Today I have what is sure to be a fine brew from Russian River brewing out of Santa Rosa, CA. Russian River is widelyÂ recognizedÂ for their many sour beers as well as their hoppy beers, particularly the highly sought afterÂ PlinyÂ the Elder. Supplication is brewed with a total of 6 yeast varietals. Initially fermented with an Abby Ale yeast. Conditioned with Rockpile wine yeast, Brettanomyces, Saccharomyces, Pediococcus & Lactobacillus. If that weren’t enough this Brown Ale is aged in OakÂ Pinot Noir barrels with cherries. I am always pleased to see breweries who properly label & date their brews and Russian River goes a step beyond with a rather well updated bottle log with detailed notes about date brewed, date bottled, yeasts used and even additional comments on process or flavor profiles. This bottleÂ labeled 04×5 is part of the 4th batch brewedÂ 12/23/2008, bottled 12/14/2009 and was the first batch to use their new smaller profile 375ml bottles. As you can see this bottle was barrel aged for almost one year and has been bottle conditioning for almost eleven months. I have been lucky enough to have a number of brews from this fine establishment but do not recall ever sampling this one, so let’s get to it.
Upon opening a lovely pop erupts and carbonate starts to build in the neck of the bottle. I quickly poured it into my glass and watched as a lovelyÂ bouquetÂ of off white head was easily produced, spanning about two fingers. After fading serious lacing is still present and creates an attractive presentation contrasting with the modestly translucent deep ruby hue of the beer. Upon first whiff you are immediately presented with sour cherries, tart Brettanomyces esters and a nice blend of herbal and earthy esters of oak,Â Pinot Noir and more. Flavor is of rich cherries, both tart and semi-sweet. Wonderful acidity and sour yeast esters blendÂ phenomenallyÂ with the malt base. Truly a fantastic beer with gentle malty sweetness playing alongside tangy, sour esters, caramel, cherries and soft bitterness. Mouthfeel is mildly puckering, rather dry and the body is medium. Coming in at a reasonable 7% ABV this is a beer I could drink all night long if only it were less expensive and distributed in Minnesota. If you enjoy sour beers you are likely to enjoy most of what Russian River has to offer and this one is no exception. A beautiful brew that shows how multidimensional beer can be. A wonderfully inspired mix between a Flemish Brown Ale and a Kriek. If you enjoy sour brown ales and cherries you will be inÂ heavenÂ with this beer. If you’re lucky enough to live where Russian River is distributed; give it a shot and ride your bike. Then send me some more. 🙂