Defenestration | Russian River Brewing Company

very good
69 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by rkuhnel on 09-25-2008

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 69 | Ratings: 341
Photo of ManapuaMan
3.92/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

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Photo of Korbynlehr
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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Photo of Jacobob10
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

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Photo of patre_tim
4/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.99/5  rDev -23.7%
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.


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Photo of Phil-Fresh
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of gandres
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tap to glass @ Russian River Brewing tap room@ 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

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Photo of BradMacMullin
4.26/5  rDev +8.7%
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 ?

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

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Photo of elNopalero
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.06/5  rDev -21.9%
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.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

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Photo of Philousa
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
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.

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Photo of flayedandskinned
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A fresh Growler less than a day old.
Poured into a Duvel Tulip glass.

Appearance: (4)
Pours a hazy, straw gold with honey esque, orange highlights. A pure white, 2.5 finger tall head sprouts as soon as the beer hits the glass. Good head retention and the head leaves some spotty lacing down the sides of the tulip.

Aroma: (4.5)
Big, fruity Belgian yeast phenols erupt out of the glass; banana, red apple flesh, and a hint of spicy close. There is a burst of orange blossom and a whisper of lemon, as well as some grassiness from the hops. A strong biscuity malt presence rounds off the very floral, sweet nose. Light tropical notes appear as the beer warms.

Taste: (4.5)
Juicy notes of orange, lemon and light grass hit your palate right away, with a huge yeasty middle in tow; The yeast is very fruit forward and slightly musty(definitely seems to be a Biere De Garde yeast); banana, pear, and apple flesh, much like the nose. Some sweet biscuit malt helps round out the flavor profile before the abrasively dry, bitter finish. Notes of apple, banana, tart apricot and juicy orange from the hops are left dancing on your palate.

Mouthfeel: (4.25) Full Bodied with moderate to high carbonation. Very, very dry. Never had a beer quite like this, it starts drying out your tongue before you even swallow it.

Overall: (4.25) A Belgian IPA, done the Vinnie Cilurzo way. Vinnie seems to have taken the Belgian IPA style and put his own twist on it. He has done away with the super citrus-y, piney and tropical American hops in conjunction with Belgian yeast. Which to me, is a really good call because when the high alpha American hops are used in tandem with the naturally very fruity, estery Belgian yeast, is an absolute train wreck in flavor; The yeast and hops just fight each other too much and the beer tends to get this weird peanut butter flavor as the hops start to oxidize. Defenestration does not suffer from these qualms at all; the yeast esters and floral hops really marry well together and they coalesce beautifully in the incredibly dry finish. Russian River does an incredible job as usual with this beer!

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in sample glass at the brewery. From notes. Reviewed 14 April 2012.

A: Pale, clear gold. Light head and no lacing.

S: Some soft fruits. Peaches?

T: Interesting. Light but bitter hops. Dry and yeasty. Some floral spice (like chewing on flowers, with a similar herbal bitterness). Thinish, with a fruity aftertaste.

O: Great beer! Definitely recommended. Would have again.

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Photo of litheum94
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Russian River.

Slightly cloudy, opaque golden orange. Presented with no head save for a white ring around the glass.

Earthy and spicy Belgian yeast with leafy, woody hops. Lemon citrus and a slight sourness on the nose.

Aromas follow through on the palate. Dry and earthy Belgian yeast flavors. Spicy midpalate with lemon citrus twange. Good dose of hops, leafy and piney.

The hop profile makes this a unique beer and a very tasty one at that. Refreshing and rewarding.

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at O'Brien's RR TION Weekend. Chalice.

A: Medium gold, thin white head. Not much retention and no lacing.

S: Some banana, clove, spice, pale malt. Not much hops.

T: Similar, with bready malt, some apple, and decent sweetness.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation. Feels a little flabby, but maybe all blonde ales are.

O: Not really getting much hops for a "hoppy blonde ale". I would peg this as a bit above average.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


On tap for O'Brien's TION weekend.

A: Translucent gold with a small white head.

S: Fruity eaters remind me of lemon, apple, and pear. A light pepper-like spiciness is evident. Lemongrass accompanies earth and mineral.

T: Grassy with a lower moderate bitterness. Lemongrass blends with light pepper notes. I get some apple and pear.

M: Upper light body with lower medium carbonation.

Overall: A solid Belgian Pale. This great name should be used for a beer more worthy of it.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draft at the brewpub.

Pours a clear gold straw color with a large white head and a sticky collar of lacing throughout. Strong yeast and hop aroma; earthy and musty, sweet and bitter. Flavor is abrasively bitter throughout, clashing with the sweet Belgian yeast and ester notes. Very green, herbal and earthy which doesn't mesh very well with the traditional Belgian flavors. I generally don't care for Belgian IPAs and I care for this one less than usual.

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Defenestration from Russian River Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 341 ratings.
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