Russian River Brewing Co. was started, in 1997, by the Korbel Champagne Co.. They hired Vinnie Cilurzo as brewmaster and when Korbel decided brewing beer wasn’t for them anymore Vinnie and his wife, Natalie, bought the brewery. That was in 2002. Russian River now consists of a 20-barrel brewpub and a 50-barrel production brewhouse located in Santa Rosa, Calif.. That 50-barrel brewhouse was updated earlier in 2015 with new equipment. Not bigger equipment, just newer equipment, so don’t expect to start seeing Russian River beers pop up in new markets. However, as recently as last week reports have come out stating that the Cilurzo’s are actively seeking out another location that would be become a second brewpub.

Russian River Consecration bottle

Today I will be reviewing another beer from Russian River’s –tion series. Consecration is defined as, the act of making something sacred or dedicating it to service and worship of a deity. Is this beer worthy of the gods? Let’s dive in and find out.

First, a little background about the beer. Inspired by the 20th Anniversary Ale brewed for Toronado, Consecration is a dark sour beer aged for between four to eight months exclusively in cabernet sauvignon barrels with black currants added.

Getting to the pour, Consecration glugs out of the bottle exhibiting a sand colored half finger of head that dissipates faster than a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses who just saw your shrine to Baphomet. The look of this beer is exactly like that of a cherry soda, deep burnt red and crystal clear. The aroma is how I imagine Ron Burgundy’s apartment smells like with its many leather bound books and scents of rich mahogany. Dusty, musty basement, leather and cigars fresh out of the humidor are conjoined to huge notes of black currants, cherries, and a strong lactic sourness.

Russian River Consecration

The first sip is a tsunami of lactic and tannic acid and causes my taste buds to stand on end. That biting sourness leads the way for a jammy and vinous currant flavor rounded out by notes of oak, Cabernet Sauvignon, spicy Belgian yeast characteristics, and tobacco. Consecration has the driest mouthfeel of any beer I’ve ever had. The starting gravity is listed at 1.078, so with an ABV of 10 percent that leaves the finishing gravity just below 1.002. Yes, super dry. The carbonation in conjunction with the dryness leaves my mouth feeling as though I have been eating cotton balls. Zero alcohol is detectable and at such a high ABV that is quite the impressive feat.

Russian River Consecration
BREWERY: Russian River Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Santa Rosa, Calif.
STYLE: American Wild Ale
ABV: 10 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: $15
Overall, Consecration is the kind of beer that turns the normal individual into a hoarder. It’s unique, complex, and yet retains a high amount of drinkability. This beer definitely dances on the edge of the confines for what defines a beer, however I think that is exactly what makes it so fascinating and endearing.
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