Supplication | Russian River Brewing Company

1,446 Reviews

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-25-2005

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Reviews: 1,446 | Ratings: 6,225
Photo of wsay
2/5  rDev -55.6%

This beer is HYPE HYPE HYPE.

I have wanted to try this beer for some time and finally got a bottle of it, after drinking it consider me extremely underwhelmed.

There is only the faintest of sour scents coming from it, the taste is a cross between an old bottle of Newcastle with hints of watered down jolly rancher.

I have had Belgian sours, I have had Cantillon, this is nothing more than a poor imitation.

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Photo of alexhahn82
2.1/5  rDev -53.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A. Semi peachish amber color. Pours with plenty of head, roughly 1.5 fingers.

Smell. You sure this is beer? lol. Smells of heavy influence of the wine barrel. Slight tone of fruit.

Taste. WOW. Holey f*ck. 4 years ago, regardless of the $12 price point I would have poured this beer out. Now, understanding the process that made this beer it is impressive. This is a palette cleanser. This is like wine and beer had an affair and this is the illegitimate child from that process. Very tart and sour with plenty of pinot noir tones.

Mouthfeel. Tart, dry, semi bitter. SOUR. very nice.

Overall: If you are in search of a sour beer, this is one of the tops, This will light your taste buds up like licking a 9 volt battery!And thats about it, not much for flavor, price point is off by a mile, and this is something that you would rather have a sample of, not too many people would sit down and enjoy this beer IMO, this is one you split between 5 or 6 people just to say you've had it.

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Photo of Dennycurr
2.31/5  rDev -48.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

It is amazing that a beer that tastes like this makes the top 100.
I suppose I bow to all thse out there that have put this beer on such a pedestool, figuring, my tastes, just don't get it.
Almost every sip brings a squint to ones face. As if one drank a very sour cherry mix.
I know that is what these Russian River guys were going for.
It just "..ain't my cup of 'beer'"...heh.

Good for you guys that like it.


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Photo of NiceTaps
2.4/5  rDev -46.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From a 375ml bottle into a fine tulip glass.

A- To start, it does not look good. The color is dirty-water brown with some red tones. Not much head, no lacing. Bubbly.

S-Cheap cherry wine. Boones Farm 'beer', if you will.

T- We're getting better. A sour blast of something drinkable. But what? It's not beer or wine. The finishing flavors are so sour that they border on rancid.

M- The sour tang and lively carbonation work here. It feels ok, but still tastes bad.

O-I would dump this in the Russian River if I could. Maybe I'll revisit it in the future but why bother?

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Photo of mattdev
2.81/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a brownish red with a thick, beige head that dissipates leaving a filmy layer at the top. Smell is of spoiled cherries, hints of oak, and earth. Taste is quite vinegary, almost too much so. Sour cherries and heavy lacto. There is a light funk and light lingering biter on the throat. Pinot very much shines through on the second sip. Finishes very dry, leaving my mouth a bit parched. Heavy alcohol burn on the swallow which is surprising for a beer of only 7%.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
2.86/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

375ml bottle into a tall tulip, batch 005x4

A: Pours a clear dark amber color with a finger of dense white head. Good retention.

S: Intense lactic and acetic sourness with faint sour cherry in the background. The lactic and acetic nature is balanced, but a bit over the top. Not much else.

T: The sourness is toned down from the aroma, but it's still pretty strong. The sour cherry is very faint in the flavor. There honestly isn't a whole lot going on in this beer.

M: Medium mouthfeel with faint carbonation.

O: Not great - I don't really understand the praise for this beer. It's not terrible, but it reminds me of everything I don't like about AWAs. Overly sour with little complexity.

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Photo of jmdrpi
2.94/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

375ml corked and caged bottle. batch 04x1, which according to the brewer's website was brewed in 12/08, bottled in 12/09. So about 9 months since bottling.
pop the cork to a nice hiss and release of fog, just like champagne. poured into a goblet carefully to leave behind the yeast sediment. the color is a shiny orange brown, with red highlights. nice thin creamy head, that leaves great lacing all down the glass. smell is of sour cherries, with a little funkiness. taste is extremely tart cherry that puckers the lips, and lingering well into the aftertaste. as it warms, a little oak and vanilla briefly appears amongst the overpowering sour flavor. very little sweetness to balance the vinegar acidic taste. mouthfeel is nice, higher carbonation is bubbly but smooth.
for the extremely high price, and the unbalanced flavor, can't say this has a very high drinkability. I've tried a few "sours" in the past (ie. Duchesse DeBourgogne and Monk's Cafe Flemish) and enjoyed them, but this one is just too much for my liking.

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Photo of charlzm
2.99/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Consumed Saturday, January 7 2012 at Blue Palms Brewhouse, Hollywood, CA in a snifter.

The beer is a clear dark Amber with a fine white head of very modest height.

No aroma at all. Odd.

Flavor is slightly sweet, peachy before the sourness kicks in. Somewhere between tart and unbearable, it is long lasting and fairly well- moderated. The finish is lightly bitter. Overall, fairly straightforward and lacking in complexity.

Mouthfeel is unremarkable.

Relatively drinkable.

Not a big fan.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.03/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Fair complected, with a light head and nice lacing.

Aroma is rather puckering sour, funky, tart, slightly spicy, green apple tart/sweetness.

Lip pucking sour, bitter, tart cherries and green apples, semi sweet.

Medium bodied, on the light side though, with light carbonation.

The sour for me is overwhelming and makes this very difficult to put away. I've been working in some sour beers to get accustomed, but this is still a bit much for me.

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Photo of etaggie09
3.22/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

appearance: pours a cloudy brown with a two finger foamy white head that dissipates moderately. not very much lacing on the glass.

nose: bottle says that its aged in pinot noir barrels and has cherries added to it. i definitely smell both of those things. has a definite wine characteristic to it as well as a fruity cherry sweetness in the nose. smells exactly like a cherry pie. instantly brings thanksgiving to mind. that's my favorite holiday. you're cheating, supplication. it not only smells like cherries, but it has that buttery dough smell that is quite pleasant. a slight, slight belgian yeast spiciness is in the background, but it is quite subdued. This really just smells like a freshly baked cherry pie. There isn't much else, but it is amazing how much this smells like a real cherry pie.

taste: UGH! That is some sour ass shit! Tastes like the tiniest grape you ever ate mixed with hay and moldy parmesan cheese rind. I don't want any more of this. The second sip is a little more forgiving than the first, but it still is freaking sour! Why is this beer so freaking highly rated? Who seriously looks for these flavors in a beer? I mean it gets more tolerable the more you drink it, but holy crap that first sip was not very pleasant.

mouthfeel: moderately carbonated and fairly viscous. not watery at all, but not too thick. the mouthfeel is quite pleasant and I'd imagine it is quite spot on for the style.

overall: i have found a style of beer that i have zero interest in exploring. I imagine that some beer geeks out there will love this, but for me, a sour ale is just not something i'll ever want. the flavor is decent, but not all too complex, and it is not very refreshing at all either. Glad I tried the best of the sour ales before I wasted my time with any other ones. This just isn't my cup of tea.

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Photo of Cresant
3.35/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this 375 mL brown bottle into a Tripel Karmeliet glass. Batch 04X1. The body was a murky light brown. The tan head left fine bubbles that lingered.

Smell was woody and earthy. Not fruity.

Taste was tart and drying. Wine like. No sign of cherries here. Slight fruit in the aftertaste. Not funky. I like this beer but I expected more fruit. I always enjoy sour, dry beers and this fits that bill.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied and had fine carbonation.

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Photo of ryrust5301
3.38/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a corked and caged bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance - Pours a murky copper color with a picturesque tight white finger length head. Lite lacing on the sides, as it forms small patches in spots.

Smell - Cherries and oak are present immediately. Very sour smell, almost akin to a flemish ale (DUCHESSE DE BOURGOGNE).

Taste & Mouthfeel - Wow! This is a sour beer! It's so tangy and sour you can't really taste much else. Definitely a sweet cheery flavor with a light oakiness to it. Feels very carbonated in the mouth but smooths out quickly, and finishes very dry.

Drinkability - Not quite what I expected. I expected it to be much sweeter and more balanced than just a huge sour tartness. A cool beer for the style, but I don't get all the hype. I could throw one back every once in a while, but not something I would seek out as an elite beer. Too tart to the Extreme for my taste.

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Photo of MatthewPatthew
3.38/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A great sour to help ring in the new year.

A: Fairly opaque, very dark burnt orange. Quickly dissipating, small bubbled white head.

S: Smells very strongly of lacto-sour. That smell is so distinctive and overpowering that it's

T: Distinctly sour, hard to pick out any outstanding hops or malts, but it's notable for it's lack of a harshness at the end of the taste. The tart cherry flavor is pretty up front in the flavor profile.

M: Med-light body.

D: Fairly drinkable, very good for a sour though.

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Photo of meeekyh
3.4/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From a 375 ml bottle into a Fin Du Monde tulip. Batch 04X5

The beer is a deep amber, clear save for the little bits of somethingoranother floating around in it. The head is off-white very full and fluffy and prone to lacing and leaving fluff.

Nose is lactic-acid, like buttermilk. Upon warming a bit I note some brown spices and green grasses.

Taste is sour with a bit of tartness. No, really. I can flesh out a bit of sweetness back there someplace and some plum but this is one tart treat. I imagine some more complexity could be there someplace...

mouthfeel is light and finish is dry.

Drinkability suffers both from the extreme tartness and the hefty price tag, though it is remarkable nonetheless.

I think I will not be buying much more of this beer. It is interesting and sour to be sure but not so much to my liking.


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Photo of AgentMunky
3.44/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 375mL bottle into a brandy snifter. Batch 008. Brewed on 20 August 2010. Bottled 14 November 2011.

A: No head, but lots of initial bubbles. Clearish. A ruddy orange, somewhere between amber, russet, pink, and ruby. Astounding.

S: Red wine and brettanomyces. I find little oak, but there are some rich cherries and perhaps almond.

T: Huge initial sourness reminds me unfortunately of pickle brine, one of my huge complaints against some Geuze. Indeed, the similarity in taste is not superficial. However, the added cherries come to the rescue towards the latter half of the flavour, offering an excellent sweet fruity finish. Otherwise, Supplication is dry, winey, and puckery, tasting more alcoholic than it is. Some grape peel and fermented fruit is not always pleasant.

M: The spirited carbonation (the cork shot across the room) and sheer sourness necessitate smallish sips, but the mouthfeel is none the less for that.

O: So I didn't particularly enjoy it (even though I loved Temptation), but I guess I can see where it's a goodish beer. I certainly would not recommend it, but I guess if sours are your think, grab one. Meh.

Primary Yeast: Abbey Ale Yeast
Conditioning Yeast: Rockpile

EDIT (14 April 2012): Drinking it on-tap in the brewpub, I enjoy it much more.

EDIT (10 November 2012): Batch 010. Poured from a 375mL bottle into a Koningshoeven chalice.

4A: Translucent, pale, ruddy amber. Light head, light lace.

4S: Oak and Brett. Tart fruit blends with the wood aging and conspires to smell like an Oud Bruin. Deep and tannic.

3.5T/3M: Thin and sour maintaste with a hint of balsamic vinegar. The aftertaste is candyish (think red apple Jolly Rancher). The mouthfeel lacks presence, weight, and pizazz. I don't get the appeal of this beer.

3.5O: Eh, it's alright, but RR makes a lot of beers that are better and there are many sours/wild ales that top this one. Not recommended in bottles.

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Photo of JDV
3.46/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by chadspivey
Pours a rosey amber color with no head. More pleasant nose than most any of the other sours I sampled on the same evening. Nose of sourness, like funk and some dark fruitines. Taste is very tart, mild sweetness, and some fruitiness. Very oaky flavor and some dry, sour cherries as well. Quite tart indeed, yet still pretty drinkable. I can see this being really good, if Sours were my thing.

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Photo of Meerkey
3.48/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: 1/5 fingers of white, bubbly head. Clear ambery copper, lots of bubbles.

S: Definitely smelling the wine and the cherries. Some grains, and some kind of weird faint whiff of cigarette smoke?

T: Whoa. Super sour! I don't usually like sour ales, but I kind of like this one, because it commits to being sour. The wine barrels are super noticeable. Crab apples. Cherries. Not getting a lot of beer tastes except at the finish some grains.

M: A little drying, some carbonation.

O: Pretty good, still not a fan of sour ales, but it's the best one I've had.

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Photo of SteveOOO
3.53/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This was good. But not very good.

Sourness was quite underwhelming on a bottle that was cellared for over a year. The taste overall was just not impressive.

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Photo of jwolfie70
3.53/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours a tan amber red, with a thin white head. Smell is a mix of sour fruit with musty funk, taste is more of the same. The beer has a good malt sweetness that comes through a little, but the taste is overall dominated by the tartness. A good beer, but not for all occassions.

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Photo of RedDiamond
3.54/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I think I like this beer more for what it aspires to be rather than for what it actually is. It is worth seeking and experiencing, but it is not easily appreciated. Or categorized.

Supplication is born from a highly complex recipe and ambitious aging regimen. It spends a full year in oak wine barrels with sour cherries, "wild" yeast, and two strains of friendly bacteria. It then undergoes a third fermentation in small corked bottles. With so many ingredients pulling in so many directions, the taste can be cluttered with one element obscuring or conflicting with another. The result achieves more convolution than integration.

Lightly oaken colored with no visual suggestion of cherries, Supplication begins with a powerfully explosive uncorking followed by thready, sustained bubbles and a remotely indifferent head. The pungent sour cherry and white wine elements are easily detected in the nose. The taste harbors core woodenness and a tart acidic twang and leans towards a bubbly wine. It bears some resemblance to a wheatless lambic but none at all to a Belgian kriek. There is no defining malt profile to speak of and the hops are similarly obscured by the medley of microorganisms and their attendant fermentation signatures.

I respect this beer a great deal but in the end there's just too much going on here for a singular identity to emerge and this makes Supplication difficult to approach. I found it not nearly as drinkable as Temptation or Damnation.

Batch 001. Special thanks to Brewbacca for the trade.

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Photo of seeswo
3.58/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Casey. Thanks man.

Pours a light amber/brown. The nose is big cherries, a yeastiness, red wine, grapes and a bit of straw funkiness. The cherries and the funkiness come together in a slightly medicinal way. Sour, tart cherries dominant the taste, intermingled with red wine, that yeastiness, a touch of grape and that straw funkiness. The body is medium but the carbonation is quite high, though it works. This isn't my favorite wild, though it is one of the better ones that is readily available. Everyone else liked it better than I did, but that is not uncommon for wilds. Solid.

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Photo of Its_a_Daniel_Life
3.58/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The sour notes never adjusted on my palate as I drank this brew. Not sure if it was the addition of the cherries and their tartness. The finish was dry and earthy. Did I enjoy, Yes. From cold to warm it really didnt change much in taste. Drink time was about 45 minutes or so.
Bottle dated 08/21/2015

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Photo of DogFood11
3.6/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

off white head, body is tan to copper, massive carbonation to the point I would say this is the most aggressive carb's i've seen to this point, it comes up in waves of dominance.. Yeast chunks float about.

a strong lambic, strawberry, currant type mix hits me up front. Malted sweetness and grape finish the nose. interesting to say the least.

Carbonation is sizzling and overpowering but when its finished the overall taste is of young fruit. Imagine picking up an unripe pack of strawberries and grapes, mashing them together and you've got the general idea. Finishes with a touch of malt sweetness and clean.

Notes: Ehhh

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.6/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks go out to nn8dietz for picking this beer up for me.

I like the faitnly hazey ochre color to this brew. Two finger, bone colored head that recedes to a nice thick film of foam. Bubbling is unimpressive.

The aroma is a tart, cherry hint added to a sherry wine through and through. Add some young, Granny Smith apple skins to that as well. The malt bill has only a little whole grain white bread crust to the aforementioned aroma. I do seem to get a soft woddy not here and there as well. There seems to be a smokey note slinking around as well.

I taste super ripe cherry pie, crust and filling. Then tart, viney toasted Wonder bread crust and slightly fermented wine grapes.

The palate has no indication of aging in my opinion. Except for maybe this beer would more tart if it wasn't aged.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.6/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 375ml bottle stamped as "batch 001".

I bought this in CA a few weeks ago, and was really looking forward to trying it. The bottle says "Brown ale aged in oak barrels with cherries added." The bottle goes on to say it's aged for 1 year.

I had hoped for a different flavor out of this beer. I expected a wild ale, maybe a little sour due to the Brett. But this tasted mostly along the lines of a Rodenbach or La Folie. Extremely sour, with some cherry flavor in the background.

If you like Flanders Reds, then you should love this beer. If you expect something else (like I did), you'll be disappointed.

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Supplication from Russian River Brewing Company
4.5 out of 5 based on 6,225 ratings.
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