Temptation | Russian River Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
98
world-class
1,016 Reviews
TemptationTemptation
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States
rrbeer.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,016
Ratings:
3,588
Avg:
4.42
pDev:
16.74%
 
 
Wants:
1,784
Gots:
1,005
For Trade:
66
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,016 | Ratings: 3,588
Photo of genog
4.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a sparkling golden color with a small amount of rocky head that fades away leaving a sparkling wine type beverage in my fingertips. Smell is all tart with cherry, apple, and wine type aromas. Taste is heavy on the sweetness with some sour notes toward the finish. Mouthfeeling is very dry reminding me more of a fine wine, and less of a beer. I've had some tart beers that are too overpowering this was not one of them. A very nice crisp, refreshing drink.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
4.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Murky blonde color with little head and little retention. Still very appealing.

Smell of Cherries and brettanomyces funkiness. Some oak notes as well

Taste: Cherry sweetness balanced by a white wine type flavor. A little funky sourness from the brettanomyces. Some dry bitterness come in the end to finish with some oak characteristics.

Dryness on the palate. Almost wine like in mouthfeelfeel.

One hell of an experimental brew.

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Photo of franksnbeans
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark murky blonde with a white head that retains nicely. The tartness comes out in the nose along with light fruit and oak. Tartness is hits you, a beautiful sour, I can actually make out a little chardonnay. Magnificant mouthfeel with a perfect tickle of carbonation. Extremely drinkable and a delightful treat.

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

Poured into a La Chouffe tulip.

This little gem cost me a bottle of Dark Lord 2007. Big ups to tangfoot on the trade (yes, it was quite a while ago). The appearance is a cloudy, bright yellow with a nice amount of carbonation, decent white head, and some yeast floating around. Sour grapes and lemon dominate the nose - overall, a very different smelling beer, intriguing to say the least. All kinds of complexity in the taste - white grapes, lemon, orange, and some hints of vanilla sweetness in the end. Totally awesome. Mouthfeel is perfect for this style - rich, creamy, and well carbonated. For as sour as this is, this is one incredibly easy to drink beer. Very tasty. I really wish this stuff was readily available in Michigan. Oh well, may have to start trading again! Highest recommendation.

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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 MiScusi
4.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 002. This is about a year since bottling, which I guess makes it about 2 years since it found it's way into the barrel for the first time. Foamed up just a bit after uncorking, as expected based on their website bottle log. Pours a pretty clear golden, but gets a bit hazy with the addition of some of the fine yeast particles. The bright white head foamy head didn't have much retention in my glass. The smell at first, when very cold is lots of wine-y chardonnay. As it warms up and if you release the aroma by swirling you can get an ever so slight barnyard funkiness to it. The taste is the classic brett sourness with a (for lack of better term because I know next to nothing about wine) a white wine type taste (I've had chardonnay before so I can see how it is similar). The barrel aging in chardonnay barrels really added a great quality to compliment the sourness of the brett.

The mouthfeel is great in this beer. Very light and plenty carbonated as it should be. Spritzy if you will. The drinkability is very good. The sourness doesn't limit it too much as I would say it does in the very good but very acidic Supplication that burns my throat. Once again a great sour beer by Russian River... they can't go wrong, even if they tried.
4/4.5/5/5/4.5
___

Batch 003.

Crystal clear gold, bubbly, lacy wispy foamy bright white head. Smell is tart and slightly fruity, faint strawberry. There is a mildly musty smell, like that you get from a blue cheese, which actually becomes quite prominent as the beer opens up. The taste starts out like the chardonnay barrels it was aged in, with a moderate tartness, and finishes very clean without puckering. A belgian yeast fruitiness is left in the aftertaste. The woody character seems pretty low.
5/5/4.5/4.5/4.5

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Photo of
4.27/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle. Batch 001.

Slightly hazy, orange liquid. Looks like it glows! Small, off-white, creamy head. Not much lacing or legs.

Aroma conjured up citrus, aspirin and floral notes. Some musty/funk in there. Grapes and wine also come to mind.

Taste is tart/sour -- Hello, Brett! Citrus and lemon. Hint of something sweet in there, rather faint, back to the grapes/wine (chardonay). Very bitter finish/aftertaste, aspirin again. Alcohol is there, but not overdone.

Light to medium body. Medium + carbonation. Pretty dry, especially in finish and aftertaste. ABV warming is slow and steady.

I have not been a big fan of Brett/sour beers, but I think I'm starting to like these damn things. Maybe not on a regular basis, but they sure are a heck of a change up. Very complex, tart-but not dominating, a good beer for people who want to explore the sour stuff.

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Photo of Onibubba
4/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

All hazy memories. Beautiful clear golden pour into a Duvel tulip with a slight fluffy head. Funk and sour aromas hit the nose. The cry goes out - "Horse Blanket!" Sharp and acidic tastes dominate. Cannot distinguish what is what. All I can compare this to is the Sanctification I had the same night. This is like a more concentrated version of that beer. Perhaps too much. Mouthfeel is fine, but the overpowering acidic tartness makes this much more of a sipping beer. Very nice, but I prefer the Sanctification.

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Photo of Shaggy9356
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
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 errantnight
4.92/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 003:

Well,that got better! Not that we were looking at a beer with a ton of room for improvement or anything, or perhaps it's just I like it better fresh or.... I dunno...

But the sourness is in perfect balance, the Chardonnay/white wine notes are less prominent and more integrated. Dry and refreshing, still with a solid mid-palate sweetness. Just a joy to drink.

9-20-07

A 4.0 S 5.0 T 4.5 M 4.0 D 5.0

Well I've been hanging on to this bottle for... well... too long. When I bought it I grabbed the last bottle of Supplication, but there were two bottles of Temptation, and I didn't buy the second. WHY?! Just because I don't have a great way to cellar? This is drinking great as it is!

Well, now I know.

Batch 002:

Pours a beautiful golden blonde with relatively thin, if frothy head, just a hint of haze.

Smells, as it warms, like goodness in a glass. The chardonnay characteristics/similarities are marked, but there's a little hint of spice and fruity warmth. This has been poured into a globe red wine glass, and it's heaven just below the rim.

First few sips are a bit disappointing, it's too cold. Flavor is crisp and refreshing, but thin and lacking depth. The beer's fault? No... mine.

After warming, the intriguing complexities come bursting forth... the oak is relatively muted, but the brew is incredibly vinous... the sourness, which I was expecting to be much more forward, is really only present in the very back of the palate, making this crisp and refreshing. If anything, I'm a bit disappointed by the carbonation, as I at points wish this sat more comfortably on the tongue (like wine) to allow more savoring. Balance is perfect, finishes clean and dry after a touch of sweetness up front... this isn't wacking you over the head with any big flavors, but the sum total is superb.

Would love to see 750s of this available more frequently... I had this at the end of an evening, but this would make an amazing aperitif, and would pair well with anything a good white wine would.

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Photo of Budlum
4.12/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A rush of head erupted from the bottle about five seconds after opening the bottle. A tall, foamy white head was produced pouring this beer that quickly dropped to a thin layer. The body is a golden and hazy yellow shade with a few chunks of yeast floating around.

The nose of this beer is sharp with many floral characteristics. A mild bitterness takes over the nose as aromas of cinnamon and allspice blend. Overall this beer smells great and it is very hard to describe. The smell is more like a lambic than a blonde ale.

A smooth vanilla flavor misleads the senses before a sharp and powerful, funky yeast flavor takes hold. The funk is very much like a Flanders Red Ale from the brit only it is a bit smoother. The finish holds most of the complexity that this beer has to offer. Flavors of pear and pomargranate blend with citrus and smoked beef for an interesting and delicious combination. I don't think that I've ever tasted a beer like this before.

The mouthfeel of this beer is much like white wine. The body is relatively thin with a great carbonated feel. The acidity and sharpness provide a very lively feel.

Drinkability is tough to measure. This is meant to be contemplated so it is a slow-drinking beer. It is enjoyable and likely the most unique beer that I've encountered to date.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.72/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

"The only way to handle temptation successfully is to yield to it."

--French proverb

Batch 001. Temptation is precisely midway between lemon peel and ripe apricot. The highest compliment that I can pay the gorgeous, alabaster colored crown is to say that it would look at home on the finest Belgian ale. It becomes even more attractive as it slowly descends, leaving the glass positively coated with delicate lace.

Unlike some Brettanomyces-infused beer, the nose is full of barnyard funkiness without being completely dominated by it. It's easy to appreciate ripe golden fruit and the Chardonnay oakiness that was imparted by 12 month's contact with the barrels. 'Sublime' is the one word that keeps coming to mind whenever I put my nose over the glass.

How does Russian River manage to brew such amazing beer, again and again and again? The fact that Vinnie Cilurzo is the mastermind behind what I consider the best beer the world has ever seen (Pliny The Younger), yet is still able to create a stunningly complex Belgian-style ale like Temptation boggles the mind.

Even without the Brett, this would be an outstanding example of a golden ale. The fact that it's even possible to determine that is further evidence that the wild yeast doesn't steamroll everything in its path, but complements the beer in the best way possible.

The flavor profile consists of barely ripe apples, pears and peaches (complete with their natural sugars), a potpourri of spices (clove and white pepper especially), a surprising amount of sweetgrassy hoppiness and a perfect Brettanomyces puckery tang that wraps things up in a perfect ribbon of drinkability. Why oh why didn't they put this stuff in 750s?

Despite the label's advice to 'allow the natural yeast sediment to remain in the bottle', I'll do no such thing. The final pour clouds things up nicely and puts the already fandamntastic flavor into orbit. I can say without hesitation that Temptation is the best wild ale that has ever entered my glass.

The mouthfeel, while not up to the standards of Belgium's best, isn't far behind. Perfection would be easily achieved with a fraction more expansiveness. It's hard to argue with beer that is this lightly silky and this zestily carbonated.

I don't like to repeat myself, but it's a damn shame that this delicious ale isn't released in bigger bottles (I'm thinking jeroboams at least). It's also too bad that Russian River will no longer ship to us poor souls outside of Northern California who aren't able to otherwise experience the transcendence of their beer. I'm glad that I decided to yield to Temptation today.

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Photo of Damian
4.13/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank from a 12.70 fl. oz./375 ml corked and caged bottle purchased at Toronado, San Francisco, CA
Batch 002

Poured a beautiful, glowing, deep golden yellow with a two-finger, pure white, sea foam head. The head slowly faded to a frothy dollop of foam that sat in the middle of the liquid. Large, bubbly blankets of lacing crept down the sides of the glass.

The aroma was very crisp, sour and a touch musty. Funky Brettanomyces yeast were immediately recognizable, and they lent an earthy and dry quality to the nose. White wine notes (as produced from the Chardonnay barrel aging) also lingered in the background.

The taste was citric, sour and quite funky as well. Once again, the Brettanomyces were ever present. Oaky, earthy and barnyardy notes also came through strong. The Brett yeast gave off strong, slightly acidic, lemony notes. The beer finished remarkably clean, dry and tannic (and surprisingly refreshing).

Body was medium/thin with a spritzy yet moderate carbonation.

This beer was truly everything I anticipated and more. An extreme beer like this begs to be savored with foods equally as interesting. Try pairing it with a plate of raw milk morbier cheese, green grapes and white flesh peaches for the perfect summertime afternoon snack.

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

Poured from a 375ml corked and caged bottle. The bottle is interesting in itself with the odd ml size, dippled bottom like a wine bottle and long slender neck. The label has a story about the beer. Poured into my Chimay goblet. It has a hazy golden yellow color with just a few bits of yeast floating around. It had a small head that turned into a constant partial film that was fed by a carb geyser. The aroma was amazing. I love sour beers and this had a great sour beer smell. It was heavy on the brett but you could also get a good hit of the oak and some lemon in the back. The taste was also exceptional. Nice and sour with a carb attack on the tongue. Reminds me of Le Terrior from NBB. Mouthfeel is great with good sour bite and carbonation. Overall, I loved this one and highly recommend. Can't wait to try it and some other RR wild ales again. (5, RR, T, Y)

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Photo of geexploitation
4.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours semi-cloudy and bright gold with a creamy, perfectly white head that looks like it came out of a nitro tap. The aroma is dominated by brett and underlaid by lemon/citrus and a light, slightly caramelized sugar smell. On the palate, softly sour at first before it works up in intensity and complexity, with highly acidic brett sourness and light, sweet malts vying for attention. Things dry out completely by the finish, which is full of sourness that lingers for a while on the tongue. Big, soft carbonation and, in spite of the largesse of the acidity, phenomenal balance throughout. Overall this is excellent -- unique, interesting flavors, good integration of the various elements at play, very drinkable. Wonderful.

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Photo of meatyard
4.1/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is an unclear yellow/orange with a considerable amount of carbonation. I poured slowly and didn't develop any head.
The smell is a tart funkiness.
The taste is light malt, a hint of citrus with a slightly bitter and tart funkiness at the end.
Mouthfeel is light bodied, carbonated and has a dry finish.
Drinkability is quite good for those with a taste for this style of beer.

This is an interesting and invigorating beer that is not for everyone. I do like it and wish there were a few more beers of this type available. I wouldn't want to drink it everyday but there are days when this beer will satisfy a certain craving.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.65/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear golden color with massive with head. Great retention.
Smell is of tart fruit with distinct wine notes present.
Taste is wine meets beer, with a firm maltiness blended with wine flavors.
Leaves a somewhat tart taste in the mouth.
An OK beer. Did not live up to my expectations (or the price I paid for it)

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Photo of blackie
4.59/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

one of two bottles from my Anniversary Bombing...batch 001

a: The pour into my oversized snifter gives a low white head that soon clears the surface, leaving a ring and a sparse head that reappears when the glass is swirled. The beer is a bright, cotton honey golden in color.

s: Wow. Notes of fresh, crisp white wine with a wonderful bacterial funk. The funk is great in that it is, for lack of a better word, clean...in almost a weak, sweet malt vinegar kinda way. An ever so slight touch of pale grain brings it back from the wine side and gives a perfectly light sweetness. Hints of tart green apple and crabapple, white grape, and much more. Papery, aged hop aroma. Description won't really do this one justice. So good. Really enjoying the barrel influence on this beer. Perfect level of alcohol. Perfect all around and very tastefully done.

m: High though smooth carbonation, with a body on the light side of the medium range that is very clean...and certainly dry in the finish.

t: Beautifully blended complexity. Tart flavors of underripe green apple from the perfect application of bacteria brings to mind, expectedly, white wine. The pale malts take a backseat here, which is all fine and good as the end result is a very subtly rich beer. Low hop profile add just a slight papery flavor. Finish is near perfect, thanks in no small part to the tart character.

d: Very easy drinkability, and definitely a treat. I could sit here for an hour and try to describe this thing to a t, but I'd rather sit back and enjoy it. Gonna age the other bottle another year or more. Get some.

3-6-2007: Second bottle from my bombing, Batch 001. Things don't seem to have changed too much, perhaps more brett tartness...still a wonderful beer. No scoring changes made.

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Photo of Reed415
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a light amber color with a thick head that maintains

S - Very sour smelling, tart, fruit

T - Very tart sour, fruity, very smooth but is very tart throughout

M - Medium bodied, Smooth, Puckering

D - Excellent beer, very unique experience but also very tasty

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Photo of BeerTruth
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to barleywinebrewer for this treat!

375 mL bottle, Batch 002, poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a murky bright corn yellow with a fluffy two finger white head that seems to stay forever, and I mean forever. Lacing is great, nothing to complain about here. Smell is of very light fruit odors; apple, pear, lime, white grape, and some apricot. Very faint vanilla oak flavors in the nose as well. Taste starts off with a lime tartness blended with a dirty earth hop flavor. Definite metallic notes linger on the lips from the frothy head that just won't go away. Vanilla like alcohol presence in the aftertaste from the wine barrels with a nice bready malt smoothness. Such a complex flavored brew. Mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Very clean and fresh from start to finish. Drinkiability is pretty good, I could share these with friends for a night. My first Wild Ale, can't wait to try the Supplication next!

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to melbatoast. Pours a lighter color, a straw golden color. I can smell the aroma from down the street. Huge sour grapes smell. In the taste, wow a bit sour, then it just goes away. Nice how it does not cling to the palate. Light body, but very bold taste. A truly great beer.

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Photo of mymrnngjckt
4.88/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I finally pulled a bottle of this out of my cellar. Amazing beer. Poured it into a Russian River glass and enjoed.

The color was darker than I thouht it would be. Golden brown/red color. The smell was amazing. You could smell the tartness of the beer. The beer tasted awesome. It had a crisp tartness too it not too overpowering like a Cantillon but more crisp like Flemish Sour. The tartness stayed on the tounge but disappeared quickly.

I wish ther were more of this around because I would drink it every day.

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Photo of peabody
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a beautiful straw yellow with two fingers of small white suds. Not much lacing.
You can smell this one from across the room. Sour grapes and pungent yeast with slight sugar.
Taste is sour right up front. This was well worth the troube to acquire. Lemon peel and alum. Just a good sour white wine like Katz just not as sweet.
Mouthfeel is very clean. Bursts of flavor keep the palate enthused and ready for the next drink.
If I could get this one and it wasn't so expensive it would be a great session brew. This would go good with seared tuna steaks over garden greens. mmm

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Photo of Beerzebub
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375 ml, labeled Batch 002, barrel aged 16 months. Served in a Riedel Vinum Extreme flute.

Straw color, fairly clear, a finger of whitish head. Some classically lacy looking lace.

Big bretty and fruity smell - barnyard funk, pineapple, white grape juice, lemon, grassy hops. Hints of rosewater, honey and shortbread.

Tastes mainly of sour fruit, particularly pineapple, but not overwhelmingly sour, and spicy funky yeast. Some restrained grassy/herbal hop flavor and bitterness. Some discernible sweetness, quite restrained and well balanced. White wine character. Some oak, but restrained and well integrated. The sweetness disappears and the tartness picks up. Long dry finish, spicy yeasty pineapple, with astringency like black tea. Refreshing, balanced, wonderful.

Extremely fine carbonation, with acidity and astringency adding to the impression of substance.

Very drinkable, refreshing.

Very nice beer, well worth seeking out.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.73/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a clear pale amber with a nice thick white frothy head. Carbonation was insane, tons of visible bubble streams coming off the bottom. Almost looked like, well it really did look like champagne. Bubbles everywhere.

S - Very strong pungent aroma comes off of this one. Huge smell of grapes, with a hint of alcohol. Maybe a hoppy presence trying to come through. Smells like wine.

M & T - First impression was very sour, and it tasted like a nice white wine. Lots of carbonation and great feel, very light, again almost like champagne.

D - Overall this was very intresting and a good one time try, but not really my cup of tea. Would not turn it down if it was offered, but would not go out of my way to purchase it, a nice novelty at least for me.

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