Russian River Brewing Company

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Belgian Saison
Ranked #273
Ranked #5,614
4.1 | pDev: 11.22%
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States
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Reviews: 54 | Ratings: 81
Photo of artoolemomo
4.97/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance- This is quite an attractive beer which pours up a finger and a half of pure cotton white head. It had good retention and the lacing is above average. The body is a light amber/golden honey color that is warm and hazy from the yeast.

Nose- Brettanomyces dominates the aroma and flavor which has a very funky finish. The aroma is strawberry jam. Some spice and a little bit of heat but this is mostly strawberries.

Taste- There is a definite tartness that is very present but still quite palatable. It moves from tart lemonade to sour cherry that returns to the strawberry jam of the nose. Earthy yeast as well. Such stunning complexity that my taste buds are having trouble keeping up. There is light alcohol and some bitter hops on the finish. This is so complex that it doesn't even taste the same after each drink. It runs rampant through the fruit section (strawberry, banana, and cherry) with some honey to boot. Somehow this beer manages to pair sublimity and robustness.

Mouthfeel- Light bodied and alive with carbonation. This makes the mouth and tongue tingle.

Drinkability- Absolutely delightful. This beer begs you to drink it.

Overall- One of the best beers I've ever had. If you see it, you must try it. Even if you don't like saisons. This beer is that good. A+

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Photo of islandboi8204
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Monks.

Pours a dark hue straw color. Acidic with some leathery flavor. Not much head on the pour, very citrusy. Oranges, lemony, some grapefruit with a funkiness to it. Tastes leathery, with some wet wood.

Lighter medium body, simply really refreshing, tart, and zesty take on a saison. Another great beer from RR, I'm glad I got to try it.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap at monks in philly

Pours a clouded golden straw color with some darker hues. Frothy white head rests on top, leaving some wispy film and spotty lacing behind.

Funky and tart in the nose with hints of brett and acidity. Some citrus fruit notes with zest and grassiness. Light oak and Belgian yeast as well.

Nice and tart up front with some zesty citrus tones. Lemon peel and funkiness are pretty prevalent throughout. Notes of orange spice, and grass with Belgian yeast. Faint sourness towards the dry finish with lingering flavor.

Lighter medium body, slightly higher carbonation, dry and lingering on the tongue. I was really excited to try this, and RR nailed it with a refreshing, tart, zesty take on the saison. Too bad there isn't anymore of this left.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First had: on tap at Monk's, Philly, PA

The final keg of this beer east of California, aged two years by Tom Peters, was tapped and I was there to imbibe it in all its glory. Served in a tulip glass, this beer poured a golden-peach-yellow, impenetrably hazy, with a small cap of white head that retained as a ringlet and left just a bit of lacing on the glass. The beer was actually initially poured into a pitcher from the line, because the head was so active. Light aroma of sweet fruits, citrus, bready malts, and spicy yeast. Good balance. Huge grapefruit profile in the taste, probably more pronounced than I've ever experienced in a beer. Juicy, zesty and pithy all at once. Nice notes of Belgian yeast, sweet malts, light spice and sugar, with a bit of grassy funk and a gentle oak quality. On the heavier side of medium-bodied, chewy, highly flavorful, tart, but still extremely smooth; very dry in the finish. Great beer, very savorable, and I'm glad I had the privilege to try it before it's gone.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

amber hue with a rich, decadent looking three inches of white foam on top. Just hanging there with a huge amount of side lace just dripping down the glass and keeping the head alive and well throughout the session.

The aroma was very, very nice. Rich notes of spices, apricot, light apple maybe and a touch of grain. As it warmed some light pepper like spice starts to come forward, nearly spot on. As I take the first taste, I expierence just what I wanted from this one. A light, perfectly carbonated saison. Light notes of fruit spiced up with hints of white pepper and a perfectly balanced mix between light grain and fresh grass in the finish. Smooth, delicate and perfectly drainkable

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Photo of DaveJanssen
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed 12/22/2009 on tap at brouwers in seattle. 12 oz pour in tulip.

Ar: Classic Russian river sour aroma (clean and controlled), floral (powdery), tart furit

Ap: Clear straw, thick white head, great retention

T: Tart, earthy barn, citric and lactic acids (no acetic), fruity, earthy, dry end, light alcohol, great barn, complex with furit, lightly rough end, tart citrus (lemon/lime), light green apple

M: Tart and dry, medium/high carbonation, clean with earthy dry end

O: Very good, i like supplication more but this has more barn/funk than other Russian River beers

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Photo of TheStove
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Consumed on tap at Bottleworks in Seattle.

Pours brilliant golden with a resemblance to Saison Du Pont with little foam or head. Not much in terms of haziness for this one as it seems many of the saisons I have been drinking recently have been somewhat hazy.

Instantly hits the tongue with a yeast and citrus flavor like a crisp Belgian golden ale. The smoothness of the sip instantly gives way to citrus flavors with sourness, almost like biting into a sour and bitter grapefruit. Excellent flavor though, as I enjoy sour ales and as this one goes down it sometimes feels like more a sour Flemish ale than a saison. At times it drinks like a slightly lighter version of a Duchesse.

Excellent beer, nice crisp, sour and citrus. An interesting take on the Saison style that comes across well.

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Photo of elliot23
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Puckerfest.

This one looks nice in my glass; yellow and hazy with some golden clouds rounding out this wonderful sight.

The smell... spicy, sweet, funky sour, earth, tons going on with this one. The surprising thing about this is picking up some hops.

Some citrus and earth up front. Then hits of peppercorn, yeast, clove, and some lemon. It finishes up nicely with hop bitterness that is balanced out nicely with some sourness. Good stuff.

The mouthfeel is similar to a great saison but that great bitterness really leaves you feeling nice.

The drinkability is excellent. One that you could put back for hours. Wish this one was bottled. I'd take a case to go

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Photo of maximum12
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled in a lovely 12 oz. pour at Brouwer's Cafe to sip alongside the delicious burger I had. Turned out to be a good combination.

Yellow, fizzy, just looked happy to be in the tulip it was served in. Smell was warm, with a touch of spice, lemony.

Lemon-zest sets the profile of Publication, & does it with verve & vigor. Sharp lemon stings the mouth gently, giving way then to a soft clump of earthiness. A light touch on the funk gives way to another zip of tartness at the end, along with a champagne-like spritz.

Delightful. A simple, down-home saison with only a hint of brett. If more saison's hit you with this easy, quick, tasty profile, I'd drink a lot more of them. Excellent beer.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.71/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow. I quick run to Seattle isn't complete until a midday meal at Brouwers Cafe in Fremont. The stoofleez were out, no buffalo for me. But the halibut was good, the mussels tasty, the service immaculate. Oh, and they had beer there too.

The Publication pours a hazy gold, with a perfect white head and a subtle trickle of bubbles flowing from the bottom of a perfect tulip glass. The aroma is muted sour, a grainy wheat and earth. Yellow lemons, peaches, grass and love burst past my lips, make the life so much better.

The ladies, two beautiful ladies, each take a sip and smile those smiles that make worlds change and wars start. They are hooked now. A fast conversion to belgian style beers has begun.

We wander out to the sunny streets in search of coffee to steel us against this midday gastronomical orgy.

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.64/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A 3-month old growler of Publication served at the April Austin BA tasting thanks to Bill.

Pours a clear golden-straw hue that builds a scan head of off-white bubbles which cling to the sides of the tasting glass. Lemon peel in the aroma (think Lemon Heads candy), with fresh cut grasses and bits of Brett. Funky, and very nice.

Very funky flavor, with spicy wooden notes and barnyard blankets. Dry & grassy, with a Brett-rich finish of funk that balances nicely with a floral hoppiness. Slightly bitter, super-dry, and light bodied mouthfeel. All in all, a decent brew, but a tad too dry for the style and the woodenness became overbearing after a few sips.

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Photo of DmanGTR
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes from October 09. On tap at Monk's.

A - Cloudy gold with a short lived white head. Decent lacing. 4.0

S - Hops, pepper, ginger, faint grassiness. 3.5

T - Honey sweetness with lots of grassiness and herbal flavors. Light citrus and an herbal, lingering bittersweet aftertaste. This is actually not as bad as it sounds. Peppery too. 4.0

M - Very smooth and mild carbonation. Light and refreshing. 4.5

D - Very drinkable. Different from your standard beer but this is quite good. 4.0

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Toronado SF.

a - pours a bright golden color, very hazy with a one-inch frothy white head, good retention and great lacing

s - spicy with lots of peppercorn, yeast and bread also prominent, decent amount of funky notes in there as well, not much alcohol at all

t - peppercorn and yeast up front with a nice mild funkiness on the mid-palate, very refreshing, the finish has a mild tartness mixed with some spice and more yeast, moderately dry on the finish, very well-balanced

m - medium-bodied, moderate to higher carbonation, well-balanced finish, easy on the palate

d - very easy-drinking and refreshing saison, incredibly drinkable, I guessed this was about 5% when drinking it, no way does it come across as 8%, not the most interesting taste, but very refreshing with the mild funk

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Photo of dirtylou
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on-tap, happy hour at Toronado-SF

cellphone notes

appearance: hazy straw-yellow body, light beige froth. had no idea what this even was when i ordered, but it quickly revealed itself as a saison

smell: grassy, mildly funky, white pepper, belgian yeast

taste: delicate saison - straw, hay, belgian yeast, clove, lemon zest

mouthfeel: light and crisp

drinkability: high

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Photo of John_M
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Belmont Station. Was told that the "Don-Father" (Don Younger one assumes) gifted a keg to BS (as I don't believe they were one of the 5 bars designated to receive this beer by Russian River). In any event...

The beer pours a somewhat hazy honey peach color with very good head retention and lacing. On the nose, this is pretty much a prototypical saison style beer, with honey, white pepper and an underlying yeasty quality. I thought it smelled pretty attractive actually. Flavors replicate the nose pretty closely in this beer, with some noticeable spice and underlying orange citrus as well. The beer is at most moderately sweet, with something of a white pepper, drying finish. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied in this moderately carbonated beer, and I thought drinkability was pretty good with the alcohol well disguised.

While nothing earth shattering, this beer was a bit better then I had been lead to believe it would be after reading over some of the initial reviews. Maybe the extra time in keg has benefited the beer, as I found it to be pretty tasty. I'd certainly order it again were I fortunate enough to find it on tap someplace else (which I realize is not very likely).

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Photo of benclimbs
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours yellow off opaque with a small head and tons of lacing.

smell is a bit of sourish fruit malts, a bit of lemon, a little grassy notes - not super intense but good.

taste is more citrus, some clean dry malt notes, not sticky at all, some pears and ripe fruit - with a nice sour/bitter finish.

mouthfeel is dry, clean with great carbonation.

great drinking saison - another russian river success!

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Photo of tpd975
3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Monk's.

A: Pours a pale murky yellow with a tall foamy head. The bartender had a hard getting a decent pour due to the mass amount of foam. II ended up with short pour but it was not due to lack of effort by the bartender. The head lingered forever and left behind layer after layer of lace.

S: Citrus up front. Fairly earthy with lots of brett, yeast, and mild spice.

T: Earthy hay flavors with tart citrus up front. Nice light spice notes with a blast of brett in the finish.

M: Medium in body, smooth, great carbonation.

D: Good. A solid saison but not the best that RR offers.

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Photo of ckeegan04
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap last month at Monks. From notes.

A - Hazy straw yellow with a thick, foamy white cap. Head has excellent retention and leaves decent lacing behind. Settle to about an inch of foam on top of the beer.

S - Citrus and light spiciness. Lot sof lemon zest. Hints of ground white pepper and a light eartheiness as it warms. The Brett is noticeable, but not very strong at all.

T - Light lemon zest up front with just a touch of Brett. Becomes much more spicy mid-drink with a peppery profile. Rather tart in the finish with just a hint of funk, cant quit put a finger on the exact taste.

M/D - Light, crisp and very vibrant feel. Easy drinking but a bit underhwlming on the taste. Certainly a worthy saison though, but not up to snuff with some of the other RR stuff I have had.

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Photo of ScreamForMe
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this last month on tap:

RR funkiness but not as prevalent as some of their other brews.

Decent amount of lacing.

Not being well versed in saisons, I found this brew like a sour lite if there is such a thing.

Drinkable but not something I would put at the top of the list.


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Photo of capra12
3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed with Stephy and speedwayjim on 11/7/09 served out of a pint glass.

Appearance: Wheat/ yellow in color with 1/4 finger of white head which dissipated quickly.

Smell: Yeasty, floral and hints of malts.

Taste: Surprising, Opened with a brief skunkiness and a floral hop as a malt profile as a citrus and grapefruit emerges in the middle to the end as there is a sweet and floral hop finish.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with moderate carbonation, and crisp & dry.

Drinkability: I would have this again. It surprised me because of its variation to the style. This was like a blend of a saison and an IPA. I recommend this to someone who enjoys and IPA twist on a saison.

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Photo of bcm119
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Toronado. Pours a warm yellow color with some haze. Fine white lace on the glass.

Lightly toasty in the nose, with some bready malt along with some yeasty funk and lemony hops.

Supple toasty malt and barnyardy yeast flavors. Hops are fresh and bright, lemony. Mildly tart, with some dusty, vinous flavors up front. A hint of light malt sweetness in the middle adds a little viscosity. Finishes clean and dry, with green leafy hops and a little grain in the aftertaste.

A nice saison, although less funky than many. Very drinkable and well done, like most RR beers.

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Photo of angelmonster
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a 1 finger white head, bright orange hazy body. Head and lacing were above average but not too impressive for a Belgian style ale

Smells very yeasty and spicey. Lots of citrus fruits, no hops, and not much malt. Very faint alcohol smell

Taste reminds me alot of Collaboration not Litigation. Lots of tangerine and fruity yeast. Some pale straw malt and very faint alcohol at the end

Mouth feel leaves nice coating on the mouth. Carbonation is there but not too much. Head didnt leave much of a presence.

Drink ability is pretty good. Very light for 8 percent abv, almost session able. Tasty beer, very similar to Collaboration beer, would buy again

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.36/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

So Vinnie's finally done it. And by "it", I mean brew a beer I was disappointed by. On tap at Monk's

The pour is gorgeous, a light yellow with a thick, white head with excellent retention, leaving sheets of lace as I drink this. The nose is a combination of honey, floral notes and some pepper from the base saison, but there's also a mild clove-like aroma. I guess the Brett has had time to work, and there's a definite band-aid like character as well. I'm surprised by the amount of green apple character too.
The palate opens with a surprising amount of bitterness, grainy and husky in character. Once that fades, the flavors of the base saison take over, with a nice combination of honey, black pepper and some citrus. Plenty of green apple mid-palate, there's some mild funk in the back, with some of the classic Brett bandaid character. Finishes with a grainy astringency and some spice. Light in body with a high level of carbonation, this feels good on the palate, apart from the distressing bitterness. One glass was about as all I wanted of this brew, and the Blind Pig I followed this up with was just so much better

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Photo of GJ40
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at Bottleworks in Seattle.

This is a nice looking beer with a golden color, a slight haze and a thick, creamy white head. The aroma is funky with some lemon and pepper. The flavor follows closely with lots of funk. There's a touch of sour / tart but it's mostly funk. It's very crisp and clean. The consistency is smooth and substantial and the carbonation is moderate with very fine bubbles.

I really enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Growler shared by RoyMunson.

Pours a dark gold in color. A very nice inch or more of head forms on the pour. Looks very nice in the glass.
Smell is spicey/peppery with some belgian yeast. There's also a hint of tartness as well.
Taste is more of the spicey saison qualities that you'd expect. It was commented by someone that this is like Beatification without the barrel aging. For what it is, it's a pretty good saison. Nice carbonation and bite in the mouthfeel. Not very sessionable. After a glass and a half I was tired of it. Has good flavor though.

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Publication from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 81 ratings