Russian River Brewing Company

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English Pale Ale
Ranked #33
Ranked #30,949
3.74 | pDev: 12.3%
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States
Reviews: 25 | Ratings: 120
Photo of GarrettB
3.66/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

July 27th, 2015 - Beer three on the Russian River taster list is Gaffer's Bitter. The aroma has a light stoney quality, like a Grisette. But the body is substantial. A light nuttiness plays well with the caramel note, and a delicious toastiness. The toast flavor surges and coasts all the way through to the aftertaste, inviting an enjoyable moment to savor the taste well after each sip.

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Photo of gandres
3.89/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 6:03 PM
Taster Tap to glass @ Russian River Brewing tap [email protected] Santa Rosa,CA
Sight: Pale, slightly hazy, white medium head goes away quickly
Smell: Cereal, grains, nutty 4.25 Tastel: lightly bitter
Feel: long finish, long nice bitter aftertaste, balance, lingers in taste buds
Overall: Very good ok to repeat and look for

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Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, CA

A: The beer is clear amber yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin off white head that died down, leaving a layer of bubbles on the surface and down the sides of the glass.
S: Light aromas of cracker and pale malts are present in the smell along with hints of citrusy and floral hops.
T: The taste follows the smell—light to moderate flavors of cracker of pale malts are present along with a slight amount of bitterness from the blend of hops.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very easy to drink and can be considered sessionable. This would be a good choice for someone who isn't a hophead.

Serving type: on-tap

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

6oz half pint pour
Enjoyed at the Santa Rosa, CA brew pub on 9/5/12

A: Pours a clear golden, yellow color. A bright white thin head that ends up leaving some lacing bits.

S: With the nose, English style for sure. Middle of the road hopping, nothing overly aggressive but suitable. There is that biscuit like malt as well.

T: On the sip, I get really mild bitterness on the tip of the tongue. Again, English still not overly bitter here. Then you really get that malt to come in an almost overly balance. It's very session forward, but not my cup of tea at this time. Light, dry finish. Some lingering hop character.

M: It's light to medium bodied

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a half-pint glass at the brewery.

A: Heavy lacing. Clear gold. Some bubbles.

S: Very nice, fruity hops. Dull malt. Bitter.

T/M: Hop-forward and very earthy. I quite like it. Well-balanced, lightly dry, with a crisp, pleasant finish. Better than English ales.

O: Good English pale ale. Drinkable and good with good while still having pleasant flavors of its own. Recommended.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Served a cloudy golden-orange color with a half-finger of frothy white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some good lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet caramel and light biscuit malts with some citrus and grapefruit hops.

T - Starts off with some citrus and grapefruit hops with some caramel and light biscuit malts. Through the middle, some more biscuity malts come through with a bit of bitterness. The finish is a mix of grapefruit hops with some sweet biscuit and caramel malts.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet and dry finish.

D - Very drinkable. Really nice biscuity malt profile with enough hops to balance. Very sessionable.

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Photo of williamjbauer
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap served in a 4oz sampler

A - Clear amber with 1.5 white head with excellence retention and good lacing.

S - Weird nose, I smell malt, herbal hops and PIZZA. I kid you not.

T - Pretty mild with very little bitterness. It is pretty spicy with coriander and sweet malt and a nice dry finish.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation.

O - Pretty decent Bitter.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.04/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Served on-draught into a 2 oz sampler glass at Russian River's taproom in Santa Rosa, California. Reviewed from notes. More samplers were ordered as needed for an accurate review. Expectations were high given the brewery, which is among me favourites from the Americas.

A: Pours a half finger head of decent cream and thickness, and good retention. Colour is a clear dark yellow.

Sm: Smells like a swimming pool - sort of an off-chlorine scent (nasty adjuncts?) Some nuts. A mild strength aroma.

T: Too malty, like a Spanish lager. It bothers me and intrudes on the balance. Mediocre. Poorly built - especially for the style.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Too thin for the flavours of the body.

Dr: A major disappointment from Russian River - maybe the worst brew I've tried from them. I wouldn't have it again - especially with all the other great brews they offer.


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Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


On tap for O'Brien's TION weekend.

A: Bright golden orange with an impressive foamy white head.

S: Restrained caramel notes blend with bread and biscuit. I get a little apple.

T: Lots of biscuit with a little bread and a low bitterness. There's a touch of caramel and a very light apple-like fruitiness.

M: Upper light body with medium carbonation.

Overall: A pretty nice bitter.

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Photo of John_M
3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewpub, Gaffers pours a golden amber color with fairly good head retention and lacing. Really don't get a whole lot on the nose, just some light dry citrus, some serial grains and sweet malt. On the palate, the hoppy bitterness is really dialed down, which I guess is to be expected in an english style bitter or pale ale. Otherwise, this beer is very well balanced, though the sweet malt flavor seems to dominate, with just a touch of underlying bitterness. The beer is still not overly sweet or malty, and there is some light, noticeable bitterness in the fairly dry finish. Mouthfeel is fairly lihgt, and drinkability is quite good. The alcohol is completely unnoticeable in this beer.

This would be a good beer for an afternoon of uncritical beer swilling with the guys while watching a ball game I suppose. The relatively low alcohol is an obvious bonus with this beer. Still, while a solid beer, this one just seems kind of out of place at the brewpub. I guess it would be a good alternative for those who find beers like blind pig, elder, the IPA and even the current pale ale a bit over the top in the hops department (and who also doesn't care for sours and belgian style beers), but if that's the case, why even bother to drop in at the brewpub to begin with? Can't really imagine ever ordering this one again...

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at O'Brien's

A: Hazy amber color with a think off-white head and some good lacing.

S: Aroma is pretty light. Faint hints of earthy hops, freshly baked bread, orange peel and some hints of clove and lemon rind.

T: Some heavy citrus hops, yerba mate, lemon zest, whole wheat bread and hazelnut with a heavy tea taste on the finish. Slightly earthy and malty throughout. This was really different than probably any other beer I've ever had. Not my favorite, but an interesting beer.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.09/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the brewpub.

A: Served a cloudy pumpkin orange with a quarter-inch of very dense and long lasting white head. Thick and sticky rings of lace were left down the glass after every sip. Great head retention.
S: Light on the nose, with scents of pale malts and a hint of yeast and earthy hops. I just get a hint of sweetness as well.
T: Clean flavors of pale malt, light grains, slight caramel sweetness, peppery earthy hops and vague splash of citrus. The finish is lightly bitter and refreshing, and the aftertaste is clean with flavors of biscuits lingering.
M: The body is on the medium side of light, the mouthfeel is very crisp and a bit drying, and the carbonation is fizzy but made up of very fine bubbles.
O: I had a couple pints of this without blinking an eye. This is the perfect drinking beer, and I was thoroughly impressed (but not surprised).

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Photo of litheum94
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Slightly opaque, orange golden body. Presented with no head, so this may be due to the pour.

Clean grain profile, with light hopping, citrus and tea.

Flavors follow the aromas. Clean and crisp malt bill, grainy and dry. Slight caramel sweetness. Very subtle hopping, with lemon and black tea flavors. Only a hint of bitterness on the finish.

A perfect session beer. Not overlly complex, but with enough flavor to keep it interesting. Refreshing and easy to drink.

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Photo of Jmoore50
4.48/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer would make someone who doesn't drink an alcoholic. I had it and was blown away. More proof that Russian River doesn't brew bad beer.

This has a nice orange-amber color to it with great clarity. Mine was served with a thin white head, and it left lacing! Lots of lacing on my glass was a happy addition to a good looking beer.

It smells good, a very strong hop character in this one that represents a good amount of hop fruitiness. Grapefruit, lemon rind, peaches, and some bittering hops as well. Light touch of biscuit and in the background.

This beer reminds me of a nice Summer day, drinking in the backyard and waking up a few hours later realizing those two or three beers turned into nine or ten. It has a great hop characteristic that was talked about in the smells. Its somewhat bitter, and with the malt backbone it is balanced just enough to make it one of the most drinkable beers I had.

Refreshing crispness with a nice flavor, this one is a winner. It has just enough hops in it, just enough malt, and the carbonation make it a lawnmower beer. Next time I go to the brewpub I might just order a growler and drink it out of that!

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Photo of Estocker
4.4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Could drink this for hours... and I did!

Smells of grassy, and piny american hops, some citrusy notes as well.

Tastes like a hoppy pale ale with some english undertones. There is a nice biscuity malt to help it go down smooth.

The mouthfeel is Russian River, smooth and bitter with no bite. This is exactly what I would expect from the brewer of Blind Pig and the Plinys, a fantastically hopped low ABV beer.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got a half pint of this at the brewpub, never had it and I was interested in trying their more American style ales, as well as all their sours. This one was pretty good.

Beer is amber to orange with a nice white head of small and medium bubbles held up by some carbonation. Head manages to leaves some lacing on the glass.

Beer has sort of a weak aroma but its mildly hoppy and has some biscuity notes as well.

Medium body and creamy in the mouthfeel. Its nice and ultimately finishes with minimal bitterness and a nice semi-dry feel. The hops give the midpalate this earthiness that is nice with a little citrus brightness. Really drinkable, overall a nice bitter.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
3.38/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this at Russian River Brewery on my birthday.

Appearance- golden color, thin head

Smell- citrus hops

Taste- interesting flavor, clean, bitter, citrus

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- It was pretty good. I enjoyed it. Good job by Russian River

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.12/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at RR

Pour was a light orange and amber with a light white head and lighter retention.

Lots of hops mainly, tons of citrus and floral. Light malt and spice.

Bitter? More like hoppy as hell pale ale. Light English influence with the floral bright hoppy flavor and light malt body. Big citrus and light hop bitterness carried this.

Light body, a bit thin, mild carbonation.

Did not get much English out of this but this was very drinkable and very refreshing.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.04/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Russian River

A: The pour is a slightly cloudy, light amber color with a white head on top.

S: The nose blew me away; this might be an English style beer, but it's all American hops. Lots of citrus hops (lemons, grapefruit, and tangerines?) with a hint of pine and perhaps even some pineapple notes. A light bready quality as you would certainly expect.

T: The flavor is similarly impressive. The bitterness provides a nice counterpoint to the bread and slightly sweet malt notes. The citrus flavors are once again intense and vibrant.

M: The body is maybe a little bit light, with a moderate to high level of carbonation.

D: This is just a very easy to drink and enjoy beer. Solid hop character that's not really accurate for the style, but tastes phenomenal.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.94/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub. I've had this a couple of times, but a recent visit prompted me to find my notes and upload them.

A: Pours a clear copper-amber body with (when served) not much head on it. A moderate collar with some scattered lace are all that remain of the foam. No lace during sips.

S: Biscuit malt, leafy and slightly grassy hops -- I'm guessing something Noble was used.

T: Fairly tasty, though I'm not well versed in the bitter style. Biscuit malt dominates, but hops shine through in earth and leafy/grassy flavors.

M: Light-bodied, with a dry finish and bitter (duh!) aftertaste. Moderate carbonation.

D: This is tasty; I'd definitely have it again on tap, but it's not memorable enough to get a growler of. I'm also not well versed enough in bitters (I drank all the wrong things in London, sadly) to criticize this one way or another. This is a "must revisit when I know the style more" beer.

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Photo of Offa
3.46/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a pretty good, balanced and easy0drinking ale, but not one of the best at Russian River.

Dark gold/pale amber, it has a smallish off-white head lasting as a thin foamy tip with a little bit of lace.

Aroma is very light with little detectable and mostly on the malty side, rather grainy-fruity ale.

Taste is more hoppy with light, spicey-citrusy hops just dominating a lightly malty body of faint toasty grain and very fain fruitiness. Overall, it is rather balanced, with light bitterness just barely and only briefly dominating the finish but not lingering. It's pretty easy to drink, balanced, and pleasant, but rather uninteresting. It's a lot like a completely toned-down Pliny in every respect, and less interesting to boot. For the other Russian River beers in the ame ABV area, I always choose Aud Blonde or Dead Leaf Green, two of my favourites here after Pliny or Damnation.

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at RRBC, and later from a growler. It's a clear copper colored ale with a small white head topping the pint. The nose is biscuity, a bit mineral/metallic with some earthy/leafy hoppiness. The taste follows suit, quite bready but equally hoppy, exhibiting firm earthy hop flavor and bitterness, a bit of orange peel perhaps. Clean yeast profile, it lacks true English character though it tastes like English malts and hops were used. Finishes dry and bitter, ultimately very clean. An enjoyable beer, but not a true English bitter.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a growler provided by BrewbakerE, thanks Evan,

A: Pours amber with a fizzy, soft white head leaving some lace.

S: English malt, relatively light.

T: Definite caramel, Maris Otter type flavours. Similar to London Pride at times, easy hopping, quite drinkable.

M: Smooth, easy on the palate, nice carbonation, light-bodied.

D: This is classic pub ale. Weird to see this style out of Russian River, which is known for pushing the envelope, but it shows they can do the classics well too.

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Photo of Sammy
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orange colour with Lots of lace. Minerally, Saaz here? Good bitterness,earthy, and good balance. good drinkability.Citrus in secondary in taste, and mildly in aroma. Good drinkability, a step up from a normal Bitish bitter. Suitable carbonation,served at the right temperature.

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Photo of mjl21
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Russian River. Poured into a pint glass. Comes in at 5.27% and 28 IBUs.

A-Pours a clear orangish amber. It has a one finger off white head that results in some nice lacing. It is well carbonated and results in a constant flow of bubbles rising from the bottom.

S-A nice subtle nose. It is a pleasant combination of earthy hops and biscuity malt aromas.

T-It has touches of sweet malt miixed with some biscuit flavor. The hops are a nice mix of earthy hops and citrus flavor.

M-Medium bodied with crisp carbonation.

D-A really good lower abv beer.

I really enjoyed this one. It is a nice change of pace from their hop bombs and sours.

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Gaffers from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 120 ratings