Temptation | Russian River Brewing Company

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1,015 Reviews

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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

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Reviews: 1,015 | Ratings: 3,563
Photo of mymrnngjckt
4.88/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I finally pulled a bottle of this out of my cellar. Amazing beer. Poured it into a Russian River glass and enjoed.

The color was darker than I thouht it would be. Golden brown/red color. The smell was amazing. You could smell the tartness of the beer. The beer tasted awesome. It had a crisp tartness too it not too overpowering like a Cantillon but more crisp like Flemish Sour. The tartness stayed on the tounge but disappeared quickly.

I wish ther were more of this around because I would drink it every day.

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Photo of schmoopsbeer
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served chilled into RR glass

batch 5

Color: Bright golden blonde. Very nicely carbonated, little to no lacing and it form a thin crisp whit head.

Nose: Plenty of white fruit: pear,apple, and not white, but present kiwi. A pleasant sourness hits the nose like a tidal wave.

Palate: Crisp, clean, bubbly, and soft. The light Tartness/sour dances on the tongue giving the mouth a pleasant tingle feeling.

Finish: Nothing short of long and emaculate! this beer wow's with greatness, artisitry, and elegance. Its a firework show alll the way down the hatch.

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Photo of WCBCFrank
2.06/5  rDev -53.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Russian River's Temptation Blonde Ale pours off-yellow in a goblet or Chardonnay glass. There is a "whack in the head" lack of subtlety in the oak Chardonnay notes throughout the beer - sour apples, lots of oak, yeasty but not overwhelming. Well made, but beware of oak.

Personally: For my taste buds Russian River's Blonde Ale in oak barrels doesn't work...maybe my taste buds will grow to like it....

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Photo of chalsk
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle shared with Leafs93. Pours a golden yellow color with a champagne like ultra thin white head. Has a tart aroma with hints of yeast. Has a sweet tart taste. Crisp. Very gentle bitters on the backend. Excellent brew. They know how to make sours.

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Photo of wd40
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 004X4 from 2009 release I believe

Straw color appearance with bright lemon/citrus and fruit flavors and aromas like apple and pear. Oak flavor is well-balanced and the tartness of the Brettanomyces is really nice. It really does have some resemblance in flavor to a chardonnay with some funky hay, barn, and grassy undertones mixed with some sour acidity. Everything works really well together. Vinnie Cilurzo took all these individually gross flavors and made something totally amazing! I really don't know how he is able to integrate flavors so well together, but his beers really have a lot of depth.

The mouthfeel is typical Russian River, that is soft and perfect. There was quite a lot of foam even though I made a soft pour. Definitely a drinkable beer, in fact I almost went through the entire bottle without noticing. Definitely worth a try for anyone who's interested in sours, but I'm still a slightly bigger fan of Consecration.

Edit: this beer has lingered in my mind and become one of my all time favorites! I love the lightness and dryness of the beer and really can't get enough of it. "I can resist everything except temptation" - Oscar Wilde

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Photo of Mages64
4.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 5 from 375ml bottle into tulip glass.

A- A beautiful hay color that reflects light beautifully. a little head with intermittent lacing. Head returns upon agitation bringing great aroma with it.

S- Barnyard and pineapple and orange. Perhaps apple as well with a woody smell too. Definitely smells like soured fruit.

T- Surprisingly Saison like. Now it could be that all the saisons i've had recently have had Brett in them but it tastes like a slightly more sour saison or golden ale. Compares to New Glarus's R&D Golden Ale. Soured Fruit, wood, vanilla, pineapple, and slight funk.

M- carbonated and sticky. lingers everywhere in your mouth and throat. finish is long and delightfully sour and fruity.

D- First sour I feel like I could drink 10 of. Smooth, crisp, and refreshing!

Don't miss this! I waited a whole year before giving in and buying this obviously expensive bottle. Don't wait too long:)

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Photo of StrongAleSkeptic
4.59/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on May 30, 2013

A - Pours a glowing light amber golden hue, initially clear, with a slight haze from the leftover yeasties.
S - Bright and aromatic with notes of grape, straw. Slight funk with a dominant Belgian brett yeast character. Clean but pungent. Marshmellow, ambrosia, pineapple poetry on the nose!
T - Delightful. Rich, full orange peel and lemongrass upfront that blends into a tart, succulent funkiness. Notes of grape and grape must with a tinge of oak tannin.
M - Fun and light on the palate but with a medium body to sustain through each flavor intricacy. Quite palatable -- I swear I could drink an entire pitcher of this and be in heaven (I promise to do it slowly, don't worry).
O - A pleasurably fun light ale with the Belgian twist. One of the more memorable sours I've enjoyed.

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Photo of mystikyle71
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is one of three (Brugge Bad Kitty and BFM Bon-Chien) that set the standard for me when it comes to what I want in a sour, so i figured I should review it. I've been fortunate to have this beer about 6-7 times and am sent into a euphoric state everytime. I'm hardly alone here considering its score and the fact that everyone I share this holy liquid with bows down as well.

A: Pale lemony yellow color like that of Chardonnay (imagine that!). Minimal head.

S: I want to implant this beautifully bretty, fruity, oaky aroma in my nose. If everything in the world smelled like this everything in the world would be better for it.

T: Tart and fruity and just a tiny dollop of vanilla and spice. Balance is a beautiful thing. Fresh crisp apples with a touch of lemon citrus.

M: It cleans up so well. Tart with a dry effervescence. At this point you will likely be chugging straight from the bottle like a heathen. Lapping up every drip of this wonderful elixir.

O: I like this beer, a lot.

I have two bottles left... will they make it through the night?

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Photo of Shumania
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375 ounce bottle, batch number 05X1E, poured into a snifter

a: hazy yellow/orange with minimal head, some carbonation

s: tart lemon, oak, funky yeast

t: similar to the smell. lemon, wine grapes, good tartness, oak, and more funk from the brett

m: extremely dry

Really nice play from the oak barrels. Good mix of fruit, tart, and oak!

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Photo of AdamF625
4.57/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A-clear light golden, straw, 1 finger white head that clumps and fades
S-lemon, star fruit, some breadiness, sage, earthy/grassy
T- Brett funk, fresh squeezed lemon, ripe green apple, tart, chard, a bit of oak on the finish
M- medium body and bubbly carbonation, very fizzy clears the palate. Very tart.
O- Russian River never disappoints. Very clean and well blended. Tart and fruity with some dryness from the barrel.

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Photo of mrkrispy
4.35/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 004 in tap at Toronado SD, served in a small white wine glass.

Arrived cloudy and hazy, bit of white frothy head.

Funky stanky horsey fizzy aroma, the animal farm is busting out....reserved, not boisterous

Very balanced right now even though it is young, which means it should be more complex with some more time on the bugs.
White wine flavors very apparent. A bit sour, not puckering. I would like it a bit more sour, again....needs a bit more time. I find this one drinks a little more smoother than the 003 did at the same time. Some lemon, some green apple, citrus, very little malt. Bit of tartness as the glass goes down. Nice body, well carbed...almost like The Bubbly.

Pretty tasty, goes down well. Lacks a bit of the boldness of the other Russian River sours, but that is its niche - subtle complexity. I think 003 was a bit rough for the first 6 months and mellowed. The 004 seems fairly smooth, so it will be interesting to see how it ages.

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Photo of bohemiandonut
4.57/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

My second time with this beer and I still don't know what to make of it. Other than this is the most I have ever spent per ounce on a beer and I'm damn likely to do it again.

Temptation pours out like liquid nitrogen or dry ice, heavy smoke-like vapors spilling out of the neck of the bottle. One gets the feeling he is about to imbibe liquid gold or diamond nectar.

Curse my mortal nose there is no recognition of this scent. It is lemony but sweet and funky, vinegared but not in a chemical way. Once it lets you in banana is there but nonchalantly. It all combines insanely to let you know you have entered the porous netherworld of shaven oak. This wins my prize for the most lo-fidelity of scents.

Sip after sip allows the strangeness of this beer to really sink in. In my opinion I am still being initialized into the flavor dimensions of sour ales and this is probably one monster of an initiation. I hate to admit that it is a bit much for me. I would like to taste a somewhat "toned down" version of this beer in order to see what's going on behind the acidic front. And without a doubt there is a LOT going on there. With Temptation more than any other beer I have tried (and I have tried a lot) I am able to taste the musky, the old-world, the decomposition of organics, and it is a dramatic, Biblical taste that fills your glass here. Take a moment to appreciate the microbiological aspect of this beverage. Okay now consume it.

It's hard to zoom out from the kaleidoscopic, mind-fuckedingness taste profile of this beer but it is worth doing. Temptation fills the mouth like no other. As alluded to by the snaking vapor that first met me from the open bottle, Temptation has a single place to go and that is everywhere. Picture writhing colonies of exponentially dividing shapes and cells. Yeah, you're drinking that. Go shit yourself.


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Photo of David1975
1/5  rDev -77.4%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Are you kidding? Are you calling this beer? Taste like champagne mixed with white wine with
bitter taste. It took me forever to finish drinking it. If you like nice gold or dark lager stay away from this "beer". It is hard to understand that so many people on Beer Advocate website like it.

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Photo of k3n
4.97/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Side-by-side review of Batch 04 (750ml) and 03 (375ml).

A: Deep amber color, a little bit cloudy (bottle probably a bit too agitated). Minimal head and lacing. Not much difference between the two.

S: The 04 is bright and tart in the nose, up-front fruits. The 03 is a mellower aroma, but somehow richer and perhaps with a bit of honey. Chardonnay influence is easily appreciated in both bottles.

T/M/D: The 04 is lively and tart. Opens with a good hit of sourness, finishes dry and oaky. The 03 sourness is not as sharp, and is accompanied by a distinct honey sweetness. The 03 finishes similarly dry to the 04, but persists longer with Chardonnay and oak flavors lingering.

Both are supremely easy to drink, and showcase RR's excellence at blending wine flavors with fantastic beers. Definitely looking forward to aging this Batch 04, and wondering when I'll decide to open my last Batch 03.

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Photo of TheEremite
4.78/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 03

I can't get enough of this beer. This is by far the best beer I've had yet this year. There's some yeast in the bottle, so pour gently. A good pour leaves a brilliant crystal clear straw yellow beer with lively bubbles that lift to the top of the glass creating a rocky white foamy head. The acidity is not overpowering and it plays nicely with the high carbonation and apple, citrus and wine aromas and flavors. To me, this beer defines craft brewing.

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Photo of jjh19
4/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Bright yellow appearance and fairly light.
Smell: Citrusey smells.
Taste: I got a lot of lemon and floral notes in my initial sips.
Mouthfeel: Pretty full mouthfeel. A little like white wine. Very interesting.
Drinkability: This is far from a session-able beer. At least for my tastes. But that's not the goal with a beer like this. I might not have another, but I'd recommend this beer to a friend who wanted to explore beer into this style.

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Photo of gueuzer
4.82/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

App- Straw colored with beautiful lacing

SM- A small amount of funk,, balanced with lactic tartness, chardonnay and sweet blonde malts.

Ta- Ecstasy. The fruitiness of the Belgian blonde yeast plays off of the oakniess form the chardonnay barrels. The complexity of goat cheese and other funk flavors meld into the blonde malty goodness.

MF- Nice balanced carbonation. Low.

Dr- World class, this is one to be smelled savored and contemplated.

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Photo of evanlarkin
4.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My second sour ever. Thanks to my girlfriend for helping me get a bottle.

A very clear yellow color with a single finger of head that dissipated in the time it took me to get to this sentence since clicking review. Carbonation bubbles.

Kind of like white grapes. A champagne smell maybe, no hints of alcohol. Semi-sweet.

More of that sourish white grape flavor, with hints of orange peel and lemony citrus. It's like a sour candy! Lots of character in this one. Slightly sweet malt flavor, definitely sour instead of bitter. I'd call it delicious.

Thicker than I was expecting, and it kind of washes over your mouth and sticks to you. It leaves a bubbly sour film, which slowly slips away, leaving you feel like you've just eaten sour candy.

Reasonably high. Due to the price and sourness (my tongue starts to hurt after too much sour), I couldn't drink several of them, but on the right night, I can definitely drink one and really enjoy it.

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Photo of Callenak
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle bought at Naja's in Redondo Beach.

A: Pours a highly carbonated golden color. A huge white head that will last as long as you drink it. Sticks to the glass as you drink it. Very nice.

S: Carbonation comes first. Tickles the nose, then come citrus tones with a tartness. Hints of oak, but subtle. The brett/gueze smell is definitely there though. Lovely.

T: Wow. Another great beer from Vinnie of Russian River. Tartness and carbonation comes first. The oak/chardonnay comes next. Hints of fruit. I have come to love sour beers and this is another fine example why.

I actually had beatification before this. A lot of similarities between the two. I actually preferred the beatification, but as no denigration to this beer. Temptation is amazing and worth every penny.

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Photo of jojox
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - tons of white head. Big pop when opened but not really gushing - it should have stayed in the fridge a bit longer to cool down. Lots of CO2. Champagne like bubbles, poured into a small champagne flute.

s - Acid. Which? Some funky, slight oak hints. Smells good.

t - Mild sourness and oak is a strange mix. Tart but not super sour. It's really nice - RR does a great job. This is mild in terms of sourness and acid, but it has similar flavors. I do think Vinny has the best bugs.

m - sour, but mildly so. Nice and crisp and clean.

d - High. What sour? All day baby.

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Photo of throwitallaway
4.95/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Can't remember who I got this from. Totally stoked on it thought, so thank you! Decanted from the bottle into an oversized wine glass. Pours a golden color with a big, thick head. Looks great. Aroma of funk, sourness, lemon and apple. Smells very wine like and completely delicious. Taste is just good. Initially hits you with some sourness, then, lemon, apple, and back to sour. Mouthfeel is well carbonated but creamy. Drinkability is off the scales. This beer is more or less perfect and one of my favorites.

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Photo of PDXAmbassador
4.66/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Man what an amazing beer. Deep funk, complexity of flavors, Gueuze-like but funkier than most Gueuzes I've ever tried, including 8 year old 3F. For the ease of obtaining this, you should go get some more. Highly recommended.

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Photo of mbrasi
4.57/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Overview: Batch 003 Pours golden with light white head. Aroma is oak and grapes like a white wine more than beer. Flavor is sour but well balanced with the oak and doesn't make you pucker after you drink. Finish is oak and sour but not lingering too long. Will review more when I get another in a trade.

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Photo of antilogic
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at O'brien's TION night in a 13oz Chimay.

I've had this in bottle (batch 003) on several occasions, and found that I didn't enjoy it on tap as much. The oak comes through, and the beer really lives up to its description (is it a beer? is it a wine?). Blonde in color, big white head lacing. Medium sourness, tart fruits, oak, lemon come through. Medium bodied, dry, refreshing. Very good.

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Photo of hughesm4
4.28/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split a bomber brought back from Oregon.
a- A very hazy golden brown with a small amount of head that sticks around the edge of the glass.
s- Very sour upfront with a little fruit as well.
t- There are a bunch of flavor mixed together. The main fruit taste is of grapes with a hint of apple. It finishes extremely sour.
m/d- Very complex and full bodied. There is a very sour taste left in your mouth, but it is still a good drinker.

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Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 1,015 ratings.
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