Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

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1,082 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,082
Hads: 3,470
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 8.01%
Wants: 388
Gots: 837 | FT: 54
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

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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,082 | Hads: 3,470
Photo of rkhaze
3.82/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pors a slightly hazy golden color with a big, dense, tiny bubbled head. Carbonation that champagne would covet.

Sweet pale malt smells with candied tropical fruit aromas and a fresh lemony yeasy smell at the end.

Taste is more subtle than the aromas. Lighter in flavor than expected. Pale malt, pineapple and citrus fruit. Finishes dry with a refreshing tart yeast flavor and an annoying, albeit light, alcohol bitterness.. Not a lot of complexity but good nonetheless.

Light bodied with a full creamy mouthfeel. Crisp, refreshing finish and tongue tingling carbonation.

Decent flavors but filling and highly carbonated. (632 characters)

Photo of Dukeofearl
3.32/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear golden with an active stream of carbonation in my Duvel glass that feeds a nice white cover over the beer, keeping that damned beer in the glass.

Aroma is not strong even in a big tulip- surprising. Slight spiciness, slight fruit, slight sweetness. But not interesting at all.

Flavor dominated by sharp, slightly bitter spiciness. Some fruitiness (tart lime?), but strongly overcome by the sharp tones. Nothing interesting to me.

Moutfeel on the thin side of moderate. Not something that I care for.

EDIT: How's this for weird- I burped later on, and guess what I tasted? Banana. Sure didn't taste it going down!

SECOND EDIT: Two days later, I had left about 1/3 of the 750 sitting in my fridge- not sure why, I didn't really want to finish it, but I didn't want to be unnecessarily harsh in my review either. So I poured the rest in a glass, yeast and all, and tried again. Now that it has "aged" a bit, and it includes the yeast, I get a solid banana-pineapple-clove nose, and the peppery-dry sharpness has mellowed a bit, but it still dominates. Still not something I am real excited about, but I did up the ratings somewhat. (1,157 characters)

Photo of kmpitz2
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice bright and hazy straw color with a 2 finger head that falls back to a finger leaving sticky tendrils of lace on the glass. Nose is really nice. Lots of lemony zest upfront, but also with an almost black peppery spice as well. With a very big inhale, I find the last 0.75 of the inhale to change character and give me light alcohol-innoculated banana. Very nice. The flavor is not as complex as the aroma. It starts with a crisp lemon, slightly spicey follows finishing with a light sweetness, but very dry. It really hits me on the back of the tongue with the dryness. The feel is moderate with a light carbonation. No real hint of the alcohol except when I take the deep breath. Good beer. A treat for my senses. (726 characters)

Photo of clvand0
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jason Alstrom for this bottle. Shared with fellow BAs Sheepnutz and kmpitz2. Pours a cloudy yellow/golden color with a tall head that falls at a medium rate and leaves some nice lacing on the glass. The aroma has a lot of lemony-citrus stuff going on with some spicing, some corriander and maybe a hint of funk. That funk is present in the flavor, almost has a musty funk going on - but in a very good way. Citrus and spice and some earthy hops. I really like the flavor, but it's different than most Belgian Pales. Mouthfeel is slightly thick and the drinkability is very good. (588 characters)

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

750mL bottle poured into a snifter. It pours a slightly hazy medium gold color with three fingers of head. There is a decent amount of lacing. The smell is fruity and sweet, with lots of pepper and citrus aromas. A very pleasant aroma. The taste is tart at first, with some sweet and sour flavors. It's slightly bready and spicy as well. The finish has some hop bitterness, brilliant. The mouthfeel is decently thick and smooth. The drinkability is great, since it's fairly low in alcohol for a Belgian Strong Pale. Hats off to Chris for sharing this beer, what a good lad! (573 characters)

Photo of LuckySevens82
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml Bottle technically courtesy of Skyhand, but since I paid for it, it's mine ;)

Pours a nice hazy golden color with a pretty nice and dense pure white head. Lacing is nice, but retention is a bit iffy.
Smell is coriander, definitely musty yeast, some hops, and a bit of citric funk. Fruitiness is pretty well there, but the other smells of spices and yeast seem to overshadow any fruitiness in the aroma.
Taste is a bit malty, some fruit is definitely present as well (grapes, golden apples, etc). Spice comes next, coriander is abundant and kind of washes into a really strong spicy hop flavor that I think kind of detracts from the rest of the flavor in this one, but that's only if I have to give fault to this beer. Alcohol makes itself known in the finish, and it warms slightly as it slides down the gullet.
Mouthfeel is a little off, it's not quite as dry as I like my belgians and certainly not as fruity. Still pretty darn good though.
Overall, a good offering in every sense of the word. It's not amazing, but I could see myself downing a chalice or two were I ever in CA. That said, I can't wait until I get to the other two RR beers I have hidden. (1,171 characters)

Photo of vladtheimpaler
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml. This is the most authentic Belgian golden that you can possibly find in the USA made by a USA brewery. Sparkling yellow, with a nice white head. Aroma of banana and clove, along with the pale malts. Flaors are malty, with the dominance of pale malts and a pleasant fruity palate. Fruity finish. Light and enjoyable, perhaps the best Belgian golden that I have had... (374 characters)

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. (869 characters)

Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer poured into the chalice crystal clear pale straw but not quite golden with a white frothy head which rose tall and then fell back to lace the glass.

The aroma was fruity and interesting with some spicy orange citrus notes coupled with light yeast spice or coriander. The aroma contained a nice maltiness and sweetness and some slight peppery notes.

The flavor was very nice with pepper being the most dominant spice. The first flavor on the palate was spice followed by a nice malty backbone and earthy bittering component. The flavor contained just the slightest amount of alcohol which added complexity and did not detract.

The finish was dry with lasting spiciness of pepper and slight coriander/belgian yeast spice with some malt impression long into the aftertaste. The body was just medium and well done. The beer was infinitely drinkable. I cannot imagine a beer going down more smoothly. I may be in the minority with my review, but this beer was very good, find a bottle...better yet, find two!

750 ml bottle, corked and bailed. $9.29 at Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, VA (thanks Mike W). The most appropriate beer for today since the H392 got set aside today in NC and will not be looked at for awhile longer. Damnation! (1,255 characters)

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

Thanks for Starchild for this beauty received in B&G BIF

Pours the color of 14K gold. Big, white formay ahead sits atop the golden yellow nectar.
Aroma has hints of orange and lemon citrus, some white pepper, a bit of coriander and candi sugar. Bit of grass and hay also emerge.
Flavor has a fresh sort of Grains of Paradise hint with some dough-like malt flavors and a hint of pale malt and simple sugar.
Mouthfeel is lighter side of medium bodied. Great and appropriate carbonation make the malt and spices play on the palate and a very lively beer is enjoyed. A bit of dryness invades the finish but is just short enough to not take away from the cornucopia of flavors which emerge.
Drinkability is extremely high. Really a thirst quenching lighter Belgian and amazingly crafted for sure. (798 characters)

Photo of Boilermaker88
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presented in a caged and corked 750ml bottle I spotted in a small corner packie whilst out beer-prowling. Cost: $8.99 for the 750ml. Label stated this particular bottle is from batch #003. Poured, per the label directions, into my Duvel tulip glass.
Appearance: clear golden yellow color with vibrant carbonation and a modest white head that rather quickly fell apart and imploded into a thin skim. No lace.
Smell: ooh, that's nice! Fragrances of coriander, hints of cloves and pepper, pears, and pale malts stewed spiced apples. Very floral and on the lines of a witbier.
Taste: wow, is that good! Spiced pears right off the bat. Some light bubblegum and slightly un-ripe banana. Fruity esters wane mid-palate as spicy hops and alcohol begin battle for supremacy. Coriander and white pepper eke out a narrow victory as each pull slides off the tongue and head down the throat. The one constant throughout is the solid yeasty, dusty malt platform.
Feel: medium bodied, abundant carbonation gives it a velvety feel as it scours the tongue.
Drinkability: uh, yeah, it's damnably drinkable! I gotta say, I could drink this all night, given the opportunity. Russian River scores again with Damnation. Well worth whatever it takes to get a bottle. (1,247 characters)

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

This golden brew has slight chill haze. A big crop of cotton white head is formed on top. Retention is very good. And lace is better than average. This is my kind of aroma. Yeasty doughiness mingles with banana esters and yellow cake dough. Mmmm. Smells damn good. This beer is quite the easy drinker. And very tasty. Bananas and pears mingle with that doughy breadiness on the palate. There's some bright citric tones as well. Very refreshing and very nice. The carbonation is fine and well placed. Body is about light-medium. Very solid for my first RR experience.

Thanks go out to THE longbeachbum for the sample. (619 characters)

Photo of Bierman9
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle review from 28JUN05...
Sampled this bottle (which somehow fell into my hands at the end of the ABF) last Wednesday night...relaxing outside on warm Summer night....

Pours into the goblet a bright golden, with a slight haze. Fluffy, stark white head tops things, rising to an inch then holding steady at 1/2". Fine, steady and incessant stream of bubbles rises within. Nice lacework clings to the gob...

Nose is dryish and slightly spicy, with tropical fruit action and a touch of breadiness. Almost hefeweizen-like. Medium bodied, the Damnation is, but with lots of carbo. Makes for a foamy/bubbly feel, but not really rough at all on the tongue.

Light bready malt hits the palate first, followed shortly by lots of fruit: pear, banana, mango-like tropical notes. A light spiciness enters the fray, a bit on the peppery side actually. Quite dry in the finish, with light floral hoppiness rounding things out. Refreshingly lovely! Prosit!!

overall: 4.25
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4.5

On-tap review from 02JUN05...
Sampled vom Faß at Zeitgeist.... Poured a crystal clear golden color, with a thin, wispy white head but lots of lacework. Nose was both a touch bready and toasty, with a yeasty, Belgian lean to it. Good body, all-in-all, and fairly smooth to boot. Nice flavor! Bready again, with a smidge of tropical fruit. Belgian qualities, yeasty, dry, fairly strong, a hint of spiciness.... A solid Russian River brew. (Noticed LOTS of people drinking this when I visited the Russian River Pub the next day). (4.0/3.5/4.5/4.0/4.5 - 4.15)


817 (1,615 characters)

Photo of oxmasterscream
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 003.
Clear golden with mucho carbonation. Topped by a thick, sticky, beaten egg-white like head, which eventually falls to just a swirl and leaves tons of lacing behind.
Smells of funky Belgian yeast first, then grassy, apples, mango and passion fruit, some white grape. Can't wait to drink it.
Tastes of sour fruits and citrus fruits like mango and passion fruit. Nicely spicy too. A touch of bitterness in the finish, as well as some lingering ripe pineapple and sometimes bubblegum. Yummy.
Tons of sharp bubbles attack the tongue at first yet it remains very smooth in the mouth... medium-bodied. Nice.
This is enjoyable, highly drinkable stuff. (659 characters)

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

Pours a hazy wheat color with lots of carb action and evidence of yeast. Has a three inch head with some lacing.

Has a cookie and nutty caramel malt smell with a herbal, resin, grapefruit, orange, and lemon hops aroma.

A moderately acidic and lightly sweet and bitter taste with a more pronounced grainy caramel malt. The hops flavor resembles the smell with more grapefruit and orange.

The mouthfeel is a smooth light to medium body, dry slightly syrupy texture, soft and lively carbonation, and a smooth metallic almost chalky finish.

Drinkability is excellent for the style, there are not many American Golden Ales that even come close to this. (659 characters)

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

Batch 002:

Pours an ever so slightly cloudy, bright gold with an ample, somewhat sudsy head with surprisingly low retention.

The aroma is just *barely* tart with a bit of spice, then a lot of funk. Pepper and barnyard - oh yeah...

The taste is pepper and barnyard continued, and dry throughout. Exceedingly dry, with a hint of leon creeping around the spice, funk, and hop bitterness, but only a hint. A helluva profile for a BSPA, and a decidedly non-Duvel-clone approach to the BSPA style. I am pleased...

The mouthfeel is puckering and scouring from the dryness, bitterness. Most intriguing, and damn good...

Damn. I want more of this beer. A lot more. I'm very pleased that an American brewery has produced a BSPA of this caliber *and* originality. Kudos to Vinnie. I shall continue to give him my money... (825 characters)

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

Dark golden with a nice duvel-style head of white foam. The aromas are all Belgian golden with nice spicy yeast and alcohol notes as well as some french bread malts and some spicy hops. Taste is like the aroma implies. Spicy and hoppy with a nice background malting and many subtle flavor complexities. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, drinkability is very good. As far as Belgian goldens go, this one really does it for me. I'd like to try this again from the bottle. Good stuff. $2.50 for a big chalice at the Toronado ;-) (519 characters)

Photo of GClarkage
4.11/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

05/01/05- Purchased at a wine store in Sonoma, CA

Presentation- 24oz bottle caged and corked. No dates, poured into a random 16oz beer mug (at Mom's house and didn't have proper glassware).

Appearance- Large chunky head with a nice golden colored pour. Lacing was about average.

Smell- Truthfully, it had a bit of a macro scent, which suprised me. But, as I sniffed a bit more I could sense the malt, hops and a small fruity smell.

Taste- Good malt flavor with the expected heavy hops flavor that you fine in many RR beers. There is also a bucket load of corriander which gives it that true Belgian flavor.

Mouthfeel- Above average carbonation, a bit sticky to the mouth roof.

Drinkability- Quenched my thirst while cleaning and washing our car. Very good effort at creating a Belgian style brew. I'd definitely snag a few more if they come down to my neck of the woods. (888 characters)

Photo of rowew
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Corked and caged 750 ml. Labeled as batch 001, with a description of the beer on the back. Also has an illustration explaining this should be drank from a goblet or something similar, and not a pint glass. No date information, but it does say to age in a cool dark place.

Appearance: Pours a bright golden color with a nice head that dissapates to leave a very faint lacing on top of the beer. Slight effervescence.

Smell: Sweet malt base, with lots of fruit in the nose. Very belgian yeast profile as well. The only fruit that stands out is banana, but their are others there as well.

Taste: Soft mouthfeel with a medium level of carbonation. The beer starts and finishes fairly spicy, with lots of fruit in the middle. There is just a bit of hops present at the finish as well.

Overall impression: Definitely reminescent of Duvel - this is a tasty example from a great American brewer. Clean, crisp and highly drinkable - if you can get your hands on a sample give it a try. (1,003 characters)

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

Appearance: Nice golden orange color with a light head that had moderatly good retention.

Smell: Very fruity and malty with distinct lemon and orange notes.

Taste: Sweet, floral with hop bitterness emerging right in the middle of the flavor. This beer has an interesting character to it. It has a fresh fruit kind of taste that is light and refreshing yet it also has a heavy, sandy, and sugary base flavor to it. The multiple levels of flavor were very pleasing to taste.

Mouthfeel: Velvety and sweet without any hang ups in the mouth. No outlandish flavors that leave you wondering what the heck they are. This beer is well defined as far as flavors go and very well done.

Drinkability: This is an outstanding beer that I will look for again. I thoroughly enjoyed every sip of it. (794 characters)

Photo of sulldaddy
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I am sampling a corked and caged 750 ml bottle. Pouring into a snifter at room temp. The beer pours a clear bright gold color similar to champagne. A fizzy fluffy bleached white head of 2cm foams up easily. Streams of bubbles rise effortlessly to the surface. Aroma is a mix of piney hops, lemon and biscuit, intertwined with green apple and white grape. First sip reveals a lite body and texture with small fizzy carbonation. Flavor is green apple and pears with lemon and some nutmeg and bready yeast. Very smooth and easy to drink. No hint of the 7% abv anywhere. (566 characters)

Photo of IceAce
3.76/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a golden bronze with a full finger of dense egg-white foam and superb clarity. The nose reminds of an excellent pils with added banana...light-n-malty with just a hint of yeast.

Foretaste is whisper quiet leading to a nice earthen malty midtaste with hints of citrus. The finish is smooth with a nice crisp hop bite and an enjoyable dryness.

Seek one out today... (376 characters)

Photo of lou91
3.61/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Never trust a book by its cover should be the mantra of BA and this is a classic example. Beautiful big brown bottle with champagne caged cork and batch 001. As I opened the bottle the cork was ready to fly off - nice pop and a beautiful looking pale golden cloudy brew. This is where the story takes a downturn. It doesn't exactly suck but not fit the style or presentation. Crisp, yeasty but imbalanced. I hope the brewers read this and retool for batch 002. (460 characters)

Photo of meathookjones
3.82/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this at a wet hop tasting at RFD’s in Washington DC. This came out with a yellow body with good clarity and a slight topping of white foam. The aroma is a mix of fruits like apples and various spices. A doughy malt can be slightly detected in the background. Taste is similar with a spicy doughy malt before a bit of sweetness and more spice leads to the mildly bitter finish. Also there are plenty of fruit notes in the flavor as well. Body is about medium with a good carbonated feel to it. Pretty good drinkability as well. Pretty good offering from Russian River I am glad they brought this to the tasting. (615 characters)

Photo of garthwaite
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at Father's Office in Santa Monica. In the glass, this brew is a cloudy, but bright amber with a full & creamy white head. Nose is an enticing blend of apricot, herbal spices, sour apple, & coriander (although sampled in the same session as Horny Devil, the coriander in this brew seems almost non-existent). Enjoyable blend of sweet fruits and mild spicy hops. More subtle hints of sour apple throughout along with some drying woodiness. Medium-bodied brew with perfect carbonation & a gentle warming as it closes. Damn, I'd like to have this on tap nearby. (573 characters)

Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,082 ratings.