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: 3,642
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 Duhast500
4.82/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to DaveJanssen for supplying me with this fantastic brew.

Poured from the 1pt. 9.4 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

The color is a glowing orange/yellow with a good amount of carbonation and three fingers of foamy white head. Some thick lacing on the glass.

The smell is funky at first. Some banana and a touch of clove. There is a green grape flavor that touches lightly on the nose and then comes back to let the sweet malt flavor shine.

The taste is like a jolly rancher or a sweet tart, very sweet and sugary that is sings in my mouth and brings about visions of green grape fun dip. It is a roller-coaster of flavors that hit me over and over and I really am amazed at how complex this beer is. Wow will not suffice.

The feel of this beer is light and really tart. The wild feel is welcoming and sweet to the taste buds. If you have this beer it is a pleasure of the senses. It really is what most brewers dream of achieving.

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Photo of whartontallboy
4.82/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After much deliberation, I tried this one at Monk's.

Pours out a cloudy yellow-gold with a very small white head that recedes slowly and leaves a little bit of lacing. Not an overwhelming beer to look at.

Smell is pure brett and chardonnay, with some grapes, peach, and oak coming through.

Flavor is incredible. It's got so much going on. It tastes like chardonnay as it hits your tongue, with a big dry grape flavor and some light fruitiness, but it gradually gives way to a nutty, almost cheese-like beer flavor that lets a lot of peach, graph, and honeydew flavors come in. Lemon and yeast flavors read pretty well, too.

Mouthfeel is a spritzy medium, meeting the flavor perfectly.

Overall: Wow. I thought this one would be overhyped, but I thought it was incredible. Surely worth seeking out.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
4.82/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

375ml bottle Batch 001
Pours a pale orange yellow with a very nice two finger white head. The head gives way to a decent white lacing and a very nice white collar. A fine looking beer even if head retention is kind of lousy.
Smell is oak, musty yeast, some lactic sourness. There is a definite fruitiness (grapes, pears, peaches) makes itself known.
Taste is somewhat sour, but not nearly what I would have expected given the style. Fruits make themselves known (chardonay grapes, pears, peaches, etc). Followed by a massive oaky flavor as well as spicy and bitter hops.
Mouthfeel is pretty damn impressive. Dry, smooth and all enjoyable.
Overall, I could easily drink this one all night. Plain and simple, I could just have this all the time. Russian River continues to prove to me that they are an amazing brewery and Vinnie is just an amazing brewer. This beer is phenominal.

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Photo of mnphish
4.82/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Shared with yamar68! Poured into a wine glass.
Smells of sour green apples, champagne, tart fruit, funk, super yeasty.
Tastes like the cristal of beer. Sour green apples, white grapes, lemons, barnyard brett funk, chardonnay. Very tart.
Mouthfeel is light, bubbly, smooth, nicely carbonated. I'm having a hard time putting this down.
The best sour beer i've ever had. I'm already trying to find another bottle!

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

Batch 001 corked and caged 375 ml very cool bottle thanks to todd1.

Slight haze suspended in a golden body with blonder, yellower edges. Solid finger of dense, pillowy, glass-crawling, soft white head with good retention. Vibrant complex nose of honeysuckle, lemon juice, chardonnay, wet oak, sweet-tart fruits, pears, sharp sour funk, and old hay. Wonderful; I could smell this all day!

Metallic, dry, cobwebby, acidic taste up front. Tart fruits and fruit skins follow with a citrus bitter sour edge. Pear and grape sweetness round out the palate. There's a pronounced funk throughout that goes very well. Oaky, vinous finish with some leftover fruits. Mostly dry. Medium body feels bigger due to lively carbonation and a very long aftertaste.

Wow. A fantastic beer that is well worth the price/trading/traveling. I would love to have easy access to this gem!

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Photo of JohnG190
4.81/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled May 2013. Pours a hazy golden orange with a white sudsy head that dissipates quickly into a frothy retention cap that sticks around throughout and leaves some lacing. Its a lovely beer to look at. Lemon on the nose, with hints of oak and white wine grapes. Very light and crisp aroma. Tart and puckering on the front of the palate, with notes of lemon, oak, and sweet grape. Finishes extremely dry with little to no lingering aftertaste. Light bodied with effervescent carbonation. Overall, a supremely well crafted barrel aged wild ale. Well balanced, complex, and extremely drinkable!

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Photo of dwagner003
4.81/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

What can you say about Temptation that hasn't already been said a million times? It's a masterpiece. Nearly flawless, with the exception of some personal preference towards appearance and mouthfeel. Even still, it gets incredibly high marks there. It's a wonderfully tart and refreshing beer with the most pleasantly subtle oaky chardonnay background. This is a prime example of how to use Brett in a beer. It's vinous and effervescent, and just awesome.

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Photo of rwf08
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am not a fan of sours I found out recently. This beer however I find to be outstanding. I had supplication last night and did not review it because I passed it off to the girlfriend who loved it. This bottle is for me, I no share.

A: Dull yellow straw color. Looks like a macro lager. Thin white head that doesn't stick around.

S: Tart, acidic, and sour smells. Some oak in the back ground. Some white wine character, pear, sour apples, white grapes and some sweetness. Some funk but not too much.

T: Tart tannin rich and oaky. Pears, sour apples , white grapes and some light funk. This really isn't as funky as I'd of thought. So much acidic tartness rolls over the funk that would be there.

M: Thin and spritzy, dry finish and refreshing.

D: Great. I love this beer and want more...I mean this sucks and don't buy it. ;)

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

Poured into a tulip. Batch 004x5.

4.5 A: Hazy golden straw color. Two fingers of pillowy white head. Most of the head falls quickly, but the last 1/2 finger sticks around for a long time. Plenty of lacing.

4.5 S: Brett funk for sure, but way more funk that just the brett alone. Tons of barnyard funk with hay and horse blanket. Healthy fruity tartness backs up the funk. Oak tones linger. Very nice.

5.0 T: Brett barnyard funkiness again. Tart, but not overly so, fruitiness including wild orchard red apples and peaches. Straw and peppery yeast. Oak hits the spot as well. It does have plenty of chardonnay aspects as well. Excellent.

4.5 M: Lighter medium mouthfeel. Bubbly carbonation is perfect. Smooth with no major flaws. Tangy tartness on finish.

5.0 D: The most drinkable wild and one of the most drinkable of any brew. I could sip this all night long. I wish my bottle was 3L.

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Photo of ZX6Chris
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 of batch 4 shared with my wife.

A-Very bright slightly hazy golden ale. Pretty much no head but that doesn't mean it's flat.

S-Sour, acidic, sweet grapes a little wood.

T-The taste follows the nose. The wine barrel really comes through in the finish, oaky, sweet a little tannic.

M-light bodied with a little carbonation.

D-Really nice. Not overpoweringly sour.

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Photo of dar482
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

The beer hits of white wine and a strong tartness in the front. It's very lemony and citrusy with a general theme of apricot. A light crackery malt in the middle along with a nice touch of cherries. After the citrus, the barrel gives some oak notes and drying.

A very tart, yet well balanced sour. One of my favorites from Russian River.

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

Poured into a snifter, revealing clear light gold bubbling body under a tall but quickly dissipating white head. Smells like fresh apricot, sour lemon, white grape, slight funk, some oak and a little tart cherry. Clean smells.

Tastes more little grainy and very smoothly sour compared to the older vintage I've had (this is the most recent). Pleasantly bitter. Nice gentle apricot presence along with some sweet white grape. Entirely delicious fresh and with age. Mouthfeel is tingly and a little dry, medium carbonation. Light to medium-bodied. Refreshingly drinkable.

I would have this beer every day if I could.

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

Batch 05X3

Body is a clear yellow gold. Half-inch head pour dissipates quickly to a collar with no lacing.

Very much a white wine (chardonnay) aroma, with oak wood and vanilla, some barnyard funk and band-aid, and bready malt background.

Tastes of malt and white grapes up front, then lemony citrus, finally turning a little citrus peel bitterness in the dry finish. Has lots of acidity, but is not vinegary--more like a highly acidic wine, but definitely a lemony dimension.

Body is light and carbonation is fizzy, giving this a refreshing, crisp mouthfeel. Really scrubs the palate clean.

This is a delicious sour beer, low ABV, very drinkable. While this would pair with lots of food, I'd love to pair this with roast chicken with lemon, garlic, and rosemary and some frites.

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

This one by far one of the most unique beers I have ever had the privilege to drink. The color was light golden with a large head, which left exquisite lacing. You could possibly mistake the appearance and/or bouquet for champagne, but with much less carbonation. The aroma was outstanding, with heavy French oak, vanilla and mild citrus.
I was still trying to figure out how to describe the taste an hour after finishing my glass. I have to agree with the cliché and mention the wine-like taste (possibly some tannins?), with pear, apple, vanilla, oak, starting off sour and leaving a VERY long, sweet, smooth aftertaste of sweet fruits and banana on the back of the tongue. Mouthfeel was also excellent and smooth and creamy.
I could definitely drink this with dinner or stand-alone. It was refreshing and nearly perfectly balanced; leaving me wanting to check out the rest of what Russian River has to offer. Do yourself a favor and pick up one of these.

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Photo of somabeer
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

batch 03

Just popping from the cork, my nose is greeted with big whiff, reminding me of funky fresh goat cheese, with a light lemony zest in the background. It foams just to the top of the bottle, barely breaching the surface. Poured into the glass it has a big bone white head, with fair retention and some lacing. The taste is amazing, its very tart and dry with a nice citrus background. the finish is impeccable full of oak and butter, really drawing out the california chardonnay from the barrels. The buttery finish makes an odd sensation on the way down, but other that its very fizzy and very drinkable!

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

Thanks so much to tenderbranson69 for bringing this to our wild ale tasting -poured from the 375 ml into a tulip chilled. Batch 05x1

The color is golden like sparkling apple juice with light haziness and thick band of white atop with tiny beads stacked upon each other. There are streamers of lace left adhering to the glass after the head settles. the aroma of malt and sour odors combine and are graced by the esters derived from the wine barrel which have wood notes and light fruit w/ mild hop aroma accompanying. the wild yeast scent is strong with both floral and fruit notes and acidic tangy smell is present in the aroma. Both mild hop in the feel and yeast texture which has lactic sourness and with tart aspect that are also fruity but not too forceful -delicate balance is shared between the bacteria and mild astringency w/ light touch of hop spice and alcohol. The wood provides a nice accent to the sour elements.

The wine action gives way to herbal and tannic tastes w/ a sour white wine grape flavor up front. I must say I didn't notice as much wine barrel contribution when I tasted this on tap, but it is pretty apparent in the bottle -not sure how long this one was cellaring. The slight tropical element is a nice addition to the vinous qualities in this with slight spiciness from the yeast and hops. The hop presence is more assertive than in other wild ales which I enjoy -it is just enough to add to the fruitiness from the bacteria and not too much. I found myself really holding this in my mouth longer to pick out more of the flavor until a semi dry finish as it is swallowed. This is truly great - A beer I could never get tired of -the hop, barrel and blend of wild yeast and bacteria are all playing and major part w/ lots of strong flavors, yet it is pretty easy to forget the abv and drink it like its juice. I appreciate the effort it takes to produce a quality brew like this.

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

An eccentric corked and caged, 12.7 ounce bottle. Batch 003.

Canary yellow with a golden brass glossing. The beer is both lambent and radiantly clear despite its light haze. It's much darker than champagne, but otherwise shares an awful lot of resemblance. A milky blanket of lace comes to overlay the glass. This because an immaculately pristine capping of whipped mousse lay bountiful with an almost dizzying steadfast stream of determinant, hyperactive bubbles that maintain its perfect physique.

The smell of long over-ripened fruits, time-tested French oak, fresh baked bread, the rich yet delicate scent of Chardonnay grapes and a maturing strain of Brettanomyces makes for an aroma as pleasant and complex and unique as any drink is capable of possessing. The character of Chardonnay grapes add lush, ripe, fleshy and almost buttery qualities. It prickles the nose like champagne. I never knew there could be such a wonderful smell.

Still relatively young, the Brett is only starting to impart its notes of earthiness, barnyard and just a hint of singeing smoke. The contribution to taste is noted as well although still not yet more pronounced than the effects of the barrel. The oak itself plays a relatively minor part although it's imparted so much lush, buttery, lightly fruity flavours from the Chardonnay. Drinking this beer puts you right in a Grand Cru vineyard of Burgundy.

Especially with the Brett continuing to develop the most lucrative and unique of barnyard flavours, what people taste in the beer could be a highly subjective thing. Apart from the unbelievably strong resemblance to white wine and Champagne, I'm also picking up on all kinds of lightly suggestive fruity notes. These would include stone fruits (apple, pear), citric fruits (lemon, lime), and tropical fruits (mango, kiwi).

The mouthfeel is light but sharp and acidic. Although a mere 27 IBU's there is plenty of (almost puckering) tartness to take the place of bitterness. At times, the beer can also be rather oaky and buttery. A slightly higher alcohol percentage never factors into what is an absolutely sociable drink. The yeasty bread quality is never lost and the wild yeast continues to turn up with new - even more funky - notes when the beer's allowed to warm.

It's absolutely incredible what 17 months in a used Chardonnay barrel and a strain of wild yeast will do. This is certainly starting to come into its own after almost exactly a year since bottling. Oh how I wish I had more! Russian River's Temptation is a study in contradictions: it's so tremendously enjoyable - a light bodied, tart, highly sociable drink - and yet it also happens to be one of the most delicately intricate examples of brewing artwork.

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

Served in a stemless crystal Chardonnay glass. Thanks Chickencoop!

Pours a brilliant gold into the glass, a light head rings the outside of the glass. Small bubbles float on a lake of beautiful pale yellow.

The smell wafts up, hitting me in the face. A puckering sour full of bright fruits, white grapes, muscadines, and a light barn-like flavor.

Taste is reserved and elegant. This beer knows what it's doing. The wine-like brightness and light sour blend in an amazing combination. A metallic bite on the end that has an earthiness to it, this beer is a gentle giant, a soft-spoken hulking behemoth.

Clearly this beer is over my head. I'm not sure I can pick out all the flavors, and I'm not entirely certain I ever could, no matter how much I had. I said a prayer silently thanking God and Vinnie for this thing of beauty. It's unfortunate, not sure other sours will ever be able to measure up.

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Photo of rye726
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Rich straw color with a silky off-white head. Excellent lacing.

The nose has a bouquet of tart fruits, sweet candy malts, white wine, oak and musty barnyard funk.

Taste is a complex yet perfectly balanced collection of sour citrus, fruity malts, manure, horseblanket, french oak barrels and chardonnay.

Crisp, delicate body matches the style perfectly. This is some delicious stuff. I wish I had a 750.

Edit 8/09: Now that they distribute to Colorado, I do have a 750, and it's just as good as I remember.

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

A: Clear golden body with a thin creamy white head.
S: White grapes, sour apple, champagne, and a small amount of sweet malts.
T: Haven't had a blonde sour before, just the darker stuff. Keeps a lot of the champagne, chardonnay and sour apple in the flavor, with some apple core bitterness at the end.
M: High carbonation, and fairly heavy body.
D: Didn't end up finishing mine, but mainly because I had just come from a day of wine tasting. But one of the more drinkable of the sours that I've had, probably because it starts from a blonde ale.

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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 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 ottovon
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

batch: 05X2E poured into my russian river belgian glass. shared with whiterascal.

A: pours out a clear, golden straw color with a thin white head. lots of carbonation running up the glass.

S: i get hints of the chardonnay wine and oak. has some acidity in the nose as well as some fruitiness (mango and hints of lemon). there is some bretty funk/musk as well leading to a nice earthy aroma.

T: i get a lot of chardonnay. it almost tastes as if i am drinking a chardonnay. it has a nice grade flavor with hints of lemon. you get a little bit of the oak in the flavor along with a nice earthiness and some acid.

M: it is light and carbonated. a very smooth beer at the same time.

D: i could literally drink this all night long.

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Photo of lochraneg
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L: pours light with a noteworthy pale head approx 1-3" thick depending on your pour
S: yeast, citrus, sour
F: light and airy, subtle wine flavor
T: sour, very sour, but great, Chardonnay is not very present
O: another impressive beer from Russian River

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Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
4.42 out of 5 based on 3,642 ratings.
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