Sanctification | Russian River Brewing Company

623 Reviews
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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: 623 | Ratings: 2,704
Photo of Xul
4.57/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to mjl21 for hooking this up in a trade.

A: Pours a hazy golden with amber highlights, capped by two fingers of fluffy white head. Retention is good and some light lacing is left down the glass.

S: Juicy, slightly sweet lemon is strong up front, followed by some lacto character mingling with pears, green apples, and a light white wine character. Funk comes in at a moderate level mid-sniff, with barnyard and musty notes.

T: Strong, slightly tart lemon with a very minor sweetness up front, which gives way to a small burst of lactic acid. Fruit comes on strong mid-palate with green apples, white grapes, pear, and some very light peach. Funk comes in late and produced a horse blanket finish, although some lemon juice comes back up to prevent the funk from being too dominant.

M: Medium body with high carbonation, excellent mix of smoothness with some light prickly feel.

D: I had to keep forcing myself to put the glass down, the combination of refreshing feel and great enjoyment is a dangerous one. Glad I've got another bottle, I'm very interested to see where this is in six months to a year.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.68/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank at our Epic Chicago tasing, thanks to AgentZero. 750 ml bottle into my Narke glass...I was super excited to tick off the last Russian River top 100, but boy was I disappointed in this one...Pours light honey gold, white head, ok retention but pout lacing...The aroma is plain as day light sourness but that is it, no complexity here at all. The taste is the same, just lightly sour, a boring goldren bret is all this beer is. It might be a good representation of a plain bret, but that's not what you drink these beers for.

A totally overrated wild and with so many other Russian wilds to drink, this is not one worth pursuing.

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

Thanks to urwithdave for opening this one during out sour tasting last weekend. 750 ml bottle, poured into a tasting glass.

A: Slightly hazy, yellow color. The pour created a nice fluffy white head that lingered for a while and left some nice lacing.

A: White wine, white grapes, apples, lacto, small brett, and lemon. A slight bready character shows up then is dashed by the acidicness.

T: Not overly sour. The brett was still young in this one, and if given more time would have really created the nice barnyard flavors it is known for. As such, there is a small horseblanket flavor, but not too big. Notes of lemon, apples, and chardonay. Finishes dry and tart.

M: Smooth light to medium body, good levels of carbonation.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is pretty good here, not the sourest of sours, but pleasant. Overall, very good example. I just wish we had given it more time to fully develop. Skal.

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

Thanks Jeff

Pours a golden yellow color with two fingers of fluffy head. The aroma is citrus-forward with notes of lemon, kiwi, pear, and pineapple. Not huge, but very bright and extremely appealing.

The flavor is very very tasty. Lemon zest and pear up front with a note of brett-y mustiness in the finish. Not hugely complex, but what is here is highly refreshing. After a bit of warming, some band-aid and leather start becoming more prominent, but until the last drop they remain dominated by the bright citrus.

The body and carbonation levels are normal (good) for the style. Drinkability is high here...this is just so damn refreshing. Price/availability be damned, I wish I could drink this all the time!

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

Thanks wavers1!! Wow, super excited for this one. Batch 004, poured from a 750ml cork and caged bottle into my De Dolle large snifter glass. Pours a pale/hazy yellow-gold color. A decent size frothy head with low retention, but nice patchy laces of cream around the glass.

Aroma is awesome! It's got such a great funk to it! This is one barnyard aroma that is making my mouth water(never thought I'd say that). Its hard to pick up much of anything else...some citrus crispness.

Yum! Wow...loads of funk, citrus...and as it warms, even more fruits. The tartness isn't super strong, but definitely there. Mouthfeel is both crisp and carbonated...yet smooth at the same time. This is one great beer that meets it's expectations, in my oppinion atleast. So glad I got the chance to drink this!

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Photo of portia99
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle (batch 4) purchased at the brewpub. Poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A - Pours a translucent, hazy pale golden orange color with a huge 2 fingers of fluffy white foam with excellent staying power. Tons of lacing left behind on the glass.

S - Very fruity on the nose...tons of apples, lemons, some tangerines, peaches. Lightly funky/farmhousey brett aromas.

T - Lightly tart, lots of brett funk - barnyardy for sure, some finishing bitterness. Fruity - lemony citrus with limes, oranges...very light and crisp - quite refreshing - great warm weather sour.

M - Thin in body with ample carbonation. Tart but not super sour...crisp flavors...excellent.

D - This is one exceptionally drinkable wild ale. Sourness/tartness is mild. Very fruity and complex. Very thirst quenching. Excellent overall. Highly recommended.

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Photo of abecall98
4.8/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thank you Loki83 for sharing this one. Also hooked mr up with a couple bottles for aging.

A - pours a bright off yellow color, nice rapidly forming white head, dicipates quickly, but it's sticky. I like that.

S - I love this, smells very fruity and bready. Te first wiff was like a lemon pie. Further wiffs hint with some Brett and funk. Smells like a lemon pie that had just came out of the oven.

T - such a big lemon zest upfront. Sour and funk follow. Taste of a lemon peel stays throught the the taste.

M - very carbonated, dry and refreshing. Wow, great coating, ad excellent finishing going on here.

D - probably the most drinkable sour ever. From start to finish I wanted more. I wanted more of the lemon zest. The sourness is not offputting, the funk is at a beutiful level, and the mouthfeel finishes leaving you thirsty. Lovely.

O - amazing job Vinnie. Wow, I thought this was all hype, no substance, but I was wrong, this beer deserves all the hype it got.

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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 djmichaelk
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewery.

A - Somewhat hazy, lemony-straw color, but still able to see through it. Good solid two-fingers of off-white head that receded to a ring around the outside of the glass.

S - Tart sour nose, mostly lemon and other citrus. Not too heavy on the funkiness, but it's definitely there lurking in the background.

T - Puckering sourness up front, from the lemon and maybe some orange zest. Applesauce and passionfruit in the middle. Very little alcohol, and it's got a nice long finish like a dry white wine.

M - Exceptional. Light and dry, like a high-end champagne. The carbonation is excellent; the beer dances across your tongue.

D - Reasonably low abv and light mouthfeel help to make up for the impact to drinkability from the sourness. While I usually have a hard time drinking glass after glass of sours, this one I could see myself drinking a few of.

O - I really enjoyed this. The lemony-ness is my favorite of the perceived flavors that I can find in this style, and this is yet another of the stellar sours coming out of Russian River.

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

750ml Bottle - Batch 003

Pours a golden color with a nice white head. Smell is sour lemons with a lil funk, apples, grapes, and some oak. Taste is nice, and sour with lemons, pears, brett, and oak. Dry mouthfeel, good carbonation. Overall one of the better sours I have had.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

Batch 003. The beer pours a clear golden yellow color with a white head. The aroma is tart lemons with some malt notes. The flavor is tart lemons with some yeast and brett character. The beer is not too acidic and is very dry and drinkable. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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

Had at the brewery during by wedding/honeymoon.

A: Pours a nice golden yellow color with some orange hues. Has a nice 1 finger white foam head.

S: Nice funk to this which is apparent. Has some nice bread character with some tropical fruit.

T: Lots of big fruit up front. Citrous, apples, pears start off. There is good malt presence in the middle, mostly bready and biscuit. Finishes off with a nice sour finish, making your lips pucker.

M: Leaves a light crisp feel on the palate. Not as sour as I thought, it was quite refreshing.

D: A delicious Wild Ale. Not as sour as I expected. Excellent balance! Another great RRB beer!

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Photo of ChrisPro
3.72/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Russian River on 6/30/09. Pours an almost opaque yellow, with beautiful frothy head. The sour lemon and grapefruit almost sting the nostrils, in a good way. This is straight up sour in it's cleanest form. The Brett certainly dominates and makes this a truly unique beer. However, beyond the great aromas and interesting sourness, there isn't a ton of complexity of flavors. Still a great beer that I am lucky to have tried.

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

On tap at the brewery. got a spinach salad with vinaigrette halfway through the beer and the paired perfectly.

Aroma- sweet, hoppy and floral. lots of acids and sourness. clean intense RR house funk. bready.

App- hazy with very little white foam.

Taste- hoppy and sweet with a nice funky brett character and some subtle wild character. acetic acid is present. spicy brett and sour character. sweeter than i want but also hoppy.

Mouthfeel- med carb. sweet (maybe I expected a dry beer).

Overall- a great beer. I don't think it is only Brett... there is more sourness going on. it was great with the salad. i would love to age some bottles.

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Photo of nickd717
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

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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 JohnGalt1
4.52/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #3.... I've been sitting on these for too long.. shared with the best beer buddies on Friday... mine was poured into MNFG.

perfectly clear.. straw gold.. big white head .... nice lace and fantastic carbonation.

Nose is so much better than my last bottle a long while ago... very funky and plenty of lemon and horsey notes.

Big and bretty.. of course.. funk with dry leather.. reminds me of a super funky saison.. sour remnants are more from the lemon elements.. no where nearly as sour as any other RR American Wild.. as it warms.. so does the funk.. some "cheese" develops.. sorta moldy.. vineous without any wood.. grape skins..

I needed to keep grounded on this one and remember that no wood touched this beer.. purely stainless. It is a science experiment that I am damn glad that I had numerous opportunities to enjoy.

The brett funk is going to continue to develop long after Vinnie says on the label... I may try and trade my last bottle, but seriously.. I doubt it .. I will be happy to do a tasting with my homies in another coupla years...

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Photo of Deuane
4.39/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 003

A-Hazy golden yellow with a thin white head that leaves spotty lace.

S-Touch of mustiness overlying nice notes of tropical fruits, banana and green apple.

T-Nice brett notes with quite a bit of mustiness with an injection of citrus and tart Granny Smith apple.

M-Light bodied, sharp and crisp. Sourness is mild and not mouth puckering at all...almost "smooth" for a brett brew.

D-Tart and tasty with a very pleasant green apple presence. I am diggin' this one.

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Photo of kingsdirt
4.92/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 caged and corked. 2007?
A: pale straw color with a thin head and some lace
S: Grapefruit, barnyard and feet
T: Acidic funk, Some citrus and mild sweetness.
M: mild mouthfeel, no malt bomb here.
D: Heaven

One of my favorites. Has some nice citrus notes, quality funk (feet) and is very drinkable (as far as the acidity not ruining the experience). I cellared this one for a while and the subtle citrus character is quite a bit more pronounced as well as much more mouth feel than previously.

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Photo of EPICAC
4.54/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sanctification pours a cloudy, straw-golden color. It's topped by a white head that fades to a thin layer leaving good lace. The aroma is intensely and wonderfully fruity. There are notes of banana, tropical fruit, and a hint of Brettanomyces. Swirling brings out an earthy aroma, and a slight funkiness.

Upfront, this beer is fruity with banana and tropical fruit flavors. A moderate tartness appears early on and is present through to the finish, which has earthy and funky Brett flavors, and a leafy bitterness in the finish. Prickly carbonation gives way to a creamy mouthfeel.

I thought this beer had a nice interplay between the fruitiness and earthy Brettanomyces characters.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.52/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the brewery in August 2009.

Pours a bright pale yellow with a nice pure-white head and good lacing. The smell brings out some funkiness and sweetness to alongside the abundant sourness. I picked up quite a bit of lemon in the nose, and it faded nicely into the taste. Not at all as sour as some of the other stuff we had at Russian River this night, but it helped to enhance the drinkability. The body was fairly light, and this combined with the less-than-total-mouth-sourness contributed to this brew's high enjoyability.

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

Big thanks to zminor for the trade!

750ml corked and caged brown bottle, poured into a tulip. Batch 3 from '07.

A: Bright lemony color with a nice pearly white head. Decent retention and lacing.

S: Nice soft funkiness, barnyard and musty. Light grainy with a bit of Belgian sweetness.

T/M: Pleasant funky and tart flavors. It's been in the bottle awhile and I definitely think that's helped develop the very tasty flavors. No hops to speak of but it has a nice husky, earthy grain bill that doesn't overpower the tasty funk. Body is light with healthy carbo, still.

D: Drinks very easily, too bad it's impossible to get.

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Photo of heliosphann
3.61/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

64oz Growler. Shared and provided by my main man Infestaxion. Thanks Daive. Served in my Ithaca Tulip.

A: Bright golden pour with almost a two finger fluffy white head. Disappeared fairly quickly, but lacing is very nice. Looks as good as many other RR offerings I've had.

S: Slightly acidic sourness, with some sweet lemon. Small amount of barnyard funk and Brett. Kind of muted however.

T: Surprisingly almost no sourness whatsoever. There's some citrus and lemon paired with bready yeast. Bitter hops, Brett, and some barnyard funk provide a little tartness. Finally some spices and pepper kick in towards the finish.

M: Light to medium body. Very nice carbonation. Nice and dry on the end.

D: Not bad, but I'm still waiting for the sour and tartness that I felt should be there. It feels a little unbalanced to me.

I was to say the least, confused after drinking this. I was under the impression this was going to be a sour offering like many of the other -tion brews. It was very much more like a funky saison/farmhouse ale with Brett. A few days later trying this, I even had a friend sample it who's had Sanctification in a bottle. He thought it was very different and lacking the big sourness that's mentioned in many reviews. I wanted to get to the bottom of this, so I e-mailed Vinnie at RR. He awesomely responded within a few hours in response to my inquiry. Here is his response:

"Regarding the Sanctification, I am taking this beer in a different direction now days. What you tasted was the first or second batch where I switched strains of Brett and am using less Lacto and Pedio in the beer. This is what I always intended this beer to be, but, over the years it always went
to the sour side. The new strain of Brett is more to my liking and it worked better with less bacteria as well."

Thanks Vinnie. Still a very solid offering from Russian River. I actually enjoyed it more the 2nd time I had it when polishing off the Growler.

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

Batch #2 750ml caged and corked bottle sampled at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia. Good call on ordering this one deliriumfest...

Appearance: Classic RR straw yellow that borders neon in brightness. Fairly cloudy body with a nice 1 finger white crown that shows a small touch of retention and some lace.

Smell: A good dose of brett yielding in a moderate amount of barnyard funk, a touch of sweet lemon, and perhaps a small apricot note.

Taste: Beautiful melding of green apples, green grapes, lemons, brett, a controlled amount of funk and a touch of vinegar. No alcohol presence. Nice!

Mouthfeel: Crisp and light bodied but satisfying too.

Drinkability: The abv isn't an issue, nor is the flavor, but the sour citric notes will be the first thing to get to you if you are lucky enough to be drinking ample amounts of this delicious beer.

One of the only things I enjoyed more this weekend than this brew was the company I was with. A big thanks to beerloco, mrs. beerloco, deliriumfest, ms. deliriumfest, and dbhog for a fine time!

- Much more tame
- Needs time
- I recommend not drinking your batch 4 bottles for at least another 1-2 years

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Sanctification from Russian River Brewing Company
4.3 out of 5 based on 2,704 ratings.
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