Depuration | Russian River Brewing Company

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73 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: 73 |  Reviews: 54
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.

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Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of t0rin0
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of largadeer
4.2/5  rDev 0%
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 Thorpe429
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of BEER88
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.51/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 001. Sunny tangerine with multiple fine bubbles buffeting a light shower of falling yeast as they rise, eventually plinking into the bottom of a barely beige crown. The foam is crackly and unsticky. It doesn't look very attractive as a result and is leaving the glass untouched. Not an auspicious start.

The nose gets things back on track in a major way. Who would have ever imagined that microorganisms and beer would be such a wonderful combination? Depuration uses two different yeast (wine and Brettanomyces) and two different bacteria (Lactobacillus and Pediococcus). That's both ironic and amusing in an ale whose name means 'to cleanse or purify or to become cleansed or purified'.

Simply put, the aroma is an olfactory symphony. The critters add a stunning amount of funky complexity to a base beer that would have probably have been just as aromatic and just as delicious on its own. The fruitiness of the Chardonnay grapes is easily appreciated, as is the buttery oakiness imparted by the barrels.

It would have been almost impossible for RR Depuration to taste as fantastic as it smells. Vinnie has given it a good shot, though. If you like sour funk, seek this one out as soon as possible. Some might think the combination of Brett, Lacto and Pedio is over the top. They would be wrong. Just be aware what you're in for before you pull the cork.

White wine comparisons cannot be ignored. No surprise given that 60 lbs of Chardonnay grapes were used per barrel. The beer has a tart fruitiness and an underlying sweetness that marries perfectly with the more esoteric flavors that are zinging this way and that each time the glass is upended. What a treat for the tongue!

Batch 001 is approximately 2.5 years into its recommended 3 year lifespan for aging. The flavor has probably never been better, but the mouthfeel is showing signs of wear. It's a little light and the carbonation is on the harsh and fizzy side (better later in the bottle). Bottle conditioning can be hit or miss... and this one is more hit than miss.

Depuration is yet another outstanding American wild-sour ale from one of the planet's master brewers. It's too bad that Russian River no longer ships their beer across the entire country. Hopefully, those days will return. This lip smacking, puckery, funktastic masterpiece is worth whatever shipping charges are required.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

huge thanks to Calton for brining this one to our tasting last night. a long time want of mine i was thrilled to see it show up. poured into a snifter.

not at all what I expected as a nice brown colored liquid came chugging out of that bottle. small bubbles around the side and very hazy look to it. aroma is soo odd. lots of toffee, caramel, buttery notes that are layered on top of an odd sour note, but it really really works. flavor was more of the same, you can tell how sweet this was originally as it still maintains massive complexity and a wonderful smooth finish. such rich toffee and complex favor in the finish it was simply unlike anything i have had before.

overall just a superbly wonderful beer. enough good cannot be said of this.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.89/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled acquired via trade. Thanks Brian! Shared at my tasting on August 7, 2010 alongside six other Russian River wild ales.

Depuration appears a slightly hazy yellow color. There is only a tiny head which leaves no discernible lacing.

The aroma is wonderful. Grapes and a general tannic quality along with hints of oak barrel.

I really enjoyed this. I only wish that there was more, as this was a 375mL bottle. I enjoyed the tannic or wine-like aspect of the beer very much. I definitely found a grape presence in there as well. Russian River wild ales are some of the best beers on earth, in my humble opinion. I feel very fortunate to have sampled this rare delicacy.

M: Very tannic, with a slight vinegar bite in the finish. Terrifically sour and wonderful.

D: Of course, I'd love to try this again. Sadly, there are no plans for a re-release. A great experience.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to Andy for bringing this one to the tasting yesterday. I'm very excited to be reviewing this one.

Review #400

A: The pour is a very hazy golden color with some small carbonation bubbles, but not too much in the way of head formation.

S: The grapes really stand out despite this bottle being about four years old. The fruit provides a very interesting combination of buttery sweetness and tartness which is very inviting. There is a bit of lemony lactic tartness to the nose as well.

T: The nose translates almost perfectly to the palate, with the flavor being a little bit better (though that's certainly hard to do). Again, the grapes really come through strongly and have such an amazing contrast. The front end features the sweetness of the grapes with the back end being tart, fruity, and dry.

M: The beer is smooth, and despite the low visual appearance of carbonation, there are a nice amount of bubbles on the tongue.

D: Easily one of my favorite beers I've had the pleasure of trying. It's too bad this one won't be made again and that it's so hard to come by.

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Photo of rab53
3/5  rDev -28.6%

Photo of GClarkage
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

07/15/07- Purchased at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.

Presentation- 12.7oz bottle, batch #1. I could look up the website to see when it was bottled, but alas, I am too much of a lazy sullen pig right now. Poured into my Pilaarbijter tulip.

Appearance- Semi clouded golden pour. Effervescent carbonation bubbles rise to the top producing a seltzer-like 1/4 inch bubbly head. Very little lace action at all, but pretty common for a wild ale.

Smell- Traces of oak with a decent vanilla whiff. A bit of barnyard funk followed by some white muscat grapes.

Taste- About the perfect tartness for a beer that I have encountered. This one and Deification. Lots of chardonnay and muscat tastes which give it the mild sweetness at the end of the swallow in the mouthfeel. Also seems like there may be some other fruit flavors as well...apricot comes to mind. Not as much oak in the taste as in the nose.

Mouthfeel- Sparkling and biting carbonation kinda like a Prosecco style champagne, but not as gassy. Dry, but not too dry.

Drinkability- Vinnie does it again. Damn, how I wish I had the opportunity to buy more than one of these a few months back.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Bitterbill for this brew

Batch 001

Awesome pop/smoke when opened. Poured into a chalice a nice slightly cloudy golden orange color, tons of carbonation, nice little fizzy white head which dissappears quickly, no lacing. The nose is malty, tangy, citrus, grapes, some spices, slight oak, maybe some caramel thrown in. The taste is malty, tangy, nice touch of grapes, citrus, and a nice touch of oak. Medium body. Very drinkable, another awesome brew from RR, highly recommended.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.74/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to stowehop for this treat. Batch 001. Served in a Duvel tulip and shared with BeerTruth after a long adventurous drive from Maine, followed by a little bar-hopping in the 'Cuse.

A - Pours with a finger of foam that eventually settles to a thick ring and some haze. Not much in the way of lacing. Hazed apricot body that is quite pleasant to look at.

S - Sweet Jesus! Even though this is 3+ years old, it sizzles with the intensity of fresh white grapes, tropical brett notes, general funkiness, wine oak, and light acetic acid. I think the oak has dissipated some from the initial reviews, and revealed the rich, deep, complex web of flavors. It's got all the things I love about sours, working in wonderful harmony.

T - The taste is a little smoothed out, but only a bit. Wonderful forefront of sweet ripe grapes and funky fruity brett, and a finish of sourness and white wine tannins. You can perceive the relationship to Temptation.

M - Superb. Soft, but lively, carbonation that supports a body that is big enough for 7%, but light enough to be refreshing. No perceptible alcohol. Finishes dry, but never reaches parched proportions.

D - I didn't know this was made from Temptation when I drank it, but looking back that makes a lot of sense seeing how similarly I scored the two beers. Again, a dark horse beer emerges from a crowded field to be the highlight of a wonderful weekend.

Why is this not being made again? I will buy Russian River Muscat grapes if that's what it takes...

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Photo of drabmuh
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Somehow I was at the right place at the right time and got to sample some of this bottle thanks to the other Matt. Thanks buddy. A very cool treat, very cool.

Beer poured into a snifter. Beer is yellow to amber in color. Forms nearly no head, no lacing and the carbonation level is low. There is a moderate haze to the beer overall. Looks OK for a sour.

The aroma is sour with a Brett funkiness to the whole thing, could be some stale wood I'm smelling from the wine barrel but overall its mostly lactic with a biting acetic tinge. Very nice.

Beer is quite sour but not tart. I'm not picking up much of the vinous properties I was expecting. This beer is medium to light in body and leads off with sour, follows up with more sour, and finishes mildly dry. I could definitely drink more of this stuff if that were possible. A rare treat for sure. Thanks Matt.

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Photo of brandoman63
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

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.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Wetherel for opening this up. Pale orange/golden with a fizzy head that settles. Aroma is of grapes, vinegar, brett, and some lemon. Initial taste is tart and sour. Sour grapes, some vanilla oak, reminiscent of chardonnay, a sour chardonnay. The carbonation is very high on this beer and the finish is very dry.

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Photo of weeare138
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up at The Toronado in San Fran. Batch 001...
Appears a semi-transparent, light gold with a small, white head that fades into a gentle cap and mellow collar.
Smell is of honey, grapes, apples, cherries, horseblanket, and funk.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a standout of tart grapes and citrus coming out.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, vivacious, and funky with some tart apples lingering.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
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 akorsak
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
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 Viggo
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375 ml corked and caged bottle, big thanks to oakbluff for pulling this one out of the stash! Batch 001.
Pours a slightly hazed orange amber, very thin white head forms, quickly fizzes down to a thin ring around the glass. Smell is great, grapes, honey, funky sourness, lemon acidity, wood, some light fruits, white cranberry juice, wine, more grapiness, real cool. Taste is great too, very sour and acidic up front, lemons and white grape juice, white cranberry juice, oak, touch of sweetness through the middle with a nicely sour finish. Mouthfeel is light bodied with medium carbonation, dry and acidic. Real nice beer, right amount of sourness and acidity. Very drinkable. Thanks Scotty!

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
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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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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Depuration from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 73 ratings