Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

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3,447 Ratings
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Ratings: 3,447
Reviews: 1,105
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 383
Gots: 820 | FT: 55
Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  7.75% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: beerguy101 on 09-19-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,447 | Reviews: 1,105
Reviews by captaincoffee:
Photo of captaincoffee
4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank from the horse's mouth at Russian River Brewery during NoCal mircobrew vacation in Jul 2011.

Lighter-yellow coloring than expected.
Sweet, malty, yeasty nose.
Flavor matched nose well with excellent mouthfeel.

Great match to style...if you don't know what to expect from a strong Belgian and just order this because of the cool name and t-shirt, it may be too much (like my favorite at the brewery--Pliny the Elder). Not the type of beer I could have several glasses of in a sitting, but a treat nonetheless.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #072.Poured into a tulip glass a hazy lemon yellow with a large blooming white head that settled slowly into a frothy mass,aromas of pithy lemon hops,alcohol,and light yeasty spice.Flavors are citric and somewhat medicinal hop flavors up front on the palate,light yeasty phenols actuall mix well with the hop profile wich makes for a well rounded palate.A great beer for the style wich I expected from RR,somewhat refreshing even with a higher ABV.

Photo of RoyalT
4.04/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – The body of this beer belongs on an alien. It’s a glowing neon orange in color and very hazy. The head was modest.

Smell – The coriander is huge at the nose. The yeast is nice and malty. The spices are all over the map. There’s some light orange and tangerine along with some peach. The hops are ultra funky. In other words, a typical RR offering.

Taste – The flavors are much smoother than the smell. There is some light alcohol that I didn’t pick up in the nose, but otherwise it follows the bouquet as you drink it down.

Mouthfeel – This one lacked the good carbonation of an authentic BSPA, but that may have just been the bottle. There was some noticeable dryness to this medium-bodied ale and the flavors really melded together as it warmed.

Drinkable – This was a very drinkable BSPA that delivered on all the usual requirements.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Lanesplitter in Berkeley CA. Very Reminiscent of La Chouffe.

Pours a hazed golden pineapple, rather far from limpid. Head is white, bubbly, and very Belgian. It rises and falls with each lift of the glass. Body bubbles aggressively, ebulliently even.

Aroma consists of ripe Jamaican sugar bananas, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, Munich malts, and citric hops. Nose sharp and sweet.

Taste is spicy citrus hops, banana ice cream, bubblegum, and earth. Balance is decent but not flawless.

Mouthfeel is light and breakneck. Zesty and spicy, it hits your cheeks with a zinger of strength and sweet and sour fruit. Not bad.

Drinkability is decent. Finish is crisp, clean, and dry lending to higher drinkability.

Photo of tectactoe
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for Kevin to bringing me a few of these on his recent West Coast trip. Dated September 2012, a few months away from it's first birthday. It pours a golden honeycomb color and is almost 100% opaque. It's got a big head, the whitest of the white with thin, fine bubbles; it's super creamy and conjures up even larger when the glass is agitated. Super solid looking for a Belgian pale.

Belgian yeast abound, wall to wall, erring towards the slightly sweet banana side of things, with lighter hints of clove and a soft underbelly full of bubblegum. It's pretty "spicy" on the nostrils, though, with some white pepper in the background and a bit of alcoholic phenol notes that show up every now and then. Some slightly tart pear enters during the outro as well - quite a nice display of Belgian yeast, especially for an American-crafted brew.

As the aroma would indicate, some slightly-rotten banana cream is abundant in the flavor from the very first sip. Each pile of banana is follow up quickly with a sharp hint of spices; coriander, clove, orange zest, white pepper; spicy overall, yet pretty mild and refined in the big picture. I'm now struggling to decide whether it's more sweet or more spicy, and perhaps that's because it's such a perfectly even split.

It's certainly a very yeasty brew, as most Belgian pales should be. The backdrop contains thick mounds of buttery bread covered in a layer of super-duper, cheesy and musty funk. The finish is very bready and cellar-y with a dry finishing funk that obliterates any sweetness that's made it this far on your palate. It's medium bodied, though it feels a bit thicker, possibly from the heavy yeast. Crispy, nearly bubbly carbonation.

The first of the "non-sour" ales that I've tried from Russian River's line of Belgian style beers, and I'm mildly impressed. There are certainly some better, authentic Belgian pales out there... Then again, I'd also choose Damnation over many other authentic Belgian pales, too. One of the best things about the brew is the somewhat low price point... 4-5$ a bottle isn't bad for this tasty brew.

Photo of TCHopCraver
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes on 9-17-10. Many thanks to zoso1967 for schlepping the bottle back from PA many moons ago. I shared this bad boy with TCGoalie and his fiance.

A: The color is a pure golden-yellow, with a white, half finger head. This head retained on top of the beer body for the duration of my sipping.

S: Aromas of crisp Granny Smith apple, pear, peach, and a distinct funky Belgian yeast float from my oversized wine glass into my nostrils. I also smell some light clove and banana aromas.

T: A tasty clove spice is backed by sweet pear, Granny Smith apple, and honey flavors. That funky yeast complements all of these flavors well. A crisp, acidic, cidery bite ends each sip and dries off my palate.

M: Damnation has a sparkly tingle on my palate, with a light to medium bodied, spicy feel on my tongue.

D: This beer was nicely drinkable - very light, crisp, and refreshing. This is a perfect example of a straight up 4 beer. Good, but nothing about about it really stood out as remarkable.

Photo of StoutHearted
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was an incredible beer. It poured a pale orangy-golden color with little head. The smell was fantastic, a variety of fruity and yeasty odors, with strong citrus tones. The taste followed through on the smell, orange and banana comes to mind, although it was hard to pull out one specific taste- everything was well-balanced. If I had to pull a phrase out of my head really quickly to describe this beer, I'd have to say "juicy wheat." I guess by that I mean that the slight fruity taste adds a more robust flavor to its wheaty yeast taste, kind of like biting into an apple and getting that juicy, tart kick. It has a smooth mouthfeel and its drinkibility lends itself more to sipping than gulping. This is one to savor or to break out for tastings.
This beer also has serious dregs- the bottom was yeast city- a plus for dregheads!

Photo of Dmann
4.7/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this one on tap at O'Briens and what an amazing beer this was. It poured a nice medium gold color with a little lace that stuck to my glass all the way down. The smell was quite spicy with a clove scent as well. The taste was wonderful. Bananna, yeast and a slight peppery flavor were quite dominant. This beer reminded me of a very strong hefeweizen. Very drinkable indeed, try it if you see it.

Photo of newk340
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: an opaque golden yellow, with a thin head and visible carbonation.

S: hints of light fruits, bananas, apricots, wheat.

T: a tasteless sizzle until the swallow when hints of spices and wheat are evident, somewhat underwhelming.

MF/D: highly carbonated that quickly dissipates, could drink as a session beer... too bad its not available in the midwest. hard to believe its 7.75%.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got home from work and decided I might as well pop this one open. Batch 002. A nice loud pop with wisps of white smoke preempt the goldenrod yellow pour into my SN tulip that produces a light airy two finger head of bone white foam. Aromas of crisp grainy maltiness melds with banana bread, hints of clove and pepper. A bit of fresh apple and pear comes through as well with an underlying earthy, spicy yeast. Fresh and vibrant.

The initial sip brings a light lemony citrus pale malt background that dances across the palate. Fresh peeled bananas mesh with apples and pears...nice and fruity. Soft spicy background with hints of cloves and a dash of pepper. Creamy throughout and well balanced. Nothing seems out of place here..a harmonious balance of flavors. Finishes with earthy yeast spiciness to clean off the palate.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy with a well placed carbonation that does not overdo it. A truly satisfying, fruity Belgian golden ale. I'm glad this came in a 750ml bottle as I am struggling not to gulp it down. Another yummy creation from Russian River. Thanks to wezil for the opportunity...now I must go buy more!

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of Chris at Ebenezer's Pub. This was a 750ml bottle, Batch 020, poured into a tulip glass. Gold color with a medium sized head and a little lacing. A fruity aroma, mainly banana. Much more interesting taste. Banana, pear, and a citrus tang with some warming spice coming in later. Fairly substantial for a 7% ABV. This is a very good beer.

Photo of NWer
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 375 ml corked bottle into a brandy snifter.

The cork was eager to pop as soon as I removed the cage. I had to hold it back until I was ready. I let the cork ease out on its own. Loud pop but no overflow.

A - Hazy golden appearance, OK pale foamy head that didn't last very long with minimal lacing.

S - Sweet pleasant spiciness.

T - Begs to be sipped. True to the Belgian style. Very sweet, spicy, effervescent, light, belying the noble ABV.

M - The feel is very pleasant in the mouth and the aftertaste is very pleasant.

D - This is the quintessential sipping beer.

Poured the remaining beer into the snifter - yeast and all and enjoyed it to the last drop - and yeast cell. Nothing goes to waste.

Batch 056x2

Update 3/2/11
Batch 062 Better than I remember - acquired taste?
Updated score to reflect my more "mature" palate.

Photo of andyfrancis
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

very light straw color with a good amount of visible carbonation. snow white head that settled quickly, but the bubbles are accumulating and hanging out around the edges.
I poured with reckless abandon, so the yeast is fully mixed in. Gonna be a farty morning.

Notes of pale malt, clove, wood, and banana on the nose. very nice.

Tasty. Much like the smell, it's a bundle of flavors. The cedar really stands out.

Crisp, astringent mouthfeel. slight lingering yeasty aftertaste. pretty easy drinking though. especially for 7.5% abv.

Not quite as good as consecration or temptation in my opinion, but still a tasty, interesting brew.

And I'll also add that while people seem to be going nuts over sofie and matilda from goose island, damnation has been around and is just as good of an example of the style.

Photo of warnerry
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 58, poured into a tulip.

A - Pours a hazy orange-tinged golden brown with a finger of white head. Head dissipates quickly but leaves some nice lacing.

S - Nice aroma of citrus, a bit of spice and Belgian yeast. A slight woody aroma.

T - Citrus and spices up front, with Belgian yeast and some earthy hops. Clean, dry finish. Really enjoyable.

M -- Medium mouthfeel that finishes dry and earthy.

O -- I think this is up with Duvel as my favorite Belgian pale ales. I think Damnation has more juicy citrus than Duvel, but both are excellent.

Photo of dill
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

served on draught into a snifter.

A - deep gold with a thick white head which dissipated quickly.

S - spices, yeast.

T - lots of flavor. spices, yeast, and a nice balance of hops.

M - big bodied.

D - a good beer to try but it's not one i get excited about anymore.

Photo of Beaver13
3.53/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, batch 040. Pours a clear yellow with a creamy white head that retains well and laces the glass. The last pour proves it's bottle conditioned.

The aroma is sweet sugary malts, some banana and clove, and some citrus.

The flavor is sweet sugary malts, citric melon with a little spice. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, it's not very balanced or complex. It's far too much towards the sweet side, but I find myself liking it regardless. This is definitely a beer that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Photo of merlin48
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle, batch 003. Pours into a goblet a slightly hazed, canary yellow body with a healthy, snowwhite head that retains well and drapes some sheet lacing down the goblet.

Aroma has banana, apricot, and canned pear fruitiness, earthy grassy hops, wet blanket yeasty funk, and some coriander spiciness.

Mouthfeel has a solid medium body and effervescent carbonation.

Taste is excellent, with soft fruity apricots, caramelized sugars, pale malts, a hint of clove and orangepeel, wool blanket yeastiness, and a solid hops bitterness that is grassy and earthy. Tasty and well balanced, with a clean finish that kicks up the drinkability score.

This is a very engaging Belgian Golden Ale that is masterfully constructed. No hint of the 7% abv to be found. Very drinkable and highly recommended.

Photo of Billolick
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Typical Belgian bomber bottle, caged and corked, batch "41".
Pours cloudy light apricot, long lasting and puffy eggshell white head, lots of nice looking lace on the glass. Nose of tropical fruits, wheaty malts and grainy hops. Yasty, complex, thoroughly enjoyable offering. Notes of more fresh fruits, Belgian yeasties, gobs of drying hops all over the place. Love the RR creations. Only problem is you cant get em in the NY/Ct/NJ/MA/Vt/NH area, but....Philly sometimes gets em....

Photo of tigg924
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, clear, gold in color, high carbonation

Smell: citrus, fruit, and light floral hops

Taste: lemon, orange, lime, light hops at the end

Mouthfeel: light bodied, high carbonation,sweet and smooth with the hops being prickly and their presence felt at the end.

Drinkability: A wonderful and delicate beer that gets the flavor out. One of the most pleasant citrus beers I have had. This might be my favorite in the style. I do want this again.

Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was my first Russian River beer and I was not disappointed.

Pours a cloudy yellow with a small white head. The aroma is a mix of yeast as well as some citrus and fruit flavors. Very inviting.

The flavor has quite a bit of lemon and citrus notes to it. The hops come through in the end of the taste and make it very refreshing.

The beer is medium-to-high carbonation, which is what I expect with this style of beer. Very drinkable for a beer of this alcohol content.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. Batch 003.

Pours a delicate-looking bright golden-caramel in color. Tight layer of white head perched atop. Nice lacing of the glass. Aromas are yeasty/doughy, along with bannanas, clove, and peppery spice. Flavor is lighter than expected, but still good. More of the bready yeast flavors soaked in estery fruit juice. Balanced nicely by a snappy hop-bitterness at the end. Very clean finish on the palate, with no lingering aftertaste. Well-hidden ABV only adds to the enjoyment. A very nice first try of the much-hyped (and well deserved) RRBC. More of this will be purchased.

Photo of jakester
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this bomber at Union Jack's on the Manatawny

Pours a slightly hazy, but beautiful gold with a 1 finger head of white foam that drops to islands and a ring. Good carbonation evident. Some lacing observed.

Aroma is very fruity, bananas, white pepper, maybe clove, bubble gum, very spicy, like a Belgian Strong should be. Hints of yeast as well.

Good flavors of bananas, pears, pepper, bubble gum, yeast, lemony tart. A nice level of hop bitterness. Spicy, bright flavors. Balanced very well. A long, spicy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is tart, effervescent carbonation on the tongue. Lip smacking sweetness, but this beer is not sweet. Feels full in your mouth.

This is a very good Belgian Strong Pale Ale. Bright flavors, tart, tingly, yeasty, spicy, this has alot going on.

Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The earth has officially started to spin off it axis since I am reviewing a Belgian style beer. I guess everyone's taste changes over time including hopheads like me. Purchased at Capone's. Batch 011: bottled almost exactly one year ago. Pours with a one inch foams that quickly settles. Smells sweet and of Belgian yeast. The taste is also sweet (apples & pears maybe) plus a bit of spice & hops. Mouthfeel is extremely smooth & this is a perfect beer to sip on on a lazy PM with no kids in sight!


Photo of Prospero
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in a glass, it is golden yellow in color. The aroma is like fresh bread and some fruit like characteristics like apple/pear, lemon zest, possibly from the Belgian hops. The taste is pretty similar, sweet but hints of lemon and citrus. In terms of body it's very light and had about a 2 finger head and medium carbonation. There's a lot of complexity and flavors for (what I would consider) a pretty light ale. Light and refreshing for the summer.

Photo of magictrokini
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bright golden pour, with cloudy yeast and good carbonation. Yeast carries over in aroma, with some nutmeg and fruit. Taste is light for this kind of brew. Malt and banana, kind of like bread pudding, but with a crisp, a slightly hoppy finish. Mouthfeel was the star, very smooth and light.

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Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 3,447 ratings.