Temptation | Russian River Brewing Company

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1,015 Reviews

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 1,015 | Ratings: 3,567
Photo of sloejams
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After over a year of waiting, I finally cracked open my lone bottle of Temptation. Batch 001, 350 mL.

The golden color fizzed nicely in my Chimay chalice. It swirled a nice pinky finger head. A sweet and sour Brettanomyces fragrance reminded me of an oud bruin, almost. The taste was tart without being cloying, as a sweetness followed. Sour apple and meringue flavors were evident. It's close in taste to Depuration, but a bit sweeter. A fine beer.

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

Pours a pretty belgium cloudy orange with a fine quarter finger head that melts quickly to thin lacing.
Aroma is belgium in yeasts....sweet, sweet malts...and earthy...somthing very green, natural, and very earthy.
Taste is very sour...a little medicinal in the swallow....sweet citrus fruits with citrus peel bitterness....a little lemon on the tailend
It leaves your mouth clean, fresh and dry, surprisingly.
this is a very interesting style....I think I like it.
It's the kind of a beer that you sip...swallow...and then chew or at least smack your lips several times afterwards.

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Photo of stephendr
3.77/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear amber color – white frothy thick big bubble head – nose of woody (cedar) , fruity sourness , bread yeast , malt , antiseptic , grains and citrus– taste of sour red fruits, sour green apples , malts , yeast , cereals , grains , and citrus – acidic bubbly raw body , and dry – aftertaste slightly bitter , and sour chalk very short

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Photo of hoppymeal
3.55/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Light gold to straw in color and cloudy with a fairly effervescent white head that fades back quickly. Aroma is of tart green apples and honey, some floral and perfumy sweetness. Taste is a nice lemon tartness with a slight oaky dryness. Light in body with a dry finish that tingles in the back of the throat. An interesting beer, I am still experimenting with the sour beers and am still unsure how much i enjoy them, but I'll keep trying every so often. I did enjoy both the flavor and the dryness from the wood though.

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Photo of beermanbrian
4.53/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 001 - 375 ml bottle

Golden color with a creamy white head that leaves a coating of lacing on the glass. Smell is very fruity and tart. I pick up some oak notes as well . Taste hits you with the tartness up front but then mellows to a smooth sweetness. Reminds me of a chardonay and even has the buttery note to the finish. Oak and vanilla flavors become more prominent as it warms. Overall a very good brew. I love the effort that went into this brew and wish I had a bunch more to drink. I will buy every Russian River that I can get my hands on.

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Photo of Callenak
4.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

375ml bottle bought at Naja's in Redondo Beach.

A: Pours a highly carbonated golden color. A huge white head that will last as long as you drink it. Sticks to the glass as you drink it. Very nice.

S: Carbonation comes first. Tickles the nose, then come citrus tones with a tartness. Hints of oak, but subtle. The brett/gueze smell is definitely there though. Lovely.

T: Wow. Another great beer from Vinnie of Russian River. Tartness and carbonation comes first. The oak/chardonnay comes next. Hints of fruit. I have come to love sour beers and this is another fine example why.

I actually had beatification before this. A lot of similarities between the two. I actually preferred the beatification, but as no denigration to this beer. Temptation is amazing and worth every penny.

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

375ml bottle. Batch 001. Thanks to the effervescent beermanbrian.

Pours a slightly hazy golden color with a touch of orange. Has a creamy white had that thins. Thick lacing on the glass.

Aroma is tart, fruity, and very similar to wine. I also detect a touch of oak and just the slightest bit of malt.

Quite tart upfront with a slight hint of the base golden ale. Lots of fruity tones enriched by a nice oak flavor. I also detect some light vanilla notes, which have appeared more as it warms. Finishes quite tart with a slight acidic citrusy bite.

Light body, creamy texture. Plenty of carbonation.

What an unusual and tasty ale, and very easy to drink. I wish I had another.

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Photo of instrumentality
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"Batch 1" according to the bottle.

Poured into a tulip glass, a hazy golden color with a thin, creamy white head that settled to lace and left a thick film clinging to the sides of the glass

The scent was dominated by a tart rhubarb kind of smell mixed with malt. It somewhat reminded me of RR's Supplication, although it's been so long since I tried the Supp that I can't say which scent I prefer. Nonetheless, tempting, hence the name.

First sip: oh, it burns! Still tart, somewhere between rhubarb and cherry. The alcohol is highly prevalent, which is completely appropriate in this case. A wicked bite but with a clean finish (thanks alyankus for the Terminology 101). This is what I look for in a beer: each sip kicks my palate's ass, fades away, and makes me beg for another. Brutal mouthfeel, yet highly drinkable. A paradox in a bottle.

Further into the glass, I picked up on another strange flavor: a cooling, sort of wintogreen minty taste. This flavor was very subtle and neither enhanced nor interfered with the overall experience.

Temptation is very similar to the Supplication as I recall, and I can't complain. I'll have to try them both head-to-head to really understand the distinction. Hopefully they'll both be available at RRBC when I make a trip up there in about a month. Woo hoo!

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Photo of Prufrock
3.72/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

375mL bottle into a thin pilsner.

hazy pale golden with a thin layer of white head. rising bubbles and thin strings of lace.

fragrant but light aroma. yeasty funkiness with a thin presence of tart and sour. some lemons and sugary sweetness.

dry white wine and white grapes in the flavor as it starts, then finishes dry with an edge of tartness. funky and sour, but very subtly so. fairly light mouthfeel and a fizzy, champagne-like carbonation. light and complex, but comes off as too weak, especially for someone who loves gueuze.

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

A: I'd imagine this is what peach juice looks like. Hazy but very friendly. Not much head to speak of. Started very frizzy and fell to just a small ring around the glass.

S: Wet hay, yeast, pungent oak, lemon peel and coriander.

T: whooooweeee thats sour. Citric acid attacks the tip and front of the tongue with reckless abandon. From there notes of kiwi, grapefruit and caramel apples start to take form. These flavors merge with the abundant oak flavors and meld completely until only that classic Russian River brett is shining. This fades and a precise lemon sourness prevails at the roof of the mouth. Aftertaste of lemon peel and bittering hops.

M: Medium body with a frizzy carbonation.

D: They call it a blonde. Yeah, a Russian River blonde! Everyone other brewery in the world would call this a sour.

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

It pours a slightly hazy and well-carbonated straw gold. Two fingers of bright white head last and quilt the surface. Scoops of lacing dollop the inside of the glasss.

As the aroma wafts, a creamy, muted grain sweetness trios with cherry and dark berry, and a tart sour apple note shines through. A lighter spiciness works with the alcohol and a cidery tang.

Upon tasting, there swims a sweet and sour malt and fruit concoction, with light grain, green apple, and blackberry. A mouth-filling oaken vinous character nods to a swirl of alcohol, and a slick of vanilla carries a mellow spice bitterness to counter a lingering sourness. Residual yeast tartness holds sway in a very mellow finish. The earthy flavor is a fine mate for the funky Brett.

Medium bodied, the puckering sourness and lively carbonation make this a sly entity on the palate.

It's an intriguing amalgam of farmland funky and aristocratic wine country. It's unique and a stretch, but damned if it doesn't work. Sure, the ABV is a hoot, but in such a happy way, and with the tartness in play it's refreshing and drinkable. This is why thinking outside the box can be a real good thing.

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Photo of mntlover
4.62/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy peach color with a small white head fed by rising bubbles that leave some lace behind.

Aroma is soft fruits peachs, berries, strawberries, light pink grapefruit along with some nice dry oak aromas on a light malt backdrop.

Taste is a nice fruity mix good zesty flavors good dry oak crispness. Some good brett flavors but not as intense as the Supplication on the wild side anyway. Temptation is softer can taste the golden ale underneath everything going on. This would be the one to try for those who don't like super sour, man this is a master piece of work.

Mouthfeel is nice smooth lightly carbonated. Almost medium after the last bit added to the glass almost seem lightly gritty in texture.

Drinkability is great only hampered by cost this is one fine brew of many Vinnie has going. Glad I have another. From batch 001.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.63/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 001. Top notch presentation in a 12.7 ounce glass. Very unique bottle with a fantastic label. Cork and caged.

Pours a brilliant straw into long stem white wine glass. Carbonation is wildly disturbed by the shape of the glass causing a tidal clash of yeasty white head. The mountain of cream constantly dissolves and reforms each time I pick up the glass. This is a fun beer to play with. Carbonation streaming is flawless. I feel compelled to say that this is a perfect looking brew, a true 5.

Nose is a ballyhoo of citric zest but through that intensity spouts a surge of oak and then a second surge of vanilla. After a while this pandemonium blends into a nice cohesive chardonnay but that’s not all. Above the lemons and oak barrel aromas there is something much more important…Da Funk! That quality that one finds in a great lambic…yep, it’s here.

Taste/Mouthfeel: An initial blast of sour grapes is quite fun but a bit overpowering. Seconds later, however, the palate is well adjusted and the Chardonnay like subtleties become palpable. The ever-present sourness is my favorite aspect of the beer but it does not outshine all else, as is the case in some lambics. Within the sour frame and coalescing with vanilla flavors lies a buttery mouthfeel. It’s surprising and eminently pleasurable. Herein too we find a miscellany of citrus, pear, apricot, rotten hay, and white grape skins, all of which combines to form that wonderful funk that we all so enjoy.

Ingurgitate - To swallow greedily or in excessive amounts; gulp. Yep, that’s this beer to a T-funk. If I may add a new adjective to my beer reviewing vocabulary, this one is inguritatable.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.95/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

(Served in a goblet)

big thanks to goodbyeohio for this brew (batch 001)

A- This beer has a hazy golden deep copper color with a thick pure white foam that last and last. The carbonation is wave of microbubbles swirling in the glass. The head turns into thick sheets that stick to the side of the glass after each sip and turn to lace in some parts.

S- The smell of tart wild yeast and wild mushroom has a very soft hint of light oak and fresh rain with a very light earthy decomposition note. The finish has a nice bright lemon zest note.

T- The taste of smooth slightly sweet pale malt has a faint tartness with a brightness almost like lemon to it. There is a very light oak taste that is smooth and really balances the sweet malt and tartness. On the exhale, after each sip there is a very faint ham note that is quite nice. As it warms notes of chardonnay start to come through nicely and a faint grapefruit note blends with it.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a nice pucker in the back of the jaws in the finish.

D- Wow. This beer is so complex and smooth yet too mysterious to describe it in words. The flavors of Bret and oak are soft enough to let the blonde ale shine through but strong enough to give it so much more depth and character. I was expecting a sharp "extreme" American punch in the mouth but instead I got a beer that taste like decades of craftsmanship in the making.

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

Batch 001 on the bottle. Had at Monk’s in Philly.

Poured and hazy yellow gold. Head was large with white, small bubbles. Very carbonated. Smell was black pepper and fruity with yeast and dust in the background. Taste follows suit. Not as tart as most Flanders Reds, but tart none the less. The tartness is just one of the flavor characters that separates this one. As it warms it changes dramatically. Sometimes I tasted tart, sometimes white wine, apricot, black pepper… It just kept changing.

I wonder what a longer tasting session would have yielded. Aftertaste is very mild compared to the flavor and the light body leaves you wanting more. Very drinkable and interesting.

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

Small bottle, caged and corked, enjoyed at Brooklyn's S.D. during their yeast fest. Pours cloudy apricot amber, long lasting near white head and leaving spotty lacing. Nose here is fruity, funky, herbal and funky. Creamy, smooth and funky brew. Smoky from a year in chardonnay barrels and slightly soured from an addition of Brettanomyces yeast. Flavorful, complex, luscious world class U.S. venture into the wonderful, yeasty, wild Ale/lambic world. Wish RR was more widely available in the NY/NJ/Ct. area

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

Hazy golden straw colour with a fluffy, bright white head. Constant streams of bubbles supported the cap of foam, which left clumpy lacing behind once it started to subside. The brett aroma was apparent across the table. White wine and grape notes as well, with some earthy woodiness. Citrusy sweetness with some acidity, similar to sweet tarts, hits up front. A more substantial, almost syrupy, sweetness follows. Solid bitterness with floral hops and a bit of spice in the finish. A bit of barnyard funk as well. The sweet tart character melds with a bit of oak in the lingering finish. Light dryness, medium bodied, with effervescent carbonation. This beer has plenty of character and goes down very easy. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Notes from 12/16/2006 (Batch 002): This beer produces tons of lacing. The aroma was a little funkier than before - some horseblanket, a little salty with some vinegar (almost like salt & vinegar chips) - but strangely appealing. Citrus flavour was more lemony and there was a little spicy alcohol character as well. Very dry. Again, a beer that I enjoyed quite a lot. I'm tempted to give it a "5" for Taste, but it just wasn't quite there. Maybe next time I try it.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.58/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thank you malto for this one.

Yeasty with a vinous nose this beer is a unique joy to drink. It's deep gold/ orange colour belies the different nuances that exist within its body. The Bret influence is there and so is the wine side but all in all what makes this so nice is the fact that drinkability is key to its makeup. fantastic

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

Bottle was passed around at a Free The Hops meeting. If this is what we're fighting for, pass my muzzle-loader.

Starts with a strong foamy tan head that tops a nice honey colour liquid. Head falls at medium pace, leaving a thick, wet lace.

Aroma is a swirling fruity-yeasty wonderland. Spice is very apparent, mixed in with grapefruit and strong banana.

Pungent fruit and spice hit up front. Very champagne like, tangy on the end. nice bit of yeastiness throughout.

Very wet feel, with a rough yet tight carbonation up top. Very nice.

VERY drinkable. complex, but not too assertive. Good session beer- but also good for an after-diner drink. Well done!

Be well

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Photo of UnionMade
4.63/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Perfectly clear gold, topped with a lasting, lacing white head. A plume of carbonation rises from the bottom. Loose sheets of lace cling to the glass. Brett aroma, heavy on the cheese, very much like sharp swiss cheese, somewhat farmy, with pale malt. Tart and fruity, big on the wildberry and grape. The flavor starts sweet and cheesy, immediately evoking swiss or mild bleu cheese, modest pale malt sweetness. Farmy and wild, flowery, with a pronounced brett quality throughout. Sour white grape and apricot. A touch of vanilla oakiness, mostly in the end. Finishes moderately sour, vivid wild grape, very dry and tart. Charged, blooming carbonation, lighter bodied, with a fluffy mouthfeel. Sharp swiss cheese aftertaste. Awesome.
Sessionable wild ale? Hell yes. Incredibly good. I'll jump on the chance of having this again. Please ditribute to CT...or MA.

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

Batch 001.

Pours a clear sparkling peach color with a one finger white head that never goes away and leaves tons of lacing. The aroma is of fruit, white wine, and cobwebby mustiness. Intriguing.

The first taste just blows me away. A sharp tart character is followed by peachy fruitiness and a bunch of sweet, lightly toasted grain. Wow, what a combination. The finish is pretty dry and lingers forever with an oakiness and some malt. This is so incredibly balanced that none of the flavors win out over the others and the combination of them is really something special. This is what I was hoping Supplication was going to be.

The mouthfeel is perfect - just carbonated enough to be really smooth on the tongue, which really works to make the sourness less biting and more inviting. Drinkability is very high. I will definitely be tracking down more Temptation.

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Photo of Gaisgeil
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm not a huge fan of this style as a general rule, but this interesting use of yeast made for a fine brew, quite complex and an overall enjoyable sipper.

Pours a straw golden in color, slightly cloudy with a robusy creamy head with excellent retention. Nose is markedly earthy, quite Belgian-like as one might expect. There are elements that remind of an aged cheddar cheese or the like as well, notes of wine as well. Taste is decidedly like a Belgian pale with a certain woody-earthiness which I would imagine is derived from the barrel aging process. Slightly sour, but still approachable, very well balanced and instantly likable. I enjoyed this one immensely.


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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a light golden apple juice color that was slightly foggy with a thin egg shell head sustained by sparse, slow moving bubbles.

Smelled of oak, sour cherries and turned milk, (Brett’s doing, I presume) with a backing of honey and golden raisins with a slight biscuit doughiness.

Tasted of a light and sweet apple and pineapple base that slowly picked up some grapefruit rind and then faded into a smooth, terribly under ripe fruit, a bit of woody oak and sour milk. The journey of this beer was stupendous that was made all the better by the coupling of the smell with the flavor.

The mouth feel was light, but the carbonation actually detracted from the flavor.

This is an extremely enjoyable sipper that takes your sense for a ride. Again, the compliments of the smells and flavors really was spectacular and the dynamics of the flavor were top notch.

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Photo of kmo1030
4.23/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

hazed gold with a thick white head that dissolves to a thinner one quickly.
very tart and a little funky smelling (the good funky). apples and white wine with some oak. lemony citrus.
the taste has a lot more complexity to it than the smell. the sour aromas cover up many of the more subtle aromas. tart and white wine like, with apples, white grapes, lemon, there's more fruit in the but it's hard to identify. oak and a little vanilla towards the finish with bourbon at the very end and aftertaste. it makes me wanna smack my lips. oh yeah, it's got a little funk too, it gets up in the sinuses.
medium-ish body with a wild sort of carbonation. nice and dry.
good drinkability considering, but maybe not for everyone.
thi is a very interesting experience, seek it out.

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Photo of frazbri
4.97/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Russian River's Temptation poured straw golden and slightly cloudy and visibly carbonated in my globe glass. The frothy white head stood tall in the glass. Lacing remained in the glass as the beer was drained. Much of the aroma had fruit notes like pear, orange, and lemon, but there were also earthy undertones and whiff of sea air. The first taste was tangy on the tongue, but was accompanied with a mild bitterness and a hint of tannin as I continued. Temptation was light in body and highly carbonated, almost spritzy.

I must thank my brother for bringing this to me. This was my first Russian River beer, and I am impressed. I want to go to Santa Rosa and live at the brewery, if only for a day or two! Thankfully, I've still got 3 other RR beers to try. Bravo!

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Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 1,015 ratings.
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