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Russian River beers ... discuss ...

Discussion in 'Australia & New Zealand' started by scmorgan, Oct 31, 2012.

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  1. scmorgan

    scmorgan Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2005 Australia

    So Beer Mules arrived this week, seems my request for Ale Smith IPA turned out to be a Stone Specialty, Drakes 1500, Ballast Point Sculpin (my precious) and a Russian River Consecration. The Drakes was really nice, everyday pounding beer, and Sculpin ... well kick arse.

    The Consecration is still doing my head in, dont know if it is a thumbs up or down. The barrel aging was nice ... but after having to dump alot of sour beer one time ...dunno if it is me.

    So gents, on this forum I ask, I like these beers because .... (you fill in the rest).
  2. schuey1010

    schuey1010 Initiate (175) Jun 18, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    I like these beers because ....

    They all come from the best coast
    flexabull and TicoCali like this.
  3. hawthorne00

    hawthorne00 Initiate (133) Nov 23, 2010 Australia

    I wonder too whether I'd enjoy a sour beer if it didn't have "we did this on purpose" written clearly on it. I've only had Consecration once, but really enjoyed it - for me it was the flavours all seeming complementary and not being overwhelming on the palate.
  4. Lukie

    Lukie Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2007 Australia

    RR sours are better then Cantillon.
    TicoCali, jacewg and benjaminahudson like this.
  5. goodbyesoberday

    goodbyesoberday Initiate (0) May 12, 2005 Australia

    Dunno. I've never had the privilege of trying any RR beers.

    I will say one thing though, and this will sound negative. It's not meant to be, and I pre-emptively apologise for offending anyone, ever.

    Give a beer nerd a beer with crazy bits in it and he or she will instantly be (relatively) more amenable / forgiving to any flavours that are commonly deemed as faults in "normal" beer and may still be deemed faults by any normal standard. By 'beer nerd' in this context, I mean anyone who would actually know what 'wild beer' is.

    I've seen too many times people taste poo lambics, acetic sours, sweaty-horse saddle-sores covered in bandaids etc. and come out with comments like "oh, that's interesting", "nice, but I could only have one" or "that's got some FUNK in the trunk!" (OK I made the last one up) and those in my head are all death-knell statements for a beer review, no matter how positively they are stated at the time.

    I had a quick look at the Consecration page on here, reading the beer descriptor and knowing a little bit about Russian River, I can see how that beer could work, but I can also see how it could go very, very wrong. I would assume your bottle was someone between the two. Having a brief skim of the reviews, I also see a small predisposition towards a presence of acetic acid bacteria in the final product.

    Also don't get me wrong on another point, I have great respect for breweries like Russian River and the crazy shit that can do on a commercial scale and I would love to work in a place like that, purely for the experience. Vinnie, if you're reading this, drop me a PM and I'll send you my CV.
  6. Lukie

    Lukie Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2007 Australia

    I am completely lost on what you are actually trying to say. To me it is coming across as if "sour beer is wrong and if you like it, you are wrong".
  7. goodbyesoberday

    goodbyesoberday Initiate (0) May 12, 2005 Australia

    Let me deconstruct, summarise and reapproach, then. Because I do have a tendency to waffle.

    1. "Wild" beers have characteristics that are considered faults according to "normal" beer standards.

    2. Give any "wild" beer to a "beer nerd" and there is a statistical tendency* for faults beyond and above what would ordinarily be considered palatable to be accepted as "part of the style".

    3. I'd still like to work at RR.

    *No proven validation, but I am right.
  8. coreyfmcdonald

    coreyfmcdonald Savant (953) Nov 13, 2008 Georgia
    Beer Trader

    I tend to disagree with you. I prefer the more lactic leaning sourness (and generally a more balanced amount of sourness) as well as the drier and funkier nature of lambic to be more desirable. I also prefer 3F to Cantillon in most cases, but I think both are great examples of brewers of the style.
  9. coreyfmcdonald

    coreyfmcdonald Savant (953) Nov 13, 2008 Georgia
    Beer Trader

    From what I've heard, much of Australia has plentiful access to Cantillon. I would rarely drink American sours if this was the case where I live.
  10. Lukie

    Lukie Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2007 Australia

    Okay, I understand now. I have certainly had my fair share of sours that have had some negative problem to them, but they are still far more palatable then, say, an Imperial Stout with acetic notes. Some Cantillons I have had have bordered on too much acetic, which is a fault in lambic, anyway, but have still found them drinkable.

    I like 3F and Cantillon for completely different reason, as you mentioned. Cantillon has far more depth and complexity then 3F, which is far cleaner, with fantastic (I wanted to put here one dimensional, but it might come across negatively) flavours that are more profound.

    My comment was just a basis so that people who aren't aware of RR sours can find a gauge. I love Cantillon, but so far, I think RR sours (when fresh, as a couple of older ones haven't held up compared to the fresh stuff) have more complexity and interesting characteristics then Cantillon.

    Of course Tilquin is better then everything :grinning:
  11. coreyfmcdonald

    coreyfmcdonald Savant (953) Nov 13, 2008 Georgia
    Beer Trader

    Interesting - I tend to associate 3F with more complexity, but now that I think about it there is more to it than that. I think 3F has softer, more subtle flavors that come through in their beers almost like the complexity you'd get in a Saison with brett. I can see someone saying Cantillon has more depth in the sourness of the beer and certainly more sourness intensity. I find intense sourness often overpowers a lot of complexity, but I can see that varying from palate to palate depending on someone's preference to sourness intensity.
  12. Lukie

    Lukie Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2007 Australia

    My tastebuds for sour are bordering on non-existence since I drink that much lambic.

    The only thing I haven't had from 3F so far is a fruit, and have some aged Kriek sitting in my cellar.
  13. perthbelgianbeer

    perthbelgianbeer Initiate (0) Jan 4, 2011 Australia

    goodbyesoberday, would 'sour honeymoon' tie-in with what you're suggesting? i mention it as i'm someone that's either still in one, or just coming out the other side... for a while there i was blissfully ignorant, and all that soured was gold in my opinion.

    i don't think lukie is one of those ppl though

    scotty, it was probably consecration (possibly a bit old and not well kept) that snapped me out of this sour honeymoon... wanted so hard to love it but side-by-side with red wine vinegar i wouldn't have noticed the difference. recent fresh one though i did enjoy the wood & vanilla aspects that i found... much prefer supplication though.

    i'm a non-brewer, so take this with a silo of salt... but aren't faults in the eye of the beholder i.e. subjective (to an extent, anyway)? e.g. diacetyl sometimes unintended, sometimes deliberate? am happy to be shot down here.

    to reply to the original post, i like sculpin becausei reckon it fits nicely between IPA and DIPA and believe its as good as pliny the elder
  14. Lukie

    Lukie Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2007 Australia

    I would probably agree with that. Sculpin is as good as Pliny. Too bad Woolworths have Ballast Point. No Sculpin for us!
  15. jacewg

    jacewg Defender (609) Jan 7, 2012 District of Columbia

    This. And it's probably blasphemy to a large chunk of people on here. I went to one of those once-in-a-lifetime sour tastings a few weeks ago. 99 Oude Geuze Vintage, 02-08 Oude Geuze Vintage Vertical, Jean Chris Nomad, and Millenium Geuze. All spectacular, spectacular beers. I've also been lucky enough to have a good amount of the Cantillon family including Lou Pepe Kriek, Rose de Gambrinus, Fou Foune, Classic Gueuze, St. Lamvinus (my favorite Cantillon), Lou Pepe Gueuze, etc. And I think Supplication is better than any of them. Temptation is delicious as is Sanctification. RR is making the best family of sours of any American brewery.

    As for Pliny, it's an exceptional DIPA that is a must try for any beer nerd. While I feel it has been surpassed by a handful of beers at this point (Sculpin is firmly in that discussion), it's remarkable that the recipe has managed to stay delicious and relevant for this long. It introduced an exceptional hop profile (columbus, centennial, amarillo, and simcoe) that new beers are still using today (see New Belgium/Alpine Super IPA.)

    Blind Pig, Row 2 Hill 56 are must trys as well.
    Lukie likes this.
  16. foles

    foles Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2007 Australia

    They are one of the best breweries in the US. And sampling their beers fresh at the brewpub is one of life's great experiences.
  17. scmorgan

    scmorgan Initiate (0) Apr 5, 2005 Australia

    I was unemotionally attached to the RR beer. Still neither here nor there. The flavour intensity i liked, the packaging was great and the take on things out there.

    Jacewg just jagged my memory, the Blind Pig at SF Toranado definately had some kick.

    I guess what I did like was the diversity that style of beer bought. Imagine handing a sour wine to a wine-tard?
  18. spicelab

    spicelab Defender (672) Nov 6, 2009 Australia
    Beer Trader

    Beatification is the only RR sour that I'd put in that category.

    I don't find their other sours that amazing (have only had Supplication, Sanctification and Temptation), and personally thought the Cascade sours were in another league when I visited both breweries in February (again, Beatification excepted).
    danieelol likes this.
  19. imperialbeerdude

    imperialbeerdude Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2012 Colorado

    How does Rodenbach compare?
  20. henryspam

    henryspam Initiate (0) Jan 14, 2009 California

    I like these beer because...

    Drakes is literally 5 minutes away from my place. (don't hate)
    RR sours are "Cantillon caliber" in my opinion

    I like how Vinnie puts an American twist into these sours to showcase his background. Drakes are doing pretty well on the hop department. However, it seems to me that they are going the same route with Lagunitas where everything has to be hoppy. Think about it, they make a pale ale (which is hoppy already), IPA, then a DIPA, then another "hoppy pale ale", then another ale between pale ale and IPA, then another IPA...
  21. Lukie

    Lukie Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2007 Australia

    Rodenbach Vintage is incredible. Grand Cru is fantastic. I have had this years Caractere Rouge, and it was a phenomenal beer, if not a bit fruit sweet. I have another ageing away, and will likely give it a year to mellow a little.

    Rodenbach deserves much love, but it's a completely different aspect of sour, so can't really compare to lambic.
    hawthorne00 likes this.
  22. hawthorne00

    hawthorne00 Initiate (133) Nov 23, 2010 Australia

    Grand Cru is also a bargain.
    Parrotshake and Lukie like this.
  23. Lukie

    Lukie Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2007 Australia

    Kegs of Grand Cru are even better!
  24. danieelol

    danieelol Savant (956) Jun 15, 2010 Australia

    Yer Beatification is at least equal to the best other sours I've had. I haven't been quite as sold on the other RR sours I had the chance to try. They were good but I'd rate Lost Abbey and 3F's sours over them by a fair way.
  25. danieelol

    danieelol Savant (956) Jun 15, 2010 Australia

    Grass is always greener etc.
  26. goodbyesoberday

    goodbyesoberday Initiate (0) May 12, 2005 Australia

    Yes, that sounds roughly appropriate to what I think I was trying to say.

    It's almost an "it's not you, it's me" relationship, where one sips one of these beers and struggles with the flavour profile, then decides that it must be their inexperience with the style to blame, not the beer.

    That ties in well with the 'honeymoon' concept, doesn't it?
  27. coreyfmcdonald

    coreyfmcdonald Savant (953) Nov 13, 2008 Georgia
    Beer Trader

    Oh, I'm sure. I'm just saying this particular aspect of buying beer in Australia would be nice.
  28. Krankyfw

    Krankyfw Initiate (0) May 31, 2012 Australia

    I think Vincent Cilurzo is probably the best brewer on the planet. Drinking my way through the entire tap list at Russian River was awesome (no tasting trays for me). Fresh Pliny on tap at the brewery is just gorgeous, it's so well balanced. The first time I did a clone recipe of it I thought there's no way it was going to work but it did.

    I like RR sours even more. Consecration and Supplication are two of my all time favourite beers. I'm a big fan of Cantillion and more recently 3 Fonteinen too, but I'd drink RR sours first if I had the choice. Beer aged in barrels when well done make the most complex beers and best beers in my view.

    As for brewing sour beer, I brew a simple sour with White Labs American Farmhouse Ale Blend (I read somewhere Tomme Arthur had a hand in it's development). It goes sour after about 5 or 6 weeks, which is quick. After I keg it I fill my hop rocket with fruit and use it as a randal to a make a sour fruit beer. It's surprising how many people like it (I'm not always happy about that, my mates smash it down). I tell people it's a little like a granny smith apple and I think they are more comfortable having a point of reference when they try it. I also think that there's health benefits from sour beers, probably not in the quantity I drink them though.
    Lukie likes this.
  29. Lukie

    Lukie Initiate (0) Jun 16, 2007 Australia

    Can you share your recipe and your hop rocket info with me, Kranky :slight_smile:

    I would be ever grateful.
  30. Parrotshake

    Parrotshake Initiate (0) Nov 29, 2008 Australia

    Indeed. I tried Pliny, Damnation, RR Porter, Supplication and Consecration... maybe one other. All gems. Although sitting outside drinking beer at RR in the middle of the day seems to be an invitation for every homeless person in the city to wander over and talk your ear off/ask for money or a bite of your sandwich. Regardless, impeccable beers all round except for Damnation which was merely 'good'. Have been lucky enough to have people schlep me back Pliny from the US twice since, turns out it's still really good.
    MrKennedy likes this.
  31. eric5bellies

    eric5bellies Meyvn (1,266) Jun 9, 2006 Australia

    "RR sours are better then Cantillon"

    Ease up sunshine.
    Lukie likes this.
  32. dbol

    dbol Initiate (0) Aug 19, 2007 California
    Beer Trader

    not sure that they are better than cantillon, but they are damn good. very excited that i have a high possibility of moving to san francisco on my slow migration back to oz. or the rr note, i will take blind pig over pliny hands down, any day of the week.
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