As you should know, last week I wrapped up my final review of the 6-pack of suds gift set my mama gave me for Christmas. And now I shall begin to review another gift set of my favorite beverage, courtesy of my good friend in California, Dr. Stefon. The good doctor sent me 5 bottles of high quality brew in the mail, and I shall pontificate about them all, starting this week with Russian River “Sanctification”. Memory refresher: Dr. Stefon sent me the Russian River “Consecration” and also the “Damnation”.
I have stated in the past that I do not prefer sour beers, and wild ales tend to be on a fairly high rung of the sour ladder. But as a lover of beer I will always taste one when it’s available for cheap. And by “cheap” I mean “free”. Since I am a cheap bastard, and my wallet is as water tight as a dolphin’s sphincter, I don’t exchange any of my earned income on them. But if an acquaintance of mine has one in hand I will always turn on my puppy-dog face and ask for a gulp.
“But, I thought you didn’t like sour beer.”
“Shut your sewer and just give me a taste before I Indian burn both of your arms, you filthy sack of pig balls.”
Damn, I am so charming when I talk to women.
I’ll start off my description of this brew by saying this: I didn’t like it very much. But I am grateful for Dr. Stefon’s generosity in giving it to me, not just because it was considerate and kind for him to do so, but because this is an interesting specimen to compare to the Consecration, which is also a wild ale by Russian River, but is vastly different in many respects. Sanctification is murky and takes on the dull color of grapefruit pulp. The aroma is faint and stings with a very sour citrus scent. A thick, bright white head resembling and easily malleable clay rests on top after the pour. Upfront the flavor is pronounced with grapefruit, lemon, and a touch of sugar. Soon thereafter a blast of sourness opens fire, and the beer finishes with a sour, funky bitterness. The bitterness carries through into the aftertaste and picks up strength while the sour flavor remains. But the sourness can’t hold on, and it fades to black leaving the final lingering flavors to be bitterness and lemon candy. The texture is good. It’s sharp with a high amount of CO2. Lacing is average; white foam maps the entire perimeter of the glass.
If you’re a lover of sour ales it’s great. It has a strong and well-balanced flavor, a full body, and it is refreshing. It is sour and funky but not rotten or foul. With the exception of the sour funk flavor profiles, Sanctification is completely different than Consecration in every way. To experience two different brews that are the in the same family but vary greatly from each other is actually a delightful exploration into the world of beer. Consecration is a vastly superior wild ale in my opinion (and my opinion is gospel). Drinking Sanctification was like nailing the awkward, reclusive, kind of ugly older sister of her attractive and outgoing younger sibling: not very enjoyable but worth doing for gaining the wisdom.
Beer Type: American Wild Ale
IBU: 40 (my best guess)
Overall: 6/10 (please don’t think this makes this a bad beer; I just don’t like sours)