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: 3,602
Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
4.76/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Forgot about this old review in my email. Here it is:

Reviewed the morning (yes, morning, couldn't resist this one) 24 October 2010, batch 004x3, 750ml, poured into 2 standard snifters with a friend. Temperature is about 50 degrees F. The first pour had a 2-finger head with fantastic retention and lacing, and the second pour had a one-finger head, decent head retention and about the same lacing. The color is a slightly cloudy perfect golden-blonde color much like the color of any standard Belgian tripel beer. The aroma actually smells like a tripel that has been soured, and is loaded with oak. Although the bottle says it was aged in chardonnay barrels, I am not an expert in wine. There is certainly an aroma and taste of white wine. The sourness is perfectly balanced.

The bottle specifically says not to pour the yeast sediment, but I cannot allow myself to review a beer until the bottle is finished, and I won't deduct points for character that the yeast will add....but I have to explore and try it. The added yeast does not change the aroma, but seems to dim the sourness and add a yeast character. Very interesting flavor. Different, yet equally good -- give it a try sometime!

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Photo of SolsticeDreamer
4.76/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch #3, Poured into a tulip glass; a lovely yellowish blonde ale with a off white head that lingers.

The aroma is sour and strong. Floral/Fruit aroma but serous funky! Pretty hard core.

Just so you know I hate chardonnay, but this one had an amazing balance of the chardonnay characters, fruit and fine woody taste; and Brett-yeast sourness. Amazing how this one won me over.

Vinegary flavor with a touch of sweetness that will keep one puckering!

Very drinkability, I pulled this out for a special event for special people. This beer is a perfect end to a perfect event.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.76/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A-Pours an illuminated toasted straw color. Body is quite hazy. Puffy bleached head sits atop the body. Looks nearly perfect. Long, attention-grabbing lacing stains hug the glass and dry up.

S-The aroma is Brett at its best. Funky, tart and earthen. Pretty floral notes play quite nicely with the barrel notes. Woody, infected Chardonnay with a light, crisp malty underbelly. Fresh, juicy apples, pears and stone fruits. The buzzing funk encompasses all of the other aromatic components.

T-The flavor is blatantly exquisite. The funky, barny, yeasty tartness rushes over the palate. The sips following the first deliver all the notes from the nose but with much more robustness. Warmth is friendly to this ale. The honeysuckle and dandelion stem flavors add depth. The oak is sneaky but noticeable after a few sips... I may even be getting some oak-imparted vanilla flavors. Tart fruits of course.

M-Perfect body; relatively light and highly carbonated. The first sip seemingly explodes all over my mouth; the bubbles roll over every inch.

O/D-Another royal brew by Russian River. Too complex to ever fully describe. Too drinkable to ever fully feel satisfied. A glass of this at the brewpub was truly inspiring.

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Photo of tburus
4.76/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Perfect pop of the cork upon opening. Beautiful pale gold opaque liquid with a two finger head. Fairly rapid carbonation climbing through the beer. Lace remains solid throughout the session.

Smell: Smell of apple cider and faint citrus/hoppiness.

Taste: Wow! Incredibly strong and sharp taste of apple. As it wears off a hint of bourbon/liquor flavor hits the front of my tongue. The smell did not prepare me for how intense the apple flavor was going to be!

Mouthfeel: Wonderful flavor profile leftover. Faint cider taste, no bitterness or booziness or carbonation. Amazingly smooth.

Drinkability: I tried not to drink this one too fast because I'm sure it's the last one I'll have for awhile, but I probably could have put down a whole case of them if available. Delicious beer and absolutely no let down from the expectations I had. Simply outstanding!

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Photo of philbe311
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 05X1F

A - A full three fingers worth of pure white head that is tightly packed and whimsical... Very solid retention gives way to a slightly creamy froth of lacing... The color is a pale yet sleek golden yellow... There are an array of mixed sized moderate paced bubbles within...

S - The aroma is dominated by charming white wine and oak notes... White grapes... Golden raisins... Apples... Pears... Some yeasty notes... Just a very subtle muskiness... Complex, rich, and rewarding...

T - Woody and oak notes are the first to touch the palette... The white wine notes are undeniable... Apple... Pear... White grapes... Golden raisins... Just the slight tart notes on the back of the tongue... Just a touch of funkiness...

M - Regal and sophisticated... Very limited carbonation yet effervescent... Slightly lush to start... Slightly dry to finish... Sleek and smooth throughout...

D - This is the first Russian River "tion" that has liven up to the hype... Complexities galore... Sophistication galore... I could drink this endlessly... Wonderful concept... Excellent execution... A must try for all BAs, just to see what the upper limits of brewing really are...

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle (batch 1 drank in 2006): Poured a hazy/cloudy dirty yellow color ale with rather large white bubbly head with medium retention. Nose of farmhouse, chardonnay with a sourness resembling lambic. Taste is totally incredible with huge amount of farmhouse (there is probably a better word for this but it is the only I can think of right now), sour notes resembling a lambic and Brett, which is reminiscent of Orval. The Chardonnay barrel effect is maybe a bit too accentuated but still very interesting. Also, it might be a bit too acidic for my liking but it is still very much enjoyable. A more balance level of acid and this would have been a perfect score. Now, I just need to get my hand on some more of this.

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Photo of YonderWanderer
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 002, courtesy of UncleJedi as part of BIF Race 2008.

Wow, this one was a gusher. I opened it, and all seemed well, and then it was like a volcano erupting on my desk. I did my best to contain it as well as possible, but there was some loss sadly. This pours a hazy light orange color with a finger of sticky foam on top.

Aroma is sour and tart, with hints of cherry, oak, vinegar, and a bit of wine. Flavor is rich and fantastic. I don't even know that I can describe it. It's sweet, tart, nicely sour, and delicious. Hints of oak and wine abound, with some nice cherry and fruit flavors as well. Alcohol is completely hidden. Amazingly well brewed. Mouthfeel is smooth, with a crisp dry finish that has some staying power.

This is an outstanding brew from Russian River. This beer deserves the hype it gets as it is utterly outstanding.

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Photo of Shaggy9356
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Temptation, Batch 002 - Been saving this for my birthday for about 6 months. Have high expectations for this little 375 ml corked beauty.

Pour: A quick fading champagnish head gives way to a gorgeous hazy golden orange body. Whisps of foam cling to the sides glass, some yeast percolates to the bottom.

Smell: Nose is one of apricots and sour grapes, with hints of the bret lurking in the background.

Taste: Definitelty no let down here! Crisp pineapple and orange citrus flavors explode upon the taste buds. Carbonation is exactly where it should be. Oak and chardonnay creep through and are met nicely with the bret which is does not dominate but provides enormous complexity to this beer. There is no barnyard funkiness here, rather the balance here is absolutely amazing. Everything is controlled yet I marvel at the depth of this brew.

Finish: This may be my ownly quip with this beer is that it leaves a sour funkiness in the mouth. Not a real clean finish here. Would need to rinse before swithing to a different brand as the taste lingers for a while

Vinny is true master of brewing and his creations have not disappointed. Temptation is a must for wild ale lovers and connoisseurs of craft beer.

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a Kriek Bel-Vue tulip. Thanks Prospero!

Appearance- Poured golden clear until the yeast made its way into the glass and then a lovely hazy golden color presided. One finger white foamy head that lasted a short while leaving beautiful lacing.

Smell- Buttery, oaky flavors- oak aged (chardoney). Subdued vinegar with tart grape. Sweet vanilla.

Taste- Earthy. oakiness mixed with soft vanilla and mild white grape flavors. Not as tart as other Russian River sours, but well balanced through the mild sweetness. Musty flavors finish the taste.

Mouthfeel- Lots of little bubbles bursting all around my mouth. Carbonated and smooth.

Overall- This is another great beer from Russian River. If you want a sour that won't make you whole face change, then this is it.

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thank you Paul for this glorious wedding gift. I enjoyed it with Natalie and Alana. Thanks man!

a: Cloudy blonde body with a huge fluffy white head. Superb lacing, diehard head retention.

s: Sweet, sour and full of complexity. Notes of blanc de blanc champagne, lemon and grass.

t: Light malt, mildly funky brett sourness, and the spicy yeastiness you find in a. Like the nose, the flavor is very similar ro champagne. I think the lighter malt, soft brett and barrel aging lead to this champagne flavor. In any case, I LOVE IT. Excellent and unique take on the style.

m: Prickly carbonation provides a barrier between the beers body and your tongue. Again, think champagne.

d: Loving this beer. Could be the best sour I have had, but with bottles of supplication and saison with george brett in the fridge, I had better reserve my judgment. The ideal beer for introducing non-beerdrinking wine lovers to. I think any champagne enthusiast would have to appreciate this beer. I could drink it all night long, in fact, I partially regret sharing with my wife and dear friend. Maybe I am a Jack-Ass. maybe it's just that good.

Once again, thanks Paul.

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Photo of ckeegan04
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to crosling for the chance to try this one.

Batch #003

A - Golden orange with a huge foamy white cap. Excellent retention and huge, chunky lacing on the glass.

S - Very saison like in the aroma. Hints of barnyward and lots of sour fruits. CHerries are the dominant. A little lemon zest mixed in as well. Excellent aroma.

T - Sour and acidic up front. Some lemon and a faint grassiness. Sour apples as well. An excellent array of sour fruit flavors. A light spiciness as well that melds well with the sour fruits.

M/D - Crisp, clean and refreshing. Medium bodied with a velvety smooth feel. Excellent carbonation and ridiculously easy drinking.

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Photo of colts9016
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I bought this beer six months ago. I've been waiting to try it for my 600th review! I hope this beer isn't flat due to the bad publicity r&r has gotten. A sigh of relief, the beautiful pop of a cork. Poured into a tulip glass at 46 degrees.

The Appearance: A two finger foamy, creamy, bubbly white head. The head has moderate to great retention. The head leaves beautiful lacing on the glass. The color of the beer is a medium straw color with golden orange hues. The clarity of the beer is hazy. There is a lot of carbonation bubbles in the beer.

Nose:AH, (the Brett) a very pungent, bright aroma.The rich flavors of chardonnay, oak, orange, barnyard, lemon, butter, grapefruit, moldy straw, toasty, vanilla, morning dew, yeasty with a subtle sugary sweetness at the end.

Taste: The Brett and the chardonnay are the initial flavor on the first sip. The flavors are morning dew, moldy hay, and some light barnyard notes. The chardonnay has notes of butter, vanilla, oak, lemon, grass, and a subtle sweetness. Other flavors in the beer is orange, grapefruit, floral, a sour note, and yeast. The malt is slightly toasty.

The mouth feel of the beer is carbonated, subtle sourness, and clean.

Overall: The body of the beer is medium and the finish is medium full. I am so surprised by this beer and how it taste. The Brett isn't overpowering, but plays equals roles in beer. I am just wowed by how amazing the flavors are, crisp, and very easy to drink. I am very glad that this was my 600th review.

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Photo of 0110x011
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours a clear straw yellow into a snifter. Fluffy two finger head leaves sticky lacing all over. Citrus & earth on the nose, with the vanilla oakiness pushing through. Super complex on the tongue. The sourness is more on the lemony side, with green grape & melon. The oakiness comes as it warms, with a greater vanilla & earthy presence. The Chardonnay barrels are duly noted, adding a tannic pucker along with the lemon sour. Dry & crisp, a great summer sipper. There's a very good reason these Russian River sours are so sought after! They're delicious!

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Photo of kaseydad
4.77/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery. Brought to the table with a small white foamy head sitting on top of a straw golden colored ale. Major lacing for lacing fans. The aroma is amazing! Floral (major rose), banana, pear, bubble gum and funk. A lot going on and it's all good! The taste has a sour barnyard funk with a spicy kick on the swallow. Not as sour as I thought it would be which makes it even more enjoyable. Awesome stuff. Nicely carbonated and a high drinkability though the sourness makes this a sipper. Overall I was very impressed with this drink. It has all the necessary characteristics needed for an unforgettable sour ale.

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Photo of Mudpuppet
4.78/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to JeffKenner for the chance to try this.

A- Poured into a snifter from a 375ml corked and caged bottle noting it is from Batch #002. Pours a bright orange-yellow with a nice white pillowy head. Carbonation bubbles are rising up the beer as it sits. Beautiful beer.

S- This has a nice sour nose but not pungently sour. Some definite funk but not barnyardy. Citrus notes like lemon and orange with a slight grapey nose.

T- I got a hit of the chard grape in the beginning followed by some sour pedio and lacto notes. The finish get a drier and a bit more sour. You get the chard barrel leftovers in this beer very nicely. It isn't overpowering but just right. I get some Brett funk throughout this beer but at no point does it overwhelm the more subtle flavors. This is a great beer. I would like to try this without the wine notes too.

M- This is a really nice beer in the mouth. The carbonation makes it seem almost creamy when you are drinking it. I can see why they had to recork the bottles b/c this is about max carbonation I would want in a beer. It fits the style perfectly though.

D- This is another stellar offering from Russian River. I cannot wait to try more of their beers in the coming years. I could drink this beer all night.

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Photo of TheEremite
4.78/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 03

I can't get enough of this beer. This is by far the best beer I've had yet this year. There's some yeast in the bottle, so pour gently. A good pour leaves a brilliant crystal clear straw yellow beer with lively bubbles that lift to the top of the glass creating a rocky white foamy head. The acidity is not overpowering and it plays nicely with the high carbonation and apple, citrus and wine aromas and flavors. To me, this beer defines craft brewing.

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Photo of TheodorHerzl
4.79/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received from my boy AndySR in trade. Thank you!

Temptation pours a hazy yellow with two fingers of head in my tulip glass, and it left patchy lacing on the glass. The earthiness of the Brett comes out full force with a funky sourness with hints of lemons, apples, oranges, chardonnay. The flavor profile starts out slightly sour with flavors that remind me of granny smith apples, lemons, and unripe cherries. I also get a good dose of chardonnay flavor from the barrel aging. This is so pleasant and the flavors meld very well in the profile. I was still finding new things as I drank the last drop of this beer. The ever changing fruitiness on this beer is my favorite aspect of this beer. There is a great deal of expected carbonation in this beer that leaves a dry sensation on the mouth that is actually quite smooth. The drinkablity for this beer is amazing and I hope I can get some more of this beer.

Overall this was an incredible drinking experience. I know it is beer, but right now is has a great deal of wine characteristics to it. I would really like to get my hands on more and age it for a year or two because I think this beer would only get better. I honestly hope though that it doesn't get any better because I would do dirty and despicable things to get more of this beer.

Thank you Andy!

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Photo of Chizoad
4.79/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really glad to try this one from a bottle. It's definitely better than on tap. It might be my favorite beer.

Nice looking in the glass, with a pale golden tint and slight haze, depending on which pour. Yeastier down at the bottom of the bottle. Crisp head that faded to good lacing and a film.

Stupendous aroma of top flight white wine. Excellent tartness in there.

Depth of flavor that surpasses all but the best of the best. A very unique wine-like taste that begins sour but mellows into a complexity that I wish white wine had. I would substitute this for white wine with a meal every time.

Surprisingly great mouthfeel. Good carbonation, and the sourness never builds. Very drinkable and refreshing.

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Photo of pkalix
4.79/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

golden yellow, some sediment sustained in the liquid as if it were jello(?)... nice covering of the thin layer-foam when tilting the glass . . . .
smell is Belgian yeast rich, fruity. green apples? but you certainly know where you're going with the nose on this one....
slightly tart up front, slightly acidic and vinegar-y in the middle, and wine-y grape-y towards the end. not a wine, but not (quite) a beer either(?). a majestic 'fermentation', shall we say?
some sweetness somewhere in the middle of all this. I completely understand the incredibly high scores for this brew. I love this. I like sours, but this isn't totally 'there'. it's definitely a unique brew which Russian River just seems to be so capable of producing. now there IS a certain residual 'property' which lingers on the sides of the tongue as it builds up with continued draws... i'm not sure how to classify it, but it IS a 'residual' of some sort. not quite 'chemical'. not completely 'organic'. and not always present. this is certainly one of the great brews to have tasted... I completely bow down to Russian River for the successes... very rich, very pronounced properties. a little more difficult to acquire down here in orange county, and definitely one you need to grab if you ever find it on the shelf. IF you're open to a slightly sour brew... rescued the day!! compared to that Alaska mikkeller, this is heaven!!!!

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Photo of rwf08
4.8/5  rDev +8.8%
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 +8.8%
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 +8.8%
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 +8.8%
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 +8.8%
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 +8.8%
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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Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
4.41 out of 5 based on 3,602 ratings.
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