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Sanctification | Russian River Brewing Company

619 Reviews
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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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 619 | Ratings: 2,667
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 TH28
4.37/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle. 6/19/15 bottle date. Appearance: Hazy light golden, with a thick white frothy head and nice lacing. Aroma: A strong, distinct funky brett aroma, with a noticeable citrus lemon and grapefruit component. Taste: Light, bready malt sweetness, a sharp acidic lemony citrus, and an earthy, funky brett component that is much stronger than what’s picked up on the aroma. Mouthfeel: Light to moderate body with a high carbonation. Finish: Lingering citrus tartness, but heavier on earthy funkiness Overall: Great beer and a showcase of a 100% brett beer. Not only does the brett provide the typical funkiness, but it also has a pleasant citrus peel flavor and acidity to add complexity. The fermentation of this beer produces an amazing amount of varying flavors. World class

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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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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 matttttYCE
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 006, poured into a Russian River stemmed glass. The head is slightly off white, about a finger high, and between foamy and creamy. Fades to a light cap and subtle ring. Decent lace. The beer itself is a clear and brilliant straw yellow/gold.

The aroma is lovely and inviting on a warm day like today. Brett and some funk, straw, a light tart sweetness, green apple, lemon zest, light biscuit malt notes, hints of strawberry, hints of yeast, spice, banana and clove almost like it's hinting at a hefe.

The taste is nice as well. Lighter acidic sourness, moderate tartness, sweet but dry, brett, green apple, lemon zest, white wine notes, strawberry or apricot maybe, bready biscuity malts, a bit of belgian yeast, some spice, a bit salty and again hints of clove and banana like it's a bit hefe. Really a pleasant taste.

Carbonation is medium round, with a light and dry consistency, medium (maybe low-medium) body, and a moderate length finish.

This is probably my favorite American Wild Ale yet. I like that it's lighter sour with a decent amount of tartness and it's basically just not too over the top of an Am. Wild Ale. Though I am sometimes in the mood for a mouthpuckeringly sour beer, this beer is nothing like that and I could probably have one of these just about any time. This could actually be a pretty good intro beer to those who haven't yet ventured into the world of sours/wild ales. Really good and quite drinkable.

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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 lou91
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a fantastic beer from the pop of the cork, the beautiful golden hazy pour and the pure white rich head to the wonderful smells of that funky lambic smells. The taste was so good with a long lasting aftertaste of limes honey and kiwi. This would be great with some spicy curry or pad thai.

This is a review of batch 2:
Very excited to try this after hearing about the recipe change. Poured an opaque orange yellow with an unmistakable funk. The taste is oh so good- the funk grabs you initially then allows the pleasant and subtle honey, green apples and dry crackers. This is a good intro to the wild ales or iambics since you get a good sense of the flavor but nothing overpowering.

The abv is now 6.25.

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Photo of abfraser
4.77/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at CBS in San Francisco. Heard they weren't bottling this batch, so very happy to get the chance to get some.

A: Straw yellow to yellow, hazy, with a minimal head. Looks like pretty active carbonation

S: Brett sour, with tart lemon and citrus, pear. Some muskiness and earthiness.

T/M: Excellent. Exactly like the aromas and then some. Brett sour nicely balanced with a tart citrus and subtle muskiness. Mouthfeel is light bodied, dry as hell, with nice active carbonation. This is the RR sour that most closely resembles a Belgian gueuze.

D: Exceptionally drinkable. Perfect balance, low-ish abv. Refreshing. I could drink this all night

This is my favorite RRBC sour beer, perhaps because its not over the top mouth-puckering, but more subdued. Awesome stuff. If you like sours, seeks this out.

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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 Ek0nomik
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured In: Snifter
Attained through a trade (Thanks Adam!)
Batch 005.
Corked and caged.

Appearance: After uncorking the bottle there was a slight gush of head. The pour is cloudy gold and saffron color with a finger of head. The beer looks quite effervescent. There's just a few streaks of foamy lace on the side of the glass.

Smell: The blonde ale definitely shines through on the nose. Grains and cereal come out with some grassy notes as well. The nose is dry. The brett isn't overpowering, but is easily found. It adds a very nice funk to the beer, including some sweat and barnyard. Lemon and white grapes add a nice touch.

Taste: The tasting starts out sour with the lemon, white grapes, vinegar and barnyard. The flavor then switches to the blonde ale side of the beer; the cereal and grain flavors start to come out with the beer not coming out sweet at all which I absolutely love. The finish is dry.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation holds the beer up with a medium body; as the carbonation dies down the beer gets more thin.

Drinkability: Surprisingly drinkable beer, unfortunately the price tag would hurt it in this category. This was a really well put together beer though, and I'm glad I traded for more than one bottle.

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