BREWERY: Russian River Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Santa Rosa, Calif.
STYLE: Brown Ale
ABV: 7 percent
RELEASE DATE: 2005
AVAILABLE IN: 375ml bottles
BEERS POURED: One
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.
Vinnie is a well noted pioneer in the field of American wild ales. These sour beers produced by Russian River fall under what many call the -tion series of ales. Today, we will be looking at Supplication.
The beer is described as a brown ale aged for an average of 12 months in used pinot noir barrels from Sonoma County with sour cherries. The usual suspects brettanomyces, pediococcus, and lactobacillus are the souring bugs responsible for Supplication. It is presented in a heavy duty 375ml Belgian bottle with a complementary cork and cage.
The cork pops with little effort and pours wit h an abundant amount of effervescence looking a bit like cherry soda. A slightly hazy body of crimson red topped by a good half finger of off-white and slightly pink foam. A lot of sour beers suffer from a lack of head retention, but Supplication defies that trend. The carbonation level is quite high and makes it obvious why they would choose to package this beer in heavy duty glass.
A slight jostle is all it took to release some of that aroma bearing carbonation revealing an exciting bouquet. Tons of tart cherry, brettanomyces’ signature barnyard funk, a bready sweetness that reminds me of vanilla wafers and just a touch of black peppercorn make up the aroma. On the palate that effervescence makes itself known almost immediately. The mouthfeel is light and airy leading the way to big flavors of tart cherries, soft lactic sourness, red wine and oak tannins, and a barely detectable amount of acetic acid. On the finish the vanilla cracker flavor comes through harmonizing perfectly with the dryness of the wine tannins.