Russian River Brewing Company

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American Wild Ale
Ranked #7
Ranked #62
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: 584 | Ratings: 2,811 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of ArkyVaughan
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.

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Photo of REVZEB
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.

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Photo of sjdevel
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

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Photo of neenerzig
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.


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Photo of JBowenGeorgia
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.

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Photo of patre_tim
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!

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
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.

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Photo of MacMalt
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.

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Photo of Buck89
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.

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Photo of Beersnake1
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.

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Photo of AyatollahGold
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.

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Photo of Rristow
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.

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Photo of grover37
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.

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Photo of FriedSlug
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.

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Photo of Sabtos
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

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Photo of eppie82
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.

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Photo of MFMB
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.

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Photo of Sirnickatnite
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 !

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Photo of amano_h
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.

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Photo of MilwaukeeBeerMaker
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.

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Photo of von_kaiser
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.

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Photo of unclekeith
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.

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Photo of Radcpa
4.1/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light straw cloudy color with plenty of carbination and white head that desipates quickly. Mild citrus aroma. Taste is a pleasant tart citrus with a little bite as it goes down.

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Photo of anteatr23
3.74/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a transluscent pale orange with champagne like carbonation. Smells of apple juicy, slightly reminiscent of vinegar. Taste is powerfully sour, fruity and mostly easy drinking. Mouthfeel is somewhat harsh despite this bottle being nearly 5 years old. Hasn't mellowed out too much. Still, enjoyed it.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at the ol' source. Been waiting to try this for ages. Very hazy. No head. Very sour smelling and tasting. Noticeable dry wine character. Lingering yet punctual flavor. Not surprised this is a highly regarded brew. I learned about sours through the -ation series from Russian River. Maybe the sheen has worn off just a but but this was still a well prescribed notch in the belt.

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Beatification from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 100 out of 100 with 2811 ratings