Temptation | Russian River Brewing Company

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1,016 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: 1,016 | Ratings: 3,588
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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Photo of Offa
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is an outstanding beer and in my opinion essentially a paradigmatic example of what a wild ale really should be like, very characterful yet restrained, complex, and exceedingly well-rounded and balanced.

Golden yellow, faintly hazy, it has a smallish but firm white head, slowly shrinking, and leaving nice lace.

Aroma is very much a wild ale, gueuze-like, strong yet not too strong, balanced and complex. It has faint sourness, strong yeastiness, light but definite funkiness in general, nice citric, acidic fruitiness.

Taste is very complex, very well-rounded and balanced, characterful and overall outstanding. The elements are firm yet gentle. Gently sour, citric, and yeasty with light juiciness, it has a light but very firm woodiness that takes over at the finish, developing into a long aftertaste predominantly characterised by fruit, mostly pear, and faintly yeasty grain.

Feel is firm but lively and light.

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

Batch 6

A - Bright gold, mostly clear, fluffy white head that retains and laces well.

S - Takes a nice vinous character from the barrel with oak and grape fruitiness, horse blanket, grass, hint of cherry, maybe even a little pine.

T - Woody barrel notes, green grape, vinous, strong yeast funk, brett earthiness, hay, sour, but not too overpowering. Long finish with lingering sourness.

M - Light side of a medium body, high carbonation, stays smooth and sour, with a bit of a pucker.

O - Splendid. Huge complexities, really opens up as it warms. Worth the price tag.

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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 BrewUSA
4.82/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Russian River Temptation

Look 10/10
Smell 19/20
Taste 39/40
Feel 9/10
Drinkability 19/20

Overall 96/100

Huge big waves of sour fruit flavors... Not being a fan of sours, it's shocking how much I enjoy this. Smooth and balanced flavors of grape, lemon, apples, butter, oak, apricot, sour cherry, vanilla, butter and just a touch of peach and grapefruit... Is tart and dry, could almost pass as a champagne. It's exceptionally complex and equally balanced... About as refreshing and delicious as a beer can be~

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

One of two bottles bought online from RR. This is batch 003. The other sent off in a trade so I am savoring this one.

It pours a peachy amber color with a fluffy, white head and it leaves amazing lacing on the glass as I drink it. This smells absolutely incredible. It has a very nice subtle sourness and an extremely inviting sweetness behind it. I could smell this all day long. The taste is predominantly of sour fruits but it is not so overpowering as to cover up the nice oakiness and light malt sweetness. This is best described as subtle but amazing. At first I had the taste as a 4.5 but it just got even better as it warmed and had to change it to a 5. The mouthfeel is great for a sour,very dry and wine like. It is extremely drinkable and the alcohol is just non existent in the taste. I wish I had bought many more of these babies. Highly recommended.

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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 mutterfudder
4.83/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap, 7/19/09 in Orange, CA.

A - Golden and effervescent, with a thick white head that stuck on the sides of the glass.

S - Golden ale with a nice, mild funk smell. The smell kind of floored me, as I was expecting something sour-bombish.

T - Oh wow. Wonderful golden ale... the fruit notes were present and somewhat muted. The sour I was expecting? More like a nice finishing tang than anything.

M - Fluffy and crisp. Loved it.

D - Easily drinkable. I put down two of them back to back. Just lovely.

This was my first experience with Russian River and Vinnie's beers. It was an eye opening experience to be sure! I would drink this daily if it were available to me. Just shy of my perfect beer, though I can't imagine anything being better in this category.

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Photo of KMcG
4.83/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this at the RRBC before a sampler flight of all their beers on Saturday 12/10. It came in a tulip glass. This review is from notes.

A: A big fluffy, frothy head of about 2 fingers. Great retention and nice glass lacing.

S: There is a strong white wine aroma with tart pears and grapes. Yeast aromas give the nose some funk. The aroma is definitely complex and I'm sure I could have spent more time discovering its intricacies.

T: Wow! As complex as the aroma, but clearly has hints of sour apple or pear and oaky white wine. The tannins give this some tartness and bite.

M: Light, well-carbonated, thirst-quenching and 7.25% ABV not so noticeable.

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Photo of riored4v
4.83/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured in to a Duvel tulip. Batch 004x4 from 2009 release I believe. 2.5 finger, frothy, egg-white like head. Beautifully clear, golden colored body. Good lacing.

Aroma had an excellent tart aroma to it. Some light musty Brett aroma. Cherries. Light notes of oak which some light acidity. Some light bready notes.

Taste was amazing. Solid tartness up front with a crisp finish that had a light lingering tartness. Mild acidity with some cherry notes. Light notes of oak. Some mellow fruity notes with a light bready flavor. Some noticeable musty, brett notes.

Mouthfeel was medium/light body, high carbonation with a super dry finish.

Overall this was an excellent beer. Wish I had more of it laying around. Amazing tartness with some great complexity behind it.

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Photo of younger35
4.83/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bought these on-line from Russian River and was generously sent to me by 0110x011. I love Russian River and I especially love these sour wild ales. Drank from my Stone India Pale Ale tulip. Batch 003.

Appearance- Pours a lowly hazy light yellowish orange with a HUGE two finger fluffy white head that evenly turns into a HUGE three finger bright white head. I didn't touch the beer either... It has a mind of its own. Maintains a one finger cap and collar for the entire duration of this treat.
Smell- Mildly funky but not to the extent of some other Russian River varieties. Light Hef like banana is present without the spice which I think would be there for it not for the barrel aging. The lightly woody vanilla is way more evident once it warms and at this point the beer really shines. Tart and sharp on the nose (tarter and sharper when cold) it's just a good all around smell.
Taste- Lightly tart and sharp this brew graciously takes on the characteristics of chardonnay without giving up its true identity of a delicious beer. The wood is way more present in this beer than in the other RR barrel aged I've tried. Light vanilla and oak are probably more predominant that the Brett; which instead of dominating the beer, turns out to play a gorgeous second fiddle. A tiny bit of green apple puckering shows toward the end with its peach/banana counterparts. The finish is über smooth and full of woody goodness. Amazing...
Mouthfeel- Really smooth and light with a soft creamy body and light crisp carbonation that looks like it should be more aggressive than it is.
Drinkability- This is one ridiculously good brew. I honestly didn't think I could like a Brett filled brew more than I liked Supplication. Wrong! Although probably not as complex and confounding, it's the very definition of simpler is better (in relative terms of 17 months barrel aging, adding of Brett, maintaining perfection, etc...). This is a ridiculously good beer that thank the lord, I have one more of coming. Thanks Matt!

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Photo of RoyalT
4.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I happened to be visiting the brewery as Vinnie had finished and bottled, not yet labeled, his first batch of Temptation many years ago. He wasn't happy with some aspects of it but after chatting about the brew process for half an hour or so he brought up a few unlabeled bottles.

For the life of me I couldn't see what he didn't like about it, but then again anyone who knows Vinnie knows that he is a perfectionist. After tasting this and another beer (which I don't think ever went to market) he gave me a couple of bottles to cellar. I've just now seen it for the first time in a bottle in a beer store so was excited to down a few. This is absolutely one of the best beers that I have ever had.

Appearance - This is a beautiful, light straw blond in color with a gorgeous head. It's not big and foamy like a giant Belgian or a Weizen of course, but the bubbles are so incredibly tight and even you almost hate to drink it. Almost.

Smell - This is the most refined sour aroma I have ever had the pleasure of smelling. It's neither harsh nor offensive yet is still potent and sharp. The light grains in the background are equally refined.

Taste - The sourness is definitely a home run here. It is exceptionally strong yet not harsh like so many other Wild Ales. There's just enough sweetness to tame the flavor.

I can pick up some light white wine notes, which I'm guessing after reading up on the beer from the RR site is the chardonnay that seeped into the barrels that they use to age this beauty shop. The grain again is like a delicious light blonde ale grain that ads to the airy feeling you get when drinking this beer.

Mouthfeel - This was my favorite part of the drink. It is definitely light-bodied with a mature and technically advanced sourness and that terrific grain backbone actually makes this sail through the mouth. The carbonation is pure perfection, again according to the website the beer is carbonated in the bottle. It's just an enjoyable, light, airy texture that makes you want to keep on drinking.

Drinkability - This is the most quaffable sour ale I've ever had. It goes down so smooth and is so refreshing. How he put this thing together I'll never know.

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Photo of asabreed
4.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 001, poured into a wine glass.

Appearance: A hazy golden yellow, huge head, and fervent, spidery lacing around the glass.

Smell: Tons of stuff going on, the oak from the barrels, vinous characteristics, some fruit like pear and sour cherries, some lemon, slight vanilla. Ridiculously balanced and you don't want to get your nose out of it.

Taste: Mostly sour at first, but this is a sour of balance, of taste, of beauty. Some light fruit like the pear and cherries comes through, the oak and vanilla comes through, and yes, the sourness. It's an altogether fantastic combination, beautifully done in all aspects. The aftertaste lingers in such great ways, too. It stays on the back of the tongue, enhances everything. And there's also some light banana as it sits on the tongue. Wowness. Is this a wine? No, this is a beer, and it should be treated as such.

Mouthfeel: Silky, creamy, perfectly carbonated. Drink slowly, savor, and swish this sucker around to see what's really going on.

Drinkability: I give it a 5 because I could drink this all day, every day. 8.5%? Are you serious? Immaculately hidden, and that's not even the point. This is a fine, fine beer. Worth the $8.99 for the 12.7 oz. bottle? Yes. Expensive? Yes. But worth it? Again, yes. I have a bottle of Supplication waiting for me, and it's slightly ineffable how juiced I am for this. Try this, you owe it to yourself.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 003. Bout a couple last year when they were released. I am just starting to like sours so now I am reviewing it.

Poured into my "TION" glass. Pours a very nice semi cloudy light honey color with a very nice white head that sticks all over the glass.

Smell is great. Lots of bret funk with some wine and oaky characteristics. Smells semi sweet too.

Taste is wonderful. Nice and crisp sourness with a smooth oakyness. The malt lends a certain sweet character that is wonderful.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Nothing else to say.

An awesome brew from an awesome brewery. Hands down the best brewery out there in my opinion.

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Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
4.42 out of 5 based on 3,588 ratings.
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