Russian River Brewing Company

Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Wild Ale
Ranked #19
Ranked #197
4.48 | pDev: 8.48%
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States
Notes: A blonde ale fermented with a special strain of yeast, then aged in French oak chardonnay barrels. Flavors of wine and oak absorb into the brew throughout twelve months of aging. During this aging process, a secondary fermentation occurs using a yeast strain disliked by most brewers and winemakers called Brettanomyces.
Reviews: 1,056 | Ratings: 3,858 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of IBU_Hunter
IBU_Hunter from California

4.82/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

*Aroma: Oaky, white wine, Chardonnay
*Looks: Pale amber, lemony hazy, 1.5 finger head that sticks around
*Taste: AMAZING! What a superbly made beer! Notes of Chardonnay, but slight sour ale notes with perfect dryness, this is a truly well made, work of art! I am speechless.
*Finish: Balanced, delicious, champagne-like but sour ale! Better than most Belgian Sour Ales. And that’s saying a lot.
*Overall Verdict*: A+++ all the way. Russian River has made an instant winner with this beer at 7.5% abv, super smooth, amazing balance, amazing sour notes balanced by carbonation. Perfect style for whatever the style it represents!

Feb 01, 2021
Photo of KeithHartwig
KeithHartwig from Pennsylvania

4.94/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

RR beers are incredibly difficult to find on the East Coast, especially in PA, where (according to one source) they are randomly distributed. Was very excited to discover a few dusty bottles dated 050118 at Waywood Beverage in Kennett Square, PA. Opened on 1-10-20 and poured into a champagne flute.

A: Clear straw gold. Rocky white head that settles quickly. Some lacing remains after letting the beer open up for a minute.

S: Strong lactic sourness. Vinous white wine notes followed by golden raisin. Initially detected a sweet citrus (tangerine) aroma. Apparent oak tannins on the nose.

T: Carbonic bite followed by golden raisin, citrus and lactic acidity. The acidity is not as sharp as I had assumed from the aroma - its actually far more restrained and well balanced, like a sparkling moscato or chardonnay.

M: The combination of high carbonation and tannins create a full mouthfeel despite the thin body. Some lingering silkiness, perhaps owing to soft water (pure speculation).

O: Very well rounded flavor profile and balanced body. This is an elegant and quaffable beer, with just enough funk and acidity to be rustic and refreshing and not toilet stall and corrosive.

Jan 11, 2021
Photo of thebeers
thebeers from Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Mostly clear gold, violent effervescence, with a massive, rocky white head that leaves webbed lacing.

Distant chardonnay, just a little tartness, a hint of funk and some wood in the nose.

Great white wine sweetness first upon sipping gives away immediately to some sharp brett coupled by some great funk and wood. It’s a funky-ass beer.

Light bodied and almost pillowy feeling.

To my preference, I’d love if the fruity wine character could hold its ground against the brett just a little longer — but this is still an excellent concoction.

Aug 29, 2020
Photo of socon67
socon67 from New York

4.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Golden pout with a sweet scent of grapeseed and melon. Flavors were fruity with a slight vinegar-like tartness that was actually more gentle then what the initial taste inferred. Very drinkable. A rare purchase from Bottlecraft in SD, but one I was glad to make.

Jun 21, 2020
Photo of macrosmatic
macrosmatic from Florida

4.29/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to WestCoastBeerDude for sending this particular bottle! 2015 vintage 375 mL bottle (I believe the bottling date was 8/3/15 on the label), and consumed on 2/1/18. Poured into a J. Wakefield OG teku glass.

A: Beautiful light gold, and is crystal clear until the last 1/3 of the bottle is poured out - then moderately hazy. A good amount of visible carbonation, but the white head stays small and fades quickly. A pretty beer for sure.

S: Dry Brettanomyces funk, stone fruit and apricots, and mild dry white wine. Cracker malts and a mix of citric and lactic tart. Mild oak tannins. It’s a dry funky Brett, rather than fruity and pineapple.

T: Brett funk, sour lemons and citric acid. Lactic tart and barnyard. Dried apricots. French oak dryness as well. Cracker malts, dry white wine. Some sweet fruity esters and fleshy fruits in the middle. More dry Brett funk, citrus rind, pineapple, and tart juicy fruit near the end. Ultimately finishes dry with the French oak tannins and more stone fruit.

M: A light body and low alcohol flavors. The carbonation sensation is a touch on the low side but not so much as to detract.

O: Very good. The oak was a worry for me – I don’t always appreciate the French oak flavors. But everything plays so nicely with each other here – balanced, nuanced, and complex. Not overly vinous, not overly funky. While I don’t think there’s apricots or peaches in here, that dry flavor pulls through with the citric acid and lemons and adds quite a bit to the flavor profile. Really enjoyable, but likely not my favorite of the “-tion” series.

Mar 29, 2020
Photo of Korbynlehr
Korbynlehr from Kentucky

4.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours slightly cloudy and yet so clean. Head is almost bright white that fades quickly. Lacing is beautiful as expected. Taste is where the magic happens. Not too sour not too plain. Superb offering.

Feb 28, 2020
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
CAMRAhardliner from Canada (ON)

4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy, deep blond with a rocky cap that lasts a long time, draping the glass in foam. Lemon, white grape, straw, horse blanket in the nose. Oak notes, lemon, rustic funk, saltine pale malts in the taste. Herbal, spicy yeast notes in the back add layers of complexity to the mix. The mouthfeel is medium to light bodied with walls of textured, creamy carbonation. The finish is tart, fruity and funky, lasting a long time.

This is yet another stellar, ultra complex and ultra drinkable Wild Ale from the OG producer. It lives up to the hype and is a must try for any fan of the style.

Feb 21, 2020
Photo of neenerzig
neenerzig from Ohio

4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Got a bottle of this when I was in northern California about 3 /12 months ago visiting my best friend and we went to Russian River's new location. This has a bottle date of 5/22/2019. Poured out of a 12/68 oz. bottle into one of my tulip glasses, this beer pours a pretty clear, fairly light/pale golden color with lots of streams of little bubbles rapidly and continually rising to the beer's surface. Has a very carbonated looking, white head that's about an inch thick when first poured that eventually settles to a thick, creamy looking, layer of surface foam along with a very thick ring of foam surrounding the inside of the glass. Good lacing here too. Aromas of some bready malts, yeasty esters, and Chardonnay oak along with some Brettanomyces funk notes that's all rounded out with just a hint of lactose. Flavor wise, this starts out with some bready malt that gives way to oaked Chardonnay white wine grape that has a nice tartness upfront that gives way to some yeasty funk and sourness, both from the grape and also from what seems to be some lactose as well as far as my tastebuds are concerned. All the flavors are balanced and compliment each other superbly. WOW!!! Has fairly crisp, also smooth, dry mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Also has a dry finish and aftertaste, and the sour funk really coats the inside of my mouth and my tongue nicely after each sip and lingers for quite awhile after each sip. Another outstanding American Wild Ale beer from the fine folks at Russian River!


Feb 02, 2020
Photo of lucius10
lucius10 from California

3.95/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sweet and sour, white wine, oak barrel nose on this one! Taste follows well with a sour and acidic chardonnay white wine finish and swallow. Decent depth and feel.

Nov 26, 2019
Photo of stevoj
stevoj from Idaho

3.99/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fido at share. Glad I finally got to try this, as they didn't have it on when I was down in Santa Rosa. Aroma and taste are Sublime, smooth light tartness, more if the Brett notes. Right in alignment with the way Russian River does these beers. Well worthy of its reputation

Nov 02, 2019
Photo of ajm5108
ajm5108 from Pennsylvania

4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Effervescent gold, fluffy cap that settles into a persistent lace. Aroma has soft lemon peel, hibiscus, light loam, wet oak. Palate is features Brett tart upfront, more lacto sourness towards the back, distinct chardonnay note that really sets it apart. Undertones of oak, dry farmhouse yeast, citrus. Very good, maybe a smidge too lactic but love the chardonnay notes.

May 20, 2019
Photo of TH28
TH28 from Florida

4.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. 5/1/18 bottle date. Appearance: Crystal clear, golden, with a low lying white head.
Aroma: Definite Chardonnay, Apple, and light pear. Lactic acid and light brett funkiness are pleasant.
Taste: Distinct white wine vinous flavor followed by some lactic acidity and only a touch of brett funk and hay on the back side. Nice tartness and bitterness to balance.
Mouthfeel: Light bodied withca high carbonation
Finish: Very dry finish. Apple and pear fruitiness linger with some Chardonnay notes
Overall: An amazing sour ale. The Chardonnay barrel adds a distinct vinous character, along with some fruity apple and pear ftombthe yeast. Brett and lactobacillus adds just a touch of funkiness and tartness to counter the fruitiness of the beer. Very light, bubbly, and refreshing

Mar 24, 2019
Photo of Buck89
Buck89 from Tennessee

4.43/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2016 version poured into a snifter. A hazy golden color with a medium white head. Aroma was tart fruit. The taste followed but with a complex Bretty note. Overall a delicious blonde ale. Slightly tart and with complex phenolic notes. Outstanding.

Feb 03, 2019
Photo of Tony210
Tony210 from New Jersey

4.54/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a clear straw color, minimal head. Funky aroma with apricot, lemon, oak, and Chardonnay. Even tastes like a Chardonnay! Has a saison beer mouthfeel - funky, tart, sour, micro carbonation. Overall an outstanding beer.

375 ml bottle dated 5/1/18 - thanks Adam!
4.75 rating

Dec 13, 2018
Photo of Gregaroo
Gregaroo from Pennsylvania

4.46/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12-4-18 - I’ve had this one many times before, but never on my bride’s 55th birthday. 5/1/18 bottle date in the RRBC caged and corked bottle. Yes, I poured slowly into my RRBC tulip glass and left just a bit in the bottle.

Dec 12, 2018
Photo of npolachek
npolachek from New York

4.56/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yellow pour - great mouthfeel and amazing smell / lemons, citrus. Phenomenal Saison feel to this beer. Reminds me a bit of a dry Chardonnay wine. One of the best!

Oct 28, 2018
Photo of iguanodon
iguanodon from Utah

4.17/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

[Original rating 2015-01-01] Sours are not my favorite style, and I’m certainly no expert on them but this one is pretty damn good. Smells like a chardonnay and the first sip tastes like it too, but then you get the sour with the wine. Nice fine carbonation, good mouth feel.

Oct 26, 2018
Photo of constantine_272
constantine_272 from Oregon

4.21/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bright hazy yellow beer with low white bubbles. Smell of white wine grapes and some lemon acid. Taste betrays the 7.5% abv. It is light and tart and delicate with just a bit of bread to balance out the citrus. An undertone of saturated wet oak fills in where the malt usually is balancing the tartness of limes, lemons, white pear and of course sour white wine grapes. Balance is impecable; beer went down disappointingly fast. Finishes dry and salty. Overall very delicious, but not going to come back too soon considering the 15 dollar price point.

Oct 21, 2018
Photo of DaverCS
DaverCS from Arizona

4.43/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

05/2017 edition poured at Toronado S.D. Pours a super clear straw color with no lacing and soda-like carbonation.

Aroma is of pure wine barrels and lactic acid. Lots of citrus and lactic acid.

Taste is familiar for a sour, but the barrel character sets this beer apart. Lots of dry white wine character and a slight lingering bitterness with some crushed aspirin notes.

Overall, this is a good American sour with ample barrel character. I see this pairing a pairing well with a tender roasted pork dish. It gets a 89/100.

Mar 28, 2018
Photo of MFMB
MFMB from Idaho

4.44/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright golden yellow, semi hazy with a billowy bright white head. Nose is wine like. Grape must, grains and fresh sawed wood (oak) Taste of grape skins up front. Tartness comes through in the form of the skins. Some light lemon zest, grasses and grains follow. A smooth oak wine barrel finish to it. Much like a white wine. Mouthfeel is medium to light at times. This beer finishes very dry and I mean very! It leaves you definitely searching for the next sip. Drank this at 10 months from bottle date. Have another one I am letting go a few years and I will report back.

Feb 24, 2018
Photo of Cthulhusquid
Cthulhusquid from Washington

4.38/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: Pale yellow body, 1 finger white head.

Smell: Same as below.

Taste: Lemon, melon, grains, oak, mild barnyard. Maybe a hint of white grape.

Feel: Medium-light body, medium carbonation, mild tartness. Finishes dry.

Jan 27, 2018
Photo of SD-Alefan
SD-Alefan from South Dakota

4.41/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A careful pour yields a slightly hazy gold with a two-finger pure white, dense and creamy head that persists and produces sheets of lace.
Aroma hits with the pop of the cork. Notes of Chardonay and funk right off the bat. Oak tannins, grape must, a touch of white bread.
A super dry sip with initial tartness followed by a drying bitter. Grape must, grape skins, tannins, a touch of sweetness and plenty of funk. Nice minerality.
Mouth is medium, bubbly and a drying. Give me another sip! Outstanding.

Dec 29, 2017
Photo of WickedBeer
WickedBeer from Alabama

4.28/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2015 Bottle, taster flight at Wades Wines in Westlake, CA.

Pours a light hazy gold, very much like a grisette in appearance. Thin creamy head, medium lace.

Mild aromas, getting hints of lemon to square out the funky yeast smells that punch through. Getting Brett-like qualities.

Very tart, full of white grape must and apple. A nice mineral quality, and if it weren’t for the funk and sharp tartness this has a lot of qualities of a Chardonnay.

Seltzery, crisp, thin body. Sharp, but not unpleasant.

Nov 26, 2017
Photo of Zythophile
Zythophile from District of Columbia

4.36/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Date: 5/6/16
Palate Contaminants: other beer

Look is a clear light gold with a moderate amount of fine, white head.

Smell is a bit brett, a bit floral, a bit cilantro, and a bit plum blossom. It's an interesting combination. The word "fresh" comes to mind. It says chardonnay on the label, but I can't pick out anything specific to that wine ([from the future]: yet).

The taste definitely shows shades of the chardonnay grape. That wine is usually along a spectrum of mineral to butter for me, and I can pick out both characteristics, but overall it's leans toward butter (or malolactic for yinz who talk big like that). The wine flavors dominate, like with Almanac's Grand Cru. There's also a lot of apple taste, accompanied by earthy grape leaves. And floral, floral, floral. Shock of all shocks, I'm enjoying sipping on this one.

The feel is thin-moderate for the type, and the carbonation is a bit coarse. Still, the aftertaste is pleasant with the butter and apple, although those two don't fuse.

Sep 23, 2017
Photo of Rristow
Rristow from Ohio

3.57/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasted from draft. Pours a very pale light yellow. Clear with some lacing. Aroma is Brett, lemon, citrus, funk. Taste is pretty bitter with flavors of citrus, sour funk, grass and herbal notes. I'll admit I'm not a sour fan but this is well done.

Aug 17, 2017
Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 3858 ratings