Toronado 20th Anniversary Ale | Russian River Brewing Company

94 Reviews
Toronado 20th Anniversary AleToronado 20th Anniversary Ale

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.43%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Toronado 20th Anniversary Ale is a blend of five different beers:

Belgian style Quadruple aged in Firestone Walker (used) Double Barrel Ale barrels
Belgian style Strong Dark Ale – batch A in red wine barrels
Belgian style Strong Dark Ale – batch B in red wine barrels
Belgian style Pale Ale aged in wine barrels with Brett
Sonambic 100% spontaneously fermented ale – (Used to add acidity to the beer)

Added by MiScusi on 08-10-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 94 | Ratings: 155
Photo of scottfrie
3.52/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle in snifter. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a deep iced tea amber with a pretty substantial light-tan head that faded into a good long-lasting collar.
S: Still a pretty sweet nose, lightly funky but overall very mellow. Picking up some fruit.
T: Apple and cranberry juice dominate with some sour grapefruit in the finish. Muted tasting overall, not bad, just old. Light sourness, green fruit tartness, with hints of apricots and other stone fruits.
M: Very frothy carbonation but a bit of a watery mouthfeel and thin body.
O: Old yes, muted yes, but still a delicious beer. I’d drink this again, but it’s definitely past its prime.

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Photo of AleWatcher
3.53/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes-- still trying to get caught up!

Petesphi sent me this because Vinnie gave him a bottle and Al had already tried it. He posted that he wanted to find a tasting group that wanted it, and we were lucky enough to get it. Shared with several Ba's at my house a few months back.

Dark dark color... like a copper/amber red. It opened with a big pop, but it didn't gush. nice two finger frothy head has remained and leaves amazing sheet of bubbles in the legs and some spots of lace cling behind.
It's acidic. It has a nose like thick dark candied sugar as well as some vinegar and a possible touch of oxidation. This is being opened up at an epic tasting with many whales and this one just seems to fall a bit short of some of the best beers of the night-- and that I've had prior.

I get a weird peppery note on the finish-- it's like dried blackpepper... there is also a little boozy alcohol warmth back there too. Could there be cinnamon here? This is the damndest thing.

There is good carbonation, and yet this comes across as a bit syrupy.

Overall-- I'm glad to be able to try this beer, but I am missing out on the reason for all the hype. I would not go too crazy looking for a bottle in the future!

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.74/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours from the 750ml bottle with a wispy, ring of a head that sits atop a hazy, amber-brown colored beer. The aroma is a mix of sour aromatics, and major oak. The oak character is quite encompassing and quite complex as far as oak goes; aromas of spicy wood, hot almost whisky like notes, soft buttery wood and touches of vanillin are all quite evident. This aroma would really appeal to those who really love oak. For me though, the aroma is way too one dimensional; I really prefer oak character to serve as a backbone for the malt, hop and fermentation character.

The beer tastes sour up front and thankfully the oak notes are much more in check in the flavor department. Fruit notes of tart plums and fleshy tamarind notes are in evidence and they intermingle with and are wrapped up in the sour character of this beer. This has a really nice level of funk and sourness to it. There is lots of complexity to this brew with additional flavors of cherries (is there some supplication in this blend), tannic woodiness, spicy oak, touches of butterscotch and a hint of vanillin. This has a fullness to the body, that carries the flavors quite well; part of the fullness seems to be from the barrel character (tannins and such providing additional body).

I am much relieved that the oak notes where only part of the overall mix in the flavor of this beer. I really like how this is a nice mix of fruit flavors, oak derived notes and tart funk. In fact the flavor is really well integrated and all the flavors are delivered cleanly to my palate without any muddied / muddled quality.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.77/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 1

1st bottle: David Keene was kind enough to sell our party a bottle at the Toronado 22nd anniversary. $100 split 4 ways wasn't pretty, but at least I got to try it.

3.5 / 4.5 / 4.0 / 5.0 / 1.0 [$100 WTF?]


2nd bottle: shared by colonelforbin at ipa247's recent sour tasting. Thanks, Mike!

A: Poured a dark crimson body with substantial off-white head and great retention.

S: Lightly tart cherry, lacto, some vinegar, wood, barnyard funk, tobacco, and leather. I also detected a vinous quality that reminded me of cabernet. A great aroma.

T: A fair amount of sweet [red] vinous presence. Nuanced and balanced flavor like the aroma: lightly tart cherries supported by lactic sourness. Vinegar, brett mustiness and barnyard, leather, tobacco. Neither over-the-top sour nor funky. I was surprised to find a considerable amount of brown sugar in a sweet undercurrent to the beer. Being able to sit down and appreciate this outside of the T-party made me appreciate it much more.

M: Surprisingly clean for a high ABV beer. Just impressed by the engineering, really.

D: It's not worth paying $100 for (in my opinion), but this is one of those beers that made me expand my price point comfort zone, just as Consecration did with its $25 tag. Just the same, this is the poster child for rising prices in beer, and I can't in good faith recommend it for what the prices are for this thing. If you are lucky enough to have a bottle already, though, you are sitting pretty. A great beer.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.85/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ditmier asked me if I was in... I say, "Uhhh... Fuck Yeah!!" We shared this with the boys about a month ago.. reviewed from pretty good notes.

Pours hazy orange.. okay white head flecked with tan yeast globs..

Nose shows a bunch of fruit and funk.. lemony, apricot and lite pear with good sour notes... hints of chardonnay.. Though everything seems really flat and just doesn't gel.

Flavor is brett and some Belgian phenols with a bright tartness.. green apple .. I get some sour cherry with barrel tannins.. more malt presence than I was expecting.. vinous elements let you know it has some woody backbone.. complex I guess.. but seems pretty flimsy.

No alcohol and a surprising body with good everpresent small bubble carbonation.

Wow.. My mind had built this one up waaaay too much. Good.. arguing with great, but in nooo way world class. I know that time can sap a sour's potential, but the Toronado was no where near as good as I was hoping. I will drink my Supplication bottles with Gusto from now on, they are much better than the fabled Toronado 20th (I still wanna try a tap sample :-)

There is nothing wrong really, it is just a pretty well made big boned sour that hides the alcohol well. It is never going to fart rainbows or rewrite Shakespeare... Despite the great chance to try this Whale (probably my top whale to this point), I wish I still had my share of the trade back. Thanks Eric for making this happen, I know you did it for me.


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Photo of emmasdad
3.85/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another old review, from the old notebooks of the past. Pours a dark, reddish brown, with maybe a quarter inch of dirty white foam. Very tart/funky on the nose, with aromas of oak, red wine and maybe vanilla. On the palate, this one has a distinct sourness, along with tart cherries, a light oakiness and dried fruit. Glad I got to try this one, and to have a couple glasses at that.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.88/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was lucky enough to receive a bottle of this from ughsmash, thank you so much! i saved it to take to a tasting in CA and while it was quite rare it was surprisingly not as amazing as I had hoped. it was red in color but not as dark as Consecration. It smelled a little sour and fruity but nothing too amazing. The flavor was a little complex, cherries, fruit but not much sourness. The alcohol was quite evident. It did remind me slightly of Consecration but I wish I could have had this two years ago when it was first released.

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Photo of drewba
3.89/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - The color is a clear amber with a two finger cream head. Medium lacing slowly cascades down the glass for the duration.

S - Semi dry with big, caramel and molasses yeast quality, funky grass, muted lemon and sweet & tart green apples. The smell is a little too subdued and fades quickly for this to get a higher grade.

T - Begins with some sweet malty caramel, tart lemon and molasses, dry acidic yeast and has some tannin characteristics. The finish has a dry white wine quality with light peppery notes. A bit of chest warming action going on here.

M - medium body but is somewhat viscous, but is saved by a solid carbonation pop at the end.

D - Other than the chest warming, this is fun to drink. It doesn't have any overwhelming or lingering flavors and is super clean and easy to drink.

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Photo of hoppymcgee
3.93/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to mikey711 for sharing this at an epic tasting on 5/29/10. Poured approx. 4oz. from a 750ml bottle into a small snifter.

A: Brown-red-orange blend, not much head but this beer does not stop fizzing.

S: Cherry forward, not medicinal but candy-like and sweet. A little booze still comes through.

T: Tart and funky, leathery, a little raspberry in the backbone. Not as complex as I hoped.

M: Overly carbonated, prickly, dry finish.

D: With so much carbonation and such a high ABV for a sour, this one is not all that drinkable.

Overall, I see a little conundrum with this beer - it's apparent that it can handle age in the carbonation and ABV department, but not country of origin department. American sours just do not hold up like European sours. In my opinion, they almost all taste the same after enough time.

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Photo of pastradul
4.03/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

WOW! bottle shared at toronado san diego thanks Dak!

poured into a wine glass tulip. pours a murky reddih brown with a ton of off white bubbles.

the nose is funk, mild dark fruit notes and leather.

the taste is way more mellow and delicate then I expected. very refreshing while having a tone of flavors flying around the mouth. up front you get barnyard and fruit. in the middle you get tabaccoa, leather and tannins on the tongue. in the back you finish with some extension of the leather and tannin feel.

what an amazing brew. so glad to have ticked it!!!!

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Photo of oline73
4.05/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was lucky enough to get to try this one at the DC Lost Abbey Tasting. Poured into a 5.5 oz. snifter.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy reddish amber with a very thin ring of off white carbonation.

Smell: Like a flanders red or an oude bruin. Vinegar and tart berries with a touch of sweetness.

Taste: Quite tart with red berry sourness and some oaky wine notes. There is a sweetness from the malt along with a mild vinegar note. There is a funk in the finish and it gets more sour as you progress through the sip.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with very aggressive tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a very complex sour. It seems to have held up well, but I've never had it before. Consensus was this one reminded us of consecration.

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Photo of wvbelgique
4.05/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted at the Russian River brewpub bar on Aug. 9, 2007 at the Toronado party.
Draught in a tulip glass.

A. Medium brown and cloudy, opaque

S. Sharp sour nose. A hint of apple.

T. Nice toasted malt tones underneath sourness, and definitely some wood. Pomme fruits dominate. A little lemon sweetness on finish. Could taste the alcohol (maybe 11%)

M. Full and nice

D. Pretty powerful profile. Complex.

O. A sipping beer. Its sourness reminded me a little of a Belgian old Flemish brown ale. If you like the regular RRB sour beers, then you would find this one very good as well.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thank you Jer!

A: The pour is amber, maybe copper, in color with a short lived off-white head.

S: Quite a lot going on in the nose here. Grass and oak are prominent up front, but a wine note starts to kick in. Lots of dark fruits and a slight vinegar aroma. A surprising malt and vanilla note to this which creeps in as the beer warms.

T: There is a very big red wine flavor that is one of the parts about this beer that I quite enjoy. Some mild cherries and lemon along with a touch of vinegar providing the tartness. A bit oak character and a mild leathery funk. As I take more sips, more sweet malt such as caramel comes through. Very surprising.

M: The body is medium with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: The elusive T20 has been tried and I must say that I was a bit let down by it. Of the big Russian River rarities, I much prefer Deviation. This is a very complex beer, so perhaps I just don't "get it".

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Photo of mikey711
4.13/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opened today at a tasting. Thanks to brianbrick for hooking me up with this bottle.

A: Very nice clarity and slightly ruby in color, looks a little like apple cider. Very nice carbonation on it with a nice lingering ring at the.

S: Tart notes of cherry to start. Very mellow funkiness and some wood as well. There is also a bit of heat going on in the nose

T: Acidic up front then tending into some ripened cherries and raspberries. Some citric tartness. Some great wood notes, a touch of vanilla. Some wine notes

M: Prickly carbonation feel. definitely a fusal alcohol note but for the most part it is mellow.

D: Very happy to have tried this beer as i may never have the opportunity to do so again. The sourness is very mellow at this point and im sure if i could handle more of this.

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Photo of Lothore
4.13/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

4 dollars a pour tonight at toronado SF

A- Pours a foggy orangey red hue with a thin head that fades fairly quickly.

S- Cherries, hints of sour apple, deep dark maltiness, bready.

T- Hints of berry, light fruit, strong tart/sourness on the back end. very bready.

M- Medium bodied with quite a bit of carbonation.

D- This was definitely a good brew and one to seek out. At 4 bucks a pour it seems like a steal even in a champagne flute.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.13/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to madorb for bringing this 750ml bottle to our tasting...Pours an ugly light brown with ruby highlihts and tons of yeast floaties. A light tan head that is decenly carbonated provides some nice stuff to look at...The aroma is pretty light, most just tart with some oak mixed in, dark fruits on the back...The taste shows off mostly as sour oakiness, its pretty good, amazing that its a blend of five beers, not so much of a wild ale, like an oud bruin in many ways...The feel is nice and easy to drink.

This is a very good beer, but not a top notch wild ale. Gets a lot of pub because of the story and rarity and its good, just not world class. Worth trying IF you can.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, amber-colored body with a fizzy, full off-white head.

Smell: Gracious, here's an aroma overflowing with sour Brett notes. Beyond that there's mild caramel malts, oak barrels, cherries, and vanilla.

Taste: Light caramel maltiness along with flavors of vanilla, dried cherries, and maybe even a spritz of lemon juice. Nice mild oaken character to it. Earthy yeastiness. There's definitely plenty of sourness crammed into this beer. The alcohol is very temperate and only provides a little heat to the sour, drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite nice! Russian River really did a bang-up job of blending.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.17/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to madorb for sharing this at our Epic Chicago Tasting.

A - A very dark, rusty red, almost brown. Nice head that dissipated very quickly to basically just a thing ring. Bit of bubbles, but looks slightly undercarbonated.

S - A funky smelling sour, a lot darker than I was expecting. Nice amount of brett funk on this one adds a lot of depth to this smell.

T - Huge wood influence on this one. If this is a sour it reminds me a lot of a flanders red or olde bruin. Lot of meat on the bones of this one, really hefty sour with a lot of breadth on it. Lot of brett funk mixed in with the sourness on this one.

M - Really full bodied for a sour. Slightly less than moderate carbonation.

D - Slightly on the lower side of drinkability for a sour, but that balances out when you realize this one is over 10+%. A good sour that was supposedly better when it was fresher. Not the best ever, but a good one I am glad I got to try.

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Photo of orangesol
4.18/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My 850th review!!! I brought this one to Pre-Ffej to share with everyone, hope everyone enjoyed it.

A - Pours murky brown with a nice one finger tall off white head, quickly dissipating down to a light film and eventually a ring around the edge, leaving small streaks of lace on the sides of the glass.

S - Smells of dark fruits, toffee, caramel, oak, wine grapes, leather, a bit of musty barnyard funk, cherrie skins and some lactic sourness. There is definitely some oxidation there but not as much as I was expecting there to be.

T - Starts off with the cherrie skins and dark fruits quickly being joined by the woody oak, wet leather, toffee and caramel sweetness, wine grapes, light must and funk and some light oxidation. Finish is quite dry, lingering long after the finish.

M - Medium body with moderate carbonation. Sweet feel initially goes quite dry at the end of each sip. Booze only really creeps in once it fully warms up.

O - After hearing how much this had fallen off I was expecting a lot worse so this was a pleasant surprise. Yes it was definitely showing its age but it is hardly as bad as many people make it seem. I wouldn't age it any further if you have one, drink it before it really does go off the cliff.

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Photo of nickd717
4.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into flute (glass, not the instrument) at Toronado for Belgian-Inspired beer dinner.

A - Nice cloudy reddish-brown color with an off-white head.

S - Brett, tart, funk, figs, and wood.

T - Very complex. Dark fruit, figs and berries, red wine, lots of oak and some vanilla. Very good, but not as intense and flavorful as the Consecration Batch 1 I had next to this. More complexity than Consecration though.

M - Medium body with a smooth finish despite the tartness. Mild sour bite.

D - Pretty drinkable for a sour ale. This is a shame because it's gone quickly and from what I hear, bottles are now being priced in the triple digits (cough, ripoff, cough!).

Overall, nice and complex, but not quite as much of a standout as I was expecting.

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Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, many thanks to Mikey for sharing this bottle. Never thought I would have the chance. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a hazy peach-ruby color with a small beige foam that fizzes out. Nice lacing in the mini-snifter.

Well integrated funk, but delicate- namely in the form of wet wood and some leather. Good amount of bright cherry with some more general fruity berryish notes. The booze is notably present through the back.

The taste is much of the same, prickly carbonation accenting the tart fruity notes of cherry, raspberry, even a little bit of red apple. Moderate acidity and some red grape skin-like tannin. Some booze is present in the drying finish and aftertaste.

Overall, this is a good beer but it never felt as satisfying or robust or as "full" as consecration or other "big" sour ales. One can only think that it may have been more impressive earlier in its lifetime and has since thinned and mellowed out considerably. Still, at this point it is no slouch. I am extremely thankful to have had the chance to try it, but with the current 'value' of this beer on the trading market and elsewhere, it is hardly worth the trouble to obtain.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.23/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Never thought I'd get to try this one... but alas... Opened at a tasting 5/29/10. 4oz. pour from a 750ml corked and caged bottle into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a 1/2 finger semi-coarse off-white head with great retention. Beer is a cloudy reddish-clay. Lacing is patchy and supple and with great cling.

S: Nose is cherry, wood, funk, peat, and a slight ethanol in the background. There's not that much going on here which surprises me, but the flavors that do come through are very clean and crisp even after all that time.

T: Great balance here. Cherries, raspberries, and other red fruits with a slight woody overtone. Tartness throughout with a building spiciness from the carbonation at the end. Yeasty bitterness accents the finish along with a tiny bit of booziness.

M: Light to medium bodied, superbly carbonated, and incredibly lively. Its like a party in my mouth! Beer is slightly dry and finishes clean. Aftertaste is near non-existant. At 10.43% this beer doesn't drink anywhere near as boozy as its abv. Instead, it's light and carbonated enough so that the nuances of all the flavors are still relatively easy to detect.

D: Again, I'm thankful to have had a chance to try this. Having said that though, even though the beer is very solid with great flavor, spot-on feel, and a thoroughly pleasant nose... it was a bit of a disappointment. A joy to have for sure and I'd no doubt jump at the chance to try it again, but at the end of the day, not worth the trouble. Try it if you get to but don't be too disappointed if you dont.

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Photo of JAXSON
4.23/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for the pour of this, Chris. Couldn't accept what I was seeing at first. It poureth a deep guava, a pinking amber, with a large head and a tempestuous body. Nose is at first subtle and mild, as it breathes some brett, tropical fruits, and a solemn red wine barrel emerge. Sharp carbonation in the mouth, highly effervescent and champagne-like. Tropical fruits, oranges, cotton dryness. Sangria-like. Light and full in the mouth, just a lovely feel. I thought at times I would have liked more integration as the focus kind of wavered between a dry brett / wine barrel, and a juicy-sangria that weren't totally harmonious. But on reflection and on finishing the glass the quality of this became more obvious. A wonderful pineapple quality sets in over time. This was not what I expected and was amazingly light and spritzy despite the abv, was a joy to drink and reflect on with friends.

EDIT: I'm lowering this a bit based on a recent bottle which was a far cry from the first one. A bit muddled, unfocused. Couldn't touch the best Bullfrog stuff (Beekeeper, Black Cherry Bomb) enjoyed at the same tasting.

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Photo of BrewBakerE
4.28/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

on tap @ o briens. pours light red, nose of apricots and soury (new word) goodness. fruit notes start to pop as the beer warms up. not much flavor on the front of my pallate but heavy fruit aromas in the middle and a slight bitterness on the finish. slight head disipates quickly with a light lacing left on of top. for such a high abv and sour beer it is very drinkable. i plan on drinking quite a few of these tnite. cheers!

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Photo of Sean9689
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Toronado SF for their 24th Anniversary. I probably had 6 or so pours of this one throughout the day until it kicked.

A - Pours a light rusty copper color with a reddish hue, white head, thin collar, thin filmy cap.

S - Big oak, tart/sour cherries, dark fruit, some tobacco, and earthy notes as well. Very big on the nose but it has definitely smooth out over the years since I've had it last.

T - A wonderful tart/sour cherry note, lots of oak, dark fruit, tobacco. Like the nose, very large cherry and oak aspects in this one. Nothing has really faded out, it's just very smooth.

M - Light to medium body, good carbonation, dry oaky finish.

O - I prefer T20 on-tap over the bottle. Nothing seemed muddled to me while I though the bottles have lost a bit. Very rich, flavorful, and complex even after 4 years. Excellent.

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Toronado 20th Anniversary Ale from Russian River Brewing Company
4.42 out of 5 based on 155 ratings.
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