I knew my first beer at Russian River would have to be a sour ale, but which one would I choose was the real question. Temptation was the only sour ale on their beer board that I hadn’t had before, so it was my choice numero uno.
Temptation is part of the barrel-aged beer series at Russian River. This sour blonde ale is aged in chardonnay barrels and clocks in with an admirable 7.5% ABV.
Blonde Ale aged in used Chardonnay barrels from local Sonoma County wineries. It is aged for about 9 to 15 months (depending on the age of the barrel) with lots of brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus added to each barrel. Medium bodied with hints of oak and Chardonnay, funky brett characteristics, with a nice, long sour finish.
The beer arrived at my table in a with only a ring of white lining the rim of the glass. A clear, but light apricot color liquid filled the chalice. Tiny bubbles float around the beer, but I was surprised I didn’t see any sediment. Lacing is mild and patchy.
Funk filled my nose as I took the first sniff. Cherries, plums, hay and peach were the more “pleasant” smells in the nose, with hints of wet dog and acetone rounding it out.
Thankfully the taste was just as funky as the nose. It starts with a sour peach flavor that fades quickly into a sweet tangelo with a little pucker. Faint hints of dry white wine balance out the end and wrap up the flavor. I just wish that the sour was more in your face and not so middle of the road.
Mouthfeel is as light and airy as would be expected. It evaporates quickly, but leaves some behind to cling to your tongue.
Temptation isn’t Russian River’s most sour beer, so it works as a starter beer. However, the flavors aren’t nearly as pronounced as one would hope and it leaves a bit to be desired.
Overall: 6.5 out of 10
As an AMERICAN WILD ALE: 5.5
FOR FANS OF: Russian River SANCTIFICATION, The Bruery OUI OUI, Arbor Brewing SODIBO