Depuration | Russian River Brewing Company

54 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 06-01-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 54 | Ratings: 74
Photo of k3n
2.98/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

375 ml bottle, Batch 001, poured into a wine glass.

A: Dark amber in color, 1/2" head fades quickly to a ring sustained by a contant stream of bubbles. Looks like a really dark champagne.

S: Yeasty and sour. No 'beer' smells seem to be present.

T: It's beer, it's wine, it's wine-beer. (win-eer? be-ine?) I think you need to be in the right place to appreciate this fully. If you're hoping for 'beer' you're in for a shock. If you're looking for wine, this also isn't it. But what it is, is an interesting cross-roads of the two. There's a bit of grape-y tartness like I would associate with a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, but then there's maltiness in the middle, with some caramel. It ends with a bit more sourness, and just a hint of bitterness as the flavors fade, but it feels more like tannins than hop bitterness. I can't find any hop flavor. If it's there, it's buried under all the brett flavors.

M: Tingly from the carbonation and the tartness, and yet creamy as well. Moderately long finish, and not dry at all.

D: As I said, you need to be in the right frame of mind for this. I can't imagine now what kind of food I'd pair this with. Raw oysters? It has pretty good acidity, so maybe it would go well with something fatty like sea bass. The more I drink this, the more I'm getting used to the tart flavors, but it's definitely putting me in a wine mood more than a beer mood.

Overall, I think this is a really unique creation. I'm looking forward to trying more beers (wines?) in this style to see where other brewers take it, or if they're all basically similar.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.14/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pour is transparent orange with a tight white head that dissipates immediately. The nose has some white grapes with some buttery notes and a bit astringent. The flavor is buttery and malty. Some sweet white grapes and barrel notes. A touch messy with a medium body, assertive carbonation and semi dry finish. never had fresh but a bit of a mess now and assuming its well past its prime.

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Photo of jdoherty
3.25/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is white wine moonlighting as beer. They just added hops and some yeast for it to be classified as beer. Very interesting taste

A: Bright yellow with almost not head, a few white bubbles,just like a white wine.

S: Looking at the description of the beer in my guide I see it has been aged in oak chardonnay barrels. It smells like they poured some chardonnay in as well to give a more wine like effect.

T: Very tart, like a nice chardonnay, with a hint of hops which barely, just barely reminded me I was drinking beer.

M: The carbonation was lower than wine, higher than most beers to strike a nice little balance.

D: Its just not my type of beer. Much like lambics, I can only appreciate the taste but can't really consider it beer. Certainly for light sips.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.47/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Mike for this one. 2oz. pour into a Lost Abbey teku. Reviewed from notes 1/12/13.

Pours a thin, white head with no retention. Oily but thin legs. No lace. Beer is clear pale lemon. A bit uninspiring for the style.

Nose is lemon spritz, hay, pear, and some light sweetness. Pretty mellow and a touch dull the the pear is a nice touch.

Pear, lemon, hay, and wet wood. More sweet than tart. Dry, lemon and pear rind finish. More pale fruit in the aftertaste. Decent and again, displays some nice fruit notes I'm not used to in the style.

Light bodied with moderate carbonation. Dry in the mouth and spritzy, bubbly and lively going down. Dry finish with a mellow, slightly lingering aftertaste. Very solid considering the age.

A nice beer that really does remind me of the temptation base. That being said, this isn't appreciably better than the "base" beer and is getting a bit old at this point.

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Photo of craytonic
3.5/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 001

Split with Dan at one of our dirty south mediocre tasting sessions. heh.

Appearance: Nearly clear, a straw-pale with some soda-like bubbles

Smell: Centrum vitamins, dissolved in water with chardonnay oak and light funk with a backdrop of artificial/bottled lemon sourness.

Taste: Incredibly dry, again with the vitamins. Certainly a chardonnay element, which is not one of my favorite grapes and the corresponding butter and oak notes. Might have been the quality of what they chose; doesn't seem to be on the upper end of the spectrum (think temptation with cheap chardonnay).

Mouthfeel: dry; medium-to-low carbonation, a bit thin

Drinkability; this was a good 375ml to split. If you have one drink it now.

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Photo of Goldorak
3.74/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 001

Appearance: Had an orangey hue and a really weak ring of lace.

Smell: Sultanas is what first hit me in the aroma, then the barrel like vanilla and woody flavors came next, with a slight amount of cork to give it a good "aged" smell.

Taste: A pleasing soft caramel with a few vanilla beans, a bit of alcohol and a slight acidity gives it a white wine flavor profile, Chardonnay wouldn't have been my first guess, but probably in my top 3. The body was a bit thinner than I would have liked, but the aftertaste is long and strong, and it's where the wild yeast really had the biggest impact. Not my favorite "-ation" from Russian River, but most definately an enjoyable one!

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Photo of kkipple
3.87/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Craytonic is a generous guy, never thought I'd see this one without a lot of effort on my part. But! lo and behold, here he is cracking it for our drinking pleasure. Consumed during a sour night in mid October. 375ml bottle.

A. Deep gold with minimal head and no lace. Clear, (I see some others report haze) and fairly standard. No active bubbles.

S. I expect good things... and find... Flintstones vitamins? Yes, in fact, the orange flavored ones that you gnawed on as a kid. Really, truly. Strong vitamin B nose at first that lessens with time, dry and oaky with a lush sourness through and through. Lemony, but not 'fresh' lemon. An unusual nose, and overall good, but not blowing me away.

T. Ahh, there's that dry white wine! A fine lemon-funk sour hits first with a touch of salt. Oaky Chardonnay is quite easy to pick out here and the oak is smooth and rounded. There's a definite old-hop cheesiness in the mix. Depuration is: complex, dry, lactic-sour and unusual. This is a sophisticated, erudite beer and one you should take your time on. (And yes, the vitamins make another appearance, albeit more reserved, in the flavor.)

M / D. Low carbonation, but okay. The finish is long and dry with more white grape and dry oak while the sour fades out with panache.

Depuration isn't the best beer I've had from Russian River, but that said this is still a step above 90% of the wild ales made in the US. My recommendation to those lucky to posses one: open Depuration as your first beer of the evening and take your time trying to figure this one out. Yabba-Dabba Do indeed!

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Photo of hero27
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 001. Barrel aged 15 months.

12.7 oz bottle.
7% abv

Unassuming golden brown. Head is fizzy and doesn't stay around long. Wine-like aroma of fruit, vinegar, and woody notes. Some grapes, sour cherry, and spices come through in the taste. Lip-smacking tart finish.
Carbonation was just about perfect. I enjoyed it, but it's a shame I only bought one bottle...would like to see how more age affects this one.

Another good brew from RR.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.93/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Pwoods.

Pours a murky, hazy gold in color. There's a slight froth sitting atop the beer, but no real head to speak of. Smell is a light grape scent, some yeast and oak, and just the slightest note of sourness.
Taste is much along the lines of the smell. Actually we had to look at the bottle to see if it states whether or not it was brewed with Brett, lacto or something. The bottle stated it was, but it was not very present in the beer. I've never aged a Russian River beer,they never last that long in my possession), but I'm interested to know if those attributes get muted with aging. Still a very smooth, easy drinking beer. Nothing off putting or wrong with it at all, just a bit different than what I was expecting. Good beer.

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Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pinkish with no head, with champagne carbonation.The taste was light, neither sour nor sweet. A cross between a wine and a spotaneously fermented beer.This is majority grape product according to Vinnie. Smooth for a sour ale and unexpected qualities, but not overally complex in the tasting notes.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.97/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 001, Sampled March 2007
Pours with a touch of haze and a copper to deep gold color. It is topped by a frothy, fizzy almost champagne-like head, that has more staying power than champagne, but still disappears to a thin coating across the top of the beer after peaking at about two-fingers in thickness. As I pour this I get a nice, dry, sauvignon Blanc like fruitiness as well as a bit of steely tartness. When I go in for a deeper draught of the aroma the oak becomes much more apparent; buttery oak, vanillin and a spicy woodiness are all quite noticeable in the nose. The oak actually tends to mask some of the initial fruit notes that I had noticed while pouring this brew. I wish there was a touch less oak and more of the other notes. Hopefully Vinnie will reuse these same barrels for another batch, which should have less oak influence.

The taste is pleasingly tart up front, and in fact that bit of acidity follows the flavor profile throughout. At first the oak is not as noticeable as in the nose. Again a soft sort of Sauvignon Blanc type fruitiness and character comes through in the flavor too. Actually the oak flavors never seem to be as dominant as the corresponding aromatics; soft notes of butter, spicy oak, a woody astringency, and some vanillin are noticeable but add to the over all experience here instead of dominating it. As the beer warms up it begins to pick up some soft sweetness, it is still quite dry seeming but a touch of grape like sweetness helps to balance things out even further. A touch of flinty, steely flavors are found in the finish and the couple pretty well with the lingering, light acidity. This beer is not extremely light in the mouthfeel department; I think both the oak and a touch of residual sweetness add a bit more body here that one might expect at first blush, still this is fairly light and definitely quaffable.

This beer is growing on my as I work my way through it; maybe it is my palate but it seems to be getting a bit more balanced as time goes on. I still think that a 375ml bottle is too small for a beer like this, but I could always crack open another bottle. While this beer is certainly wine-like in its flavors, I would not necessarily guess that it definitively had grapes in it; the grapes character, while certainly contributing here, have largely been fermented out and subsumed within the barrel aging process. I'll be interested to see how this batch ages.

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

Originally reviewed April 5, 2007. 375mL Bottle. Tangy lactic Brett and wheat sugar aroma. Some yuzu, champagne and white balsamic breeze through. Vinous grape sugars possibly hint in the background. Pours a stunning bright orange-gold vibrant and alive. Rimmed in a silky white veil and percolation with swirls. In the mouth a curbing acidity, definitely with some grape juice and piquant vinegar sensations. Not particularly complex or expressive. Flavor is nice and gentle, with subtle sweet vinous character of the pale form, with a bit of golden raisins, curry powder, and salted cantelope. Beer seems to vaporize on the palate, leaving some residual date sugar and a kiss of vaguely grassy hops for a full rounded package. Clean, balanced, unique and well built, however lacking that extra panache to make it a top animal. I would drink this any day of the week as it’s beautifully light and airy, refreshing and pairable. Damn Russian River rules. Thanks very much Andy!

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Photo of vacax
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Depuration is a deep and dark cloudy golden color with a sparse head. Aromas of sweet grapes dominate the brew, with tart and acidic notes. The flavor is close to that of the regular sour blonde Temptation, with plenty of acid and sourness, but a vinous grape character indeed comes to control on the palate. There are some slight amounts of acetic acids as well. I was excited to try this one, but I think the reason this is no longer made is fairly straightforward... it isn't better than Temptation. Medium bodied with a tight medium carbonation. I was glad to try this, but its lack of presence today is not to be lamented harshly.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375 ml bottle. The beer is a hazy peach color with a finger of head that falls to a patchy coat over top. There is a moderate carbonation working up as well. The aroma is dominated by grape fruityness with a strong brett sourness. There is a mild fruity ester and lighter sucrose sweetness as well. I am not getting a whole lot of the blonde characteristics. The flavor is much like the aroma. Lots of grape fruityness and brett sourness. There is a moderate alcohol in there that adds a spicyness. The mouthfeel is moderate with a moderate carbonation keeping this feeling light on my tongue. I feel this one is a bit dominated by the grape character, but I also feel this is the beer the brewer was shooting for, so it is what it is.

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Photo of ggaughan
4.07/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 001. Sampled in a RR Damnation tulip glass.

Poured a hazy deep golden color with a nice pop on the cork. There was a fizzy white head that ran away quickly and gave way to a slight white ring around the edge of the glass.

The nose was earthy, horse blanket, a bit peppery maybe and a tad winey to boot. The taste a bit tart up front with a bit of sweetness on the tongue. There was a definite vineous character going on in here but not overly so. Just enough grape taste to keep you interested but not enough to think you are drinking wine. The carbonation was perfectly layered into this brew and made for a somewhat light and refreshing body. After a few more sips the wine character gets a little bigger and brings out some wood notes as well. Overall this is another fine brew from RR but seems a bit young and could probably use a little more aging in the bottle. Bottle # 2 to be drank after some aging in the cellar.

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Photo of bennetj17
4.07/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very clear, golden-orange with rosy hues in the light. Very sparkly with large bubbles erupting from the bottom, there isn't much head though, just some light froth about the edges. Pleasant nose of sour apple, peach, grape, with light vinegary oak character. The fruity aromas are both tart and sweet, a balanced mix as no one flavor stands out.

The taste is also very fruity, with malt flavors of wine-like grape and dash of lemon. If you get past the sweet and sour fruit you notice the malt has a light, bready/hay character. Some dryness creeps in toward the finish, which is a bit grass-like and faintly metallic. I get a bit of acicity after the finish also, but it doesn't hurt the drinkablility. Light body, with carbonation that starts out fairly sharp- unfortunately it dies quickly, so don't nurse this beer. I noticed the texture is lightly syrupy also.

Overall another solid offering from Russian River. Not on par with their higher rated brews, but worth picking up and perhaps trying to find a good cuisine to pair it with...

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Photo of grub
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

big thanks to oakbluff for sharing this rare treat. thanks scott!

375ml bottle, corked and caged. batch 001, bottled 2/14/2006. sampled july 30/09.

pours hazy and chunky dark yellow, just barely orange. a thin ring of fine white head forms, dropping quickly and leaving a few spots of lace as it falls.

aroma is funky. white grape. lemon. malt vinegar. bit of alcohol. horse blanket and leather. white bread and cracker. bit of vanilla and raw oak.

taste is good. less funky than i was expecting, but still pretty nice. light alcohol. white grape. light lemon and malt vinegar, but they seem to fade very fast and don't linger much. it's almost more like an acidic character than sourness. white bread. bit of cracker and grain. hints of vanilla and raw oak. nice light fruity character. light leather and horse blanket. low bitterness level.

mouthfeel is good. nice light body with a bone dry finish. low carbonation level.

drinkability is great. the restrained acidity/sourness make it go down easily. big thanks to scott for sharing this rare bottle.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Managed to acquire some of this when it came up on RR's site for sale. Sold out in an hour if I recall correctly.

A - Rich auburn color, like all the other beers from RR, amazingly clear. Minimal of white head, light trickle of carbonation from the bottom the glass.

S - This one is hard to describe. Tart / sour cherries, green grapes, hints of oak and light malts.

T - Similar to the aromas but so much more. The wine barrel / grape characteristics are a bit more pronounced than in the aroma. The flavors swirl and tantalize with each sip!

M - medium bodied, crisp, tart, nice dry finish. Mild to medium acidity depending on your perspective. For me, it fits into the just right category.

D - Savored slowly and happily!

Get it if you can, it's worth a try!

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Photo of largadeer
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing this one, Dyan.

A: Clear and golden, the wispy white head doesn't stick around too long.

S: Vinous, buttery Chardonnay up front, the grapes still dominate this one after several years in the bottle. Musty damp cellar, hay and lemons.

T/M: Light lactic sourness, buttery oak, white wine, green grapes. Spritzy, champagne-like carbonation. A bit musty and spicy with a dry, tannic finish. Pleasantly light-bodied and drinkable, but not as remarkably complex as Vinnie's other sours.

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Photo of akorsak
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mmtmatrix for this 375 mL corked and caged bottle of Batch 001.

A: The ale is an apricot brown, brightened by orange hues. The darkness is just enough to prevent a clear view of the other side of the glass. A lack of carbonation on pour was followed by a generally still beer in my snifter.

S: Sweet, juicy white grapes are strong from the first sniff. Apricot aromas, vanilla and oak are all evident before a light tartness bubbles to the surface. The tartness adds a minty finish.

T: How do they do it? How does Russian River make every sour taste so solid? Biscuity grains set a bready stage for sweet white charddonay grapes. The oak is robust, lending vanilla and boozy weight to the taste. The oak has also fostered a pleasant tartness, biting but not blindingly tart. A lemon zest emerges with the tartness, tempering it lightly.

M: The mouthfeel is pleasant, from the sweet charddonay up front to the lemony tartness in the finish. The ale is very dry.

D: The complexity is worth mentioning, with the grapes and oak and funk each adding a vibrant quality to the ale. A beautiful ale.

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.22/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to KRAMER17801. Batch 001. Good CO2, the beer is blonde. Huge oak aroma, slight vanilla and a dose of sour.

Grapes are apparent in the taste, along with sourness and oak. Maybe some tannins from the grapes and barrels. Bubbles are small, mouthfeel is medium and spritzy.

Went well with some Port Salute( that is how the label spelled it) and bread.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Color of peach cider if it existed with a good amount of sediment moving about. Head started out fizzy and fell fast leaving only the faintest rim around the glass…but that’s not to say this beer isn’t carbonated. Thousands of micro bubbles burst towards the surface creating a vortex of minor foam on the top of the glass.

S: Honeysuckle, blackberry, viognier and champagne.

T: Begins with delicate brett immediately upon impact…that wonderful peach yogurt flavor that lets you know what sort of microbes are in this beer. Next comes spicy grapes with berry leaves, nutmeg and coriander. Very tangy towards the back with moments of apricot and pineapple. As it warms the peach really shines and it’s the last flavor to leave the palate.

M: Medium body, soft with very minor hints of carbonation.

D: Ingenious. The “sparkling wine” feel to this beer is working for me (and really working for the wife, she really likes this beer). The flavors meld perfectly leaving the mouth craving for more. Very good.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received a bottle of this in a trade with Faro. Thanks, Jeff! I shared this at the You Bring the Cheese tasting.

A: Light orange with a thin white head. Excellent clarity, and this beer had the best retention among the sours I drank that night. Left a neat layer of lace too.

S: Mildly sour, mildly musty, hugely vinous with buttery chardonnay on the nose. Great stuff. Plenty of vanilla in the back. Acidity is very low.

T: Opens up a little sour with a lot of grape character. Mildly harsh on the finish with a big grape character along with some sourness. Sourness is moderate, acidity is low, and there is a pleasing butteriness to the palate.

M: Light but enjoyable. High carbonation is present, and the drying finish is enjoyable

D: The 7% ABV is non-existent. Very enjoyable and very drinkable.

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Photo of Crosling
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light gold/yellow color, with a quickly diminishing head. Tremendous depth and concentration in the flavor, with brilliant balance. Really jaw dropping flavor balance, with the oak and bacteria coming together so well. The fruit is light however, hardly discernible at all for me and the finish could be a little longer...but these are minor objections. I’m pretty disappointed with the nose however, just not as expressive as I’d like. Still though, brilliant beer and a terrific sour ale.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this during a July 4th get-together in Chicago. I was pretty psyched to get a chance at this beer, thanks to the generosity of Alex (Masterski) made possible by the previous generosity of Mike (nerd). Thanks very much Alex!

Poured into a Cigar City snifter. A clear bright copper color with a thin layer of foam, eventually a ring of suds after it settled. It smelled tart & acidic, lots of bret character with minimal grapes (easily detected as I was searching for them).

This tasted nice and sour, lactic and maybe a bit tannic, more grapes in flavor than aroma but still not the lead. Dry and crisp finish. I had a really nice pour (thanks again Alex) but I went through it very quickly, laughing at my luck to try this beer. Wish I could have had it fresher, but still a nice treat even with some age.

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Depuration from Russian River Brewing Company
4.21 out of 5 based on 74 ratings.
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