Russian River Brewing Company

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Wild Ale
Ranked #4
Ranked #52
4.6 | pDev: 8.7%
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States
Notes: Brown Ale aged in used Pinot Noir barrels from local Sonoma County wineries. It is aged for about 12 months with sour cherries, brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus added to each barrel. Flavors from the cherries, Pinot Noir and oak balance each other nicely with a little funk from the brett.
Reviews: 1,526 | Ratings: 6,663 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Harrison8
Harrison8 from Missouri

4.44/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark nutty brown with mild fog. Head is a finger and a half of tan foam that bubbles away quickly. Aroma is cherry, Pinot noir, with a earthy, bready malts and stone and cellar notes. Flavor profile is cherry with stone, cellar, Pinot noir, berry, and bready malts. Mouth feel is bubbly and effervescent with a medium thickness. Overall, big depth with a little sour zing and a sweet wine pop. Well aged, considering this was bottled March 12, 2019, and reviewed/consumed on May 22, 2021.

Served in a stemless wine glass from a 375mL bottle.

May 23, 2021
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Pinz412 from Pennsylvania

4.67/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

The beer, poured into a wine glass developed a quick settling head atop it's murky copper hue. The aroma was what I had been craving. I was greeted with Brett and some nice funk. Notes of oak, fermenting red wine, and an aroma that I can only describe as impending tartness. There was also something fruity on the nose. The first sip was very funky and dry. The Brett was on full display and not much else. Over the next few sips the beer came to life. The funk mellowed a bit to give way to spicy oak, a bit of grain, and an increasing amount of fruit. This was all presided over by a bright but balanced tartness. A bit of carbonation lightened it up as it slowly faded from my palate. This was simply exquisite.

Apr 10, 2021
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Herbnxplorer from California

4.88/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm probably being a little generous here with the rating but this is hands down the best beer I've ever tried. Found it in the back of total wine in the keg cooler, walked through the plastic curtains with the sensor lights flicking on to be greeted by this gem. "Limit 2/customer" a sign read, being the only beer brand back there it felt like I stumbled across the crystal skull of the alcohol superstore, and with 100pt rating I just had to try it. im not much of a beer person but this changed my view 100% and made me realize beers CAN be delicious and just as complex as wines and special spirits. I mean I made an account and am here now because of it right?

Served chilled in a frosted pint glass. Brick red-orange colored, Head Came less than 1/4 inch up when i poured. First sip slaps you in the mouth with a refreshing sour cherry taste but not too much to make you pucker, Mild notes of cream and white wine (from the pinot noir barrels im guessing), very light taste of grain (not yeasty though or overpowering) a bit of funkiness and overall extremely refreshing. Taste great all the way through to the end. Almost a fresh olive kind of taste imo, i think it'd pair well with a Topanade, seafood, grilled food & chimichurri or tapas. As I said best beer I've ever had and what introduced me to the beer conossuier world. Now I've got to try the rest of the line up at Russian river brewing Co! I've had other "specialty beers" and they never really moved me like this did. This one is definitely unforgettable. (Not a pro in the slightest and this is my 1st review, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. I just had to put in my 2 cents because this is truly amazing.)

Apr 05, 2021
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jheimbigner from Washington

4.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from cellar temp on 3/7/2021 bottle dare 8/25/2015

Pours a reddish amber with a cream colored head that leaves a ring of lacing.

Nose of red wine, subtle candied cherry, caramel, mild grain, mild oxidation.

Taste follows with a well blended red wine and candied cherries, oak follows with minimal grain, some oxidation but adds to the complexity of the beer.

Feel is light with light carb and lingers on the pallet for medium length.

Overall, this beer has held up incredibly well. Balance between candied cherry, and the pinot barrels is excellent. There is some oxidation, but do not think it is making this beer worse, but adds to the complexity.

Mar 08, 2021
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TheBrewsClues from California

4.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: A deep reddish-orange hue.
Smell/Taste: The taste and smell are exactly what one would hope for in a wild ale. Some fantastic cherry sour taste and aroma, with the aged pinot and oak barrels providing some deep complexity
Feel: Some carbonation, but not too overpowering.
Overall: This is one of my all time favorites. I had tried a number of wild ales before, but this is the on that got me hooked. Absolutely, a tremendous beer

Mar 06, 2021
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SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle - dated 121218 - poured into a classic tulip at 48°F.

Cork immediately pushes upward as the cage is loosened, abd as I let go, it hurts out with a huge, forceful percussive *POP!* - flying several yards away. Some cork rot is visible.

Pours a clear ruddy deep reddish copper-brown hue, topped woth a finger of coarse pinkish-brown head that quickly reduces to a thin collar, fed by streams of effervescence climbing the glass walls.

Nose: Absolutely stunning right from the start. Bold, intense aromas of lightly toasted grains bringing a gentle caramel sweetness, big musty cherry that has begun to lose its battle with age, warm, fruity red wine notes, with just enough oxidation to lend some sherry and brandy characteristics, and a panoply of stewed dark fruits. There is a present, but balanced brettanomyces influence, lending the perfect amount of musty funk, forest floor, dusty cellar, petrichor, and this sort of morning-on-the-lake aroma. and it's all held together by a splintery oaken halo, which provides some leather, varnish, and old parchment. Beautiful.

Palate: Supplication greets the palate drier than the aroma would lead one to believe. The grain peeks through just a touch, with a hint of dustiness, while the cherries, with all their sugars fermented out step up with big funky, mushy skin and pit notes. Interestingly, the wine character lacks all fruitiness, and reveals itself with dry, tannic, soaked cask notes. As it opens up, a plummy dark fruit note emerges midpalate. Acidity is mild to moderate, with a quick twinge upfront, and quickly extinguished by the dry, tannic, splintery white oak. There's plenty of musty, dusty brett funk, reminiscent of overripe apricot pits, but there's also this subtle earthy, almost mold-like funk that may very well be from cork rot. The finish is exceedingly dry, with plentiful woody oak.

Mouthfeel/Body: The ale is light to medium-bodied, bright, snappy, and exceedingly crisp for nearly 8% ABV. The grains to lend some soft texture, and the fruit addition, while dry, does lend additional body. Effervescence is lively, zippy, and foams up over the palate. Tannic and drying.

Overall: This is a very nice, classic fruited wild ale. I love the jammy stuff as much as the next person, but there's something beautifully rustic and raw about these ones. Every ounce of sugar has been fermented out, leaving a seriously musty, funky, fermented cherry flavour, relying on that touch of grain to give it body. The funk is very earthy, but plays well with the cherry, and the wine translates as mature, funky, wet oak - and lots of it. The subtle plummy notes are tasteful, and it all comes together to show the ale's depth and character. A fantastic offering.

Sep 07, 2020
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mytone from California

4.16/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

L: Clear bold burgundy color with a one finger breath lace that quickly dissipates to only a thin line of lace that clings to the sides of class.

S: Mild sour funk with hints of sour cherry, oak, bananas, and raisins.

T: Funky sour cherries tempered by the taste of Pinot Noir and oak. The longer it airs the milder and sweeter it gets.

F: Mild tartness that leaves your mouth watering for more.

O: In a nutshell, a Belgium brown ale with the taste of a wild ale, but the wild ale is tempered and it’s complexity enhanced with the aging in the wine barrels. Brilliant!

Aug 24, 2020
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Stacia_Tai from Oklahoma

4.37/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

L-Nice amber red color with minimal head
S-I can smell the oakiness coming through with a sour tart aroma
T-Sour smoothness that isn’t too tart and no puckering here. Just a smooth cherry mouthful that leaves you wanting more.
F-Happy cherry carbonation that dances on my tongue.

Jul 08, 2020
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just1cho from California

4.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

*Poured into a Teku glass from a 375mL bottle*

This beer poured an orangeish-brown ran color, a bit murky. There was an initial two finger thick white colored head to it, but it almost immediately disappeared as soon as it was poured into my glass. The head left a razor thin white colored lacing around my glass.

Needless to say, this beer was super funky, probably the funkiest beer I've had so far. Upfront, I got notes of leather, oak, pinot, and generally just funky horse blanket. In the back-end, I got a bit more notes of sour cherries, but the fruitiness that was present wasn't nearly as prominent as the earthy and funky aromas that I got in the front.

As expected, this beer was very sour forward and funky. I got big notes of acetic acid upfront along with a nice funk from the brett, both were coupled with prominent notes of oak and pinot. The sourness mellowed a bit towards the middle and end, where the beer showcased more of its sweet/tart cherry notes in the middle, followed by a slight but noticeable bready malt character in the finish. Truly a nice balance between the flavors of the cherries, barrel, and brett/lacto/pedio.

This beer was medium bodied and had a medium amount of carbonation to it. The beer also left a little drying sensation in my mouth. Obviously this was super sour and puckering, but I still thought that this was relatively drinkable. I probably would never chug this down, but still really drinkable.

Overall, this was a very good wild ale. This beer was very balanced, showcasing nice notes of its barrel character as well as the cherry and notes of the bacteria. I'm not typically a big fan of sours, but I definitely enjoyed this one and would definitely buy this again if given the chance.

Jun 26, 2020
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SushiSakeBeer from Oregon

3.81/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look: Nice thick, foamy head, that dissipates rather quickly. Cloudy, orange-amber (4.25) Smell: mellow-soft nose (3.5) Taste: hits dead center, mid-palate; light-medium bodied, stained with sour cherries and oak notes, smooth finish (4) Feel: well-balanced, yet subdued, dry (3.75) Overall: It's as if I am looking for something more here. Good, but not great.

May 31, 2020
Photo of paltemose2303

3.91/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This was a funky one.

L: Amber with a soft white head that didn't stick around too long. Not much lacing on the glass.

S: Pretty good preview of the taste. Lots of funk with a mix of cherry, red wine, oak, and floral elements.

T: Middle of the road tartness with a lot of sour cherries. There was definitely a strong red wine backbone with some oak flavors too. Mostly sour cherries, which is not my personal favorite. Wasn't overpowering like some sour cherry beers I've had, but definitely dominated the flavor.

F: Thinner mouthfeel. Pretty dry and decently carbonated.

O: Cherry beers aren't my favorite, but this was the best I'd had. I felt the beer was better when it was colder, and as the beer warmed it became a little drier and more of the red wine and oak flavors came out. I think this gave the beer a pretty complex flavor, but sour cherries with red wine was a little much for me. Felt more sour as it warmed.

May 08, 2020
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EMV from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a cork'n'cage 375 mL bottle. Batch 090216

L: Nearly clear golden burgundy pour. Thick foamy white head leaves great lacing. Some haze and sediment on the 2nd pour.

S: Tart cherry and funk. Oak and red wine.

T.F: Tart without being sour. Baking cherry... funk and bacterial flora. Oak and red wine. Dry with the wisp of some residual fruity sweetness. Moderately acidic... tanins and grape. Medium bodied... surprisingly smooth and creamy on the tongue. Balanced... more cherry and red wine at the finish.

O: Absolutely outstanding beer. Loads of flavor... super drinkable... and tart but approachable. Russian River has their reputation for a reason.

Mar 26, 2020
Photo of Anders91
Anders91 from California

4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: nice amber color, thin white head

Smell: sour cherry, you can definitely smell the wine barrel in it

Taste: follows the nose, plus lots of good funk in there

Feel: prickly bubbles rolling over the tongue

Feb 18, 2020
Photo of jglenn73
jglenn73 from New Jersey

4.54/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 07/21/17. I was expecting the cork to pop, it didn’t. The pour is very dark, light head that doesn’t last. You can smell the Pinot and cherries. None of the flavors are dominant. Really nice balance between the tart and the residual wine aspects, and just the right amount of funk. I need to try a newer bottle for comparison.

Overall a wonderful ale!

Feb 15, 2020
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entheos from California

4.44/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Smells wonderful! It’s truly a fine Belgium inspired brew that any fine monk would enjoy. Amazing how the taste of the Pinot noir enhances the taste buds when I am usually adverse to wine alone. Just outstanding!

Jan 04, 2020
Photo of 5toutman75
5toutman75 from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

It looks beautiful with light carbonation remaining after a pour. The smell is a bit muted but you can smell a bit of funk. There's so much happening in the taste. The carbonation is spot on. I don't taste outright cherries but I get the bret. The funk is not incredibly strong, but it's there to keep things interesting. This was bottled 1/25/18 and I wonder how that has affected the taste. It's very smooth, if it weren't so expensive I could drink this all day long. I am glad I have another bottle from my visit and I'm curious how a couple of more years will affect it.

Dec 31, 2019
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Jacobier10 from New Jersey

4.22/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375 mL corked and caged, bottled on 9/2/2016.

My friend brought back two bottles of this from the brewery for me a few years ago. I drank one fresh and the other after cellaring for 3 years.

Ruby brown color with a small off-white head. Good clarity. Aroma hits you with a strong funkiness up front and a wave of sour cherries. Taste is tart and acidic but it really mellows and smooths out as you drink your way through the beer. A little oak in the background as well. Medium bodied with lively carbonation.

I remember enjoying it more fresh than aged. There is probably a sweet spot of around one year of aging for this. It isn't the most complex beer as far as flavors go, but it wouldn't be my pick to introduce someone to sour/wild ales either. Just a well-made beer with few flaws.

#46 Top 250 Rated Beers
#42 USA
#8 California
#5 American Wild Ale

Dec 04, 2019
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Trevor11 from Illinois

5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Lucky enough to grab the last bottle at Brick Store Pub (ATL) for a pretty penny. Worth the money since this is unlike any beer that I have ever had. Unique base brown ale with drying vinous funk of the Pinot noir barrels. I think I prefer Saison Bernice slightly but this is essentially flawless.

Nov 09, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 6/7/16; drank 5/29/17 @ the Yarchives.

Cloudy red/purple appearance; champagne bubbles throughout.

A rough pour yielded a nice, noisy khaki head; almost no lace.

Tart strawberry, strawberry jam & sea salt notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Strawberry jam & cabernet sauvignon flavors up front; tart strawberry & mild oak notes in the nose.

A balanced fruit treat; I'd love to have a case in my cellar. Delicious.

Oct 17, 2019
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Viaduck from California

4.84/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Wow times 5! An explosive pop of the cork announces that you are in for a real treat.
Appearance: wow, it’s a beautiful red-orange color. It requires a gentle pour to prevent the head from escaping the glass.
Aroma: Wow, this could be a best selling men’s cologne! Musky, musty, earthy, funk,cedar, wine & a lot more than I can identify.
Taste: Wow, there is some much going on here. A fascinating blend of t bitter, tart & salty. Add cherries, vanilla & alcohol to those listed in the aroma to make one of the most complex flavor profiles I’ve ever tasted.
Feel: Wow, it’s the perfect blend of viscosity, carbonation & alcohol. It makes the mouth happy.
Overall: Wow, this beer is incredible! Paired with a good cheese like an aged emmi, you get a double dose of earthyness. Oh, no! My class is empty, 12 oz is not enough. Why didn’t I buy 4 or 6?

Sep 14, 2019
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Hyptochrons from Massachusetts

4.85/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

bottled 7/21/17, consumed 9/2/19

wow, there is a lot going on here. cherry skin, minerality, earthy must, woody oak quality, mellow vanilla sweetness, vinous quality of red wine, musty grape skin. wet earth, herbaceous and slightly floral, rose petals. very mellow aciditiy hinting at some bright fruity qualities of tart apple and lemon. overall this one has a ton of depth but drinks really easy. a wonderful treat!

Sep 03, 2019
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VoodooBear from Puerto Rico

4.46/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 375mL brown bottle with the bottling date printed on the label. Served in a goblet.

Appearance: The thick, rocky, three finger head goes down slowly and leaves behind a lot of patchy lacing. It's a hazy, bright, reddish copper color.

Smell: It's a beautiful fruity and funky smell with notes of cherries, grapes, plums, raisins and wood.

Taste: It's a mildly sour, acidic and dark flavor. At first there's cherries, dried plums, and grapes. That's followed up by an earthy, humid wood note and a distinct herbal aftertaste with a touch of wine-y alcohol.

Mouthfeel: It's soft and smooth but quite crisp with medium-high carbonation. It's not cloying despite the sweetness.

Overall: A rich, fruity and complex beer with a lot of layers that feels boozier than the 7.5% ABV would suggest.

May 31, 2019
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TheDoctor from Canada (QC)

4.52/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Serving: Bottle
Bottled: Jul-2-2018 (Consumed Apr-16-2019)

It pours a pretty clear dirty garnet with a skiff of beige head that becomes a thin ring. Little retention; no lacing. (4)

Earthy, sweet, tart, funky, spiced cherries, cinnamon roll dough, old work gloves, saddle soap. (4.5)

Big, evolving complex mix of earthy, musty, oaky, bitter funk and bright, clean, hint-of-vanilla, funky, musky, red tartness. (4.5)

Bright, sharp, active carbonation, lingering twitchiness,well balanced yet still kind of extreme. (4.75)

A superb beer.
Granted I am far from a sour expert and not very good at describing beers like this, but this one is excellent. Pours a nice ruby-brown. The aroma and flavor are finely layered, complex, ebbing and flowing. A yin and yang of huge barny funk complete with gloves, dirt, tack room, muddy, bruised medicinal herbs, etc. balanced with an equally assertive sour cherry, red-wine tanninic, oaky, funky medley with macerated berry bushes (dirt, roots, leaves and all). It is very drinkable for as tart as it is (for my tastes at least) and has the subtle, near-constant, tongue-corner-mouth-watering-tickle-thing going on that makes beers like this a non-stop experience when drinking them, as its residue lingers and evolves in your mouth between sips. Very nice! (4.75)

Apr 17, 2019
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gcasher from Pennsylvania

4.4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375 'll bottle
Cork pops
I can smell the funk and wine right away.
Amber brown pour with thin khaki head.
Not too much lacing in the tumbler.
Smells sweet and funky.
Taste starts sweet, but quickly transitions to bitter and dry.
I am getting a wood flavor from the barrel.
Overall, this is less funky than I expected, but surprisingly dry and refreshing.
The cherries add a nice tardiness too.

Mar 24, 2019
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

4.56/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle, that was bottled on '012518'. ABV% is labeled as 7.75%.
Cloudy, medium amber colored body. Partial finger of off white head upon pouring, which quickly retreats to a partial cap and bubble fed ring. Leaves behind a few scattered spots of lacing.
At slight distance, the aroma of oak and funk waft into the nose. Upon closer examination, the sour cherry is smelled. Quite a wonderful aroma blend with the leather/horse blanket funk.
Taste is sour, with lemon, sour cherry, and Pinot Noir wine. The oak and funk join in. Funk is tobacco, leather, and horse blanket. The finish is very dry.
Medium body with a dense texture. Very good carbonation.
This beer excels as a sour, and brings forward an excellent and balanced blend of Brett, cherry, and Pinot Noir oak barrel.

Feb 27, 2019
Supplication from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 6663 ratings