And lead us
not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. That’s how it goes right? At least it should if we’re praying to the beer gods, and especially if they bless us with one hell of a barrel aged sour from northern California. Russian River Temptation is yet another sour from this brewery from the Bear Republic, and it joins the annals of other Russian River sours reviewed here on Beer Chatter. Will Temptation lead to a path of vice and corruption? Only one way to find out – time to run them numbers…
Appearance: First pour looks like yellow gold with a crisp white head; second pour was more unrefined with some floaties scattered around. The beer is the slightest bit hazy with bubbles powdered throughout the stemware.
Smell: I’m getting a lot of musty oak from Temptation. Step into your attic’s crawlspace and you know what I’m talking about here – a similar smell to antique newspapers Grandpa saved from his old war days. It works well with the large lactic and acidic smells I’m getting from the brew as well as the wine notes.
Taste: A little bit of a different taste emerges from the beer after smelling it. It delivers with a ground shaking sourness, but does not taste nearly as murky as the smell would indicate. Temptation is very vibrant and effervescent with that damp, basementy smell shying away once it passed through the lips. There still is a hint of it, but I’d attribute that to the oak in here (which is fairly pronounced). Hints of white wine are scattered on the front end and mid palate of this brew, while the finish is similar to a dry chardonnay. The likeness to the liquid that originally populated the barrel is very apparent within Temptation. I’m not getting a ton of fruitiness, if anything granny smith apples are the only thing that come to mind. Like other Russian River sours, a pitted olive taste lingers after you swallow, which seems to be common of many sours I’ve had and something that I am fond of.
The carbonation is perfect, maybe a little bit zesty, but works nicely with the flavors of the beer. The ABV is high for the style at 7.5%, and you vaguely feel it after the second helping. A lighter body encapsulates the mouth, which is standard and desired from a beer like this.
Overall: I enjoyed Russian River Temptation, but found it to be noticeably less complex than their other red wine sours, Consecration and Supplication. However, its core elements are perfect and its simplicity is refreshing earning this brew an A-. Temptation was nice, but I don’t think it’ll get me in much trouble.
A big thank you also goes out to Moe from CraftBeerKings.com. This arrived in a sour mystery box he packed for me and I can attest that it is certainly worth pulling the trigger on if you ever see it on the site.