Saturday, August 24, 2013

Russian River Sanctification

4.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (953) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 24, 2013
I poured a 375ml bottle into a tulip glass. There was no freshness date, though it was Batch 006. I got this bottle from a friend who picked it up in Philadelphia for $18 ($1.42 per ounce)!

Appearance: Bright, almost glowing, banana-skin yellow hue. Very cloudy, but translucent. Forms a small, bright white, soapy head which doesn’t completely evaporate and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: Strong sour aroma with farmhouse notes and tropical fruit.

Taste: Sour beers are all the rage these days, though I haven’t quite jumped onto the bandwagon yet. While I enjoy the candy-like taste, many sours tend to be one-dimensional and don’t have a well-brewed beer at the core. Russian River Sanctification is a major exception to this rule as it has strong (and delicious) sour character, but still has a solid beer base.

The first thing I notice about the palette is, not surprisingly, the sourness. It’s sharp, almost piercing, and yet in no way annoying. There’s a fantastic candy-like tartness, not unlike confections made with malic acid. There’s a grapefruit-like taste as well, probably from the use of West Coast hops (the description doesn’t say which are used). The bitterness is there, but is hard to distinguish because the sourness is so strong. It finishes with a taste of lemon flesh coupled with honey or, strangely enough, maple syrup. It’s the base pale malt showing through and it’s quite impressive. Some tartness lingers on the tongue momentarily, but it quickly fades away. Overall, this is [one of] the best American sours I’ve ever had.

Drinkability: While Russian River Sanctification may indeed be intense, the actual drinking process is not challenging at all. The mouthfeel is somewhat thin with fine micro carbonation - nothing spastic like champagne. It can be sipped or gulped, though I took my time with this as I really wanted to get my $18’s worth. It seems a little lighter in body than its 6.75% ABV would otherwise indicate, but I would not describe this beer as being "light" in any way. 
Grade: 9/10