Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Defenestration | Russian River Brewing Company

very good
61 Reviews
no score
Send samples

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 61 | Ratings: 307
Photo of John_M
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap the brewpub the other day.

Defenestration pours a solid gold color with good head retention and considerable lacing. I don't get a whole lot on the nose, just sort of a light honey and sandlewood aroma... maybe some light clove as well. The flavor profile generally replicates the nose, though there's a bit more to it. Also, although the mouthfeel is fairly light, the beer finishes well, with a light, sort of peppery wash. There's some noticeable hoppy goodness in this beer, but this is not a hugely hoppy IPA. Otherwise, the beer is lightly sweet, with enough hoppy bitterness to balance that sweetness and not much more. Mouthfeel is otherwise a bit thin, and the alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile.

A decent enough beer, but not exactly a huge success for a brewery like RR.

 806 characters

Photo of nataku00
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap poured into a goblet. Beer was a dark golden yellow, mostly clear with a slight chill haze. Minimal off white soapy head, barely a film of white and a small collar of bubbles, but left some decent lacing as you drink from the glass. Some small bubble carbonation visible through the beer.

Nose was herbal, grassy and pine hops, with some light Belgian style yeast contributions of fruity esters, clove. Biscuit malts come through more as the beer warmed more.

Decent bitterness upfront, plenty of aged herbal and pine hops, like they were dried and then rehydrated in the beer. Plenty of yeast in the flavor, fruity esters to taste a little like over ripe peach, clove and a touch of white pepper. The mediocre hop flavor made this a bit of a disappointment though.

Light bodied with a lively carbonation that didn't attack your tongue, nice and refreshing for a warm sunny day outside the brew pub today. Would have liked fresher tasting hops on the beer though.

 976 characters

Photo of Beerenauslese
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Body is a hazy golden yellow. Arrived with a half inch head with good retention and lacing.

Smells very floral and green vegetal hops.

Tastes of light malt and green vegetal hops. Has a hop flavor similar to Duvel Tripel Hop. Has a dry and bitter finish.

Body is light with spritzy carbonation, giving this a lively mouthfeel.

A decent version of a Belgian IPA, although it tastes to me a bit too vegetal.

 413 characters

Photo of GJ40
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice Belgian Pale Ale with some extra hops thrown in. They seem to be noble hops as opposed to American. It's not especially over the top from a hops perspective. The hops add another component to the beer but it still maintains its Belgian characteristics. It's interesting but very drinkable. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

 322 characters

Photo of dgilks
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Straw colour with a small, white head. Fair head retention and nice lacing.

Light, citrussy Belgian yeast aroma with a touch of tart malt and some American hops. Good.

Really nicely balanced fruit character with a hint of spice and raisin. Mild bitterness.

A touch astringent with a medium body with moderately-high carbonation. Fine.

A decent beer with a nice aroma with the mouthfeel lets it down.

 403 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Might as well go ahead and write review #1500 up in here with something I really looked forward to.

Cloudy yellow pour, super big haze, soft white head. Super belgianesque yeast aroma, this one leans way over the pond for its aroma, don't get the typical Russian River hop aromas in this ipa, its belgo + sugar all over.

The yeast keeps dominating the flavor profile. So dominated by everything about it, coriander, clove, mild banana, even a wheat kind of flavor. Nowhere typical rr hopping.

Really wasn't my thing, even if I can tell it is still very well made.

 567 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Thorpe for sharing some of the growler of this with me, at the time of this review this is the #30 Belgian IPA on the best of styles lists on beeradvocate.com. Served in a Russian River -tion glass because I can. How many characters is that? Need a few more? OK.

Beer is amber and clear with mild carbonation, a thin white head, breaks, wispy, minimal lacing, looks fine.

The aroma is mildly malty, minimal yeast with minor esters and a noble-ish earthy hop aroma.

Beer is medium to light in body, dry on the finish, the bitterness is pretty strong but probably exaggerated by the dry finish. The hop flavors throughout and earthy and not very appealing.

This is the problem. A "Belgian IPA" can be one of two things, one being far superior IMO, it can either be a hopped up Belgian ale style (in this case I'd consider this beer a hopped up tripel of sorts) or it can be an American IPA wort fermented with a Belgian yeast strain. The second I find more appealing and "better" than the first, easily. This beer should have been Blind Pig with the Damnation yeast. Oh well, onward and upward. They all can't be winners, not even from Russian River.

 1,166 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Growler courtesy of daysinthewake. Served in a Russian River "TION" goblet.

Pours a clear golden-yellow color with a two-finger white head and some spotty lacing on the way down, along with a thin collar throughout. The nose carries a bit of Belgian yeast and hops. Contrary to many Belgian IPAs, it seems more like this has Belgian hops in it. Based on my limited experience, it seems close to Styrian Goldings, though I could be way off. Hops don't quite complement the yeast as much as I'd like. Medium body with good carbonation. Decent, but not Russian River caliber.

 573 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Growler shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike!

The beer is golden hued and mostly clear, with only a slight haze. The white head displays lasting retention and leaves some decent lacing in its wake. The aroma brings yeast, malt, hops, spice. Decent flavor, with everything in the aroma balanced equitably. The beer is slightly sweet, and could stand more hop flavor and bitterness. Coriander comes through quite a bit. Not as dry as I would like. Overall, a decent brew, but not the customary excellence one comes to expect from Russian River.

 539 characters

Photo of BeerLover99
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: golden, shiny body, trace white head, scant lacing

S: candy sugar, earthy malt, hint of sour apple, nice aroma

T: sweet floral, citrus, strong woodsy/earthy malt,
mild boozy, pepper?/mild spicy finish

M: med body, smooth, mild sticky

O: Surprised me; love the style and RR nailed
it on this one. Flavors had me wanting to gulp
this brew.


 374 characters

Photo of biegaman
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Russian River, in Santa Rosa.

This bubbly, glossy golden beer is far too pretty to be named after such a violent thing (defenestration is the act of throwing someone out of a window, and apparently there have been some pretty gruesome instances of it in history). Although it shines like sunrise against the light, it has an icy complexion (and, indeed, its lace appears frozen to the glass).

Something like this is a fairytale aroma for beer geeks; it's what I romantically fantasize the whole of Belgium to smell like (except for the parts that smell like cheese and chocolate, that is). And given the tremendous presence of flowers and grasses and tree fruits (apple, pear, peach) it's bound to be true of at least one farm or orchard, somewhere in the country.

Not only could I describe the flavour using one word, I could do you one better - I'll describe it using just one letter: M. As in: 'mmm' to an exponent of three. It tastes like rustic country baked bread, with a mellow honey sweetness and toffee crumble, and lots of green hoppy notes that resemble chamomile leaves, grapefruit, and orange marmalade.

This is likely the best 'Belgian yeast meets American hops' fusions I've had simply for the way it simultaneously highlights and balances both of those elements. There's not so much yeast that it clouds the hops, there's not so many hops that they monopolize the flavour and there's certainly no alcohol to get in the way, still plenty of malt to be appreciated and even the phenols are on good behavior! It drinks lighter than most 7.25%/55 IBU beers I know.

It is a fact that Vinni Cilurzo is among the best brewers when it comes to both Belgian-inspired and hopped-up American beers. (Argue with me on that and you're arguing against many thousands of others too.) He's one of the few American brewers who could go to Belgium and explain to the islanders how to cast their nets and he's also responsible for the highest rated hop bombs. Is it any surprise that a combination of the two would be among the best?

 2,048 characters

Photo of treyrab
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Landed in San Francisco International Airport, and immediately rented a convertible to drive up Highway 101 to the Russian River brew pub. After a leisurely drive with clear blue skies, I ordered this:

A: Defenestration pours a nice golden copper with a bellowing white head. This really looks like Damnation. However, Defenestration is a touch hazier and softer looking. The head is nice and creamy white and laces pretty well (most likely due to the additional sticky hops added to this brew).

S: Smells like Damnation on hops. Tons of banana and Belgian yeast esters, coriander, pepper, and dried orange peel. Blended with that comes the citrus and grapefruit elements of the hops. I would guess one, two, or three of the CCC hops. Smells great, and very spicy.

T: Similar to the scent, this has a very spicy Belgian yeast kick to it. Pepper and coriander come to mind. But those blend well with the spiciness of the hops and citrus elements. Orange and mango predominantly.

Overall, this was a nice brew. The spice character really took control in this one (like a nice authentic Belgian Pale Ale), and the hops were second in line, but still very noticeable. Well done.

 1,179 characters

Photo of impending
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At the source. Served a golden bronze with half inch of fluffy white froth, retained nicely, excellent lacing.

Aroma is all about the hops, yeasty hops. Pungent.

Pine dominates the flavor, citrus is present but minor, wrapped in yeasty goodness. Nice complexity with sharp definitions. Aftertaste trails off bitterly, it invades all corners of the mouth and lingers pleasantly. Medium bodied prickly mouthfeel.

Seems there are belgian ipas and ipa belgians
this is an ipa belgian
this is exactly what you expect from RR
very nice

 543 characters

Photo of corby112
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Draft at Monk's Cafe.

Pours a slightly hazy, dark golden orange color with pale golden peach edges and a 1.5 finger white foam head that slow fades into a lasting cap/ring.  Spotty lacing left behind.  

Spicy hop aroma with a estery yeast and light fruit notes.  Earthy hops with some pine and citrus as well as some sweet alcohol and crisp light fruits, notably apple and pear.  

Medium bodied with dry, earthy hops up front which are countered by pale malt, phenol alcohol and esters/yeast that give of hints of light fruit.  Earthy and slightly grassy followed by sweet light fruit notes and subtle spice.  Hints of apple and pale as well as some grapefruit and orange peel.  Well balanced but just a touch too much alcohol toward the dry finish.  

 762 characters

Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Served a hazy golden-orange color with a thin finger of frothy white head. The head faded down slowly leaving behind some nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

S - The aroma is a nice mix of citrus hops and orange aromas with a bit of yeast, spices, and grassy hops. There is also a bit of sweet caramel malts.

T - Starts off with a mix of sweet caramel malts and some citrus hops and orange. Through the middle, a bit of hop bitterness comes through with some yeast and banana flavor and just a bit of spices. The finish is a mix of sweet malts with some light spices and some hops and bitterness that linger.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Very smooth and crisp. Overall, fairly dry with a nice lingering finish from the bitterness and yeast.

D - Very drinkable. The balance of the Belgian and American elements here is really spot on a present a nice hybrid beer.

 889 characters

Photo of akorsak
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Imagine walking into a bar, anywhere other than Santa Rosa, and seeing 4 Russian River beers on tap. How awesome? Very awesome. Janlud to my right.

A: The Belgian IPA is a golden color, bright and clear. The only haze is the condensation on the outside of the glass. A white head, less than a finger, came with the pour.

S: The nose is earthy Noble hops, plenty of 'em, along with the sweet fruitiness of candi sugars. Very earthy with that awkward transition from bitter to sweet (I love that stumble in the middle of a Belgian IPA).

T: The hops, earthy, have a floral and herbal presence that doesn't skimp on the bitterness. The dirty hops are paired nicely with the tripel flavors. Fruits and pepper, candi sugars and booze all come together quite nicely with a twangy bite throughout. The abundant noble hops really make the ale work. I enjoyed sipping my way through the glass. A Belgian IPA's Belgian IPA.

M: Bitter and sweet, sharp and well-rounded. This Belgian IPA is a conundrum of flavors. I was enamored from the first sip, a luscious beer.

O: Possibly my favorite beer of the day, bitter and spicy. Quite good.

 1,129 characters

Photo of oglmcdgl
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at monks with my boy onix1agr.

A- arrives with a killer two fingers of bright white head that holds nicely and leaves a bit of lace. Brilliant golden yellow in color with great clarity and some bubbles clinging to the glass.

S- belgian yeast right off the bat and some nice fruity esters coming forth. Herbal green hops and a slightly honey sweet pale malt backbone.

T- complex interplay of yeast and grassy hops. Herbal and fresh with the yeast giving a bold powdery dry musty hit that rolls smoothly in the biscuit dry malts. Lightly fruity and just so damn fresh and green. Long grassy finish.

M- just about medium in body and perfectly carbed. Long very dry finish.

O- one of the better of the style and so fresh and so green that you can almost feel the hops in your mouth.

 795 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On Tap at Monk's Cafe for beer week, what a place.

A- Defenestration comes looking pretty pale in the glass, a faded gold color and some yellow background, A nice looking head of whiteness, semi stick, ok retention.

S- Grassy hops and a nice floral setup, leading into light crisp fruit scent. Bready yeast, banana. The Belgian yeast strain ain't the showstopper here, this is a nice mix of grassy hops and sweet malt, yet it is not a mess.

T- Very nicely hopped with earth, no pine, grass and the yeast comes out a bit more. Floral and bready. The fruit comes in the middle and finishes pretty dry.

M- I found the feel to be a bit lighter than your average IPA, It's kinda on the pale side to me, kinda dull and lighter than usual per style. The yeast does not make much magic and it does not stick. Less than medium in build.

O- Not what I was expecting, not that I did not enjoy this, it was different. A lighter Belgian IPA if you will almost like a bigger redemption.

 977 characters

Photo of mjyoung
3.56/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A growler, thanks to scottfrie for sharing. Drank 4/4/2011

A: A mildly clear honey color w/ a frothy (~2 finger) head and some ballin' lacing.

S: Hints of hops & Belgian yeast but overall very mild. There's the slightest hint of cat urine, which doesn't endear t to me entirely...

T: Grassy hops, but extremely mild. Still a hint of Belgian yeast, but that's all it is, a hint. Underneath it all there is an undercurrent of bubblegum, but that's a subtle flavor.

M: Very smooth, but a delightfully syrupy finish.

O: 'Twould be easy to drink. A LOT. Very smooth, and quite tasty. I approve, but it isn't the best I've had of this style.

 640 characters

Photo of FosterJM
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

407th review on BA
growler to chalice

Thanks to joeneugs for this one.

App- Out of the growler poured a very pretty clear yellow, a lot of bubbles, nice head to it, very white. Good cling.

Smell- A lot of Belgianness to this one, the yeast smells were quite aromatic and the hops produced a very nice pairing aroma as well.

Taste- For me this was very different. I am still on the fence for the Belgian IPA style. This leaned towards the better side with more of the yeast to balance out the hops.

Mouth- Medium bodied with a high carb level. A lot of bubbles on this one.

Drink- A very nice beer, I was thankful for this growler share. Its not as hoppy as I expected and this worked in its favor.

 703 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared by Tim.

A: The pour is a very clear golden straw color with a nice big white head and plenty of sticky lacing.

S: Quite the nose on this beer. Fruity and yeasty with plenty of citrus hops, giving a nice grapefruit note. A bit of weed and some regular grass, too. A little bit of unfermented wort smell right at the beginning, too.

T: More bitter than I was expecting, but it's welcomed. Grass, pine, and grapefruit peel seem an appropriate summary of the hop flavors that are present. A mild yeast driven fruitiness and spice. A solid bread base.

M: Medium in body with a surprisingly lively carbonation from the growler.

O: Not usually a big Belgian IPA fan, but this was much more IPA than it was Belgian. A great example of the style.

 757 characters

Photo of scottfrie
3.54/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Growler poured into Delirium tremens snifter.

A: Pours a dark amber-golden with a bubbly bright white head that slowly faded into a thin collar leaving streaks of soapy lacing down the glass.
S: Not getting a whole lot here but I can definitely smell some Belgian style yeast and light hops.
T: Notes of lightly bitter grassy hops a touch of bubblegum yeast. I get notes of banana and lightly toasted malt as well. The finish is dry and not overly sweet.
M: Slick mouthfeel over a medium body. Dryness is refreshing and the carbonation is smooth and easy.
O: Super easy to drink and well rounded. Not the greatest of the style but I would definitely have this again.

 669 characters

Photo of dookiepower
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had Defenestration at the RR brewpup today after a magnificent CBC Sour Brown.

Appearance- Poured into a tulip glass from the tap with a 1/2 finger head that withered away rather quickly, left a nice amount of lacing, and had a great golden color to it. Not too much carbonation coming from the heart, but a nice looker.

Aroma- Mostly a Belgian yeast, hoppy aroma. It had a little bit of a cedar/pine nose to it, and also had a little bit of a lemon aroma as well. Aroma's weren't pouring out of the glass exactly the way I'd like, but it was a nice balance.

Taste- Defenestration had a great balance between a rather hoppy Belgian style pale ale and a very nice Belgian yeast flavor. It also had a bit of a pine flavor in line with the nose of the beer. Also had a bit of a fruity nuance with a nice lemon/apple pucker very faintly on the front palate. It was a very well put together beer that flowed nicely from start to finish. It had a great long finish that I could taste for 5+ minutes.

Mouthfeel- A nice dose of carbonation, with a medium hoppyness allowed the beer to flow over nicely, and it went down very easily. Would be a great beer for a humid day.

Overall- Defenestration was a really great beer, I liked it all the way through with little to no faults, if anything maybe a little bit more balance between yeasty doughy bread and hoppyness.

 1,363 characters

Photo of marcpal
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this on tap a couple days back at Magnolia in San Francisco.

A: Well done pour producing a nice Belgian gold color. Thin filmy head with strong lacing.

S: Not too much smell, there are hops but not anything distinctively Russian River. Definitely more Belgian and spicy than Americanized.

T: More bitter than the aroma. Grassy notes tied in smoothly and adequately for the provided sweentess. Something fruity in the flavor with the spices. Sometimes lemony citrus, sometimes more banana. Would have preferred to have more of one or the other.

M: Very thin and very light. Would have liked more chew to the texture.

D: Surely worth a try. Went down easy and paired great with the super spicy sausage platter at Magnolia. Not a favorite but would have if it were distributed.

 783 characters

Photo of sloejams
4.17/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap last week at Magnolia, San Francisco

In my quest to drink as many Belgian IPAs as I can, I was ecstatic to see that Magnolia had one of my favorite brewery's stab at it.

Pour a crisp pale yellow. Thick white finger head. Aroma is as I like - thick Belgian sugars and American hop bouquet. The yeasty sweetness of the Belgian yeast hits the palate first and moves on the hop sweetness to the biting bitter strength end toward the back of the mouth.

I love this style and this is a fine example of it.

 510 characters

firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Defenestration from Russian River Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 61 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.