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Russian River Cellar Society

Cellar Society Welcome Letter
Membership Info/Terms & Conditions
Download Tasting Notes

We are very excited to announce the launch of our inaugural Russian River Brewing Company bottle program, the Russian River Cellar Society! This membership-based bottle society is an exciting opportunity to receive access to some of Russian River Brewing Company’s most unique, limited-production sour barrel-aged beers, each hand-crafted and blended by Vinnie Cilurzo. Membership slots are limited and we will fill these through a random-draw process to ensure fairness.

Spring 2021 Tasting Notes

Cuvee #1

Technical Info:
Bottling Date: 10/14/2020
ABV (%): 5.80
Color (SRM): 8.3
TG (°P): 0.77
pH: 3.44

Tasting Notes
This beer pours a beautiful pinkish-orange color with a distinct haziness. On the nose and palate are notes of sweet cherry and apricot, balanced with hints of floral. Mildly tart with a clean mouthfeel, delicate carbonation, and soft, dry finish.

The Blend
34% Lynn – Aged 33 months in pinot noir barrels with pinot noir wine lees and multiple strains of Brett
34% She’s so Italian – Aged 15 months in cabernet sauvignon barrels with Brett Brux
16% Petite Robert Rosé – Saison aged 9 months in cabernet sauvignon barrels with sour cherries, Brett Brux, & bacteria
16% Redemption – Aged 11 months in sauvignon blanc barrels with Brett Lambicus

Vinnie’s Thoughts
Both Lynn and She’s So Italian (SSI) have become two of my favorite beers for barrel aging and blending. The complex characteristic from the lees (used wine yeast) in the Lynn beer, along with spicy notes from SSI, and the cherries from the Petite Robert Rosé create a complex flavor profile. Brett Lambicus in the Redemption adds more funky cherry fruitiness. Not wanting to overpower the fruit driven flavors with too much carbonation, I decided to only lightly bottle condition this beer.

Cuvee #3

Technical Info:
Bottling Date: 10/16/2020
ABV (%): 8.02
Color (SRM): 22.92
TG (°P): 0.46
pH: 3.46

Tasting Notes:
This light golden beer is a sensory experience reminiscent of walking into a fragrant spice shop! Layered aromas and flavors of Christmas spices with notes of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg balanced with overtones of cherry and oak. A mild presence of Brettanomyces imparts a subtle tartness with medium carbonation.

The Blend:
22% Supplication – Brown ale aged in pinot noir barrels sour cherries, Brett, and bacteria
22% Consecration – Dark ale aged in cabernet sauvignon barrels with currants, Brett, and bacteria
19% She’s So Italian – Aged 15 months in cabernet sauvignon barrels with Brett Brux
11% Intinction Sauvignon Blanc – Pilsner aged in sauvignon blanc barrels with multiple strains of Brett and sauvignon blanc grape juice
11% Intinction Merlot – Sonambic (Sonoma County Spontaneous Fermented Beer) aged in merlot barrels with merlot grapes
10% Petite Robert Rose – Saison aged 9 months in cabernet sauvignon barrels with sour cherries, Brett Brux, & bacteria
5% Temptation – Blonde ale aged 17 months in chardonnay barrels with Brett Brux and bacteria

Vinnie’s Thoughts:
On occasion, I like to pull very small samples right from the barrels to create blends of some of our core barrel-aged beers. These experiments are simple bench top trials but nothing that has ever blended on a large scale. Cuvee #3 started with combining two of our most popular barrel-aged beers, Supplication and Consecration, to create the foundation of this blend. The most unique aspect of this Cuvee is each component beer, other than Temptation, has a secondary ingredient (such as fruit) which creates an even more complex aroma and flavor profile.

Cuvee #4

Technical Info:
Bottling Date: 1/6/2021
ABV (%): 7.6
Color (SRM): 42.80
TG (°P): 1.08
pH: 3.52

Tasting Notes:
This is a very unique and interesting beer with dominant earth-driven aromas and flavors. Notes of mushroom and forest floor are imparted by the Brett, and layers of cherry offer a subtle funk and fruitiness to counter a slightly bitter and mildly tart palate. A dark brown color perfectly matches this richly flavored and full-bodied beer.

The Blend:
26% Propitiation – Aged 15 months in petite sirah barrels with Brett Brux and bacteria
25% Intinction Merlot – Sonambic (Sonoma County Spontaneous Fermented Beer) aged in merlot barrels with merlot grapes
24% Salvation – Aged 12 months in syrah barrels with a mixed Brett strain
13% Lynn – Aged 33 months in pinot noir barrels with pinot noir wine lees and multiple strains of Brett
12% Temptation – Blonde ale aged 17 months in chardonnay barrels with Brett Brux and bacteria

Vinnie’s Thoughts:
For Cuvee #4, I was looking to create a dark beer with a more rounded and fruit-forward flavor profile. I decided to start this blend with Propitiation, our barrel aged porter. Propitiation can be a bit aggressive due to the tannins from the dark malts as well as from aging in petite sirah barrels. To create balance in this blend, I incorporated fruit-forward Intinction Merlot and Lynn. The addition of Salvation creates more depth of flavor, along with the blended Brett strains from each of the sour beers. Finally, Temptation balances and brightens up this blend by adding some tart acidity.

Small Batch: Intinction Sauvignon Blanc Dry-Hopped with Nelson Sauvin

Technical Info:
Bottling Date: 2/17/2020
ABV (%): 8.63
Color (SRM): 3.10
TG (°P): 0.02
pH: 3.36

Tasting Notes:
This is a bright and lively beer to see and to sip! The vibrant yellow color matches the upfront citrus and spice-driven flavors. Distinctive aromatics of orange, grapefruit, citrus pulp, and baking spice are well balanced with a nutty, woody backbone. Complex and bright aromas and flavors give way to a mild tartness, medium carbonation, and a soft, dry finish.

Vinnie’s Thoughts:
I started with our Intinction Sauvignon Blanc as the base beer adding more sauvignon blanc grape juice than normal. While adding the juice, I dry hopped the beer with New Zealand grown Nelson Sauvin hops, which are known to have flavor and aroma compounds similar to that of sauvignon blanc. A fresh pitch of Brett Claussenii was added to trigger a bio-transformation interaction between the yeast, hops, and fruit. This interaction creates unique and complex qualities which is exactly what I was looking for!

Small Batch: Peach Beer

Technical Info:
Bottling Date: 11/3/2020
ABV (%): 7.06
Color (SRM): 6.00
TG (°P): 1.91
pH: 3.62

Tasting Notes:
This beautiful beer is light orange in color with a delicate tartness, subtle tannins, with aromas and flavors of peach skin and mildly sweet nectary peach flesh. Just smelling this beer is reminiscent of biting into a Dry Creek peach freshly picked from the tree! Light carbonation and refreshing flavors make our first ever peach beer very easy-drinking.

Vinnie’s Thoughts:
In August of 2020, Sonoma County was, once again, hit with multiple wildfires sparked by a rare Summer lightning storm. As the Walbridge Fire descended upon Healdsburg, our friend Gayle, co-owner of the legendary Dry Creek Peach orchard and farm stand, gave me a call. She had a sense of urgency in her voice and asked if we wanted to buy some peaches, as in a lot of them. Due to COVID-19 business restrictions at the time, many of their restaurant customers were temporarily closed and they were already struggling to find buyers for this peach crop. Because of the wildfires, farmers markets were also closed. Then the unsettling news came that they needed evacuate their farm and home immediately. We did not have any plans to make a peach beer but, of course, agreed to buy whatever they had to sell. In the end, we bought 2,000 lbs. of the best peaches you’ll ever taste! Natalie, a few of our RRBC team members and I spent the next couple of days halving and coring (and sampling!) these delicious peaches. Over 6 pounds per gallon of Dry Creek Peaches were added to some orphan beer we had in the cellar to create this very special beer. Thankfully, Gayle and her husband’s farm, their home, and beloved peaches survived the Walbridge Fire. And we got to make this amazing beer!

Small Batch: Shadow of a Doubt Aged in Port Barrels

Technical Info:
Bottling Date: 4/23/2020
ABV (%): 11.10
Color (SRM): 38.40
TG (°P): 1.28
pH: 4.08

Tasting Notes:
This rich and multi-layered beer is a coffee-black color with dominant characteristics of Port and aged Porter. Notes of dark fruit, plum, raisin, prune, espresso, bittersweet chocolate, and Port wine parlay into an intriguing sensory experience on the nose and palate. This beer has a rich, full body with medium carbonation and a lingering, dry finish.

Vinnie’s Thoughts:
Although Port is a type of wine, this is my first venture into using something other than the typical wine barrel commonly found here in Sonoma County. It is also the first time I have made a barrel-aged beer without adding Brettanomyces and/or bacteria, or starting with a spontaneously fermented beer. I did not initially set out to make this beer, but when 2 used Port barrels landed in my lap, how could I resist? We had just brewed Shadow of a Doubt, our Imperial Porter, which I thought would be a perfect fit for these barrels. Small Batch Shadow spent a total of 17-months aging in the Port barrels. This beer was so enjoyable to make that I procured 4 proper Port barrels from Portugal for our next batch!

 

Cheers!

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