Russian River Brewing Company

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Wild Ale
Ranked #6
Ranked #70
4.59 | pDev: 8.5%
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States
Notes: This beer is very unique and inspired by breweries in the Lambic region of Belgium and, especially, our friends at Cantillon. It is 100% spontaneously fermented, meaning yeast is not added. Once the beer is brewed, it is transferred to a cool-ship or “horny” tank located in our barrel room at the pub. There it sits overnight and collects whatever funky wild yeast and bacteria may be living in the room. The next day it is transferred to oak wine barrels where it ferments wildly and ages for a few months. The end result is a wild, spontaneously fermented, sour, and tasty hand-crafted beer!
Reviews: 596 | Ratings: 2,872 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Patrick2012
Patrick2012 from California

4.71/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

First time having this. Bottled on April 3, 2020.
Poured in a Wine glass. Beautiful hazy yellow/orange. The more I poured the darker it got. Smells like an earthier version of Supplication. Taste is bursting with pears and sour apples. Touch of citrus. And if course it has that excellent Russian River wild ale signature yeasty finish. Wish I could get this daily. Russian Rivers Wild Ale line up is really remarkable and I hope it’s available for as long as I live.

Oct 27, 2021
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sjrider from California

4.04/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle pour- looks like a glass of apple juice ,no head or lacing with a smattering of quickly disappearing bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass. Nose is sour, earthy and funky. Taste follows with hints of oak, a lingering tartness and a flat finish.

Oct 13, 2021
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heysuz from Indiana

4.58/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brew: Russian River Brewing Company – Beatification

Intro: 375 mil. poured into a tulip glass. Shared with a friend.

Appearance: Golden yellow to light orange in color. Minimal to no head

Smell: Acidic is the first term that comes to mind. Second term, dank

Taste: Followed along with the smell. Little to no carbonation. Tart citrusy taste.

Mouthfeel: Cuts through everything. Definitely a pucker up front but subsides as you drink.

Drink: Follows along with mouthfeel. Not something I could drink a lot of at any given time

Conclusion: I’ve had more pleasing but I’ve also had a lot worse (for me). It’s pretty much one and done as with most wild ales with me.

Jul 24, 2021
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colts9016 from Idaho

4.19/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Review 1544
I am a fan of Russian River, Pliny the Younger still eludes my taste buds. Living where I do, getting any beer worthy of writing home is difficult. I saw a bunch of Russian River's wild ales, I knew they had to come home with me. This is a sour beer aged in wine barrels. The beer is 44 degrees and served in a tulip glass. The pour of the beer created a frothy white one-fingered head. The retention lasted maybe 15 seconds, leaving no lacing on the glass. The color is SRM 6, golden with amber hues. The beer is somewhat clear with a load of carbonation bubbles.
Initial aromas in the beer are wine, funky barn, straw, damp earth, and lemons. Nosing further, I detect toasted crackers, horse blanket, oak, a hint of floral, and a touch of herbal.

The flavors in the beer are lemons, chardonnay, funky barn, horse blankets, straw, wheat, toasted crackers, a touch of apple cider, herbal, floral, and champagne-like flavor.

The mouthfeel of the beer is tart, tannic, and bright.

The body of the beer is light, high carbonation, and medium finish.

The beer has this explosion of sourness and funk. The wine barrel aging comes through pleasantly taking the edge off the sourness. I not sure if this my favorite offering from Russian River. This beer is a solid example of a wild ale, but I will not drink it again.

Jun 16, 2021
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Jugs_McGhee from Texas

3.62/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Currently ranked #6 in the "Wild Ale" Top beers list and #70 in the Top Beers list with a perfect score of 100.

375ml brown glass bottle with hood-and-wire cap over a branded cork served chilled into a tulip (as indicated is ideal on the label and even on the cork). Bottled 04/03/20.

"100% spontaneously fermented beer aged in wine barrels." "Barrel aged 9 to 36 months" (that's quite a spread...). "...fermented beer using only wild yeast and bacteria." 6.00% ABV.

HEAD: None really...just a floater ring that's rather thin and weak, dissipating in under 10 seconds.

BODY: Also a bit thin and weak, and certainly dull with a depleted and dareisay undercarbonated look.

I imagine I'm going to enjoy this beer, but we're kidding ourselves if this is a perfect 5 for appearance.

AROMA: Oak, barrel-derived vanillin, white wine, still cidre, obvious lactic acid. The bacterial aromatics are much more subdued than I imagined they'd be coming in...they register, but it's not teeming with lactobacillus like so many American brewed sour ales (I'm looking at you, Cascade Brewing). Doesn't seem as full of life and bacteria-ridden as, say, Allagash's coolship ales, but it's enticing with promises of ample barrel character, microfloral intricacy, and diverse bacteria.

I don't get any of that wet cardboard character one sometimes finds in well-meaning sour ales and I find no signs of infection. Some green apple, sure, suggesting perhaps acetobacter. No vomit-redolent aromatics that would indicate butyric acid are present.

Aromatic intensity is average for the style, maybe even a bit on the timid side. Doesn't scream acidity, but it does seem acidic judging by the aroma.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Zaps with mellow acidity and puckering yet mellow bacteria, hitting on all fronts (pediococcus, brettanomyces yeast, and lactobacillus. Not a lactobomb, yielding to the lactobacillus without letting it dominate the beer's flavour profile.

I can't shake the feeling this would be better fruited. Some source of added sweetness would help counter its dry acidity; this lacks the tartness that often accompanies sourness and I think it's worse for it.

Smooth, smacky, deliberately undercarbonated (and to good effect, I might add, evoking a fine Brittany still cidre), a bit wet up front and a bit dry mid-body.

Oak and concomitant woodsy flavours tie the brew together without feeling in-your-face, but I could do with more barrel flavour myself...I'd guess this particular 2020 batch was aged closer to the 9 month minimum than the 36 month maximum in their claimed range, and that much to its detriment. I don't get barrel vanillin per se or rich toasted oak, and the wine character is decidedly lacking in terms of depth of flavour. I mean there's faint white wine - perhaps muted Chardonnay or Riesling - but it's not as overt or nuanced as I'd like.

Green apple/apple skins, orchard fruit, lime, rustic barnyard funkiness from well attentuated brettanomyces, scatterings of microflora (none of them as interesting as what one would find in a Senne valley sour), vinegar/acetic acid, grass, hay, maybe some faint clove/spice from aged hops.

I suppose the bacteria dominate. Maltwise, I don't get much beyond 2-row and maybe a kiss of Cantillon-like cereal grains. Far from a sweet ale, and I do think it'd be better off fruited as noted above.

OVERALL: It's not a holy shit son of a bitch "man, you've got to try this!" sour ale, and it's not even Russian River's best wine barrel aged sour ale (I'd tend to favour Supplication in that respect), but as an American imitation of Cantillon's spontaneously fermented sour ales, there's no doubt it's rather good, if not quite up there with the Allagash efforts in the category. I don't know that I'd shell out for it again at this price, but I'm glad to have gotten to try it. A long-time want and a damn solid ale, but I don't know that it beats the pants off your typical Belgian gueuze - many of which are easier to find than this and even as imports cost the same if not a biteen less.

I'm an unabashed Russian River fanboy, but while it's certainly rather good, the creme da la creme this is not, and how anyone can give this an honest to God perfect 100 rating given its obvious appearance issues (and what I imagine is to many troublesome undercarbonation) is beyond me.


Jun 12, 2021
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BergBeer from Hawaii

4.47/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 375ml bottle into a stemless wine glass

Look: Crystal clear straw gold with a thin bite head that dissipated quickly

Smell: Very Brett and funk forward. Jay, green apple skins, pears, salinity, oak.

Taste: Light and clean. Green apple skins, pears, white pepper, barnyard funk, light sweet tart and oak.

Feel: Light and clean. Almost aqueous. Drinks so well. Light acidity. Sweet with and off dry finish.

Overall: Just beautiful. I wish the carbonation was up a bit but overall this is a beer that needs to be experienced. The sum is greater then its parts. A description doesn’t do it justice. Pick it up if you see it.

Jun 06, 2021
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RaulMondesi from California

4.15/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don’t know and I don’t care. This beer to me is anything you want it to be. Lying in a meadow with her; standing on top of a mountain peak overlooking the world, or simply sitting your ass on the couch and cold hard chilling. Because it’s beautiful. It just hits me, it caresses me ever so softly. And if I could, I would caress it back. Slap me, baby, I’m happy. Slap me, beautiful, because I am alive.

Good day.

Mar 27, 2021
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beergoot from Colorado

4.33/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 081419 per the bottle label.

Clear, golden body; lively, small bubble carbonation; thick, sudsy head, dense and sculpted. Big wine, fruity and herbal smell; white wine; ripe apricots; green apples. The taste expands the aroma profile; tart and acidic; lime with a touch of lemon; semi-sweet Riesling wine quality; white oak. Medium body; mild sweetness complementing the acidic dryness.

This is a fine, complex yet easy drinking wild ale.

Dec 30, 2020
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laquebrada from California

4.85/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from 375ml bottle dated 3/1/18
Good clarity, white head dissipated quickly.
Woody lemon tropical fruit chalk aroma, reminds me of Drie Fountain.
Very dry, lemon, oaky flavor, with plenty of acidity/sourness, very well attenuated.
Overall, it is very similar to Drie Fountain, and is a world class naturally fermented beer.

Dec 27, 2020
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SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.56/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml corked and caged bottle - date missing - poured into a tulip...thing at 45°F.

Pours a beautiful brilliant clear light straw golden hue, no head, no collar, with slow rising effervescence. Has the appearance of chardonnay in the glass.

Nose: Unbelievably bright and sprightly, with sparkling notes of lemon, lime, pomello, spring meadow blossoms, green apple, petrichor, wet grass, top soil, unripe white grape, damp forest, river rocks, wet hay, old wood, old parchment, desert sage, old attic, musty farmhouse, old oak, woody vanillin, mature white wine, stone cellar, and this beautiful floral, almost perfumey wild brightness. Some bretty funk really shines through, and this is channelling a lot of Cantillon spirit.

Palate: Beatification greets the palate with a huge flash of bright, sour lemon. It brings a pucker, but not an acetic vinegar bite - sour lemon juice atop a massive brett funk. Lemons, lime, citron, unripe white grape, fresh grass, spring flowers, underripe apricot and nectarine, plum, green apple, and a hint of beeswax, before this firm, punchy bitterness bites down hard. With this, the acidity is obliterated, and the truly funky notes start to emerge - wild mushroom, bitter peach pit, bitter grapefruit peel, sweat, cracked white peppercorn, sea shells, dried leaves, oversteeped flower tea, cork tree, and finally, tons of splintery, tannic, musty white oak. This almost pithy, resinous bitterness just lingers on and on, slowly receding as the oak becomes more prominent. Some pale, slightly toasted grain emerges, and by now, there isn't a trace of sourness. The finish sees an eventual drop in bitterness, with the oak taking the spotlight, finishing tannic, drying, and clean, with a whisper of white pepper lingering.

Mouthfeel/Body: For a 6% ABV spontaneously fermented ale, the body has some presence, never feeling thin or lacking, but remaining snappy and fluid. The bitterness surely adds weight. A quick pucker up front that fades in a short moment, with tannic bitterness taking the lead. Effervescence is lively and zippy, but not aggressive, and with very fine bubbles. Dry. Very drying.

Overall: This one is unique. This reminds me a whole lot of Cantillon Iris. It doesn't have the same immense depth, and it's quite a bit more bitter, but blind, I'd believe this was a bitter oude gueuze if you told me. The bitterness is very unique, and it adds a whole other layer. The fast evolution of flavours and senses is quite remarkable. It's so delicate, bright, and nuanced - much like Florence, but then that bold shift comes out of nowhere. It clearly has some very mature ale blended in, as there's a ton of oak, and it's just a wonderful expression that captures the beauty of spontaneous fermentation.

Nov 23, 2020
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npolachek from New York

4.55/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Direct from the brewery, this beer is packed with Brett. So earthy, and crispy to the taste. There's a slight bitter edge in this one, and it's pure almost like from Belgium.

Oct 09, 2020
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Benish from Wisconsin

4.49/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Poured a hazy yellow color. No translucence. There was a very delicate white head after pouring.

Smell: At the nose, there is Brett funk, some oak, and citrus. Not so in depth but simplistic.

Taste: very earthy with barnyard funk and a strange essence of wild mushrooms. Also notes of nectarine, citrus, and oak. Surprisingly not as overly sour as I expected; therefore keeping it easy on the palate.

Mouthfeel: just little acidity. Medium bodied.

Overall: Really enjoyed it. A very easy and approachable sour. Could easy enjoy another bottle. It does take after a gueuze with its distinctive earthiness and funk although I'm not aware if Beatification is a multiple year blend?

Sep 08, 2020
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ArkyVaughan from New Jersey

4.75/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle pour at the 2019 Festival of Farmhouse Ales. This one absolutely lived up the hype. Perfectly balanced. The best sour beer I've had from Russian River and that is saying something.

Aug 05, 2019
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.49/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At last got my hands on this RR classic! Golden orange with no head save a clear ring. Wonderful aromas of oak, wet earth, lemon, grass, hay, grapefruit zest, barrel must, and grains. Taste is more acidic and vinegar forward, but has all the same flavors from the smell, with an ending backed by sour oak and plenty of funk, but also leaves the palate pretty citrus sweet. Not the most complex, but plenty flavorful. Feel is tart, funky and has a vinegar artful harshness.

Jul 26, 2019
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sjdevel from Utah

4.25/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - very high carbonation and a clear pale yellow/straw color - stays quite active. Smell - decent amount of funk from 'spontaneous fermentation' - slight vinegar hint. Taste - pretty powerful blast of sourness and tart fruit - slight yeast and bread - some malt - mostly sour but backs off and other flavors come through then. Feel - medium bodied (which is a bit fuller than a typical barrel aged sour) and stays at a higher level of carbonation than expected. Overall - this is a great beer - I picked up this bottle in the original R.R. tap room in March 2019 - not as sour as I expected with a spontaneous fermented beer - a bit more complexity in this one as well - very enjoyable

May 19, 2019
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neenerzig from Ohio

4.3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Got a bottle of this in July of 2017 when my best friend Jon and I visited the brewery when I went to visit him in northern California where he lives. This particular bottle was bottled on 2/15/17. Been holding onto this until tonight. Decided tonight is the night to finally drink this one. Poured out the bottle I just uncorked into my tulip glass, this beer pours a fairly cloudy/hazy light golden color with a good amount of little bubbles rising to the beer's surface. Has a nice white head that's about an inch thick when first poured that settles eventually to a medium sized ring lining the inside of the glass. Not much lacing here though. Aromas of some bready malts along with sour, musty, barnyard funk and oak notes along with a hint of citrus fruit. The taste follows suit, with some bready malts along with sour, musty, barnyard funk and oak notes along with a hint of citrus fruit and some green apple tartness. A very nice flavor profile overall indeed. Has a fairly crisp and slightly prickly, yet also smooth, medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Has a clean finish with a nice sour and slightly dry aftertaste. Very easy to drink in teh way well crafted beer ought to be.


Apr 05, 2019
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JBowenGeorgia from Georgia

4.49/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a mostly clear straw yellow with a thin white head that disappeared quickly.
Smells a bit funky, oaky, light notes of fruit, lemon maybe some apple.
Taste follows, lots of oak, Brett, light fruit.
Crisp, light to medium body with good carb levels.
Overall probably the best of the style that I have had stateside. Definitely see the Cantillon influence on this one.

Feb 16, 2019
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patre_tim from Thailand

4.39/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Straw with a hint of haze, moderate to few large, fast rising bubbles, and a fast dissipating white foam.

Smells really funky, sour, lambic like with oak notes and dusty cellars. Reminds me of Cantillon brewery in Brussels. Some white wine, and yellow stone fruit.

Sour with no sweetness, macaroni, oak notes, sour yellow plums, lemon juice, gravel, and dusty cellar. A hint of dull bitterness as well.

Medium, sour, acidic body with moderate to low carbonation. Tart, dry finish.

I got this in Santa Rosa at Russian River's original brewhouse, and am drinking it in Redding, Feb 4th, 2018. Excellent brew!

Feb 05, 2019
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JohnnyHopps from Indiana

4.23/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - The poured the color of apple juice with visible carbonation, but little head.

Smell - The nose was very tart, and had fruity notes that I could not attach to a fruit.

Taste - The initial impression was sour apples. Later notes of guava andvpeppery spice were identifiable. As the taste progresses, it seemed to become more acidic.

Mouthfeel - The body seemed thicker than the average sour, which I found impressive.

Mouthfeel - I enjoyed this sour, but I think scarcity drives the score. Russian River makes better sours than this one.

Jan 01, 2019
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MacMalt from New Jersey

4.49/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I received this from @bum4ever in a BIF box. It was a "mystery" beer and my initial notes were made without knowing its identity. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass. It pours a slightly hazy bright gold with orange hues. The effervescent, ecru-colored head dissipated quickly giving it a champagne-like appearance. It has the unmistakable smell of brett yeast, along with lemon and perhaps a hint of lime. There is also a distinct smell of oak. It's very fragrant. As expected, the taste opens strongly sour with bitter lemon notes. There is also a subtle taste of grape that gives it a small amount of balancing sweetness. As the glass warms you can increasingly taste the oak barrel and it finishes fairly bitter. The flavors blend very well. As expected for a Wild Ale, the feel is crisp and light with lively carbonation, and the 6% ABV doesn't distract from appreciation of the flavors. Overall, this is by far one of the finest Wild Ales I've had the pleasure to drink. Thank you, Josh, for the opportunity.

Dec 30, 2018
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Buck89 from Tennessee

4.49/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2018 edition, poured into a tulip. A clear bright golden color with a modest white head that quickly settled. Crisp citrus aroma - lemon and orange. Some Brett funky esters and dough as well. The taste was phenomenal. Juicy citrus notes mixed with grassy, funky elements, doughy bread, and earthy elements. Moderately tart and very drinkable. The cherry on top was the elegant oaky presence throughout. Not overwhelming, but enough to easily notice. Exceptional.

Nov 29, 2018
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Beersnake1 from California

4.38/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2017 vintage. Poured from fridge temp and allowed to warm. Pours a beautiful yellow with quickly dissipating white head. No sediment in the bottle. Nose is insane. A huge burst of citrus smacks you in the face. Lemon and orange primarily. A bit of pine, wheat, funk, and tartness. I can tell that this is going to be sour. Taste is as expected. Sour upfront, with a bitterness on the back end. Citrus peel really comes through, with a really nice earthy taste that runs throughout. Pine and a bit of leather are present. Mouthfeel is dry with good carbonation. Overall, a really nice example of the style. They always compete with the best.

Oct 15, 2018
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AyatollahGold from Indiana

3.83/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pouring from a 375 ml. bottle into a tall wine glass. Bottle dated 3/01/18. This beer pours out light straw/lemon in color. And forms a thick white crown. The smell is some fruit sweetness and tartness. Peaches, apples, pears. The taste is sharp and ripe fruit and a slight funk. Almost has a burning like tartness. I am just really not coming out impressed with these Russian Rivers I have tried. I wish I was but it's just not adding up to me. I've had better sours than this. I want more complexity, more flavor. Idk just not adding up to me the ratings.

Aug 28, 2018
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Rristow from Ohio

4.31/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tasted from bottle batch 7. Pours a slight cloudy gold with no head. Lot of oak notes along with wine notes. A little bit of sour funk. Taste refreshing mildly sour funky refreshing beer. Some grassy notes along with grapes and maybe a little peach. Very well done.

Jun 19, 2018
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grover37 from District of Columbia

3.99/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Batch 6, 9/11/13

Far from a gueuze. Pretty acetic nose, mostly just vinegar, lemon, and some barrel in the nose. Taste is better though still acetic, nice bright citrus fruit, mostly lemon. Low carb, medium body. This is very disappointing. I feel it did not age well, but it should have.

May 19, 2018
Beatification from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 2872 ratings