brettsnomyces notes that range from pineapple, sap, musty basement. Quite perfumy and ends up smelling straigh up sour. Has a sour, yet candy like smell.

In the taste, white grapes, Chardonnay, oak, but most of all a souring Brett note of apple cider and apple cider vinegar. Has that sweet and sour componant but this is finer and more complex than simply that. Juicy, slightly drying and oaky on the back end along with a hefty sourness.

The mouthfeel is light and airy, yet dry and sour. Tart Brett notes just ride out the finish in a vinegary, almost puckering haze.

What a beer this is. Patience is a virtue, and I believe this beer is over a year in the making from mash to bottling. A perfect example of craft beer being art, and brewers becoming legends.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.17/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375 mL C&C bottle poured into a tulip. Batch 5

Color is a glowing straw golden, with a slight haze. Initially a large, foamy bone white head that quickly fades to a ring of bubbles with minimal lacing.

Aroma is dry, bretty and funky with a earthy, peppery finish. In between a fresh grassy aroma sits on top of a reluctant, mild tropical sweetness. More sour and funk than tart. Smooth and well balanced without being remotely offensive to even someone unfamiliar with the style.

Front of the palate picks up lemon zest and rind with a mild green apple sourness back across the palate. Brett is present throughout but the funk is not as strong as the nose and a green, grassy sourness dominates throughout. There is a strong biscuit like malt presence throughout with a latent juicy tropical fruit sweetness. If that sweetness would be more assertive I would put this up there with Supplication, Temptation, or Consecraction, but without it this a little to one dimensionally green and sour.

Mouthfeel is light with effervescent, champagne like carbonation. Finish is dry and puckering, exceptionally refreshing.

Not crazy about this batch, but a second tier Russian River is still a few miles ahead of most other American choices.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.02/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at O'Brien's,

A: Pours a hazy yellow, with a fizzy, hissing acidic head.

S: Light fruit notes, orange perhaps, acidity is prevalent.

T: Fermented and sour citrus fruit, with a lighter acidity than Beatification which I had before. Apricot for sure. A hard beer to get a hold of, has a lot of things going on. A beer I would like to try again.

M: Medium acidity for an RR sour, the acidity is quite smooth and makes for a damn drinkable sour brew. Closest thing to a session sour I've found.

D: A top 100 beer and I was anxious to try it. Didn't quite live up to the hype, but very tasty and worth the purchase. I hope to get a bottle someday and delve into it more.

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Photo of biegaman
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sanctification looks like it's been made holy, as if it had been touched by angels: it has a halo of pristine white foam and a body of bright yellow radiance (and no, unlike some, I don't consider Russian River's brewmaster Vinnie Cilurzo a god, not the kind capable of this kind of luminosity, anyhow). Despite the light colour and bright tone, however, it's opaque.

The aroma smells like some kind of like a lemon vinaigrette, it mixes citrusy zest with the unusual impression of olive oil. Orchard fruit and floral overtones factor in as well, giving the bouquet a very airy and fresh essence... that is until a mustiness, something akin to a humid barnyard, sets in. Then, quite quickly, you start to make the connection to vinegar.

'Quality control' may sound like an oxymoron when it comes to bacteria and wild yeast fermented sour beer, but Russian River's is astounding. Most brewers wrestle with their wild beers, some struggling with exploding bottles while others can't seem to carbonate their beer at all. But this brewery rarely (if ever) seems to have problems. This has just the right amount of bubbles and a tartness that is assured but far from overwhelming.

This is batch 005 and I've previously sampled batches 001 and 002 and, somewhat astonishingly, all have been remarkably similar in character and quality. The beer has a vinegar-y acidity that cuts through notes of grass straw, oak wood, flower petal and apricot, resembling a sharp and refreshing white wine. I'm not sure why the wine community is so afraid of Brettanomyces - they make a wine-like beer that's actually better than a lot of wines.

Consistency is not an easy thing to ensure when you're gambling in mother nature's casino, but (knock on wood) I can't recall a single sample of Russian River beer that was tainted or spoiled in any way. If you're trying wild ales for the first time, start with one of the many "-tion" beers, any will do but Sanctification is a safe bet. It is not only among the most highest rated but is also probably the one likely to be most agreeable to an unfamiliar audience.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 375mL corked bottle into a tulip. This is labeled as batch 005.

Appearance: slightly hazy light yellow body with a ton of effervescence and a thick finger of pillowy white foam. An attractive beer!

Smell: a dry, bright, tart aroma reminiscent of champagne. There are some light peppery notes here which I find quite alluring, but otherwise it's not notably complex. Still, it's rather nice.

Taste: huge tartness with a light candy sweetness. There are some orchard flavors here which come through at the end -- a nice dynamic quality to the flavor experience. Maltiness is blown away by the tart flavor up front but eventually develops into a nice sweet malt flavor of its own. Quite tasty indeed.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a great big huge carbonation and lots of creaminess. A little too astringent for perfection, but damn nice.

Overall: this is just a really good beer. I don't know if it lives up to the high, high bar set by its Russian River brethren, but I find it delicious and refreshing and definitely worth having at least once.

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Photo of John_M
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the brewpub in Santa Rosa...

The beer pours a brilliant gold color with fair head retention, but very good lacing. On the nose, I'm immediately worried, as it smells pretty sour. For the most part, this smells like a hard cider, but with some underlying sour. On the palate, what can I say. This beer is very complex, with a sour component that (thankfully) is not over the top. Up front one gets a lot of honey and cherry, but then the sour kicks in. However, it's not over the top, and interestingly, the sweet honey and cherry kicks back in on the finish. Pretty impressive really. Unlike some over the top sour beers from Jolly Pumpkin and New Belgium, I can drink this and enjoy it, though certainly it's not exactly my cup of tea. Drinkability on this beer is pretty good, with the abv. well disgusied.

This is a solid beer, although there's no denying it's not quite my style.

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

Well, this beer has either improved a good bit since I last reviewed it 3 years ago, or its better on draft. Had this at the RR pub. Pours a pale golden with a thin head that sticks around as a thin swirl. The smell is sour, but there are also notes of wintergreen, lactic aromas, some earthy hops and some slight barnyard, and some lemon. Tastes tangy and a bit sour, but with some distinct earthy hops and some funky barnyard. Tart and refreshing with some lingering bitterness from both the hops and the barrel.

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Photo of tobelerone
4.6/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 005

A cloudy, pale-gold colored brew with a small, fast-falling head and slippery lace. A steady stream of tiny bubbles makes their way to the top of the glass as I drink. Aroma is lovely, tart, slightly funky with brett, lightly sweet, a hint of lemon.

Flavor is quite delicious, mildy funky from the brett but only just-so; tart, acidic, citric, lemony and quenching. A little grassy, traces of green apple, no hops to speak of. Very low bitterness overall.

Carbonation is quite lively. This is a super-refreshing, champagne-like beer I’d drink all the time if I could afford it. Medium light body with a crisp, clean, slightly puckering finish. Made for a great Thanksgiving morning treat while others enjoyed Prosecco with strawberries.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.6/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Russian River. The beer is effervescent pale golden with a one inch, fluffy head. Really nice lacing is everywhere once the head finally recedes.

Brettanomyces are very strong in the nose. The aroma is nice and tart with some spiciness, lemon notes, and horse blanket funkiness. The flavor is very sour with some barnyard funk from the Brett and light citrus. This is quite tart. Delicious! The finish is very dry with a long lingering tartness. I recall the last batch I had was a bit more sour, but this is fantastic.

Light bodied, very dry, and great carbonation. This is an extremely drinkable sour. I drank a growler of this the weekend afterward and enjoyed every sip.

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Photo of weeare138
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to phnphilly for opening this at Phatz's sour beer tasting...
Batch # 3.
Appears a cloudy pale gold with a white head that fades into a thick cap with tons of lacing left around the glass.
Smell is of pils malt, brett abound, lemony zest, and oaky vanilla.
Taste is of the same but slightly weaker with soapy lemon and mild hints of coriander pulling through.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, sweet-tart, soapy, oaky, and fizzy.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ah, a Russian River sour. Always a great privilege to review a new one, although it does mean that there's one less still waiting for me out there. I think this indeed might be the last widely available example I've yet to try. How sad.

Pours a bright hazed yellow golden colour, with a frothy and relatively fine head of white, that leaves rigorous and webby lace down the inside of the glass. Looks the business.

Nose is fresh and redolent with tart citric fruit and a oak-fermented vanillin character that smooths this out. Under it all is a big earthy, funky depth that gives whiffs of organics and odour. It adds such an awesomely weird complexity to the nose. Love it.

Taste is tart and rich, with a clean feel and profile that allows the vinous acidity and smooth oak characters to meld into something that is funky and weird, but also remarkably crisp and drinkable. Green apple tinge, white grapes, earthy funk and pleasant dryness on the finish. Oh lovely.

Top-notch brew. It's remarkable how clean, drinkable and refreshing this is—usually the RR sours are about depth, complexity and mind-blowingness—this is perhaps the perfect summer drinking beer. Crisp, refreshing and biting. Lovely beer.

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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 Derek
4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice head, not much retention. Wonderful aroma of leather and tropical fruit. Similar flav, a bit of straw, modest bitterness, with a light tartness and a crisp finish.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a cloudy straw color with good carbonation and a nice white cap.

S: Funk. Sour notes, tart fruits, lemon and hay

T: Similiar to the smell but with a notable lemonish presnce, sour, tart fruits, hay. Much more flavor and booze kick from the bottle I thought

M: Light and easy to drink and the pucker factor is there.

D; This beer was good not very attractive. I found myself wanting to sip this down so I can move on

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

A corked and caged 750 mL bottle of Batch 003. I've had this one for almost 2 years.

A: The ale pours with a pale peach color that exists somewhere between light brown and turbid yellow. The fullness is accentuated by sediment, yeast suspended mid-glass. Two fingers of head don't leave much lace in their wake.

S: The nose is rich, heavy with green grapes and apples. The tartness is profound, sour beyond description. The oak is evident, buttery with a strong vanilla presence. A very intriguing nose that doesn't hide what's in store.

T: The first sip reaffirms the delicious tartness, almost making me recoil at the strength. Behind, or perhaps mixed with, the bitterness, green fruits lurk with a sweet dryness. Seems like all possible sugars have been sucked out of this ale, it is bone-dry. The oak has left vanilla and boozy sweetness in its wake, flavors that struggle at first to emerge before blossoming later in the glass. As the ale warms, citrus flavors become more evident amongst the sourness, accentuating lemon and orange among others. Mid-sip, the tartness leaves a heat that lingers until the end of the sip. Even bready malts don't stand a chance against the tart and bold flavors. A standout sour ale.

M: I'd use the term vinous but it doesn't do justice as no wine has nearly this much going on. The sourness is mouth-numbing, challenging each sip with a tartness that leaves fresth citrus in its aftermath.

D: The sour, despite its boldness, is very approachable. The booze never asserts itself and the range of flavor that emerges from this simple ale is exemplary.

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Photo of dar482
4.51/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The aroma offers white grape, white wine, lemon.

The flavor hits of a touch of Warhead tartness along with the fruitiness of tart peach, apricot, candy peach rings and a drying finish.

An underrated one of the Russian River sours.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.52/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml( room temp-Batch 002) a cloudy lightish gold with a huge head of foam that shrank slowly leaving lots of lacing and a solid layer for the entire session.

The smell is *all* spicy with notes of yeast, orange, corriander, and a whole lot of funk!

The taste is *hugely* sour up front. Almost to the point of knocking my socks off but there's also the yeast, orange, and corriander I mentioned in the smell and there's some peppery notes, hoppy bitterness, and even some malt sweetness .. man.. this one sure is complex as all hell and a literal delight to sip on. I'm glad I have another bottle and plan on cellaring it for a spell.

Bottom line: A superb American Wild Ale, in my book. My hat's off to Russian River for, once again, travelling down the off the beaten track!

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Photo of wordemupg
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml corked and caged bottle poured into tulip 15/4/12 batch 005

A a little cloudy in bright golden yellow body, no carbonation issues that's for sure lots of pinprick bubbles popping up from everywhere and feeding a nice two finger bone white head that retains very well ending up as a little island leaving a few rings of lace as it falls

S pear and apple cider notes, heavy funk, and some vinous notes with a little vinegar, I'm liking this one, I want to say its simple and straightforward but that's not quite the case

T what I smell with more sour cider notes, not as funky as the nose but still very nice just not as strong as the smell,

M lots of pinprick bubbles leaves a tingle, quite alive in the mouth with a nice sour bite, a little funky lemon on the finish, somewhat clean actually aftertaste is faint

O well made beer for sure, smells and feels great and I'd use .25 if I could for taste, a nice sour blonde that I wish I could find in my part of the world

I could drink quite a bit of this stuff without getting board, my first RR sour and I'm very pleased I'm going to get to try 3 more in the near future thanks to the most awesome Rutager

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Photo of spinrsx
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle from Whole Foods San Jose CA for $12 or so

Appearance - Gold colour with an average size white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 4-5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Breads/grains, lemons, peppery spice mix, citric, funk

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste breads/grains and some tart lemons. There is also some white grape juice and some woody notes.

Overall - A simply fantastic beer. My bottle is from 2011 and it is holding up very well. Actually reminds me a bit of a Lost abbey cable car in some ways. World class stuff.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle obtained via trade with fartingdog. Corked and caged, Batch 002. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a cratery 1" bright white head over the cloudy golden brew. Head stand pat for quite some time, and lacing is prevalent and sticky. Aroma indicates sharp tartness and wood notes. Taste is funky sourness upfront, in the middle, pretty much everywhere, with malt backbone and barrel notes becoming apparent at the end. Mouthfeel for the wild style is very nice, with the maltiness smoothing the tart somewhat, making drinkability quite nice as well. Maybe a Cantillon warm-up?

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.34/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours cloudy and is the color of hay. Head is tall and fluffy. Head pops away and leaves plenty of lacing. I see some light clouds of yeast-dust swirl around my glass.

S-The all-Brett yeast is surprisingly not as startling as I expected. There is plenty of tartness; but its clean. I really pick up some strong notes of wet hay. Tart pale-fleshed fruits. The Brett has been trained quite well; many a beer have I had where the Brett kinda gets a bit too zany.

T-Sour and tart and zesty. I find it to offer a bit less complexity than some of the other "-tion" brews by Russian River. There is the tart fruit, hay and even some lemon meringue, so there is clearly still a bunch going on it this one's defense.

M-Light and drinkable. The carbonation isn't too volatile. Tartness begins to permeate the skin on my lips and the enamel on my teeth.

O/D-Another well-trained stud from Russian River. Not my favorite "-tion" but its better than 80% of anything sour I have tried. Next time I have a chance I will gladly lay lip to this wacky, Bretty beast.

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

A: Pours a lightly cloudy straw-golden body with orange highlights. I didn't get any sediment in mine, so it's crystal clear, with a moderate off-white head that settles slowly.

S: Strong lactic sourness in the nose. Mild brett funk (hay, horse blanket) and earth. A buttery, sweet white wine presence with light, bready cracker. As it warms, it develops a tropical fruit flavor too (mango in particular).

T: Starts off quite sour with crisp fruit, specifically apple, pear, lemon peel, and vinous white grapes. Dry cracker in the mid-taste that progresses into a melange of restrained bretty flavors, namely earthy hay and horse blanket. The dominant characteristic here is lactic sourness, by far; it's puckering, but not acetic.

M: This is semi-dry, with a light body. Great bubbly finish, almost like a champagne but not as crisp. A fantastically vinous aftertaste.

D: was impressed with how balanced it is. It's not puckeringly sour

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Photo of DrJay
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Viggo for cracking this one open. Day 1 of the 2008 Biergotter Tasting.
Cloudy straw yellow with a big, fluffy white head. Good retention, some clumpy lacing. The aroma was heavy on brett earthiness, with some wet straw, grass, and funk leading the way. It also smelled of a sharp tartness that had an edge of vinegar and lemon. Flavour was tart too, light vinegar character and a bit of saltiness. It was juicy too, with a fair bit of berry flavour. Nicely balanced overall, with the sourness kept from overpowering the beer. Light bodied with slightly spritzy carbonation, surprisingly smooth texture. Really quite tasty and balanced for a sour beer, likely due to the brett playing nice with us.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.39/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Haw River Farmhouse Ales teku glass. Label says Bottled On: 053014.

A- Pours a medium golden color with a 1/2 inch white head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a small strip of sheer surface foam. Not-so-resilient lacing slides quickly down the glass.

S- Bright aroma of tartness with some solid Brett character.

T- Nice soily flavor with some medium tartness and tropical fruit notes. The Brett funk is mild but apparent. Just well-rounded overall with lots of character and oh so drinkable.

M- Somewhat dry with medium carbonation and a light body.

O- A fantastic blonde sour that rides that perfect middle ground between tart and funky.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL corked and caged bottle poured into a stemmed glass. Batch 004. Thanks to wunderbeer for this one!

(A)- Pours a hazy golden yellow color. Produced a good frothy white head that dissipated to froth. Plenty of lacing left behind.

(S)- Dry, with lots of Brett in this one! A bit of an earthy oakiness meshed in with the Brett character. A nice light fruity aroma of lemon peel, white grape, lime, and maybe even kiwi or pineapple. A delicate acidity and mild funk outside what the Brett puts out there, but a dynamic aroma for sure.

(T)- Very much dry Brett up front. Its actually quite dry with some subtle tart lemon-like fruits and an oaky earthiness. Some sour grapefruit pokes through at the end.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. The Brett addition definitely takes center stage, but does allow some tart and sour fruits and funky earth through.

(D)- Another world class sour from Russian River. Heavy on the Brett, but it is pulled off rather well. Definitely one of their more unique offerings. Definitely worth seeking out.

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Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 619 ratings.
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