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Consecration | Russian River Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Belgian-style dark ale aged in American oak Cabernet Sauvignon barrels with currants.

Added by Gueuzedude on 10-31-2008

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Reviews: 1,131 | Ratings: 5,152
Photo of Sarlacc83
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

375mL bottle. Batch 008.

A: Cherry coloration with a very thin lacing of head. The beer is actively moving in the glass; a geyser rises from the middle and and turbulates the beer. Light legs.

N: Sour cherry, currant, powerful acids. Very vinous, plenty of wine grapes, and the oak is noticeable. Light blackberry. New leather and some funkiness.

T: Wow, lots of currants. There's a pleasant sour pie cherry in the background, and the oak and acids are moderated well. Some tangerine /lemon zest. I do get some light tobacco/leather flavors. Grapes and a little bit of raisin. Has a lot in common with the cabernet sauvignon barrel.

M: Light and very, very well carbonated. I am getting a surprising amount of alcohol, though.

O: A sterling beer that I've passed over too many times to count. While off chasing the newest sour from around the block, Consecration beckons us back to its sublime, balanced fruitiness. Delicious.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle. It's from Batch 005X2E. Poured this one into my Lost Abbry tulip.

A: Pours a fairly clear amber color. Basically no head. There was a good pop on the cork. But not a lot of carbonation. Lacing is non existent. You do catch some little alcohol feet.

S: I am getting the customary Flemish Red type smells off this one, but the complexity is amped with some of those vinous notes from the red wine barrel. I get some tart dark cherries and vinegar notes as well.

T: It's a more mild tart on the tip of the tongue. Then you get that tart dark cherry flavor that I have come to love. It's very smooth, and mellowed by the oak barrels I would assume. You do pull some of that leather and wood that red wine would add as well. You can't taste the 10% at all, as I thought that was a little high for the style. it's completely masked.

M: This is a lighter, medium mouthfeel for me. It's very drinkable and pleasant.

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Photo of Kevinpitts
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer has a champagne like quality to it. Very effervescent. Black currants come through with a deep tart berry character. Nice sour, but once is enough for me.

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Photo of flannelman808
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 update...

Only two years later this beer is no longer aged for 9 months and (try half the time) and also no longer has the depth of flavor and character I used to find in it. Still good but The spicy chocolate notes which I used to enjoy (in the background) no longer show up... It is now highly acidic (as it was) and not too much more...


Picked this one up without fully knowing what I was getting myself into. Im still not real sure what the story on the beer is but it is suffice to say that this is very rare. It better be at $20 for a 750ml.

This beer pours a deep cherrywood color, and has an offwhite colored head. It has tightly concentrated bubbles, and good head retention.

The aroma pours out of the nose of the bottle as soon as you pop the cork. Sour cherry, and red fruit overwhelm but some spice notes get through as well.

This stuff is very intense it has a very tightly concentrated sour flavor that will take you by surprise if your not ready for it. Very sour up front, and then the flavor spreads out a bit. The 10 ABV is completely hidden by red fruit and spice. After sipping it for a while, your mouth adjusts to the intensity and if you like sour style beers this will do the trick. I wonder how it will age, I feel that with some time the beer will mellow out some and perhaps be more approachable. All things considered, this one is very unique and worth the 20 bones.

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Photo of jdense
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Saraveza 2.18.10 poured into Chalice, good size pour (12 oz.).

Minimal head, quick dissipation, no lacing to speak of. Dark amber body. Faint dried fruit in the nose, little hop presence. Taste is of tart dried cherries, no noticeable hops, a bit of funk (Brett?) pucker powered brew. Dry attentuated finish. At this ABV not sessionable, one is enough, but quite drinkable. Not quite in the league of Cascade Brewing/Raccoon Lodge, but this was a very tasty sour, certainly worth seeking out for fans of the style.

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Photo of Otesanek
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Barrel aged 6 months in oak with currants. Brett, sacc, pedio, and lacto cultures. Batch 002x2. Maroon label with a black and white line drawing of a spear, I assume the lance of Longinus. My fiance carried this back from Cali for me. Poured at 49┬░ into a snifter. 1/8th inch head settles out instantly to a bubbly ring. The body of the beer is sorta a tawny port color, a reddish-orange in the deepest spots. Sweet oaky nose, some fruit, smells like a fruit forward red wine, not a lot of sour in the nose, maybe just a hint. The body is good, spritzy carbonation, lightly coating, lightly puckering. Flavor comes on strong with cherries, currants, very tart, a nice long rolling tartness, just a faint bit acetic, which I like in small quantities. Lots of oak, woody and dry, not vanilla, perhaps they used non-American barrels. As it's warmed slightly I'm picking up the brett in the nose, a kinda spicy chemical-leather. It's coming forward in the taste too, again, leathery and earthy melding into the sour fruits. The alcohol is really well hidden on this beast. It's an intense beverage to be sure, but well balanced, the tartness is just right, no real sign of the booze, goes down easily all things considered. I wish I had more of this stuff...

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Photo of tectactoe
4.19/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to GetMeAnIPA for this one... my first RR sour! Consecration pours a pretty damp and dreary copper-brown color with some very slight ruby-red highlights when held in front of a bright light. The head is a murky beige color, borderline light-tan, and dissipates quickly into thin air leaving behind only a little bit of wet legging. I'll tell you this, it's not much to look at really. Kind of dark and musty looking - I guess it fits the style. I was just expecting something a bit more vibrant. The aroma is heavy fruit; currants, grapes, cherries, mixed berries. Very tart on the nose alone. The aroma makes up for the vibrance that was lost on its appearance. Slight wet, woody smell trailing in the back somewhere, but not much (if any) funk or brett. Just straight up tart and sour fruits and vinegar.

Aaaaand the taste is an explosion on the tongue. It is the aroma in "taste" form. You get hit right up front with a strong acidity and balsamic-like vinegar character. Starts off just a bit sour, then quickly the tartness overcomes every corner of your mouth and becomes nearly pucker-inducing. Grapes, berries, plums, currants, cherries, and even a touch of apricot in the finish. Juicy, juicy, JUICY ass fruits; authentic, quenching, tart, and satisfying. I'm sure there are plenty of fruits and flavors I'm missing, as there are plenty of things I can't quite identify - but the harmony between them is pretty amazing.

About halfway through and even earlier when the beer gets warmer, the wood flavors come out - wet, damp, deep oak. Slightly musty and corky, but still, not much on the funky or barnyard side of the spectrum, which might be a good thing - I don't know if I'd want anything else distracting me from this delicious onslaught of gushing, sour fruits. Vinegar becomes even more prominent at the end in the fruity and sweet aftertaste. Alcohol? What alcohol? This beer is 10% ABV? Are you fucking kidding me? No idea how the alcohol is masked this well, but it is. Watch out, this beer will put you on your ass if you're not careful. Medium bodied, crispy and slightly dry with a heavy load of carbonation.

My first RR wild ale, and hopefully not my last. This was some seriously good shit. So satisfyingly tart, sour, and sweet with a perfect flavor profile of authentic fruits. Insanely drinkable for such a high ABV. Ridiculous.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.19/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Coppery dark brown with a minuscule ring of foam. Smells like new Sharpie. Unmistakably like Sharpie marker. Maybe "musty" if I have to use beer lingo? I like Sharpie smell. Tastes like tart red wine, bitter bakers chocolate, nutmeg and a fuzzy back end.

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Photo of Givemebeer
4.19/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a snifter. Man am I excited for this one

A: Amber colored is the best way to describe it. A tiny bit of lacing. Poured with a loose head that dissipates. Pretty beer.

S: light fruits. Definitely smells of apple and pear and smells sour.

T: The sourness on this is perfect. It's delicious and not overdone. Congrats to them for not having a contest on making the most sour beer. Anyway, also taste of apple and some plum. Delicious.

M: Incredibly smooth and easy to drink. Can't believe its 10%. The layered flavors mesh well at the end and make this a real treat.

O: Being that I live on the east coast it's a bit of a bummer I won't be able to try this again soon. I very much enjoyed it and would be happy to have it again.

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Photo of biegaman
4.19/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

All that time spent in the barrel has given the beer a murky prune juice complexion and off colour that resembles a raisin. That said, it does glows like pomegranate juice against the light. (Where would the beer reviewer be without fruits?) The extended slumber also killed off most head retention. Check that, all of it. It has ravished its once beautiful looks.

If you weren't aware that this was aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels you'd be astonished at how the beer smells so strikingly like the red wine, right down to the perfumed alcohol esters, oak wood and dusty tannins. There's also, of course, lots of dark berry fruit, enough to be unsure of how much can be attributed to the currants and how much to the barrel.

The bouquet really grew on me with warmth, and definitely matured into something that you could sit, sniff and deliberate about for hours. The flavour, however, was a little less dignified, notably because it reminded me so simply of a Cabernet Sauvignon - worse actually, a slightly watered down one with far more oak barrel and tobacco bitterness present.

That's not to imply, however, that it isn't still considerably flavourful. And it's unarguably unique. For one it shows virtually no indication of its strength and has a lot of wild berry fruitiness. The oak is concentrated, persistent and astonishingly nutty, with notes of Brazil nut and coconut shavings in time creeping out from all that toasty wood flavour.

Unlike other Russian River beers, however, I find this one to have a fairly shallow complexity; its tartness is obvious but diluted, the bitterness tasting like tomato or tobacco leaf and its acidity and phenols - because they're so pronounced in red wines - are dulled in the shadow of the Cabernet Sauvignon flavour. Unlike most sours, the finish is unexciting and fleeting.

Consecration is an artistic and innovative experiment... that for all its intricacies and inventiveness ends up tasting a lot like watered-down cab sauvignon. What to make of that? It blurs the lines not only of the beer/wine world, but of the perspectives of the reviewer too - $11 is a lot for a bottle of any beer, but at $23 this would make a reasonably priced bottle of wine. I suppose for me, personally, that makes it more a novelty thing than anything else.

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Photo of Soonami
4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml Russian River Consecration Batch 004X1, served at cellar temps, poured into a 500ml Mother Earth tulip.

This is a beautiful beer. It's a deep garnet red with just a wisp of head that quickly dissipates like soda bubbles. The effervescence carries a lot wine notes: black peppery, damp oak, crushed and blackberries, with just a whiff of earthy funk. The acid and alcohol and definitely present in the nose and on the palette. The wine notes dominate, with big fruitiness, leather, tobacco, and a dry tannic oak finish . The currants add a bit of jammy, creamy fruit. The finish is boozy with just a slightly tart and minerally finish. There is a bit of lingering funk that coats your tongue. Very tasty and complex. Great beer. Thanks Vinnie for making this.

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Photo of levifunk
4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a - light brown pour. clean clear pour. little head.

s - oak, tart cherry, some booze....but its 10%.

t - tart cherries, tons of oak. More booze than I would like in a Wild, but still very nice.

m - lighter body. very nice carbonation...especially given the high abv.

overall - its not my fav. RR, but its very nice. I just don't think it needs such a high abv. it is very drinkable for a 10% beer though!

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Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Date: 30 April 2011
Glass: Standard snifter
Type: 12fl oz corked and caged....batch 5? can't remember

Beer flight, taken from notes:

Appearance: Slightly cloudy cooper-brown, no head, no lacing

Smell: Touch of oak, (maybe cedar, don't know my woods super well), SOUR currants, spice

Taste: Not overly sour currant, some oak

Mouthfeel: Oak makes a great combo with the wild yeasts

Overall: Anyone could drink this forever. Excellent beer, great sourness.

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Photo of boomer31
4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Loved batch 2 but didn't review it. Review taken from batch 4

A - Transparent ruby red with a white ring around the glass.

S - That funk nose of brett and slight vinegar.

T - Right away this is more fruity than I recall. Currants, maybe but the citrus really stands out. Wood and dry tartness in the back. At 10% you don't get any of the ABV.

M - Highly carbed, light on the palate but dry and tart.

D - Fruity but tart. A very solid Wild, one of the best I've had. Sharing a bottle is probably a very good idea.

I'm still trying to get my palate for wilds but this one is right up there all the other wilds I've had, tart, dry and fruity.

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Photo of SPRichard
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

had this at the Memphis Taproom over the 4th of July weekend...this is my first attempt at an American Wild Ale

served in a tulip glass...reddish/brown body...not much of a head on this one...no signs of lace at all

sour/tart cherries...biscuity yeast...some Belgian candy sweetness

sour cherries/green apples was all i could think of after each sip....really could feel it in my cheeks

despite the sour/tart flavors this was very smooth to drink...nice medium bodied...dry finish...not overly carbonated

this style is way out there for me...like i stated earlier this is my first time trying an American Wild Ale...took me a while to drink it, but made my way through it with no problems...taking a few sips of ice water between sips of beer made it a bit more bearable...i'm always willing to try anything from Russian River so I couldn't pass this one up....would I go back to it again if I found it, probably not but that doesn't mean it's a bad beer in my eyes...when i become more familiar with this style i may have it again and re-review it

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Photo of Zilaniz
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice from a 1.5 year old bottle. Smelled very "champagney" and tasted the same. I was expecting it to be a bit more tart and sour but it wasn't. It was almost too balanced which unfortunately I do not like as much with wild ales. Still was outstanding though just not what I thought it was going to be.

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Photo of von_kaiser
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Too much Cabernet. Barrel character DEF comes out strong. Maybe time will do justice. But, no heat:l Very cab forward sour worthy of the claim. not my kind of sour though. Regardless, def worth the try. Cheers!

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Photo of depechemode1983
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours out a clear deep mahogany color with blood red hues. Head is off-white and has little retention. No lacing on this one. Beautiful color though.

S - Sour funkiness hits your upfront comprised of sour grape and green apple. Also noticeable are oak and vinegar.

T - Lots of sour dark fruits. Lots of vinegar. Very red wine like. The oak come through very nicely with a touch of funk in the finish that sorta lingers for a bit.

M - Medium bodied and very bubbly. Goes perfect with everything thats going on. Like a red wine spritzer.

O - Completely awesome. I love how the wine barrel aging really played a part.

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Photo of thain709
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 004X4 graciously shared by Deuane

A - Dark brown body with some ruby highlights...it's alive...the carbonation is crazy in this one...some sediment is suspended and floating around...the head was small and white and didn't stick around for long...with a swirl it comes back but vanishes just as quickly...all that's left is a small bead around the top

S - You can smell that this one is going to be tart...it's very fruity with tart cherries, grapes, raisins, and currants...the grapes bring out a very pronounced winey characteristics...not many woody aromas

T - There's the tartness I was waiting for...full on tart and sourness that makes you pucker up nicely...the currants really blend in nicely (I actually tried a dried currant along side the beer because I did not know what they tasted like)...again the tartness comes back...the finish is wine like and flavored with currants

M - Medium bodied...tart with dark fruits (currants, grapes)...nice carbonation

D - I was happy to finally try a beer from Russian River...and I'm starting to get used to trying wild ales...the tartness level in this one was apparent from the first sniff and very apparent as you swallow...I liked trying a dried currant along side because it really helped me pinpoint the currant flavor in the beer...again, a big thanks to Deuane for sharing this one with me

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Photo of jackorain
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at Capone's during the Sunday morning event that occurred on March 29th 2008.

The color was purplish brown in color with a copper hue when held up to the light. The liquid was all but crystal clear. The head was a thin and tan. What head was present hung around for most the time I spent consuming my Pliny the Younger. When it finally did recede it left a very thin tan collar. After each sip a few tight tan bubbles would cling randomly to the side of the glass.

Full Disclosure Note: Before proceeding with the rest of my review I must come clean and state that this is my first sour beer review. Not a bad one to start with, I guess.

The initial aroma was a huge hit of sour. My first impression of this aroma was red wine vinegar. After taking several more deep breaths over the liquid, I began to become accustomed to the sour notes and began to pick up several more complexities in the aroma. Grapes and sour cherries came through next. A musty, funkiness characteristic came through on the finish.

I must admit, as with the nose, I did not appreciate my initial taste. Very strong acidic nature, more like balsamic vinegar that the red wine vinegar from the nose. I said to those at the table with me, that this would go well with some olive oil and garlic and would make a nice salad dressing (quite honestly, this may be true, albeit it a waste). After growing accustomed to the sourness, as with the nose, I become to pick out quite a bit more complexity. There were some woodsy, oaky notes, as well as the grapes and sour cherries from the nose. The funkiness is prevalent middle to end. There is no hops to be found here. The finish is sour and dry.

This beverage has a medium body and a light but tingly effervescence for carbonation. Overall, it is very dry and astringent. The finish leaves the pallet dry and jowls drawn in from the astringency.

I would have to say that sour beers are an acquired taste and I have not yet fully acquired it. This was drinkable, I suppose. If it wasn't kicked in 70 minutes, I might have ordered another to assist my palate in the acquisition.

Thanks for Reading

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Photo of Krevee
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank on 04/29/10
Poured from 750ml bottle into a Bruery tulip

A - The beer pour a dark red. Looks similar to a red wine. Has very minimal white head that faded away rather quickly. Virtually no lacing while drinking.

S - The smell is very interesting with lots of unique flavor profiles. I can smell the wine barrels that it was aged in. It has hints of oak and a stronger alcohol as well such and bourbon maybe. It has a very tart smell to it as well with dark sweet fruits in the mix.

T - I had one half glass with dinner and enjoyed it but it didn't seem that sour/tart to me from what I had read about this beer, but when I poured myself a full glass later in the evening the second glass seemed much more tart/sour. I can definitely taste the red wine from the barrel aging along with some oak. Has sweet fruit tastes to it as well. I can't distinguish the individual fruits though. I can also taste the current in the beer. The beer is very tart and dry on the back half. It is quite tasty but is definitely a sipping beer.

M - Mouthfeel is medium to high amounts of carbonation with a lighter body to the beer. Good for the style but you can't take very large sips of it.

D - This beer hides its ABV well, but is not something that I can drink a lot of in a sitting. Because it is so tart it much be sipped and savored so I don't think I would have more than a glass or two at a time. Its refreshing for the first glass but after that the ABV starts to hit you. Good beer overall and for the style.

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Photo of OlieIPA
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thank you Victor!

A: Poured a reddish-brown hue (similar to prune juice) with a big white head that dissipated rather quickly.

S: Currents, cherry and perhaps grapes.

T: Tart right off the bat, which is then slowly balanced out by the cheery/raspberry like flavor profile. Very sugary in the sense, almost like a sour sweet tart, that could also be best compared to a good champage or carbonated wine.

M: A nice medium-body beer that is nicely carbonated.

D: One of the best sours I've had the chance to try, with the alcohol nearly invisible.

Overall: A great beer! The sour and fruity notes are very nicely balanced, and the smell was impressive as well. I can't wait to cellar one of these and try it again. A must try. Cheers!

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Photo of Jwale73
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to GRG1313 for the opportunity. Batch 004X2 served in my CL tulip at 53 degrees. Pours a translucent reddish-brown with a loose, quarter inch off-white head that quickly disperses towards the shoulders leaving a broken, sudsy skim across the surface. No lacing on this one. Fantastic nose - oak, buttery notes, currants and a vinous quality all interwoven into a complex palate of aromas. Taste follows nose - no real surprises here. The flavors are refreshingly tart and the alcohol seems non-existent, despite the 10% abv indicated on the label. Mouthfeel is light in body with a carbonation that falls just short of lively. The tartness lightly stimulates the salivary glands along the sides of the cheeks and there is also a slight acidic burn that lingers on the lips between quaffs. Not much more to say - a solid American wild with a great deal of complexity. Another impressive beer from this brewer.

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Photo of KI9A
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: deep ruby red, smooth head.

S: Sweet-tart candy, more on the tart side. Cherries.

T: Sour cherry candy. That is the foremost thing that popped out to me. Some citrusy, woodyness appears at the back.

M: Vinegary aftertaste, but not really objectionable. Lip piucker sourness.

D: Wierd, but the sourness makes you want to go back for more. Certianally interesting, and, even refreshing. Need have a cold water after this, but, nice, in a wierd way.

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Photo of zhanson88
4.17/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out a medium amber color with about a finger of off-white head forms that has pretty average retention and minimal lacing. Some carbonation is present, but not a whole lot.

Smell: Funk and mustiness are present, but not real strongly. A bit of sourness as well, and quite a bit of oak, along with some darker fruit character; possibly plum and/or currant.

Taste: The plums and currants come out first, followed by strong mustiness and acidity. Out of Temptation, Supplication and Consecration, this beer is assuredly the most sour. A definite lactic sourness noted that is biting, and combines with the oak character very nicely. This is absolutely the highlight of this beer.

Mouthfeel: This beer is definitely medium bodied, but is lacking a bit of carbonation for my taste. Fairly low for the style, but still good. Overall, a good wild ale that really satisfies if you're looking for something sour. I wish the other aspects of this beer were as good as the taste, because it is good.

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Consecration from Russian River Brewing Company
4.41 out of 5 based on 5,152 ratings.
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