Temptation | Russian River Brewing Company

BA SCORE
98
world-class
3,663 Ratings
TemptationTemptation
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States
rrbeer.com

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-19-2003

BEER STATS
Ratings:
3,663
Reviews:
1,025
Avg:
4.41
pDev:
8.84%
 
 
Wants:
1,787
Gots:
1,031
For Trade:
61
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,663 |  Reviews: 1,025
Photo of zeff80
4.49/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Poured out a cloudy, golden color with wispy white streaks of foaminess. It left soapy trails of lace.

S - It smelled funky with some farm house/horse blanket aromas. A yeasty spicy aroma with a touch of oak.

T - A nice funky/spicy taste that you expect from a wild ale with brett. It had touches of caramel and grains.

M - It was very crisp and smooth with an extremely dry finish. A light to medium-bodied ale.

D - This is a very good wild ale. Great tasting with a good dry oaky finish.

 497 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of zestar
4.5/5  rDev +2%

Photo of LXIXME
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375 ml bottle into tulip glass, batch 05X1E. Pours lightly cloudy bright golden amber color with a 2 finger dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big tart green apple, grape, pear, lemon zest, straw, hay, grass, oak, clove, pepper, white wine, vinegar, leather, funk, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Fantastic aromas with big complexity and great balance of yeast ester and wine barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of tart green apple, grape, pear, lemon zest, hay, straw, grass, honey, bread, oak, clove, pepper, white wine, vinegar, leather, funk, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Fair amount of earthy/fruity tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of green apple, grape, pear, lemon zest, hay, straw, grass, honey, bread, white wine, oak, clove, pepper, leather, vinegar, funk, herbal, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic complexity and balance of malt, wine barrel, and yeast ester flavors; with a great malt/tartness balance with zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, crisp, and lightly acidic mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding wild ale as expected. Tons of great complexity and well balanced flavors; and very smooth and crisp to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,452 characters

Photo of DrBier
4.5/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.08/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery in August 2009.

A: Pours a cloudy pale amber color with a large white head of foam.

S: Lots of tarness and sourness here, with a little bit of the oak coming through.

T: Lots of sourness coming into some tartness and a little bit of citrus.

M: Quite tart, fairly full for the style. Good amount of carbonation.

D: Drinkable for the style, but not my favorite of Russian River's Belgian styles.

 420 characters

Photo of mothman
4.41/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter. Batch 004X2. 2009

Pours a nice white head. Great retention. Nice splatted lace. Color is a clear golden straw yellow. Just what this beer should look like.

Aroma: sour with brett and barnyard flavors. Oak, lemon, and sour fruits. Pretty solid.

Taste: Hmmm, this is kind of interesting. A lot of brett here with some other sour bugs. Barnyard funk with lemons. Some nice oak flavors as well. Well done.

Mouthfeel: Sour and funky. Mouth puckering. Light to medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation. Ends very clear, a tad sour.

Overall, a solid heavy beer. Very well done. I really enjoyed this beer. Very drinkable. I'd like to try this with a few years on it. I think it could get even better.

 726 characters

Photo of nickfl
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours with two and a half fingers of fluffy, white foam on top of a golden body with perfect clarity. The rocky head settles slowly and leaves nice, thick curtains of lace on the glass.

S - Musty wild yeast aromas backed by moderate levels of smooth, lactic acid. Juicy fruit notes of pineapple, and cherry that work well with the acidity.

T - Pungent, fruity acidity up front with notes of sharp pineapple and a bit of mango. Some sugary malt appears in the middle with a bit of musty, wild yeast character. Finishes with more sharp, fruity sourness and a light herbal hop flavor and bitterness. The fruit lingers on the palate in the aftertaste along with vanilla notes and light funk.

M - Medium-thick body, very high carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Very nice, this beer combines balance and complexity in a way that one rarely sees in this sort of beer. There is a great deal of fruit from the yeast as well as a strong acidity in the flavor that compliments the fruit and brings out a greater depth of fruit character than I have ever experienced in a beer that doesn't actually have any fruit in it. This acidity is very well balanced by a thick backbone of sweet malt and a finish that is not quite as dry as I would normally expect in a belgian style beer of this strength. It is surprisingly drinkable, both for a wild ale and a beer with this alcohol content. My only complaint is that I don't have much hope of getting another bottle of this beer any time soon.

 1,494 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Absolutely brilliant! The oak is massive and the Brett is somewhat restrained. It's drier than might be expected. Poured carefully from a long-standing bottle it delivers a clear (I can see my fingerprints through the glass) dark gold body beneath a creamy head of white. The head retention is superb, and it leaves a solid wall of foam around the inside of the glass. The nose is bright with Brettanomyces (mineralish, leathery, acidic, musty, barnyard, "horseblanket") , tempered by oak, and sparked with a spritz of lemon. In the mouth it's very fine-bubbled, natural carbonation caresses the tongue with a delicate bristle. Medium bodied. The flavor is as the aroma suggests with a firm bitterness for support and a little more acidity. The label suggests that it picks up wine flavors from the oak barrels and I think that's true, there's a definite white grape flavor there. There are some other fruits in there as well, maybe some apricot; some mildly tart tangerine; a drop of pineapple; and even some grapefruit as well. It finishes with a flick of acidity that receeds to leave a citrus-rind bitterness behind. Remarkably refined and easy to drink for the style.

 1,172 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.7/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Acquired from mikesgroove courtesy of the I Want That IV BIF, so a big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 375ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a large white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is full of yeast along with light malts, tart fruit and some hops, plus the typical scent of oak barrel-aging.

T: The taste is very tart and sour up front and on top of that escalates into a sharp bite, with flavors of yeast, lemon, green apples and some spice that lingers in the finish. There's a decent hops presence that brings some balance. The malt character is pretty thin. The after-taste is sour and slightly bitter.

M: Smooth and very crisp, light body, medium-to-high carbonation, clean and very dry finish.

D: Flavorful, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, I can certainly appreciate the craftsmanship and work that went into this beer and it's a good one to pick if you like the intense sourness, but it's not really my kind of beer.

 1,066 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of dbrauneis
4.53/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Batch 072712

A: Pours a hazy pale golden yellow in color with light amounts of gentle visible carbonation at the surface of the beer and some apricot highlights. The beer has a quarter to half finger tall pillowy/soapy bright white head that reduces to a thin film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light aromas of pale malts with stronger aromas of brett, barnyard funk, tartness/sourness, chardonnay, and oak.

T: Upfront there are light to moderate flavors of pale malts with some moderate to strong amounts of tartness/sourness. There is a strong presence of brett without it dominating or being overbearing and a nice light amount of funkiness. There are moderate flavors of chardonnay and oak towards the finish.

M: Just heavier than light bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Slightly creamy with light amounts of acidic prickliness and some light to moderate amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: Extremely easy to drink and interesting due to the great balance of flavors/aromas with just enough complexity. Love the use of brett in this beer because it enhances and does not dominate.

 1,238 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the source. New batch just went on the day before.

A: Pours a slightly hazy pale yellow with a fine-bubbled white head which leaves rings of lace.

N: Bright, bright white grapes bursting in the morning sunlight. Floral and fresh cut grass. Mild funk and must.

T: Vinous, balanced mild wood tannins, tart and fruity with lemon zest.

M: Light body and moderate carbonation. Slightly prickly on the tongue. Crisp and wonderful.

O: How does one describe "delicious"? The chardonnay barrels, the funk, the grape all meld into a symphony. I liked it.

 559 characters

Photo of nathanmiller
3/5  rDev -32%

Photo of Rifugium
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Wow! Beautiful beer. Poured a hazy golden color (though sometimes crystal clear) with a big fluffy cloud of a head that retains well and leaves some decent lacing. Packs a fruity punch right from the first time the aroma hits; citrus and white wine. Tasted a lot stronger than it was. Lots of fruit, both sweet and tart, pears and peaches, apricots, and apple peels, wine-soaked oak, with touches of vanilla bean and lemon, toasted grains hint to a solid malt base. Nice and complex, balanced, light-medium mouthfeel, very dry, and highly drinkable.

 590 characters

Photo of XmnwildX12
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of mendvicdog
4.5/5  rDev +2%

Photo of billab914
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 4 poured from a 750ml bottle into my Russian River tulip glass. It poured a pale golden color with a big and bubbly white foam filling half of the glass. It had excellent head retention and left some nice lacing as well.

The aroma is sharp with a good amount of tartness and funk to it. It's moderately acidic in the nose. A bit of a musty, basement like aroma comes through in the funkiness also. A bit of a sour grape, fruit flavor is present as well.

The taste has a bold sourness to it with more of a sour lemon citrusness coming through. It has a grape, apple, fruity and tartness to it as well. Towards the finish I get some of the earthiness to the Brett coming through. The sourness lingers for a while after the finish as well. Very nice and complex flavors to it overall.

The mouthfeel is on the lighter side with high carbonation. Drinkability is good, it had some great sour and tart flavors to it overall with some great depth. An excellent American Wild Ale overall.

 991 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.63/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to Solomon420 helping get this one! Review based on notes

Batch 004X4 pours an effervescent gold/pear color with 2 fingers of beige head. Stellar lacing & good head retention

S: Sourness & dirtyness, fades as this warms

T: Sourness, grassyness, & dryness up front. Some hints of honey breaks through with tartness & sourness as this warms, along with a bit of grapefruit, golden delicious apples & pears. Finishes dry tart & sour

MF: Medium bodied, lively carbonation & so dry tart & puckery

Drinks pretty darn easy, probably the easiest drinking sour I've had

 572 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.72/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

"The only way to handle temptation successfully is to yield to it."

--French proverb

Batch 001. Temptation is precisely midway between lemon peel and ripe apricot. The highest compliment that I can pay the gorgeous, alabaster colored crown is to say that it would look at home on the finest Belgian ale. It becomes even more attractive as it slowly descends, leaving the glass positively coated with delicate lace.

Unlike some Brettanomyces-infused beer, the nose is full of barnyard funkiness without being completely dominated by it. It's easy to appreciate ripe golden fruit and the Chardonnay oakiness that was imparted by 12 month's contact with the barrels. 'Sublime' is the one word that keeps coming to mind whenever I put my nose over the glass.

How does Russian River manage to brew such amazing beer, again and again and again? The fact that Vinnie Cilurzo is the mastermind behind what I consider the best beer the world has ever seen (Pliny The Younger), yet is still able to create a stunningly complex Belgian-style ale like Temptation boggles the mind.

Even without the Brett, this would be an outstanding example of a golden ale. The fact that it's even possible to determine that is further evidence that the wild yeast doesn't steamroll everything in its path, but complements the beer in the best way possible.

The flavor profile consists of barely ripe apples, pears and peaches (complete with their natural sugars), a potpourri of spices (clove and white pepper especially), a surprising amount of sweetgrassy hoppiness and a perfect Brettanomyces puckery tang that wraps things up in a perfect ribbon of drinkability. Why oh why didn't they put this stuff in 750s?

Despite the label's advice to 'allow the natural yeast sediment to remain in the bottle', I'll do no such thing. The final pour clouds things up nicely and puts the already fandamntastic flavor into orbit. I can say without hesitation that Temptation is the best wild ale that has ever entered my glass.

The mouthfeel, while not up to the standards of Belgium's best, isn't far behind. Perfection would be easily achieved with a fraction more expansiveness. It's hard to argue with beer that is this lightly silky and this zestily carbonated.

I don't like to repeat myself, but it's a damn shame that this delicious ale isn't released in bigger bottles (I'm thinking jeroboams at least). It's also too bad that Russian River will no longer ship to us poor souls outside of Northern California who aren't able to otherwise experience the transcendence of their beer. I'm glad that I decided to yield to Temptation today.

 2,616 characters

Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of mdaschaf
4.31/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Nice pop when I got the cork off. Pours a golden yellow color with a frothy white head on top with great retention and impressive lacing, very thick and sticky.

S: Nice and tart, but not overly sour. A little bit of light cherry, grass, oak, faint apple, and a slight mustiness.

T: Nice sourness level. Flavors of lemon, light oak, and a bit of chardonnay. I am surprised at how nicely the wine flavor comes through. There is a slight grassy component and some light fruit.

M: Light to medium bodied with lively carbonation and a great level of sourness.

O: Very easy drinking. Not overly sour and very approachable. A great beer to sip over a long evening.

 668 characters

Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
4.41 out of 5 based on 3,663 ratings.
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