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Thursday, September 21, 2006 

Russian River Temptation

84 / 100

From the label:

Is it beer, or is it wine? "Aged in French oak wine barrels for twelve months with distinct characteristics of fruit and subtle oak" sounds more like a description of wine than beer. But, of course, Temptation is indeed beer. Actually, Temptation is a Blonde Ale Fermented with a special strain of yeast, then aged in French oak chardonnay barrels. Flavors of wine and oak absorb into the brew throughout twelve months of aging. During this aging process, a secondary fermentation occurs using a yeast strain disliked by most brewers and winemakers called Brettanomyces. The "Bret" gives Temptation intriguing characteristics and a pleasant sourness. Temptation is re-fermented in the bottle to create its carbonation--a process commonly used to make fine champagne and sparkling wine. Spent yeast forms a thin layer of sediment to remain in the bottle.

After over a year of waiting, I finally cracked open my lone bottle of Temptation. Batch 001, 350 mL.

The golden color fizzed nicely in my Chimay chalice. It swirled a nice pinky finger head. A sweet and sour Brettanomyces fragrance reminded me of an oud bruin, almost. The taste was tart without being cloying, as a sweetness followed. Sour apple and meringue flavors were evident. It's close in taste to Depuration, but a bit sweeter. A fine beer.

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