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Damnation | Russian River Brewing Company

1,124 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.75%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by beerguy101 on 09-19-2003

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,124 | Ratings: 3,728
Photo of jaluria
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a cloudy, yellow-orange color with rust highlights and a moderate level of carbonation with big bubbles. A nice thick, white-colored head devleoped and left behind loads of lacing. Aromas of honey, yeast, grains, and dried fruit came out nicely. A bitter taste with fruity tones; dried apricot, pears, mellon, and white grapes. Rich and fruity with a sweet finish that is long and mellow. Highly addictive with a creamy texture that just rolls into your mouth and leaves behind intense flavors. This is a wonderful beer; one of the best examples of its style and well worth the $10 I paid for the bottle.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle provided by the impenetrable beermanbrian.

Pours a clear golden color with a huge white head. Lots of bubbling action. Thick lacing on the glass.

Smells malty and bready with a slight fruitiness. Very inticing.

Nice breadiness upfront with a slight fruity taste. A bitter hop bite kicks in and it washes down bready, bitter, and slightly dry. The bitterness lingers.

Good carbonation, body still seemed slightly thin.

Nice drinking brew, as I expected it would be.

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Photo of ggaughan
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 003, served from a 750 ml bottle. When I took the cage off the bottles, the cork flew out of the bottle neck without any agitation. Nice presentation. The beer poured a golden yellow color with a thick white head, good lacing. The beer had an aroma of of citrus and bananas, a bit acidic. The taste is a good balance of spice, citrus and carbonation. As with most RR beers, there is a good balance in the beer so that the higher ABV is not overally noticable.

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BeerBeing for the trade. This one was a gusher, not too bad, though. Pours with lots of foam, leaving rings of lace. Nose is complex, with spices, banana, some citrus, and grassiness.

Tastes very good, some yeasty notes, along with the flavors noted in the aroma. Mouthfeel is good, well carbonated and smooth. Drinkability is high, if only I could buy this in IN.

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Photo of mattcrill
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to cmaruschak for sharing his BA karmic love. Batch 003

Appearance: Pours a cloudy light straw in color with little floaties throughout the body. A diffuse white cap develops.

Smell: Belgian yeasty funk, oak, green apples, and a flowery melon aroma.

Taste: A puckering sourness, fruity (melons and tart apples), clove, and all-spice.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium and crisp.

Drinkability: Very sessionable. Unique, interesting, and enjoyable. A nice American take on a Belgian style.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to cmaruschak for sharing this bottle. Batch 003: Lightly hazy straw color with a medium thick off-white head that dissipates quickly. Small particles floating freely, and thin sheets of lacing. The aroma is potent fruit (banana and melon) and yeast. Medium-bodied and tart with fruit and peppery spices, along with some hops and malt. The finish is spicy and short with a lingering sweet aftertaste of banana and clove. Very drinkable, and the cacophany of flavors seem to be on the verge of chaos. However, the complexity is restrained enough to be rather enjoyable.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 006.
(Brewed on 17-Jul-05 and Bottled on 12-August-05)
Primary: R.R. Belgian Ale Yeast 1
Conditioning: White Labs Wine Yeast

Presentation: 750ml brown glass bottle. Unmarked champagne cork caged with a white steel cap which has the words ‘Russian River Brewing Company” in red text. Black label with a church window centerpiece which has a three-pronged fork with the number 23 at its base and the words ‘Golden Ale’. The word ‘Damnation’ is writ large in red text across the three-pronged fork. A small white rectangle has 3 Egg-Timers which signifies that this can be aged for up to 3 years, along with the words ‘Batch 006’. Listed at 7.0% ABV. Appropriately served in a freshly rinsed Duvel Glass, I note that the label recommends not using a Pint glass but a Duvelian shaped one. Refermented in the bottle.

Appearance: Faded golden body, straw tinges and a lone streamer laden milky torso support a feisty white head. A bit paler than I recall. Awesome looks nonetheless. A gentle swirl however reveals a large bubbled conditioning that seems a little restrained. Final top-up introduces a turbid finish to this one, not that I am bothered about this though.

Nose: The nose is exquisite, just like the first time I tried this beauty. Nothing new here, just plain old same old…not that anything here is plain. Wheaty bananas blend with skinned apples, baked pears and spicy freshly baked bread tones. Drops a half click in strength though.

Taste: Holds out well, a little more depressed than I recall, but not by much. The Banana aspects are low key, wheat remains and the taints of bubblegum from Batch 003 have completely disappeared. The malts play a bigger part. Spices and wholemeal wheat-bread factor higher than usual. Good stuff but lacks the sparkle of the Batch 003.

Mouthfeel: Oh my, this is where it dips here “big style”, way low in the feel, almost watery, hard to tab a great looking and tasting beer with such a low Mouthfeel, but honestly as hard as it is for me to admit this has a very low end feel, it is true. It just scrapes a 3.5 thanks to the pertinent conditioning more than anything else.

Drinkability: Loses something somewhere. The watery feel definitely detracts from my pleasure though my own internal bias is fighting this; I don’t want to admit that this doesn’t taste as good as the other Batch 003’s that I have had.

Overall: Up to press I have only had the Batch 003 RR Damnation which I dearly loved. It seems that the big difference between the R.R. Wine 1 Yeast from Batch 003 and White Labs Wine Yeast from Batch 006 is definitely more noticeable in the Drinkability and Mouthfeel. I so wish I would have stocked up on the Batch 003 moreso now. Oh well, when the Batch 007 arrives in LB (back to the R.R Wine 1 yeast for conditioning) I’ll hoard those instead. Batch 006, bit of hiccup, but nothing that hasn’t been addressed. As Lemmy would say……Rock On.

Music: Motörhead – Iron Fist.

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Photo of Tupperwolf
3.08/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a glowing, slightly hazy gold with a frothy rising head that fills half of my tulip glass in true Duvel style; It doesn't hang around in the same frothy, rocky lemon meringue way as Duvel, but fizzes very slowly down over several long minutes, leaving intricate lacing. Tiny bubbles slowly rise through the depths of a carefully decanted pour - what seems like an eighth of an inch of yeast is on the bottom of the bottle.

Smells of honey, lemon, and citrus peel; a tang of cloves; A warm kind of smell, fruity and sunny.

The taste is hard to describe; It's got equal parts fruit and spice, but they are intertwined with a lot of dusty, musty taste, like the smell of your great-grandmother's Victorian house's root cellar. A vague alcohol, and a kind of smoked salmon aftertaste. There are notes here that do remind me of Duvel (the standard by which all belgian-style golden ales should be judged, in my opinion) but this isn't a copycat by any means; it has its own things going on.

Medium body, fizzy carbonation, and a lingering tree-sap aftertaste.

I'm really not sure that I like this beer as much as I had been anticipating, but give it a shot and see if RR lives up to the hype for you.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 corked and caged, batch 003. Poured with the utmost care it forms a highly carbonated body underneath a vibrant white head that laces throughout. Crystal clear pale yellow. Slight skunk but nothing that detered the taste, just faint in the nose.

Unique in a way for this style in that I noticed more of a spiced apporach than most I've tried. Very nice. Some light fruitiness, maybe some pear or the like followed by a peppery ending. Super fine carbonation makes this one elegant mouthfeel as the tastes roll around leaving no uncharted territory. Alcohol is well hidden yet the warming is excellent and invited.

This is a kick ass brew. With every drink this beer got better, that is a testament to a fine offering.

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Photo of SteveO1231
4.56/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy golden yellow with an awesome head of white foam, I need a knife and fork to cut through it. Huge chunks of white foam lacing cling to my glass.

Smells great, aroma filled with coriander, citrus fruits and light malts. Very yeasty smell too.

Taste so good, great malty/cadi sweetess, with a yeasty sourness and a pineapple, citrus fruit tartness. Very smooth, drinkable and delicious.

Awesome beer, I really enjoyed t his one.


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Photo of beergeek279
4.48/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 750 mL corked bottle into the trusty 'ol DFH snifter. The color is golden with a wonderfully vigorous bubble cascade rising up to the thick, foamy white head that refuses to disappear. The smell has a very strong apple estery character to it with a good candi sugar base to it as well. The taste also has that estery, candi sugar quality to it, but has a remarkably un-tripel-like bitterness to it that adds a wonderful musty complexity to the normally sweet style, leaving a wonderfully lingering bitterness in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is well-carbonated, with the volumes of CO2 about where they'd expect. As for drinkability, this is a nice one and is too damn deceptive.

Thanks to BigLove for finding this brew for the Secret Pumpkin '05. This is the last brew of 2005, and I had to end it with fireworks, so what better than one of the highest regarded beers on BA? Cheers to the Russian River crowd for making a beer that sticks to style and yet goes far beyond and puts its own stamp on it. Very nice, and hopefully I can get my hands on much more Russian River, including this one, in the future!!!!

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Photo of sacfly
4.41/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had at the Brickskeller in DC
batch 003

Poured a hazy yellow with a thick everlasting head. You could see chunks of yeast/protein in suspension. Smell was rather metallic and light… in a good way? Spicy… light pepper.

Taste is a very complex blend of light sweet fruit, pepper, honey, an almost tea like quality. All blended into a tight, light package.

Great Mouthfeel and drinkability. My first RR product and most certainly not my last!

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Starts with a violent BANG of an uncorking. Some brewers use heavy corked bottles for their marketing effect, but here the explosive charge clearly needs reinforced containment. Advice #1: don’t let that cork get away from you. It will cause serious damage to eyeballs, light bulbs, AMWAY salesmen.

All that volatile carbonation produces an exuberant surge of light airy foam. I got five full inches of it in a seven-inch glass. Advice #2: to avoid a cumbersome head, serve in a wide mouthed glass such as a chalice.

Damnation shows fine particulate matter suspended in a piss yellow brew. The crisp Belgian aroma is earthen, peppery, and defining, with a bit of hay bale in the mix. Big clumpy lace adorns the glass. The taste is smooth and graceful with a gentle, rustic bite towards the finish. Damnation’s temperament is not altogether distinct and conveys a sense of tradition moreso than innovation. Still, its drinkability is inviting and intact. A refined and respectable tribute to the style.

Batch 004. Special thanks to Brewbacca for the trade.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml corked and caged. Batch 006. Pours a pale golden color, slightly cloudy. High amount of carbonation. Thick, fluffy egg-white like head. Good head retention. Aroma of apples, pears, and some spices. A very nice fruity aroma. Pale malt flavor, followed by fruit flavor and ending with a good amount of earthy, Belgian-like hop flavor. Bitterness is not overwhelming, but certainly present. Higher carbonation makes this pretty refreshing. Alcohol is not very noticable. Thank you to EyeChartBrew for bringing this one to me.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice 2cm cover of pure white lace, regular bubbles covering a cloudy pale gold pour. Spicy and slightly phenolic nose has a mild hay-like propensy, its dry yeastiness offering plenty of tea-like tannins and candied fruits (pineapple, sprucey orange skins etc.), like a less nutty chardonnay. Even for a belgian ale, it is pretty spicy, though balanced and you’d have a hard time picking dominant tastes. Certainly herbal, honey geared malts, tannic and yeasty. Medium carbonation, medium bodied, slight astringency. Quality, friendly and accurate artisanal farmy belgian ale, if not managing the extra steps to scar our imaginary world.

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Photo of OStrungT
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a golden yellow with a thick fluffy white head. The head fades very slowly leaving a lot of thick laces. Lots of tiny bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass. Looks quite carbonated. It smells citrusy. I can detect slight spicy aroma, and a slight hop aroma. The alcohol is not too noticable in the aroma. This beer also has a yeasty aroma. This beer has a spicy, peppery taste. It tastes slightly fruity. Maybe plumbs or pears. I can taste a small hop presence. I can not detect the alcohol in the flavoe. I really like how this beer hides the alcohol. This beer is quite carbonated. The carbonation does not detract from the beer at all. This beer leaves a spicy, citrusy aftertaste. It goes down smooth. I think that this beer might make a good session beer, but you would do well to be carefull because it is a little high in alcohol. I highly recomend this beer.

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Photo of Goldorak
3.35/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Yellow and opaque, with not much head on it.

Smell: Pepper, an old, dusty attic, but not in a Lambic, horseblanket kind of way. Like they used spent hops, not wild yeast. It does smell quite yesty, but it also had this strange smell that reminded me of sunscreen! Aloe and a bit oily.

Taste: Citrus and a whole slew of yeast flavors that ranged from cloves to banana and from nutmeg to all-spice. And plenty of booze.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Blind Tiger for their tribute to belgium thang.
This tasted like what I thought Duvel would taste like (and what I think Duvel should taste like).
Poured a golden cloudy color into a tulip... think along the lines of a saison or tripel. Had quite a few flavor and scent characteristics of those as well.
A bit of lemon citrus to it, light mouthfeel... yeasty goodness and well balanced.
This was served a bit too cold so I'm sure some things were muted but at times it was hard not to guzzle this. Tasty and enjoyable all around.
A good example of the style and a very good American rendition.
Props go out to the Blind Tiger for getting some on this here coast.

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Photo of pjwilson
3.87/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: between yellow and orange. nice head but leaves a little fast
Smell: this beer reminds me of tripel karmeliet...only not as complex. pear and plums come imediatly to mind..also has to the same spicyness and alcohol. quite good
taste: very good...but too subtle. now, not every beer needs to be attention stealing....but you expect it in a beer like this. had i had this on tap in a crowded place like brewpub...perhaps i would be less crital. anyways pears, plums and spicyness continue. agian karmeliet comes too mind. has similar malt flavors as temptaion only withput the funk and chardinay flavors...a strange bitterness is there as feel. almost like taking medicine.. on the final pour there is alot of yeast which adds funkyness
Mouthfeel: soft carbination...pleastant like champange
drinkablily: could have been better...

notes: well it certainly was pretty good...but i wasn't bowled over.. It's just that tripel karmeliet blows this away, they are both very similar
anyways i still love Russian River, my favorite localish brewery. i'm just telling you, that i'm saving my money for their other brews...or a karmeliet

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Photo of whartontallboy
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split a bottle of this (Batch 004) with a dear friend at Monk's.

Pours out a murky bright golden yellow with a thick head of white meringue. Lots of columns of carbonation rising up through it. Nice to look at.

Smell is full of fruity esters, particularly banana and peach. A bit of spice (cloves maybe?) sneak in as well. Little bits of yeast and pear fill things out nicely.

Flavor is pretty great for a Belgian strong pale. A big hit of the banana, peach, pear, and citrus flavors grab the tongue, and there's a nice little hoppiness to bitter things nicely. Finishes nice and dry.

Overall: My first taste of the "-tion" Russian River beers, and definitely a keeper. I'm not sure I'd say it's worth the high sticker price when there are tons of good beers in this style for much less money, but it's worth trying.

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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.

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

The beer pours a hazy pale gold color with a towering white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice pale malt scent along with a earthy, yet fruity yeast aroma. The taste is good as well. It has a smooth pale malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes earthy with a slight lemony zest. This is quite dry on the finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a low/medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a damn fine Belgian style brew. It has a smooth and tastey flavor; a good drinker.

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

Bottle is from Batch 003

Pours a clear nice golden color with a white head that falls to ringed scum that is feed by sparce rising bubbles.

Aroma is creamy malt light fruit banana, melons and orange hints. Nice spice also pepper mingled within grassy hops.

Taste is wow crisp light malt then the fruit hits banana, orange flavors jump right into the spice orange peel leads to coriander that finishes peppery/clovey with grass like bitterness added from the hops. 2nd Pour sediment included this time yes baby the grassy/earthy flavors increase along with the bitterness nice improvement.

Mouthfeel is almost mediumish nice body for a pale, nice earthy dirt like texture in the finish, nice.

Drinkability is good a nice brew, not my favorite style but enjoyed this one. Probably wouldn't have again due to the cost but it is good.

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Photo of PatYoda
4.48/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance is spot on. Large fluffy head (not quite Duvelesque, but what is?) on a hazy yellow beer. Smell is very fruity and sweet. Some spiciness in there as well as a subtle metallic aroma. Taste is more spicy than it seems. Very reminiscent of wheat beer clovey spiciness, and the banana does show up as well. Also some cantaloupe sweetness which is very tasty - a little bubble gummy as well. Very complex without being overbearing or particularly "strong" tasting, which I like. The metal doesn't show up in the taste thankfully. Mouthfeel is very light and very spritzy. I had to make myself slow down drinking this one. Went very well with Mexican food. Now if only I could get another bottle...

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Photo of NolanGTI
3.83/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The first beer from Russian river that I haven't fallen in lust with, but still a real nice example of the style.

It was a pale golden haze with little carbonation and a head that quickly faded from sight. Smelled of a nice mellon, slight hop profile. A bit sweet at the begining but quickly settles into a nice balance of flavors with a slight spiciness on the way down.

It just couldn't fully win me over. Solid, be glad to have another and probably will.

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Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,124 ratings.