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: 2,713
Photo of mondegreen
4.64/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From a 750ml shared by a generous BA. Thanks, Zack.

Pours a hazy golden with a dense white head. Aroma is sharply tart. Funky sour fruits present up front, with hints of Belgian style yeast throughout.

Taste is pleasingly sour. Not overbearing, not too simple. Just right. A good balance of sour and funk, with a crisp finish. This is a great beer for sipping on a warm summer evening. Mouth is superb, very well carbonated. Would love to have these readily available.

This has to be some of the best stuff going in the American Wild category. Glad to have had the change to try it.

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Photo of jnn4v
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Somewhere between Miller Light and champagne. Pale yellow color with lots of tiny bubbles. Minor to moderate white head.

S: Like a very dry apple cider. Almost gueze-like. Not much of a fruit scent to go off. Mild sweetness underlies it.

T: Also very dry. Tart. Sour. Not much fruit, although a hint of apple. Similar to a non-ripe granny smith apple. Somewhat bitter herbal.

M: Very nice mouthfeel. Completely appropriate levels of carbonation for the style.

O: Very nice overall beer. One of the better wild ales I've ever had and I'd rank it up there with supplication in overall quality.

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Photo of Rish907
4.02/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Bubbly, champagne colored, pours a significant amount of head

S: Citrus, champagne, white wine, green grapes

T: Sour, fruity, green grapes

M: Dry, arid, similar to champagne

O: Being my first sour, I found this quite enjoyable. At first the sourness hits your palate pretty hard, but eases after it swooshed around a couple times. It is very carbonated and poured a thick head with lots of bubbles. The fruity and citrus taste is prevalent throughout. Overall, a very tasty quality sour.

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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 juhl31
3.65/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

-started off great, yellowy, gold in color with some nice fogginess. not much head or any of the other good head characteristics

-it started off mostly bananas with me. as i progressed through it, some lemon came through. a bit, but not too much of the brett or sour smell

-definitely the least sour of the RR sours which is okay, just don't expect it to be when you try it. some lime/grapefruit style bitterness in the end. semi-closely resembles a corona with some salt and lime in it which is not necessarily a good thing as far as i'm concerned

-dry for the most part, but some oiliness tries to sneak in. tart in the mouth too for sure

-was an okay beer, but i don't think i would ever order again (considering all the other amazing things i can order at RR)

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Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.6/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Pours a light clear golden color with a very nice head and medium lacing.

Smell – A very nice brett scent, without being overly sour or over ‘flavored’.

Taste – A very, very nice bretty taste. Perhaps an overly simple description, but it’s really good!

Mouthfeel – Nice carbonation, crisp, dry, and just slightly sour. Well done!

Drinkability – Although sours aren’t my favorite style, this is one of my favorite sours.

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Photo of klikger
4.66/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Russian River

A - Amber in color with plenty of yeasty cloudiness. There's a decent amount of head, but not much lacing.

S - Brettanomyces. Love it or hate it.

T - Lemon juice, yeast, and sour patch kids - blended, then force-fed down your throat. The middle is at times grapefruit bitter and, at others, pure penicillin. A touch of cider vinegar appears here and there. The finish is limey citric acid with no sweetness.

M - Medium-bodied and extremely lively. Crisp and invigorating drink, this is!

D - It would be easy for me to drink more, but it may be too sour for some palates.

I just returned from my first trip to Northern California, and I drank so many good beers. Sanctification was easily the most memorable and almost surely the most enjoyable. If you like sours, this is a must-try.

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

Been waiting to try this for a hot minute. Thanks to colonelforbin for the hook up. Reviewing from notes taken at our sour tasting.

A- pours hazy golden yellow in color. A thick sudsy head that retains nicely. Lots of nice lacing left.

A- tart green apples with lemon zest and the funk that I love to smell.

T- The nose is spot on with the lemon and sour apples. The funk isn't as pronounced in the taste as it was in the nose. Still a nice sour taste. Not the sourest of sour but I was glad it wasn't just the sweet tartness that we ran across tonight with other offerings. I'm kicking myself in the azz for not securing a few more bottles of this.

M- medium in body. Nicely carbonated. Finishes dry and sour with some lingering tastes of the lemon.

D- I loved it. I would drink it everyday and not get tired of it. The only brews at the tasting that I liked better were beatification and DDG.

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Photo of egajdzis
4.07/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 001... Poured a hazy, yellow orange color with a small, white head that left no lacing on the glass. Aroma of leather, horseblanket, dank cobwebs, citrus fruits as well. Taste of brett, orange, citrus peels, white grapes, and sour lemons. Really nice beer.

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

Tried this one at the bar at the Spinnerstown Hotel in PA.

Poured a burnt golden with a thick, rocky white head. Some sediment settles at the bottom after floating a bit.

Aroma was overwhelmingly tart and sour. Smelled sour apples, lemon, wood and hay as well.

Tastes were similar to aroma. Strong sourness, apples, maybe a hint of citrus fruit. Lemon, wood, wet hay and a hint of grass.

Mouthfeel was very crisp and refreshing. Light bodied and highly carbonated with an acidic, dry finish.

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Photo of Pinknuggets
4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

bottle to Ommegang flute

A:light golden yellow in color with a small white head. It is kind of cloudy but looks pretty clean despite that it is almost completely opaque which is what i expect from a blond.

S: well you can definitely smell that brett funk it smells like a barn, i am getting some of the "wet horse blanket" for sure but it is not overly pungent at all which i regard as a good thing. There isn't that much else there.

T: it has a nice sour flavor that is slightly tart with a little bit of sweetness to it in the finish. There is definitely some citrus in there especially lemon that goes along with the sourness and blond flavor. I can taste some of the hop and other flavors from a blond mixed in with the brett so it is definitely successful and to style.

M: The brett gives the beer a nice champagne crispness. It is also smooth, oily and goes down really easily which is helped by the carbonation. The great feel of wine champagne and beer blend together well here.

O: This beer is a great marriage of sour and blond the brett plays a great key role I throughly enjoyed this beer especially the taste and feel. It is not mind-blowing but it is a really solid sour and another impressive offering from RR i would recommend it if you can get your hands on it.

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

Batch two purchased yesterday at the Ledgar's Liqours in Berkeley for 8.39. Apparently it had just arrived an hour before on the truck. Lucky for me, but I must have been high because I only purchased one bottle. i should have bought a case.

appearance: gueze like golden clear yellow color with a very un lambic like huge head. and the head last's. very nice looking.

smell: barnyard funk, hay, with some sweet tang in that mix. nice ans sharp.

taste: so good, so smooth. an american take on the gueze style? holy cow. bitterly dry, barnyard funk, more dryness, more funk and more dryness. Bring on the big bad BRETT! tasting this makes me want to give the middle finger to Saccharomyces. I wish this where a beer I could find at ampm in six packs, not have to find in some obsure store once a blue moon. I digress. More barnyard, so very tart, like those warheads you had in Fourth Grade.(you know what I'm talking about). there is some noticable hop bitterness in the game as well which is super nice. sour apple. in the end super good, yet just different enough to let you know it's not actually Belgian.

mouthfeel: my favorite, thin without being watery. cripsy.

drinkability: so drinkable. to me, this is the kind of beer that drinks itself. good for any ocasion and weather. a all around anytime, anyplace spirit lifer.

Notes: this is lambic. is it authentic? is the word gueze or lambic anywhere on the bottle? no. yet it fits squarely within the style. I just started drinking true gueze a few months ago and this is within the style. No, it's not better than true Belgian gueze but it holds it's own. Worth getting for the price alone, as if considered lambic this is the greatest bargin i've seen for the style.

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


A slightly hazy pale yellow (almost like urine) with about 2 fingers of bubbly and frothy white head. Some bubbles are flying from the bottom to the top of the beer.


Some slight fruity notes like lemon zest and white grapes, funk and a slight spice in the nose. Not as barn-yardy as I thought it would be, considering its all brett in this but it is noticeable. A little yeasty and grassy aromas in here as well. Nothing really overpowering but definitely a great aroma.


Tastes of funk and musty-like flavors with those small notes of grapes and spice in the nose. A little more dry and tart than sour however. Same nose, no real overpowering tastes, however everything is balanced perfectly which makes this a VERY drinkable beer IMO.


A little thin but definitely carbonated and gives a nice tingle all around the mouth. A little dry like a white wine. Very crisp and refreshing however. This is cellar temp but a little colder would make this almost perfect.


A very solid and extremely drinkable wild ale. Even my girlfriend enjoyed this who isn't really into sours. Relatively low ABV, however pretty difficult to obtain being in the Midwest unless you have a hookup.

Special thanks to hurfer for providing me this!

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Photo of josiahschlender
4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had very few sour beers, so it's exciting for me to try one out. Picked this batch 005 bottle up at the local Trader Joe's of all places.

Definitely a fan of the cork and hefty bottle, very classy. This beer lives up to its blonde moniker on the label. It's pale golden in color with an ample head in my wine glass. The foam settles fairly soon and leaves just a little bit of lace.

I definitely smell bananas, along with a little bit of mustiness that I've heard about with brett beers. Maybe some faint spices like cloves. Not as intense as I expected, but pleasant.

Flavors pack much more wallop. Only a little of the light, fruity bananas, and intense puckery sour. Not quite the citric sourness of a lemon, but more like sour candy. Lots of complexity with this beer being very sour yet having balancing sweetness in the front and middle of my mouth, while finishing long and dry with sourness fading to something more herbal.

I'm a sucker for big, flavorful beers, and this one satisfies that in a new dimension differently than the big IPAs and stouts. Thanks Russian River for delivering us beers to expand our minds and tastes!

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

A: An opaque light golden body with a white head.
S: Couldn't smell a whole lot; mainly could pick up wheat and maybe some fruit.
T: Sour oranges and wheat with a bitter wheat-like finish.
M: Smooth, round, good amount of carbonation.
D: Not as outstanding or intense as their Consecration and, as such, much easier to drink.

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Photo of Bobheed
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice hazy, pale yellow. Lots of carbonation with about a 1 and a half finger soapy white head that dissipates fairly quickly

S: Lots of funk and sourness immediately. Taking a closer smell, I get the scent of fresh picked flowers, sour yogurt, green apples

T: Quite tart, a bit venegar-y. Overall, probably the least "sour" of all of RR's sour ales, but balanced really well. Some of the funk I got on the nose, I feel, was lost here, but that may pick up more with more age on it

M: Very highly carbonated and dry. Drank, literally, like a champagne.

Overall, this was very nice. Have a few more bottles from this same batch to age and see the changes.

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Photo of jminsc76
3.66/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip.

Well, it definitively exhibits a golden body, with a white, thick foamy head forming upon the initial pour. Reemerges decently upon agitation, with the legs sliding down thick as I tilt. Very nice.

Aromas exhibit a mellow intensity of citrus (lemon and orange) and slight barnyard/horse blanket funk, the latter being mildly sharp. It’s pleasant, though I am wishing it would lift the nostrils just a bit higher.

Flavors threw me off at first, primarily because I found it fairly one-dimensional. As I continue sipping, however, a balanced blend of lemon and funk washes across the palate, signifying Sanctification’s rightful place as an unmistakable Russian River beer.

Mouthfeel is thinner, but the effervescence is perfect in creating a kind of snap, crackle, and pop on the palate. I like the dryness this exhibits as well.

Overall, I like it, though not amongst my favorites due to the fact that I have nary a preference for lemons. Sorry. If there were just a tab bit of sweetness, the taste preference would steer this in the A category. Plus it’s undoubtedly funky and smooth, though not necessarily complex. I would knock back a couple per serving, but should Supplication or Consecration or Temptation or Beautification be offered in its stead, this would be left to someone else.

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Photo of ewright
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375 corked/caged bottle, batch 005, poured into a Brasserie d'Achouffe tulip glass. A fat finger of white foam sits on top of a bright yellow gold base. A lot of champagne-like effervescence rises from the bottom of the glass. Nice lacing as the head dissipates.

A lot of funk on the nose, very reminiscent of Orval. Faint lemon zest notes and a hint of pepper. First sip is surprisingly sour given the low level of citrus in the aroma. Lemon and unripe grapefruit dominate up front. By law, there are some hops in this brew, but they are not readily apparent anywhere in the flavor profile.

Finish is remarkably dry and crisp. High carbonation gives a mouthfeel very similar to dry champagnes. I'm really enjoying this for now, but I'm glad it is a small format bottle. 750 ml would be too much for me by myself, sour newbie that I am.

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Photo of Ready4aHeady
4/5  rDev -7%

Poured from 375ml bottle
Color is a pale straw yellow, slightly hazy
Nose is a fizzy lemon scent, with some funky brett and ginger
Taste is lemon, white grape, ginger, and doughy bread
Mouthfeel is oily, a lot of carbonation, sour, and dry
Overall, really refreshing and satisfying. Well-made.
Just figured out the aftertaste--pancetta!

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Photo of joefuzz
4.44/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks dagsy for the awesome hookup

Pours a hazy yellow with a white head. Like fresh cut grass, a little funk and some belgian malts with a little bit of lemon. Taste starts off with a tart bite that's almost like sucking on a lemon, then moves onto a horseblanket funkyness. Mouthfeel is light and carbonation is high. Overall pretty dam good beer.

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Photo of ithacabaron
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 001! How special do I feel?

Shimmers as it pours into my glass, a golden vision with carefully designed bubbles lacing the sides of the brew.

Aroma is pure Brett, brett, brett. Funk, sweet pure, clean malt washes and weaves through too. The beer is able to improvise and funkify out there, but such things are kept in respectable check. Think a jazz festival sponsored by your local savings bank. Will the musicians show off some chops? Sure. Will they blow your mind with "out-there" variations, recollections of past snippets of great works, and cliff-drop modulations? Probably not. This brew's aroma is the bank festival. Orval is that unmarked door downtown, where they keep the music cookin' till the sun comes up. Ya dig what I'm saying?

Taste evens up the same, lemony hops covered in powdered sugar and a little quinine. Noble hops all the way, this is a pure tribute brew. Laces out, through the uprights, this knows the path and follows it handsomely. Nice work.

Mouthfeel is bubbly, bright, and keeps things ever effervescent, without ever being sharp.

Drinkability is fantastic. I could easily see a summer night with a few bottles of this being passed around the table.

A nice brew -- classic, sparkling, summer in a bottle, with enough funk and farmhouse to let you know it's there...but not enough to scare away the casual belgie fan. Solid stuff. Thanks to the fellas who know who they are that treated me to this at UJs. Glad I had it.

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Photo of SanDiegoBeerLove
4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Nice Golden Yellow with some yeast sediment. Head is White with small bubbles that faded quickly though easy to bring back with a few quick swirls.

S - Sour, Barnyard Funk, Green Apple, Citrus Fruit, Oak, Citrus Flowers, Bread, Minerals, and Spices.

T - Sour, Green Apple, Lemon, Powdered Candy(without the sweetness), Grapefruit, Oak, and Yeast.

M - Good Carbonation, slight Sweetness, and Acidic. Sourness starts slowly and hit the back of the mouth only a half second after the front.

D - I think this is very drinkable for those who like sours. This is quite a complex beer for how simple it is. I'm glad I bought many of these. Although I'm not a huge sour fan yet, I think this is a good starter because it isn't as sour as some of their other offerings.

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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 MrFootstones
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 004

Opens with a formidable pop. Pours brilliant gold with a finger of head which settles to a thin foam cap.

Aroma is hops and funk, pineapple, and huge amounts of tangy citrus

Taste is tart, citrusy, hoppy, very light funk, with that classic RR musty cellar Brett aftertaste. Lemony, grassy hay. Delicate malt comes forward as it warms, with a dry, crackery finish.

Mouthfeel is slightly slick with moderate carbonation.

This is an easy to drink beer, not wildly complex (yet, hopefully!), very delicious. Here's hoping it can develop in the bottle from a good beer to a great beer.

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Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
4.3 out of 5 based on 2,713 ratings.
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