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Temptation | Russian River Brewing Company

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1,024 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: 1,024 | Ratings: 3,618
Photo of claspada
3.85/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 05x1E, brewed 10/16/2009, bottled 7/6/2010 using Abbey Ale Yeast as the Primary yeast and Rockpile and Brettanomyces yeast at conditioning (all according to Russian River's Bottle Log tool on their website, I wish every brewer did this!)

Aromas are initially subtle with ripe golden fruits and the Chardonnay oakiness that was imparted by 12 month's contact with the barrels. As it warms you get a little Barnyard funkiness which is typical of the style. Sweet and sour seem to be in balance so far.

The tastes begin with wow, sourness in your face, did not see that much sourness coming (not noticeable in the aroma). Nice dry notes of oak and white vinous flavors. Lots of Brettanomyces puckery tang through and through. As it warms you get a little more of the fruitiness with apple and unripened stone fruit (plum and nectarine). You get a little grassiness and earth but it's in the background compared to the tart flavors.

The mouthfeel is super spot on with adequate carbonation. Finished spectacularly dry finish from the yeast and oak aging. Quite impressive. I am relatively new to enjoying/appreciating a good sour but I definitely know this is a winner.

Overall, yum... perfect for a hot summer day or just a warm spring day. I wouldn't enjoy this as much in the dead of winter so I am glad I was able to sample in the proper environment. Recommended for any sour lover; this brewery clearly knows how to make and barrel-age a great sour 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 mithrascruor
3.85/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375 mL bottle, poured into a chalice. Batch #006.

Appearance: Pours a nice golden color with a bit of haze/particles. Minimal white head dissipates in seconds to a small film.

Smell: Very mild sour/tart aroma, with a hint of sugar.

Taste: Fairly crisp tart flavor, with some oranges. Mild tart/sour aftertaste with a hint of chardonnay.

Mouthfeel: Smooth with a pleasant moderate carbonation. Medium-bodied.

Drinkability: Moderate ABV for this style, good to drink.

I'm not a big fan of chardonnay, so I was a bit leery, but everything works well here. Not a whole lot going on in the flavor, but it is nice and fairly refreshing.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.85/5  rDev -12.9%
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 OompaMentor
3.86/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Another decent sour by Russian River; sadly as hard as I try- the sours just don't settle well with me. Golden hazy color with tart lemon taste and balanced hops. Had this at GABF 2014.

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Photo of mentor
3.86/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch #003. Pours a finger of pure white head of fine bubbles that clings. Liquid is dark golden with brownish tinge. Smells dark sour. Very horseblanket, cherry pits, dusty.

Tastes dry. Cherry wood, phenolic, smoke, lemons, and peaches. Puckering dry quenching with an acid bite (not quite acetic). Light to md-light body and decent carbonation. Decent drinkability.

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Photo of MadeInOregon
3.87/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first Russian River beer. Guess I'm officially a cool, beer snob now...

THE APPEARANCE of the Temptation ale (btw, 7.5% not 7.25%) was not impressive but not terrible. It's extremely effervescent with a 3/4-inch airy white foam head bubbling up to the top. It has virtually no lacing at all. Basically looks like apple cider or a heavily-filtered hefeweizen in color.

THE SMELL, wow, very pungent. I could smell this beer from several feet away after popping the cork and pouring it out. The aromas I picked up are champagne, chardonnay, green apples, apricot, and yeast.

THE TASTE is extremely vinegary. Cider vinegar is the main flavor with some mild hopping. It is a little peppery and there is a strong skunky, wild mushroom flavor also. Alcohol is hidden. The flavor is strong but it is really quite simple, and straightforward--which is kind of a shame considering the extra labor involved in creating this beer. Starting with a blonde ale was a wise choice for making this style; too much hoppyness would have made the tartness overwhelming (I once had a sour ale at Deschutes Brewery's pub that must have started with a fairly hoppy pale ale. It exemplified how NOT to make a sour ale. Might as well have drank vinegar).

THE FEEL of this odd ale is by far the high point. It's amazingly smooth, dry and sticky on the lips, with a fair amount of alcohol burn in the back of the throat. Altogether, these are odd sensations but are enjoyable and mild. Overall, this is a light beer.

CONCLUSION: This beer is not for everyone, obviously. I tend to agree with the low-end reviews for this brew more so than the high ones. Truthfully, it's mostly hype. The fancy bottle, complicated process, high price, and perceived exclusivity of Russian River's brews are great marketing but do nothing to enhance the taste of Temptation. The best thing this has going for it is that it's a great thirst quencher in the same vein as a Bavarian hefeweizen. On its own it's just a little one-sided and boring. I'd recommend treating it like wine and having it with food. On the other had, you could always just buy some wine...

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Photo of jeffjeff1
3.88/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this at Russian River Brewery as part of the sampler.

Appearance- golden color

Smell- kind of a sour smell, no too strong though

Taste- oak, citrus, kind of a sour flavor but not too strong

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- It was pretty good. It was the first sour beer for me so kind of hit me lol.

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Photo of froghop
3.88/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a semi-hazy yellow-orange with a large white fluffy head, and very good lacing.

smell is of sour malt, fruit, citrus, a little floral, and some yeast.

taste is tart, apricot, citrus fruits, orange, a little woodiness, some granny smith apple, and some sour malt.

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Photo of SkeeterBoganski
3.88/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'Batch' 072712

A - golden straw in color with noticeable carbonation and a half-inch pale-white foam head

S - Belgian yeasts and sugars; champagne; Chardonnay; grapes; green apples

T - sour grapes; Chardonnay; citrus and tarty; musty lemons; stanky funk all up in it; flowery

M - light bodied; pleasantly carbonated; sour tart; crispy

O - as a noob to sours and wilds in general, this is probably a pretty solid introduction; this beer is certainly not for everybody...and I'm not even sure the style is for me; but this is pleasant, complex, and generally pretty refreshing

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Photo of johnbjaeger
3.88/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am a believer in Russian River. I like their labels. I like their beer. I hate them for being far away and not distributing to Chicago, but that's really not fair at the end of the day.

This one pours out and looks like frothy thoroughbred horse wizz. Ultimately, that's not as bad as it sounds, but it really was the first thing I thought of.

In fact, it also smells as I'd imagine thoroughbred horse wizz might smell. Not overly sulphuric and not altogether unpleasant, but not exactly something you want to smell unless you are expecting it. I pick up a little stale wine on the nose that reminds me a lot of how my wine bottles smell when I forget to rinse them out after using them.

As for the taste, it charges through the door like a magnificent gay friend yelling, "well hey, I brought the Chardonnay!" The most interesting thing about this after the wine slaps the palate around, is how damned balanced this brew is. The citrus notes, the sour, and just the right amount of fizz. I like this. I could drink this nightly.

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Photo of BeerStine
3.88/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Batch 003. Poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Cork comes off explosively. An aggressive pour produced a ton of white fluffy head. Color is yellowish tan with champagne like heavy carbonation. The smell of apple and chardonnay are amazing. Also the malts smell of tree bark. Smells kind of like a musky white wine. The taste of wine is the first thing that went through my head. Makes my cheeks tingle upon swallowing. Taste is also similar to the smell: apples and chardonnay. Doesn't really wonder on my tongue but maybe its not supposed to? Mouthfeel is great: heavily carbonated with a lighter body. Drinkablility is good. Just like champagne, I'm not so sure that I'd want to drink more than one bottle (unless it were new years eve).

Overall, a very well crafted beer. Russian River definitely broke the mold with this one.

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Photo of codewarrior
3.88/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cork and caged 375mL Singleton (Batch 05X1E), poured into a Balloon glass

Supplication is one of my favorite beers. It is simple, long (and well) aged, and gorgeous. At $12 for a 375, it is also expensive, but worth every penny.

Temptation .. is nearly $15 for a 375, at this price-point ... I expect sheer greatness.

L: Looks like champagne. Tiniest bit of head.

S: hearty and sour, with sweet and tart notes.

T: Starts sweet, fades into tartness, hints of licorish.

F: Light and bubbly on the palate

D: Good.

A damn good beer, but for the price, I'm still disappointed. Perhaps it needs time to open up? RR recommends cellaring for up to 5 years on all of their oak-aged beers, I will try that and come back to it.

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Photo of jacobseyb
3.9/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light yellow golden color, with quarter inch white head that laces well. Some licorice on the nose along with a white grape. More grape in the taste than the aroma. Feel is very light and crisp. Drinkable in that the abv is not overpowering, though the taste is different and might take some getting used to.

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Photo of DennisD
3.9/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It poured from the bottle with a nice head. It is pale-yellow straw color. The aroma had sour and wine-like notes. Flavors included floral, lemon, maybe a touch of grass, and white wine characteristics. Smooth clean finish. Wow, what a great beer. Absolutely delicious. Very nice.

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Photo of dbalsock
3.9/5  rDev -11.8%
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 Kkottonmouthkngz
3.9/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375 of batch 05x1f.
this beer appears to mingle with the best, its got a wonderful golden hue and just looks immensely tasty sitting in front of me. the head is thin and white and doesnt last very long. it smells like a good mix of funk, lemon, and hay. despite the fact that i gave it good ratings across the board, i feel like it really went downhill from what i expected. by no means does this mean its a bad beer, because its not. i guess its just the first example of one of many hyped beers that i was just expecting more. hopefully my second bottle with a little time on it will prove me wrong. it tastes delicious initially, but the backend lets up quite a bit and im left looking for more of a finish. the carbonation is just right. i enjoy drinking it, and were it not for the pricetag id be more willing to experiment more with it. perhaps i needed to have the whole bottle to myself but alas i shared with my girlfriend.. and she seems to feel the same way. also duely noted, as this beer warms up, it shines a bit more and starts to come a little closer to true form. ill remember that for next time for a better experience.

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Photo of DrunkenMaster
3.9/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from O'Briens. Cloudy gold color with good head and nice lacing. Smells very oaky with grapes and funk. Tastes pretty good, almost like a sour white wine. The mouthfeel is very dry with some fizziness. Good carbonation with a heavy acidic finsih.

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Photo of Fugazme
3.9/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had some very high expectations... they weren't entirely met.

Pours very orange/coppery/slightly cloudy. Some big bubbles in the head. Very white. Great stickage to the glass. Looks very, very nice.

First whiff was pure chardonnay... apples, pear, oak, alcohol. Wow. Second whiff was the same, only with a slight hint of some malt... finally reminding me it was a beer.

The palate was very dry and gone quickly. This is where I got a tad dissapointed. It was very good, but was gone. Tart, tannic, and appley, but not a great finish. That's the only draw back in my opinion.

It really is hard to tell this is a beer. I would drink it again.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.91/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Russian River- Temptation (batch 002)

Big thanks to SpaceCoyote for this 1.

A- Bright hazy yellow with a big frothy head. Thick lacing down the glass.
S- Sour mix, funky wet barnyard hay, and sweet citrus.
T- Big sour grapefruit, lemon, grape, and granny smith apple. Tart cherries and grapes through the body with a sweet funky hay/ straw flavor in the end.
M- Very sour and tart with a big sweet citrus feel. Dry funky sour finish leaves a touch of alcohol in the throat.

Overall- Another funky sour/ tart beer from RR, and another tasty, unique sipper. I enjoyed.

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Photo of clvand0
3.92/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light golden color with almost no head at all and doesn't leave any lacing on the glass. The aroma gives a swift kick of sourness with a little alcohol and fruit. Sourness dominates the aroma. The flavor is much less sour than the aroma would allow you to think. Actually, there isn't a ton of flavor in this one. At the beginning there is a small bit of fruitiness and some sour notes along with a large kick of wood, but the flavor quickly disappears. The mouthfeel is moderate and the drinkability is good, but I'd like to see some more substantial flavors.

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Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
3.93/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this in an 110z. Belgian glass at the Russian River brewhouse.

Appearance: Golden yellow. Slightly unfiltered. It has little to no head that evaporates quickly.

Smell: White wine grapes. Faint balmy notes that are really overpowered by the Chardonnay barrels that the beer is aged in. Hints of bread. This beer gets better after a few initial sips as the ale notes begin to compete with the intial shock of the wine smell and taste:

Taste: This is a weird experience for me because I am not much of a wine drinker. I appreciate the idiosyncrasy of this beer and am willing to overlook its aging process. The belgian qualities of this beer become discernible if you concentrate hard enough. Banana esters develop with time in the cup.

Mouthfeel: Mediu bodied. Swishes well in the mouth. finishes well.

Drinkability: I am personally turned off by the wine taste but I do think this is a good ale. I'd reccomend it to people who like wine and would like to try a fine beer.

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Photo of Swimsum
3.95/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is an old review that was stashed away in a notebook that I just recently found. Batch 003 (375ml) thanks to ThreeWiseMen. Sampled on 10/18/10 and poured into tulip.

Pours out a murky golden color. A white head emerges and then dissipates to virtually nothing. When compared to the Consecration we just sampled, don't see as much carbonation when held to the light. Body clears up a bit in light but still cloudy.

Much different from Consecration. This is much more white wine smelling and sour. There is a bit of spice here but I'm not sure what it could be.

This is very white wine heavy in the taste. Also has much for funk/sourness to it than Consecration. This is also isn't too complex, sort of a let down when compared to the Consecration. This is a great sour but perhaps the darker ones are the ones for me.

Good carbonation here and it feels much lighter to me than Consecration. I do think the carbonation works well for this but at times it felt a bit thin. Finishes with a white wine taste that I'm not sure I'm liking.

A very good, drinkable beer, but it is much different from Consecration. While I did enjoy this, I think that the darker sours are going to be what I end up liking a lot more. This is still a great example of the American Wild style and I'd pick it up.

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Photo of s1ckboy
3.95/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Big fluffy white head, light amber body.

S - Brett funk, sour, lemon

T - Good amount of sour, some barnyard funk, a bit of sweetness, touch of lemon, some alcohol on the back end.

M - Light, and a lot of carbonation

O - Not my favorite of the -ation beers but quite nice.

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Photo of Tripphop
3.97/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 5, 375ml bottle.

Pours a hazy golden color with quick white foam. Leaves a sticky lacing in the glass. Aromas are funky and tart. A bit of wet hay and lots of grainy and herbal smells. Taste matches aromas, funky, tart, and vinous. Refreshingly crisp with a balanced sour that isnt over powering. Light acidity and vinous smooth finish that leaves a dry, citrus rind aftertaste. Overall a solid sour, but much more restrained than the other RR offerings.

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Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
4.42 out of 5 based on 3,618 ratings.
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