Supplication | Russian River Brewing Company

1,457 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,457 | Ratings: 6,278
Photo of DrDogbeer
4.02/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a goblet. Pours a clearish orangy-brown color with a think wispy white head. Lots of champagne type bubbles that fade quickly. I don't know if i have ever seen a color like this before, either.
WHOA- the smell is pungent. As soon as I open the beer you can get a whiff from across the room. I get a lot of vinegar, some musty red wine, some alcohol and the barnyard as well on the nose. Smell is consistenty strong throughout.
Tast is similar. I get the huge pucker of the sour cherries, vinegar etc. right up front. Aftertaste mellows it quite a bit and makes it even more enjoyable. Bit of alcohol on the end.
Nice champagne fizz on the mouthfeel.
Fairly drinkable for the style- has a lot going on throughout the beer and my mouth is pretty puckered after this one.

 796 characters

Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.02/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Simultaneously unassuming/impressive-looking 375ml bottle, corked and caged. A HUGE thank-you goes out to hwwty4 for this extremely generous gift. Poured into my late great-grandfather's etched Belgian-style chalice.

Appearance: Under normal light, this beer pours what I would call rose (kind of a mix of ruby/golden tan), but when held up to the light it turns a beautiful bright orangey amber. The cap is ivory and, after receding, leaves a thick, creamy ring and islands of foam floating in the glass. Fairly highly carbonated.

Smell: Tons of fruit and light, elegant funk. Almost delicate aromas. Oddly enough, I'm not really getting cherries, but rather a pleasant mix of fruits. At first I was getting stone fruit (slightly underripe peaches) and maybe a hint of lemon cream. As this warms slightly, I started getting sweet strawberries and now, I think I'm finally getting the sweet/tart candied cherries. No oak present, but there is a hint of something like vanilla cream that's quite nice.

Taste: The cherries come through much stronger in the flavor; tart, slightly underripe, and juicy. There's just a little bit of alcohol present, as well as a dusty, dry, very lightly tannic woodiness. I'm still getting used to sours and so while I really, really like the flavors going on here, it takes me a minute to get past the tart, puckering blast at the beginning. At the beginning, I get hardly anything but tartness and a bit of dry tannin. After a few seconds, however, the tart cherry really begins to come out, and after the swallow, a of other fruity, funky flavors emerge. The cherry character of this reminds me slightly of the bright, natural sweet/tart character of New Glarus' Wisconsin Belgian Red, but there's much more going on in this beer, whereas the NG beer is all about the fruit (not that that's a bad thing). Here, the cherry flavors are supported/balanced by a whole lotta funkiness, a touch of alcohol, and some dry oakiness. I don't really get any malty character from this until I'm down near the bottom of the glass (and it's warmed quite a bit) and it's just a ghost of toasted brown malt.

Mouthfeel: Vibrant, fairly highly carbonated, medium-bodied

Drinkability: Good, although sours are (at least not for me) quaffing beers. Still, one glass of this is warming, yet refreshing at the same time. I like!

Conclusion: I'm so glad I finally got to try one of these beers. Again, a huge, HUGE thank you to the guy who hooked me up with this. Between hwwty4 and tolann, I've now gotten to try two of Russian River's most highly-touted beers. Pliny the Elder absolutely blew me away. It was everything I expected and more. This did not have quite the same effect, but it was still quite enjoyable. The aromas are absolutely out of this world. One of the best wild brews I've encountered. The flavors are very nice here as well. The sourness here wasn't a problem for me; it was lightly puckering and just about right IMO. The flavors were very nice. If I could change one thing it would be to just ratchet the woodsy dryness back a bit.

 3,087 characters

Photo of farrago
4.02/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

About half a finger of light tan to off-white foam spreads across the surface, of a fairly loose knit, all tiny bubbles, goes quickly but easily regained with a swirl or two, average lacing. The liquid is noticeably clear, an orange tinged brown, some loss of hue around the rims, plenty of active bubbles visible within. The sour cherry scents explode in your nostrils, evoke cranberry and pomegranate as well, sour lemons but golden honey too, horsehide, lees, drying chunks of rye bread and oats, rosemary and other garden herbs, with all of the barnyard floor and animality, the pureness of the cherry outlasts all the rest. Medium-bodied with a very strong foaminess, this almost necessary to help you palate acclimate to the unrelenting sourness of the cherry fruit. Yeast, lees, tar and a Sherry-like nuttiness fill in many of the open spaces. Very dry, one of the drier beers consumed in memory. As mouth yields to it, more raspberry, nectarine and lemon zest flavors appear. Hard to track any change as it warms, so pervasive is the sourness. A great "experience" brew but not one I'm jonesing to try again any time soon.

 1,130 characters

Photo of maximum12
4.02/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

I bow in a westerly direction towards swnicholson who boxed, swathed, & shipped this brew into the great Midwest.

Brew pours out golden with racing carbonation & a filmy appearance. Smells of funk & cherries.

Wow! Holy James Brown in a green suit! This has some serious funk, my first close encounter with the UFO that is brett. Plenty of pine & funk, with a mild undertow of cherries. I'm not sure if it's the brett or the carbonation or what, but the stuff puts a charge into the roof of my mouth, numbing it, & my lips start to tingle. This is either potent stuff or I better seek immediate medical attention.

Drinkability isn't there. I split this small bottle with the wife & the small pour was enough. I lick my numb lips to get the last drops. I guess that's a good sign.

I don't feel I need another, but already I'm wondering about the Avery Fifteen in the cellar & the Riserva that's headed my way via FedEx. I need to try more of this Wild Ale thing.

 968 characters

Photo of thetomG
4.02/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this one as an unsolicited gift from jale (thanks again!)...

Pours a nice cloudy orange/amber color. Decent amount of head that lingers and leaves spotty lacing around the glass.

Aroma is excellent. Strong waves of super tart cherry overpower everything - this effect is even more prevalent once you take a taste. Very lush and bubbly, it feels nice swishing around your mouth with each sip. The super tart nature of this makes it hard for me to drink alot of, but it is excellent nonetheless.

Not a big fan of sours or wild ales, but I would definitely drink this again if I get the chance.

 598 characters

Photo of Mavajo
4.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cork makes a loud pop with whispy smoke. Pours a brown color with a moderate head that fades quickly, to the popping sound of fast-escaping carbonation just like a soda might.

The nose isn't particular intense. Sour, brett, funky, cherries. The taste mimics the nose completely. Cherries, brett and funk. It's more tart than sour, in my opinion. But maybe it's because my bottle was too young (Batch 5). Mouthfeel was appropriate - light, good carbonation.

In general, this didn't meet the hype for me. It's a good wild/sour to be sure, but it just didn't blow me away. Perhaps this thing really develops with age, and if so, then I might be willing to try an older bottle - but I doubt I'd trade for it...someone would have to shoot me a bottle out of their generosity. I'm just too doubtful that this brew can age into something that'd be worth trading for, given the decent price it commands.

All in all, not a bad beer at all - in fact, it's quite good. But it's not one of the 25 best beers in the world, IMO.

 1,017 characters

Photo of Erdinger2003
4.03/5  rDev -10.4%
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.

 678 characters

Photo of Yagman3000
4.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received from a west coast connection and saw that it was listed as #16 all-time on BA... excited to try.

Visually, I appreciated this beer. Pretty burgundy color that made me pick up on the Pinot Noir aging right away.

The smell let me know right away that this might be more on the sour side than I anticipated from reading reviews.

Taste/mouthfeel reminds me of a belgian geuze. Super tart that leaves my tongue feeling thin. Was hoping for a little bit of a richer taste as this is more of a "wild ale" than a sour.

Overall I'm not blown away y this beer but can appreciate it for what it is. At the same time I'm a bit surprised that this came in so high all-time on the rankings. I'd grab for a Blind Pig from Russian River much quicker than I would for this.

 769 characters

Photo of claytong
4.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

batch 006 x1

appearance - head wasnt too big but my god does it stick around. very fizzly, and an odd orange, amber, burgandy in color. lacing was really solid, everytime i took a drink itd stay on the side for several minutes.

smell - sour cherries, some charddonay, pinot noir, some pears, minor vinegar, nothing comes out strongly, a bit too light for me.

taste - much like the smell. not as impressed as i hoped. not as much wine as i hoped. quite a bit of cherries.

mouthfeel - very light body. great carbonation. a bit puckering.

 539 characters

Photo of rvdoorn
4.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 008, thanks to Jeroen for this one.
Look: the beer pours a golden-orange color with a nice head
Smell: Tart, wine, cherries and wood.
Taste: Sourness up front (lemon like), followed by a nice cherry sourness with a musty dry oaky finish.
Mouthfeel: thin body and medium-high carbonation
Overall: A nice sour although outclassed by Cantillon or 3 Fonteinen. For obvious reason (from a microbiological point of view) the balance and complexity of artificial inoculated sours is always much lower compared to the real air-inoculated Belgium sours, but besides that, this is the best of the rest.

 598 characters

Photo of instrumentality
4.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured the contents of a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. The head filled it to the rim, then settled to a dense 1/4" lacy layer. The color was a light orangy-copper color. I held the beer up to the light and saw a swirling cloudiness that made it seem like something significant was going on inside that glass. I was anxious to proceed.

I perceived the odor as a mixture of cherries and pine.

Upon entering my mouth, the first sensation I felt was tartness, extreme tartness to the point where could actually feel the glands in my neck swelling from the shock. I quickly identified the source of this tartness as a cherry flavor which gradually became sweeter and more soothing as my taste buds adjusted. Mixed with this was a flavor reminiscent of champagne.

It was very abrasive on the palate, acidic, somewhat vinegary, somewhat heavy on the carbonation.

Tart cherries? Acidic? Vinegary? Abrasive? Despite all of these seemingly deterrent qualities, I actually enjoyed this one. It went down more easily with each sip, and not just because the alcohol was taking effect. I liked that the cherry flavor was tart rather than sweet, as it tasted more genuine and better complemented the other intense flavors.

Supplication is unlike anything I've ever had; in a blind taste test, I'd wonder if this was, in fact, a beer, and not some other category of alcohol with which I'm not familiar. Maybe I'm just not that well versed in high quality brown ales, or maybe this one's just in a league of its own.

I decided not to read the bottle before trying this so as not to bias
my senses, but now that I read the description--the year of aging, the winemaking background of the brewer, the similar process to champagne making--I understand why this beer tastes so unusual.

I'll definitely pick this one up again on occasion, and I'd like to try it with a heavy meal, perhaps some tri-tip and mashed potatoes.

 1,928 characters

Photo of PatronWizard
4.03/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to orbitalrOx for sending me this. Enough with the thanking, let's get to the drinking.

Apricot caramel color. Huge white head. Tons of tiny bubbles. IT'S ALIVE!! This is one busy ass beer. The head tries to relax a little but the upward swell of bubbles keeps it going.

Mouth wateringly sour smell. Unable to pick out the particulars because I'm a maroon, but collectively speaking, this puppy is sow-wah!

Taste is Extra Sour. I'm talking pucker-fucker sour. Probably the best tasting sour outta the five or six I've tried. Sours are such a masochistic style. Like habanero salsa. First reaction is 'shit that hurts' and second reaction is 'give me some more.'

Again I'm at a loss to describe the feel of a sour. Too busy puckering, but I think I notice some carbonation. Finishes quite dry. Gives a certain flatulent feeling to the belly. Or that might be the raisin bran I had for breakfast. Either way, something wicked this way comes.

Overall: not everyday but makes for a rare treat

 1,000 characters

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.04/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Toronado, SF. Poured into a fluted glass.

3.5 A: Nearly clear red zinfandel color. Came without a head, so no comment there.

4.5 S: Big hit of tart cherry, then plum, grape, tangy lactic acid with a mild sourness. Lots of vanilla with oak on its heels and tannic astringency at a minimum.

4.0 T: The potent cherry in the nose is much less powerful in the taste, but it is still the main attraction. A host of other flavors are introduced though. Wild apple, a touch of acetic acid, a touch of musky funkiness, and this time more sour than tart. Vanilla is much subdued, but the oak itself is stronger.

3.5 M: Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Could be a lot creamier, but balanced enough to be quite smooth.

4.0 D: Good, solid all around beer.

 773 characters

Photo of tempest
4.05/5  rDev -10%
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.

 447 characters

Photo of Backer2004
4.05/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ray and Cornelia who shared this at the Charlotte BA tasting. absolutely beautiful bottle score extra points (hey, it's my opinion). The only other Wild Ale I've had is also from Russian River (Insanity?). Nice copper color with sour grape taste and smell. It's hard to be "wild" over this style, but I believe Russian River has nailed it.

 349 characters

Photo of weeare138
4.05/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to PWalk...
Appears an amber/orange with a small white head and streaky lacing.
Smell is of brett, wildness of tart fruit, slight oak barrel aging.
Taste is slightly vinous, wild, and sweet but sour. Maybe some cherries in the mix. Pretty complex.
Mouthfeel is smooth, wine-like, chewy but pleasant, sweet & sour.

 324 characters

Photo of gthornton
4.05/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky amber red/brown with a hint of gold when held in the light. A 1.5" head recedes within a few minutes, leaving a sticky lacing.

Acidic cherry at the front and brown sugary sweetness in the back.

Sweetart-like sourness on the tip and sides of the tongue. Tart cherry again taking the lead here.

Mouthfeel is like a sour cherry candy... a rush of tart up front washes away cleanly, then finally a quick rush of tartness comes back up front.

The mouthfeel makes me want to keep sipping, it is addictive in its uniqueness. Would be great with thanksgiving dinner.

 576 characters

Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.05/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the source

Look: Pours a reddish brown color with a 1/4 inch off white head and ok retention some spotty lace

Smell: Tart cherries sour apples vinegar and a bit of oak

Taste: The flavor is far more balanced than I expected it to be. The beer starts off with sour cherries with some slight funk. This is followed up by a touch of sour apples and vinegar.

Mouthfeel: Just under medium body fair amount of carbonation light and crisp and tingly

Overall: A pretty good wild ale I would drink this again if someone gave it to mel

 539 characters

Photo of kojevergas
4.05/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-draught into a 2 oz sampler at Russian River in Santa Rosa. I'd had it in bottled form before, so I knew what to expect. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a one finger beautiful head of cloudy consistency and murky dark gold/copper colour.

Sm: Bacteria, yeast, souring hops, and funk. A very nice moderate strength aroma.

T: Souring hops, yeast, berries, bacteria, hints of vinegar/wine, and some wild yeast funkiness. Complex and brilliant.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Very complementary of the aroma.

Dr: Very drinkable for the ABV, sourness, and style. Affordable (50 cents per sampler!). I think overall it's better bottle-conditioned.

 647 characters

Photo of alpinebryant
4.05/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright Amber Copper with a large head for a sour, plenty of haze and lots of carbonation present from the bubbles at the bottom of my chalice.

Smell of strong funk, brett and cherries throughout. Plenty of tart aromas as well as a granny smith smell.

Taste of strong brett flavors , granny smith apples, tart cherry and drier than a desert on a hot summer day. The Brett flavors are stronger than temptation which I thought I liked more. Not a whole lot of flavor from malts that I can pick up among the battering ram of funk. Among the funk some oak is definitely present. Mouthfeel is on the medium side, with a heavy dosing of carbonation. I am under the assumption TUMS will be on the menu later today.

 717 characters

Photo of coalclear
4.05/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Firstly, I'll disclose I'm not a fan of sours, I don't care for wine and if there is too much lip puckering involved, I simply won't drink it. That being said, with this brew I was still able to appreciate a fine and balanced treat.

Beer pours jack o lantern orange, and supplies a decent head with exceptional lacing. Very pretty.

Smell is dry and sour, I can't really pick up on the cherries or any other obvious fruits or scents at this point. Though I can smell a fruitiness, almost like a wine.

Because I'm not a particular fan of this style I can't rate it definitively. However I have had sours before and my GOD, this blows the others away. The beer just simply tastes balanced, there isn't too much or little of anything, the sourness is strong but restrained and the fruitiness is a nice touch. There is a rare complexity to it as well that leaves me ponderous yet intrigued. It is dry and there is a woody texture as well. The cherries don't really come into the play until the aftertaste, as my breath smelt like cherries after. Very solid, I need to get into this style more.

Mouthfeel has a good texture, thick and dry. Lots of carbonation. Perhaps even too much? I let this sit for a while, and after it warmed up and lost its bite it tasted much much much better to me.

Drinkability is good, I could drink a few of these no problem, and one 375ml will leave you wanting more, trust me.

As said before, I really need to mess around with this style a bit more.

 1,480 characters

Photo of laglocal
4.05/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

375ml Bottle poured into a tulip

A - Pours with a ruby translucency, head was a finger but was almost gone before I could observe it. Interesting that this was originally a brown ale as it looks nothing like that after the almost year of labor put into it.

S - Intoxicating. Sour cherries and a bit of alcohol warms the nose. Smells almost like the favorite sour cherry chewy gummy things of my youth. I know I said this on another recent review but this is one of the best smelling beers Ive ever smelled. Maybe my nose is just getting better

T - It should be mentioned that this is also my first sour ale. Interesting. The sour cherry flavor from the nose comes across slightly but the wine undertones are definitely stronger. The funk of traditional sour ales is definitely strong. Not sure this is my favorite style although if it were stronger on the sourness it would not be as tasteful I don't think. Still really enjoyable and pleasant, but with the price I will save this for really special occasions. I am curious about how it would age though, so I will probably toss a few bottles in the cellar

M - Really pleasant carbonated, a thin mouthfeel leaves the sour cherry and wine flavors sitting on your tongue to linger.

O - I'm sure if I had more context for the style I would have been wowed by this beer but as such I am a sour noob. I still loved the cherry and wine notes and think those will come out stronger as I age it (hopefully!)

 1,454 characters

Photo of Sabtos
4.06/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Color of rooibos, that is, hues of amber red and brown working together, with some occasional bubbles and a thin ring of fizzy bubbles that dies to nothing. Supplication leaves wine-like legs on the glass, and even seems at times a bit hotter than the listed ABV would suggest.

Bright acidic cherries and light vinegar on the nose. A little blueberry even, as it warms. Woody and peppery notes really bloom and take center stage as it reaches room temp.

Cherry is nicely present without taking over. Too often, when cherry is on the label of a sour, it's either entirely absent, or it's overpowering. There is a nice balance in Supplication. A bitter and acetic sour element works well with the cherry, bringing much less a powerful vinegar-like presence than the nose hints at. A little supporting oak in the background.

A hefty tangy sting hits the tongue up front and tingles the back of the throat, but it goes down fairly dry.

 934 characters

Photo of oregone
4.07/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks nice. Not as striking as Cons. nor as beguiling as Tempt.

Smells like a theoretical cross betwen those two. Animal notes. Pronounced vinous influences. Barrel (wine barrel) aromas. Similar to being in a winery.

Tastes like... Sour. Of course. But little else. Strong richness to help, but only hints of fruit and little real character.

Mouthfeel is excellent. Crisp, refreshing. Carries the strong flavors through the palate for maximum effetc, but sadly lacks some of the nuance of its brethren.

Drinkability suffers because it doesn't beg for more consumption. Great as a few ounce pour. After that, it gets burdensome.

 631 characters

Photo of bfields4
4.07/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Copper to amber with a slight reddish hue. thin lacy head.

Tart cherry aroma. Nice oak whiskey-ish notes.

Very tart cherries are balanced by oak and tobacco. A lingering sweetness is present.

Light very highly carbonated body. Rolls along the tongue nicely.

A good sour that comes together nicely, but I probably should have let it age a little longer to help the flavor really come out.

 393 characters

Supplication from Russian River Brewing Company
4.5 out of 5 based on 6,278 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.