Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Russian River Brewing Company - Temptation

As anyone who loves sour beers already knows, Russian River makes some amazing sours. Their year round (or semi-year round) sour lineup consists of three beers that are aged in wine barrels: Supplication (a sour that uses cherries and is aged in Pinot Noir Barrels), Consecration (a sour that uses currants and is aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels) and Temptation (a sour that is aged in Chardonnay barrels). All three of these beers crack the Top 100 List with Supplication clocking in at #19, Consecration coming in at #58 and Temptation at #45. I had tried and loved the others, but hadn't had the chance to try Temptation until Stone's Anniversary Celebration last weekend.

Temptation pours a pale yellow color with a thin, off-white head. The base beer for Temptation is a blonde ale, which I think was probably the best choice to age in chardonnay barrels. Blonde ales are traditionally a lot lighter than the base beers used for Supplication and Consecration and this would enable the beer to pick up the lighter flavors in the Chardonnay barrel during the aging process. The chardonnay comes across nicely in the smell alongside some wood, lemon and a touch of white vinegar.

The flavors in Temptation may be a little lighter and more subtle than a beer like Supplication, but the beer still packs one hell of a sour punch. Ripe green apples and chardonnay lead off the flavor and are quickly overcome by a huge blast of sour/bretty goodness. A little apple cider vinegar and lemon come into play on the finish. This was easily one of the best sours I've ever had. The light base beer really showcases the barrel aging and shows off some fantastic delicate flavors without sacrificing that great sourness that Russian Rivers sours are famous for. This is an absolute must-try if you love sour beer.

Final Grade: A

Top 100 Beers Tasted: 29

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