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 Risser09
4.8/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared by Phphilly at Phatz' sour beer tasting • This is my soft spot

This beer was brewed with 100% Brettanomyces yeast!

Appearance: Very blond in color with plenty of haze and lots of apparent activity. A white heads forms and leaves plenty of lacing behind in its wake.

Smell: Brettanomyces yeast, lemon peel, white grapes and barnyard funk. Sour apples are there with a dank, earthy aroma.

Taste: Tart lemon and apple, asian lemongrass with nice malt undertones. Funkiness and citrus flavors bring the depth chart to another level. This taste is a lot to handle, which I love.

Mouthfeel; Sharp and tart with nice, earthy brett tones. Low alcohol content makes this beer shine, IMHO. Nicely carbonated and refreshing finish.

Drinkability: Awesome brett content with plenty of twang and earthy flavors. Very highly drinkable like many other beers from this brewery. They certainly have carved out a big niche that many of us have figured out and have become festidious followers. Seek it out.

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Photo of pkalix
4.79/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

hmm, follow a Temptation with a Sanctification.... in what universe is that a good day? where can you FIND two kinds of Russian River in one store on any given day? especially down here in orange county?
pours hazy golden, some sediment sitting heavily embedded as if in jello (just like the Temptation had!). too hazy to see, but an ear to the top of the tulip glass provides the 'popping' you can hear from the carbonation....
smells kind of 'neutral. bretts(?) are here, but not as fruity as the temptation I just had.
taste is way more rounder, much more sour-er, less fruity than the Temptation. more of a kind of 'champagne' kind of brew but very good indeed! definitely less fruit, but wholesome and obviously takes you in the direction they want you to go in. you KNOW it's meant to be a bit tart. definitely more of a 'sour' than the Temptation, and definitely another great brew from Russian River!!!
I think my next one HAS to be The Bruery's Tart of Darkness, just to keep the trend going....

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Photo of SFLpunk
4.79/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to millerbuffoon for this awesome hook-up. 375mL brown glass cork and caged bottle. Batch 005. All Brett baby!

Pours a golden yellow, somewhat hazy/cloudy with thin bright white head that stays despite being thin. Nose is lovely and fruity. Like lemons and clover and honeysuckle and cotton and lavender and lemongrass and bee balm. Could go on and on about this nose! Just perfect.

Palate is bitingly sour for being all brett. Lemon balm and lemon grass are the forerunners for taste. Mouthfeel is medium-light-bodied, but there's this almost waxy texture (not in a bad way). Ethereal after a sip or two, the aromas mentioned above come out on the palate, but it's still dominate by lemongrass. Excellent balance provides for a very pleasant drinking experience. Long, spritely finish.

Notes: Amazing. Simply perfect.

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Photo of Buttermilk
4.78/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a ISO tasting glass from the "Vinnie" bottle - Aroma is funky. I let it warm and got some major barnyard and hay with some lemon in there. The flavor is crisp and lightly tart. It's just enough to make your mouth water a bit. I got light fruit notes at first, light apple, similar to a cider or white wine. This beer is so drinkable and shares similarities to a much lesser alcohol wild beer or geuze, it's surprising this is a nearly 7% beer.

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Photo of dbmernin83
4.78/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Number 2 in the -ation series from Russian River.

Pours a bright hazy straw yellow with a white, small bubbled head.

Smells of sweet citrusy fruits, light grassy notes.

Tart citrus balanced with light sweet fruits. Tartness slightly dominates but is never overpowering. Long crisp dry finish. Medium sour.

Carbonation is sharp and and clean and compliments the tartness and the dry finish.

An excellent offering from the brewing artists at RR. This is more than a beer, this is an amazing beverage.

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

Batch #3 acquired from a very nice person in Santa Rosa.

Pours a very bright slightly hazy light gold color with a huge billowy white head. Pretty looking beer.

First sniff... ahhhh! This is one of the most wonderful brews I have smelled. I love hops, but this odd brett induced aroma is great. Sour, funky, creamy, and with a very lemon zest like smell. Quite citrus like, and while the funk is there, it's not overpowering.

Flavor is great, incredibly smooth and well balanced. Beer has a very full crisp and clean up front flavor. Dominated by creamy, yet light crisp and bright malt flavors. Finish has a funky wild yeast quality, that is lemon zest like, tart, while at the same time very soft. Wow!

Mouthfeel is top notch. Follows along the lines of other Russian River brews. They always seem to have the perfect balance and a full thick mouthfeel. Carbonation in particular is so well done. Prickly up front from the bubbles, but the finish is long crisp and very smooth.

Drinkability? Do I need to say more? I think I have found my favorite Wild Ale. I love the other Russian River Wild Ale offerings... (Temptation, Supplication, Depuration, Compunction...) But this one seems so perfectly balanced, and so easy and pleasant to sip, that I think it wins. Not too over the top on any level, the funk and the Blonde Ale flavors meld perfectly.

Russian River does it yet again...

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

*Reviewed from notes*

Been wanting to tick this one for awhile now.

Pours a cloudy yellow/straw with a thick foamy white head. Aroma is very brett-forward: funky horseblanket, bready, slightly fruity, and grassy. Flavor is of tart fruits, grainy, and funky. Bone dry finish. Effervescent and bubbly on the tongue with a medium body.

Definitely need to get some more of this. Amazing beer.

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

Poured from a 375mL into a snifter. Pours a hazy golden blonde with a half in of head that leaves small dots of lace behind.
The smell starts with sour funk, bread, dried pear, some herbs and a slight hint of citrus. Mmmm.(On rereview some bready notes were noticed.)
The taste follows suit. The first sip is the worst, but once you have the sour started it mellows out and pushes out the complexities. (Upon rereview I wasn't as shocked by the first sip. This is also a slightly older bottle. For a non-barrel aged Wild, this is pretty unique.)
The mouth is smooth with light champagne carbonation, perfect dry finish.
I shared this and already want to pop the one I'm about to cellar. Grrr, I'll have to find more. Top shelf brew. (P.S. I found plenty more and am happily going through my third bottle in a month. Very good and cheaper than their barrel aged (but just as good or better) American Wilds.)

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Photo of SHODriver
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle from Nov 2012

A: poured into a snifter to a clear light orange with a half finger of soapy white head that is slow to fade
S: smells of funk and lemony tartness
T: Taste is surprisingly tart with citric acidity, funk, and a bit of barnyard. Swallow is more tartness and some more funk
M: light body with effervescent carbonation and a drying finish
O: This is a phenomenal beer fresh and on tap. After a year it gets a lot more tartness going on but it still drinks fantastically.

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Photo of Phatz
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

"Sanctification is one of the most unique beers you will ever taste! It was fermented with 100% Brettanomyces, rather than the traditional Saccharomyces."

All Brett and no regular Ale yeast, makes Phatz a happy lush. mmm. This was very graciously shared by phnphilly. You are a saint, sir! A true gem. I am not sure that is has quite as much going on as Supplication but the Brettanomyces is right there in you face and coating your palate and I love every second of it.

Appearance: Pours a yellow gold that is translucent and extremely active. The carbonation is really putting on a show in my snifter glass and fueling a solid white head that fades very slowly.

Smell: Sharp acidity, grapefruit lemons balsamic vinegar and plenty of sour apples. Wood and must and earthy funky yeast. Spectacular!

Taste: Nicely sour but not without depth and character. It has a funky leather wood cinnamon lemon grassy sour apple Brett taste with a bready malt element underneath that is washed over with citric acidic and sour fruits. The flavors play paddle ball with the palate and leave you kissy faced.

Mouthfeel: It is a medium body beer with a malt backbone and a fluffy feel with the big carbonation. Sour and refreshing.

Drinkability: This is the type of beer I love. I could drink this sour stuff day and night and Russian River really has this figured out.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

750 mL bottle, corked and caged. Thanks to GClarkage for another great trade. One thing I noticed... Batch 001... but on the label it says 6.25% ABV, not 7.50 % as listed at the time of this posting.

This poured out into my chalice a nice clear yellow... although I can see the sediment in the bottle. It had a one-finger white foamy head, which over time died down to a thin layer. Second pour from the bottle into the chalice was hazy.

The aroma was sour, yeasty, a little vinegary, and overall funky, with some Granny Smith apples in the background.

Taste was initially sour and funky, followed by soft golden malts and dry fruits. It was a little tart and vinous. A bit of hop tang was present as well, but it didn't stand out. DAMN, this was well balanced and nice!

Mouthfeel was quite good, but a little astringent.

Drinkability was most excellent. I would gladly have this again were it available here.

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Photo of psiweaver
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on top and out of a bottle. This review is out of a bottle.

The bottle is a little less sour with not quite the same smoothness. It does happen to be much more funky though.

The appearence is hazy blonde like the color of hay on a bright summer's day.

the smells is somewhat funky and sour while still being restrained in a way. it doesn't have the full funk/sour characteristics that something like a consecration etc would have

Taste is complex, it kind of reminds me of a full flavored Berliner Weisse, with that sharp bite on the front and a complex refreshing taste. It obviously has more alcohol than that though.

great mouthfeel very easy and tasty for me to drink. the bottle was actually gone before I was ready for it to be.

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Photo of czechsaaz
4.74/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

BATCH 1. Lovingly cellared. At celar temperature. (I'm moving so I'm drinking a lot of the good stuff these days.)

Aroma is very malty with a lot of brett effect. It smells lemony (not in a Weizen way, more like lemon juice) and a lot of wine like character. The yeast that remains smells like champagne. In the background is a nice grainy malt aroma too. It's spicy too but I can't really pick out any particular spice. Very complex.

Golden colored and completely clear. Very thin head and small amounts of rising carbonation. There's little puddles of foam on the surface but not much else.

Flavor is simultaneously malty and sour. But not lambic sour. This is more of a wild funk. It starts off fruity and malty and then the Brett character kicks in providing the bitterness. Whatever hops might have been there young are now gone and only a hint of hop bitterness remains. More wine like fermentation character is apparent. It has a nice berry component in the flavor and a back of the mouth butter effect.

Mouthfeel is on the light side. With the carbonation fading with age, it seems a little light. But with the age it's understandable.

Very nice beer. Good that an experiment in 100% Brettanomyces beer holds up so well with age. The overall balance and uniqueness is pretty special.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.74/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 002; Sampled October 2008
A reasonable pour produces a two-finger thick, pale tan colored head in my large Tripel Karmeliet tulip. The beer is quite clear and has an orange tinged, pale amber color that shows a perfectly, brilliantly clear, rich gold color when held up to the light. The aroma is absolutely delightful, bone dry and has a complex mix of aromas that remind me of tart pear, sour apple, but with some aromatic Macintosh like floral notes, lactic acid, ripening cheddar that is taking a turn towards funky, musty wood, even some spicy oak (despite this never having seen wood) and some touches of musky, dried-sweat like character that I wouldn't quite characterize as barnyard, but close. The funky, farmhouse cheese note is actually quite prominent here and is quite appetizing and there is also a fair amount of fruitiness, despite the fact that the aroma seems devoid of sweetness.

Shockingly tart to my palate, though I wouldn't say this is particularly because this is overly tart; it is more a statement of where my palate was upon my first sip. Lots of lactic acid mixes with fruity esters to produce flavors of grapefruit, a touch of Meyer Lemon, and even some sour orange. Extremely quaffable, there is a persistent, prickly carbonation that adds some texture and the body is very light, the acidity almost adds a touch of viscousness to this brew that at times can develop a sort of creamy softness. There is a light ripe cheese note to the flavor, though the expressive sourness seems to mute this quite a bit (though it becomes more and more noticeable as the beer warms up from its initially cool temperature). Other fruit flavors are found here, all without having any sweetness in this beer, of musk melon, cantaloupe and some Macintosh flavors.

A second pour of this brew sees a touch of yeast sediment that lightly clouds up this beer and adds a touch of yeast-like roundness to the flavor. I really am enjoying the aggressive sourness in this beer, it is not as much as a "hard" Lambic, but is quite significant. Suffice it to say that my 750ml bottle of this disappeared way to fast. Fantastically drinkable, with an amazingly complex aroma, simply a great beer.

Batch 1, Sampled April 2005
4.5/4.5/4.5/4/4, Total 4.4
This beer is madly carbonated, intense streams of cascading bubbles rise through this lightly hazy straw-gold colored brew. It holds up a frothy pale head that is quite thick and becomes quite rocky after a short bit. The aroma is spritzy and funky at the same time. I get notes of lime peel, coriander, grains of paradise, a hint of cinnamon, as well as funky notes of musty-moldy leather, clay, a hint of sharp vegetal notes, and damp cellars. The aroma is quite complex and quite interesting, it is definitely worth smelling and appreciating for a couple of minutes before tasting.

The taste is light and spritzy up front with a sharp lemony acidity that has a nice sweetness to it that almost tastes artificial in nature. This beer foams quite a bit on the tongue as it goes down. The finish is slightly funky, though not nearly as much as the aroma would suggest. The finish is slightly earthy with a musty cellar note. This beer really is quite light and refreshing, it is almost as if a lemon has been added to my Duvel glass. While I really am enjoying this beer, I am starting to think that Brettanomyces is better employed as a supporting cast member in beer. Granted I have only had two of these 100% Brett beers, but as the beer gets older than a couple of months the beer needs some more complexity that would be supplied by a funky Belgian yeast.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
4.73/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a corked & cage bottle into a Duvel tulip

A- pours a very cloudy shade of dark yellow with an INSANE four finger pure white head. The head is very puffy, and while lacing is minimal, the sheer size of the head is enough to negate that factor. As for the beer itself, it looks a lot like your standard witbier...maybe a little darker.

S- getting a lot of lemon out of this one. Honestly? It smells like a top of the line witbier. Of course, I know it's NOT a wit, but that's what I'm reminded of so far

T- sour, sour lemons. It tastes like one of those awesomely fresh Italian gelatos made with lemons off the tree. The pucker is definitely there, and it's a much lighter one than you'd get with a Sanctification or a Supplication. I love it

M- the texture is perfect. Again, I come back to the witbier has the feel of a witbier, but with a little more thickness. Can't get much better

O- dear Russian River, thank you for making this beer again. It is absolutely amazing. I want as much of it as I can get. Fantastic stuff

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Photo of bs870621345
4.73/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Dane, DankTheTank, for this bottle...awesome new trader...batch 5

Pours a bright yellow color with an inch of white head with tiny little bubbles. Leaves a nice lacing and the head stays around for the whole time.

Smell is of tart lemons, funk, apples, oak, and some herbs. Like Drie gueuze and Saison du Buff.

Taste follows smell, lemons and light acidity, funk makes an appearance, and oak tannins on the end. Finishes with apple/lemon flavor that lingers for a little while.

Mouthfeel is light and carbonation wipes the palate clean.

Drinkability is extremely high, but I could see the alcohol catching up with you quickly.

Expensive stuff, but definitely worth it

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Photo of Lothore
4.73/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 003

A- Pours a nice deep golden color with a frothy white 2 finger head that leaves tons of lacing. The beer looks extremely carbonated.

S- Smell is a bit sour, almost sparkling apple cideresque. Some other sweet fruit notes behind the predominately strong apple.

T- Taste is very sour. Yeasty and earthy with a taste unlike any beer i've ever had. At first I sort of cringed but I found myself unable to stop taking sips.

M- Mouthfeel is light and bubbly. It seems to work perfectly well with the taste, absolutely amazing.

D- This beer is sublimely drinkable. I could drink glass after glass. The sour taste really does it for me.

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Photo of MisterClean
4.72/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A special beer for review #300. On tap at Vinny's.

A - Pours a light blonde, with 1 fingered head. Dissipates fast.

S - Bretty, fruity: maybe peaches and nectarines, and slight caramel.

T - Pretty much matches the smell. Very consistent beer.

M - Holy crap. Has full mouthfeel and great viscousness for a lightly colored beer.

D - So good, probably could not drink more than a snifter at a time.

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Photo of jtwhicker
4.72/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle aged for 4 months after purchase. May 2015

Shared with a friend for notes. Aroma is citrus, pour to small snifter. Slight carbonation thin head. Hint of lime and tartness is subtle and complements the carbonation. Sour is tapered since aging.
Have another in cellar as well check back in a couple of months.

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Photo of vicsju1991
4.7/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from 12 oz bottle into pint glass
A - nice golden amber colour, small white head that dissipates quickly, lots of carbonation
S - sour apples and cherries
T - very delicious, tart and sour,
M - crisp and carbonated and very easy to drink
O - my new favourite sour
additional info Batch 006

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Photo of SykDoc
4.7/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this originally from the tap at the brewery and then purchased a growler and brought it back to Wisconsin, fortunately getting to share it with brdc.

Poured from the growler into a tulip and a goblet. It pours a nice golden color and is clear with a <1/4 inch white head that reduces to minimal lacing. Carbonation is noticeable.

The aroma is primarily a sour/tart cocktail that includes some notes of lemon and a spicey/herbal component. Minimal acidity.

The taste is quite sour and tart. This is remniscent of lemon rind. There is a mildly sweet/fruity component and almost like a good white wine.

The mouthfeel sealed it for me because it combined with the taste very well. Light/medium bodied with a mouth puckering sour. A significant dryness lingers and the carbonation highlights the flavor.

I was not expecting to be floored by this beer. The initial drink sent me for a loop but as I drank a little bit more, the complexities and pleasantness of the taste definitely came out. This is a very easy beer to drink once you get started and will continue throughout.

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Photo of
4.7/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 5

a-pours a cloudy yellow with a big head that settles into a modest top that gives thin, but good lacing down the glass.

s-some sour, barn yard, lemons, apple. Smell gets better as the beer warms.

t-sour but not over the top. has a clean finish, but the taste takes a while to finish. Taste the Brett for sure, but it is undercontrol in this beer. Has some lemons and grassy notes for me as the beer warms.

m-coats the toung, but is clean in the end. Feel is just right, not too thin or thick.

o-impressed with this RR sour. I'll be buying more to out away. Think the beer is well balanced and the sour and barnyard is under control. Really pleased with this beer, just wish it was a 750ml not a 375ml!

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.7/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: poured a murky apricot orange with pineapple yellow highlights that had a finger of white head that dissipated quite fast but it did leave some bubbly lacing sticking to the glass.

S: a very nice bouquet of cirtus and oaky barrel funk from the brett pop out first on the nose with slight apples, vinegar, and acidic character which makes me think its gonna be nice and sour. It also has some vinous notes as well.

T: very tasty acidic citrus, vine grapes, and apple fruit mesh very well with corky barrel musty funk. You can definitely tell that it had brett but I also seemed to pick up apricot flavor and a touch of underlying spice.

M: the brew was medium in body with a perfect amount of prickly carbonation which had an acidic, fruity, bretty, slight spice, and tart finish.

D: it was drinking amazing and after every sip it I was fiending for more. Russian river really knows how to brew these wild ales and this one is definitely no exception. I'm really glad I was able to get my hands on one.

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