Supplication | Russian River Brewing Company

1,461 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: 1,461 | Ratings: 6,294
Photo of htomsirveaux
3.6/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

375 mL bottle, batch 003.

Reviewed Jul 2008.

Small creamy faintly pink head. Well carbonated. Cloudy rosy amber color. Smells like sour cherry pastry, earthy, yeasty. Starts very sour, puckery, tart. Sour enough to take your breath away. Finshes dry. Some white wine character in finish and aftertaste. Still very sour. Medium body. I want to like this more but sourness overpowers everything.

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Photo of ibbjamin
3.63/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Paid $12.99 for a 375ml bottle from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco, CA. Poured into a wine glass to review. Batch 04X3.

Fizzy white head of about an inch. Deep orange in color and similar in appearance to a glass of champagne. A nice layer of retention and great lacing.

Wild yeast, brett, white grape, melon, citrus, oak and grassy hops. A bit of musky funk to it, but certainly not the dominating aroma.

Taste is more sour than I expected with cherry and red pinot grape coming more into play. Nice oak with some musk and brett; certainly let you know they are in there, but again, not overpowering.

Mouth is vinous, dry and astringent yet still with a crispness from the nice carbonation. Lighter bodied and a true sipper.

I still think I'm getting acclimated with these variety of ales. I respect this beer but don't think I can truly appreciate it yet. I'll be re-reviewing this in a year or so to see how my palate has changed.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.63/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

375ml, that's some thick glass.
Pours lighter than I expected, but still a nice amber with a fairly dense head. The small snifter glass I was using really captured the foam and the aroma, which is...sour. Although not all cherry. While some cherry is present, I get more of an apricot or overripe persimmon. Some sweet caramel just barely on the end.

Very small hints of strawberry and red plum in the flavors. Mostly sour bread, sour grapes and cherries. The pinot noir is subtle as is the cherry flavor. Not quire sure which cherries are used. Apricot comes and goes, and the caramel is summarily killed.

Sour, but not overly so. Not much sweetness on this one. Pretty darn good.

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Photo of rapidsequence
3.65/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

375 ml bottle from Tim. Batch 005- that's 2/09 according to the website.

Appearance: There's a bit of rocky head that fades pretty quickly to a thin sheet. A few spots of lacing. The beer itself is a very clear, bright red. Good looking beer.

Smell: Sour cherry, medicinal phenols, oak, and tannic red wine. Musty cellar funk.

Taste: Pretty sour real cherry flavors. It doesn't have medicinal phenols in the flavor like I smelled. Malt flavor hides in the background and is overpowered by the tannic red wine and oak. The wine fades a bit in the long finish and a little sweet fruit and malt comes through with a little funk.

Mouthfeel: Pretty good carbonation, the body of the beer is on the lighter side, but the tannins leave a sticky, furry feeling on the tongue.

Drinkability: I love the sour, fruity, and funky notes, but the red wine and tannins are a little out of control. It limits the overall enjoyment. Beer should taste like beer, this one tastes too much like wine.

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Photo of ccahoon22
3.67/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this at a local Denver place called Fresh Craft, great beer list

A - Light, almost with a wheat look. Lots of carbonation activity going on.

S - Sweet sparking smell, definite white wine smell

T - very sour like chardonnay but refreshing with tons of carbonation and some hints of fruit

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.68/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reverence and respect to msubulldog25 for including this in our most recent trade! (Batch 04X2, whatever that means)

I opened this a mere two hours after receiving the trade box, which made a cross country journey. Something seemed fishy about the cork, like it was going to pop any second. I got 5 twists into the wire cage, and POP!!!, the cork hit my ceiling like a cannonball and I made sure to get this thing into the glass with a quickness. Pours a rusted light brown color, nearing a peach shade. The head is made of incredibly small bubbles, and though it's not thick, it stays a long while and leaves lots of lace.

I don't know much about wine, but my first smell communicates "white wine." I later looked on the label's fine print and found this was aged in pinot noir barrels. There you have it. Wood gives way to white grape, and there's the distinctively weird/funky/stinky essence of the bad boys of the yeast world here (Brett, Lactobacillus, etc.).

I like funk, and this one brings a nice bit of saddle blanket sweat into the mix. There's also the extremely tart essence of too-young green apple, too-young white grape, and green/white gooseberry. Super-tart, hell, even full-on sour, this leaves the mouth puckered and dry. The "cherries added" are here, but only in their tartness, lacking the sweeter, juicier essence I think of when I think "cherry."

Crisp but smooth, and extremely dry, any real textural impression is left in the dust once the mouth puckers and all the alarms ring "sour! sour! sour!"

Not my favorite sort of thing, especially with the intense tartness, but there's no question how well this is made. I wouldn't reach for it often even if I could, but for lovers of this sort of beer it's got to be total nirvana. I'll rate the drinkability a "4" as a more objective judgment than I'd normally do. Personally, I'm super-glad to have tried it (thanks Brian!), but still kind of circling around most sours as a merely intrigued novice.

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Photo of Kemmerlin
3.68/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Amber red in color but slightly darker and cloudy, good head to start and stuck around for a while.

S: Very simple, sour cherries and yeast.

T: Over powering sour cherries that needs sugar to calm the sour down. The flavors actually climbed up inside my nose and would not leave for quite some time.

M/D: Sour and hard to drink because of the lock jaw that ensued. I appreciate what the brewer was trying to do and that was create an amazingly sour beer for those who love sour like my wife but this intensity was a little to much for me. I will be having it again since my wife loves this one.

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Photo of emagana
3.7/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured a copper red orange with a fast dropping head. i can see small carbonation bubbles.
aromas of sour funk come off. some oak and a wine like association smells. i can already tell that its going to be sour. small hints of rasberries and cherries.
starts off with an explosion of bubbles that help spread the funky goodness. not very over powering in the sour as the hints of oak begin to take the place of the cherry flavor. lingering oak and tart finish. well balance for a sour. very interesting. not sure i'm convince of being a sour fan yet but i wouldnt mind drinking this one again.

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.71/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to forgetfu for this one! 375mL brown glass cork & cage finished bottle. Batch # 005X3. No date.

Pours a ruddy brickish brown with some thin off-white head. Aroma is pure sour sour sour cherries. Black cherry, fruit leather, and dried leaves.

Palate is WOW super sour! Big fat bing cherry, black cherry and lots of citric acid-like acidity. That fruit-leather thing is there, very stewed/preserved fruit like density. Tanned leather too, raspberry jam, blackberries, and all sorts of sour fruit.

Finish is long and sour, surprisingly (sarcasm) focused on cherries.

Notes: This is not tart, this is sour. I really enjoy sour cherry beers, but didn't find this one to be as complex or enjoyable as it's trumped up to be. It's very clean as others have noted, but the complexity level doesn't rise to the occasion. Don't see the value for the money (quoted as $14). That's not to say that this is not a well made beer and clearly unique - I just personally don't find it that interesting.

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Photo of Px2GrafX
3.72/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy orangey-brown with floaties and a white 1-inch head. Aroma is stong cherries as soon as the cork is popped. Vinous with a faint band aid aroma. Taste is sour cherries and grapes. Vinous, vinegary alcohol. Sourness hides any hop or malt complexities. Mouthfeel is nice. Bubbly creamy,medium body. Drinkability is hindered by extreme sourness & alcohol. Not my style, as I prefer the temptation.

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Photo of SPThirtyThree
3.72/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Supplication comes in a pricey little 375 mL bottle. (I think I paid $12.00?) The bottle looks neat though, with a long, bulged neck like a miniature version of it's 750 mL big brothers. Corked and caged. Served at 47°F.

A: Uncorked, revealing a swirling mist in the bottle. Pours into my NB goblet a cloudy, light copper, peachy brown, that's too dark for an amber but lighter than a typical brown. A creamy, one-finger sandstone head emerges, with just a tinge of pink.

S: Sour cherries, which undoubtedly had been eagerly anticipating uncorking, fill the room before the pour. This brew is almost overwhelmingly sour and complex. The nose is packed with vinegar, as well as clove, cinnamon, Morello cherries, and a slight, salty, barnyard funk. Overall the smell is an intense sour acid with accents of warm, herbal Christmas notes. The background spice is phenolic and slightly solventy.

T: The taste is predominantly dry, woody, and tart. It's very complex, but it's a well past center on the sour scale, so it's hard for me to decide if I love it or not. The carbonation and sourness hit first, but then a solventy hotness follows. The flavor also finishes with more fresh-cut oak and vanilla than any other sour I've tasted.

M: This wild is highly carbonated, so the effervescence foams in the throat and causes major burpage. The bubbles from the foam nucleate and explode in the mouth, but the cream makes the bursting bubbles and ensuing foam stick to your mouth and throat. There is also enough sourness to bring on some puckering and pangs in the jaw.

D: I would say drinkability is severely limited on cost alone, but as far as the beer itself goes, the real factor is your appreciation of very sour beers. I tend to avoid more acidic beer styles like Flanders Red, but I would consider this to be right at my limit for sourness. Medium.

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Photo of jbertsch
3.73/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip, this was burnt orange in color. I let just a little of the sediment in it (how I like it). Yeasties floating throughout. Head was fizzy, and didn’t last for long.

Smelled tart and fruity with some maltiness hiding in the back.

Sourness hits your first, but it’s a nice level of sourness that doesn’t overwhelm (as long as you’re into sours a little). Snappy tartness gives way to a soft sourness and noticeable notes of red wine (probably from the pinot noir barrels it’s aged in). Faint wood notes as well as barnyard yeast. Puckering tartness lingers. It’s assertive but doesn’t smack you in the face.

Crisp and dry mouthfeel.

Went well with olives. Would go well with funky cheese.

Overall it was enjoyable. The sourness is strong but not too much. Any more sour and I would have had problems. I think the wine-note crossover is done well. But I still don’t like spending $10+ on a small bottle. Because of the price I probably wouldn’t buy it again if I came across it in CA. It’s nice to have once, though.

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Photo of Brabander
3.75/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got two of these bottles from two BA's buddy's and one of them is opened tonight.

Poured in my Struise glass the beer looks OK, nothing fancy. The fluid is brown like tea and the head sizzles in the glass when i poured the beer with some light carbonation.

Smell is not spectacular but the taste is very good for this style. Oak smell and the sour taste make this beer quit good. Cherries far away. This is not my style as you may have noticed but not bad.

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Photo of MOVERTON1284
3.75/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Tried all of the RR Wild Ales at a bottle share at Hop City. This was my least favorite of the share. I felt the wine flavors overpowered the beer and threw off the balance

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.76/5  rDev -16.4%
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 Arborescence
3.77/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Light ruby & copper. Pours a small white head.

Aroma: Strawberries, wild yeast, very fruity. A little bit sweet.

Taste: Quite typical lambic style, but too sweet and fruity for my taste.

Mouthfeel: A little sparkly, medium-high carbonation, medium bodied.

Overall: Nothing special in my opinion. Decent enough beer, and it did grew on me a little as I went on, but many of its Belgian cousins are vastly superior.

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Photo of ShrLSU
3.78/5  rDev -16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from slender neck bottle into an over sized wine glass.

A- Poured a deep burnt copper color with a nice one finger tight white head.

S- Very cherry and a bit of oak. On smelling it seems to have a bit of a sweet and sour nose.

T & M- Very sour. I was expecting this to be sour so it didn't take me by surprise. Its sour upfront but has a mild sweetness to it in the end. i can definitely taste the sour cherries. That's probably the most prevelant. Smooth on the tongue and the good carbonation balance gives it a little spice.

D- I'm definitely not a fan of this style. However for what this beer is trying to accomplish, it does it perfectly. In the right arena this is an exceptional brew. I would probably enjoy this more if it were paired with foods, but I'm just drinking it straight up at the moment. If your into trying new different styles, this is a must. It's the best Wild Ale you'll get.

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Photo of waltonc
3.78/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had a bottle of this at The Trappist yesterday. Reddish/orange in appearance. Smells like sour cherries, but there also seemed to be a metallic tinge to the smell that was off-putting. Taste was significant sour cherries. Fresh, tart, a little bit of funk. Fairly well balanced. The sourness is under control. Overall, very enjoyable and pretty drinkable.

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Photo of davey101
3.79/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Batch 062212. 375ml bottle into a tulip glass. Huge thanks to WesM63, this is a huge want of mine!

A - Pours a clear dark ruby body. Lots of rising carbonation and one finger of off white foam. Minimal lacing and retention.

S - Cherries, oak, vanilla, red wine, and some tart vinegar. Quite nice.

T - Tart cherries and oak. A bit of vinegar and moldy cheese with a long sour finish. Not very well balanced and a bit harsh. Aftertaste is clean with a lasting acetic bite. Not quite at the level of a flanders our bruin. Super sour and just a bit jumbled when it comes to the flavors

M - Crisp and lively, medium bodied.

O - Super sour with a nice cherry presence, but this one did not live up to the hype for me. Glad to have had the chance to try it though.

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Photo of gandres
3.79/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tap to glass @ Russian River Brewing tap room@ Santa Rosa,CA
A: amber, small head, hazy
A: grapefruit, ooverripe pomelo, sugarcane
T: tart heavily sour like grapefruit
MF:long follow through/finish
OA: Excellent beer for the style, not to repeat, look for- not my preferred style, overpowring sourness
Drank: April 14, 2016

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Photo of Mattygross44
3.81/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3

I guess sours are just not for me i mean i am a beer drinker if i wanted something like this i would be a wine drinker!! I will stick to my manly big boy beers and leave the sours to the wine lovers. Shouldnt be considered a beer at all!

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Photo of barefootbrewer
3.82/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This beer poured a cloudy brown color with very little head.

S: The aroma was quite sour, but cherries were definitely noticeable.

T: Sour. I could pick out hints of cherries and oak flavors. Another RR that I think might be on brett?

M: Thin and dry. Very well suited.

D: Interesting beer. Sour beers are slowly growing on me....this is the most palatable RR I've had.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.82/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 1/16/15. About 2 years old.

With a POP of the cork, this beauty pours out a pale blonde forming into what I can only describe as Cranberry Cocktail, or Strawberry puree mixed with a dash of prune juice. The head is diminutive and fleeting, leaving only bubbles on the upper deck. Opacity is darn near full moon, but leaves enough room for light to ignite the sides of the body in this tulip.

Perfumey notes of crisp cut apple, potpourri, bartletts, and cider.

Taste actually throws a huge curveball of vinegar first...quite different than what I was expecting. After a couple of seconds, this fades into some muted apples, dark berries, oak woodiness, and light fruit skins. Still, tannins and vinegar permeate the flavor profile profusely. It's almost as if fruit flies were to magically spew out from the glass. Very fermented. Ends with strong vinegar and wine notes.

A bit dry and tart on the feel, feeling a touch parched here, yet it still finshes rather wet.

Overall, SUPPLICATION was not the grand slam I thought it would be, but it could be due to the age (I was traded this bottle without prior knowledge of the age). I'd like to try this fresh, but definitely not at the $15-20 a bottle this normally goes for.

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Photo of marksto
3.83/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled this one along side a Temptation, and this one was not my favorite of the two.

Supplication pours amber colored with a slight reddish tinge when held to light. Aroma is dominated by a strong musty character with perhaps a touch of cherry but not much. Mouthfeel is very dry and tart. Flavorwise, it it has a "clean" sourness (lacto-dominate?) with just a bit of cherry and almond. Displays less complexity than the best sour beers. I was expecting more cherry and funk.

Overall, worth a try but to me not among the very best of sour beers.

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Photo of MighHighBrewer
3.84/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle dated April 11, 2013. Tried on August 23rd, 2013.

I had very high expectations for this beer. But in comparision with some other sours I've indulged in lately - Cascade, Crooked Stave, etc - this one was lacking. I have two major complaints:

1) The bottle I tried just wasn't very sour. On a 1:10 sour scale, this one probably ranks a 2 or a 3. Definitely not as sour as Cascade and Bruery's sours, for example. I was expecting much more of a acetic kick and this beer just didn't deliver.

2) The complexity was somewhat lacking for my taste. Again - with the batch I tried - the red wine/Pinot overpowered the cherries. To my palate, it tasted much more like a wine/beer hybrid than a sour beer brewed with cherries. I'd take down the barrel aging a notch and kick up the cherries.

Supplication is a good - maybe great - sour. But when measured against its reputation, the bottle I had fell short. To that end, it reminds me alot of Pliny - a very well-regarded beer surpassed by other beers in the same genre but still highly regarded based on name recognition. For sour-heads, this bottle is a must-try simply based on what it is. But for my money, there are better sours out there.

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Supplication from Russian River Brewing Company
4.5 out of 5 based on 6,294 ratings.
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