Supplication | Russian River Brewing Company

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6,433 Ratings

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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Ratings: 6,433 |  Reviews: 1,479
Photo of kajerm
4.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

375mL mini-magnum with a simple blue label marked "batch 001" and "barrel-aged one year." I'm giving extra appearance points for the coolness of this bottle, which is enough to legitimately add to the drinking experience.

Pours cloudy gold with fine, brisk carbonation and a half finger head and quite a bit of lacing. Aside from the cloudiness and the head, this beer is indistinguishable from a fine champagne.

The nose is impossibly complex. A drop of acetic acid and just a shade of barnyardy Brett. Distinct winey and cidery notes are clearly present, along with some phenols. Absolutely no malt, hops, or anything to otherwise suggest that this is beer.

The flavor includes everything in the nose, but in different percentages and with a few surprises. The Brett is in the background now, with the brisk, refreshing sourness, winey flavors, berries, and sour cherries in the forefront. Finishes with a snap of fruity sourness.

The palate is lively, with loads of fine carbonation and mouth-puckering sourness.

How's this for drinkability? I could easily drink ten bottles a day, every day for the rest of my life.

This beer is a masterpiece.

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Photo of RidiculedDisplay
4.62/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been sitting on this for a month or so. Nice to finally imbibe.

Appearance: Man, I'm a sucker for wild yeasts' ability to make a beer lively. You see, I enjoy a good lacing, and this has it in spades. That being said, the head, relative to the bottle of Temptation I had a few months ago, is barely existent, so it loses some points for that. Lacing is just amazing, that being said. Sticky, spotted, arm-like, all the patterns I seem to see in other beers wrapped into one. The body is also a very pretty approximation of caramel. Cool.

Smell: Jesus. Candy sugar, wine grapes, oak, a definite black licorice, cherries, plums, raisins, cranberries, apple, burnt sugar (caramel), brett, nutmeg, cinnamon, yeasty dough, sandalwood, rosemary, I just could go on and on. Tremendously complex. Absolutely phenomenal. I am again, as I suspected I'd be, floored by RR's wild ale.

Taste: Tart cherries on the front end, sea salt, brett, pinot noir grapes, oak on the back, rosemary, plums. Again, like Temptation, I find mouth less adequate at picking out the individual flavors than my nose. Either that, or I find the nose to be better than the mouth, but only by a hair. The taste is massively complex, still, just, in this one, the tartness of the cherry flavor can be a bit overpowering. Still, bloody awesome.

Mouthfeel: Fizzy, tart, astringent, syrupy, light and heavy at the same time. A wonderful variety.

Drinkability: This is a sipper, but really only for its flavor and nose complexity. The alcohol, if any, is barely apparent, and the flavors do not overwhelm you. The tartness of the cherries is perhaps the only overpowering characteristic, and really that only shows itself upon swallowing.

An amazing ale.

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Photo of EmilNoldSinclair
4.94/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Purchased at Stone Brewery Bistro. Man oh man, this was my first American Wild Ale, and it was a real beauty. After my first drink I already knew it was at least in top 10 favorite beers. I would even venture to say that it is my absolute favorite, right up there with De Ranke's Kriek. It smelled somewhat like a lambic, and it had a similar sourness to it, though I could certainly taste the aging in the Pinot Noir wine barrels...though the alcohol was only slightly present in the taste, it more so affected the mouthfeel adding a little warmth to it. Overall, it was a very distinct experience from tasting a lambic and I highly recommend it to anyone. I can't wait to crack open the one I have waiting at home in California as well as the RR Temptation in there as well. This indeed is the future of beer!

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

a - burnt orange color with a reddish tint, smallish ivory head with no retention or lacing, quite hazy, what I expect from the style

s - sweet sourness on the nose, nice cherry aroma, a bit of funk

t - nice big sweetness at the start, develops quickly into a big sourness with lots of cherry and funk, finish is lingering sourness and tartness, very dry

m - quite a bit of carbonation, relatively light bodied, very dry finish

d - can't taste the alcohol at all, the sourness and sweetness limits somewhat, one bottle is good for me

Great wild ale from RR. Nobody does this style better. Very complex and interesting taste. Definitely worth seeking a bottle of this out.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.17/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

batch 002

I new to expect a gusher and it wasn't too bad. That said, no worrying about a soft pour with this one!

A - Murky reddish brown. Small off white head that settled out really quick.

S - Sour cherry, hints of raspberry, oak and horse blanket.

T - Similar to the aroma but so much more captivating and complex. Sou, but not harsh, swirling malts but nothing singularly identifiable. Brett influenced but not dominated. Wow.

M - medium bodied, lightly carbonated. Tart but just below pucker range.

D - highly drinkable. 9% but one of the least noticeable 9% brews I've ever had.

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Photo of sman262
4.73/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 002 - brown ale aged in oak barrels (pinot noir) sour cherries added, creates an awesome smell. Reminds me alot of the blushing monk, by founders. A -- looks like a redissh brown ale in the glass, but if glass is held to the light, the blood redness comes through. S -- I have a thing in the summers for montmercy cheeries, which have a sour -- sweet taste. The smell is so much alike. T -- GOSH i wish i bought more than two bottles, that weekend when RR had them for sale online. The lingering after taste of the exceptional cherries is so amazing. M -- Not tooo sour, but just right. D -- one of the beer geeks holy grails of beer.

This is my first Russian River experience, but so far they are some freaking ballers. OMG i need traders.

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Photo of drseamus
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is batch 002 and consumed on 3/15/07. When I popped the cork, the beer rocketed out. The beer is dark amber in color with little yeasties floating in suspension. Floating yeast is to be expected from a bottle conditioned beer. The head fell quickly, although I did leave the bottle for a bit after it ran over. The aroma has a strong brett presence with a cidery aroma in there as well. The tart cherry taste, brett, and carbonation make the glands in my neck tingle. The brett is very pronounced and seems to make the body seem lighter and thinner. Overall, the only disappointment is the lack of body.

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Photo of rallison
4.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served initially at under cellar temp into my wonderful Delirium Tremens glass, but consumed over the course of an hour.

A: Beautiful medium red color with a hint of brown topped off by a 1 finger off-white head that leaves just a bit of lacing.

S: Smell is mostly of tart cherries, but with a certain mellowness. Has some woody notes too. Upon warming, it has an almost musty (in a good way) port wine sort of note. Wonderful.

T: Initial taste is of tart cherries. Subsequently, there is some sweetness in the background - maybe some raspberry and woody flavors. As it warms more, the cherries retreat some to let the sweter malts come through. A raspberry-like sweetness is definitely there (and no, not in an artificial way at all). Oh man. This just keeps getting better! The cherry tartness now just peeks out ever so delicately at the end. I've never tasted such a delicate wild ale involving cherries before! Just a bit of earthy funkiness too. Think delicate raspberries with a dash of vanilla and cocoa, followed by a perfectly balanced cherry tartness. The taste of this beer is practically perfect. I don't award many 5s here, but this beer, this divine nectar, is definitely deserving.

M: Coats all of the mouth ever so well with flavor with a medium body and an almost smooth, rich finish. I say this while also acknowledging a quick, sharp bite at the end from the cherries.

D: One of the most drinkable wild ales of this sort. While I enjoy a Duchesse on occasion, this I consider far more drinkable. For the style, I have to give this a 5 for drinkability.

Highly recommended. Truly masterfully crafted. This is a beer you give to someone who says all beer tastes the same. One taste and they'll beg forgiveness for spouting off such crazy fallacies.

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Photo of badbeer
4.74/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Warning: Open this bottle over a bowl so that when it overflows you can still pour it into your glass. I did not use a bowl so the table got to drink a few ounces.

Batch 002
Pours a hazy reddish-brown color with a quickly dissipating off-white head. Smell is very tart, there are aromas of cherries, but there isn't a whole lot to them, predominant smells of sour and funk. This is not as sour as some other beers of this style, but that's not the goal, the goal is to create a damn good brew and I would say mission accomplished. There are sour cherries in the taste as well, but it's more of a vinegar-like sourness mixed with some oak and some grapes. Mouthfeel was medium bodied and had medium levels of carbonation, finish was dry. Extremely drinkable, I would have plenty of this often if I were given the chance.

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Photo of dbalsock
4.82/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 002

Appearance: Reddish brown with a head strong enough to stick around the side of the glass throughout the whole imbibing period. There was no lacing, and no change to the appearnce through drinkage.

Smell: A little like a flemish red ale, and a little like cherries, this smells like it's going to taste out of this world. I would have liked a little more of the oak aging to come through, however.

Taste: Fresh cherries hit the palate, but are not very strong. There is also a vinegar taste and a malt depth that reminds me of some stronger belgian dark beers. Nothing in the taste is very intense, but everything blends to make this quite nice. I ate this along with jalapeno poppers and a raspberry dip, and they complimented each other very well.

Mouthfeel: So sour, one of the sourest beers I've ever had, if not the sourest. Amazing.

Drinkability: I want more, much more, this is now one of my favorite beers. I'm going to order a ton of batch 003 when they finally come out with it. Yum.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
4.03/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle exploded all over an we lost some of the beer (wait until the yeast is out of suspension when it gets to your house by mail). Yeah. Pours a slight head that goes away right away. The color is brownish gold with a cloudyness. The smell is very Belgian with Brett yeast and some horse blanket, but the age has made it so it's not too offensive. The taste is sour with an lemon-like aftertaste mixed with the horse blanket sourness. It's definetly like my first sour beer where I made a sour face, this is mellowed and nice. The mouthfeel is good, a little heavy like water, but nothing negative to say about it. Overall it was nice to try, I would have this again sometime.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.97/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 002 - Bottle says a brown ale aged in oak barrels (pinot noir) for 15 months with cherries added (and brett, lacto & pedio).

A - Pours a murky orange copper with no head. I used a delicate pour after the bottle overflowed when the cork was popped.

S - Sour cherries with oak. Sweet grapes with some musty funk and a vinegar lactic acid blend. It is sour complex and funky with a dose of cherry.

T - Sour cherries with some tannin from the wood followed by a punch of acidic & vinegar sourness that bites at the tongue. The acidity packs a punch. You are left with a grapey pinot noir taste dangling on your tastebuds.

M - Medium bodied with lively carbonation which plays up the acidity.

D - I am beginning to really love the combo of sour beers and cherries (thanks to the help from New Glarus) and Supplication is a great example of this combo. A fantastic beer. Wish I had ordered more.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.41/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 002

This is one hell of a beer. Just the right amount of funk to it. I'm never quite sure what to expect with one of these Russian River wild ales, but they don't cease to disappoint.

The beer pours to a murky rusted brown color. Completely opaque. An effervescent brown head forms and falls no sooner then it builds. Subsequently no lacing to the glass, though it does show off a nice pair of legs similar to that of a nice fine wine.

The smell is nothing short of spectacular. Perhaps I am getting a bigger whiff than would be afforded by pouring straight into my goblet since about 3 ounces of the liquid is currently soaked into the carpet which my ass is currently parked next to, no thanks to a gushing bottle. Take care to open the bottle over the sink and have your glass ready so as not to waste a good portion of this precious liquid to the drain. Anyways, back to the smell. Wonderful tart cherry aromas. Also a good deal of oak tannin and a host of aromas thrown off by all the funky bacteria. Just a little bit of grainy must and candied sweetness. Easily among the most wonderful smells I've ever experienced from a beer.

The taste is also very good, but the cherry is not quite as pungent. The funky bacterial yeasts make sure of that, along with a stronger oak flavor. Candy sweetness up front, shortly followed by a nice sour cherry and funky tartness to the finish. Not nearly as tart as something such as Cantillon. More along the lines of a Gueuze Boon. The finish drops off abruptly, leaving only the taste of oak and cherry as a reminder. Actually has a decent amount of hops bitterness to it, considering the style.

The body is difficult to judge when my whole mouth is puckering under the onslaught of tartness, but I would judge that it is medium and fairly dry. The 9% ABV is very well hidden. Crisp carbonation as one would expect. Quite drinkable for a strong tart beer. Reminds me quite a bit of Gueuze Boon Marriage Parfait, though with more oakiness.

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Photo of flexabull
4.49/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch #2

Pours a light brown color, cloudy, and with a nice head.

Smells SUPER tart, and cherry like.

This is the most sour beer I have ever tasted. Sour, with a very tart cherry flavor.
It's sour... sour... sour... SUPER sour! Very tart and crisp on the finish, there is also considerable bitterness noted as well.

Mouthfeel is great, carbonation is wonderful.

This is easily the most interesting beer I have ever tried. Highly recommended! It's a bit too funky to be an everyday drinking beer. This is so different... I just think I like Temptation just a little bit better.

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Photo of tempest
4.05/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ordered a bottle of Batch #2 from the RR online store.

Its a hazy red with a bit of foam. Smells of oak, leather, paint. Tastes tangy and a touch bitter with cherry and pinot flavors for the barrels. Drink this one cool as the fruit flavors come out more. The funky bacteria flavors tend to overtake this one as it warms. A heck of an interesting brew though. I'd take this over Rodenbach any day. Cheers to RR for making weird stuff like this.

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Photo of bennetj17
4.69/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 002. Pours a brilliant and hazy amber. There is some light tan foam but it quickly fades leaving a nice ring. The smell is terrific. The moment you take out the cork the sour cherry permeates the air. Bright vinegary oak, with tart cherry flood the senses with hints of peppery, cinnamon spice in the background. The aroma is very much reminiscent of a Flanders Red.

The sourness creeps in immediately in the first taste, and amazingly it gets even more intense after a moment. Notes of oak and cherry dominate with apple and pear subtleties in there also. The finish softens a bit, and there is a bit of a sulfur-like/lit match character. You would expect it to be very acidic or astringent but it is not at all. The sourness lingers just enough to make you cringe wanting more. As for the alcohol, you can't taste it. The carbonation is fine, tingly, and flourishing. It creates a fullness on the palate despite the light body.

This beer was exceptional. I could drink one of these every day, if only there was that much to go around. Get a bottle of this and drink it now...

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Photo of mcallister
4.55/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Batch 001

Beautiful beer!! Apple cider appearance from afar. Some of the yeast got into my tulip and is wonderously floating about. A small off white head, quarter inch fades in typical fashion.

Sour cherry as well as hints of black cherry dominate the nose. Very earthy with mild leather, and licorice accents. Hints of cedar and rhubarb, as well as light raspberry and rose petal accents. The wild yeast make their impression felt and make you wonder what the hell is this gonna taste like.

A complex mouthfull of feminine lust has take my glass captive. This beer is special and absolutely delicious. And unfortunately going to be gone soon. As expected sour cherry are first and foremost but there are some many multiple underlying flavors it's going to be hard to mention even half of what sensory ducts are being penetrated...strawberry and raspberry hide on the mid palate, with sassafrass and rhubarb notes. Hints of black truffle and the effervesence of earthy, cigar box flavors. Man this is great.

Medium with a slight prickly feeling. I could drink this beer daily and be content.

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Photo of Morris729
4.92/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy deep orange amber color with a tall foamy off-white head that settles into a creamy lace. Sour cherries dominate the nose along with additional notes of sweet malt, leather, wet wood, and a barnyard / horse blanket funk. Quite “sniffable” actually. Taste is sweet lightly toasted malt and a bit of brown sugar delicately balanced by a tart cherry sourness along with a wild yeastiness and an earthy woodiness. Notes of oak and vanilla are detectable in the background. This was a real treat to drink—I only wish I had more than the one bottle.

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Photo of klewis
4.94/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Special thanks to Jetsbeer for this bottle

Batch 001

A: Pours a very murky golden with a tiny bubbly head that subsides to a clingy ring of froth around the tulip. Lacing slowly slides down the glass.

S: Very aromatic with a prominent aroma of pinot noir, and one that would be easily recognised as such even if it were not on the label. Also, a subtle cherry aroma and a bit of funk.

T: Again, lots of pinot noir and cherry in the flavor. The brett provides a complexity that is unparalleled with anything that I've had. Finishes with a sort of menthol/minty taste. Oustanding.

M: Medium-full bodied with a chewy and sticky texture. Quite a bit of carbination from the bottle-conditioning, but it is very complementary.

D: This is ecstasy in a bottle. Go get some. Sell off your children if necessary.

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Photo of studentofbeer
4.86/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. batch 001. poured a pretty, super clear red/orange mahagony color with no head whatsoever. this was just a few degrees below room temp.

aroma is yeasty, deep cherry, berries, dried apricot aroma, combined with complex earthy, barnyard and brett aromas. very inviting.

wow, great penetrating sour taste hits the tongue. didn't pick all that up in the aroma. super dry, with sour cherry, bitter lemon, sweet berry, cassis. tons of minerality and acidity. carbonated and zippy, but smooth like a fine champagne. finishes with a slightly bitter, funky barnyard note.

basically, an amazing beer. i wish i had a case of this stuff, and that this was a 750ml bottle. i don't know how long ive been hiding it in the cold (at least a year, maybe two), but it's perfectly balanced and wonderfully complex. perfect as an apparatif or with food.

combines the best complexity of a lambic with a friendly fruity flavor and a minerality reminiscent of great champagne.

near the end of the beer i swirled the tiny bit left in the bottle and poured the yeast in, creating a murky orange color. surprisingly, more of the cherry sweetness came out in both the aroma and taste. the beer became softer and creamier. this was not what i was expecting. good, but i prefer it without the yeast because of its racy, sour characteristics (even tho many beers i prefer adding the yeasties).

this was truly a perfect pairing with a thick cut pork chop with a sweet and sour pan sauce (sweet vermouth, smoked bacon, shallots, plum tomato, butter, etc.), some roasted yams and a salad. just amazing.

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Photo of tjthresh
4.78/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Lots and lots of samples at the GABF 06. This thing wreeks of funk and tart cherries. I love it. Golden straw color with lively carbonation with a spritzy white head. The cherries come through very nicely. Oat and then the bugs. Awesome stuff. Next time they are selling the barrel stuff online, I’m pulling the trigger.

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Photo of Pegasus
4/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy light amber in color, with a small white, and scattered, patchy lacing.

Aroma: Sharp vinegar sourness up front, with a malty, honey-like sweetness beneath, and a pronounced note of dark cherries.

Taste: Opens with sharp, tangy vinegar notes, followed by dark cherries, vanilla, lemon, and a musty, old cheese note. The finish is quite dry, with a wood note.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, quite full, pleasing.

Drinkability/notes: A difficult beer to review, certainly possesses a daunting complexity, but in a positive sense. Try it if you are able. Thanks to my friend and fellow BA HardTarget for sharing this rare example.

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Photo of chadspivey
4.6/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to witbier for the opportunity....
375 ML. Poured into my st. bernardus goblet

A: Pours a murky brownish golden red. One finger yellow, offwhite head to a thin cap in one minute

S: can smell apples, other fruits, maybe cranberries. can smell hints of alcohol, but not so apparant.

T: I wondered where the cherries were in the smell, but they hit in the first sip. This tastes like it could be a wine of some kind. grapy, viney taste with candied apple taste and other fruits.

M: velvetty... perfect for the style

D: gets better with every sip. That being said, I feel satisfied after drinking the one bottle...good thing too because it's $15/bottle.

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Photo of hopsaplenty
4.62/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375ml smoked green bottle, batch 001.

Polished, glimmering bronzed amber. Short cap of tanned, loosely piled bubbles that dissipates to a skim coat. Initial glass-covering large bubbled carbonation gives way to a narrow pillar of fine bubbles. Vibrant aromas of brett, cherry pits and tart skin, some damp wood. Simultaneously sweet and just a touch sour and funky. The taste starts with a nice tart sharpness that is filled with a dry cherry-laced sweetness. The underlying brown ale is readily discernable and serves as a solid base. Some damp wood becomes evident during consumption. The brett character is long in the finish and is complimented by a bit of sourness in the tail end. As it warms, the sweetness comes up a touch. Medium body with barely detectable carbonation, the light sharpness reduces the body a bit. There is a light slickness that glazes the tongue. It was hard to put the glass down as the Supplication was absolutely enjoyable. Unfortunately it was my last bottle, but I am looking forward to the next release.

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Photo of NoLiberty
4.82/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, a great beer. Thanks to GrassrootsVT for spotting this at the new Foodery in Philly. Had Supplication after several other dank beers and a day of tasting at the Kennett Square Beer Fest, and despite all of this I was still in awe. A delicious beer.
It pours a beautiful clear copper, brown orange, glowing with nice light and clarity. Good head with slight crisp burnt toffee lacing.
Could have a near perfect aroma: a great balance of sour cherry, alcohol, horse blanket, vanilla and baking pie crust. Nice.
The taste follows as near perfect: a big wallop of front sweet, sour cherry, vanilla, tart pie baking crust, full full funkiness, barnyard, tart apple, cranberry. Great finish dry and fruity tart.
Mouthfeel is great, excellent carbonation, with clean biting, semi-dry but still wet. Yes, I wanted more after my half glass was gone, still wanting more.

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Supplication from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.56 out of 5 with 6,433 ratings