Redemption is perhaps one of the least exotic Russian River brews. It lacks the notoriety of Pliny and it doesn’t have the wildness (quite literally) of their impressive lineup of sours. Redemption draws its inspiration from the Belgian single, which is notable in North America only by its nonexistence. We’re a land wooed by imperializing all beer styles, and the decidedly weak Belgian single just doesn’t fit the bill. It weighs in at just a hair over 5% ABV, after all.
Fortunately for me, I will buy any and all bottles I see with the Russian River moniker on them because there is nowhere short of an 8 hour drive that I can find them and Russian River has made a bit of a name for itself in the styles that I enjoy. The Belgian single wasn’t one of them; I am referring to their highly acclaimed sours.
However I didn’t really know what a Belgian single was all about, other than assuming it would be a lighter version of the Belgian dubbel. I don’t know how true to the style Redemption is, but I know that I like it, and I like it a lot. It drinks a lot like a saison with some brettanomyces gently working their magic, and with a Belgian twist.
From my notebook:
Appearance: Murky golden straw, head is off-white and fairly small, though great retention. Good lacing.
Aroma: Banana, apple, and some orange-citrus along with a bright Belgian yeast character. Gentle spices. Cross between a saison and dubbel here.
Palate: Crisp body with apple, some clove-like spices, and a gentle funky undertone. Slight caramel sweetness along with the earthy funk.
Feel: Very crisp, dry, and light-bodied.
Overall Impression: This is a great drinking beer! There is plenty of complexity but it’s almost weightless. The funkiness is just perfectly executed to really boost the complexity and add dryness without adding any real sourness to the beer at all.
Perhaps my enjoyment of the beer was boosted because of my careful compliance with the cork’s instruction.