Russian River Temptation

Russian River Temptation

Rated 4.161 by BeerPals
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Brewed by Russian River Brewing

Santa Rosa, CA, United States

Style:  Belgian Strong Ale

7.3% Alcohol by Volume

27 International Bittering Units

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Is it beer, or is it wine? "Aged in French oak wine barrels for twelve months with distinct characteristics of fruit and subtle oak" sounds more like a description of wine than beer. But, of course, Temptation is indeed beer. Actually, Temptation is 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. The "Bret" gives Temptation intriguing characteristics and a pleasant sourness. Temptation is re-fermented in the bottle to create its carbonation--a process commonly used to make fine champagne and sparkling wine. Spent yeast forms a thin layer of sediment to remain in the bottle. Silver Medal, 2007 GABF (Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer) Gold Medal, 2006 World Beer Cup (Other Belgian Style Ale Category) Silver Medal, 2004 World Beer Cup (Other Belgian Style Ale Category) Silver Medal, 2003 GABF (Belgian Ale Category) Gold Medal, 2002 GABF (Belgian Ale Category)

ID: 12889 Last updated 12 years ago Added to database 19 years ago

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Overall Rank31
Overall Percentile99.9
Style Rank5 of 1225
Style Percentile99.6
Lowest Score3.3
Highest Score4.8
Average Score4.335
Weighted Score4.161
Standard Deviation0.418

Rating Distribution

Beer vs Style

20 Member Reviews

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  • BLUESANDBARBQ 2568 reviews
    rated 4.5 12 years ago

    Aroma: 8 | Appearance: 9 | Mouthfeel: 9 | Flavor: 10 | Overall: 9

    Another beer I thought I'd never get to try - generous sample @ #KnoxBeerCrew tasting. Hazy amber gold pour, tight tall head, light lacing. Tart funky and yeasty aroma - pears and apples, some zesty fruits. Zesty tart and sour upfront, pears, apples, peaches - lots of tree fruits going on - sour then sweet, yeasty and again funky, some woodsy quality then tart again... I LOVE IT! Wow, what a beer. SUPER glad to get to try it. Wasn't on my Wish List but it should have been!

  • ZYTHUM 289 reviews
    rated 4.8 12 years ago

    Aroma: 9 | Appearance: 10 | Mouthfeel: 9 | Flavor: 10 | Overall: 10

    sampled 7/8/09. 375ml bottle with mitch. Batch 1! pours a golden color, thin head. woo! this one is all funkified. aroma is earthy, musty, sweaty, fruity, tart. taste is tart, funky, fruity. some underlying oakiness. winey. good carbonation. body is medium. finish is crisp, dry. aftertaste is funky. Thanks for sharing this one, Mitch!

  • KINGER 2328 reviews
    rated 4.2 13 years ago

    Aroma: 8 | Appearance: 8 | Mouthfeel: 9 | Flavor: 8 | Overall: 9

    February 2011 Vertical Tasting: Sampled bottles from batches 5, 4, and 3 prior to dinner. Batch 5 was extremely sharp and very tart with lots of passion fruit. Dry and quenching this was the most upfront of the three. Batch 4 had toned down slightly and was more drinkable, while still maintaining a sharp acidity. Batch 3 was well aged and had blended nicely, it would be very approachable for both the sour fan and one new to the style. Tangy and tart mango and pear were prominent, but the sharp edge had faded by this point. All in all I preferred the Batch 4 as it struck a nice balance between fresh and aggressive compared to the well aged and subdued.

  • HONKEYMOFO 1000 reviews
    rated 3.3 13 years ago

    Aroma: 6 | Appearance: 7 | Mouthfeel: 6 | Flavor: 7 | Overall: 7

    It pours a lightly hazy golden-yellow with a thin white head and copious lacing. An aroma of apples, pears, oranges, bread and yeast, and mild spices. The mouthfeel is smooth and rich. Flavors of sweet and sour malts, apples, pears, tart, citrus blend, and spiciness. Very tart, but tasty.

  • SUDSMCDUFF 3781 reviews
    rated 4.0 14 years ago

    Aroma: 8 | Appearance: 8 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 8 | Overall: 8

    wake up! pours a shimmer gold .. . medium white bubbly headring .. . citrus and sweet and sour aromas . .. nice bracing bite, refreshing and very elegant. . a great sour quaffer!

  • CHANGEUP45 864 reviews
    rated 4.8 14 years ago

    Aroma: 10 | Appearance: 10 | Mouthfeel: 9 | Flavor: 9 | Overall: 10

    Batch 3. 375ml. Courtesy of cloudskipper. A huge POP upon uncorking the bottle. Golden color with a real thick off-white head and a nice foam remains on top until the last drop. Wow, what a great aroma, champagne, brett, chardonnay, lemon, yeast, flowers, nice nose. Flavors are tart, acidic and sour with a wonderful bretty dry numbing. Chardonnay and oak does show in the flavor with lemon, grapes and a bit of funk. What an amazing beer. Kudos to Vinnie for brewing this and to Chris for hooking me up!

  • SLOWRUNNER77 5682 reviews
    rated 4.3 15 years ago

    Aroma: 8 | Appearance: 9 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 9 | Overall: 9

    ok, Russian River knows what they're doing with the Belgian style. This is one of the better ones I've tried. I've only had it on tap...hopefully, as it's corked, it's just as good in the bottle. A little pricey, but worth trying. had for the third time last night-just a sample, but it's grown on me a little (not that i didn't like it before). the brett & barreling seemed more aggressive this time, which was a good thing. near mouth-puckering yuminess.

  • SAP 999 reviews
    rated 4.4 16 years ago

    Aroma: 7 | Appearance: 8 | Mouthfeel: 10 | Flavor: 9 | Overall: 10

    Batch 2, Sampled December 2007
    It was definitely a slight mistake to serve this at near cellar temperatures (60ºF / 15.5ºC), as the beer foamed up and started gushing as soon as I popped the cork. I only lost a couple ounces though. The beer forms a frothy, scant fat-one-finger thick, pale, off white colored head that is actually quite persistent. The beer is a hazy, slightly chunky, orange tinted, dark straw color. The oak character seems much subdued from the first batch (which is a good thing as this was my main complaint with that beer). This is nice and funky, notes of urea, aromatic goat, farmhouse-stinky-cheese, a definite cattiness, mushroom spore and a host of sharp phenolics that at times approaches fresh curing plastic. Underneath the funk is a nice fruit character reminiscent of tart, un-ripened white grapes (sauvignon blanc & gewürztraminer come to mind), as well as touch of green apple and tart pear aromas. The aroma on this is really quite nice, it is definitely ringing my funky bone right now.

    Tart, but not aggressively so (at least for this Gueuze addict), it is somehow soft and creamy feeling, despite the still present carbonation. This creaminess has definitely been picked up in the barrel as oak notes add some tongue coating softness to this brew and even some heft to the body; suggestive from the butter-like oak flavors this makes the beer actually feel buttery in texture. Soft oak contributions of vanillin, a definite sharp spiciness and perhaps a hint of buttery-oak notes are all found here, though the spicy notes are definitely the largest oak character here. The wine analogy continues as the process used is definitely a contributor; definitely reminiscent of an oaky chardonnay as this beer has flavors of green fruit, star-fruit, flint, a certain light metallic quality and that definite oak presence. The funky wee-beasts and the oak contribute spice notes of white pepper, piquant ginger, The flavor is not quite as funky as the aroma might have suggested, but I think this is ultimately a good thing as it allows the complexity of the fruit, oak and spiciness to come through. The sourness, while present and definitive, is so well integrated that it is not overly noticed on its own.

    The oak character is much more in check with this the second batch. This is a far superior beer in my opinion (and it hasn’t taken anywhere near 5 years as I last predicted) as the oak, while present, now plays a supporting role. If successive batches keep getting better, then I am going to need to re-baseline my scoring. Just a fantastic brew. The texture is phenomenal & the flavor is just so well integrated and nuanced. The aroma, while absolutely engaging and complex, may actually be a bit too funky. Let me explain that though, because I absolutely love funk and the funk found in the aroma, while dominant, is so well integrated together, but it is a bit too dominant to let the nuanced oak, grape and malt notes through (despite being so inviting and characterful). I may even need to crack a batch 1 just to see what is happening to that .I still maintain that these 375ml bottles just aren’t quite enough, as I always want more of this brew after draining my glass. Though if it was a 750’s worth, my proliferous text might be pushing the extremes of my already superfluous text.

    Batch 1, Sampled July 2005
    7/4/7/4/16 total 3.8
    Pours a lightly hazy orange-copper color, it is pretty well carbonated and has a frothy pale, almost white head. The aroma is quite oaky with lots of buttery notes, an astringent woodiness, notes of grapes (perhaps sauvignon or chardonnay), notes of pears, and some subtle spice notes. Quite an interesting nose on this one.

    The beer is quite light on the palate, and very dry. The dryness actually suppresses the oakiness a bit, but it is definitely still here. The finish is quite long with a subtle tannic woodiness to it. There is a light acidity (for a Lambic at least) here as well, more similar to the lactic character of a Lambic than the acetic character of a Flemish sour beer. I am really quite relieved that I don’t get any diacetyl in this beer (I am quite sensitive to it), there is a bit of buttery character (mostly in the aroma), but this is definitely oak derived. There is a certain spritzy character to this beer that is a combination of the carbonation and the acidity.

    This beer is really quite interesting, Vinnie still has a ways to go, but this has more to do with the barrels than Vinnie at this point. I think that Vinnie has the touch, in perhaps 5 years (if the wee bugs are compliant and amenable) the new releases of this should be stellar.

    Purchased: Russian River Brewing

  • BFELDMANN 1056 reviews
    rated 4.7 16 years ago

    Aroma: 10 | Appearance: 9 | Mouthfeel: 9 | Flavor: 9 | Overall: 10

    Thanks eagle thanks Poured a cloudy golden color big head solid lacing. Aroma was sour lemons some other citrus to it. Flavor was sour lemons some woodyness grapes and a nice balance acidic finish. Great great beer.

  • EAGLEFAN538 2299 reviews
    rated 4.8 16 years ago

    Aroma: 10 | Appearance: 9 | Mouthfeel: 9 | Flavor: 10 | Overall: 10

    Bottle courtesy Odeed. Pour was golden with haziness, lots of head from the bottle even after pouring a few ml's for a rinse, just oozing from the bottle top, quick rinse and pour. The lacing was stellar, head retention great. The aroma was very nice, tart lemons and cherries (or some other fruity character, not a pure sour lemon drop), bret, yeast, some spicing. The flavor was excellent, tart/sour lemons, other tart fruits, approaching a flemish sour of the quality of Panil and La Folie, yet with much more of a malt support than either, sweetish fruits, bread, and yeast underneath, yet far from sweet, of course oak and other wood notes making a firm appearance, touches of mint too. The funk is gentle, somewhat leathery, and this thing just blows away Jolly Pumpkin's sour/bret action. If this is what RR is all about, gimme more!!!! An outstanding beer, one of my fav's perhaps of all my ratings? Thanks again, Jacob! Re-rate from a Monks Cafe Batch 003 bottle in 11/08, a wonderful retasting, white grapes, chardonnay, and oak all more prominent than my previous experience, quite complex, a nice concoction.

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