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 Jimmys
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

330mL bottle into tulip.

A: slight haze on a bright blonde body. carb is ripping to the surface. head is bright white. made up of big bubbles. great retention, spotted lacing.

S: gentle. a little bit of chamomile. toasted, vanilla oak notes. smells dry.

T: starts a bit tart. lemon drops. a barny flavor is in there, but not that strong. finish is actually a bit grainy and then dries out almost completely except for a lemon rind flavor. mostly dry.

M: almost effervescent. light/medium body.

D: not overly complex, but still highly drinkable. the tartness is pretty mellow and this is definitely more on the barnyard side of Brett. a good beginner brew for people looking to get into sours.

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Photo of Jonada
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

375ml corked and caged bottle. Batch 11/28/2012

Appearance: Pours a dark yellow, almost golden color. Slightly hazy in the glass. A moderate pour yielded almost 4 fingers of an off white soapy head that dissipated reasonably quickly.

Smell: Lemon zest, citrus, apricot, white grape, bretty funk.

Taste: Sour grape, vinegar, tart green apples, some breadiness, Belgian yeast spiciness. Sourness is medium.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with high carbonation. The carbonation gives it a bit of a rough mouthfeel

Overall: Probably my least favorite of the RR sours I've tried, but still an excellent beer. Refreshing and pretty easy to drink. It tastes kind of like a sour saison. Definitely worth picking up a bottle.

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

375 ml bottle poured into RR Steamed Glass

A; Dark yellow, golden with a white head composted of large, high carbonation bubbles that dissipated within a few seconds of pouring. Beer continues to create a lot of bubbles from that rise from the bottom of the glass in a very straight column starting from the bottom of the glass.

S: A dry smell, yet fruity and quite aromatic even from a distance. Almost slightly wine like but just very characteristic of the Brett used in fermentation (fermented with 100% Brettanomyces).

T: Very light and refreshing. A slight fruitiness comes through but is very subtle. Hints of white wine, although not a wine drinker so this could be inaccurate, but light bodied with a very crisp finish.

M: Feel is gentle for a 100% Brett beer. Dry through-out but finishes with a slight bitterness and slight fruity character.

O: Very refreshing beer to have during a hot summer day or late at night when your craving something out of the ordinary or even when treating yourself to something special for no real occasion like my self at the moment. But regardless, really enjoying this RR brew. Very unique brew with a light and subtle character yet complex and unique. I guess that's what you get when you have a brewery in the heart of California Wine country, a brewery and beer that speaks for itself and stands out naturally.

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Photo of fdig23
4.21/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the bottle.

Appearance: Murky gold, big fluffy head.

Nose: Tons of big zesty sour lemon and bitter cherry. There's barnyard funk in the background and even a hint of bready malts.

Taste: More and more lemon zest. Funk comes through in the middle with a good bit of muddy hay and horse. Finishes with that typical American candied tartness.

Mouthfeel: Dry and crisp. Nice but not exciting.

Overall: A really interesting display of Brettanomyces. Displays the full capabilities of the yeast from start to finish. The cleanest expression of this bug that I've come across.

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Photo of spoony
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 375 ml bottle (dated November 28, 2012) into a tulip.

A-This brew produces a healthy, three-finger head of shiny, soapy, off-white foam. The head hangs around for quite a while, which isn't surprising since carbonation is very visible in the beer. The brew is yellowish, gold in color and a touch murky.

S-The smell is a big dose of funk. There is a lot of brett here giving off that earthy, musty note that plays quite well against the slightly tart lemon, mandarin orange, and straw characters of the beer. The smell is complex and pleasing; I keep sticking my nose in to get another whiff.

T-The taste is also quite heavy on the brett. I taste a lactic, earthy tartness that combines nicely with lemon, mandarin orange, straw, candy sugar, and a touch of oaky vinegar. Again, pleasing and drinkable. The sour factor is low to medium, and fits well with rest of the brew.

M-The brew starts out with a wave of noticeable carbonation and finishes on the slick side. The heft is moderate and pairs nicely with the flavors.

O-This is another great Russian River wild/sour ale. Brewers can sometimes overplay their hand when it comes to brett beers, but this one manages to keep the smell and flavors that brett imparts without making brett the only thing going on. I'm not sure if this was the right beer to drink on a snowy March evening, but I will certainly search this out again in warmer seasons.

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

Thanks again to Jeff for splitting his RR sours with me. Sanctification pours a hazy, golden-apple color, appearing translucent as light shines through it, although it's impossible to see through to the other side. A soapy and foamy white head leaves some light dredging along the glass as it falls.

The aroma contains a ton of funk - wow! Musty cellar, cork... just huge amounts of Brett left and right. Makes sense, since as this is brewed with 100% Brett. Some mild sour fruits back up the aroma, but the more and more I sniff, the more and more Brett becomes the only thing I smell. Mild oak and wood on the tail end, still wet and funky smelling, with a touch of tart and sweet apple skins. Certainly a funk-head's dream, but I can't accurately judge how sour this one's gonna be. It smells more funky than tart, but RR sours have been known to play that trick on me. I guess we'll see.

Up front, the taste is extremely sour, even more so than the aroma would lead you to believe, so I guess there's the answer to that question. This bad boy is puckering right from the start - green apples, white grapes, super-ripe and sour pears. The assertive tartness is not alone, however, as the funk is very nearly as strong. Wet wood, cork, damp cellar, and huge barnyard notes, left and right. The sourness seems to tone down a bit as the beers warms, and the finish is pretty dry overall. Medium bodied, medium-high amount of carbonation with a slick mouth feel.

Another damn good Russian River wild ale. I don't think it's possible for them to put out a bad one. This is probably one of the more funky ones that I've had, but it still had an intense sour element right off the bat, so nothing was lost in that department. Thanks again to Jeff for breaking this one out.

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Photo of Beerandboards
4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Cork and cage 375ml bottle

A - translucent golden color. Apricot in color is the best I can do to describe it. Very nice color. Any sort of aggressive pour produces a large amount of thick white head, retains for a very long time.

S - mild vinegar, sour grapes, apple cider, some warmer almost floral type notes.

T - best sour I've had to date. Pronounced sourness without any pucker, a champagne like dry grape flavor, funky earthy type notes going on in the background. Finishes super quick super dry. It's an interplay between beer, champagne and white wine in the best way possible. Very very good.

M - super high carbonation, really plays well with the flavor. Nice presentation.

O - like I said above, my favorite sour to date. Ultra balanced between the flavor profile, level of sourness and mouthfeel. Just an excellent beer, would buy this again and again.

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Photo of hawks10
4.51/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Batch 005 - Bottled December 1st, 2010 - Poured into a Russian River stemmed glass.

Pours a mostly clear dark straw yellow with one finger of bright white soapy head.

Nice light tart aromas up front mixed in with a more prominent spicy wet hay like funk. Smells light and inviting, like it's waiting for you, wanting to quench your thirst.

Taste closely matches the nose. Tart but not overwhelmingly so with a drying and slightly spiced finish. The funk is there but it is balanced very well with the tartness.

Medium bodied, a bit heavier than expected with a lively feel. A bit of a dry and spicy taste lingers.

Overall a very good beer. Easy to drink but not boring, nice layers of complex flavors make this one a top notch American Wild Ale.

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Photo of steeb
3.92/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: hazy golden with a nice thick fluffy head

S: sour, slight funk, some fruit like peaches

T: about the same as the smell, slight tartness on the forefront and a slight funk on the end

M: medium bodied, with some lingering qualities

O: A decent Russian river beer. Nowhere near as bad as New Belgiam's Brett Beer. Very nice balance between funk and tart.

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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 TheBrewo
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

We crack the cage and cork on a bottle of Batch 005, and pour a brew the color of raw honey. It holds a two and a half finger tall head of creamy, off-white bubbles. These billow and fluff, leaving sheets of soapy lacing down the glass as the head eventually disappears into a hearty film. A thick haze permeates the clarity, with chunks of yeasty sediment bouncing around the base of the glass. Carbonation appears active. The nose sings with massive Bretty glory. This is sour, juicy, extremely tart, and metallic. The malts are soft, wheaty, and Belgian, with fruity esters and crisp citrus. This inherent spiciness is enhanced by sage, mold, and light piney earthiness. Finally, with warmth, comes a far off burnt rubber quality, adding a bittered, even tarter tail. Our first impression is that the flavoring is wildly tart, but kept nicely in check by sweetness at the back of the sip. As we sip, the juiciest Brett crashes the palate. This puckers, along with raw lemon flesh and rind, metallics, musk and mold, and crisp malty paleness. The malts actually maintain a nice backbone throughout, helping in their own right to cool the funk. The peak hits with more acidic qualities of vinegar, vinyl plastics, more chalk and bite to the yeast, fermented chokecherry bitterness, mineral, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Washing through the finish are sweetened floral notes, honeysuckle sugars, herbal bitterness, big muskiness, barley grassiness, coin, faint banana esters, and more of that big bad Brett. The aftertaste breathes with fermented vegetable rottenness (in a funky, good way), citrus, wet flour, cooked plastics, coating metallics, and watered down tropical fruitiness. The body is light to medium, and the carbonation is light to medium. There is nice slurp, smack, cream, froth, and pop to each sip, as afforded by the ever present head. The mouth is left wet, salivating, and coated, with only slight pucker and astringency when it’s all said and done. The abv is easy, and the beer sips the night away.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this beer was the heavy tartness to the nose and flavoring, and the broad sweeping complexity of it. From the time you pop the bottle your nose fills with this juicy, insanely funky beast of an aroma, with crisp paler malts, and an accompaniment of yeast, fruits, and musky components. These translate well through the taste buds, with a massive bittering tartness from the first drop to the last. The nicely retained head affords soft creaminess to every sip, and helps Sanctification hold up proudly amongst its brothers and sisters in the series.

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Photo of jvillefan
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: The body is a pale hazy yellow with a pure white lacy one finger head that dissipates quickly.

S: Very mild, especially for a sour. I wish it was a little stronger. Estery with a hint of sour apple.

T: Sour apple is in the front. There is estery and oaky flavors running throughout.

M: Nice body and very sharp carbonation.

O: Great sour. Not the best at Russian River but worth trying none the less.

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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 flayedandskinned
4.77/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled on 11/28/12
Poured into a standard tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours an extremely opaque, pale straw yellow, with a 2 fingers tall, pure white head which lasts a surprisingly long time for it's style. Leaves no lacing, as expected with barrel aged sour beers.

Aroma: Huge aromatics of funky, musty hay, pineapple juice, green pear skin, light granny smith apple, lemon juice and grape fruit rind. Hints of vanilla(from the oak barrel, I presume) and a very faint presence of cracker from the malt. Everything you'd expect and more from a 100% brett fermented beer.

Taste: The taste certainly follows the nose pretty well; starts off with suggestions of tart pineapple right away with a refreshing spritz of tangy lemon juice soon to follow. The beer closes with an assertive bitterness and a whisper of a soft cracker-malt base. Some lingering impressions of pear and grapefruit pith on the very dry, tart finish. There are some accompanying notes of vanilla, barnyard funk and some light tannins in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with high carbonation.

Overall: Definitely one of my favorite beers of all time. Complex, yet very thirst quenching and refreshing. The Brettanomyces really takes on a hugely tropical tone in this beer and makes the beer only slightly tart. This is a great beer for the both the sour novice and the seasoned "sour head" Highly recommended.

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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 KickInTheChalice
4.37/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From notes. Poured from a 375 mL bottle into a tulip.

The pour is a light hazy straw color with a tight, but small creamy head.

The aroma has a nice lemon tartness to it, but the focus is on the funky Brett and hay notes. There is a bit of apricot behind it.

The flavor starts with a light pale malt sweetness, with a tartness that builds over the course of the sip. Lemon zest, hay, a bit of apricot, and a little vinegar. As the sip winds down, the lemon zest really takes over and steps up the sour flavor.

The body starts a little bit fuller than medium for the style, with a medium and slightly creamy carbonation. Toward the end it dries out a little bit.

This is very nice. Russian River has a good portfolio of great sours.

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Photo of Sarlacc83
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

375mL bottle consumed 1-25-13. Batch 006

A: Pilsner type clear gold. Foam vanishes. Bubbles lift and push the liquid.

N: drying brettanomyces. Lemon and biscuit. Clementine orange. Some sourness is evident. Bleu cheese for sure.

T: Very dry and musty. Lemon juice, horse blanket, and tons of brett. Sour vinous chardonnay grapes. Very floral; hints of standing in a field. Oats and granola. This is extremely complex at this age - hits all parts of the tongue. Sulfuric acid/fatali peppers.

M: Crisp, dry and light, but it's not refreshing. No, no, definitely not the last part.

O: This is crazy infected and it adds brilliant character to the beer. Almost becomes too much, but I finished the entire bottle and wanted more. Get some.

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

thanks to ablackshear for this extra from a trade!

batch 6. nice loud pop when cork came out of the bottle.

poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: opaque and hazy straw yellow bodied beer with big fluffy white head. Drops down slowely to a ring with clumpy lacing.

Smell: green apples, oaky, lemons, earthy with mild funk.

Taste: mild tartness in the for of citrus, but primarily lemons. Oaky and a touch of vinous. Really earthy and funky mostly musty and barnyard. Nice oak barrel notes as well with just a hint of white grapes.

Mouthfeel: light bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Soft and gentle carbonation. Really easy drinking beer.

Overall: I think this is more brett forward sour than a tart sour beer. I really liked it and its just another wonderful offering for the sours line up at russian river.

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Photo of justintcoons
4.27/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle poured into a tulip.
Batch 006, $14.99 in PA

Pale gold with a short white head that dissipates quickly. It's extremely clear for a Wild Ale. Only a few drops of yeast swim around like jellyfish.

Pear, golden delicious apple, apple cider, white wine and a touch of vinegar. Smells very juicy.

Slight tartness on the front of the tongue with very juicy flavors. White grape, pear, apple cider, green apple and some lemon. Light notes of white wine vinegar. The back end gets extremely dry with leather and a musty funk. Tons of white oak in the finish.

Light bodied, crisp, dry and refreshing.

This is like drinking two different beers at the same time. The front end is incredibly juicy and fruity while the back end dries up quickly with oak and funk. Light tartness. Easy drinking and refreshing. Very nice!

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Photo of Treebs
4.13/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

375 ml C&C bottle served in a Lost Abbey Teku. Batch 006.

A: Pours a golden yellow color with a pure white head forming on the pour. It recedes quickly to a think ring. Minimal splotchy lace.

S: Nice funk with some light lemon peel and white grape. Very light malt body with some grassy undertones.

T: Outlying funk, some oaky tannins with a little puckering. Not sour, but slightly acidic with some green apple and lemon peel. A little hay and some barnyard on the finish.

M: Spritzy, medium high carbonation with a slightly drying finish. Light bodied.

O: Very light on the acidity and sourness, but still very tasty with the funk and base blonde.

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Photo of claspada
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ Monks in Philly for the Zwanze 2012 celebration/release.

Pours a cloudy light golden color with a frothy white head that retains fairly well and leaves some spotty lacing on the glass.

Aromas begin with some crackery pilsnery malt and some champagne-esqe vinous oak notes. As it warms I get some light citrus, funk, earth and doughy yeastiness with emerging green apple.

The tastes follow the nose with the clean pilsner, maybe some wheat maltiness and then the sour lemon, funk, oak and apple skin flavors come in. The backbone has a definitive Belgian Bretty yeast presence throughout.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with above average champagne-esqe effervescent carbonation. Finish is plesantly sour and dry but not overly so in either category.

Overall I enjoyed this very much for my first time sampling it. I was always hesitant because of the inflated price tage but for $5 on draft at a bar during Zwanze Day, why not give it a go (or 2). I enjoy this offering more than Supplication as I feel it is a bit more complex and the flavor profile pops just a bit more.

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Photo of cfrances33
4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 6 bottle thanks to Gosox8787, poured into a HF stem.

Pour: Hazy yellow orange, with two fingers of fluffy, sticky white head. Leaves really awesome lacing, and the head hangs around for a while too. I love when beer looks like this.

Smell: Acetic pears and apples, with a nice honey/biscuit sweetness. Some oakiness flows through. Brett is there a little bit in the breadyness, but not much.

Taste: Clean tart peaches and granny smith apples. A light funk, but not a ton. A light white pepper, and a biscuity sweetness. Finishes with more acetic pears.

Mouthfeel: Pretty tart, but not quite sour. Definitely puckers the lips though. Really nice and drinkable at the same time.

Overall: My favorite sour from RR (haven't had Beat yet). Great stuff.

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Photo of korguy123
4.57/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 006

Slightly hazy lemon yellow pour. Thin fizzy snow white head. Lacing covers the glass in sheets.

Lemons, hay, slight grass and barnyard funk. There is a little sweetness of sugar and a little vanilla. Oak is there in the back. Slightly tart, my mouth is watering.

Tart lemon, fresh grass and a little barnyard. The sweetness didn't translate into the taste but the oak definitely did. Slightly dry and has a slight white wine quality.

Light body, good carbonation.

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

375ml, Batch 008 poured into Mikkeller tulip

A - Dark golden color with a slight haze to it. It poured a two finger rocky head that settled down to a layer of foam. Really a nice looking sour

S - Smells of lemon, hay, straw, barnyard funk, slight oak, and green apple. Strong nose that smells like a nice spring beer

T - Lemon zest, green apple, oak and vinegar are the first impressions. It then morphs into Bretty, funk and almost blue cheese that gives it that earthy farmhouse feel. The finish is lemon and vinegar that gives it a tart bite that lingers on

MF - Light carbonation that makes the beer bounce around in the mouth and goes well with the apple and lemon flavors. Finish leaves a slight tingle on the tongue.

O - Great beer from Russian River that reminds me of a tarter and more lively version of Orval. It has a nice mix between Brett funk and the tart sour flavors you come to expect from Russian River. Really was surprised by how good this on was.

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

375ml into a Russian River tulip, batch 6.

Pours a clear, pilsner color with a spotty head of various sized bubbles. Almost looks as if it were poured from a cask.

Lemons with a mixture of tiny vinous notes, more citrus, and tannin on the nose with a touch of funk.

Big lemon bite up front with less funk than the nose, tannin and barrel characteristics. Rounds off with a nice dry chardonnay flavor.

Drying with a medium-light body and low carbonation.

Great citrus flavor with nice barrel and vinous notes. An excellent example of a pale American wile ale.

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