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Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company


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2,593 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2593
Reviews: 1048
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%

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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: beerguy101 on 09-19-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,593 | Reviews: 1,048 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of keanex

New Jersey

5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 375ml bottle listed as batch 66 into a tulip glass.

A: Hazy pale golden color with carbonation bubbles rising to meet a thick and creamy looking off-white 1.5 finger head. Very appealing looking.

S: Strong fruity spicy aroma, very pleasant. Banana, strawberry and cloves on the nose. This is just a very pleasing beer.

T: Wonderful fruity taste with a clean malt profile underlying with a clove finish. Same flavors from the nose hit the tongue with a perfect balance and a warming finish.

M: Creamy with light carbonation despite the carbonation bubbles. Goes down very smooth, hard to not drink.

O: Perfect score from me. This beer is not letting me down even in the slightest. If this is what Californians are treated with daily I'm jealous.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2011 03:43:58 | More by keanex
Photo of RockyTopHeel

North Carolina

4.98/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a pale, bright, hazy golden color with a creamy white head. According to the wife, the aroma reminds her of champagne - I have to assume that means yeast and candy sugar, and I'll toss in a bit of spice. One sip and...wow. This is awesome, awesome stuff. The best beer I've had in a long time. A perfect balance of biscuity malts and a crisp bite of hops, with a lingering slick mouthfeel. Notes of citrus and spice, too.

This is just...awesome. Perfectly balanced and excellent. It's been a while since I added a beer to my top five, but this one did it.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2012 22:33:23 | More by RockyTopHeel
Photo of EPICAC


4.93/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Damnation pours a mildly cloudy, golden color. It's topped by a thick, white head that retains well, but eventually fades to a thin layer. The aroma is spot on for the style. There are notes of banana, peppery spice, and yeast above a grassy, grainy undercurrent. Swirling brings out more graininess, pepper, and some alcoholic spice.

There's an initial sweetness that's mild, but builds into a fruity esters in the center: bananas, hints of juicy, tropical fruit, and citrus. The finish has a bite from the peppery spiciness and the alcohol. There are lingering hints of yeast, and a mild, hop bitterness in the aftertaste. Damnation is medium-bodied, but the crisp carbonation, along with a dry finish make this beer seem a bit lighter-bodied.

This beer was excellent. It's probably one of the best examples of the style that I've had.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2009 02:10:58 | More by EPICAC
Photo of impending


4.93/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5


at the source

One finger dense puffy head, slowly dissipates, lace trailing behind. Superb golden straw hue, pure. When at the bottom, lacing ran the glass.

Complicated nose. Wonderful aroma. Sense it yourself.

Any brew with this level of carbonation has a great mouth feel, worthy of swishing around your mouth :)

Imparts a fine hop flavor, minor bitterness trails off quickly leaving a quiet echo. Alcohol becomes slightly more evident as it warms but then buried in the flavors.

my go to

Absolutely Outstanding


Serving type: on-tap

05-30-2010 22:02:47 | More by impending
Photo of Zorro


4.9/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured in to my Duvel Tulip to see how it stacks up. Batch 006, which I interpret to mean 2006.

Pours a chill hazed golden colored ale with a smallish white head. I can't discount this for not having a freakish mammoth white head; it is one of the few annoyances that Duvel has.

Smell is quite nice and very fresh. Lots of clean and strong floral scent and a touch of honey pollen. Nice fruitiness, citrus and pineapple mostly. Mildly sweet smelling with no obvious Candi Sugar smell. Nicely spicy coriander and black pepper. Herbal to the point of making rosemary seem like a weak spicy herb. The lack of a trip on a container ship makes a big difference in the smell, simply awesome.

Taste is barely sweet and nice floral tastes and coriander. Fruit flavors kick in on the second sip and I start to realize how complex this beer really is. Mild herbal bitterness here is just right to balance what sweet there is here and let all the more subtle flavors dominate. Spices are mainly coriander here and this is too smooth for black pepper to dominate. Superior to Duvel as it actually is in the USA.

Mouthfeel is very good.

Awe inspiring drinkability is in my glass here, makes Dom Perignon taste like rotted grape juice. I could see drinking this all the time if it was more available, but even in California you can only get this when you see it. Well Hennepin and Duvel are almost as good; a lie I can believe after a few weeks of convincing myself.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2006 05:06:55 | More by Zorro
Photo of ppoitras


4.9/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle from ClockworkOrange via I Want That BIF 3. Batch 027, corked and caged.

Pretty much same experience as previous review. Still damn good stuff.

(5/4.5/5/5/5, 10/15/07)
750ml bottle from unknown trade or BIF. Batch 016, corked and caged.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1 1/2" bright white head above the effervescent, cloudy golden brew. Head escalades up and over the rim before settling over time. Lace is thick and coating. Aroma is pale malts and spices, which is replicated in the flavor as well. Mouthfeel is oh-so smooth, and drinkability is tantalizing, always glad to revisit. This one hasn't lost much if anything in its later iterations. Try if you can.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2008 21:59:37 | More by ppoitras
Photo of david18

New York

4.88/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As much as I love the trappist ales, Duvel is still my favorite Belgian Ale and possibly my favorite beer altogether. Damnation is the only beer that I think is as good as the beer it is styled after. Everything about it is similar. Great carbonation, outstanding flavor and aroma, perfect belgian mouthfeel. The only difference is that Damnation may be a little bit fruitier. I had this instead of bloody mary's this morning and it was a great choice.

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2009 20:46:42 | More by david18
Photo of corby112


4.85/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served on-tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.

Pours a hazy golden color with huge foamy white head. Aroma is of crisp fruits like apple, banana and pear as well as hops and alcohol. Very crisp quaffable beer. Lots of citrusy lemon and orange as wll as apple, pear and banana. Finish is slightly hoppy and dry. An amazingly smooth wonderful tasting beer!

Serving type: on-tap

11-28-2008 07:11:04 | More by corby112
Photo of LuckyBrewer


4.85/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Style: Belguim Strong Pale Ale
Brewery: Russian River Brewery Company
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Website: http://www.russianriverbrewering.com/
Serving Type: 750 mL
ABV: 7.74 ABV

Pour: Smooth pour with a thick head that shows even legs.

Smell: This beer has a great Belgium yeast smell to it, with a hint of clean crisp malt.

Taste: This an exceptional example of an American attempt at a Belgium golden ale. The taste is well balanced, most Belgium's are a little too sweet for my liking, but not this one. The taste was so well balance and dynamic that I feel they have out done themselves.

Drinkability: I usually can not drink this type of beer for more than one 750 mL bottle, however for this brew I could drink about two bombers.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2010 00:42:55 | More by LuckyBrewer
Photo of ikantspel


4.85/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12.68 oz bottle served into a tulip

Pours a citrus orange. Carbonated with a finger head.

Smells of fruits and candy. Yum

Wow. Knocked me off my feet. Very sweet with a carbonates mouthfeel. Sweet spices little clovey aftertaste. Not astringent in the least. Cannot belive this is damn near 8%. This slightly edges pranqster as the best american made bspa. Good job russian river

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2011 04:28:39 | More by ikantspel
Photo of Bitterbill


4.83/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This 750ml caged and corked bottle(Batch 008) poured a hazy medium gold with plenty of foam and lots of nice lacing.

The smell is really fruity with lots of yeasty notes as well...I could sniff this one for a long time. ;^)

The taste is wonderful! Lots of sweet malt offset by a yummy yeasty taste and fruity by way of plum and banana and a good clove presence and this sample from Batch 008 just impresses the heck out of me. I mean, if you poured this son of a gun in a glass without my seeing the bottle you poured it from, I'd swear it came directly from Belgium!

Bottom line: This is my 2nd review of a RR Damnation(first was from batch 007) and this one is even *more* impressive. It's an amazing beer from an amazing brewery!!

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2006 02:08:00 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of bosco7


4.83/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cork finished bottle purchased at the brewpub a week prior. Batch 021.

Satisfying pop after the cork was removed. Big ass frothy head sits a top glistening golden liquid. Exceptional clarity.

Big spicy hop aroma. Some lemon zest, esters and alcohol present as well.

A flash of earthy and spicy hop flavors are present upfront. This is followed by banana, lemon zest, some mild pine, and some soft mineral-like flavors. Medium bitterness (maybe high for a Belgian). This is very complex.

Soft mouthfeel that seems to lingers gracefully on the tongue.

Exceptional American brewed Belgian ale, definately one of the best. Complexity and drinkability make this a pure pleasure to drink.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2007 04:33:37 | More by bosco7
Photo of xymyl


4.83/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Color is medium/light gold, clear with slight cloudiness (seemingly just from yeast due to too much movement. High carbonation at first and a fluffy white head that lasts and lasts.

Nose is full of floral, herbal, citrus, spice and sweeter apple and pear notes. There is so much going on here that it is too much work to sort it all out. I just want to enjoy it.

Taste is at first sweet, then balances to a spicy/fruity middle, depending on what you're having with it (sweet foods) it could really clamp down toward the finish. It has some serious hop bitterness at the end that won't fully express itself unless you are eating the right (or wrong) thing.

Overall: Medium bodied beer that is way too complex to be this drinkable. This beer is dry but the hops really amplify that dryness. But I didn't notice anything bad about these hops, this was super clean all the way around. It has a great fresh hop character as well. I could have said much more about this beer if I wasn't enjoying it so much. They must have used a Saison yeast for this, but it covers a range far broader than Duvel to Dupont to Symposium, I loved 2004 Symposium, but this is far better in my book. Enjoy!

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2008 15:52:52 | More by xymyl
Photo of MuenchenerKindl


4.83/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a C&C 750 to a snifter glass the liquid is gold with a light yet expressive carbonation, The head is tall and light bodied, off white and leaves some lace.

The smell is very good light fruits, well seasoned grains and a hin of oak.

The taste is fantastic and I am not really big on this stlye. RR hit a home run on this brew, The taste is outstanding, so glad I got more then I wanted at first. The woodsy oak notes are what make it.

The mouthfeel is very good a nice better then medium body and a very nice carbonation.

The drinkability of this must try brew is outstanding, I look forward to hording this beer.

Prosit und Zum Wohl, MK

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2008 07:11:53 | More by MuenchenerKindl
Photo of SeattleAdam


4.83/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch #42. Popped the cork and shared the 750ml bottle with my roommate. Poured into New Belgium "Worthy Glass" at 45 degree angle first time and straight down the second time.

A- Beautiful and hazy between gold and yellow. Dramatically lighter when held to the light. My 45 degree pour did not yield as much head as some other reviewers said they were getting but the second pour, straight down, produced a good 2 fingers. Head retention is not great.

S- The Belgium yeast can be picked up through the nose and so can quite a bit of zest. Lemon peel and pears come through too.

T- The fruits really come through in the middle and the head adds just the right zesty kick. The finish is incredibly clean.

M- Between medium to light but it's perfectly carbonated. The beer is the farthest thing from heavy but has enough body to warrant complexity.

D- Move over blondes...I have a new summer ale. I can't imagine a more perfect beer on a hot day. The flavors aren't too overwhelming, it's great cold, it doesn't leave your mouth dry nor fill you up and the finish is remarkably clean.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2009 07:08:28 | More by SeattleAdam
Photo of SteelKettle


4.83/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Hazy golden color with a seafoam head with nice lacing on glass
Smell:yeast and sweet malts with fruity hints of pear and apple maybe slight lemon
Taste: spices bready malts with the pear and apple coming out with a nice hop finish
Mouthfeel: medium bodied with great carbonation and soft feel
Drinkability: very drinkable enjoyed very much. Russian River does it again with another great beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2010 18:14:11 | More by SteelKettle
Photo of BusyNinja

New Jersey

4.8/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I got this bottle of beer about 1.5 years ago, straight from the brewery. It was batch no. 18. After consuming 5 other bottles of the same, in short order, shortly after receiving it, have been saving it in my beer fridge for a special occasion. Special occasions came and went. Finally decided to enjoy it, no matter what, on Labor Day weekend. Broke open the bottle and split it with my ever patient Mrs. on Friday night, at home, with takeout pizza, with the kids. Couldn't get down to Philly to drink it on tap, and just could't wait any longer.

This beer lives up to the hype. More importantly, it lives up to my memories. Clear,light yellow when poured, with head that quickly decreass but does not disappear. Leaves lace to let you know what was there and what remains. Smells slightly sweet, but not overpowering. My words, and skills, cannot adequately desecribe this beer. It is deceptively poundable, and wish I had a case of this properly stored downstairs. Well, wish I had at least another bomber of this delight. Easily among my favorite beers of all time.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2009 00:01:15 | More by BusyNinja
Photo of MoorBeerPlz


4.8/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the bottle into my Ballast Point tulip...

Pours a hazy golden color with fine carbonation and about a 1 finger head that took its time receding. When it did recede, left thick foam lacing, a foam cap and lots of stick foam on the sides of the glass. Nice.

On the nose, yeast, hops, fruit, a floral scent. While not a spectacular description here, it's what comes to mind... I was too eager to move on to the tasting part I think.

A little hops, the yeast, a sour note, fruits (citrus, apricot) and some spice (pepper, coriander). Nicely balanced and no single taste/sensation overpowers another while drinking this. The first word that came to me while tasting was "wow!".

Smooth, medium mouthfeel. Dry finish with a combination of bittterness, sourness, spice. Nice amount of carbonation.

Overall a damn nice, drinkable beer that is real pleasure to drink. Totally understand how it achieved its rating and the comments I have read. Great job RR!


Serving type: bottle

11-08-2013 03:06:25 | More by MoorBeerPlz
Photo of JimTeal


4.79/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Despite being abused with poor storage in a non-climate controlled garage for 4 years, this fine beer survived shockingly well. We prepared for the worse, but were delighted when the nose and mouth confirmed that this beer withstood years of poor treatment and thrived. Given the mildness of the taste, Russian River made a fine brew and deserves acolades. The finish is remarkable, just right for a rainy afternoon, dry and hints of citrus waiting in the background. I would suggest this beer to anyone who is impressed with the finished product of the best ingredients.

I just returned from a day, April 2013, at the Russian River Pub where I was delighted to experience a fresh Damnation draft. Forger everything I said before, the fresh draft is nothing short of wonderful and a real flavor experience. So I bought a case of mixed bottles including Damnation (of course a few Pliny Elder to share with friends), but the fresh bottled Damnation is splendid. My regret, why didn't I buy 2 cases?

Serving type: on-tap

01-07-2013 00:15:53 | More by JimTeal
Photo of poluti


4.78/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 009
This beer was very carbonated with a bright white head. Thick lines of bubbles flow up through the deep golden orange haze.
Deep floral smell. I sensed the yeast present, like a sour wheat beer. I did not ascertain any tones of alcohol, yet it was very rich in scent.
I found the flavor very interesting. It was very rich and florally powerful. There is a tinge of sour, but nothing overpowering. It leaves a delectable bitterness on the back of the palate begging for more.
The flavors move well. It is not thin by any stretch of the imagination, however, it is not too thick where it would be difficult to swallow.
It is a very drinkable beer, and although I was going to buy more online, I was given more bottles for my birthday from a good friend who had learned of the beer through me.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2006 05:49:04 | More by poluti
Photo of CAMRAhardliner

Ontario (Canada)

4.78/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this at New Beer Distributors in Manhattan.

The pour reveals a glowing orange liquid with an immense ivory head. The head lasts for hours and completely drapes the glass in foam. Very impressive. A plethora of fruit, most notably lychees fill my nostrils on my first sniff. Bready malts and a pleasant estery yeast add more to the great nose. The taste is a mix of peach, pears, green apples, banana, lychee, mango and even more fruit flavors I cant put my finger on. Cookie dough malts and a very pleasant Belgian yeast character add to the tremendous amalgamation of flavors. hops are modest but not lost in the mix, providing a pleasant herbal, earthy distraction. The mouthfeel is incredible. Perfect balance between smooth carbonation level and creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol is completely hidden, its uncanny.

This is a benchmark BPA. As good as if not better then the ones from Belgian I have tried. Such wonderful, sweet complexity that constantly evolves with time. I wish this was accessible in Ontario.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2009 03:28:30 | More by CAMRAhardliner
Photo of kimd03


4.78/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If you're a member of the clergy, have small children around or generally abstain from cursing, I would steer clear of this beer. The moment you sip it, you will say OMFG out loud. Something about the Damnation label name and pitchfork will bring it out as guaranteed as the fact that this beer is brewed in Santa Rosa. After I had it, I had to buy the Damnation t-shirt at the brewery too. My parents hate it.

Onto the beer. It pours perfect with a nice thick white head. We drank a bottle while camping in the Redwood Forests with a pelt of rain coming down on our heads, but the taste just washed away all worries about wet clothes and catching pneumonia.

In the meantime, I want to find a way to bring this beer to Houston so I can offer it to Joel Osteen and put him on YouTube saying OMFG!

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2010 19:14:37 | More by kimd03
Photo of ausonius

New York

4.78/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very pale. Good carbonation, but fairly small head that eventually fades pretty much altogether. No lacing.

NOSE: Gorgeous pure pale malt. The deftest touch of creamy Belgian yeast with a light, ethereal hop component.

PALATE: A seemingly huge wave of very pale malt, but not at all sweet or heavy.
Is this magic? How did they do this?
Long flavor which is both simple & complex at the same time.
The huge malt impression is followed by a dry, malty, lightly spicy, creamy mid-palate, & on to a dry lghtly hopped, piney/floral end flavor & finish.

The simplicity of this brew is it's genius, with the complexities of perfect balance, the subtlties of lightly creamy Belgian yeast & the perfectly understated touch of hops on the nose & tongue.

Totally & seemingly organically all of a piece.
Like a ninja quick, powerful swing on the sweet part of the bat that flies out of the park as fast as you can turn your head.

I see what all the fuss is about!

This is a Brilliant WOW! Beer!

96 Points

Thank God I AM worthy!

Humble thanks to Steve for sharing this at the Sour Tasting.


Serving type: bottle

03-13-2011 18:23:26 | More by ausonius
Photo of jacobseyb


4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A=Golden slightly murky, 3 fingers of head

S=Sweet fruitiness, hints of orange,

T=Similar to smell, virtually no aftertaste

M=Nice carbonation some initial thickness, fluffy

D=Very drinkable, this may be come a favorite of mine, i really enjoyed it and the alcohol is not so prevalent to mask the other characteristics.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2009 03:08:38 | More by jacobseyb
Photo of AlexTheAleMan


4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into at new Belgium snifter. Thin foamy head. Golden honey color, really bright. Very beautiful!

Has that typical Belgian sour apple smell, sweet and crisp. Buttery honey too.

The taste is very crisp too. The moment it touches your tongue its almost sweet, but then the yeast takes control of your mouth. The yeast is the star in this beer giving it a nice bitterness which turns into a long dry finish. It has a very light malt profile and a slightly nutty caramel finish.

Very carbonated, fills the whole mouth with flavor. Great mouth feel.

Drinkability is amazing, i could drink this stuff all night. I am definitely a fan!

Over all very reminiscent of the style, good job by russian river.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2010 04:30:18 | More by AlexTheAleMan
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Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 2,593 ratings.