1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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

3,215 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,215
Reviews: 1,071
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.44%
Wants: 353
Gots: 678 | FT: 48
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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,215 | Reviews: 1,071 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of OttoPeeWee
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another legit US made Belgian beer. The look is golden with a soda pop head that slowly disappates to a quarter inch layer of head that retains through the whole drink. Lacing is very good. The smell is pleasantly yeasty. The taste is where this beer really shines with honey, mild lemon, vanilla, and bread - really drinkable. Damn, I wish they had this in Chicago...

Photo of nickfl
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with a small head of white foam on top of a golden body with perfect clarity. The head settles down quite quickly and leaves only light lace behind on the glass.

S - Light, fruity aromas of pear and red apple with some bready malt.

T - Sweet, soft malt flavor dominates up front with some honey notes and a hint of pear. More light malt in the middle with some herbal hop flavor beginning to creep up on the palate. Things finish up with a surprisingly strong hop punch of herbal, almost musty European hops and fairly strong bitterness. Notes of pear, red apple, and clove linger on the palate.

M - Medium body, high carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - An interesting take on the style. I was initially worried that this bottle might be undercarbonated, based on the strange lack of head, but as it turned out it was very well carbonated. I can't explain the lack of foam as this sort of beer is usually capped by a tenacious head of sticky suds, especially in bottle conditioned versions. Aside from the foam issues, everything else shapes up nicely. There is some of the obligatory fruity yeast character present, but the emphasis is really on the soft, bready malt and the intense, spicy hop profile. This is a bit of a departure from the most successful Belgain Strong Golden ales that I have had, which tend to emphasize bright fruit notes and yeasty spice along side the hops and malt. It works fairly well here, but I feel like it would be more enjoyable with a stronger yeast profile to fill things out. Pretty nice (and reasonably priced for something from RR), but I still prefer classics like La Chouffe to this one.

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

12.68oz bottle served in a snifter glass.
batch #064.

pours a cloudy golden-yellow with a big, billowing 3" white head that quickly recedes to a lasting 1" or so; lacing evident in patches.

nose offers a nice range of belgian yeast, spice, and a fruitness which is a cross between lemon and a little peach. very nice aroma; doesn't distinguish itself with enough flare to rival an upper eschelon BSPA, but very nice.

taste follows the nose well. nice balance between the yeast, spice, and fruit (lemon, peach and a bit of banana); really flavorful and tasty. great take on the style.

mouthfeel is the on the heavier side of medium-light; crisp with lively carbonation.

overall this is a really great american rendition of a belgian style, one of the better ones i've come across. not quite world class, but flavorful and exceedingly drinkable.

Photo of 20ozmonkey
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have this beer just about every time I go to Toronado, but I've never reviewed it. I have a bottle now and it's about time I do that.

Pours a great hazy golden color with about a one finger white head that doesn't look like it's going anywhere any time soon.

I smell spices and yeast with a little bit of alcohol on the tip of the nose. Perhaps a bit of orange.

Oh I love me a Belgian pale. This has a great spicey tinge to it with a nice hop bitterness. The finish is a bitter yeast blast that you can feel all around your mouth. The beer itself is light with crisp carbonation.

This is easily one of my favorite Russian River beers. It is reasonably priced and is so solid in all aspects.

Photo of Marty30
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to black13 for this extra! Poured into Duvel tulip at fridge temp.Batch 3.

A. A cloudy golden straw body,And a two finger pure white head that dissapates quickly to a nice foam cap.Carbonation is billowing off the lazer etching.

S. Spicy Belgian yeast and bready notes.Some banana and lemon in there along with wet grass.Sweet white grapes is pretty prominant.

T. Sweet and spicy in the end,starts off with some white grapes and bready yeast,with a nice amount of spicyness kind of what you taste in a tripel.Getting some of the banana also.

M. Nice creamy medium mouth feels really smooth on the pallet.Carbonation is lively in this.

Overall this is a well crafted brew,I really enjoyed.If you enjoy Belgian style ales then this is a nice brew to seek out.

Photo of greenmonstah
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle into tulip. Batch 044

A - Clear golden yellow with a finger of white head. Great lacing

S - A little funky. Lemon peel, Belgian yeast. Some clove.

T - Banana, clove, a little Belgian yeast. None of that funkiness.

M - Light body with plenty of carbonation.

O - Light and refreshing, yet complex and delicious. A perfect take on this style.

Photo of schmoopsbeer
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in to Bruery tulip
Batch 5
served a bit chilled

Color: A beautiful golden color with hints of orange at the core. This beer forms a very thin white head and it leaves behind some light lacing. This beer is also very nicely carbonated.

Nose: Staying authentic to the Belgian Style of brewing, this beer smells of yeast textures and sweet malt. I also get plenty of white fruit like pear and apple.

Palate: Here light hops emerge along with some light woody flavors....a ceder plank smell comes to mind. Light on the tongue you also get citrus flavors (think tangerine).

Finish: Long and and some what dry. It really finishes complex and layered with plenty of flavor.

Photo of rlee1390
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Cloudy yellow-orange, very carbonated.

S-Yeast, wheat, bananas, clove some hops and lemon

T- Very similar to the nose, bananas, clove and yeast to start. However there is enough hop bit to keep it balanced.

M-Light and Carbonated, very carbonated.

O-A great beer, light and refreshing but with enough hop backbone and great clove flavors.

Photo of dlmccabe1
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm impressed with how dry this is for a Belgian golden ale. The balance between the belgian fruit and clove aromas and then the dryness and bitter flavors is an interesting and unusual contradiction. This beer finishes almost like a German pilsner (although with more body and not such a clean feel), but with additional spice and fruit and more body. I like it.

The nuances here are subtle but very intriguing. If you're used to a slightly richer, rounder or sweeter Belgian golden ale, this will prove to be substantially different. Really quite good.

This particular bottle didn't have much head or any lasting lacing, which is why I dropped the appearance score slightly.

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

Golden color, chill hazed with a nice stream of bubbles. Head is served airily tall, bone white, with the tiniest bubbles. Deposits scads of lace and looks downright Belgianesque from the start.

The nose is somewhat muted of course, but a mildly spiced fruity aroma comes wafting up. Served in a snifter which helped to concentrate the faint notes of tart apple, unripe pear, and green grapes. A hint of phenolic clove as well.

Flavorful but a bit insubstantial is my breakdown of the flavor and body. Of course, the Belgian pale is a hotly contested category and the De Proef and d'Achouffe versions are absolutely magnificent. This is a bit lighter, aiming for drinkability and accessability.

Very dry, with a prominent white pepper component that leads to a tart and crisp delivery of flavor. Finishes with some acid, but the tart notes and high carbonation scrub the palate fairly well. Body is fairly in the medium range, surprisingly full for the acidity. This is a strong entry into a style loaded with heavyweights.

Photo of jamescain
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a sniffer, thanks to StoneBrewFanatic for sharing this one.

Appearance: Pours a golden orange with two fingers worth of of white head. The head fades into a thin lacing on the top of the beer.

Aroma: Yeasty, citrus, almost bread-y, and fruity easters. There is a little bit of tartness coming through.

Taste: Again, yeasty. Fruity but not as dry as you would expect.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated and easy to drink.

Overall: This is a good beer when it is 90 degrees outside. It was highly effervescent and very refreshing. I prefer Duvel over this variation of a strong golden ale, but how can one bead perfection in that category.

Photo of benpopper
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 54 poured from the 750 mL caged and corked bottle into a Stolzle Glass.

This poured a little lighter than I expected, not quite amber, but slightly lighter. Light golden, soft almost pure white head a couple fingers deep.

Smell is what I would expect from a bottle of saison from Belgium. Very light, plesant, but nothing overwhelming or astounding.

I found it to be super balanced. Very faint fruityness against the belgian yeast. Had a fresh bottle at a tasting a few weeks ago and this one has been resting for about 8 months. Found it to be a little more balanced and less sharp.

Mouthfeel was great. Not a whole lot of "burn" you can sometimes have from a belgian style. Light and crisp.

Overall it was a fantastic bottle that I will seek out again.

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

I had a beertasting yesterday evening with my cousin Bert and his son Michael. After a while Mrs. Brabander joined the tasting. I used small Westvleteren and La Trappe tastinglasses.

I am not sure which BA provided me with this beer but i thank him for gving me this one. Thankyou!!

It is a cloudy, unfiltered, somewhat darkyellow fluid with almost no head.

Good spices in this beer. Surprising beer from this very good brewer.

Photo of ghetto90007
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 375 mL caged and corked bottle into a New Belgium snifter.

An elegant and attractive beer. Pale golden color, delicate white head, luscious micro-bubbles of carbonation flowing to the surface. Holding this one up to the light - it just looks heavenly, like I would want to swim in this stuff.

Smells like a Belgian pale ale. That twang of Belgian yeast, golden pears and some other non-descript fruitiness (though all subtle), and some grainy flavors. Remarkably balanced nose.

Sweeter than many Belgian pale ales. Ripe pear and mild peachy flavors intertwined with spicy Belgian yeast. Not as clean or dry as, say, Duvel.

Carbonation is there, but gentle. Yields a somewhat soft mouthfeel. Fairly buoyant and light bodied, but given some gravity from the level of sweetness.

An enjoyable take on the Belgian Strong Pale Ale. A little sweet for my taste, but that is not reflected in my ratings. My ratings reflect the solid craftsmanship this brew presents.

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

Received in a recent trade. I think it's a 330ml bottle poured into a chalice.

I should first start off by saying that I am not at all into sours so when I saw this in the box I was appreciative, but not enthusiastic about it. That being said, this beer was a pleasant surprise. I would not call it much of a sour at all but a true blond ale.

Giant frothy head that takes several mminutes to subside. Smells pretty good, nice and light. Taste is very good for the category. Nice and light and bubbly, amost champagne like. Everything is on point with thsi beer. Not my favorite style but I appreciate it for what it is, less shitty than a lot of blondes I have had. Clean and crisp so if you like the style give it a go. This will most likely be my first and last of these (until my roving freaking palate changes again). A fine drink for the style.

Photo of alexhahn82
3.05/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance is golden with a light birch/milk shade that compliments the gold.

Smell is very yeasty! Smells like you stepped into a brewery in Belgium, but has a nice sweet after smell to it.

Taste is average, not below average, but definitely average. This tastes to me like a very nice session beer.

Mouthfeel: light and airy, with rich golden malty tones on the end.

Overall: Nice beer, very drinkable, but not very memorable. I see this beer as either a nice ABV session beer, or an entry level micro that packs a punch for beginners*, keep in mind I am a hop head, and love flavors and bourbon barrels.

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

Pours a nice yellow with rocky, white head.

Smells and taste of yeast, subtle spice. Has a kick in the finish from alcohol and esters.

High carbonation makes it easy to drink.

This is a nice beer that captures the essence of a Belgian beer yet still has enough complexity in the finish to make it stand out.

Photo of litheum94
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375 ml C&C bottle. Batch 63.

Murky, golden body, with a thick, 2-finger, bone-white head. Very nice lacing on the glass.

Belgian yeast aromas, with banana esters. Some spices (cloves). Honey, with a slight must. There's also a sourness there, like tangerines.

Yeasty and earthy. There's a flavor that is hard for me to pinpoint, and as soon as I read the bottle, I know what it is: cedar. Some citric twinge. Cracker malts lead into an earthy hop finish with honey sweetness and pepper.

A very nice beer from a great brewery. So used to having this on tap, and it doesn't disappoint from the bottle

Photo of ramseye4
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A=375ml bottle with a cork, pours an awesomely cloudy yellow color with a one finger head that retains very well the whole way down the glass along with rings of lacing.
S=Aroma is predominately strong yeast along with some pronounced fruot
T=Notes of pear and apple, with yeasty spiciness. Very dry on the palate
M=Probably the low point, a tad bit watery which is goes against the dry nature of the beer
O=I really like it and would get it all the time if I lived in California, but here on the east coast there are some substitutes that are worthy enough for me.

Photo of kenito799
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber poured at Belgique tasting, Huge, MN Thanksgiving 2010.

VERTICAL:
Batch 22, 2007

Pristine golden ale with foamy white head. Sweet aroma full of sugar and typical tutti frutti Belgian yeaty scents. Soft and dry on the palate. A pleasing bitterness throughout. The lower (7.75% low for the style at least asinterpreted in CA) alcohol brings on more drinkabililty. Nice.

Batch 28, 2007
Pristine golden, now with very litle head. Aroma similar to above, with a slightly pinier aroma. Much less carbonated than Batch 22, which makes the mouthfeel less lively, sweeter, and in general not as good. Ratings based on Batch 22.

Photo of zeledonia
3.18/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Batch 060. Second RR brew for me, following a Redemption earlier this evening.

Pours a crystal clear golden yellow with a substantial white head that lasts, but leaves little lacing. Tons of little streams of bubbles rising up. Looks like sparkling apple juice.

Smell is strong yeast aromas with a bunch of sweet fruit: apples, pears... yum. Quite nice, and the highlight of the beer for me.

Taste: yeast up front, without a ton of character to it, and a hint of fruit, followed fairly quickly by a sharp spicy dryness that reminds me of chardonnay. That about sums it up. It finishes really quickly and really dry. Not my cup of tea.

Mouthfeel is light and well-carbonated. Quite nice, actually, but it doesn't hold onto the flavors the way I'd like it to.

I may give this another shot, but I wasn't impressed. The flavor is dominated by a very quick, dry, sharp finish. As I said before, it's a bit like chardonnay in that sense. An experience I haven't had before with any beer, and not really one I want to repeat.

Photo of haazer
3.53/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 750ml bottle into tulip glass. Been sittin on this one for several months.

A- Holy shit is this cork tight. First 750 I pussed out and used a corkscrew on. Loud pop and gunsmoke. Anyway the beer pours out to a beautiful gold color. A big white head forms at the top and effervesence is present in the high carbonation and bubbling. Putting your ear up to this reminds me of rice crispies cereal.

S- Lots of fruity esters in the nose. Reminds me of pears and apples. A spicy belgian yeast strain and a blend of other spices lies in this also.

T- The flavors are a little harder to pick out. I detect pears, and this drying spice that I can't put my finger on. Feels like theres some pepper in here. A small hint of candied sugar is in here also. Very sweetening, and very phenolic.

M- This is light to medium in the mouth. The carbonation is felt all over the tongue. A little bit of drying on the palatte from the spice.

O- Overall I felt this was above average but it didn't really rock me. It's mimicked a belgian flavor very well but whatever spice is in here was a little offsetting for me. Would try one of the oak aged versions though to see if it improves any.

Photo of beerman207
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1st day of vacation- 1st bottle of 36 picked up in a haul out on the west coast. I figure Damnation comes before salvation so here goes!

A: Pours a nice orange-yellow with 2 fingers of head that lingers a while leaving a great skim that hangs the entire session and some lacing on the glass

S: nose is belgian spice, clove, some malt, hops, maybe some orange peel?

T: Hops, belgian spice, orange, bitterness that lingers, peppery.

M: Carbonation is right on point - very well balanced - no trace of alcohol

O: Wow. This one is something special. Wish Russian River was available back home as this would be a brewery I spent a lot of money on. Haven't had one yet I didn't love.

Photo of tbern007
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

7.75%, corked, refermented in bottle.
Pours hazy lemon yellow, huge head, lots of lace, remains for the duration. Tons of fine bubbles - like champagne.
S - Yeast, citrus, spice, hoppy.
T - tastes like it's cousin redemption but stronger alcohol taste. Citrus, hop, slight sweetness from the malt, floral, a bit of cedar in there, too.
M & D - alcohol not as hidden as I'd like it to be. Creamy due to the lace. Smooth, the slight sweetness balances the alcohol - almost.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into DFH signature glass.

A: The color is what you would expect from a "golden" ale, it is hazy and golden. A strong pour yields a finger thick white head that leaves little lacing.

S: The smell is typical of a Belgian beer, there is a strong yeast scent up front with some earthy/grassy tones and citrus notes coming through in the end.

T: The taste has a surprising amount of spice upfront and it lingers throughout. There are citric notes and a bit of an earthy malt flavor to it as well, very much like the smell. The finish is dry, spicy and a bit malty.

M: Medium bodied with tingly carbonation on the tongue. There is a spice to the feel throughout and malty characteristics as well.

D: This is an overall pretty solid Belgian. There are nice spicy notes that are well balanced with the citrus and malts. This is definitely not a beer for everyone but a solid beer nonetheless.

Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 3,215 ratings.