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Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,318 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,318
Reviews: 1,086
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 364
Gots: 744 | FT: 49
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

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,318 | Reviews: 1,086 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beerman207
4.16/5  rDev +1%
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
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

Photo of jmdrpi
3.44/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

375 mL corked and caged bottle, batch 060. based on the brewer's website, that batch was bottled 8/5/2010.

appears a pale hazy golden color with 1" bone-white head. bubbles stream to the top of the glass amongst flakes of yeast sediment. great lacing.

big yeasty aroma, with strong banana notes. banana is not my thing. taste follows suite. herbal and earthy. dry finish. very smooth mouthfeel.

overall - this beer goes into my "once is enough" category. not my favorite style, and the price was steep. not worth it.

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

appearance: more on the golden apprearnce with
lots of retaining head

smell: decent amount of hop aroma for style, belgian yeast

taste: hey, its nicrly balanced with some hop flvaor and not dominated with belgian yeast charater.

mouthfeel: light-medium bodied

drinkability: best belgian pale Ive vere had. love it, not a big fan of thwe style

Photo of timmick
4.37/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Looking forward to trying this beer...

A: Slightly cloudy, pale straw colored with quite a lot of visible carbonation showing. Nice one finger, frothy white head that is slow to disappear. Lots of lace stays on the sides of the glass.

S: Sweet malty aroma full of fruits, light citrus, a little pine and spice. Seems to change often, which I love. Very nice.

T: Earthy flavors... grass, malts, yeast. Also some sweetness... citrus, apples, maybe melon? Very well blended notes leave me guessing. I really enjoy complex flavors.

M: Smooth, medium feel, yet crisp, with a dry clean finish. Lots of carbonation going on to clear the way for the next sip.

O: Very nice beer. If it were cheaper, I'd drink this quite often. Much enjoyed.

Photo of OddNotion
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Poured into my DFH Signature Glass. Pours a murky golden color with a 1 finger fluffy white head.

Smell: Standard given the style. A little bit of light fruitiness, and cloves from the yeast.

Taste: Sweet and tangy. A little watery towards the end of the sip unfortunately. I had some of their sours earlier in the day and every time I go for a sip it makes me imagine the sour. Could be why I am a little let down here.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium/thick given the style. I am a fan of how the beer feels.

Overall: Worth it for me to try out but I like the Sours and IPAs much better.

Photo of mjyoung
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A cloudy marigold color with a VERY thin head that leaves behind little lacing.

S: A rich, almost sweet, Belgian tang with the mildest hint of fruit. Very well balanced.

T: The taste is relatively simple, with an initial kick of Belgian yeast and mildly acidic hints of a white fruit (pear?). The hops probably contribute to the finish, which is a bit harsh.

M: A dry, cloying beer that is well carbonated without being fizzy.

O: This beer is a solid representative for the style, but its hard to rate it against the best. As much as I enjoy Russian River, I can't give it full marks (but it's close...).

Photo of IZoot
3.96/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first review!

Poured into my Duvel tulip

A-clean pale golden color, clear but mildly hazy if that makes sense, a nice quarter inch of head which dissipates rather quickly. Looks good.

S-strong Belgian yeast lots of citrusy fruit funk, some tropical strange spice.

T-a lot what I would expect from the smell, lemons crisp apples banana clove and yeasty funk.

M-great, crisp, carbonated, mouth puckering, makes me eager for the next sip

O-not my favorite by Russian river but definitely a quality brew, pretty easy drinking for a close to 8% abv beer

Photo of justintcoons
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 063

A: Pours an ultra clear gold with a short head that dissipates quickly. My second pour yielded the yeast which in turn made it a cloudy gold. Almost no carbonation except for a couple of bubbles to let you know it's there.

N: Wheat, Belgian yeast and hints of dark fruit and spice.

T: Starts out slightly sweet with wheat, Belgian yeast, pear, banana, grass, hay and hints of apple and dark fruits such as figs and plums. Finishes with some coriander spice and perhaps some lemony citrus.

M: Medium bodied, balanced, crisp and clean.

O: Absolutely delicious! Extremely balanced, easy drinking and a medium complexity that has just the right amount of each flavor represented.

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

Poured from a 375ml bottle into a tulip at Euclid Hall.

A: Perfect bright golden and crisp straw color. Head is prominent stark white, touch under billowy, fades moderately fast but has fantastic lacing.

S: Spice, wild yeast, biscuity malts, and a range of tropical fruit. Lemon and citrus notes prevail but touch of pineapple lends itself to the sweetness present in the aroma. Big spices dominate with floral notes wafting in and out.

T: Bright and clean flavors immediately. The malts are very balanced to the hops. A touch of citrus- lemon and acidic fruit follow through to hints of spice. Super long finish that keeps you sipping.

M: Medium to full bodied. Great carbonation and a clean coating of the palate. Doesn't weigh overly heavy and the alcohol is extremely well hidden.

D: Fantastic Belgian Golden style ale made for the perfect summer day or the coldest of winter nights. This is the most perfect representation of a Golden from the U.S.

Photo of ms11781
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to trodersark. Batch 62. 375ml bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a slightly hazy golden, yet pale color with a very thin white head. Head is gone almost as quick as it shows up.

There are a few things going on here. The yeast is very prominent and seems to be present underneath all of the other aromas. Tons of spice - coriander, clove and a peppery aspect. Light fruit is present as well.

The taste follows along with the nose. The light fruit seems to have more of a citrusy, almost orangey, character, but not too much. The spice is more subdued and seems to be spread out across the palette instead of in one hit. The yeast is still present and provides the same background flavor as it did for the aroma in the nose.

Light bodied and ample carbonation give the beer a light mouthfeel. Crisp and clean, allowing the complex flavors to come through very nicely.

Excellent drinkability. The ABV is well masked and the beer is very refreshing. The aromas and flavors are complex enough to make you want to keep drinking this but you'd have to move on after a couple due to the ABV.

Photo of CuttDeez
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At churchkey bottle served into a large snifter.

A - A cloudy yellow gold pour with a nice light floudy white head.
S - Incredibly fruity both citrus and softer sweeter fruits balanced out by warming spices.
T & M - Very nice complex light fruits on the front end that open up to spices and hop in the middle. The beer is light and carbinated. Well rounded on the palate and the beer finishes incredibly clean and fresh.
O - The beer is very complex and I enjoyed and savored every sip of it. It was both incredibly fresh and crisp while being warming and deep at the same time.


Photo of mattgreger
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle at Capones Bottle Shop about 2 months ago

This brew poured with a nice hazy, gold/yellow color. It is an amazing color. It had a nice bubbly, bright white head. It didn't really stick around very well. There was a bit of spiderweb like lacing that feel down the side of the glass.

The aroma on this brew is strong at the front of the brew, its a nice belgium yeast. Its has a nice note of zest in ther as well, lemon especiallyl. There is also a touch of a another fruit as well, it might be apples, but I am almost thinking its something like a pears, a sweet, yet bitter aroma. Its makes my nose tingle.

The taste of this brew is even better then the aroma. The fruits are the head of this brew. I think I was correct with the fruit choice as well, I can definitly taste pears, just sweet enough to hit the spot, but blended well with a nice zesty punch that helps finish the brew off very clean. Its got a hint of honey as well, that feeds into blend of spices that feed to the little bit of a alcohol burn. Its a great, complex brew.

The mouthful has a medium to light body, and has a near perfect carbonation. Its not heavy at all, but suprisingly it has a great complexity which you don't see all that often in a lighter brew.

The drink on this brew is great. It is not overbearing by any means, bit has a great blend of flavors that make it a great brew for any time of the year. It has a great dry finish, and its beautifully clean. An amazng brew by Russian River, and probably one of the best represenations of the style by an American Brewery.

Photo of sundevilbeerguy
3.46/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had a friend from Santa Rosa bring me down a growler of this.

A: Clean, golden look. Decent head.

S: A good aroma, but a little sour to my nose.

T: A very clean flavor. Much smoother than the aroma suggests. Slight banana and definite pear flavors.

M: Solid carbonation and good aftertaste. Full mouthfeel for a lighter bodied beer.

O: Good beer, if not my favorite. Definitely a strongly Belgian flavored Ale.

Photo of ocelot2500
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden color with a tight, white head that leaves a nice amount of lacing.

Smells of yeast and some fruits.

Tastes of the fruits with some breadiness. Fruits have a typical apple and pear quality. Some spicy yeast adds in as well. There is an underlying pale malt bready character along with some grassy hops. It is very balanced in terms of bitter and sweet.

Mouthfeel is medium-full with a frothy amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is damn fine in its own right, but it wouldn't be worth a trip to California to get it with so many other great examples of the style available.

Photo of bbeane
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured into an oversized snifter... beer is a brilliant golden color with superfine sediment within. Topped with a light white head that disappears leaving decent lacing stuck to the glass

S- Very yeasty and earthy aroma... don't get much else with it

T- Not typically a huge fan of Belgian Pale's... been a few that I really enjoyed, and this is one of them. Has a nice spicey forward, very mild hops with a hint of belgian sweetness, and a nice dry finish

M- Light body with medium carbonation

O- An excellent beer... bit pricey and difficult to find here on the east coast, and probably not worth what people charge for it around here, but really is one you should spend the money on to try at least once


Photo of Jesse13713
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A huge thanks to my man MadVermin out in Cali for sending this beer in a trade. Just one of the many Russian River beers he sent me, and the first one I've tried. Poured into my Maudite tulip glass. Batch number 063.

Appearance - First of all I'm really digging the wiring and corks on every Russian River beer. Nothing gets me more excited for trying a beer than hearing that 'pop' as I remove the cork. Anyways. Enough on my love for corks. The beer pours elegantly into my tulip, barely making a half finger of head noticeable to me. A very opaque and light cider look to it overall. Looks quite sour, like a lambic with belgian properties. The head is quick to disappear as I am left with a pleasant film on the top. It laces to the glass like a silky spider web. I allowed the yeast to remain at the bottom of the bottle, and drank it with a swig. Not bad.

Smell - As my man Aw Yeh would say, "Aw Yeh". Smells of soured cider and Belgian yeast. It slightly reminds me of the yeast that Unibroue uses in all of there brews. A slight apple crisp smell that has an earthy wooden note as well. Some light spices are mixed in as well; perhaps some clove. Smelling deeper, I think this beer would pair nicely with a clove cigarette. Light fruits linger as well but are not outstanding to me. The smell here is very complex and I enjoyed pinpointing each one.

Taste - To start things off, Damnation definitely has got that traditional Belgian taste nailed down perfectly. I haven't been a huge fan of Belgians lately; but this one has gotten me excited to try more. Slightly tart at first, but nothing overpowering. Slight metallic sourness rests on my tongue as fermented yeast fills to the roof of my mouth. Belgian yeast greets me and is then accompanied gracefully by banana (theres that fruit I couldn't pinpoint earlier) and quite heavy clove spice. A slight cider apple bite is noticeable as well. Finishes with a powerful biscuit note. I paired the last quarter of my beer with a Djarum Crystal clove cigarette and it really brought out the sweet banana notes, along with the clove and sweet breads as well. Highly recommended if you still have access to clove cigarettes.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability - This is the most drinkable Belgian I've ever had. Usually with most others, I enjoy it up until the aftertaste. That's where the skunked, weak, rotten yeast taste comes in. But not with Damnation. The finish remains strong in the bread department. Sweet biscuits and fruity spices are a nice change from that uncomfortable Belgian finish I am used too. But maybe I've just been drinking the wrong Belgians. I have not enjoyed a Belgian Beer this much since St. Bernardus Tripel; which Damnation completely destroys. Medium bodied and extraordinarily enjoyable. I may have to ask MadVermin to send me another of these in the near future.

Photo of veinless
3.96/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Decided to finally re-review this guy after eying it for the longest time.

Vintage: Batch 063

Pours a relatively clear straw yellow with a bit of haze but not much. head is two-fingers and has good retention. Laces exquisitely. Great looking beer.

Smells pleasantly bready and hoppy, with a semi-sweet banana bread aroma dominant here. Clove and assorted spice are present as well. The banana isn't like some other Belgian Pales I've had though - it's much more earthy and tempered.

Taste is very rich and creamy, with a sweetness that is a bit overdone. Still, banana peach and other citrus fruit burst out from the start and combine with spice to form a medley of great flavors. I really enjoy the middle/end part of the beer once the intense creaminess fades a bit, as it gets to a pleasant balance of crisp hops and funky Belgian yeast. Finish is dry and unexpected after the start was so sweet and rich.

Mouthfeel is very diverse and well-done. Starts creamy and rich as mentioned earlier, almost like a milk-shake, then moves to a gritty, chalky middle and finally to a dry, bitter end. It's a nice cycle of feels that is the best part of the beer. Initial feel is good, but a bit too much combined with the sweetness at that juncture for me though. Drinkability is solid due to the variation in textures and flavors, although hindered by the start. Affordable, good beer from Russian River, and a great American brewed Belgian strong pale ale.

Photo of petacutlasaurus
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up alongside a Redemption over at Connecticut Wine & Beer after their renovation. Seems they're getting them once a month or so. Great experience - I had been excited to find my first Russian River for awhile now after seeing one in Philly for an outrageous $30/bottle.

Had a great experience with this after long-mounting anticipation. A nice wheaty beer that's labeled as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale but tastes similar to a dubbel. Hoppy, mildly sweet with a little bit of tanginess. I enjoyed this beer, but priced at $15/bottle, I don't know if I'll have another soon. Especially since I liked the Redemption a good bit more. All the same, look forward to having this again down the road.

Photo of colforbin73
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this is a nice drinkable beer. i am not an authority on belgian beers so i am not reviewing this against other examples of the style.

pours a cloudy yellow with enough carbonation. no real lacing to speak of, it's a wheaty brew -- i am just guessing that there could be some wheat in here. mild hops in the aroma, overall the hops serve to provide just the right amount of bitterness to balance the sweet malt that comes out on the back of your tongue.

it's really all about the yeast though. that is the overriding flavor profile for me -- it has that unique Belgian yeast taste and feel. this would be a great racetrack beer. or at a game. i would liken it to hennepin, and direct your attention to cooperstown.

Photo of plfahey
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12.68 oz. bottle (Batch 61) poured into a wine glass.

Appearance-Straw gold with a slight haze. Large white head with moderate retention and some lacing.

Aroma-Fruity citrus esters-orange, lemon, and some pear. Spicy notes of cloves, pepper, and ginger from yeast phenolics. Light pils malt and a whiff of alcohol. Light spicy/earthy hops. Very fresh.

Flavor-Complex interplay of flavor carries throughout the taste. Sweet, slightly bready pils malt, light orangey esters, slight clove and white pepper phenolic notes, hints of earthy, spicy hop flavors. The finish is punctuated by moderately low hop bitterness and drying alcohol, with lingering grain and orange notes.

Mouthfeel-Medium body, medium carbonation. I'd prefer if it were higher carbonated. Some alcohol warmth. Finishes dry but not astringent.

Though this was certainly not perfect (Could have used better clarity, a stronger aroma, and higher carbonation), it was quite good and the flavor is complex and delicious. It's also relatively light on the palate and dry, which only makes you want to drink more. I could drain several of these, which is probably not a good thing give its nearly 8% alcohol content. Bravo Russian River.

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

Batch 65 12.67oz poured into a chalice, not a bottle. The cork was a real asshole and I ended up actually chipping the bottle using my waiter's corkscrew trying to show that cork who's boss. No beer spilled or was glass into the beer at any time, also no cork particulate. It just would not budge.

A- Opaque golden color and specks of yeast. Thin head... micro size bubbles.

S- Light bright citrus, on the yeast and the hops.

T- Hoppy front with a very sweet, tangy, belgo yeast profile.

M- Very bright and full-flavored Belgo Americana brew. Nice astringency. Fine carbonation, appropriate and strong. Burpy.

D- Very high due to such high taste marks. Alcohol is a perfect amount.

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

Pours a pretty wimpy head, not much there, not even a fingers worth. The color on it is very nice though, it's orange and cloudy, looks like it's one step away from being a belgian wheat beer. It is a very unique appearance, in some ways the color has hints of white, very interesting. If it weren't for the head this would get a great rating, to it's credit though, the frothy-ness and bubbles have stayed at the top of the glass where they were poured, it's leaving a nice foam rim around the top of the glass, almost like huge lacing or something. I'll go ahead and give this a 4, just because I know it deserves it. The smell is very nice, it smells very crisp. You get that sour smell on the nose, but it is not offensive at all, in fact it smells like it compliments the beer very well. You don't get much other smells other than that on the nose, maybe in the distance you can pick up a little but of that beer smell. Wow, this beer is bursting with flavor. You get that Sour taste, but like I said it is not overpowering or offensive, then you get a nice sweetness at the end, not too much though. I'm definitely picking up hints of fruit in here as well, maybe mango, tangerine, or peach, it's hard to tell. There is also a nice spice or herb flavor, it's very hidden, but it balances out the fruity flavor well. Not too much hop or malt here, you maybe get a little bit of hop bite in the front end, but not much at all. Overall the taste is pretty good! Mouthfeel is good, not amazing but good. Drinkability is very high for it being 7.75% ABV, they hide the alcohol very well in this beer. Overall A very well done beer all around, nothing is wrong with it and there is a lot that is right with it. Are my socks blown off? No, but it's a solid beer.

Photo of ausonius
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very pale. Good carbonation, but fairly small head that eventually fades pretty much altogether. No lacing.

NOSE: Gorgeous pure pale malt. The deftest touch of creamy Belgian yeast with a light, ethereal hop component.

PALATE: A seemingly huge wave of very pale malt, but not at all sweet or heavy.
Is this magic? How did they do this?
Long flavor which is both simple & complex at the same time.
The huge malt impression is followed by a dry, malty, lightly spicy, creamy mid-palate, & on to a dry lghtly hopped, piney/floral end flavor & finish.

The simplicity of this brew is it's genius, with the complexities of perfect balance, the subtlties of lightly creamy Belgian yeast & the perfectly understated touch of hops on the nose & tongue.

Totally & seemingly organically all of a piece.
Like a ninja quick, powerful swing on the sweet part of the bat that flies out of the park as fast as you can turn your head.

I see what all the fuss is about!

This is a Brilliant WOW! Beer!

96 Points

Thank God I AM worthy!

Humble thanks to Steve for sharing this at the Sour Tasting.


Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 3,318 ratings.