Russian River is well known for their American wild and sour ales and it really says something for a brewery to be known for having some of the top sour beers, as well as one of the best IPAs. Their barrel program houses a few different souring ales, but one that I have always really enjoyed was Consecration. This is a Belgian style dark ale that is aged in wine barrels for 6 months and has currants added during aging. The result is quite delicious.

Sours usually age quite well, but even the beers from Russian River are suggested to be consumed within 4-5 years after release. This particular bottle being from 2008, quite special to me, and in a larger format, I didn't see a reason to rush.

The cork pops with decent gusto, always a good sign. The pour produces very little head but small swirls of bubbles and lace remain on the surface for the remainder of the time. The beer is dark burgundy, brown, and sometimes a purple-red when the light gets through it.

It smells fantastic. Some sour tartness and the currants are the most prominent. There is a bit of funk and a wood note. You can smell some spice that mixes well with the rest of nose that resembles an aged wine.

The taste is not as much of a sour punch up front. The tartness is there but not a dominating force. It gives enough to shock the taste and prepare your palate for the nuances. Currants, blackberry, and maybe some dark cherry make up the bulk of the fruits. There is a bit of green grape that comes off of the sourness. The base is a bit earthy and dry with a wood character. This has blended very nicely. Almost a beer to wine, or vice versa, crossover. It's always hard to imagine this is a 10% beer. There is no alcohol bite or presence really anywhere to be found.

I love this beer fresh and I really enjoyed this after 7 years. It hasn't lost anything over time and if anything, the subdued sourness has almost brought the rest of the flavor profile up to the front line to really give a full, well rounded taste from start to finish.


Our CELLARED series aims to explore the world of aging beer and sharing the effects of time in the bottle. Bottles have been kept away from light and at temperatures between 44-60 degrees. Individual experiences may vary depending on storage environments.

Posted on February 18, 2015 .