Supplication | Russian River Brewing Company

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6,506 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,506 |  Reviews: 1,486
Photo of BeerZack
4.22/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle thanks to chadspivey

Reddish amber color with decent spotty head for the style.

Intense Sweet Tart aroma. Sour candy. Generic fruit.

Really extreme tartness, not as sweet as the nose. Generic sweet & sour fruity candy flavors ala Spree or Sweet Tarts, maybe cherry stands out a bt.

Nice and refreshing. Great example of RR wild ale.

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Photo of Mudpuppet
4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to JeffKenner for the chance to try this.

A- Poured from a 325ml bottle noted Batch #002 into a snifter. Pours a reddish-brown with no head just some small bubbles piled up on the side of the glass. This is a very hazy beer also.

S- Definite funk/sour in the nose. Not over-powering but very nice to me. I get cherries, melon, and apple. You know for sure you are in for a sour and tangy treat.

T- Apples at first followed by a sour cherry flavor. There is a pedio/lacto sourness throughout. This sour stays in your mouth and amplifies the other flavors. I don't taste an over strong acetobactor flavor in this. Vinnie has really kept the good bugs in and the bad ones out.

M- Incredible. Great natural carbonation with a very creamy mouthfeel. This really sticks around in your mouth but not to the point of being overly sweet or sour.

D- I could drink this all night. I really like this beer. If I was to be perfectly honest, I didn't like cherry flavor only a few months ago. I have really begun to enjoy cherry flavor in beer. This is an incredible beer. I wish I had a case!

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Photo of HopDerek
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at Union Jacks Inn on the Manatawny, enjoyed at home in a tulip glass, just like instructed on the cork. Batch 002.

Pours a hazy copper with pink hues with fizzy beige head, little retention and spotty lacing. Smells of sour cherry, citrus zest, caramel, bread, yeast, and red wine. Taste is very tart with lots of sour cherry presence. Beyond that there is a taste of grapes, caramel, oak, brown sugar, and a musty funk. Medium-light in body with good carbonation and lots of tartness and an acidic balance. With a good amount of tart and sour flavors it isn't a beer for everyone, but it is certainly different and at least worth a try. A very unique brew that I wish I had more bottles of. Certainly not sessionable, but nice for a change every so often, especially for dessert.

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Photo of jwolfie70
3.53/5  rDev -22.6%
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 stimy
4.64/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank this at an "Art of Refermentation" beer tasting hosted by Garrett Oliver at the National Geographic.

These are my tasting notes:

This was the first tart beer which I really appreciated. It had a tart cheery flavor in the mouth. A very good beer.

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Photo of DrJay
4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received from jgaston as part of my BC2 package. Thanks!
Deep, burnt reddish orange with a light haze and short-lived foam. The colour was really gorgeous! The aroma was very earthy and woody, juicy cherry, delicate red grapes, a bit vinous, fruity, with tart berry. Mouthwatering tartness in the flavour with a very light acidic character, sour cherry and vinous, raspberry, woody and oaky. Perhaps a hint of funk. Medium to light bodied with a bit of residual sugar present - still some dryness though. Mild warmth in the finish. This stuff is super tasty! Highly drinkable and a great accompaniment to dinner. I'm glad I have another bottle, but I'd love to have more.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 002; Sampled January 2008
A careful, persistent pour yields a fat-one-finger thick, dingy, tan colored head. The beer is a brilliantly clear, light cherry red color. Tart aromatics of acetic acid, lactic acid and moldy cheese are the first thing I notice in the nose. Quite fruity, but it is a sort of non-descript, perhaps berry-like, sweet fruitiness. The barrel character is present, but held well in check by the other aromatic components; touches of vanillin, a backdrop of spicy oak, some hints of butterscotch around the edges and a tannic character that is definitely noticed. The nose is quite funky, teetering on the edge of being off; over-ripe cheese, penicillin and buttery oak notes all contribute to this. Compared to a Lambic, this has quite a bit of acetic acid character to it, which is something I always enjoy if kept to a reasonable level.

Tart tasting, in fact very tart tasting; this is a nice mix of lactic and acetic notes. The lactic acid is the more prevalent not, but I am not sure that the lesser amount of acetic acid is not the most noticed part of the acidity. Flavors of tart cherries, tamarind and star fruit are all noticeable in this exceedingly dry beer. The body actually has a bit of heft to it though, which should be attributed to the barrel contribution and touches of residual malt character. Dry cherry notes, rich (though diluted) balsamic character, . A tannic, tongue coating note in the finish adds spicy almost piquant oak flavors that coat the tongue in a long finish. The barrel adds notes of buttery oak, spicy wood, some soft, creamy vanillin and probably even some berry flavors (assuming that the noticed berry flavors are coming from the Pinot Noir part of the barrel). As the beer warms it really starts to come into its own; the fruit & malt seem to balance the sour notes all that much more and make this even more enjoyable.

This is quite a bit more acetic in character than batch one. This is actually quite hard for a red / brown styled sour beer. An aggressive, but enjoyable, experience if you are into that sort of thing. I like that the oak character is much more integrated (though it still plays a significant role) than it was in batch one, but it still has a little ways to go before it hits that perfect balance between malt and funk / oak. This is still a fantastic beer, but I can't wait to see if Vinnie can dial this in a bit more over the next couple batches.

Batch 001; Sampled July 2005
4/4.5/5/4/5 total=4.6
Pours a hazy ruby red color when held up to the light, an amber color otherwise. The head is thin and tan in color. The aroma is dominated by a fresh oakiness, but, especially when I was pouring this, there is a nice acetic acid note to this that reminds me of a Rodenbach. The nose has notes of buttery oak, hints of cherries, balsamic, and a certain tannic woodiness. The aroma is quite well integrated with a great balance to it, though it does lean toward the acidity, which I am partial to.

The taste is fairly dry, much drier than the pasteurized Flemish beers, but still strikes a malty balance with a bit of caramel complexity to it. The finish is pleasingly acidic, with a leaning towards the acetic side of things. This beer is really well done, I am quite impressed, this is quite a bit farther along than the temptation. The finish has notes of a tannic woodiness, plus a long sour note that lingers along with the woodiness. This beer certainly reminds me of cherries, with a nice fruitiness to it. The more I drink it the more I become enamored of this beer, an authentic Flemish style sour beer that has not been pasteurized. This is quite a bit better, and much more balanced than New Belgium's La Folie. There is a wonderful interplay between the oak, maltiness, and acid character; this is superb and I can't wait to get more vintages of this.

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

Batch 002. Sampled 7-6-07.

Pours a clouded reddish amber. Nose is a beautiful antiseptic funk. Flavor is outstanding. Crisp woody character with wild, barrel aged goodness. Outstanding. Feel is smooth on liquid. Great level of carbonation. For f**ks sake is this drinkable. Obviously a work of art.

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Photo of BravoTwo
4.52/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Great offering from Russian River.

A - Good orange / amber hued beer with a thin white head quickly dissipating

S - Good sourness here with a underlying depth. Not as snappy as some other wild ales

T - Very tasty brew. You can taste the depth that comes from the oak aging, and the slight cherrry tartness is very complimentary to the sourness of the Brett.

M - Crisp, tart mouth feel with good carbonation

D - Could drink this consistently, if it weren't made in CA and not the easiest to get around me. This may not be the best sour beer that I have had, but certainly highly drinkable an a great offering from RR

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

12 oz. blue bottle, batch 002, bought at ABC Liquor in Long Beach, CA, on December 10th, 2007,

A: Pours a murky brown, but with a thick, nice, white head that leaves good retention until the beer is drunk, nice lacing there as well, but not a 5.

S: Complex - Brown ale malt, sour cherries - kind of a Warheads/Sour Patch kids smell, but not artificial, real cherries, also balsamic vinegar, tart apples, strawberry, horse blankets and funk, with a hint of gouda or cheddar cheese, red apple peel as well. Possibly the most fragrant, beautiful smelling beer I have ever had.

T: Just as complex as the smell. Tartness and sour cherries at first sip, then the grape skins come in. The pinot noir and barnyard character is there throughout, there is also a light taste of grass and wood, wet hay as well. Once the beer is in your mouth for a couple of seconds, there is this funky hit that is just to die for. Truly fantastic and a brewing work of art.

M: Smooth, acidic, and tart, but it just melts across the tongue at a perfect pH, sublime, definitely has a cidery character to it.

D: This is definitely one of the best beers that I have ever had. I had had it once before when it was first released in stores here in SoCal a few months ago and really liked it, but this time wow. It's so easy to drink, I could have drank it in like 20 minutes, but I milked it for a couple of hours while watching the Santa Clause because it's so damn good. An extraordinary beer, couldn't recommend it more, go buy it, it's worth the price, even if it is about a dollar an ounce.

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Photo of aforbes10
4.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at Union Jack's in Glenside, PA. Poured ruby read with a touch of brown. Small, quickly disappating head. Thin lacing. Slightly cloudy. Smells of cherries, pungently. Some alcohol on the nose too. Taste is of tart cherries with an earthy sweetness below. Sour, puckeringly delicious malt. As it warms, the cherries soften, or at least become less tart, and some oak and more sour malt come through wonderfully. The finish has some hints of vanilla, which add more depth to the overall flavor. Medium bodied and somewhat sticky. A nice-drinking wild ale that demands to be savored. So many subtle flavors and odors make every sip a treat. A wonderous beer creation.

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Photo of franksnbeans
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy burned orange/caramel with a white head that dies completely. Smells of huge sourness, a little cherry and oak as an afterthought. Taste starts out mild then BAM, huge rush of tarty goodness. You want to pucker its so sour. Finally mellows out with the oak and cherry peaking through. Medium in the mouth and a tickle of either carbonation or the tartness giving its finishing move. You want to sip this because larger samplings at a time would be a waste. A very tasty and different libation.

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Photo of errantnight
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally got around to drinking this... what an amazing beer.

Poured into a tulip glass, and that was the last time the beer would even mildly disappoint. A hazy light amber/brown (burnt sienna, we'll say) with a thin, waif-y head that disappears quickly. It looks fine, but if I wasn't sneaking glances back over at the bottle I wouldn't know quite what a treat I was in for.

The aroma is stunning. Sharp cherry tartness and other ripe fruit on a malty backbone with a distinct funk.

And it tastes even better... I was splitting this bottle with my girlfriend (damn my generous ways!) and it was all I could do not to gulp this down. Clean, crisp, refreshing! The funky sourness gives an awesome bite that never completely overpowers (this doesn't reach that "other" level of sourness achieved by, say, a nice geuze), and the cherry notes are carried high with the proper amount of sweetness, which isn't cloying or simple, but complex and full bodied, coats the tongue and lifts with an excellent level of carbonation. Oak-y astringency is just around the edges, rounding it off nicely. I couldn't be more pleased, particularly after Temptation set the bar so high. If I could afford to purchase by the case, I would.

Excessively drinkable, complex enough to handle a variety of duties in food pairing, you simply must try this beer. And Russian River simply must find a way to produce more of it.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.76/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I split this bottle with Stopper. I am pouring a cellar temp bottle into a snifter. The beer is a huge gusher! Lots of spillage. ugh
The beer finally pours a cloudy ochre color with minimal beige head. Aroma is funky, musty, and some oak and tart cherry as well. First sip reveals a light body with almost no carbonation. The texture is a little thin to watery. Flavor is as expected with caramel and tart cherry, some wooden notes and a fairly dry earthy and vinous finish. Not a bad beer after the initial gusher, but not my favorite sour brew either.

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

375mL bottle into a Lindemans thin pilsner.

pours a bright, slightly hazy orange-amber with a champagne-like carbonation. half-inch of fading head, with plenty of bubbles sticking to the sides. little to no lacing.

sour cherries, tart cider, and citrus rinds in the aroma. some sugary malt sweetness as well; nice mix of aromas. a few off-putting metallic notes detract slightly.

starts with a gentle cidery sweetness, then progresses to a tartly abrasive and sharply carbonated finish. leaves flavors of woody cherries, sour citrus, tart grape skins, and a slight acidity. a nicely complex, tartly refreshing, very drinkable beer.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
4.57/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Again, cell phone notes.

This beer has a sourness from the spontaneous fermentation and bacteria. It has a sour tart crispness and the addition of cherry makes this an incredible beer. I could drink it all day.

Sorry for not having better notes. I want to be sure to remember to have this beer again when i go to california.

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Photo of jaxon53
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375mL bottle, corked and caged, batch 002. Thank you to barleywinebrewer for this gem. Served at cellar temperature in an Ommegang chalice. Poured a beautiful reddish orange with brownish highlights, that was quite hazy. About a finger of loose, bubbly tan head sat atop the brew. Had faded pretty quickly and left little lace. Smell is of sour cherries, red wine, and some pretty wild yeast/bacteria aromas. Had a nice yeasty, sour cherry, red wine flavor that was quite tart. Also wood and bacteria like flavors. A nice crisp but very sour finish. Nice medium bodied acidic mouthfeel. Great drinkability and very enjoyable. Not my favorite beer style but this one might change my mind.

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Photo of Overlord
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a chance to try this at the Stone sour fest. The first Russian River beer I had on tap, and it didn't disappoint. Pours a deep orange that leans towards amber, big white foam head.

After sampling it again in April '08, my thoughts have changed a bit. The sour/vinegar funk is still there in aroma and flavor, but in this vintage (unlike Temptation and Beatification) it's decidedly offset by a stronger citrus and fruit flavors -- particularly tart cherries.

Temptation is looking like my favorite of the three barrel aged Russian River offerings, but this is another great brew.

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Photo of BeerTruth
4.67/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, big thanks goes out to jamduggan for this treat.

375 mL cork/caged bottle poured into a tulip. Batch 002.

Pours a very unique, thick, murky, amber-brownish hue with a thin one finger light khaki colored head that seems to die down to a thin layer that stays for a good while. Stickiness isn't there at all. Smell is sour cherries, nuts, red wine, and a hint of vanilla. Taste is sour/acidic (but enjoyable) cherries, sounds pathetic but reminds me of a sour patch kid. Sweet and sour go back and forth fight each other on the tongue and in the end the sour seems to win the battle. Do I need to mention the Brett's? Well, I did...even though with any RR Wild Ale it's already a given. Beginning; sour. Middle; red wine. End; green apple. Such a complex brew, I'm sure I missed a crapload of flavors but these are the ones that stuck out to me. Mouthfeel is light bodied with a whole lotta carbonation. Crisp and bitter. Drinkability is pretty damn good. I took my time with it not because it was difficult to put down, but just because I wanted to get every flavor out of it I could. I look forward to the bottle of Sanctification I brought back from the brewery this summer. Russian River raises the bar with Supplication. Definitely enjoyed this one more than Temptation.

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Photo of Floydster
4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12.7 ounce corked bottle from Stuffed Sandwich in San Gabriel

Batch #2, bottled in January 2007 after being aged for 15 months

Worth the twelve dollars I spent on it, a dollar an ounce seems like a lot, but not for a beer as good as this one

I am not usually a fan of sour ales but this one is a league of its own

Poured with a mixture in color between brown and red with pretty much no head

Nice tart with a very evident cherry taste, very sour at first with a sweet fruity aftertaste

Have never smelled a better beer

Took my time drinking this one even though it would have been very easy to drink quickly

This aged beer lived up to all the hype and then some, too bad this has only been brewed 2 times ever, probably will not get to have this again any time soon

Further proves why Russian River Brewing Company is the best of the best

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Photo of asabreed
4.72/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #001 w/ four hourglasses. 375 ml bottle purchased probably around two years ago, for around $8.99.

Appearance: A deep orange and ruby color with some haze, though the bottle was careful not to be disturbed. I expected a bigger head, but perhaps it was too cold, though I only chilled it in the fridge for a bit. Still it's pretty striking to look at it, and a swirl or two recharges it nicely.

Smell: Pinot ripeness with hints of raspberry, dark strawberry, tinges of vanilla and oak, candy sourness, and with swirls in between the earthy and more discordant nature comes out, balanced with the ripe fruit aromas. Also some orange and lemon zest with the sourness, and the bacterial and funky nature is wonderfully bizarre and intriguing. So much to love about the aroma, and more complexity to be discovered as it warms.

Taste: Sour candy and tart fruit initially with bursts of earthy bacterial and phenolic funk to spice things up. Just enough sweetness to balance out the dryness, making this feel more like a Saison than any other RR brew I've had. As it warms, the initial bone dryness (and almost vinegar in nature, though more complimentary than discordant) gets a bit sweeter as it warms, or if not sweeter, then more balanced, with layers of flavor changing each second. Finish is dry and extremely long, with so many flavors coming out with the oak, funk, vanilla, fruit, tartness and fruity sourness, and just the effervescence of all of it combined. Wonderfully insane and beautiful overall.

Mouthfeel: Wonderfully crisp and dry with a mouth puckering finish at the end. Can't really find any faults with this at all, as the carbonation with the medium body meld pretty much perfectly, especially with the sour and Saison-like nature of the brew.

Drinkability: This is hard to find in the Richmond area, and a few years ago I got, I think, the last two bottle that Once Upon A Vine had. I still have another one that I'm planning to save for something special, but this one was opened because it's been way too long without trying it. Certainly there are many characteristics related to a Saison, more so than Temptation even I think, but it's truly an experience, and I really hope more folks start to experiment with the style in the future. Worth the $9 in my opinion, but obviously not something you could probably get often (especially since the bottle's slightly over 12 ounces). But still, bravo, this is amazing stuff, and I hope the distribution increases throughout the US as the years go on.

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Photo of bosco7
4.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch #002. Poured in a tulip at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia.

Burnt redish brown color with a thin yet creamy head. Perfect clarity.

Rose, lemon, cherry,yeast, acetic, floral perfume and sour grape in the nose.

Lots of vinous character in the start. Sour cherries, lemon, toasted almond, and slight yeasty earthiness. This is intensely sour and bone dry- in the best way. Tastes so good. Amazing.

Crisp yet smooth mouthfeel coupled with the refreshing sourness make this beer highly drinkable. Probably my favorite RR sour ale, maybe even my favorite sour ale. If you can find this, consider yourself lucky, and do the right thing and buy it. I spent 18 dollars on the 375 mL bottle and feel that it was well worth it. Highly recommended.

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

Poured into a goblet. Orangish amber color, off-white head. Carbonation is champagney, effervescent and lively.

Smells beautifully sour. Oak and cherries come out in the background but overall this smells very acidic and tart.

Sweet red fruit fights for its life but the tartness takes over. Notes of cherry, wood, wine grapes, vanilla, brett. Bone dry finish. Great complexity here and a great combination of flavors.

Delicate body, carbonation like champagne, very smooth and bubbly. Clearly a beer to sip but it's very rewarding as it evolves with warmth.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.5/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to Brewbacca for sending several bottles a while back. I’ve finely gotten around to trying some and I am very pleased.

Pours a turbulent orange-red with uncanny carbonation and head. It takes a long time to descend but eventually rests as a healthy and easily excitable skim.

Aroma is heavy on cherry vinegar, or what I imagine cherry vinegar would smell like if such a thing exists. Oak and wet animal hide really dominate but light notes of papaya and other tropical fruits do shine through from time to time.

Body is very acidic, quite tart and somewhat sour. Tart cherries with a heavy wood presence dominate. Very bready or cakey with a lot of sour fruit yeast flavor.

Delicious, depthful, and drinkable by the case.

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Photo of mymrnngjckt
4.33/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle of this at Capone's. Poured into an appropriate Russian River Barrel aged glass. Poured a dark red/light brown murky color. The smell was very yeasty which was expected because of the appearance. The taste was great. Sour and yeasty with a little carbonation. This was a nice wild ale and was enjoyed over an hour to experience different temps. Another good barrel aged product from Russian River.

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Supplication from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.56 out of 5 with 6,506 ratings