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Depuration | Russian River Brewing Company

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74 Ratings

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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 74 |  Reviews: 54
Photo of k3n
2.98/5  rDev -29%
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 rab53
3/5  rDev -28.6%

Photo of cpetrone84
3.14/5  rDev -25.2%
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 joel66
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%

Photo of DaSolomon
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%

Photo of jdoherty
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%
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 -17.4%
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.

 914 characters

Photo of jbuddle
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of craytonic
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
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.

 723 characters

Photo of Goldorak
3.74/5  rDev -11%
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!

 685 characters

Photo of pisano
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of kkipple
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
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!

 1,588 characters

Photo of hero27
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

 448 characters

Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

 753 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

 297 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

 2,447 characters

Photo of CharlesDarwin
4/5  rDev -4.8%
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!

 978 characters

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Mike
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of MordorMongo
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of CityofBals
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Sean9689
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of baybum
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of vacax
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

 635 characters

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Depuration from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 74 ratings
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