We all have experienced those watershed moments in our lives. V-day. Man walking on the moon. The Angels winning the pennant. All monumental feats of human ingenuity, courage, and prowess. Today, we can add another to that list. The creation of Russian River Supplication. I’ve already petitioned Prentice Hall and Pearson to get this U.S History books, so you can rest well.
The fourth Russian River brew to hit Beer Chatter is the best one yet. Aged in Oak Pinot Noir Barrels for over a year, Supplication brings a wildly unique and memorable flavor that no other beer can match. I had the pleasure (or should I say privilege) to try this beer on location at the brewery in Santa Rosa, and I was crazy about it then, but like a fine red wine, this tasted better [as I] aged. I had my big brother ship back one bottle to me in Connecticut where it safely arrived wrapped in two pairs of socks sitting at the bottom of a golf bag. On the east coast, it aged a little bit longer for about 4 more months. (By the way, I am seriously kicking myself for not having 100 bottles shipped back.) Taunting me since June, I finally gave in and popped the cork on this one, and I’m glad I did. Let’s do those numbers.
Appearance: Dark amber/brown/red in color. You can’t see through the beer (as to be expected since it is bottle fermented) and it left a little sediment on the bottom of the glass when I was done. The head goes away very quickly and is a reddish khaki color that was darker than expected. The appearance of the brew is similar to a nice fall glass of apple cider. This ale most definitely picked up the color of Pinot when it was barreled. An odd color for a beer and not too appealing, but not surprising that it’s a little rough – it was in oak for over a year.
Smell: Tart, sour apricots, citrus, yeasty apples, very fruity. Lactic, yogurt, light oak, sour cherries, and obviously a little red wine.
Taste: The sourest beer I’ve ever had. Very tart, but so so tasty. Sour, sour citrus, lemony, bitter orange oil, and lactic funk. I get some oak as it finishes as well as a rich pitted black olive taste that lingers for a while. Unbelievable, I want to leap out of my apartment window and tell Connecticut about this beer, Paul Revere style. The tannins from the wine leap out into your moth terrorizing your palate. As you drink it, the more red wine you get from the beer. It is a brilliant beer and I am so sad that I won’t have another one of these for a long, long time. If you read Beer Chatter in CT, look for this beer online, and yes, it’s worth the 30 dollars you will pay for the beer plus shipping.
Back to the beer. The 7% ABV hides itself nicely. Much like you just get a wonderful rich taste when drinking wine, you get a rich taste with this and the ABV is forgotten in the admiration of the beer. A cop would even understand that if you get pulled over drinking this on a Friday night: “But officer, I had a life altering experience!”… only a warning for you. The simplest way to describe the overall experience of Supplication is that it’s a sour explosion up front with the black pitted olive as the most distinctive part of the finish. Deeply complex and very drinkable, especially if you love a good sour flavor. The advantages of those northern California brewers is that they can do stuff like this: put some of the finest beers in the finest wine barrels resulting in an elixir that Dionysus would be proud of.
Overall: A+ The best beer I’ve ever had. Nothing more to say. Buy it.