Monday, July 30, 2012

Beer Research: Russian River Consecration Vertical

Last weekend, one of the better beer bars in San Diego, (that's saying a lot, we are spoiled here) Toronado San Diego hosted a vertical tasting of all the Russian River Consecration batches ever made. Even Batch 0, which was never released. All the beers were served on draft and poured in wine glasses. (How cool would it have been to see how they compare to the bottle versions?)

After trying to decide where to start with the tasting, I just got too impatient and started with #10 or Batch 9. There were some definite trends that I noticed and could taste some differences:

Batch 0 - 2: Much bolder malt character with more deep crystal malt notes and dark fruit flavors. Great malt complexity with the wine notes more noticeable. Oak was more of a background flavor. Currants blended well. And medium to high sourness - good blend of acetic and lactic acid. These were my favorite 3 with Batch 1 being the best. Actually, it was almost unanimous among us drinkers.

Batch 3 - 4: The malt back bone was not as noticeable and the other flavors were more prominent. These batches also seemed to have a bigger Brett character and leaned more toward acetic acid in the sourness.

Batch 5 - 6: Very similar to Batch 3&4, but without as much acetic and the Oak flavor was starting to become more dominant.

Batch 7 - 9: These 3 batches were very much a like and it seems like the flavors were all sharpened. Meaning it was easy to pick out the Oak, the Currants, the Malt. I'm wondering if this is from a change in process (like filtering) or just age (lack of Brett character). I also noticed these were much more Oak forward than previous batches. My second favorite of the groupings.

I may try to send an email to Vinnie at Russian River and see if there has been process changes or if the differences I noticed were more due to age. Overall, a truly epic experience (and I finally got to meet Chris over at Lewy Brewing). Thank you Toronado SD.


  1. Holy crap...what a great experience...I am so frickin' jealous right now. I've only ever had one bottle of Consecration (though I have another sitting in my cellar). What an awesome beer.

    1. I know I was pretty fortunate. I almost didn't post about it because I felt like I was showing off. The crazy thing, at least to me, was that the event wasn't very crowded. And there were actually a good amount of local brewers at the tasting.

      It is a great beer and having them all next to each other was a great learning experience for me to be able to pick apart the complex flavors you taste in these types of beer.

  2. Jeff, It was great meeting you (face to face) also..My thoughts were about the same as yours. My buddy Sisco also had the same tasting thoughts. #1 was by far my personal favorite, his was #2.

    The relaxed feel of the event was great, I couldn't imagination the tasting happening with a packed bar. Each person carrying 10 tulip glasses full of Consercration.


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