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Temptation | Russian River Brewing Company

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1,020 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: 1,020 | Ratings: 3,604
Photo of MuddyFeet
4.03/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 002.

Pours a clear gold color with a light and fluffy head reasting on top. Second pour was a tad murkier from some yeast sediment. Nose is light and sweet. Slight citrus tang to it.

Solid flavor. Great beer to enoy all night long. Light citrus tartness hangs over this beer and comes out more prominently as it warms. Littls bits of pepper. Also, I can pick out some oakiness but honestly I am not sure what it brings to this beer. Maybe a bot more smoothness and body. Light mouthfeel and quite vinuous.

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

This one pours from 375ml caged and corked bottle(batch 002)..ooops! I turned the bottle sideays to read some of the info and when I popped the cork, the beer shot out of the bottle big time. My bad. :^(

Anywho, it pours a cloudy straw yellow with a large head of foam that shrinks slowly leaving a solid layer with plenty of lacing.

The smell is all fruity, and yeasty, and funky. Fruit wise, I can smell lemon and some apricot and it's very inviting indeed.

The taste on first sip has a BIG sour punch and a ton of citrus flavours. Lots of grapefruit, apricot and lemon tartness permeate my every taste bud and I can *only* smile. A very BIG smile. Swishing the Ale in my mouth, it gets even more complex. Big yeast notes, strong representation of funk, and a never ending stream of a variety of fruit...man, the flavours are simply outstanding. Yum. Talk about a Wild Ale, in the future, when I see or hear that term used, I'll instantly think of RR Temptation.

The mouthfeel is superb, the carbonation is light, the drinkability is through the roof...I kid you not. The finish is very lemony and you just want the aftertaste to *never* end. And as far as the 7.25%abv comes in to play, there's no evidence of it in the tasting and there's almost no warming as it goes down. An amazing brew.

Bottom line: Yet another fantastic brew from Russian River. If I ever visit California again, visiting RR Brewing would be a must. My BA hat is off to them!

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Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy yellow orange in a goblet. A nice one finger white head that fades quickly and forms a nice retention.

Smell: Major notes of citrus tart, musty, and oak. The citrus seems to be of grapes and pineapple and banana. There are some spices, but I can't put my finger on it.

Taste: It starts off a bit strange due to an initial vinegar taste. The fruit really balances well with the more wine like qualities of the beer. There is some nice breadiness that provides the backbone here and some sugary notes as well. This warms beautifully and you can really taste all the subtle nuances of the flavors.

Mouthfeel: Lively and active. The sour and oak lingers nicely.

Drinkability: Absolutely wonderful. Refreshing and moderate alcohol content.

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Photo of atsprings
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a hazy straw yellow with a beautiful frothy head that lasted and left great lacing. The aroma was of strong hefe-weizen characteristics, only stronger than any hefe I've ever encountered. As far as the taste, if you can take the sourness, as I could, this is one of the most complex beers I've ever encountered. Once you look past the sour, there is an interesting blend of German hefe and Belgian Tripel characteristics. In the mouth, the sourness is a bit overbearing, but I'm able to appreciate that it goes with the style. This is certainly a beer that takes some effort to appreciate, but I must say, it's worth the effort. This is the first beer of this style I've ever had, and it certainly leaves me wanting to try more.

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.65/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 002 bought from the RR website a few months ago. Poured into a wine glass.

a - bright golden/amber color, nice haze, big white head with good retention and lacing

s - aroma is very similar to champagne, big sour notes with some apple and pear, some funk from the Brett, only slight alcohol, hints of oak

t - slightly yeasty right up front before a big sourness evolves, lots of sour apple and lemon, big Brett notes that just sit on the tongue for awhile, nice hints of oak, finish is fruity, lemon mostly with some other citrus, no alcohol whatsoever in the taste, just a lingering sourness/funkiness and fruit along with some oak, awesome

m - lots of carbonation, light-bodied, finish is more sweet than dry

d - I couldn't believe that I went through the bottle so fast, I would have thought the sourness would limit the drinkability more than it does

It's hard for me to choose a favorite between this and Supplication...both are amazing. Hopefully Vinnie still has some Temptation on hand when I'm at RR in a few months.

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Photo of FlyFisher2782
4.21/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy. cloudy almost straw like pale yellow in color. Brilliant head and carbonation kept a 3 finger head around for quite a while.

First whiff reminded me a lot of french champagne, deep woody notes followed by a hint of alcohol and almost leathery scent.

Taste was a very dry malt backbone balanced by tart fruit, hints of apple, cherries, lemon and a puckering finish with the brett aftertaste.

From its smell I was expecting this beer to be unbalanced by the heavy brett and alcohol but found it to blend together quite well and the alcohol to be unnoticeable once I drank it. Mouthfeel is light and crisp making this a fantasticly drinkable beer, except for the pricetag.

Overall, very pleasing, not unlike a fine champagne.

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Photo of BlastTyrant
4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 001 bottle. A nice pop greeted me upon the removal of the cork. Poures a hazy golden color with a thin head. Tart Bret character in the nose, along with ripe apples and a gentle woodsiness. Flavor is spot on - Bret does not overpower, it is about as subtle as Bret gets, in my experience. Vinous character gives over to a light oak and lemon zest finish. Had this and Supplication in the same day, my first brews from RR, and they have immediately become one of my favorite brewers.

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Photo of badbeer
4.92/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 002. Bottle has tendency to foam over.

Hazy yellow color with a white head, decent retention. Smell includes some lemon, soft sourness, oak, and there seemed to be a very light spice that I'm unable to name. Taste has sour oak, lemon, and some other citrus flavors, slightly acidic, with a fairly dry finish. Not as sour as others I have enjoyed, but still quite good. Mouthfeel had high carbonation with a light body. Light body and dry finish to this, paired with its excellent taste make this one highly drinkable. I wish I had plenty more; would be great for special occasions.

Update: This beer has gotten better and better. Just marvelous.

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Photo of travolta
2.69/5  rDev -39%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: A hazy straw color. A little cloudy. The lacing is minimal but defined. Head retention is thin.

Nose: Crisp chardonnay with hints of lemon, citrus, melon, mineral, and alcohol.

Taste: Very crisp on the mouth. Very bitter, a crisp yeasty taste throughout. Very oaky, lots of citrus, bitter.

Notes: Great concept, great presentation, execution was disappointing. Vinnie, bring back some Blind Pig brews through Russian River!

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

Had on tap from Monk's.

Aprearance is a hazy golden yellow. Thin whispy white head but not much.

Aromas of white wine, spices, pepper, lemon, grassy, wet hay, buttery oak.

Taste is light biscuity, cookie-like malt with strong citrussy, lemony, white wine character. Buttery oak and cookie flavors blend well with the sharp sour chardonnay character.

Mouthfeel is light, sharp and carbonic.

A very interesting beer. Quite drinkable.

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Photo of drewbage
4.64/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle of batch 2 carried home from RR by a friend. (Danke Jeremy!) Served in a large Tripel Karmeliet glass.

Beer is hazy golden with virtually no head (surprising given the spritzy nature of the brew)

Aroma is bright lemony and spicy with cinnamon oaky notes riding over a low old wet hay

Flavor is a first hit of a carbonic acid bite that drives right into a heavy cinnamon spice with a light biscuit malt flavor that finishes with a light pleasant hop bite mixed with a lingering sourness.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.85/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pale yellow appearance, with a slight chill haze. Pillowy white foam stretches a bit thin, but leaves a nice crust, however. Abundant streams of carbonation are visible, like a steady, upside down rain shower. The aroma is yeasty, vinegary, and tart. Light notes of sour lemon and fresh bread also present, nice.

The taste is alot less sour than expected, with an overriding fruitiness that is mostly like grapefruit with some other citrus and melon character. Some notes of dry grass and barnyard hay are also evident. The finish becomes dry and some light oak notes come out while a light sourness remains at the back of the tongue. The mouthfeel is light, and semi-foamy. Decent, but not spectacular.

I've had a couple bottles of this now, and each time I feel like it doesn't live up to expectations. To me it's not sour enough, and the sourness it does carry lingers in the finish annoyingly rather than making you pucker waiting for the next sip. It took awhile to finish the bottle which suprised me. With Beatification and Sanctification I could hardly contain myself. The flavor of this beer sort of hangs in the balance, wanting to be something more. I wonder if Batch 001 was better, but I probably will never know. For a wild ale it's good, for Russian River it's average...

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Photo of orfeu
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375 ml punted green bottle, corked and caged. Batch 002. I was thinking that I'd wait until the weather was more spring-like to open up my first Russian River "wild ale," but then I remembered I'm in Buffalo, and that won't be until June...It was sunny for most of the day today, so what the hell. Anyway, served at cellar temperature in a Russian River Barrel Aged Ales stemmed glass, Temptation is a cloudy golden-straw color, with a sudsy dull-white head which is clingy but recedes to a surface film rather quickly. Aromas are on the sharp side, with green apple, musty phenols, and acidic Chardonnay scents standing out the most. A tart "lambic" smell is also noticeable -- brettanomyces at work, I imagine. An extremely tart "lambic" edge greets the palate at first. This acidic funk greeting is followed by a more variegated citrus blend, with lemon and lime flavors predominating. A very faint biscuity flavor appears both somewhere in the middle and briefly in the aftertaste. Rubbery phenol notes waft in at random throughout mid-sip. Some white wine fruitiness comes through as the beer warms with an initially detectable mineral twang subsiding at the same time. Minimal touches of oak tannins near the finish, which is mouth-puckeringly dry. Light body with a slightly sticky but overall airy and smooth mouthfeel. This is a fascinatingly complex ale, and I'm glad to have the rest of this bottle to finish this evening. However, I think it's more appropriately drunk in weather warmer than today's snow-blanketed 20 degree February business. Would likely pair nicely with a super-stinky cheese.

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Photo of klewis
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Crosling for this bottle.

A: Pours a hazy golden with a bubbly head like champagne. Not much sustain on the head, but good lacing.

S: Brett, dirty socks, and cheap white wine. Not bad though.

T: Definitely a wild ale, but the brett is a bit less pronounced than in the Suplication. The barrel aging aging offers a bit of complexity. Perhaps I'm just getting used to these styles with wild fermentation, but this one doesn't taste as funky as some.

M: Crisp and acidic like white wine. Medium-bodied with a very active carbonation that continues to bubble in the mouth.

D: Not as good as Supplication, but still damn good. The lesser brett quality makes this one very easy drinking. Highly recommended.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.88/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

375 mL olive brown cork-n-crown bottle. Batch 002, brewed on 6/11/05 with house Belgian and abbey yeasts, unfiltered, and aged for 16 months in French oak chardonnay barrels with saccharo- and brettanomyces. It was bottled on 11/15/06, and conditioned with their house wine yeast and more brettanomyces. It pours a transluscent gold with medium to high carbonation and two inches of white head that settles at an eighth of an inch and leaves sheets of sticky lace. Very nice - it is reminiscent of a well-crafted Belgian. The aroma is also quite Belgian - fruity, oaky, and winey, with the addition of sour and lightly funky overtones. If it were a bit more aromatic it would warrant a five in the category. On the palate there are notes of pale or pilsner malts and green (noble?) hops blended very nicely with a brett sourness and touches of white wine here and there. There are additional notes of grassy/spicy hops, a medium sourness, a mild (but increasing) bitterness, some drying tannins, and oaky/winey notes that increase near the end. So complex and completely delicious. The medium body is drying and lightly numbing, incredibly smooth, and has medium carbonation along with a medium to long finish. Overall an awesome, very drinkable and refreshing beer (a non-stop sipper) that is a testament to the creativity of the American craft beer revolution.

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Photo of dbalsock
3.9/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

App: Golden yellow with hints of orange. Had a thin white head that stuck to the sides and provided a minimal lacing.

Smell: Musty oak, a hint of apple and grape. Smelled a little like wine. The aroma wasn't very intense, unfortunately.

Taste: The apple and grape come through again, along with the oak to provide a very wine like experience. This was very similar to a lambic, but without a lot of the tastes I would be expecting. When I took a quick sip, the oak came through a little too heavily.

Mouthfeel: Very sour and tart, kinda like sucking down a warhead candy. There was good carbonation and it was highly enjoyable to let this sit on my tongue and think about it.

Drinkability: After each sip I found myself wanting more of this beer. It was complex and tasty, but not so much to keep me from wanting another bottle or two.

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Photo of nickss
4.02/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy, golden hue with a generous 1/2" head which slowly subsides... very effervescent... like a hazy champagne.

Musty aroma... the oak is very prevalent, along with some citrus. Interesting... don't think I've ever smelled anything like it, and for that I give it high marks.

Tight, sour kick... so champagne-y and wine-y... I am amazed at this brew... it defies the boundaries of beer-dom as we know it. Fantastic. A big oaky thickness goes along with the sourness... nice and complex... I'm a fan.

While I'm not typically a fan of highly carbonated beers, this one works well because of the similarities it shares with champagne.

While delicious, this beer is not an easy drinker. The tart of the brew makes it a sipper. One to appreciate.. not to gulp. Fantasticly unique. Next stop.... Jolly Pumpkin.

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Photo of aforbes10
4.12/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a bottle of this at Capone's outside of philly over the holidays and i figure i've been patient enough. Popped the cork and it foamed out all over my table. damn. i almost sucked beer out of the tablecloth but decided against it. Got the rest into a couple of glasses for me and the wife. Looked clear and orange/yellow with a little white lace head. little floating sediment-y things bobbing aorund in it like they're alive (and they might just be). Smells musty and a bit like an old sweet champagne. Also some clementine-like citrus on the nose. Taste starts out thin and orangey and wine-like. A bit like a cyser i had on tap at Bell's in terms of the initial flavor profile. Some sourness that builds as the beer warms. Citrusy astringency. bitterness grows as it warms, which melds well with the orange flavor. some light alcohol flavor is apparant too. thin, effervescent mouthfeel. All in all, it's an interesting beer and the first i've had from the style i think so i'll remember it. I could go either way on having another though....it's tasty but not something i feel like i could ever crave.

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Photo of jaluria
4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appeared a semi-cloudy, soft-orange color with a white colored head. Aromas of yeast, mellon, white raisins, and old bread seemed to come out. The taste was balanced between 'brett' flavors and crisp hops. Raisins and other fruit flavors melted right in adding great depth. Not as funky as other AWA, but still a touch of that funky/spoiled taste. Overall, quite interesting and enjoyable, but not one that I could have over and over again.

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

Pour: 375 ml bottle (XXX Batch 2) to tulip glass. A bright yet cloudy apricot liquid cascades into my glass, peaked by an inch of white head. The fluff sinks down quickly to a big cap and halo of remains.

Nose: Tartness explodes out of the bottle with the pop of the cork. Extremely sour: mouth watering and puckering. Notes of black pepper, coriander, broiled meats.

Mouth: Sour and delicious entrance with a strange, warm and salty after taste. In the mouth it's hard to pick the hops from the malts - it's more of a yeast and mold flavor. Same broiled steak taste as implied in the aroma. Extremely strong and active carbonation. As the brew warms more depth appears, adding fruit and berry notes along with a farmy hay flavor.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.22/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've dabbled some in the wild ale / gueze category over the past couple of years. I'm finding some common themes in what I like as well as what I don't. This one is definitely in the yes I like it category. I ordered these from the website after reading some of the BA reviews. A leap of faith, yes, but oh what a temptation :-)

A - bottle and label looked neat with a nice description on the back. Wire cage broke as I tried to unwind it. A careful pour yields a hazy yellow brew with a billowy white head.

S - Wow, a lot of stuff packed into that whiff. Light chardonay wine, sour lactic / lemon, a touch of belgian candi / sweet malt and a earthyness. That's from a few minutes enjoying the aroma. There's a lot going on with this one.

T - Similar to the aroma but with a better kick in sour aspects and a diminished subtle chardonay effect that is nicely complimentary. I can't wait to have one of these this summer in the warm weather! I think that even at low winter cellar temps warming to room temp this beer could use a bit warmer day to really let loose.

M - light to medium bodied, very carbonated and nicely tangy

D - nice refreshing drink. I think a bit diminished as a winter drink but very tasty. Nice how while complimentary tart / sour, this one is not an over the top blow your head off sour brew.

I've heard from a couple of brewers that it can take a few years to really let the brett do it's thing before these beers are ready. My hat's off to RR for taking the time to do it right as well as create a novel flavor combination that's got me anticipating summer for the rest of the brews in the cellar. Buy em in bulk from the brewery if you are not local. At the price they sell em, it's easy money!

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Photo of RidiculedDisplay
4.65/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 002.

Poured into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: Took a while for me to un-do the cage, because the twist-tie broke off toward the end and I had to get my keys in there to undo it. If you look at the bottling notes at Russian River's website, 002 of Temptation had to be aired and re-corked because it was so lively, and even with that re-corking this thing pops off in a deceivingly friendly manner with some haze, then proceeds to spill over. As it was doing so, I noticed that there are actual portions of brownish silt-like stuff, assumingly the Brett or another yeast, all over this beer. Knowing that the Brett makes the beer, I decided to keep as much of this stuff in my glass as possible.

Pours with a two or three finger's worth of extremely lively head, which settles down to a half-finger after some time. Lacing is absolutely fucking brilliant. Huge dangling arms of the stuff, forming downright artistic patterns all over the sides of my glass. The body is a hazy sun yellow which invites at the same time as it imparts a feeling that the Brett lies in waiting to kick your tastebuds into submission. Wonderful for the lacing alone.

Smell: Oh my god. This is possibly the single most complex beer I've ever had the pleasure of whiffing. Let me make a feeble attempt: Vanilla, oak, whiskey, apple, banana, cane sugar, chardonnay, lavender, a variety of scented candle aromas I'm having trouble isolating (largely due to my lack of general aroma familiarity), rosemary, nutmeg, cinnamon, "new car smell," hint of leather, hint of polish, fig, plum, pear, cream, some coconut... I'm getting olfactory fatigue here. Absolutely phenomenal.

Taste: Buttered popcorn, chardonnay, banana, apple cider, green apples,
nutmeg, grapes, cream, some sugar. A residual oakey chardonnay back end. I really, really enjoy the flavor, as it reveals similar complexity but with more amplification of the some of the individual flavors present in the nose. Perhaps slightly less complex than the nose, that being said.

Mouthfeel: Thick, bubbling, light and fizzy meringue-like stuff. Great.

Drinkability: Incredibly drinkable. No perceptible alcohol from my perspective. I am absolutely floored by this beer, and will be searching ardently for the RR's other Wild Ales.

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Photo of bjohnson
4.37/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to ClockworkOrange for the chance to try this highly touted offering from RR. Batch 002.

A: Pours a very cloudy golden color with hints of grapefruit. Frothy champagnelike one finger white head has excellent retention. Amazing lacing all over the glass.
S: Woody oak notes coupled with chardonnay aromas. Floral presence with a sourness that overtakes the rest of the notes. Sour tartness gives the rest of the softs flavors a jolt.
T/M: Tart like sourness right from the get go. Chardonnay mixes in but isn't overly powerful. Wine notes aren't necessarily as big as the tart sourness. A tad woody floral and fruity notes. Lemon zest, orange and grapefruit rind, pears...very complex. Very smooth once it starts to warm up--almost too smooth. Medium bodied.
D: Somewhat drinkable--not because it's bad, but because it's so complex. this is definitely a sipping brew and one that needs to be discussed whilst doing so. Extremely happy I've had the chance to sample this.

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Photo of Brian700
4.62/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer made me smile...nuff said, but I'll say more.

It poured a golden yellow with a nice white head that sat just high enough to look funny in a pinot noir glass.

The aroma was bleeding Chardonnay and Oak into my nostrils and I couldn't get enough of it. This beer smells so good you don't even have to drink it. But do.

The flavor was Gueze-esque with lots of oak, grape (chardonnay), a little acidity which was right on. This is one of those beers that you will most likely have a love/hate experience with. I feel sorry for those that hate it. This beer made a Chimay cheese that we had sitting on the table (that no one was eating cause it smelled like dead worms and feet) become the most incredible thing in the world. Perfect pairing.

The mouthfeel of this is perfect. light/med body with just enough carbonation to enhance the acidity (and make the aroma humungous) enough to give it that wine quality that I feel is what really makes this beer.

The drinkability is near perfect for myself. Near zero for someone who is expecting your traditional beer out of this.

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

Thanks flexabull for this brew.

Batch 002

Corked and caged.

Poured into a chalice a nice cloudy yellow color, nice carbonation, nice small foamy white head, leaves some nice islands and sticky lacing. The nose is of malts, hops, yeast, citrus (orange, grapefruit), pears, apples, and grapes. The taste is sweet with a nice tangyness to it, fruity and a nice dryness to the finish. Very carbonated, medium body, a complex brew. Very drinkable, this is my second RR brew to date, love both of them. Highly recommended.

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Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
4.41 out of 5 based on 3,604 ratings.
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