1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.
DamnationDamnation

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

3,046 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,046
Reviews: 1,065
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 347
Gots: 630 | FT: 50
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,046 | Reviews: 1,065 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Hazy, straw yellow hue with a half inch of frothy, sea foam head that leaves a fair amount of lacing on the glass.

S: Lemons, grass, spices, Belgian yeast.

T: A nice tasting beer, with everything in the aroma shining through in the taste. Spices are present, but subtle enough that they don't overpower the beer. If you told me this beer was brewed in Belgium, I would believe it.

M: Medium bodied, with good carbonation. There's a warming alcohol finish.

D: A solid beer, and a good example of the style, especially from an American brewery. Russian River doesn't make a bad beer.

Huhzubendah, Sep 05, 2010
Photo of daledeee
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A 750 ml bottle brought to me from Oregon by a friend.

Poured this into their preferred glass: a tulip.

Nice head that went down to a thin layer with lacing. Body is bright yellow which is mostly clear and a few floaters. Some carbonation bubbling from the bottom.

Nose was rather fleeting. Stronger at first with hints of grass and hops.

Taste is pretty close to the style. Good Belgian hops but not as overwhelming as some others I have had. This allows the malt to come through. There is a little spice thrown in. The finish leaves a hint of lemon rind.

Carbonation is not overdone and the beer is not extra heavy. Drinkability is superior with little alcohol burn.

daledeee, Sep 01, 2010
Photo of birchstick
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - pours a clear straw yellow with a 1/2 finger head

S - smells yeasty and of very sweet malts and light fruits (tart, green apple and pear come to mind)

T - Damnation's taste is very similar to its nose. It starts off with some light biscuit malts that is pushed aside by lights fruits with green apples and a lot of spiciness (white pepper and some cinnamon). There are some grassy and citrusy hops on the finish.

M - very full body with loads of carbonation

D - This is a pretty solid BSPA. If I didn't see the bottle I would have guessed it wasn't brewed in the US. The bottle was gone before I knew it...

birchstick, Aug 31, 2010
Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter from a 375ml bottle.

A - Pours a solid yet light yellow golden color with some slight orange hues. There is a nice .5 inch head that is white and seems sticky as it slowly recedes. There is some nice active carbonation races up form the bottom of the bottle.

S - Aroma is great. Spices, yeast and some slight honey. Great bready malt with some slight clove. Very appealing. The boozy aroma is not as apparent as other BSPA. Seems extremely well balanced with all the flavors working together but not overwhelming each other.

T - Even though the aroma is right on the money in terms of flavor it seems to be above average in comparison. Flavors starts with some fluffy and delicious malty and chalky yeast flavors. There are some nice clove and slight vanilla with other spices. It is fruity but not as fruity as other versions and the boozy character is on the lower side.

M & D - The mouthfeel is fluffy, crisp and very refreshing delicious beer and if it was more available it would be a beer that I would drink frequently. ABV is not too crazy.

Edit: As the beer warms there is a more prominent grape and vinous flavor. Especially white wine it is slightly tart and delicious.

JoEBoBpr, Aug 30, 2010
Photo of augustgarage
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 058. Poured from a 375mL caged-and-corked bottle into my Troubadour tulip.

Lightly hazy orange peel body with a dark orange and amber gradient of highlights and two fingers of seashell merengue-like foam. Active but with good retention. Thick soapy lacing and glassy viscous legs.

Fragrant esters and yeast in the nose suggest honey, banana, and delicate sourdough starter. There is a pronounced floral element as well (honeysuckle?).

Sweet biscuity palate entry with a nice balance of fruit and spice (white pepper, coriander). Hops add a sudden burst of bitterness to offset the yeast, and fade slowly into the finish which is alternately sweet and dry, with an earthy/peppery/capsicum-tinged aftertaste.

Medium-bodied, pillowy, soft, and effervescent. Quite nice. The ABV could be just a little better integrated into the whole.

An enjoyable domestic take on a classic style though not quite on par with the better Belgian examples.

augustgarage, Aug 30, 2010
Photo of MbpBugeye
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sent to me for free, out of the blue, by stawn. What a great guy!

A- Light, shimmering gold with a sizable white head. The head doesnt last long enough, however. There isnt much lacing. The beer is pretty much clear.

S- Very spicy. Lots of coriander and white pepper smells coming from a spicy yeast. Fruits, especially pear, give this a very lively smell. Lots of pear, apple and faintly, lemon.

T- The taste follows the aroma very well. Lots of spicy white pepper. Very juicy with light fruits like green apple and pear. A chalkiness from the earthy, spicy yeast comes around at the end just before a refreshing blast of pear juice.

MbpBugeye, Aug 30, 2010
Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to mlaroche for throwing in this extra.

Batch 055x2.

From a 375ml bottle, caged and corked, the cork was at a slight angle like it had a good ride but had a good pop when opened.

Pours a golden pale yellow color with a huge freakin' head, fades at a really slow rate and leaves a good amount of patchy lacing on the glass, the head is maybe a bit too much and made me wait.

Smell has a strong floral bouquet of citrus, yeast and a bit of spice.

Taste has assertive carbonation, the yeast has a good presence but isn't overwhelming, the citrus is refreshing, a decent amount of spice kick.

deltatauhobbit, Aug 23, 2010
Photo of mwa423
3.63/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Slightly hazy light gold with a fluffy white head that quickly died away. Very similar to champagne.

S - Slightly wheaty and yeasty with a bit of malty sweetness and a slight hop bit.

T - Taste is exactly like the smell with very light yeasty and sweet notes. Slight hoppiness in the taste but very little stuck out in the flavor.

M/D - Mouthfeel is weak and light but not surprising for the style. This is a very easy to drink beer but it didn't have a lot that stuck out to me.

mwa423, Aug 23, 2010
Photo of pmlondrigan
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours well golden, with a little one finger white head, dense bubbles and fades to a thin white ring around my glass. Aroma is of fruity yeasty esters specifically apple, pear and apricot, and a little wet dog. Tastes crisp, clean, fruity, again green apple, pear and apricot. A little buttery. Kinda nice prickly carb, slides over the tongue. Nice drinker.

pmlondrigan, Aug 23, 2010
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gold color, not too much head wise. Nice aroma, pear, apple, and then some citrus. Didn't expect all that to come across.

Taste, just the right amount of hopping in this style to be in my comfort zone, you get the citrus without the bitterness or hop character as you would in an ipa. Similar to Duvel, more dry, more hops, more citrus.

The kind of beer you can appreciate more you have of it. At only $4.25 a bottle, was more than a worthy excursion into this style, very drinkable.

Beerandraiderfan, Aug 21, 2010
Photo of mtstatebeer
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, batch 47. Pours a hazy golden color with a frothy, off-white head, good lacing. Aroma is pale malts, caramel, fruit, yeast, bread, and earthy hops. Flavor is caramel, pear, grapes, yeast, spices, and citrus hops. Mouthfeel is medium, sweet, bitter, and dry. Great beer.

mtstatebeer, Aug 21, 2010
Photo of hughesm4
4.72/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

So imagine you are randomly driving around the coast of mid central Oregon, stopping at every place that sounds like it might sell good beer. I happen upon a place in Pacific City (or Cloverdale) as explained to me by the bar tender. My bartender happened to be Chenin Carlton, owner of the winery and sister of russian rivers brewmaster. Me and my wife had a terrific time tasting wines and beers for the better part of two hours. Chenin was extremely helpful in other local beer hot spots and wineries and we intend to try a few of them out in the upcoming days. If you are in the Portland/Central Oregon Coastal area look this place up.But to get to the beer review.
a-poured a very nice medium brown that had a nice amount of head and kept the bubbles up throughout the drink.
s- smelled just like a strong belgian is expected to; a variety of fruits along with a slight malty sweetness.
t-holy cow! my mouth is going crazy as write this review. This beer gives me all of the fruit and I love it. Every taste is a little different with some leading to citrus hops, some leading to banana and other fruits, and some leading to the sweet maltiness. both my wife and i loved this beer
m/d-very fulling in the mouth with the variety of fruit flavors. possible one of the smoothest drinkers that i have ever had, leaving me wishing that i could have another at some point. this was one of the best drinkers that i have ever had and I was very disappointed that i couldn't bring any home to my fellow beer lovers.

hughesm4, Aug 20, 2010
Photo of DovaliHops
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 054 750ml corked. Pours a perfectly clear golden color (looks like champagne) with a beautiful white, frothy head. Scent is somewhat spicy with some highly detectable Belgian yeasts. A bit peppery with some sweet fruit aromas. A bit of a floral aroma as well. Wow, the taste is very divine. I've had this beer fresh, but this one's got a bit of time on it. The flavors are very complex with such subtleties that make it an awesome Belgian style ale. Initially, you get the crisp floral notes followed by a peppery/spice bite. There's a fruity sweetness that is in every moment of the sip as well. The mouthfeel as crisp and clean (like a triple). I'm really liking what a little age has done with this beer. Drinkability is EXTREMELY high with alcohol hidden perfectly.

DovaliHops, Aug 19, 2010
Photo of vkv822
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle into snifter.
batch 56

Pours a slightly cloudy golden color, with fair carbonation rising up to an extremely thick and bubbly white head. The head keeps great retention throughout the life of the beer.
Has a pleasant slightly herbal yeast aroma upfront, with good hints of fruit and floral hops.
Has a prominent herbal-Belgian-yeast flavor with a light backing of floral and fruit hops mixed with biscuit malt notes.
The mouthfeel is nice medium to light body, with fair carbonation.
I really enjoyed this beer, and am impressed with my first offering from Russian River. I will definitely be trying more from them!

vkv822, Aug 19, 2010
Photo of mudbug
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch#44 poured into a large wine glass.
A hazy orange brew that produces a 1/2 inch head with very good retention, tipping the glass results in nice lacing.
Smells of earthy malts with overtones of crisp apples and coriander very clean smelling.
Initial taste is greeted with a nice bite from the delicate carbonation, then a smooth malt sweetness followed by the typical belgian yeast fruit shaded of ripe banana and spice.
There is a slight hop dryness in the finish.
A stellar brew, and another star from this incredible brewery.

mudbug, Aug 17, 2010
Photo of hooliganlife
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at RR

Pour was crisp bright blonde. The head fizzles away before it got to me.

Lots of funk on the nose. Hints of green apple and white grape. Lots of spice. Light banana and clove.

This is funky. Far funkier than the bottle version. Lots of banana and clove blend well with a nice yeasty flavor. This was all funk through out.

Nice and light, with a strong carbonation. Finish was dry.

Quite tasty although a bit funky for me. Funk heads would not be disappointed.

hooliganlife, Aug 17, 2010
Photo of cbutova
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 053, was excited to finally try this one, reviewed from notes.

A- Murky golden yellow with a nice champagne-like fluffy head. Decent retention and big chunks of spotty lace. Nice cloud and frothy ring.

S- Classic Belgian notes. Some clove spice, fruit notes (both dark and light, tart) and some zest. A bit of banana esters and slight Euro hops.

T- Balanced, nice Belgian flavor. Clove/coriander spice is there but does not upset the balance. Citrus, dark fruit and raisin notes as well. Some bready yeast and even apples. Noble hop flavors in the very background.

MF- Smooth carbonation, very slight sting. Fairly creamy light body and low bitterness. Slightly warm. Just a bit thin.

DB- A nice balanced Belgian flavor. Not too spicy with a good fruit aspect and some hops. Hard to describe because it is really just another variation on the often unbalanced Belgian flavor set.

cbutova, Aug 17, 2010
Photo of Chico1985
3.58/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

cbutova has been waiting a while to break this out and finally did so at our tasting last night. Thanks Cam! This was Batch 53, according to the RR website bottled 11-12-09.

Pours cloudy golden orange, lots of floaties. White head retains well and leaves a bit of lacing.

Scent is very lemony and spicy with some funk on the back end.

Taste is lots of spice and yeast, lemon, apple, some earthy hayness. Maybe some vanilla. There is some sort of off-taste I can't pinpoint. Well-carbonated.

I dunno, nothing really struck me as great for this one, a rarity for Russian River. Then again BSPA has never been my favorite style.

Chico1985, Aug 14, 2010
Photo of harpus
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Poured a hazed golden color with a white head that leaves lacing behind

Smell - Is of spice some funk and yeast

Taste - Follows the nose the spice is the dominate flavor with the funk and yeast finishing things off

Mouthfeel - This beer has a light body with high carbonation to it

Ddrinkablility - As with just about any other RR beer I've had this is top notch easy to drink maybe too easy with a good take on the style this is worth finding to try sometime

harpus, Aug 14, 2010
Photo of nataku00
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap in a 10 oz tulip glass in a local beer restaurant. A golden ale with an inch of beige head. Head retention is excellent, and laces nicely down the glass I drank from it.

Smells of wheat and grapefruit, but not very overpowering. A little fresh baked bread as well, likely from the yeast.

Tastes like it smells, lightly hopped on the finish, but is very clean. The tight carbonation did not decrease as I continued drinking it, and made for a pleasant release of flavor as it hits the tongue.

Pretty easy to have several of these and not notice that it's a fairly strong beer.

nataku00, Aug 14, 2010
Photo of mfunk9786
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up in the most amazing and shocking way possible. My local Wegmans, that offers $10.99 flat-rate make-your-own six packs, had this sitting on the singles shelf advertising the deal (along with stuff like Great Divide Hercules and Founders Cerise... not sure how they make money with this offer). I was thrilled to have the opportunity to pick this up for what amounted to less than $2!

A: At risk of sounding lewd: Do you like head? Because if you do, this beer will amaze you. Poured like a high school science project after a loud cork pop, bubbles fizzing in the liquid, leading up to a big, foamy head that kept rising and rising. Took me about 5 minutes and two hearty sips to manage to fill my 12 oz Unibroue Tulip with this 12-ish oz bottle. The head is fluffy and depletes in a very respectful and beautiful way, while leaving lacing all the way up the glass to the rim. Can't say enough about how lovely this beer is. The actual liquid portion of the beer is a cloudy dark yellow that begs to be sipped. Perfect.

S: Smells lovely (jeez, I just splashed myself with a bit of this enthusiastically reaching it back up to my nose for the 100th time...). Banana and clove is present, with candy-sweet Belgian yeast coming through strong. Slight citrusy scent, presumably from the hops.

T: This beer is every bit as delicious as Unibroue's La Fin Du Monde, and I hope it one day attains that beer's level of notoriety. The Belgian yeast plays bookends here, starting with a pleasant sweetness and finishing with a lovely tart sensation on the tongue. In-between are the flavors you've become accustomed to with this style: clove, banana, peppery spices, and a lovely fruity sourness (sort of a peach character, and I mean that in the best way as someone who runs and hides from the mere mention of peach flavor).

M: The sweet/sour tongue-assault of the yeast makes this one a surefire sipper, but there's hardly an alcohol presence here thanks to the sheer amount of flavor.

D: A sipper for sure, but you'll love it to the last drop. Such a beautiful beer.

This was my first Russian River, and now I'm more jazzed up to eventually try the Plinys than ever. I'm lucky enough to live in PA, where I get to at least try some of this brewery's offerings on the east coast, but I've still yet to find either the Elder or Younger. Maybe someday. This will certainly do in the meantime.

mfunk9786, Aug 13, 2010
Photo of Gobzilla
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a golden orange with yellow highlights with a half finger of head that left good blotchy lacing sticking to the glass. The aromas were wonderful which consisted of pears, apples, banana, slight spice, belgian yeast, and a good malt presence. The flavors on the palate were very similar to the nose but the fruit characters were a bit more potent which was a great thing for me. It was nicely balanced and had nice pear, apple, banana, and spice notes that really complimented each other. The malt was not as but did help out to stabilize the sweetness. The brew was medium body with a good amount of tingly carbonation that had a sweet fruity and slight crisp finish. It drank very well and was super tasty. I've had this on tap and in bottle and have to say I like it better out of the bottle. I'm glad I have access to this beer on a daily.

Gobzilla, Aug 12, 2010
Photo of domtronzero
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 56x3, 375ml corked-and-caged, with Delirium snifter.

A - Slightly hazy golden orange with a large but short lived frothy white head. Very little lacing on the glass.

S - Malty sweet candy-like pilsner malts up front with the esters making a big entrance right behind. Huge pears and citrus with just a touch of banana. A light perfumy alcohol character sneeks up and is more evident as the beer warms. Light spicy hop aromas.

T/M - Pilsner malt sweetness followed by a clean, firmly bittered hoppy finish. Again, the esters are quite noticeable and are reminiscent of mostly apples and citrus. Light hoppy spiciness help with the clean finish. The aftertaste lingers for awhile with a slight solventy flavor. Medium bodied with average carbonation. Not slick but quite effervescent but could use just a little bit more flavor all-around.

D - Okay, but I think I would rather switch over to some of the drier and cleaner-finishing examples of the style (Duvel, Afflgem Blond) before having many of these in one night. Still a great beer, and a good example of a Belgian style beer that is made by one of the only breweries in America that can actually get these beer close-to-correct.

domtronzero, Aug 12, 2010
Photo of hayesez
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Never had Damnation, so when I received this one from ptykozoon as an extra in a recent package, I figured I'd toss it in the fridge and give it a shot. Batch 057x1 in a 375 ml bottle poured into my Dogfish Head signature glass. The beer itself is a dark cloudy straw color and produces a one finger cap of white foam, which is surprisingly sticky. It leaves a fair amount of lacing throughout the glass.

Pleasant combination of Belgian spices, clove, and banana. It also has a nice herbal / grassy smell to it. It smells fresh, clean, and dry. Not really sure what I was expecting from this, but I am more impressed than I anticipated. At the very end of a deep smell I pick up small amounts of citrus. As the beer warms the citrus becomes a bit more prevalent - orange and lemon.

The taste is very Belgian-y. Very spicy with a hint of coriander. Lots of yeastiness as well. A bitterish citrus taste rounds this one off, and I'm left with a spicy Belgian aftertaste. The taste is fairly mild - oh, and definite clove in there as well. Medium-bodied with a decent amount of carbonation.

The Damnation is definitely a solid beer. I could easily put this one away in no time. It certainly is a testament to the quality of Russian River when I can say that the Damnation is probably my least favorite of theirs that I have had, yet I've quite enjoyed it. What do we have to do to get them to start distributing to Indiana?

Consumed: 8/8/2010

hayesez, Aug 09, 2010
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.

Note:
Batch 056x2

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

NWer, Aug 09, 2010
Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 3,046 ratings.