Temptation | Russian River Brewing Company

1,026 Reviews

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States

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: 1,026 | Ratings: 3,645
Photo of n2185
4.08/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear straw yellow with three fingers of white head that recedes into a thin cap with decent lacing.

S: Sweet Belgian notes up front with aromas of bubblegum and candy sugar. Agitating it produces some tart and sour fruit aromas with slight barnyard notes.

T: Tart cherries and lemony sourness dominate the flavor with some musty and funky flavors underneath. Simple, but enjoyable.

M: Medium-light body with medium carbonation, this beer is crisp enough to accentuate the sour and tart notes well.

O: A good wild ale, overall. It's a bit lacking in complexity, but is refreshingly tart and sour.

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Photo of WiscoBrewsco
4.4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - Golden in color with tons of carbonation, looks identical to champagne

Smell - Lots of yeast notes with a mix of that barnyard smell you would find in a saison. Also a hint of sweetness lots brings to mind white grapes

Taste - An explosion of wild tart right off the bat. Tons of white grapes and champagne like flavor. Middle of the sip you start to notice the yeast and slightly bready notes. Aftertaste is that of a saison with the wood presence making itself known. Leaves the mouth quite dry after

Mouthfeel - Very carbonated and thin, exactly like champagne. Perfect for the style though

Overall - Another Russian River sour and another fantastic beer. This always seems to be the case with them and I am once again extremely pleased and could drink this one all night.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.53/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a crystal clear pale straw color that eventually turned into a cloudy golden color once the yeast is poured in. Big frothy white head that lingers around for awhile.

S- Sour funk, grape must, citrus, pears, some earthy aromas and oak.

T- Wine-like flavors come through first with oak comes through a lot in the middle, with the sour tart flavors blasting the palate at the end. The tart flavor has very fruity citrus-like flavors that come through a lot.

M- High carbonation with some bite, very dry towards the end. Hard to beat this mouthfeel for the style.

O- Just a great beer. Every sip is savored and terrific.

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Photo of jaasen64
4.22/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch #6. 375ml bottle split two ways. Poured into HF stemmed glass.

A- Pours a nice golden with a half finger of head that recedes fairly fast and leaves some spotty lacing. Fairly minimal carbonation.

S- Chardonnay, grapes, a hint of green apple, brett contributing some barnyard funk, a little bit above average aroma strength.

T- Chardonnay, grapes, decent amount of sourness although not as much as I was expecting that mixes with some barnyard funk, some oak, finishes with a decent tartness and lingering fruits.

M- Medium bodied, fairly low carbonation, very high drinkability.

O- This was a very nice sour, but definitely not my favorite. This bottle seemed like it might have had a little bit less carbonation (it didn't effect the beer that much though). The barrel aging definitely contributed a nice presence to the sour. I would definitely recommend trying this beer out but I definitely like some of RR's other sours better (might be because I'm not as big of a fan of blonde ales as being the bases for sours).

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Photo of harrymel
4.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 072512
Pours a light yellow diaphanous with a solid fine white quilt. Smells of lemon, funk, zesty tartness and some nice pithy character. Flavor is sour with a good farmy, tart, hints of bicarb, some bits of pepper and a nicely refreshing finish. Thin with hi carb and watery finish. This might be one of my preferred RR beers. Really a beautiful brew.

Original review 25JAN11
Batch 05x1F
A: c&c bottle pops and pours a light golden ale with excellent clarity. Atop is a blanket of white head which is constantly refilled with a continuous persistence of bubbling.
S: Oranges, limes, classic tart scent. Great smell.
T: Tart, farmy, with largely bitter head. Somegrassy tones.Very good.
M: Light body with excellent carbonation. Great feel and finish on the tongue.
D: This beer is wonderful. I can say I prefer supplication to this one. But when available, I still buy it.

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Photo of oline73
4.01/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a blinded bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: The beer pours a slightly cloudy golden straw color with a mild amber hue. There is a finger of thick, off white head that sticks around quite nicely. 5

Smell: This is a light sour beer. I'm getting a strong barnyard funk presence. It dominates the smell, but it isn't particularly biting. I'm also getting a mild sweetness and a hint of white wine. 4

Taste: Light and sour, but not to an extreme level. I'm getting some lemon juice and funk up front with some more herbal notes building towards the finish. The sourness builds to the finish if the sip, which also contains a white wine note. Reminds me of a mild lambic. 4

Mouthfeel: The body is on the lighter side with smooth carbonation and a finish that is dry but could be drier. 3.5

Overall: I would call this a pleasant sour blonde ale. It's not overly biting or sour. I don't really have a guess as to what this one is, but I like it. 4

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Photo of IvoryFoxhole
4.32/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

375ml bottle poured into tulip glass. Bottled July 27, 2012. Or is it released that date? Should I have let it sit longer?

A: Slow slow pour to prevent yeast sediment. Light foamy 3 finger head with good retention, leaving little lacing but a good cap. Beer is a light copper.

S: Very wine-like, tart grapes, cherries, and apples. Some of the mustiness associated with the Brett yeast.

T: Quite citrus-like, a lot of lemon, orange type flavor. A little bit sour, but not overpoweringly so. Well-balanced.

M: Not overpowering, carbonation present, but not too much. Sour, but not too dry. Very little alcohol presence evident.

O: I always say this: It's a Russian River bottle-aged sour ale. What are you waiting for? Get one if you can.

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Photo of yamar68
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Glowing straw gold body topped with a healthy amount of paper white head, loads and loads of lacing, tiny beading fills the glass from start to finish.

Wow. Incredible... white grapes, clove, funky love, dandelion, lemongrass, incredibly dynamic, complex, like nothing else I can think of.

Lemon zest, loads of tasty pulp, beautifully tart and dry, approachable, hints of fresh wood - incredibly balanced. A remarkable beer.

This beer achieves the same complexity found in Beatification without the overwhelming level of sour patch tart. Phenomenal.

Highly, highly recommended.

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Photo of jimilayne
3.67/5  rDev -17%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the first American Wild Ale I've ever had, so with no basis for comparison I will be as fair as possible. Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Golden yellow with a thin head that has staying power. Rests comfortably and consistently throughout the drink. There is a thin tornado-like strip of carbonation rising directly in the middle of the glass. Impressive.

Smell: The aroma does absolutely no justice to the beer. A bitter, dare I say, dry urine tinged smell.

Taste: As expected, a burst of chardonnay but not overwhelmingly or bitingly so. Sits on the tongue before lifting throughout the mouth. A touch sour and unusual (perhaps briny) to the untrained tongue but settles in nicely after a few sips rather than keeping you guessing. However it does bite the back jaw with the sourness the deeper you get into it.

Feel: Nice smooth finish with near perfect carbonation.

Very interesting. My quest to finish the top 100 opens up yet another door that I will be walking back through.

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Photo of DRBiser
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

9/24/12: Opened right after work. Mail-order beer from the left coast.

Nose reminds me of berliner weisse? But additional Brett and a touch of Chardonnay. Very pleasant.

Pale gold - looks gorgeous. Seems super carbonated yet a nice light head. Interesting how bubbles come up directly from the center of bottom of glass? This actually does look like the champagne of beers...

Taste is wheat, lemon grass and a tiny bit of funk up front...quickly followed by this lovely explosion of Brett and Chardonnay. I’m not even a huge Chard fan, but this is the perfect amount of winey oak in the taste. Very refreshing and in my opinion the perfect amount of tartness.

While carbonation is strong, it doesn't feel overly bubbly like champers would be - really nice mouthfeel.

One of my favorites

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Photo of tarheels86
4.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750mL b3 shared with the family for Christmas. Poured into champagne glasses. Pours a glowing bright yellow that is cloudy with yeast and a decent size white head that has good retention and leaves sheets of beautiful lacing. Aroma is chardonnay, white grapes, champagne. Taste reminds me of a geuze minus the barnyard funk. At first there is a nearly mouth puckering sourness that overwhelms the palate for an instant. Then it goes from sweet to sour to bitter dryness back to wet sourness in all of about three seconds. Woah. There is some hop bitterness that reminds you this is a wild ale and not white wine. Was loved by all the wine lovers in the room. A big hit. Would be an excellent gateway beer to move someone from wine to beer snobbery. 12/27/2009 8/5/8/5/16=4.2


375mL b1. First batch of Temptation has gained quite the phenolic, plastic nose. The body is not too sour but rather sweet with minimal tartness. Finish is very dry. This batch isn’t aging so well.

375mL b2 pours with much higher carbonation and a gorgeous head. Aroma here is such spot on: cotton candy, funk, chardonnay, white grapes. Excellent body with some spicy sourness, sweet tropical fruits, candy. Very nice. This is the best batch by far.

375mL b4 pours with a giant head. Nose is losing complexity with sweet vanilla and birthday cake. Taste is watery, much too sweet. Either too young or just not up to par.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

yet another one of the "tion" brews under my belt, and while its not the consecration, it is a hell of a damn good beer. it pours a murky pale blonde color with some flaoting sediment and a frothy white head just half an inch high and relaxing to less than that, but always ready to come back to life with a shake or a swirl. it smells like brett and wine acidity, grapey and musty, oaky and dank, really nice. lighter though than some of the other beers from this line, less in my face. it has a really unique flavor, somewhere between a glass of white wine and a beer. the sour element sneaks up on you too, its just a tart golden ale at first, but then after a few seconds the sour really hits you in the face. almost jaw hurting. dry as hell in the finish. i love the fruit in this, lighter than the heavy cherry stuff in the others, refreshing and surprisingly drinkable. the feel is epic, like all of these. its so so dry at the end, and the carbonation is crazy bright. body is lighter too, and i just love the sour puckey feeling i get from this. overall another, yet another, brilliant brew from the masters.

edit: just had a batch 4 bottle of this, maybe 09 or something, im not sure the date, but it was even more dry and awesome than was the fresh one i had a year or so ago. cellar this, its worth the patience!

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Photo of spoony
4.67/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 375 ml bottle with a 7/27/12 date into a tulip.

A-Opened with a nice pop and poured golden in color. Mostly clear with lots of ultra-fine carbonation. The off-white head started at three fingers in height and stuck around for a long time, leaving nice lacing on the glass.

S-Oaky and vinous at first with hints of tart apple and grapes. I could tell this beer was aged in white wine barrels. There is just a touch of yeasty funkiness that grows as the brew warms up.

T-Starts out with tart apples, grapes, a little vinegar, and lemon curd. As it warms up, the flavor turns more to the sour cherry side, but it never gets all the way to sour cherries. The taste is not as oaky or vinous as the smell, but it is quite complex and concentrated.

M-Lighter to medium bodied with lots of fine, champagne-like carbonation. It is just a touch creamy with a dry, tartness that mellows some on the finish.

O-I really enjoyed this beer; one of my favorite American Wild Ales to date. It had a nice complex dose of sourness and a touch of yeasty goodness, which really played well with the level of carbonation. I could drink a lot of this...if it weren't so damned expensive.

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Photo of MrVonzipper
3.73/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy lemon color with a bubbly white head with pretty good retention and lace

Smells of lemonheads with a touch of cherry clan. Immediately after opening it smells nice. Shortly after it starts to smell a little stale.

Taste follows the nose. Tastes like the tart side of Lemon Heads. Kind of one note but not bad.

Light bodied and crisp mouthfeel with high carbonation.

Overall I think it's very very similar to Beatification, but I like this one better.

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Photo of WesM63
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 375ml bottle into a RR "Tion" glass.

A: Pours a murky/cloudy straw yellow. A tiny 1 finger head is present but quickly dissipates. Tons of lacing.

S: Smell is very faint but I get some funk with some citrus (lemon) lingering.

T: Complex. Lots of stuff going on here. Tart and Funky, lemon, white wine, oak and finish try and tart.

M: Light body, medium carbonation.

O: Mind = Blown. This stuff is insanely good. Initially it seems simple but the more you drink, the more it evolves. Everything in this beer just works extremely well together. Well done, RR, well done.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375ml Bottle from batch 003
Pours out with just a hint of hazy on a golden background with a fluffy white head that persists forever with massive stickage. The aroma is quite vinous with a sour funky edge. Grapes, lemons, cherries, plums, oranges, tartness, sweaty horses its all in there and it smells great. The first sip pierces my tongue with lactic but smooths out quite quickly. Grapes, candy sugar, brown sugar come up front and provide a great balance against the lemons sour cherries and apricots that come in next. A bit of lactic and funk find its way in there towards the finish but smooth out with a fruity sweetness. Medium body with a spirited level of carbonation and a sweet tart mouthfeel. This is a beautiful beer! Wonderfully complex and incredibly drinkable. I've had this in the cellar a few years and have lost track of where I got it, if you sent it to me thank you so much.

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.72/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a light straw color with brilliant clarity, bright white head, with very good retention but not much lace. Bubbles are fine, champagne-like.

S: Wonderful tropical fruit, floral notes, brett, and supported subtly by the oak and funk.

T: A moderate sourness carries through most of the mouthful. The blonde ale peeks through, esp. on the long finish, along with some tannins, but is hidden beforehand by the tartness, floral white wine-like flavors.

M: Medium body and medium-light carbonation, wonderfully crisp and refreshing.

O: Fantastic. This stuff is so good it's dangerous, not from an ABV standpoint but the price point (like sushi). Pairs very well with food, where you would otherwise drink a white wine.

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Photo of Treebs
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375 ml bottle served in a FFF teku glass. Batch 006.

A: Pours a clear golden amber color with frothy white head forming on the pour. It recedes to a thick ring and thin cap.

S: A great lemon tartness is there initially on the nose. A dry white wine with some light green grape.

T: Great lactic sourness. Really puckering at the jowls. Tart lemon, white wine, white grapes and fresh green grape tartness. Unripened pear Dried oak with a light barrel sweetness. Definite funkiness in the periphery.

M: Light bodied with a drying, sweet finish. Nice prickly carbonation as well.

O: The lightness is great and the carb is perfectly spritzy. Great tartness with a nice lactic sourness.

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

I received this bad boy in a trade some time ago and feel that after a couple of years, I should probably get to crushing it. Review is from notes taken on 9/3/2012 and poured from the bottle (batch 004X3) to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is a light, crispy golden straw color; starts with 1/4 finger creamy, slightly off-white head with good retention; head fades to a full, lush cap; body is mostly clear, just a touch of haze on the glass, so the body has great clarity; plenty of carbonation bubbling up quickly in thin streams; big swaths of lacing are left in curtains and trails on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Light tart green grapes; touch of saccharine funk with a bit of barnyard mulchiness to it; smell is crisp, refreshing -- like a chilled white wine with nice tartness.

Taste: Wow - might be one of the easiest drinking wilds I've had to date -- the funk and tartness there, and it makes me want to pucker a little bit, but it fades rather quickly and allows the tart grape flavors and touch of mulchiness; bit of an acidic/vinegar-like bite flavor.

Mouthfeel: Body is rather light in terms of weight, and again, the tartness does create a pucker but it's manageable and fades rather quickly; a rather sticky and moderately thick coating all over the palate; I'm left salivating.

Overall: I didn't think RR could top Consecration, but they did with this particular beer. I wish I had access to their work on a regular basis, so I feel like every time I drink a beer of theirs that I crack from my closet I'm robbing myself of a future delight, but if I don't drink it, I'm robbing myself of a current delight. Damn you, Vinny, for being so good.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

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Photo of match1112
4.23/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pour this in to my russian river tulip. clear golden straw body with two inches of thick white head that fizzes out at a steady pace. plenty of lacing left behind. not a big fan of chardonnay and this is dominated by chardonnay. that said, i absolutely love this beer. i dont know how they make it work but they do. as far as smell and taste this is straight chardonnay, nothing else. mouthfeel is very lively with more carbonation in a sour than i have experienced. kinda a medium thin body, drinks like champaign. overall ireally like it, heck i might even try another chardonnay, nah i'll stick to beer.

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Photo of VinoBeer
3.85/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears hazy royal gold with ample pure white fluffy, lacy-beyond-belief head that crowns the glass and stays there as a half-finger cap. Aroma is melon, funky floral notes, and lemon citrus. Smell keeps developing with time, with the lemon/flower scent coming through after the initial oak/melon. Taste is intoxicating, with light fruit initially, and a woody finish, with plenty of others in between, including yeast funk, white wine, and a tart carbonation kick throughout. Beer is light while being well-bodied and leaves a nice dry coat around the mouth.

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Photo of Duff27
4.01/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Half inch white head on a clear golden body. Good head retention and above average lacing, especially for a sour.

Definite Chardonnay influenced. Honestly that's all I get from the nose.

Not overly sour. Chardonnay makes my face do funny things, dominates for me. Would guess at an 8% beer here.

Medium mouthfeel, big carbonation.

Somehow it all comes together for me. Chardonnay isn't my favorite but RR makes it work here. Thanks for the trade a long time ago stupac2.

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

Batch 6. Reviewed from notes.

A- Pours a bright gold with a one finger head that dissipates quickly. Minimal lacing is left behind.

S- White grapes, oak, green apple skins with a hint of lemon and vinegar.

T- Lots of white grape, oak, green apple, lemon, hints of hay, vinegar, and lacto. There is a nice amount of sourness at the end.

M- Medium carbonation with a light crisp body that finishes dry.

O- Really impressed by this sour from rr. Lot's of wine qualities from the barrels and a nice amount of sourness that isn't overpowering. I'll take this over Beat B5 any day of the week.

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 05X1E

A - Slightly hazed golden body with a bright white head.

S - Sweet grapes, green apples, tart berries, lots of dry dusty wood, lemons, some grassy potpourri spices that remind me of a hobby lobby. The brett and chardonnay aroma really starts taking over as it warms.

T - Tart grapes, crisp green apples, and lemon dance on the tongue creating a nice crisp tartness. A light dusty funk appears mid palate finishing crisp and tart with some snappy lemon acidity.

M - Light body, effervescent carbonation that turns smooth at the end, nice tartness with a crisp dry finish.

I've been sitting on this for almost 2 years but it's felt like 5! I had to crack it open tonight.
Very light and crisp with nice wood notes. Funkiness was there but not over the top. Sour but not puckering. The chardonnay is pronounced but is nice. Just a subtle, but very well done sour.

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Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
4.42 out of 5 based on 3,645 ratings.
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