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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 jwc215
4.05/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to mfielden for this one!

12.70 oz. cork-caged bottle, poured into a tulip glass:

Opens with a loud "pop":

Pours golden with a large foamy white head that lasts, leaving foamy patches and broken rings of lacing.

The smell is sour/funky with yeasty breadiness and lemongrass.

The taste is sour and lemony - puckering. It has a vanilla/oak backing. Chardonnay comes through. Very wild/funky...barnyardy/musty. White wine character comes through as well. Finishes very dry.

Medium-bodied with carbonation giving an airy lightness.

A nice, well-done sipper. A power-house in the tart department. Very lemony and acidic, so as well-done as it is, it is a sipper - Try pairing with fish.

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Photo of warmstorage
4.05/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired in a great trade with urwatuh8. Thanks!

375ml bottle, states "Batch 003" but no other dating.

Appearance: pours a hazy bright golden orange. Light white head, moderately dense, dissipates rapidly, leaves lots of small lacing dots.

Aroma: sour and tangy, hints of citrus fruits, mostly lemon and maybe tart oranges.

Taste: sour sour sour! Lemon, very light hints of tangerine maybe. But the sourness is definitely the player here. The Brett comes through, though if I get another bottle at at some point, I'd like to see what it would be like in a year or two.

Mouth: Light and tingly, the Brett and sourness makes it slightly sharp. Limited to no alcohol warmth evident. Dry.

Overall: Very tasty, very drinkable beer, especially for the style, though I have to agree with others that it's a little one-dimensional. I'd buy it, but I'm not sure I'd pay the $13 it commands.

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Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.05/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

375ml bottle 7,5% Abv.
Served lightly chilled in an over sized wine glass.
Batch 006

This will be my first American Wild Ale, I cannot wait to see how they compare to my beloved Belgian Lambics! Thanks to futura123 for hooking me up!

Appearance: Temptation has a lightly hazed, golden-yellow body, topped by a good sized white head that displays good retention and leaves some patchy lace.

Smell: Tart fruits dominate the nose with lemons, white grapes and green apples. White wine is easily identifiable as is oak and musty brett. As the beer warms light spices (white pepper) and sweeter fruits (cooked apples and hints of sweet melon and orange) become apparent, as does the faintest floral/leafy note.

Taste: As with the nose, the taste is dominated by tart fruits (white grapes, lemons and green apples), musty brett and white wine (more prominent than in the nose and easily identified as Chardonnay). Oak, light spicing and a touch of sweetness are also noted. As the beer approaches room temperature the Chardonnay character increases dramatically. Perfect Abv. cover, this may as well be 5%.

Mouthfeel: This is the one department in which I think Temptation stands up to its lambic cousins! Medium bodied with stunningly smooth, expansive carbonation. I could literally gulp this down - pity this is not a 750ml bottle!
Nice acidic bite, but far from enough to pucker the mouth. The finish is quite wine like with a refined dryness.

Overall: Temptation is a solid sour with stunning white wine character, however I feel it lacks the power and depth of a true lambic (particularly in the nose). That said, I think it is for that very reason that it scores so well on BA!

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Photo of PatronWizard
4.05/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

So I'm learning to appreciate the sour side. I had this on tap once at Stone, but, uh, don't remember too much from that day except it was a great day of beer hopping with friends.

Pours a semi-opaque sunshine hue of gold. Lots of action here. Head is big bubbled, frothy, and pops a lot. Had a crappy pour because the cork shot out at Mach2 and the beer welled up and gushed forth.

Smell is mouth wateringly sour. You know exactly what you're in for.

Taste is sour. Surprise. Sour oranges mostly. I remember liking this at Stone now! The sourness isn't overbearing like some others of the style. Pleasant. Like 'sour lite.'

Mouthfeel is a little harsh, but not rude. Probably the most drinkable sour I've had, as the style in general is masochistic.

Overall: good awa

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Photo of musicforairports
4.04/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 6.

Straw-colored and pretty clear. Small head. Kind of bubbly.

Smell is mostly barnyard aromas, some light sour notes and some green apples. I love the funk on this.

Smooth flavors, really. Light acidity underpins flavors of funk, white wine, green apple. Finishes dry and vinegar-y sour.

Light mouthfeel. Not very carbonated. Goes down like water.

This is a great, if underwhelming, sour. It doesn't smack you in the face, and I'd peg the ABV way lower than it is. But it's still a complex and well-made beer.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.04/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up by BA RedwoodGeorge for the trade with me, this beer came in an oddly sized (375 ml) corked brown bottle, with a wire cage to finish the package. The cork came out resoundingly, and the beer started forming head in the bottle before pouring! The vigorous carbonation action continued unabated in the oversized wine glass, and the head that formed kept building up over the first few minutes rather than dissipating, and at the end of this spectacle, the head crowned an inch above the rim of the glass in the shape of a volcano.

The body underlying Mount Temptation was pale, cloudy, and very bubbly. The aroma was soured unripe cherries and fresh cut hay. There was also a little more alcohol in the nose than I was expecting. The taste was oh so dry and tart. Not quite as mouth-puckeringly acidic as a gueze lambic, this beer still had a similar taste of a lemon-lime juice mixed with wheat ale. There was also a peppery zing followed by a tannic woody flavor, and a hint of sweetness. Unlike a true lambic, there was no horse blanket funk here.

The finish was smooth and vanilla-creamy, and the aforementioned sweetness a little more noticeable in the aftertaste. This beer exhibited a very complex flavor profile, and yet remained quite drinkable and refreshing.

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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 Chriscrundwell12
4.03/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 350 ml bottle into a snifter

A- 3 ½ finger frothy head, excellent carbonation very attractive hazy golden straw appearance
S- Funky sour notes, lemon, white grapes, hints of malt,
T- Smooth funky sour taste upfront, sour grapes, lemon juice, reminds me of white wine, very refreshing.
M- Very light on the palate, carbonation is evident, medium tart mouth feel.
O- Very nice, easy drinkability, love the grape notes and characteristics of white wine. Sourness is there but not too much that its overpowering, very complex.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.03/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 375ml bottle stamped as "batch 001".

I bought this in CA a few weeks ago, opened for New Years Eve. The bottle says "Blond ale aged in oak barrels." The bottle goes on to say the oak barrels are Chardonay barrels.

After trying the Supplication last night, I was prepared for this one to taste like a sour beer. It did. Strange for a beer, but a reasonable alternative for a sparkling white wine.

I liked this better than Supplication, maybe because I expected the sour taste this time. But probably I won't have it again.

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

Pours a somewhat hazy golden colored beer. Not much head formation but that could easily be because of the care I took pouring this beer to make sure to not get any sediment in the glass.

Smell wine like with lemon and fruity scents much like a Chardonnay. There is a strong whiskey aroma to this. Vanilla and caramel from the oak barrels used most likely. Fairly sweet smell after your nose adapts a bit, but I can't say that it has a malty smell. Fairly spicy scent mostly black pepper.

Taste is fairly sour at the beginning but nowhere near lambic funk. The sweet and sour yin and yang here is somewhat like a Flanders Red. After three sips your taste buds adapt and the other flavors come out. Lime and oak mix with the caramel and vanilla flavors that comes out as some new wacky Mojito variant in your mouth.

Mouthfeel is good.

I have a hard time here deciding if I really like this or not. I hate sour beers as a rule but this isn't a jaw locking Lambic. Really interesting vanilla and caramel here that makes me think of a bourbon barrel beer. I guess I have to say that this isn't my first choice of the Russian River Beers.

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Photo of HosP
4.02/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 05X2F. Big thanks to marisatheyounger for this. Shared with the wife a couple others who never had a sour beer.

A- Pours translucent yellow. Lots of active carbonation bubbles. Nice white caps the beer.

S- Nose full of tangy citrusy aromas. Some chardonnay hints come through. The "brett" funk still makes you wonder what your about to taste.

T- Tart flavoring throughout. Get some sour apple, lemon taste, maybe a little cherry. Not as much vinegar taste as some other sours I've had, which I liked. Drinks kind of dry like a chardonnay. Still the flavors are good with the sourness along with some sweetness towards the end.

M- Not quite a medium body. Lots of carbonation in this. A little dry in the feel of it.

D- These sour beers still amaze me. At first I feel as if it's not what I would like, but as I make my way through the beer it grows on you. Lots of flavors keep you trying to discover what exactly your drinking. Not something I would drink every night, but enjoy with friends for sure.

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Photo of phisig137
4.02/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Undated corked and caged 375 pours a fairly hazy light gold straw color. Looks almost like a wit. One finger head rises and falls quickly, leaving only a ring around the top of the glass.

Aroma is very refreshing. Light fruits, sour apples, over ripe pears, sugar, brett, alcohol, and a touch of wheat. Fairly mild overall.

Flavor is superb. Very mild and restrained brett character, giving only a touch of sourness and funk. Smooth almost wheat beer like flavor, with light fruity yeast esters. All wrapped up in a warm blanket of smooth vanilla flavors. Delicious. Superb as it gets warmer. Mouthfeel is moderate and well carbonated. Drinkability is great.

This is one of the more "approachable" wild ales for beginers I feel. Despite that, it is a great treat for any wild ale lover. Fantastic and well rounded in every way.

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Photo of Sheppard
4.02/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours golden and has a terrific lambic-like aroma. That funky cheesy aroma that those Belgians get out of their spontaneously fermented beers. That lambic character definitely is present a little bit in Temptation, with some funky met with sweet red bell pepper, then a touch of celery on the finish. The finish is a little off putting to be honest. It's a really well made and complex beer, but it misses the mark a little for me.

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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 oline73
4.01/5  rDev -9.1%
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 Duff27
4.01/5  rDev -9.1%
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 GnomeKing
4.01/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

My first 5 for appearance, and it's well deserved. The head was ample and fluffy. The lacing as intricate as a snowflake. The body a rich gold, slightly cloudy.

The mouthfeel was chewy and soft, which wasn't surprising judging by the fluffy head.

I could smell a strong alcohol taste before I took my sip. The taste was balanced between tart and sweet at first, and then seesawed mostly toward tartness as I finished. There were some hints of fruits and malt to add just a tinge of complexity. I think that the strength of the tartness diminished the drinkability a bit, but if there had been another waiting in my fridge when I was done, I still would have put it out of its misery.

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Photo of meeekyh
4.01/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Before I even get to writing anything else or noticing the color or head, straight away I get bubblegum smells wafting off of the glass.

I choose my St Bernardus chalice and pour from the 750 marked as batch 004X1. Head is white and ale is light golden and clear. Dissipation of head and lacing are both quick and tiny.

Bubblegum wafts into oblivion and what remains smells salty and spicy and fruity and carnal. I am impressed with the complexity and the depth. I find the sea itself is presented in this beer; maybe the oak is the culprit here.
Taste is tart and bright with chardonnay complexities and a smooth balance.

Feel is light and carbonation is full while the finish is neither dry nor sweet, but neutral and balanced.

I have been holding this beer for rather awhile (6 mo maybe) for me and I am glad I got into it when I did. It is more drinkable than I imagined but mot worth the $23 price tag. I have had many beers that were more enjoyable for substantially fewer dollars.

I would say get some if you need a change of pace and have money to burn. It resembles a Flanders ale and is quite good if you like the style.


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

batch 05X1P
was served in bottle,
i don't understand why BA does not allow multiple entry of the same beer. i had to change the serving type to can to accommodate their inconvenience.

A: clear golden, a thin and lingering foam
S: lemon, wheaty
T: starts out like a watered-down lemon juice (in a good way), finishes very quickly with some green apple. lingering muted bitterness of citrus fruit, like lemon peel. this whole experience is a very quick one.
M: dry. with silky/smooth touch on the palate.
O: it's a good beer. i think this is refreshing beer, especially for hot summer day

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Photo of camil1mj
4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared at the Kuhnhenn Winter Solstice.

A: Golden yellow. White foamy head. Good lacing present.

S: Sour apple vinegar notes.

T: Well balanced sour. Not too tart and not overly sour.

M: Redreshing and effervescent. Well carbonated.

O: Great sour. I would recommend this as an entryway sour for folks trying to get into the style.

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Photo of jjh19
4/5  rDev -9.3%
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 gigaknight
4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- The cork lets loose with a convincing *POP*, and the beer pours a very evidently bubbly gold ale. A pleasantly filmy 1/2 finger head lingers atop the bright and lively body.

S- You can smell this one from a foot away, cheek puckering tartness of a lemony persuasion met with some dank wet wood. This is definitely an acquired taste, as the nose is almost unpleasing if taken out of context. If you're a fan of the style, however, it's divine.

T- Soft citrus and a bit of hop roll across the palate before the tartness crescendos into full on sour. Oak flavors give some great texture to the finished product, smoothing out the rough edges of such a bold yeast strain. The chardonnay comes through a bit less than I had expected, probably because it gets overwhelmed by the acidity of the sour. There's hardly any detectable alcohol.

M- Dry and tart, this is a very refreshing beer. It's quite bubbly, of course, and it wouldn't have worked were it any thicker. The sour kick never gets old, and doesn't wear on the palate much. The aftertaste rolls through lightly with a nice blend of mild hop bitterness and resonant acidity.

O- Though American wild ales aren't my sour of choice, the four that I've had from Russian River's series have been greatly enjoyable and a refreshing change of pace.

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Photo of zrab11
4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a cloudy gold color with a thin light off white foam head

S- smell is of dry fruit and oak. also has some floral and grassy aroma

T- Has a nice sourness up front followed by a nice fruityness and some lemon. Ends with a dry feel just like a wine

M-Medium bodied with great carbonation

O-Overall i didn't feel like i was drinking a beer. it felt like i was enjoying a nice glass of wine. I liked this very much and enjoyed drinking it but don't think ill seek it out for myself again. Maybe for my wife! Def. worth a try but hard to call a beer.

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

Drinking this in a motel room on a road-trip west. Batch 05X2E, whatever that means (RR batch finder was down last time I checked).

Pours clear pale yellow, champagne-like, with an eruptive dense foamy white head. Massive head, so much that I have to give it time to die down. Color is clean and sparkling, and really makes me want to drink it.

Smell is crisp and clean and sweet, but pungently sour at the same time. Smells absolutely delightful, as each sniff brings aromas in slightly different waves. Tart, clean, and dry. Yum. Edit: after tasting it, I can go back and find a bit of white wine grapes, but barely.

Flavor doesn't wow me as much. It's heavy on the chardonnay, with way more white grape than I picked up in the smell, and with a slightly biting dryness (the same thing that makes me pucker when I drink chardonnay). White grapes and oak, overpowering all of the subtle sour-sweet that was so dominant in the smell. I feel like I'm drinking a beerish white whine, rather than a beer.

Mouthfeel is delightful, and fits the beer really well. Like the appearance, it reminds me of champagne, with a huge burst of bubbles that fills the mouth and carries the flavors to every corner. Finish is very dry and slightly acidic.

On balance, this is a good beer. It's just unfortunate that the flavor is my least favorite part. It's dominated by the barrel in the same way that many rough bourbon-barrel-aged beers are. I want more beer, or more sour, and less chardonnay.

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Photo of alf212
4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just bought my first four RR sours and this is the first I am reviewing

Appearance: Nearly looks like liquid gold. A very shiny yellow. Completely clear. Not much head at all

Smell: Sour funkiness with grape/wine notes and a very saison like horse blanket smell. Smell is very strong, noticeable as soon as you pop open the cork. Wish it had a little more complexity as the sourness is a little too strong.

Taste: Wow can you tell that this was aged in chardonnay barrels. Very winey feel. Very sour funkiness with some oak character as well but very mellow. Apple and pear like fruits showing up the most

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation but I found something rather wierd about the mouthfeel. At lower temperatures it seemed fluffy. Not chewy as you find in a lot of good beers, but fluffy. Nearly chewy but not completely there or something like that.

As my first RR I must say it's a solid beer, great beer, but I don't know if it matches the hype. Would always be glad to be drinking this beer anytime of the day anytime of the year but wouldn't HAVE to be drinking it unlike some of my more favorites. Wow it sounded like im shitting on this beer. ITS GOOD just not amazing. ok im done ranting.

Definitely recommend not having this beer too cold. Definitely better imo at lower temps.

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