Monday, November 7, 2011

Russian River Temptation


After waiting for over a week, I finally start on the "ation" series of Belgian-style beers by California-based brewery Russian River. These beers were sent to me in a trade with Sean, who just started doing beer videos on his new youtube channel http://youtube.com/BayAreaBeers (thanks again for the beer!). The "Temptation" is a sour ale aged in French Chardonnay barrels. I was really looking forward to trying it!

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (564) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 7, 2011
I poured a 375ml corked and caged bottle into a champagne flute.

Appearance: Champagne or lager-like complexity of bright white gold with massive carbonation bubbles present. Forms a good sized white foamy head which laces and retains very well.

Smell: White grape, straw, sour candy.

Taste: A lot of people wave a flag on drinkers like me that enjoy overly sweet flavored stouts and other beers because they’re basically just liquid candy. But can’t the same be said for sours? Drinking Russian River Temptation is like drinking liquid sour candy like Sour Patch Kids. It’s very sour, tart, sweet, refreshing and delicious. I guess these types of beers get a pass because they’re made with "wild" yeast which have to be handled with care. Plus this beer was aged in French Chardonnay oak barrels (although I get no wood character from this beer).

It begins with immediate sourness - sharp and to the point. There’s a subtle sweetness through the middle with a fruity-like taste of white grape. Then it transitions back to its sour edge, turning more towards tartness like an unripe grape or berry. It’s an interesting and fun mix of sourness and sweetness with a short, but intense sour aftertaste which lingers for a little while and builds up by the time you finish the bottle.

Mouthfeel: Thin, crisp with extremely fine carbonation tingling. Leaves a sugary aftertaste of sourness and seems to numb the tongue.

Drinkability: For an overtly sour beer, bottle-conditioned and highly effervescent, Russian River temptation is remarkably easy to drink. The flute glass helps concentrate it to the middle of the tongue instead of the entire mouth and no carbonation gets stuck in the throat. It goes down smooth, although there is a dry aftertaste. The 7.5% seems right on the money. On one hand it has the robustness of something stronger; but on the other hand it drinks and feels like an even lighter beer. Nice to see an American sour that is comparable to the Belgians.
Grade: 8/10