Apical Dominance
Russian River Brewing Company

Apical DominanceApical Dominance
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Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States
Blonde Ale - American
Ranked #5
Ranked #3,378
4.23 | pDev: 7.8%
May 02, 2022
Feb 10, 2018
Apical DominanceApical Dominance
Notes: Considered a Hoppy Blonde by RR. Since 2012 Natalie and Vinnie have been eyeing experimental hop HBC-692 at the experimental hopyard at Select Botanical’s in Yakima, WA. It particularly struck a chord with them because of its distinctive pink grapefruit aroma. One of the highlights of the their annual trip to Yakima for hop selection is “rubbing” or smelling this hop. We chose to brew a hoppy Blonde Ale to really showcase the hop character. This batch also includes Citra, Crystal and Comet hops. Apical Dominance has a beautiful grapefruit/citrus and melon aroma, with mild bitterness, and a lingering finish.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Ratings by RyanK252:
Photo of RyanK252
4.18/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by RyanK252 from California

Bottle poured into a Russian River Brewing Co pub glass

A: Pours golden yellow with a frothy of white head that settles to a firm layer and leaves plenty of thick lacing.

S: Vibrant citrus, soft tropical and stone fruit, floral notes, slight grassy herbal notes, crackery malt, and a little sweetness.

T: Bright citrus, pink grapefruit, orange, and lemon, floral, a little tropical and stone fruit, mango, peach, apricot, and passion fruit, slightly resinous grassy herbal undertones, crackery malt, and a little sweetness.

M: A touch on the lighter side of medium body, moderate carbonation

O: I'm not going to argue with Vinnie about this being a "hoppy blonde", I'd call it a pale ale, but... Whatever you call it, it's a damn good beer. Kind of an exercise in the beauty of simplicity and balance. The hops are allowed to shine without slapping your tongue around. Exactly the kind of well crafted beer you'd expect from Russian River.

Jan 10, 2022
More User Ratings:
4.18 by 2beerdogs from California on May 02, 2022
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by StonedTrippin from Colorado

insanely impressive beer here, scored a single can at the brewery and drank it on the way back down to the city, wildly flavorful and distinct, an incredibly unique hop aroma and flavor that seems new to me, especially at this intensity. neat they chose a blonde for the base, i guess it keeps the grain interference to a minimum so these hops can really shine, but at the same time, this is strong for the style, hopped like an ipa or at least a pale, and sort of crosses into that range with some finishing bitterness too. the aroma is insane, apple blossom lotion, vanilla, and almost ripe red berries, its feminine and sexy, and is supported by more familiar clean citrus and melon notes, maybe light spruce too, just a tad of honey sweetness in the mix, and a very tidy ferment. the hops are super fragrant and start right away, wow. the flavor follows, insane how late the flavor climax is here. uniquely vanilla forward for a hop, not sure i have really tasted anything like it, and it peaks after i have already swallowed it. soft in the east coast ipa sense for awhile, some stone fruit, red apple, and jasmine also present, wildly interesting on the hop side, and light enough to drink i guess, although not all that minimal, sturdier than most blonde types anyway. bright and brand new, one of a kind, not to be missed!

Feb 19, 2022
4.55 by Hophazzard from California on Jan 23, 2022
Photo of entheos
3.83/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by entheos from California

This is a unique experience. It tastes fruity, yet creamy. Very good.

Dec 26, 2021
4.31 by Lucnifter from California on Dec 25, 2021
3.98 by vidisad from California on Dec 23, 2021
4.25 by mrcraft from California on Nov 26, 2021
Photo of gefinley
4.27/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by gefinley from California

Bottled 7/28/21.

Sep 13, 2021
4.18 by Jonathan-Morgan from Florida on Aug 31, 2021
4.31 by BAsbill from California on Aug 19, 2021
4.19 by heymikew from California on Jul 29, 2021
4 by Stengelfoot from California on Jul 16, 2021
Photo of ovaltine
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by ovaltine from Indiana

Beautiful golden straw color with a bit of haze under a creamy white head, this beer has some nice citrus notes on the nose, primarily pink grapefruit as referenced here in the description, and there’s also a subtle malty sweetness. Very nice.

The grapefruit is really forward on the taste and delicious, with a creamy malt sweetness on the back end of the taste for a well-executed, balanced, most excellent blonde ale.

Jul 09, 2021
4.03 by mattmarka1 from Minnesota on Jul 05, 2021
4.45 by Vylo from New Jersey on Jul 04, 2021
4.35 by Hop_God from California on Jul 04, 2021
Photo of beergoot
4.23/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by beergoot from Colorado

Clear, golden body; plenty of thick carbonation; dense and rocky white head, creamy and lasting. Nice aroma; dank and citrus-like; musk melon; a touch floral. Light and balanced flavors; very mild malt backbone; gentle and subdued sweetness; moderate hop bitterness. Light, smooth and velvety mouthfeel; dry overall.

This is a fine golden ale. It has more hop bitterness than I anticipated from the beer's description, but I like it. It is well-rounded and flavorful yet not too heavy. It makes for a fine, warm weather thirst quencher.

Poured at 61° F; bottled 052121

Jun 29, 2021
Photo of KT3418
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by KT3418 from Colorado

I really like this, its very hoppy and yet does not remind of an IPA, its zippy and fairly unique to me as other "hoppy" beers I've had end up tasting like IPAs where as this is just different. Very good. I took it with a grain of salt but apparently the case that showed up at my job today is either an extremely rare occurrence or something that basically never happens at all in Colorado...seeing as I'm the only person from Colorado to rate or review this....go to Davidsons centennial if you wanna try it in Colorado.

Jun 26, 2021
4.39 by simonrgilbert57 from California on Jun 24, 2021
4.14 by TrojanRB from Texas on Jun 20, 2021
4.57 by FrankCastle from California on Jun 19, 2021
Photo of sjrider
4.31/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by sjrider from California

Bottle pour- clear vibrant gold color with thick white head leaving a lot of foamy lacing. Nose is bright and crisp citrus with a hint of sweet malt. Taste follows with more citrus , a mild hop bite and a clean lingering finish. Great summer quaffer.

Jun 16, 2021
Photo of Roguer
4.24/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
by Roguer from Connecticut

Beautiful beer. Crystal clear, straw hues, excellent head production, good retention, and very nice lacing.

Very happy aroma, with a light citrus expression reminiscent of lemon drop. Grainy pale malt back bone. A bit of ruby red grapefruit and mango, as well as a touch of honey and light tannins.

Slightly dank and sweet on the palate. An interesting melange of hop flavors and a slightly sweet, doughy malt base. Difficult to pick out the hop flavors independently, but I do get lemon, melon, mango, guava, and passion fruit.

Smooth drinking; big bodied for the modest ABV, but super drinkable. Despite the filling mouth feel, this could easily be a Summer quencher, able to down it by the can easily, or sit and savor it like an IIPA.

Going with a blonde ale base for a hop bomb was an unusual step, but it really works. It reminds me quite a bit of Lawson’s, the way the complex and bright hoppiness is layered on top of a slightly sweet and earthy malt base.

Jun 16, 2021
Photo of jakecattleco
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by jakecattleco from California

Bottle dated 05/21/21 into an imperial tulip pint.

L: Pours straw yellow with a hint of haze, 1+ finger of white medium-density head with good retention and left mixed lacing.

S: Floral and grassy, lemongrass becomes prominent as it warms.

T: Follows nose well, but not quite as desirable for my palate and preferences. Finishes with mild bitterness, some acidity, and mild astringency, all linger on the palate.

F: Low-medium bodied with medium-high carbonation, thin and lively on the tongue, crisp on the swallow.

O: I'm torn on this beer, not what I'd expect from a hoppy blonde nor session IPA. I can see grabbing this with some Thai food or a lighter pizza. But for my palate and preferences it doesn't fit where I'd seek most blonde ales, and the flavor profile and ABV isn't something I'd prefer to repeat all day like a session IPA (though the body is about perfect). I'll definitely revisit.

Jun 15, 2021
Photo of MattBeer
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by MattBeer from California

This is the best blonde ale I have ever had, principally because it doesn't taste very much like a blonde ale. It is like a hoppy, wheatish pale ale. It doesn't have any of the yeast that makes something like LaChouffe unbearable. Actually that's not true. It has a tiny bit, which gives you the flavor without it being overpowering enough to ruin the taste of the beer. That kind of balancing act is such an achievement. What a beer!

Jun 05, 2021
4.06 by wc94wc from California on May 23, 2021
Photo of Whyteboar
4.34/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by Whyteboar from Michigan

RR continues to impress.
This is for all intent and purpose an APA and is very well done.
The pour is golden amber, not clear but not hazy either. Impressive head and plenty of lacing.
The aroma gave me cantaloupe before grapefruit which the taste reversed.
The feel is spot on and I would be happy to have this regularly, but alas, RR doesn’t get to Michigan yet.
Thanks Jay, for sending this to me!

May 19, 2021
3.86 by johnInLA from California on May 10, 2021
Photo of BerkeleyBeerSleuth
4.46/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
by BerkeleyBeerSleuth from California

Yellow body. Piney aroma, fruit, perfume, sage (as advertised on the bottle). Herbal and spicy taste. Vegetal. Even some clove. Wow this is a really interesting hop profile. Taste has just a touch of bitterness, strong herbal presence clings to the palate. Am I detecting Thai Iced Tea? A unique alternative to the normal orange juice or tropical fruit hop profiles that dominate the market.

Apr 07, 2021
4.25 by Gobzilla from California on Apr 03, 2021
Photo of TryThemAllOnce
4.7/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by TryThemAllOnce from California

An amazing offering from a fantastic brewery. This was a single 510ml bottled on 3/17/21 (St. Patrick's Day!!). Purchased yesterday and enjoyed today (April 2).

It hits all the right marks in each area, the pink grapefruit aroma and taste are both a notch above most attempts.

It was the only remaining bottle on the shelf, but having had this I will look for it again. So good!

Apr 02, 2021
4.94 by drewmuni from California on Jan 22, 2021
Photo of EdHinPasadena
4.14/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by EdHinPasadena from California

I picked up a twelve pack that Russian River shipped to me five weeks ago. Hadn't tried before, but love RR, and my nephew recommended, so got it.
So glad I did: what an excellent beer! Pale straw color the only less notable feature about it. Enjoy the grapefruit scent & flavor, and it has a pronounced herbal notes, too. But it's the hoppy bitterness that helps pull it together. Light carbonation. Overall, an outstanding brew by my favorite Cali brewer.

May 12, 2020
Photo of Gatch
4.59/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by Gatch from Massachusetts

Bottled on 030520. There are currently two reviewable versions of this beer on this site and I chose this one bc the ABV is 6.25%.

What an amazing hoppy lager. Has the massive tropical nose, smooth and clean flavor and feel, and a delicious finish.

Apr 30, 2020
4.06 by Shy5 from Oregon on Apr 22, 2020
Photo of augustgarage
4.38/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by augustgarage from California

Packaged on 3/5, consumed on 3/28 - poured from a 500mL bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Pale, clear, golden yellow liquid with two fingers of dense papaya whip foam. Thick, soapy lacing; superior retention.

Oh my, what an aromatic hop! Citrus (grapefruit, ugli fruit, Meyer lemon zest), and a low herbal note (sage as suggested by the label, or maybe basil) punch through with tremendous strength and clarity.

Dry, crackery palate entry with some green apple Jolly Rancher notes and hints of dilute orange soda. Faintly grassy malt profile, with a clean bottom-fermented yeast presence. Low but persistent bitterness throughout. Finishes crisp and dry, with a faint dank/sticky quality from the hop oils.

Soft yet snappy mouthfeel with an ABV that makes this easy to drink without letting you guzzle it down.

An excellent hop showcase, though the base beer is not as interesting a vehicle as it could have been.

Mar 28, 2020
4.19 by EdTheEdge from California on Mar 23, 2020
4.35 by AnitaBrewski from Massachusetts on Mar 22, 2020
Photo of pkalix
4.21/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by pkalix from California

i like this!

Mar 21, 2020
Apical Dominance from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 59 ratings