Sanctification | Russian River Brewing Company

2,744 Ratings

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.75%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Who’s afraid of the "big bad BRETT?" We’ll tell you who: winemakers! Because of our close proximity to several hundred wineries, we often get winemakers visiting our brewery. (After all, it takes a lot of great beer to make great wine!) Because we use 100% Brettanomyces yeast to ferment Sanctification, most winemakers will only smell the glass, and only a very few will venture to taste the beer. They think the Brettanomyces will attach to their clothing and end up in their winery. A simple solution was offered: keep a smudge pot burning at the door of our brewery so they can burn their clothes when exiting, but even that was not enough. After giving it more thought, we concluded that winemakers think Brettanomyces might scar their taste buds and possible even permeate their skin? Either way, Sanctification is one of the most unique beers you will ever taste! It was fermented with 100% Brettanomyces, rather than the traditional Saccharomyces.

Added by Bierman9 on 10-27-2004

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,744 |  Reviews: 627
Photo of JohnK17
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of thebigredone
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of alcohline_trip
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of thampel09
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%

Photo of kristougher
4.36/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of oldp0rt
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of AndyEdgar
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Magery
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of Hojaminbag
4.03/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 002, acquired via trade with Vancer. Thanks Vance!

A cloudy yellow with a big white head and lots of rentention.

Smells very sour. Lots of fruit notes hit the nose, especially grapes. A strange almost midly spicy tone comes through too, I assume these are the Bretts.

Very sour. I guess that's the point, but I thought it still deserved mention. In the middle is what I thought was spicy in the aroma, but spicy is the wrong word. I assume this is the Bretts, but I could be wrong. It reminds me of a Braggot (if that is helpful to anymore, not sure it will be). Also lots of fruits are on the palate here, espcially grape. Other fruits come through, I seem to pick up a peachy flavor.

Fairly light body, very well carbonated.

The drinkability here is pretty good. Shared this bottle with a friend and he hated it, so I'm drinking the entire 750ml bottle.

 866 characters

Photo of GABrew
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of Overlord
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful golden color, nice head and robust and lively carbonation. Mouthfeel is, as is normally the case with Russian River, quite good.

Tastes almost cider-ish, with a nice apple/pear/grapefruit bite. Delicious blonde ale, the yeast is chewy and delicious. Quite drinkable, with a bit of sour and zest

Might be a bit too much going on with this beer. The sour isn't really straightforward, and the yeast is a bit misplaced. The fruit component also seems to not be integrated all that well.

 495 characters

Photo of CJNAPS
4.48/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I had this on draft at the brewery and thought it was great . I have a bottle doing a little shelf time, I hope I can let it sit for awhile to see how it taste after some time. But changes are I drink that bad boy lol

 217 characters

Photo of Thedrizzle
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of mcallister
4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An opaque yellow in color with mucho carbonation and yeast particles floating throughout. Pure white carbonated head leaves little lace and has good head retention.

Overwhelmed with brett of course. Hints of lemon, lime, apple, some other cirtusy hints.

Very good sour and balanced. Nice carbonation lends greatly to the citrusy fruit forward flavors. Lemon/lime, granny smith apple, huge amounts of brett, some wood notes as well. Finish is slightly short.

Easily drinkable thanks to the balance of carbonation. Nice smooth refreshing mouthfeel.

 555 characters

Photo of grub
4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Biergotter Tasting, Day 1: Sour/Wild Ales. Viggo shared this one. thanks eric!

750ml bottle, corked and caged. batch 003. sampled nov 27/08.

pours hazy orangey gold with a big fluffy white head. the head drops slowly and leaves lots of lace behind.

aroma is great. nice bright citrus character - lemon, orange peel, bit of tangerine. light alcohol. white bread and crackers. hint of vinegar. bit of grain. touch of perfumey floral character.

taste is good. lemony. leather. horse blanket. light grapefruit. tangerine. bit of alcohol. touch of vinegar. white bread and crackers. the acid/vinegar component is restrained, coming across more funky than sour.

mouthfeel is great. medium-high silky smooth carbonation. light body with a nice dry finish.

drinkability is great. the acidity and sourness is restrained, not dominating the nice funky component or taking away from the drinkability. great balance overall. tasty stuff.

 936 characters

Photo of wagenvolks
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle courtesy of stopbarking at the Austin BA tasting.

Releases a clear, golden-straw body with a surprisingly aggressive carbonation level that supplements a well-retained head of meringue bubbles. Amazingly sour nose, with notes of lemon zest, funky Brett, and toasted biscuit malts. Almost singes the nose hairs, but the sourness is delicately intoxicating.

On the other hand, the flavor is more on the punishing side, with a sour, lemon peel dryness balanced by lots of stinky funk. Imagine James Brown singing with a mouthful of Lemonheads...yeah, that's about right. Body is crisp and clean, with a puckering, dry finish of wild yeast. Although I'm still not sold on the whole "wild/sour" experience yet, I can appreciate the craft with which Sanctification was brewed. A must-try for any extreme beer lover.

 827 characters

Photo of Damian
4.11/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank from a 12.86 fl. oz./375 ml corked and caged bottle
Batch 005
Served in a tulip
Acquired in a trade with Douglasjamjak

The beer poured a crystal clear, golden yellow color with a bubbly, bright white, one-finger head of foam. Thick sheets of Brussels lacing cascaded down the glass with every sip. The beer bore a striking resemblance to Duvel.

The nose was a bit more subtle than I anticipated. Slightly musty and damp, yet also crisp and lemony with a dry, powdery yeastiness. The tart lemon/citrus character came out even more as beer warmed. Lots of oak and wood as well.

The taste was extraordinarily crisp and dry. At first, the beer reminded me a lot of a Champagne. Quite bright and lemony. Peppery and moderately tart. Musty on the back end. The finish was super oaky and surprisingly hoppy. The hops were likely of the Saaz variety and they lent the beer a grassy, slightly earthy bitterness. Overall, very clean and refreshing. I was hoping for a bit more tartness and funk however. With time, the flavor profile became ever more oaky and dry. While I initially thought of comparing this beer to a Champagne, it later reminded me more of a dry Sauvignon Blanc.

The mouthfeel was foamy and creamy. Remarkably smooth. Medium bodied with a fine, lively effervescence. Very Champagne-like.

Although I really enjoyed this beer, it was not as interesting as I anticipated it would be. Perhaps the decision to use Brettanomyces as the only means of fermentation accounted for the lack of complexity.

 1,514 characters

Photo of funkel81
4/5  rDev -7.6%

Photo of EB1
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of GilGarp
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 005 served slightly chilled into a goblet.

A slow gentle pour produces cascading bubbles rising rapidly to the top. Sanctification is a pale golden yellow color with good clarity. The head is thick and leaves some spotty lacing as it slowly settles.

Aroma is evident as soon as the cork is popped. Sweet, floral, and sour almost in equal measure. It's difficult to tell at this point just how sour it will taste. A very pleasant and balanced nose though.

The flavor turns out to be nicely tart and sour without puckering. The malt base is sweet and mild allowing the wild yeast to shine. The same floral quality from the aroma comes through in the taste as well as sour cherries and tart grapes. Tannins on the finish make it seem very dry.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied and nicely carbonated. Fairly well balanced and drinkable for a wild ale.

Overall a really nice wild ale. Maybe a good place to start if you're just getting into the style. At the same time, interesting and enjoyable enough for the more experienced.

 1,037 characters

Photo of T_Hass
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of jpd7374
5/5  rDev +15.5%

Photo of nickd717
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had the latest batch of this beer (Batch 6?) out of the bottle, and wow, this really varies insanely from one batch to the next. This one goes back to the more one-dimensional bretty character that I didn't like about the tap versions. Don't get me wrong, it's still very good, it's just not amazing. Going to go 4/4/3.5/4.5/3.5: B+ on this one. Will average the two more or less for an overall score.

***ORIGINAL RATING 1/30/2010***
5/4.5/4.5/4.5/5: A+
So I had given this beer a B on tap after trying two batches (4&5 I believe). I had pretty much put this in the "meh" category and figured it was overhyped. So then largadeer was kind enough to share a bottle of Batch 3 from 2007, and this beer totally redeemed itself! I now feel like it's actually underrated. Even crazier, my girlfriend, who hated this beer on tap and would have probably given it a D-F rating if she wasted her time rating beers like I do, loved this batch out of the bottle and probably would have given it an A-A+. Maybe the listings should be separate for a beer that can vary so much.

Appearance is excellent. Pours a cloudy golden color with a massive pillowy white head and great lacing.

Aroma is very bretty and mildly tart. Some very mild horseblankety funk, as well as excellent tropical fruit notes, and some green apple as well.

Flavor is amazing. Brett, sweet pale malt, and maybe even some wheat. Lots of fruity notes in there: pineapple, mango, lemon, and sour green apple. Sourness is very restrained and the beer is well-balanced.

Medium-light on the palate with only mild acidity and nice high carbonation, making the mouthfeel lively. Very dry and crisp. Not at all mouth-puckering like other batches have been.

Well, I give out A+ ratings like candy on Halloween it seems, and this is going to be another one. Is it really my fault that I drink so many awesome beers? I will drink this any time I can though, no doubt.

 1,918 characters

Photo of sgregory
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.33 out of 5 with 2,744 ratings
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