Russian River Brewing Company

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Brett Beer
Ranked #47
Ranked #14,777
3.9 | pDev: 10%
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States
Very Good
Reviews: 75 | Ratings: 375 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of augustgarage
augustgarage from California

4.14/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled on July 12th, 2019, consumed on December 19th, 2019 (slightly belated impeachment celebration perhaps?) - poured from a 500mL bottle into my 3 Fonteinen tumbler.

Nearly clear antimony liquid with five fingers of bombastic ivory up top - rising like a soufflé, where it forms a formidable bulwark against a would be sipper. Thick, rocky, lacing; superior, ostentatious retention.

Peppery, winter fruit laden aromatics with a hint of fruity/barnyard funk, wildflowers, tangerine pith, and spicy hops. Lovely.

No real acidity on the palate entry, this is not at all sour, and any Brett. is quite restrained at the moment. Clean (continental) malt, crackery with a slight herbaceous edge. Dry yet round, not quite bright, finish suggests chayote squash, asian pears, and a nice balance of floral and mineral elements. Moderately hoppy, with a clean, herbal, faintly spicy bitterness. Yeast character is present, but not as dominant as most Belgian ales. Intriguing, but ultimately somewhat banal.

Soft, light bodied, with less feeling of carbonation than the appearance would suggest. Average ABV.

An unusual beast, not quite up to the brewery's normal standards for a recipe in my opinion - would rather have Sanctification or Blind Pig rather than what almost comes across as an odd watered down mix of the two.

Dec 19, 2019
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RaulMondesi from California

3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Your main man is a lil confused like a Jack Johnson blow to the head. Beer Advocate has this listed as a Brett IPA, yet the bottle states it as a hoppy Belgian inspired Blonde Ale. Oh well, Raul carries on...

(I feel like leaving my original statement here. I get it now. I confused “Brute” with “Brett.” Dumb Raul...)

I think it’s a pretty beer. Think of a blonde, your favorite blonde, and insert her name here. Yeah, that’s what it looks like. The aroma isn’t too potent; light Belgian yeasts and, well, that’s about it. As far as taste goes, Raul is not too well versed in the Belgian game. So yeah, we got a pale one, and it kind of tastes all the same to me (in various degrees of course).

So here we have a fairly smooth one like the barquentine Mercator on her first voyage. Nothing grand, but good enough.


Oct 13, 2019
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Tucquan from Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this on 2019-07-06 in Windsor, CA at the brewery on-tap and again on 2019-07-14 and 2019-08-11 from 500 ml bottled on 2018-04-18

A - Pretty clear yellow with a 2 finger white head and great lace

S - White grape skin, bread, citrus, celery, cheese danish, grassy and floral.

T - Pineapple, cracker, hay, pepper, light pine, Brett, mild-moderately bitter. Perfect balance.

M - Light body and carbonation. Fairly dry. Refreshing.

O - An IPA with Brett? Unusual but it really, really works.

Jul 14, 2019
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Hophazzard from California

4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm still not sold on the Brett IPA style, but if Russian River is the one doing the brewing it's probably a stand out for the style. Defenestration proves that point. Definitely the best Brett IPA I've tried.

Jun 29, 2019
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Pencible from Virginia

3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a cloudy gold with chunky sediment and quickly dissipating white head.
S: It smelled like lemon zest and grassy hops, with some coriander and clove and apricot.
T: It tasted like grassy and waxy hops, with some lemon zest and coriander and pithy apricot. It had a clean and bitter aftertaste.
M: It was watery with lots of carbonation. Light bubbly body.
D: This was a nice beer with crisp and well balanced scent and taste, but nothing unique. The body was strange for the style, but the finish was smooth, so it was pretty easy to drink. Enjoyable but really nothing special.

Dec 23, 2017
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VABA from Virginia

4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Like all Russian River beers there is an elegance of how the beer is presented, the aroma comes through and the taste that lingers. Very well done Belgian pale ale.

Apr 02, 2017
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ManapuaMan from Massachusetts

3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Golden pour with a fluffy head that lingers. That familiar fruity-spicy-estery Belgian yeast coming to the fore. There is a crispness throughout the sip that makes this so pleasant. Slight tartness by way of a kiss of green apple that adds to the fruit and bubble-gum profile. Such an easy drinker. Real light and slightly spicy hops round out the profile. Great beer but it's most notable for its drinkability which conflicts with the pricing and format.

Mar 06, 2017
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Simple, elegant and pure, the brewers at Russian River throw conventional wisdom out the window and opt for genuine, rustic and spice flavor to achieve a near perfect Belgian pale ale.

Pale gold and carrying the classic yeasty haze of authentic versions, the beer's earthy and spicy perfume is delivers a peppery prickle to the nose with wine, hay, grain and gin nuances. Its taste is supple and sweet, raw grain leading along with notions of fresh baking sourdough and lime centered sangria.

With fast fleeting malt sweetness, the middle palate soon hands the focus of taste over to fruit and spice. Apple, lemon, orange, lime, melon, juniper and pear offer a dry acidity that bounces off of the spicy white pepper, cumin, clove, paradise seed, coriander and vanilla balance particularly well. Trending spicy, the finish favors a brisk hop bite with dry hay, lemon pepper and a spicy array of muddled grasses.

Medium dry and light on the palate, the beer's floral and spicy linger flirts with proportions of soap, but hold back slightly. Sprite with bubbly effervescence, the arid finish favors the spice and hops en route to a highly refreshing, digestible and vinously bitter bite with echoes of honeysuckle and sourdough rolling softly along.

Mar 03, 2017
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Korbynlehr from Kentucky

4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very cloudy in appearance, little to no head. The smell has a light hoppy smell, but also citrus. Did not have the hoppy flavor I expected, and almost had a sweetness to it. Good beer, BUT tastes more like a saison to me.

Feb 19, 2017
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Jacobier10 from New Jersey

4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

375 mL, bottled on 9/16/16.

Deep gold, slightly hazy. Thick, bubbly white head with good retention. Fruity yeast notes of pear, apple, and citrus with floral/grassy hops. Not much in the way of malt. The finish is dry and bitter. Very smooth and easy to drink.

A successfully hopped-up Belgian blonde. A beautiful beer that would be versatile in pairing with several different kinds of food.

Jan 01, 2017
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flagmantho from Washington

4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from corked & caged 375mL bottle into a tulip. Bottled on 9/16/16.

Appearance: light golden hue with a dash of haze and a very strong effervescence. Head is a thick finger of frothy white foam that crackles as it dissipates.

Smell: lightly sweet with a nice Belgian-ey maltiness and a dash of pear character and maybe a hint of funk. Really quite nice.

Taste: much like the aroma; sweet and smooth with a little bit of pear and funk. Hops are grassy and bitterness is somewhat high for the style but still very smooth. I like this beer a lot.

Mouthfeel: light body but with a huge carbonation. Creaminess is kind of ephemeral but is enjoyable nonetheless.

Overall: the bitterness and hoppiness seem to grow over time with this one, and it provides a great contrast to the more traditional orchardy sweetness of the style. Really very good.

Nov 27, 2016
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Ciocanelu from Romania

4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Slightly hazy straw color with white head. Aroma has really nice stonefruit yeast esters. Taste starts with grass, a bit of lime, melon, really estery but somehow clean and fresh. Light body with high effervescence but also feels quite soft on the palate. This is a great, easy drinking belgian style ale.

Nov 17, 2016
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patre_tim from Thailand

4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This RRBC brew is golden with a tint of green, and hazy with tonnes of floaters, both white and brown. Topped with a finger of off white, glassy head.

Smells of cardamom, phenols, Belgian yeasts, and lime peel.

Taste follows the nose, with a slightly flat middle.

Medium, slightly syrupy body, with a dry, tannic finish.

Got at Russian River in Santa Rosa, CA a month ago. Drank in New Hamburg, ON, Oct 13th, 2016. Really good brew I could see sipping during a game.

Oct 13, 2016
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wethorseblanket from California

3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 375ml corked and caged bottle, dated 7-22-16, almost clear pale yellow under a 3/4" white head which fades to the rim and leaves some spots. Aroma is yeasty, with peppercorn and coriander spices, hay/grass, floral, lemony citrus. Flavor is mildly biscuit yeast and spices. Finishes dry. Refreshing and easy drinking on a warm autumn evening.

Oct 06, 2016
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kojevergas from Louisiana

2.99/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-draught @ the brewpub. Regrettably brief notes below:

APPEARANCE: White cap and a pale copper body colour of poor vibrance. Head retention is sub-3 minutes.

AROMA: Assertively hopped for a blonde, with floral and fruity character. Low aromatic intensity.

TASTE: Pale malts. Floral hop character. Balanced, but rather simple. There's just not much flavour here. Rather shallow.

TEXTURE: Slightly oily. Smooth, wet, coating, highly carbonated. Not all that soft.

OVERALL: Drinkable but forgettable. A rare miss from a fantastic brewery, but not so far off the mark that I'd throw it out a window...

High C (2.99) / AVERAGE

2nd impression from a $5.00 pint at the brewery in August 2016:

Belgian influence is obvious, but its bone dry parching mouthfeel drags it down.

Overhopped, with too much unchecked hop bitterness evident. Imbalanced as a result, but many hop fanatics will elight in its aggressive hoppiness.

Crisp, coarse, dry. Hides its 7.25% ABV well.

Drinkable, but not a great expression of a blonde ale, primarily for its (im)balance issues.


Jul 29, 2016
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Phil-Fresh from California

4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Big Belgian estery yeast aroma, moderately grassy hops.

A: Light straw color, excellent clarity, with a large fluffy white head. Ample lacing is left in the glass.

T: Big Belgiany fruity yeasty flavor, slightly sweet clean malt with a slight grassy hoppy-ness that lasts through the finish. The beer is quite dry.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: While hoppy, this beer is definitely a Belgian. It has a very Belgian-esque aroma and flavor. The beer is clean and drinks very smooth.

Jun 02, 2016
Photo of gandres
gandres from Philippines

3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tap to glass @ Russian River Brewing tap [email protected] Santa Rosa,CA
A: Amber, hazy, cloudy, medium off white head goes away slowly
A: hint of hops
T: lightly bitter, with sweet long lasting taste
MF: soft carbonation, cereal aftertaste
OA: Very good beer for the style, ok to repeat, look for
Drank April 14, 2016

Apr 20, 2016
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BradMacMullin from Massachusetts

4.26/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've read some good and useful reviews of this beer. This won't be one of them. Had at RR Brewing on a very busy Tuesday night. Does anyone work anymore? Any ways, this beer is very traditional Belgium....very yeasty beer. Good, but not a lot of fun. I will go back to Pliny as I don't get here enough. Remember when I said this review wouldn't be helpful....was I right ?

Feb 24, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.55/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lots of haze in this yellow pour, is this a biere de garde? All kinds of belgian notes in the nose, yeast derived. The usual belgo yeast spice rack phenolic stuff.

The yeast continues to push its weight around on the tongue. Coriander and clove are immense. Some breadiness, wheat. Hops in what is classified as a pale ale (even if Belgian) are totally subdued by the yeast bullying everything else around.

Feb 18, 2016
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elNopalero from California

4.19/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 4/18/19, enjoyed 6/28/19. I purchased this and sat on it for a little longer than I would have ordinarily done for a hoppy beer from RR because of the brett. Now I want to try sitting longer with another bottle. This pours a straw-gold with a billowy cap of foam. There’s a touch of the horsey, a bit of the wet straw, and a pleasing lemony zestiness to this all wrapped together. Hops are not as present as they might have been a month ago, but I don’t miss them. Is this RR’s take on Orval? I like it.

This pours a light gold with thin foam. There’s a light aroma with a hoppy presence and some floral characteristics when sipped. It takes on an overly estery/ ‘belgo’ flavor as it opens up, slightly offkilter and unbalanced. But if you like a strong estery presence this might do it for you.

Feb 03, 2015
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DefenCorps from Oregon

3.06/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at the source. 7.25%

Pale yellow with a dense, white head that falls off to a ring leaving little lacing. The nose is super bubblegum heavy with clove, juice, honey , way too sweet. Palate is similar. Sweet bubblegum. Way too much. Meh. Honey, caramel, toffee, clove, pepper.

Jul 12, 2014
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ArrogantB from Colorado

4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the brewery in Santa Rosa. Yellow color, looked hazy but it was dark in there. Aroma was yeasty and fruity, nice. Flavor was yeasty, fruity, clean, and delicious. I really enjoyed this, shame they don;t send kegs of this to Denver but I guess they have to keep some things to themselves. Great beer.

May 09, 2014
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BMMillsy from Florida

3.71/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured at RR Brewing. Pours bubbly and clear light golden, with - long retention on the creamy white head. Aroma of pears, yeast, banana, some hay. Flavor is grassy hops, sweet banana and pear background, a little honey, with a nicely crisp dry finish. Light body, medium plus carbonation and goes down pretty easy. Not bad.

Mar 05, 2014
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BierJager89 from California

4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy dark golden color.

S: Tropical fruit, particularly papaya and passionfruit in the nose.

T: The same tropical fruits, orange and mango.

M: Medium bodied and smoothish.

O: Delicious and well worth a try if you can find it.

Jan 18, 2014
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Philousa from California

3.43/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy, sunny yellow with a billowy white head that has great retention and laces moderately. Lots of allspice and clove up front with some citrus backing the nose. The spices carry through to the flavor, with a grassy bitterness and lemon rind. The bitterness turns more intense and lingers. The typical nectar flavor is still there, but only slightly. The hops are very noticeably west coast driven.The feel tends towards viscous and finish is decidedly dry, but a little less dry than a typical one for the style. The good qualities definitely deteriorated quickly over the course of the growler.

This is definitely an interesting beer, and the hops compliment the style as well as they can, but it kind of just makes me want a BPA or Belgian Golden Strong.

May 28, 2013
Defenestration from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 375 ratings