Russian River Brewing Company

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Wild Ale
Ranked #6
Ranked #67
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: 587 | Ratings: 2,836 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SierraNevallagash
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.

Monday at 08:11 PM
Photo of npolachek
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
Photo of Benish
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
Photo of ArkyVaughan
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
Photo of REVZEB
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
Photo of sjdevel
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
Photo of neenerzig
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
Photo of JBowenGeorgia
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
Photo of patre_tim
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
Photo of JohnnyHopps
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
Photo of MacMalt
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
Photo of Buck89
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
Photo of Beersnake1
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
Photo of AyatollahGold
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
Photo of Rristow
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
Photo of grover37
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
Photo of FriedSlug
FriedSlug from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pale gold and clear until you hit the yeast at the bottom. Smells sweet and funky with hay and lemon. Nice sour, tart taste with lots of fruit. Reminds me of unripened pineapple and lemon zest. Nice sweetness and carb. Really great beer.

May 14, 2018
Photo of Sabtos
Sabtos from Ohio

4.09/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Sparkling vibrant gold with a large, airy off-white foam disappearing into a shimmering, lightly bubbling surface.

Aroma is a mix of white wine and slightly spicy, funky aged cheese and hay with sharply sour notes of tangerine, white grape and toasty, drying white oak. There's a bit of bread far in the background.

Taste is sharply sour with a complex woodiness. White wine, green grape and toasted seed flavors mingle well with each other. A nice oaky swallow adds an odd, toasty bitterness that may be contributing a touch of wild greens.

An effervescent carbonation turns into an airy froth through a smooth, medium body with a tangy, semi-dry finish.

2017 vintage

Apr 23, 2018
Photo of eppie82
eppie82 from Illinois

4.44/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 021517. Clear yellow appearance with a good bit of foam upon pour. Foam and bubbles are similar to that of sparkling wine. Lemony, with a bit of a barnyard funk aroma and flavor. Not overly acidic/aggressive as some of the other RR sours. Oakiness does come out as it warms. Smooth and crisp at the end.

A delightful sour that I'm happy to try, but there are a couple of other RR sours I would rather have.

Mar 21, 2018
Photo of MFMB
MFMB from Idaho

4.58/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 2-17 consumed 3-18. Pours a hazy medium yellow color with notes of peach. Thin white head that is short lasting. Nose is of apple and grape skin, light funk and wet oak. Taste of apple skin, grape must with hints of damp wood and a light mellow yogurt smoothness. Pasture grass after a rain storm and a ever so slight clove like flair that leaves as fast as it appeared. Medium body with ample carbonation given the bc. Dry semi smooth oak finish.

Mar 05, 2018
Photo of Sirnickatnite
Sirnickatnite from Texas

4.72/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured a 2015 Beatification on New Years .. Gotta love the cork pop you get. Poured a hazy yellow with a tinge of orange. Smell is that of what I imagine a great sour should smell. The tart, the oak, the nice funk really shines on this beer. Reminds me a lot of some of the best Jester King has to offer. Wow overall this a fantastic beer and if you are lucky enough to acquire one of these great beers, know that you have a good turn of luck. Cheers !

Jan 01, 2018
Photo of amano_h
amano_h from Oregon

4.24/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Back when I first started trading and was still knee deep in my "ticking phase" of craft beer tutelage, Beatification was probably one of the biggest white whales on the planet, second only to the magnum version of itself.

It's perhaps fitting that I didn't get to try it prior to visiting Belgium and really appreciating what a traditional spontaneously fermented ale is supposed to taste like as well as its potential, else this might not have been an experience I'd wanted to seek out twice, or surely an experience I'd regret initiating as "FT: b2 BEAT" was almost impossible to fill an ISO out for.

Although there are some striking parallels one could draw from this beer to its Anderlecht-based inspiration, like many previous attempts to nail down the Bruxellois style in an American setting (e.g. Cable Car, Elements of Composition, Oak Theory) it comes convincing close but isn't quite worthy of rubbing shoulders with their counterparts from Pajottenland.

The aroma actually doesn't stray too far from what you'd expect from a lambic aged in wine barrels. Bright lemon zest, green apple skin, cork, and wet oak comprise the main olfactory component of the ale. The gueuze-resemblant main notes are accentuated by hints of hay, sweaty gym sock-like funk, and some light tannins toward the back end. The oak gently recedes as the brew warms up, letting some of the more sour notes take center stage.

The sensation on the palate mirrors the nose admirably, as acetic notes in the form of bright citrus and sour apples take center stage. The sour characteristic lose their age quickly, however, giving way to a nice cleansing wave of barnyard funk, oak, and some vinous/tannic flavors.
Like most "American Wild Ale" interpretations of lambic, however, the finish is rather crisp and clean, instead of some of the sour or the oak-like funky notes lingering in your mouth like that drunk uncle that always sticks around far after the party's finished.
Some of the more drying oak notes makes a brief reappearance after a few sips, but fail to leave a lasting impression.
Medium-light bodied with carbonation more resemblant of sparkling wine than beer. The brew finishes crisp and clean as aforementioned; I'd say the overall mouthfeel is more table beer than a lambic or a gueuze. Considering that a bottle of Gueuze 100% Lambic is barely half the price of what RRBC charges for Beatification, I'd rank it closer to the likes of Geuze Boon Vat no. XX or Oud Beersel Oude Geuze Vielle.

Dec 16, 2017
Photo of MilwaukeeBeerMaker
MilwaukeeBeerMaker from Wisconsin

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

This review is for the most current release, batch 8. Nice golden color with some cloudiness and a good mix of tartness and funk. Will be holding onto my second bottle for awhile to see how it will develop at some point in the future.

Sep 26, 2017
Photo of von_kaiser
von_kaiser from Connecticut

4.34/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

nice little pop once opening with a soft carb feel....golden cloudy appearance. funky tart nose. extreme funk on the initial taste then a mildly tart finish that balances out amazingly. steep price and all but i would revisit if the opportunity presents itself.

Aug 31, 2017
Photo of unclekeith
unclekeith from Alaska

3.77/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

February 2017 bottle in a chalice

Hazy straw color with a small head that was quick to dissipate. Nice citrus /wheat on the nose. Definitely on the sour side of things - a bit much for me. Thin mouthfeel. Very good.

Aug 20, 2017
Beatification from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 2836 ratings