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:
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Ratings: 73 |  Reviews: 54
Photo of rowew
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 375 ml corked and caged, barrel aged 15 months. Batch 001. Lots of description on the bottle.

Appearance: Attempted to decant, but ended up with just a bit of sediment. Oh well, better than wasting any of this beer! Orange color, with very little head.

Smell: Lots of brett, smells a bit like a combination of a fruity white wine and balsamic vinegar.

Taste: Mmm.. nice tart flavor. Starts off a tart, some nice acetic flavors, with a good malt background. Lots of fresh fruit flavors. Ends puckeringly tart.

Overall impression: Fantastic - why don't more brewers make sour beers! Very enjoyable, I really wish I could get something like this on a regular basis.

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Photo of Sixpoint
4.73/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Is there a reason why everyone is sleeping on this beer?

Before I go on any RANTS here, when a neo-con defenestrates...

First, I must give props to my man James Bonomo for procuring this rare and precious brew. Well done ole chap.

Appearance - brilliant piercing liquid gold.

Smell - quite subdued, slight lactic sourness, mild honey malt aroma.

Taste - mind-blowing. Like a chilled Riesling and your favorite Pilsner beer with a crisp tartness. Slight tannin from the barrel aging. A gem.

Mouthfeel - out of this world crispness, dry as a bone, but not astringent.

Drinkability - the most perfect beer I've had to date on a hot muggy day in NYC.

Bravo, Vinnie. You've outdone yourself.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 001

A - Pours a hazy yellow with little head.

S - Sweet white grapes are the dominant aroma followed by a touch of brett sour funkiness.

T - Similar to the aroma. White grape juice, chardonay, a hint of hay and spice in the middle with some tart/sour brett in the finish.

M - Medium mouthfeel with light carbonation. Crisp and tart.

D - Very wine/grape like with atouch of brett character. The brett character is what makes this one enjoyable. The RR website says batch 001 will be the only one with white grapes. I am interested in trying a future batch. I have edited my review because this one has gotten much better since August. Currently 12/19/07

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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!

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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 neonbrown82
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Yet another good wild ale from Russian River. Thanks to Crosling for the trade.

The beer pours to a clear golden color with only a light amber hue. Has a medium collar of white head that recedes to a ring after a few minutes. Lacing is not bad. Some carbonation apparent.

The smell is good. Light tartness producing a sharp citrus flavor. A hint of oaky vanilla. There is plenty of white wine grape aroma as well. Very subtle alcohol burn in the nostrils.

The taste is very good. Very dry. A chardonnay-like grape flavor hits up front, followed by a very gentle tart flavor from wild yeasts and bacteria. Light citrus notes in the finish, along with some vanilla and coconut from the barrel.

The body is light to medium and very dry. The bugs seem to have eaten every last bit of residual sugars in the bottle. Very crisp carbonation. There is a very gentle burn of alcohol, but not present in the flavor. All that is left in the finish is a nice lingering citrus. This is one of the most lightly tart wild ales I've had. Very good and easy to drink. Probably the weakest link of the Russian River wild ales I've had, but very enjoyable nonetheless. I'm heartbroken that I won't be able to order RR beers from their website anymore. Hopefully I will encounter more traders who are willing to part with these gems.

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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 illidurit
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Appearance is a dark peach color with a hint of pink, very interesting. 2 finger white head of champagney bubbles. No retention or lace, appropriate for the wininess of this beer.

Nice champagne scent. Tart grapes, vague vinegar, brett.

Excellent tart taste, a beautifully sour, reminiscent of champagne. Barnyardy, bandaidy, all the crazy brett tastes that make RR beers so unique. Delicious.

Despite the fizzy head, the carbonation isn't disruptive at all, in fact it's pretty perfect. Medium alcohol level, refreshingly tart. Smooth and pleasant.

This beer's rarity isn't the only reason I wish I had more. It's a great concoction by the RR guys.

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

Poured into a large Spiegelau wine glass.

Beer is a bright gold color, slightly hazy, and with a small white head.

Aromas are wild and funky. There are notes of white wine, vinegar, and straw. Very pungent smelling beer.

Taste is much more subtle than I expected. There is a very bright, crisp, and dry white wine like character, with subtle fruit flavors and an underlying slightly sweet maltiness and a touch of oak. The finish is sour and tart, not overly sour like some of the other Russian River Wild Ales, but it matches well with the subtle characteristics of this one.

Mouthfeel is nice. I have mentioned this before, Russian River always has very nice mouthfeel in their beers.

Drinkability is very good. A nice subtle yet interesting beer. Not quite as good as some of the other Wild Ales from RR... but still an excellent and pleasant one to drink.

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Photo of Crosling
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
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 Sephiroth
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
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 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 ggaughan
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
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 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 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.

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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 Westsidethreat
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
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 barleywinebrewer
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
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 bennetj17
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
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 kmpitz2
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
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 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 SacoDeToro
4.41/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared a bottle with Natalie Cilurzo at the Stone 10th Anniversary festival. Thanks Natalie!

The beer poured a pale yellow with a minimal white head.

The aroma was bursting with tart lactic acid, fruity esters, and oak.

The flavor of the beer was bright and tangy, but at just the right level. A healthy amount of oakiness and vanilla made their way through the sips. The hops were subdued and helped round things out. This beer is very complex and almost champagne-like.

The carbonation was high (correct for the style) and helped at bite to the beer.

According to Natalie, this beer was RR Temptation aged in oak for 2 years with their own homegrown muscat grapes.

What a treat!

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Photo of francisweizen
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Please note: this review is of a barrel sample of this beer. It was not cask conditioned in any way, just served from a cask completely un-conditioned. This is the closest serving type I could think of to use though.

Tulip glass sampled right from the barrel (chardonnay/french oak/about 8 years old) at Russian River. Thanks Vinnie! This is a nice looking brew. Hazy golden yellow with a small loose head of white which is expected as this brew was still in the cask, and has not been bottled, or properly carbonated for serving via cask or draught. The aromas are very similar to that of the temptation ale. This one has Brett, lacto, and pedio i'm pretty sure so the funk is definately there. This brew also had a bunch of grapes (muscat I think) added right into the barrel. This makes the aroma even more acidic and sour, and makes it sort of like a Vigneronne sort of thing. The taste is funky, lactic, acidic, sour, fruity, and wine-like. Mind-blowing, to put it another way. Mouthfeel is slick and sticky, but smooth and the drinkability is insanely good. i can't wait until this is bottled or another batch is made ready for draught. I really want to get back out to RR, and Cali in general and i'm soooo glad the bottles Vinnie is relasing are making their way to the philly area in abundance! We are lucky. If you see this brew, try it!

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Depuration from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 73 ratings