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Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,984 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,984
Reviews: 1,063
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 337
Gots: 605 | FT: 47
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: 2,984 | Reviews: 1,063 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Pencible


3.68/5  rDev -10.7%

A: I've been intending on drinking this for a while, but I'm just getting to it now that it's nearly a year old. It poured a hazy light gold with a little white head.
S: It smelled like sour Belgian yeast with lemon zest, and some salty clove and earthy malt.
T: It tasted like lemon zest and sour yeast, with waxy hops and honey malt and a bit of candi sugar. It had a lasting dry aftertaste that was a blend of bitter and sour.
M: It was oily with moderate carbonation, but still somehow quite smooth.
D: This was a very delicate but flavorful beer that was fairly easy to drink, but better to sip. I honestly wasn't a big fan of the flavor, with the waxy character, but it was still very well brewed and mostly enjoyable.

06-15-2010 00:11:32 | More by Pencible
Photo of sweemzander


4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

375mL corked and caged bottle split and poured into a tulip. Batch #5. Huge thanks to beerwolf77 for sharing this one!

(A)- Pours a cloudy pale golden yellow color that produced a good pure white head that stuck around for awhile. Left some bits of lacing behind.

(S)- A crisp yet dry hay and straw grassy funk with bits of lemon, banana, and clove.

(T)- Same as the smell. A very dry yet crisp hay/straw profile. Almost has a bitter background, but with good fruits.

(M)- A crisp carbonation level with a good balance to it. Dry, and a little funky with a tiny grassy bitterness. Has some good fruits too.

(D)- A solid beer that is great and refreshing for the warm summer months. Crisp, yet has a good dryness and fruit to keep it interesting.

06-14-2010 17:15:13 | More by sweemzander
Photo of markaberrant

Saskatchewan (Canada)

3.08/5  rDev -25.2%

A - light orange, slight haze, big fluffy white head with very tight bubbles.

S - crisp, pear esters, light floral/lemon perfume, was expecting a more distinct hop character, but aroma mainly seems to be yeast derived

T - overall taste is quite light, bone dry, sharp/crisp spice, almost no malt character, some light fruit (pear again), but not enough sweetness to bring it out,

M - very airy/light, high carbonation, seems a little over the top, excessively dry, alcohol is not hot but has a bit of sting due to the carbonation and dryness

D - wish there was a little more flavour, ridiculously dry and overcarbonated, devoid of any dynamic malt/hop character

I don't like fresh Duvel, so it aint a surprise that I don't really like Damnation fresh either. I just don't see the point. I'd take a Westmalle Tripel any day over this. Still looking forward to trying my other bottle in a year or two, as I do in fact enjoy aged Duvel.

Update: After the carbonation drops out, you can actually taste a lot more in the beer. But I'm still not adjusting my scores.

06-13-2010 04:13:16 | More by markaberrant
Photo of RomaniIteDomum


4.3/5  rDev +4.4%

Finally getting around to reviewing this one. Thanks to all the traders that have sent me bottles in the past.

Pours golden with a great fluffy white head that lasts for quite some time. Nice lacing, too.

Smells of bananas, sweet citrus, sugar, and a little pine and spice.

Tastes much like the nose, but with a little more spice in the finish. Great balance of flavors with nothing hiding and nothing trying to steal the spotlight. The finish isn't as cloying as some of the style can be.

This is a very creamy brew. Great body.

I'd say this is one of my favorite beers of the style. Great balance, refreshing, and a good complexity.

06-12-2010 17:50:57 | More by RomaniIteDomum
Photo of portia99


4.08/5  rDev -1%

750ml bottle (batch # is damn near illegible, but I think it is 043) poured into a Russian River stemmed Belgian glass.

A - Pours a beautifully clear pale golden color with 2 fingers of thick, dense white foam which has excellent staying power. Head is thick and creamy in appearance and when it finally dies down a bit some nice spiderwebs of lace are left behind on the glass.

S - Up front, I'm struck by a huge hit of apples, a bit of cinnamon, some cloves and some light bready malt. Nice.

T - Spicy up front...cinnamon, cloves, a bit of black pepper, some light lemony citrus - very good Belgian yeast flavors. Some light phenolic flavors and a noticeable alcohol presence too. Bitter hoppiness and an underpinning of mildly sweet and bready malt.

M - Medium bodied with a very firm carbonation that is fizzy and leaves a nice prickly feeling on the tongue. Lingering spiciness left behind after the swallow. Mild alcohol warmth that feels just about right here - complements the beer and does not distract.

D - A very good Belgian strong ale. Good complexity with light alcohol warmth. Not too heavy, but definitely not one you can down easily. Enough strength of alcohol and flavors to keep it a nice, somewhat slow drinker...one to be savored.

06-11-2010 01:13:45 | More by portia99
Photo of appenzeller


4.22/5  rDev +2.4%

Poured into my Chimay chalice. Thin and dissipating head. Light orange, opaque color, almost like a hefe.

I fear this may be a bit too cold. Feint and pleasing aroma, apples, honey, slightly cidery

Hits the mouth as crisp and refreshing. Pleasing bite up front, tastes as it smells, apple (almost cidery), this beer has outstanding balance between malts and hops for the style. Finish is a lingering bite and carbonation very evident. In summary, an excellent brew that is true to the style.

I often fear with American craft brews, especially "specialty" ones that I'll get something that's way over the top. This beer's not that way at all, subtle, complex, balanced, big thumbs up for Russian River here.

06-10-2010 06:30:16 | More by appenzeller
Photo of BeerFMAndy


4.43/5  rDev +7.5%

375 ml bottle split and poured into a Duvel Green tulip. 7.75% ABV, Aging and glassware instructions. Batch 056x2.

A - The lightly hazy golden yellow beer pours with a ton of effervescent white head but is poorly retained and leaves little lace on the way down.

S - Light spicy Belgian yeast creates a fantastic, inviting aroma with indescribable spices, lemony citrus, and light, floral hops. I just want to dive right into the glass!

T - Light, spicy Belgian yeast with touches of earthy clay and black pepper starts it out and is followed by a touch of sweet honey that compliments the lemony citrus finish.

M - Majorly carbonated with a sharp crisp finish, Damnation is light-bodied and dry to the finish with a citrus bite.

D - I wish I would have sprung for the 750 or a few more 375 ml bottles of this. It's a fantastic beer with even better drinkability. Trade anyone?

06-09-2010 01:11:48 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of Bouleboubier


4.18/5  rDev +1.5%

Served in a 5-lb crystal goblet. I don't know if it was the glass or the pour, but there wasn't much of a head - a feathery swirl of bubbles hung around for a minute, then just about vanished. The earthy bright gold color was very attractive, though, illuminated by the meager surrounding light, revealing a still haze suspended in the liquid. Looked like a heavy hitter.

Estery would best describe the aroma - and it's funny - I detect this general aroma in the best and the worst of higher-alcohol brews 'reminiscent' of the Belgian Strong style. Carlsberg Special Brew and any of the Molson XX numbered 40 ouncers in Canada have a similar spicy, sort of phenolic, sort of perfumy nose to them. I've found it's best to look past that because, considering from where the beer hails and/or what kind of drinkers the labeling seems to target, you can often safely anticipate the quality of what you're about to drink. It's still interesting though.

Anyway, the aroma is very nice - not overpowering or off-putting. The taste is superb. Well-balanced with nary a sting of alcohol. Compared to the aroma, the flavor backs off a bit. Choice hop character, mildly sweet and fruity - I hesitate to say citrusy - RR says banana and pear. I taste more of the pear and banana only in essence.

My god does this beer drink smooth! Based on mouthfeel and drinkability alone, second maybe only to Duvel, this might be the best of this style I've ever had. RR good.

06-06-2010 22:59:42 | More by Bouleboubier
Photo of BDJake


4.18/5  rDev +1.5%

A- This beer was significantly different here pouring the first of it into my Duvel tulip than the second pour. First pour was clear, golden and topped with a crown of white head that retained and laced wonderfully. Second pour, including the yeast and sediment led it to be much hazier and slightly richer in hue with chunks of yeast floating throughout.

S- Spicy notes of clove and banana, earthy hops, and a bit bready to the nose as well.

T- It had a slightly wooden touch to it, a very well compliment to the hop presence, clove, yeast and bready malts, with an overall tartness.

M- Mildly carbonated, with a lighter body than it's abv suggests, all while leaving a smooth dry finish.

D- It was great to sip on, but I couldn't wait to enjoy every last drop. It's only drawback is that it makes you just want it too quickly.

06-02-2010 09:23:41 | More by BDJake
Photo of laituegonflable


3.6/5  rDev -12.6%

Pours a slightly cloudy pale yellow colour. Head is snowy and densely packed, not a lot of bubbling on the top, sinks a little, leaving a thin crown, and some nice trails of dense lacing. Looks quite nice, would like more head.

Nose is a little bit sour, very Belgian actually with nice orange peel notes and a nice dry spiciness on there. Notes of caramel sweetness on there, but mostly that nice piquancy, a hint of cinnamon and stewed apple with some citrus as well. Pleasant, if a bit 'mainstream' Belgian.

Taste is a little bit more sour. Hints of green vegetation, a kind of floral nectar note on the front, descends into more green apple and orange peel flavour with a richness behind it; tart but fairly malty overall. Has a green grape skin flavour at the back, and a bit of brassy, metallic hop. Yeah, tastes a bit raw and underripe; Belgian in character with a hint of spice on the back. Not bad but a bit impudent on the back with that sourness, and has a bit too much skew to the 'green'.

Feels a bit foamy, a little bit of sizzle and quite dry on the back. Decent for the style but doesn't amaze me. Overall it feels a bit harsh at times, drinks almost like a lemon slice has been dropped in, but not overall offensive. A decent beer.

06-02-2010 03:41:34 | More by laituegonflable
Photo of trevorjn06


3.38/5  rDev -18%

Poured into a Unibroue tulip glass.
Pours a lovely golden color, clear with a thick white head. As I pour I can smell malt.

Sticking my nose in it I get yeast, malt, a bit of spice (clove) and a hint of fruit. After reading the web site and seeing that it mentions a pear aroma I must agree, though it's not very intense.

Taste is dry overall. Rolls onto the tongue with malt and fruit flavors, then transitions into an earthy and fruity flavor. Finishes with dry, tart flavors and a bit of bitter orange taste and tannin. This beer improves as it warms, the finish gets a bit more smooth, but it never reaches the balance that I expected it to have.

Overall this beer is fairly bland and the finish is unpleasant. After drinking Pliny The Elder I was very excited to try this beer and I am quite disappointed with it.

06-02-2010 02:34:22 | More by trevorjn06
Photo of katan


3.98/5  rDev -3.4%

375ml into a pint

A - Pours a light golden to almost straw color. Incredible head formation, very carbonated. Bright white in color, sticks around at 1-2mm. Lots of haze - a bottle conditioned style beer.

S - An assertive belgian yeast - lots of pepper, spicy notes. Some wild notes in the background. After decanting, some light pilsner like malts come through.

T - Starts off with a light malty sweetness, some 2-row, some pilsners. Sweet, but a hair grainy. Mid-stream gets much spicier, lots of yeast wild notes. Light white pepper. Finishes very clean, with just a little bit of belgian yeast fruitiness.

M - Moderate beer body, but an incredible amount of carbonation. Very stinging, very effervescent.

D - Moderate drinkability. Very filling from the extreme belgian carbonation. ABV is solid, but manageable. Flavors are well integrated, and smooth.

I've had this beer on tap in the bay area dozens of times, and I found it to be so much better. Perhaps the carbonation was dialed in by their taps for our benefit. The carbonation is not unreasonable for the style.

06-01-2010 03:54:27 | More by katan
Photo of david131


3.45/5  rDev -16.3%

A- A hazy orange yellow liquid with a thin and creamy white head that has some good retention.

S- Very light with some lighter fruits and white bread.

T- Bananas, clove, white bread, and pepper. The alcohol is barely noticeable, but does provide a bit of a warming aspect.

M- Very light and highly carbonated. Keeps it light and clean.

D- Interesting but a bit light on flavors and a bit over carbonated. The alcohol is well hidden though.

06-01-2010 02:24:29 | More by david131
Photo of jdense


4.1/5  rDev -0.5%

On tap at Toronado $.3.00 happy hour, 12 oz pour 5.29.2010.

1/2 finger light golden clear body, minimal visible carbonation, with decent lacing. The nose is big banana and clove hit, with the taste more clove than bananas. Tart dry finish with good effervescence, good attenuation. Be careful re drinkability high ABV creeper. Worth seeking out for fans of the style.

05-31-2010 04:19:47 | More by jdense
Photo of impending


4.71/5  rDev +14.3%


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

big difference between bottle and tap - bottle preferred as minor aging tamps the hops

Absolutely Outstanding


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


4.1/5  rDev -0.5%

Uncorks with a sucking thunk. Very impressive and noisy.

Pours a lovely slightly cloudy gold yellow with a foamy and thick head of white bubbling. Lacing is sticky and impressive. Overall a very nice looking brew.

Very round sweet Belgian characters on the nose, with a bit of pepper and a crushed savoury note reminiscent of Sao biscuits. The savoury character is lovely, adding a lightly grainy counterpoint to the sweet and robust Belgian notes.

Taste is a little light, some freshness around the ends and a little tobacco tannin coming through. Peppery characters leaven it a little. Very nice, and very true to style. Mouthfeel is crisp, lacks a little smoothness, but otherwise pretty good.

A very drinkable beer; ABV is hidden well. It's not the most complex or adventurous RR beer I've tried, but this is a great example of just how solid Russian River's brewing expertise is. This could easily be confused for a genuine Belgian.

05-29-2010 08:39:17 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of womencantsail


4.03/5  rDev -2.2%

Finally getting around to reviewing Damnation. How it's taken me so long, I'm not sure.

Batch 053

A: The pour is a nice looking golden color with a massive white, pillow like head.

S: A distinct Belgian yeastiness with plenty of spice--mostly coriander and pepper. Plenty of fruitiness in the form of apples and pears, and a nice bit of honey to provide some more sweetness.

T: Up front, this one is definitely sweet and malty. The apple and pear flavors show themselves, but are a bit subdued. The finish has a light floral hop bitterness to contribute a touch of balance.

M: The body is medium and slightly sticky and sweet. The carbonation is moderate and, despite the sweetness, is actually a bit dry.

D: Sort of the flagship of Russian River's Belgians, and with good reason. A well balanced and really flavorful beer.

05-25-2010 22:14:18 | More by womencantsail
Photo of wspscott


4.18/5  rDev +1.5%

750ml bottle in Duvel tulip (batch 51)

A: A huge fluffy white, meringue-like head is the result of a gentle pour. Even after 20 minutes, there is still a half finger head. The beer is crystal clear, golden color.
S: Very Belgian yeast along with some black pepper.
T: The spice of Belgian yeast is very apparent, as it warms, there is a little fruitiness as well. A little bit of graininess and a hint of hops bitterness is in the background.
M: Very crisp, lots of carbonation. There is a bit of "creaminess" which prevents the beer from being too drying. My guess is there was quite a bit of sugar used in this beer given the dryness combined with slightly "round" mouthfeel.
D: This is spot on as far as a Belgian golden ale is concerned, an excellent example of the style. Highly drinkable, crisp, no hint of alcohol makes this a damn good beer. Highly recommended.

05-21-2010 23:54:35 | More by wspscott
Photo of WYVYRN527


4.38/5  rDev +6.3%

Poured from a 375 ml. bottle, batch# 055x2 into a bottom-etched New Belgium tulip.

A: Damnation pours a very clear gold color with some slight chill haze. Head is white in color and huge. Rentention is right on for the style. It does not go away. Sticky lacing coats the glass walls.

S: Floral, fruity aromas, with a hint of lemon pepper. Some biscuity, sweet undertones also hand arond in the smell.

T: Very crisp, clean taste. Sweet biscuity malt, with hints of citrus and pepper. Hops lend floral, grassy character with just a hint of earth. Finish is dry, and just slightly bitter.

M: Light bodied, yet flavors coat the palate and remain for some time. Very silky mouthfeel.

D: This may be better than most of the Belgian brews of the same style. It's vibrant, flavorful, and extremely easy to drink. If I were to have tasted this blind, I would have sworn it was from Belgium.

05-21-2010 04:33:43 | More by WYVYRN527
Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne


4.33/5  rDev +5.1%

Poured from a 12oz. corked bottle into a Duvel tulip. Amazing head on the pour, three and a half fingers of it. Rich golden color with moderate carbonation, slightly hazy. Smells like bread and earth with some citrus notes in the background. The taste mirrors the smell, the yeast is sedated but adds a nice sour bread note to the whole deal. Nice medium body, very easy to drink. I'll have to go find it on tap and give it another go.

05-20-2010 15:17:13 | More by OBeerMeGreatOne
Photo of Beerenauslese


4.55/5  rDev +10.4%

Bottle opens with a champagne pop, but this is not a gusher. Pours a clear gold, yet, with very careful pouring, is producing a voluminous head. Nevertheless, I managed to pour the whole 375 ml bottle into my tripel karmeliet glass. I had to bite some of the head off to keep it from overflowing the glass, which it did just sitting there on its own. Cappuccino-like suds, they last quite awhile and are producing lace and cloud chunks on the glass. Probably more head and retention than any Belgian pale I have seen.

Aromas of malt and perfumy floral, fruity aromas and brown sugar notes, this smells divine.

Tastes malty with some brown sugar upfront, then very fruity with toffee and spicy, with a dry finish.

Body is medium, and with good carbonation and foam, makes it almost creamy, but also light. Excellent mouth texture.

Very drinkable beer, very Belgian in style, very nicely done. I'll be damned!

05-20-2010 04:01:29 | More by Beerenauslese
Photo of twiggamortis420


4.58/5  rDev +11.2%

Big thanks out to cmurren25 for this one in a recent BIF, thanks Chad! 750 mL bottle with a batch number of 054. Pours a pretty clear light gold color with a quickly-receding fluffy white foam. Decent lacing. I am surprised at the clarity of the beer, looks like a nice Belgian golden.

Nose is tart Belgian yeast, pretty classic for the style and reminds me of Duvel. I would have guessed this is from the mother country had I had it blind. Peppery spiciness with a bit of grass and floral aromas. Lime peel is in there in lighter quantities. Yeast seems to do most of the work here.

Taste is nice and delicate, moreso than I thought it would. Yeast spiciness and esters come through first and are finished off nicely with a hoppy bite. There is some sweet grains in the middle and a touch of alcohol but overall it is very well balanced. Very soft beer, and oh so drinkable. Not as highly carbonated as perhaps a Duvel, but the carbonation is so fine that it is very silky going down the hatch. I split the 750 with a friend and my half disappeared with astonishing rapidity. I'd probably say that I like Duvel better, but not by a whole lot. This is a very nice beer and a good example of the style. Makes a perfect first beer of the day.

05-19-2010 22:27:05 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of DeanMoriarty


4.72/5  rDev +14.6%

Poured from the tap (Toronado's on Haight) into a tulip glass.

A: Nice golden colored ale. Pours a solid head that settles but remains for the entire beer.

S: Yeasty apple smell that starts sweet and finishes sour.

T: Real fruity and champagne like at moments. There's a similar flavor to some Belgian tripels i've had. There's also a little spice and peppery aspect to it but balanced so perfectly you barely notice it.

M: Light to medium bodied - plenty of carbonation but not overwhelming; exceptionally creamy and light.

D: These are deceivingly high in alcohol content and too many of them will get up on you. Real easy to throw these back.

Another example of incredible beer from one of the finest breweries in California - keep up the good work !!!

05-19-2010 04:17:52 | More by DeanMoriarty
Photo of timholio


4.3/5  rDev +4.4%

This compares to Duvel which is probably smoother than this. However this is a very easy to drink for such a high ABV. I think this is currently in my top 10 favorites. It seems to taste fresher than the Duvel and have a bit more zing to it.

This beer seems far easier to find in the stores than Blind Pig or PtE both of which are fantastic.

05-14-2010 00:31:15 | More by timholio
Photo of KAVSE


3.98/5  rDev -3.4%

Served from tap into 8oz. glass.

A: 1mm of head that clung to rim of glass. The center of the top is almost see through. Very light lacing. Faint carbonation bubbles up through light gold liquid.

S: Smells indicate biscuit and malt backbone. Surprisingly, no hop/floral scents. The smell masks the depth of the taste.

T: Tastes very similar to a Belgian Tripel style. Fruits immediately jump out: citrus peel, pear, and apple are balanced by the malt. A delicate apple and apricot after taste is complimented by fading earthy notes. The hops are well-hidden and seem content to be the understudy in this beer theater.

M: Does not wrap the tongue like other Russian River brews, but coats the top of the tongue only. Very delicate, balanced, and drinkable.

D: At 7.75% ABV I can see why the restaurant was pouring 8 oz. drafts but this one is deceivingly drinkable. A great springtime/summer brew.

05-10-2010 21:57:02 | More by KAVSE
Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 2,984 ratings.