Temptation | Russian River Brewing Company

1,026 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: 1,026 | Ratings: 3,658
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 Beervis
4.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours from the 12.7oz mini champagne-style, corked & caged bottle a light straw colour with a thick white head. The bottle has a nice long ramble about the beer, and says Batch #1.

Smell is musty and sour up front, with green apple and a slightly oaky scent.

Taste is amazingly complex. It stars off sour and acidic, with nice bright fruity flavours. Mouthfeel is light to medium, with spicy alcohol presenting itself as it warms. Oak flavours again are present, and complement it perfectly. Finishes with winey grape flavours, then trails off to a dry sourness.

This beer is very drinkable, but I'm not sure how many bottles I could have in a row. I love lambics, and was pleasently surprised by this my first taste of an American Wild Ale. Very impressive, and I hope to try more of these.

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Photo of gregc
4.87/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Batch 3...

Pours a beautiful cloudy golden color with a hugh fluffy white head, it looks like a cloud.

The aroma coming from the beer is amazing - sour apples, lemons, wild cherries, horse blanket brett, oak and small hits of chardonnay...wow this is great.

The flavor is equally amazing...sour apple, lemon sourness, wet oak, chardonnay flavors...its sour but not too sour at all a nice crisp dry finish.

The mouthfeel is wonderful...nice carbonation, nice sour profile.

I could drink this beer all night...my only concern would be some acid reflux from this, but thats a small price to pay to drink such a great beer.

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Photo of Ezekiel81923
4.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received this guy in a trade with EliottJW. Batch #004X1. Poured into a over-sized Tulip glass.

Appearance: Big white foamy head. Maybe too excited when I poured it. Nice and clear yellow/gold color with some active carbonation bubbles clinging to the side of the glass and streaming upward to maintain the head for a few minutes. Plenty of lacing down the glass.

Smell: Hints of oak sweetness and even fewer hints of chardonnay from the barrels. Some mild fruity aromas of apple and citrus. Mostly a sour aroma with a little vinegar and with limited funk.

Taste: My Goodness. A good amount of puckering sour flavor that is somewhat balanced by some sweetness from the oak. Not overly funky, more wine-like but better than any wine I've had. Citrus comes through and just a hint of the green apples.

Mouthfeel: Lots of carbonation. Light to medium body. Lingering sweet and sour notes on the tongue.

Drinkability: I'd drink this everyday if I could. Phenomenal beer. Nothing about this beer limits its drinkability for me, except maybe the 7.25% ABV.

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of fastpass17
4.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cork and Caged 375ml Batch 005x2F

A: Cloudy in appearance, dark gold in color, thin lastig head, champagne like carbonation.

S: Dry white wine comes out first, subtle oak mixes cream then the brettanomyces comes out, finishes with a faint hint lemon zest.

T: Champagne like, apricots interweave with vanilla and oak, the brett is reserved and really enjoyable. Warms up really well in the glass.

M,D: This prickles the tongue in the start, becomes creamy in mid drink then finishes off crisply. The beer is very session worthy and, delicious.

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Photo of dill
4.48/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Really a great beer. Pours a nice golden color with a fizzy head. The mouthfeel is dry with tight carbonation. I love the sourness of the beer, a bit of a vinegary flavor with some lemon and oak. Just a great beer and highly drinkable. I could enjoy this almost every day.

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

Batch 3 corked and caged bottle poured into a chalice.

A - Pours hazy golden with a bright white head. Decent retention and lacing.

S - Funky, with lemon, lemongrass, and oaky chardonnay.

T - Sour lemon, apple and pear. Hints of an oaky chardonnay. Smooth and more subtle.

M - Medium with a creamy texture and high carbo.

D - Very drinkable for the style. If this was easier to obtain (and cheaper!) I would drink a lot of it.

Overall, great beer!

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Photo of kfsv034
4.33/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this beer with Drink1121, received in a trade from Zestar

A - poured a hazy orangish straw color.

S - smell is sour apple and lemon, some hay or grass, chardonnay and alittle oak and funk

T - sooo good, sour apple, lemon, strong chardonnay with alittle funk and subtle hits of oak in the after taste along with a lingering sour, gets increasingly funky and sour as it warms. very very good

M - champaign like kinda bubbly

D - i could drink this all night

this is my first wild ale i went in not knowing what to expect and wow its amazing im hooked

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Photo of Goldstar81
4.35/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

batch 05X1 poured into a snifter

A: Yellow gold color

S: Chardonnay grapes, somewhat sour, a good beginners sour for someone who enjoys Chardonnay

T: Fruity, tart, refreshing, a good outdoorsy summer beer for fans of sours or someone who wants to expand their palate.

M: Well carbonated but not overly done so. The carbonation doesn't dissipate right away. Very pleasent.

O: This is my go-to sour for warm summer nights. Overall a wonderfully constructed RR sour but not my favorite. The lightest of the bottled RR sours.

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Photo of tprokop7
4.22/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Medium head that lingers for a while. Straw colored, with a bright sourness that lacks any of the earthy scents that were in the beatification. Sour cherries and grape tastes dominate. Lively in mouthfeel, and goes down with a pronounced acidic feeling.

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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 schmoopsbeer
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served chilled into RR glass

batch 5

Color: Bright golden blonde. Very nicely carbonated, little to no lacing and it form a thin crisp whit head.

Nose: Plenty of white fruit: pear,apple, and not white, but present kiwi. A pleasant sourness hits the nose like a tidal wave.

Palate: Crisp, clean, bubbly, and soft. The light Tartness/sour dances on the tongue giving the mouth a pleasant tingle feeling.

Finish: Nothing short of long and emaculate! this beer wow's with greatness, artisitry, and elegance. Its a firework show alll the way down the hatch.

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Photo of WCBCFrank
2.06/5  rDev -53.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Russian River's Temptation Blonde Ale pours off-yellow in a goblet or Chardonnay glass. There is a "whack in the head" lack of subtlety in the oak Chardonnay notes throughout the beer - sour apples, lots of oak, yeasty but not overwhelming. Well made, but beware of oak.

Personally: For my taste buds Russian River's Blonde Ale in oak barrels doesn't work...maybe my taste buds will grow to like it....

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Photo of Mages64
4.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Batch 5 from 375ml bottle into tulip glass.

A- A beautiful hay color that reflects light beautifully. a little head with intermittent lacing. Head returns upon agitation bringing great aroma with it.

S- Barnyard and pineapple and orange. Perhaps apple as well with a woody smell too. Definitely smells like soured fruit.

T- Surprisingly Saison like. Now it could be that all the saisons i've had recently have had Brett in them but it tastes like a slightly more sour saison or golden ale. Compares to New Glarus's R&D Golden Ale. Soured Fruit, wood, vanilla, pineapple, and slight funk.

M- carbonated and sticky. lingers everywhere in your mouth and throat. finish is long and delightfully sour and fruity.

D- First sour I feel like I could drink 10 of. Smooth, crisp, and refreshing!

Don't miss this! I waited a whole year before giving in and buying this obviously expensive bottle. Don't wait too long:)

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Photo of chalsk
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle shared with Leafs93. Pours a golden yellow color with a champagne like ultra thin white head. Has a tart aroma with hints of yeast. Has a sweet tart taste. Crisp. Very gentle bitters on the backend. Excellent brew. They know how to make sours.

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Photo of mystikyle71
5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is one of three (Brugge Bad Kitty and BFM Bon-Chien) that set the standard for me when it comes to what I want in a sour, so i figured I should review it. I've been fortunate to have this beer about 6-7 times and am sent into a euphoric state everytime. I'm hardly alone here considering its score and the fact that everyone I share this holy liquid with bows down as well.

A: Pale lemony yellow color like that of Chardonnay (imagine that!). Minimal head.

S: I want to implant this beautifully bretty, fruity, oaky aroma in my nose. If everything in the world smelled like this everything in the world would be better for it.

T: Tart and fruity and just a tiny dollop of vanilla and spice. Balance is a beautiful thing. Fresh crisp apples with a touch of lemon citrus.

M: It cleans up so well. Tart with a dry effervescence. At this point you will likely be chugging straight from the bottle like a heathen. Lapping up every drip of this wonderful elixir.

O: I like this beer, a lot.

I have two bottles left... will they make it through the night?

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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 StrongAleSkeptic
4.59/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on May 30, 2013

A - Pours a glowing light amber golden hue, initially clear, with a slight haze from the leftover yeasties.
S - Bright and aromatic with notes of grape, straw. Slight funk with a dominant Belgian brett yeast character. Clean but pungent. Marshmellow, ambrosia, pineapple poetry on the nose!
T - Delightful. Rich, full orange peel and lemongrass upfront that blends into a tart, succulent funkiness. Notes of grape and grape must with a tinge of oak tannin.
M - Fun and light on the palate but with a medium body to sustain through each flavor intricacy. Quite palatable -- I swear I could drink an entire pitcher of this and be in heaven (I promise to do it slowly, don't worry).
O - A pleasurably fun light ale with the Belgian twist. One of the more memorable sours I've enjoyed.

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Photo of AdamF625
4.57/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A-clear light golden, straw, 1 finger white head that clumps and fades
S-lemon, star fruit, some breadiness, sage, earthy/grassy
T- Brett funk, fresh squeezed lemon, ripe green apple, tart, chard, a bit of oak on the finish
M- medium body and bubbly carbonation, very fizzy clears the palate. Very tart.
O- Russian River never disappoints. Very clean and well blended. Tart and fruity with some dryness from the barrel.

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Photo of Shumania
4.15/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375 ounce bottle, batch number 05X1E, poured into a snifter

a: hazy yellow/orange with minimal head, some carbonation

s: tart lemon, oak, funky yeast

t: similar to the smell. lemon, wine grapes, good tartness, oak, and more funk from the brett

m: extremely dry

Really nice play from the oak barrels. Good mix of fruit, tart, and oak!

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Photo of mrkrispy
4.35/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 004 in tap at Toronado SD, served in a small white wine glass.

Arrived cloudy and hazy, bit of white frothy head.

Funky stanky horsey fizzy aroma, the animal farm is busting out....reserved, not boisterous

Very balanced right now even though it is young, which means it should be more complex with some more time on the bugs.
White wine flavors very apparent. A bit sour, not puckering. I would like it a bit more sour, again....needs a bit more time. I find this one drinks a little more smoother than the 003 did at the same time. Some lemon, some green apple, citrus, very little malt. Bit of tartness as the glass goes down. Nice body, well carbed...almost like The Bubbly.

Pretty tasty, goes down well. Lacks a bit of the boldness of the other Russian River sours, but that is its niche - subtle complexity. I think 003 was a bit rough for the first 6 months and mellowed. The 004 seems fairly smooth, so it will be interesting to see how it ages.

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Photo of bohemiandonut
4.57/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

My second time with this beer and I still don't know what to make of it. Other than this is the most I have ever spent per ounce on a beer and I'm damn likely to do it again.

Temptation pours out like liquid nitrogen or dry ice, heavy smoke-like vapors spilling out of the neck of the bottle. One gets the feeling he is about to imbibe liquid gold or diamond nectar.

Curse my mortal nose there is no recognition of this scent. It is lemony but sweet and funky, vinegared but not in a chemical way. Once it lets you in banana is there but nonchalantly. It all combines insanely to let you know you have entered the porous netherworld of shaven oak. This wins my prize for the most lo-fidelity of scents.

Sip after sip allows the strangeness of this beer to really sink in. In my opinion I am still being initialized into the flavor dimensions of sour ales and this is probably one monster of an initiation. I hate to admit that it is a bit much for me. I would like to taste a somewhat "toned down" version of this beer in order to see what's going on behind the acidic front. And without a doubt there is a LOT going on there. With Temptation more than any other beer I have tried (and I have tried a lot) I am able to taste the musky, the old-world, the decomposition of organics, and it is a dramatic, Biblical taste that fills your glass here. Take a moment to appreciate the microbiological aspect of this beverage. Okay now consume it.

It's hard to zoom out from the kaleidoscopic, mind-fuckedingness taste profile of this beer but it is worth doing. Temptation fills the mouth like no other. As alluded to by the snaking vapor that first met me from the open bottle, Temptation has a single place to go and that is everywhere. Picture writhing colonies of exponentially dividing shapes and cells. Yeah, you're drinking that. Go shit yourself.


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Photo of David1975
1/5  rDev -77.4%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Are you kidding? Are you calling this beer? Taste like champagne mixed with white wine with
bitter taste. It took me forever to finish drinking it. If you like nice gold or dark lager stay away from this "beer". It is hard to understand that so many people on Beer Advocate website like it.

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Photo of k3n
4.97/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Side-by-side review of Batch 04 (750ml) and 03 (375ml).

A: Deep amber color, a little bit cloudy (bottle probably a bit too agitated). Minimal head and lacing. Not much difference between the two.

S: The 04 is bright and tart in the nose, up-front fruits. The 03 is a mellower aroma, but somehow richer and perhaps with a bit of honey. Chardonnay influence is easily appreciated in both bottles.

T/M/D: The 04 is lively and tart. Opens with a good hit of sourness, finishes dry and oaky. The 03 sourness is not as sharp, and is accompanied by a distinct honey sweetness. The 03 finishes similarly dry to the 04, but persists longer with Chardonnay and oak flavors lingering.

Both are supremely easy to drink, and showcase RR's excellence at blending wine flavors with fantastic beers. Definitely looking forward to aging this Batch 04, and wondering when I'll decide to open my last Batch 03.

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Temptation from Russian River Brewing Company
4.42 out of 5 based on 3,658 ratings.
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