Russian River has become known for their American wild ales and sours. Utilizing barrel aging and the addition of fruits, wild yeasts and bacteria, Russian River produces some of the most sought after beers in the states. Even though sours and wild ales are some of the better beers to cellar, the company itself recommends drinking their bottles within 5 years and not putting them away for extensive cellaring. We took one of them that has reached the 5 year mark and gave it a go.

Supplication is a brown ale that has been aged in Pinot Noir barrels for 12 months with sour cherries and a list of souring bacteria. When fresh it's bright, acidic, tart and pretty fruity.

After 5 years, the nose shows signs of soaked oak, faint cherries, that good old sour funk, and a bit of leather. While still smelling great and being able to pick up the qualities that made up this beer, it isn't as bright and definitely shows some sign of age.

The taste is still sour, but again the brightness has toned down and it's not that sharp. The malts come forward a bit more while the cherries are a bit muted. There is a slight bit of vinegar. Because the malts are a bit heavier in the taste, I can almost pick up some biscuit or bready cake cookie. The fruits and malts come together and leaves you almost with the aftertaste of a fig newton or other fruit filled cookie. It even has a dryness in the finish.

This beer still drinks well, but the signs of age do in fact detract from the potential a bit. I think 5 years is a tad too much for this one and it peaks around the third year. To enjoy this fresh or within 1-3 years from bottling will find this brew at its best.


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 August 29, 2014 .