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.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,092 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,092
Reviews: 1,067
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.44%
Wants: 349
Gots: 643 | 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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,092 | Reviews: 1,067 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WYVYRN527
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

WYVYRN527, May 21, 2010
Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

OBeerMeGreatOne, May 20, 2010
Photo of Beerenauslese
4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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!

Beerenauslese, May 20, 2010
Photo of twiggamortis420
4.58/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

twiggamortis420, May 19, 2010
Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.72/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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 !!!

DeanMoriarty, May 19, 2010
Photo of timholio
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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.

timholio, May 14, 2010
Photo of KAVSE
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

KAVSE, May 10, 2010
Photo of westweasel
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From my sister-in-law in CA.
Thanks Nor!!!

Poured from a 350ml bottle into a New Belgium goblet. The beer pours a hazy golden yellow with a large, bright white head. Oodles of carbonation bubbles are rising from the center of the glass.

The aroma is filled with a hay-like barnyard scent along with apples and pears.

The flavors in this beer start with bready, white dinner rolls and pears, followed by hay and a peppery spice and a dry, refreshing finish.

The mouthfeel is medium with high carbonation and that dry finish.

Especially with the soft, dry finish - this is one extremely drinkable beer.

westweasel, May 09, 2010
Photo of Chizoad
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ the Trappist in Oakland.

Nearly no head, but a persistent lacing on top of the beer and on the glass. A clear, vibrant yellow color without much carbonation.

A nice aroma that reminds me of some other beers, like the Hennepin from Ommegang or the Delirium Tremens. Yeastiness? Probably some citrus too.

The taste evokes much of the same, although I picked up a not unpleasant metallic twang now and again. Only the faintest hops. There's some depth in it that is a little surprising, like it hinting at something great ... but never really gets there.

Low carbonation, fairly light in body, and thus pleasant enough to drink. I could definitely have more than one of these, although this time around it was only one.

Chizoad, May 08, 2010
Photo of TheJollyHop
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Loud pop upon uncorking signaling a healthy amount of carbonation.

A beautifully clear, golden amber pour with two fingers worth of thick, fluffy head; not dense. The head also leaves behind plenty of sticky lace as the steady streams of tiny bubbles continue to ascend from the depths of the tulip glass.

Aroma is packed with tropical fruits and yeast spiciness. Funky and definitely musky/earthy, but in a good way. However the musk does blanket some of the less assertive aroma compounds.

Honeydew melon flavor hits right at the beginning of the sip. Oranges, sweet grain backbone, and a semi-dry finish with some earthy hop flavor, straw and subtle biscuit notes. The bitterness tingles on the tongue. Very crisp flavor with good balance.

Light bodied and acutely creamy while being mouth coating. Medium to high carbonation.

Flavors work well as none are competing with each other (good harmony). The tropical fruit flavor burst is delicious and the mouthfeel accentuates the taste. Highly drinkable and very well crafted.

TheJollyHop, May 03, 2010
Photo of LuckyBrewer
4.85/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Style: Belguim Strong Pale Ale
Brewery: Russian River Brewery Company
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Website: http://www.russianriverbrewering.com/
Serving Type: 750 mL
ABV: 7.74 ABV

Pour: Smooth pour with a thick head that shows even legs.

Smell: This beer has a great Belgium yeast smell to it, with a hint of clean crisp malt.

Taste: This an exceptional example of an American attempt at a Belgium golden ale. The taste is well balanced, most Belgium's are a little too sweet for my liking, but not this one. The taste was so well balance and dynamic that I feel they have out done themselves.

Drinkability: I usually can not drink this type of beer for more than one 750 mL bottle, however for this brew I could drink about two bombers.

LuckyBrewer, May 03, 2010
Photo of AgentZero
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Bright golden color, yellowish, nice retention on the white head that left a bit of lacing.

S - Malty, yeasty, some apple, banana, fruity, quite belgiany.

T - Pretty solid take on this style. No overpowering yeast or phenol notes, somewhat fruity but not too sweet. Bit of clove, some pear.

M - Slightly syrupy in a medium bodied beer with a dry finish.

D - Easy enough drinker, nice tasting, wouldn't mind this one again.

AgentZero, Apr 27, 2010
Photo of DoubleJ
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've passed at least one hundred opportunties to buy and try Russian River's original flagship beer. Funny what a smaller 375 ml bottle does to me. On to the beer:

A perfect pour into my Stella Artois chalice yields a big, whipped head and a beautiful goldenrod color. It is sexy looking, yeah! Hoppy in the nose realtive to the overall picture. Also hints of Belgian candi sugar, bubblegum, and apricot as well.

First impression leads me to believe that this could be a Belgian IPA, but as I learn it isn't quite hoppy enough. Light waves of canided apricots hit the palate with earthy malt. Notes of aspirin. And yes, there are faded hops hitting. Squint your eyes (or in this case, your palate) and you'll find it. Damn, where's the alcohol? Finishes dry with a little yeast and hop bitterness leftover. Light and airy in the mouth, nailed it and then some.

Here's a "lighter" strong Belgian pale for you aficionados of Belgian-styled beer. Just be aware that the 375 ml bottle may not be enough for some.

DoubleJ, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of BigMike
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ive been holding on to this one for a little while and I decided to bust it open and christen my RR glass. This bottle is from batch 54.

Poured a glowing straw yellow color with tons of effervesence. A puffy white head of about 1 finger. Tremendous lacing on the glass.

Smell is typical Belgian all the way. Lots of yeast and clove and spice. Maybe a touch of lemon zest but not much else.

Taste is the same. Belgian yeast and clove.

Very carbonated but smooth and clean finishes. A nice tang at the end and the alcohol is completely hidden.

Overall this a a nice beer. It's a notch or 2 under Duvel for the style but very drinkable.

BigMike, Apr 24, 2010
Photo of billshmeinke
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle into Duvel.

A: Bright honey/gold/straw in color. Rocky three finger head. Effervescence comparable to a champagne. Head resides to one finger after a long time leaving evidence of lacing.

S: Some sweet malts, fruity esters (apple), some biscuits, and belgian yeast spiciness (cloves?).

T: Taste evokes biscuit/bread, clove like spice of belgian yeast, a bit of bitter resin, subtle fruity esters, slight phenols presence.

M: Pretty light bodied with tons of carbonation. Tiny slightly assertive bubbles. A bit creamy. Somewhat dry finish.

D: An easy drinker, but not something I want a bunch of in a night. Reminds me a lot of Duvel only with slightly less body.

billshmeinke, Apr 24, 2010
Photo of caresville
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a- piss yellow, looks like apple juice with a nice big ol' head, great carbonation and very nice lacing.

s- very bready, yeasty, wheats, grains, bananas, cinnamon, etc.

t&m- pretty plain and simple... lots of yeasty bready goodness, hints of some lemons and bananas, clove, brown sugar, a little bit sweet but not over the top. very good example of the style.

d- goes down easy, above average belgian style beer from a good brewery. recommended for sure.

caresville, Apr 20, 2010
Photo of hobojon
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Russian River globe from a 375ml bottle. Batch 055x2.

Aroma- pear, fruity, spicy ester, sweet malt. clean. subtle floral, spicy hops (styrian goldings?). powdery.

App- clear. big white foam dissipates to a 1/4'' layer. laces glass. good retention. golden straw.

Taste- fruity, spicy and pear. some limey citrus. peppery. subtle green apple. similar to Duvel but different in a pleasing way. some yeasty/bready undertones. some chalk/salt aftertaste. spicy lingering hop bitterness dries out the beer. mellow resin. nice finish.

Mouthfeel- creamy, full carb. dry and fluffy. really good mouthfeel.

Overall- great. will buy again. nice, balanced well done Belgian golden strong. not unique, but really well done.

hobojon, Apr 15, 2010
Photo of emmasdad
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pale yellow body, with a thick white head. Light floral notes on the nose, along with Belgian yeast and maybe a hint of clove. On the palate: bready, malty, yeasty flavors cut with a hint of spice citrus. Easy to drink Belgian style golden ale. Nothing more, nothing less.

emmasdad, Apr 13, 2010
Photo of GPHarris
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a - poured a bright straw golden color into my RRBC tulip glass. the head was a thick and dense off-white color that left thick sheeting and lacing throughout.
s - grainy and yeasty with a hint of grapefruit-like citrus.
t - dry and yeasty with a hint of bread.
m - medium mouthfeel with a clean finish.
d - excellent.

GPHarris, Apr 10, 2010
Photo of ghostee
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to daysofstatic for trading me this.

A: Pours a light golden color with about a fingers worth of head that subsides quickly.

S: Smells of yeast and fruit, a tad citrusy.

T: Bready yeast, citrus fruit (maybe lemon or pineapple). Taste is light and refreshing, and prickly on the tongue from the citrus and carbonation.

M: Bubbly carbonation on the tongue, lighter body.

D: High. Very easy to drink, the alcohol is well hidden, and does not taste like 7.75 abv.

Overall a very tasty beer. Would love to have it again.

ghostee, Mar 27, 2010
Photo of saccro
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - thick fine-bubble foam, nearly all white. Yellow/pale orange.

S - very fruity and bready (pilsner malt). Phenolic and spicy.
Slightly earthy. Lemony.

T - bready malt, some citrus. Well balanced with hops. Not too sweet like many American examples. Delicious and really well done. Alcohol is pretty well hidden.

M - Medium body, but not cloying. Fairly effervescent.

D - very drinkable. A beer I'd definitely go back to.

saccro, Mar 26, 2010
Photo of gpioski
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

7% ABV

Described on menu as Belgian style strong golden ale. Banana, pear, malt and hop flavors.

A- golden yellow with nice 1 finger head that fades quickly.

S- aroma has banana hints and hops.

T- fruity flavor. can taste the hints of pear. Yeasty and hoppy.

M- nice for what it is. a bit thicker with good carbonation.

D- excellent.

gpioski, Mar 23, 2010
Photo of GimmeAles
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a pure Golden yellow, hazy at the end from the yeasty dregs. Billowing, white head receeds quickly to a white crown in the glass.

Aromas of wet earth, lemon peel and green, herbal notes are immediately present at the pop of the cork. Deepers dimensions of each emerge as it slips into the glass.

Bright lemon zest, faint clove, coriander, and a peppery spice greet the tongue. An herbal hoppy-ness is also present upon a layer clean pilsner-malt base. A tart character reminiscent of wheat also seems present, but maybe just be the yeast talking. Faint chalkiness.

Mouthfeel is crisp and dry, begging another sip - or to be paired with just about any food. Need to try this next to a Saison, because this reminded me very much of Dupont, but perhaps lacking the, rustic barnyard-edge. An awesome Belgian-style beer that can stand with the best of them, imported or not.

GimmeAles, Mar 22, 2010
Photo of Flashsp2
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Russian River Damnation 750mL into a snifter

A soft pour kicks up a big three finger fluffy/creamy bubble mix head of a slightly off-white color on top of the pale orange body of perfect clarity. Carbonation continually streams up throughout, keeping the head around for a good long bit (like the entire time). Big creamy spots of lacing on the way down. It certainly looks the part for a Belgian Strong Pale Ale.

A giant fruity aroma is evident upon the pour, even from a good distance. Bready sweet yeast, ripe peaches and apricots, spice, citrus, black pepper. The label says notes of cedar should be present. It's there, but you really have to dig for it. A little earthy/musty thing in there, most likely the hops that are being used.

The palette is soft and delicate, complex but very approachable. A soft yeast is present first, followed up by some bready malt qualities, cedar, peaches, tangerine, and a real light touch of grapefruit on the finish. Not a bitter finish, but the hops do make a cameo without overpowering in typical West Coast fashion. It has a nice dry finish that is actually quite clean without weighing heavily long after the first sip. The finish is there for a while, but it is very delicate, and very refined. As it warms it gets a bit tangy, which is a nice balance to the initial sweetness and draws into the dry finish nicely.

The body is a bit heavy for the style, but the high carbonation breaks it up without allowing the beer to feel syrupy or excessively heavy. The finish is nice and lush, and a bit creamy as well.

This is a dangerously drinkable beer. It's smooth and elegant, and complex enough to invite serious imbibing. The ~8% ABV doesn't make a real presence except for a very slight warmth once the beer reaches temperature. I find it hard to believe this beer only has an A- on beeradvocate.com. I give it a solid A. I would take this over La Fin Du Monde, and possibly even Duvel, depending on my mood. Well, I wouldn't take it over these, but it would work in rotation with these excellent beers.

Flashsp2, Mar 22, 2010
Photo of AlexTheAleMan
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into at new Belgium snifter. Thin foamy head. Golden honey color, really bright. Very beautiful!

Has that typical Belgian sour apple smell, sweet and crisp. Buttery honey too.

The taste is very crisp too. The moment it touches your tongue its almost sweet, but then the yeast takes control of your mouth. The yeast is the star in this beer giving it a nice bitterness which turns into a long dry finish. It has a very light malt profile and a slightly nutty caramel finish.

Very carbonated, fills the whole mouth with flavor. Great mouth feel.

Drinkability is amazing, i could drink this stuff all night. I am definitely a fan!

Over all very reminiscent of the style, good job by russian river.

AlexTheAleMan, Mar 19, 2010
Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 3,092 ratings.