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Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

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3,263 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,263
Reviews: 1,079
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.44%
Wants: 357
Gots: 706 | 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:
Beer added by: beerguy101 on 09-19-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,263 | Reviews: 1,079 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Chaney
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this bottle as a very generous extra from Dreadnaught33. Thanks Jonathan!

A: Poured a beautiful, cloudy, apricot orange color, with with a huge VERY white 2 + inch head that lingered throughout the session.

S: Fresh yeast, pears, mandarin oranges, and an awesome filtered water quality. Zesty and funky!

T: To describe the taste would be to describe the taste profile of Russian River in general: Belgian funky yeast, combined with ground up aspirin, citrus fruit, and very minimal spices.

M: No booze detected, and when I finished the session, my glass came out clean as a whistle. In general, this was thick enough without being too.

D: I tend to think of this brew as the baseline brew for RR's sour beer offerings (eg. Supplication, Temptation, Consecration, etc.). Don't expect a jaw-locking sour experience here, and if one were to do a RR sour beer tasting, I would recommend to start with this one. I honestly couldn't image a more refreshing craft drinker.

Photo of beagle75
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 375 ml bottle into a tulip glass. The label reads batch 060.

A: Slightly hazy, bright golden color with one finger of diminishing white foam head. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Juicy, bright fruit (pear, apple, apricot, lemon) is most pronounced throughout, with funky saison-character yeast detectable initially but dissipating over time. Other scents detected include cloves and vinous fermented grain.

T: Begins dry, acidic, then quickly turning bitter. Delicate bright fruit and toasted grain briefly emerge in the middle. The finish is short and remarkably clean, ending as dry as this beer began.

M: Medium viscosity with moderate carbonation. This beer is very pleasantly wet, effervescent, and refreshing.

D: This beer is a faithful but characteristically American interpretation of the style that's delicious and continually invigorating on the palate. The alcohol is felt before it is tasted, in line with other Belgian-style strong pale ales of quality. Capable of taking the place of a dry white wine in pairings, the presence of too many heavy savory flavors would bury the delicate nuances found here.

Photo of ryantaussig
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my favorite glass, a Duvel Tulip.

A: A hazy golden copper color meets the eyes. An immense head develops and settles into a permanent one finger height.

S: Smells strongly of fruit and yeasty esters. I'm especially getting apricots in the nose. Plenty of spice in there as well. Cloves and citrus are a consistent backdrop.

T: Plenty of spice and alcohol up front. A balanced level of fruit and earthy hops are there as well. The fruit and alcohol linger to the very end, where the yeast notes come to the fore.

M: Smooth and silky on the tongue. This is an excellent brew. Comes to a dry finish.

O: A definite sipper, this one definitely drinks like a Strong Pale Ale.

Photo of jneiswender
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a bottle into a tasting glass. Served cool.

A-gold body and a fluffy white head

S-yeasty, clove and minty

T-nice yeasty bread, clove and some fruit

M-light, slowly trying finish

D-Delightful. Just a great beer. Highly drinkable and I would have this again.

Photo of SirRuss
3.77/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - I 've grown wary of examples of belgian goldens and tripels that exhibit strong accents of orange, and as such this brew's marigold complexion immediately waves little red flags at me. Coloration concerns aside, the dense sedimentary haze offers convincing reassurance, and the pearly white head erupts with a respectable firmness.

S - Masses of mandarin race to the nose, with a decent amount of spice - particularly clove - and yeasty esters hot on its heels. Lighter floral notes float on the sides more like spectators than competitors in what turns out to be a fairly eclectic contest.

T - The little red flags were right: The mandarin dominance spins the beer off balance. The hops take on a zesty character, and the clove is lost somewhere in the shadow. In its favor, a nice level of earthiness is achieved, and a raw honey quality provides some relief from the orange obesity.

M - Not bad. The carbonation is fairly well integrated, and the malt and alcohol balance well. I can't help but feel slightly disappointed that it doesn't offer a little more weight all round, and in this respect it comes-off a little thin.

D - There's no reason why you can't sip on this stuff indfinitely. The carbonation creates an agreeable crispness that can handle the sugar content, and the zestiness makes it fairly cleansing. It's only enemy is perhaps boredom, and the need for something a little more complex/interesting.

Overall this is a pretty inoffensive example of a belgian golden ale, but there are too many outstanding alternatives out there to convince me to revisit this one.

Photo of Khazadum
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Derek for this bad boy! You are the man! Batch 59 poured into my snifter.

A- Bright yellow candy to tangerine orange body with huge amounts of carbonation. Ridiculous amounts. Pure white wedding lace collar lasts and lasts. Big puffy bubbles all across the glass. The lacing spreads evenly across the glass with very little breaks in the curtain.

S- Crisp fruity notes. Candied belgian sugars common to this style come forward. Slight floral funk to the edging. Almost tea-like in its herbal nature.

T- Bright is the first word that comes to mind. Its very funk forward with a sweetened regular tea quality to it. It blends onward to be unsettling in how its sugar quality presents, artificial. It saturates the receptors leaving the bitterness and hops to come forward. Quickly it fades out and leaves a relatively clean finish.

M- Creamy, very carbonated but bordering awful, and nice flavor presentation on the palate and soft palate. It comes across smoother and more viscous than I was expecting by far. Stacked a bit harder than some stouts even.

D- Awesome. I wasn't as impressed with this one as I was expecting, but still a solid showing. Clean, sweet, and only a few flaws. Above average by far. I'd love a few more of these just to enjoy while playing some LoL.

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

Poured into a St. Louis Gueuze tulip.

Pours a slightly hazy light gold color with three fingers of stark white rocky head. About half an inch of head remains after a few minutes.

Aromas of malt, hard candy. No hops to speak of. Some figs and golden raisins are also there, towards the back, as the poured brew warms.

First sip is of a slight citrus fruitiness, mainly lemony, with some candy sweetness, and a touch of an alcohol bite. Very much like a lower alcohol version of Duvel. Some yeasty phenolics as well.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and toward the dry side, very mouth coating. A slight burn from the alcohol.

Very drinkable, and dangerously sessionable.

Photo of tigg924
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, clear, gold in color, high carbonation

Smell: citrus, fruit, and light floral hops

Taste: lemon, orange, lime, light hops at the end

Mouthfeel: light bodied, high carbonation,sweet and smooth with the hops being prickly and their presence felt at the end.

Drinkability: A wonderful and delicate beer that gets the flavor out. One of the most pleasant citrus beers I have had. This might be my favorite in the style. I do want this again.

Photo of pburland23
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a caged and corked bottle (batch #58) into a Hoegaarden Grand Cru tulip.

Beer pours an light, but hazy straw color with an enormous, lingering head. The smell is intensely fruity. I pick some bananas and a few other fruit scents that I can't quite identify.

The taste is off malts and then some very dry hop bitterness at the back end. The carbonation is sublime as it stays sharp through the entire glass. Altogether, it's a very smooth drinking beer with a delightful dry finish.

An enjoyable Belgian Strong Pale Ale. I could go for one or two more in a sitting.

Photo of Perrumpo
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured into a large tulip. Golden in color with a perfectly sized white head. Had no problem with the head getting too big while pouring.

S - About what you would expect in the way of fruit, citrus, floral, and yeast.

T - I quite enjoyed this one. Lovely rich flavors that aren't overdone or overpowering. Completely pleasant with enough body. Balanced.

M - Lovely mouthfeel. Refreshing carbonation with nice body to it.

D - Just the right amount of drinkability for me. Enjoyable and easy to keep drinking, but rich enough to make you savor the flavor.

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

A: Light golden (surprise!) with large creamy mousse, active and continuing bubbles throughout consumption.
S: Yeasty bready aromas with some light fruit and spice esters (banana, clove, etc). Like a banana oat muffin.
T: Rich flavors, some more of that banana oat muffin. Yeast flavors very present as expected from the nose. Shy acididty which makes the richness apparent.
M: Heavy liquid refreshed by the frizzante. Distinctly rich across the tongue with the carbonation hitting the sides of the mouth.
D: Excellent drinkability. Strong enough to encourage sipping and enjoying, crisp and delicious enough to encourage having another.

I have never been an outspoken fan of this beer, but rating it's components, I keep coming back to them all being very good. Strange. I suppose that as a whole it just doesn't make that much of an impression on me while still being a superbly well crafted brew. Mind you, I do enjoy this with some regularity.

Photo of brendan13
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a hazy dark golden with 2cm of dense white head that slowly falls away leaving rings of lacing down the glass.
S - Honey like sweetness with peach & pear fruity esters & spicy phenolic character.
T - Taste is exquisete. A wonderful balance of pale malt sweetness without being cloying along with the frutity peach character & spicy phenolic notes.
M - Medium bodied with a light acidic touch. Moderate carbonation.
D - A delightful beer. Something I'd buy again if it wasn't such a rare find here.

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

14th review on BA
Bottle poured into snifter
Corked and Caged 375 ML, Batch #59

Being the 3rd RR I've had but the first sour, I am extremely excited. While its not the best belgian style i've had its certainly up there with the best.

App- I didn't get the giant head that some people got off of theres but it could be it was a smaller bottle but I got a hazy, cloudy orange. Very thin head only about 1/4" and white. Great lacing and very carbonated.

Smell- Very citrus with orange mostly. Got a lot of floral in the nose as well. Has that lush and full belgian style nose I love.

Taste- Not at all what I was expecting. Bubbles away on each sip. Not the big scary beer I was hoping for but more a delicate and intricate balance of all flavors. For a medium 7% ABV. Doesnt feel like it

Mouth- Like a belgian champagne with the dry feel and with all the bubbles and complex flavors working together. I enjoyed it very much.

Drink- I'm sure it's not an everyday beer. However, it was a good beer and for what it is a great example of what RR can do with a beer. I don't think I could handle more than 1 or else a second would sneak up on you and make you forget a section of time.

Photo of Naugros
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Super high head so watch your pour and be careful. It has a light orange, hazy body and leaves lace all down the glass.

The smell is orange (again) with pear or apple esters, biscuity malts and a little mustiness. It smells a lot like Orval.

The taste is very musty in the wet hay sense. It attacks the upper corners of your mouth and overshadows many of the other flavors which are superb once you find them. There's a pithy orange and a sweet bread malt under it all. But the mouthfeel and taste is dominated by the mustiness which detracts from everything else, although it does hide the alcohol. This does diminish as the beer warms and the background flavors become easier to pick out. The pithy orange becomes more like a blood orange flavor in the process.

Despite the mouthfeel you continue to drink to try to discern and enjoy the underlying flavors.

Photo of hophead247
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a heady golden color. Lots of lingering frothy goodness. Aroma is sweet, earthy, flowery and spicy. Flavor is very much the same with notes of banana clove and some spice followed by bready malts. A real nice balance to this beer. Not my favorite style, but a damn good example.

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

12.68 oz bottle poured into my Stella Artois 40cl glass.

This is my first Russian River Beer review, lets see how it goes.
A- Hazy golden color, 3 fingers worth of thick head. Nice retention and lacing.

S- Very fruity, apples and pears come to mind. Maybe some yeast and flowery notes in there and maybe a little lemon zest. Very strong smelling.

T- Goes along with the smell, apples and pears with some banana notes dominate. Some spice with a little bitterness towards the finish. Alcohol isn't a huge factor but you can tell its their, this is a belgian strong ale of course.

M- Medium bodied with tons of carbonation. Smooth dry finish. very nice.

D- A very complex beer but very drinkable. Not a "on a day to day basis" but a beer certainly worth enjoying from time to time.

Being my first Russian River beer, i will have to say I'm impressed by the overall presentation of their products. These people really care about beer and it is seen in their craftsmanship. Excellent job.

Photo of movingtrain
3.94/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up another Russian River here in Philly...
12.68 oz. bottle sampled from a hotel wine glass. Corked and caged bottle.

Pours a hazy yellow...quite cloudy, with a small lingering bubbly head around the edges of the glass.

The aroma is very wheaty. Smells of orange peel, warm bread, white grapes, dates, sweet grass, and some candy sugar.

The flavor is good...very drinkable. Hints of orange peel, vanilla, white grapes, candy sugar, white peppercorn, lemon zest, some light hops, and earthy malt flavors.

Overall, a very drinkable, complex ale. The flavor is very good, and makes for a nice, palate-friendly beer. It has some good funk to it, and tastes like a really good white ale.

Photo of HosP
4.49/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to scottfrie for the hook up on this beer. Really excited when I got it.

A- Poured a nice golden color with 1 1/2 finger white head. Lots of carbonation.

S- Nice notes of fruit to it. Hard to decipher what exactly everything is, seems like lots aromas but nothing overpowering.

T- Wow, lots of flavors all around but are blended nicely! Starts with a little citrus flavor with some spices to it. Some fruit flavors, maybe apple, in the middle. Ends with good spice that has a little zip.

M- Medium body with very little alcohol taste. Good amounts of carbonation to it.

D- When you pour a beer called Damnation you expect something dark and strong. Strangely it wasn't, however the taste really made up for it. No flavors really jumped out but the blend was very good. Would have drank a couple more of these if I could!

Photo of megahurts4
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Russian River Damnation

served on tap at Monk's Belgian Cafe in Philadelphia, PA

Appearance: Yellow, small head, and good lacing.

Smell: Yeast, coriander, and wheat.

Taste: Yeast, wheat, coriander and hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light and smooth.

A light wheat, but very tasty. It is similar to Duval.

Photo of thecarster1
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a- 375ml corked and caged bottle poured into a chimay goblet, one finger white head, hazy honey gold color, fades slowly, great layer of lace that sticks around.

s- delicate, floral, nice belgian yeast, nice dose of hops, good, flowery, as it warms i get more banana esters.

t- nice belgian, good bit of hops, floral, peppery yeast, nice light and easy to drink.

m- medium body, smooth.

d- eady to drink, great offering from russian river - i see how it's a classic beer. i would drink this again for sure.

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

Poured from a bottle into a perfect pint.

A- pours a very pale yellow with a 2 finger white head. The head is very puffy and sticks around for awhile. I love the way the beer looks...its not totally clear, theres some cloudiness to it, but its not murky

S- summery fruits...pears, apples, maybe a little honey in there...smells a tad bit tart, and if something could smell refreshing, this is it.

T- sweet, yet tart at the same time...grapes, apples, and pears are the primary flavors coming through. Almost tastes more like a cider than a beer...interesting

M- its actually pretty thin, a little weird based on the style, color, and alcohol content...but it works well. No issues here

D- easily drinkable. Just another solid Russian River beer

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

Reviewed from notes on 9-17-10. Many thanks to zoso1967 for schlepping the bottle back from PA many moons ago. I shared this bad boy with TCGoalie and his fiance.

A: The color is a pure golden-yellow, with a white, half finger head. This head retained on top of the beer body for the duration of my sipping.

S: Aromas of crisp Granny Smith apple, pear, peach, and a distinct funky Belgian yeast float from my oversized wine glass into my nostrils. I also smell some light clove and banana aromas.

T: A tasty clove spice is backed by sweet pear, Granny Smith apple, and honey flavors. That funky yeast complements all of these flavors well. A crisp, acidic, cidery bite ends each sip and dries off my palate.

M: Damnation has a sparkly tingle on my palate, with a light to medium bodied, spicy feel on my tongue.

D: This beer was nicely drinkable - very light, crisp, and refreshing. This is a perfect example of a straight up 4 beer. Good, but nothing about about it really stood out as remarkable.

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance -- Pours a hazy golden hue that catches light wonderfully. However, even after a sturdy pour a slim sudsy white head was all that precipitated.

Smell -- Bready grain, yeast, lemon zest, crisp apple, banana, mixed nuts.

Taste -- Homemade bread dough, flaky cracker, lemon zest, pistachio, apple, earthy Belgian yeast, and spicy hops. Finish is white pepper, apple must, and earthy hops.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-full in body with moderate carbonation for the style; bubbly, but not sharp on the tongue. Pleasant.

Drinkability -- This is certainly a good beer, but not world-class. This beer may - in a small way - suffer from comparison to the Pliny's and its '-tion' brethren. Subtle, quite drinkable, but it really doesn't compare to much of the pales from the old country. For the price, one would be better off with it's obvious inspiration: Duvel.

Photo of TCgoalie
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Notes from 9/17/10, enjoyed with TCHopCraver...thanks for bringing it!

Pours a golden murky yellow and looks greenish when held up to the light. The lacing is light and splotchy, a result from the thin head film floating on the brew.

Lemon zest, yeast, and melon dominate the scent. This smells quite a bit like a saison to me with some banana and spice as well.

Lemon, banana, and melon are the main fruit tastes up front which get balanced by a malty yeast flavor. There is a mild aftertaste that is somewhat sour with a touch of bitterness right in the end.

The mouthfeel to me seems to be the strong point. The medium body feels bigger than what the ABV suggests. I enjoy the creamy edge and drying that this ale provides.

This is very drinkable and an overall solid brew. However, it is not the finest RR has to offer.

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

Poured this into my snifter and noticed a thick foamy head that soon dissipated to leave a thick cap. Smell is of banana, cloves, honey and of course yeast. Taste is of honey, spice, and slight hoppiness that is hidden by heavy yeast. Mouthfeel is immediately crisp and tart with high carbonation smacking you in palate. Drinkability is high. Goes down easy, a pleasure to drink. I have been impressed with neary everything I have had from Russian River.

Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 3,263 ratings.