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Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,031 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,031
Reviews: 1,065
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 343
Gots: 625 | FT: 50
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: 3,031 | Reviews: 1,065 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ryrust5301
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - A damn good looking belgian pale ale if i've ever seen one. Bright gleaming and pure gold in color. Just a bit of cloudiness to it to give it a bigger body. Puffy meringue white head that lays on top like a cumulous cloud. Lacing is of an extreme amount and frames this picture of a beer. Champagne like bubbles shoot up to the top, showing that there is a lot of life to this beer.

Smell - Creamy banana, apple, pear, and a sweet malt jump out at me. A bit of clove is thrown in as is a fair amount of yeast that gives it that wonderful belgian aroma.

Taste & Mouthfeel - This beer does a great job of being crisp and creamy at the same time. A very crisp carbonation flows effortlessly into a smooth creamy finish. The feel definitely has a lot of life to it. Now on to the taste. Hefe like banana and clove are dumped in with a heavy hand. Apple and pear make an appearance before it gets washed away in a yeast and hop tidal wave on the back end. Finish is on the dry end, which isn't a shock considering they probably used chardonnay barrels with this one, giving it somewhat of a wine flavor.

Drinkability - I found this beer to be a little bit too one sided for my tastes, but it still is a fantastic piece of work. I had a pleasure sipping this one, and thankfully have another bottle I will enjoy.

ryrust5301, Jun 15, 2009
Photo of ShrLSU
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a cloudy bright orange color with pillowy white head. Leaves some sticky patchy lacing on the edges. The nose is fruity and floral. The taste is very fruity and flora just like the nose. There is bitter hop taste and som spiciness as well. A slight yeast flavor as well. The mouthfeel is very zesty. It kind of bounces around the mouth. Overall this was pretty good. I nice Belgian Pale. Worth a shot in my book.

ShrLSU, Jun 15, 2009
Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 044. Nose is yeasty dry, with stiff, crisp alcoholic notions, and a creamy maltiness. Smells good.

Pours a light golden color, translucent haze, moderate head. Looks good.

Nice tartness and oily mouthcoating. Soft malt with crisp, well-attenuated body. Spicy and a little hot. Nice fruit underliner, kind of apple/grape. Lemon tones fill in a gap between the tartness and fruit. Little aftertaste as of yet. Background hops are fairly noble with a soft pungent sting that works well with the malt, which is dry and toasty with a soft graininess. There's a good bit of malt flavor and body, but it's surprisingly dry. Tastes good. Feels good. Pretty good drinkability.

Overall Damnation is a dry, lemony, moderately strong Belgian Pale Ale. Good flavor, but it's soft and reserved without a tight balance to tie it down.

MrHungryMonkey, Jun 15, 2009
Photo of stephens101
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to BitterPachyderm for the exceptional hookup on this one as a bonus.

Pours a murky gold with some orange hues throughout. The off-white head lingers for a few seconds then dissipates, leaving a nice stripe of lace all around the snifter with a few skinny fingers jutting toward the rim. Belgian Strong Ales always have an appeasing aesthetic to me, and this one is no different. Aroma is yeasty and malty with a fruity, floral undercurrent. Some sweet candy exists as well. Tastes fruity and malty with a good hop kick toward the end. Some subtle sweet bread, spice and underneath it all some sour apples find their way out. An almost indiscernible phenolic essence is noted. Some notes of alcohol present themselves as the beer warms up. Mouth-feel lies on the heavy side of medium, and it's fairly highly carbonated, making for a smooth, easily drinkable beer. Nice one for sure, and although there are a few others I prefer over this one, I can't find any big faults with this Damnation.

stephens101, Jun 12, 2009
Photo of david18
4.88/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As much as I love the trappist ales, Duvel is still my favorite Belgian Ale and possibly my favorite beer altogether. Damnation is the only beer that I think is as good as the beer it is styled after. Everything about it is similar. Great carbonation, outstanding flavor and aroma, perfect belgian mouthfeel. The only difference is that Damnation may be a little bit fruitier. I had this instead of bloody mary's this morning and it was a great choice.

david18, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of scootny
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

RR serves up another exceptional brew. A thick and creamy head with meringue like qualities and a golden amber liquid. A deeply honeyed spiciness and a sweet, malty, herbal hopped backbone. A light, yeasty breadiness flows through as well.

Taste is one of the best I've had. Simply superb. All of the nose and more. Like drinking from a honeysuckle flower. A touch of citrus and a mild herbal hops. Alcohol is so well integrated it peeks out only in the finish. That finish was dry with a firm hopping that was not overpowering. In an instant it and the alcohol is gone. Feel is finely carbonated and lusciously smooth and creamy.

Drinkability is lager like. I opened this one up too cold and it was still exceptional. I went down easier that lemonade on a scorching summer day. The only downside was I only had one bottle.

Big thanks to WasTrinkenSie for this one!

scootny, Jun 06, 2009
Photo of farrago
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick bone white froth on the pour, looks like you swirled it with an egg beater, lots of lacing streaks across the glass. Light bronze orange in color, not much hue change towards the rims, clear enough to se the pinpricks of bubbles rise upwards. Sort of a "beery" nose, yeasts and raw pie dough predominate, then there's orange blossom, clove stick, apricot pits and pear skins, comes across as remarkably openly knit and airy, very restrained sweetness. Medium-bodied, the foaminess in the mouth is gentle, however, takes up a considerable amount of space before finally settling down. The clove, cinnamon spices offset by notes of sharper white pepper. In turn, sweeter orange citrus met by more sour white grapefruit. Not a lot of esters, the apricot, pear, peach fruit succinct and dry. The yeasts too are dry and not overly leesy and creamy. Not "bitter" on the finish but has a certain astringency which might throw off some imbibers. Almost shy about its complexity.

farrago, Jun 06, 2009
Photo of Kadonny
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a tap at Capones in Norristown. Poured into a sampler glass.

A: A nice golden color with a white fluffy head. Full glass lacing.

S: Spciy, yeasty, sweet fruits and a twinge of hops.

T: Yeasty and spicey with dark sweet fruits. The sweetness plays the major role here with bready and biscuit flavors. Some lighter fruits come at the end with banana and some lemon maybe. Floral hops come in the finish. Very good beer.

M: Fairly lgiht and crisp, no alcohol.

D: Very high for a BSPA of this ABV. Very drinkable.

Overall a great Belgian style beer from a famed west coast brewer, and it is delicious. I could drink this on a regular basis. I actually went looking for bottles of this and they are to be had, only a case price was $ 120. That's high, even for a BSPA. If it were cheaper, I would have a case in my cellar. Great beer.

Kadonny, Jun 05, 2009
Photo of Lexluthor33
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy,light orange color with a half inch head and thin lacing.

The aroma of hops,yeast and citrus fruits. A spicy aroma was present.
The taste starts off with a mild sweetness and a spicy note. Malts,citrus,yeast and herbal hops.
A feel that was medium but seemed light at times. Crisp and yet so smooth in the dry finish. Spicy throughout with well placed carbonation.

Notes: A really fine beer. Amazing with the balance and masking the ABV. A pleasure to have and something I will get whenever I can.

Lexluthor33, May 31, 2009
Photo of rhinos00
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a wine glass. Batch #047.

A- Pours a beautiful golden maize with a nice amount of clarity. Reveals a frothy white head that was at least two fingers width thick. Great lacing that just caked the sides of the glass with a degree of foaminess. Beautiful.

S- Various aromas ranging from malt and hay to fruits and spices. Certain amount of complexity here, just not that prevalent of an aroma. Needs to be a little stronger.

T- The beginning of the taste brings forward lots of malt and earthy tones. As the taste progresses a controlled citrus flavor grows and grows until the finish. The sweetness is kept in check by an abundance of spices that produce a nice balanced finish.

M- Medium to light bodied. Perfect amount of carbonation.

D- Super drinkable. Had no problem putting this bottle away over the course of an hour or so. Alcohol is pretty well hidden, especially for a beer that is close to 8% abv.

Overall, a pretty solid beer by Russian River. Belgian style beers aren't typically my style, but this was more than comforting to my palate.

rhinos00, May 25, 2009
Photo of DurtyUI
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Now Russian River Damnation (Santa Rosa, CA) is damn near the ultimate beer sexperience if I've ever had one!

It comes with a brilliant head that
teases you into submission. A crisp spicy golden ale with very earthy hops that's glides over your taste buds depositing their little caramelly goodness.

Make sure it's served in a sifter to get the full frontal exposure of this strong belgian style ale!!!

DurtyUI, May 17, 2009
Photo of GRG1313
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Medium dark honey color with a thick white head. Lovely citrus and peach nose. Flavors are well integrated fruits and hop. This is a very well balanced beer with fully layered but integrated flavors. A very pleasant drink with a medium hop and medium long finish. This is one of those "all around good beers." It becomes a bit soft and almost elegant as you drink it. This beer goes with almost all food and is pretty universally good.

GRG1313, May 16, 2009
Photo of yemenmocha
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours luminous gold with slight haze, with generous off-white head that leaves a silky thin lace on the glass. Nose is reminiscent of a good tripel with light fruits, especially apple. On the palate the tripel resemblance emerges again, with soft malt, light fruits again, and a semi-tart and dry finish.

yemenmocha, May 16, 2009
Photo of drtth
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a standard shaker/pint glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer has a hazed bright yellow/gold color with a finger width white head that recedes slowly leaving a small ring and some interesting lacing patterns.

Smell: The gentle fruity/floral aroma contains yeast, spices and citrus (lemon and orange zest). Not a trace of either the hops or the alcohol.

Taste: The flavor contains fruity notes followed by some spice and running through all are the sweetnesses of the candi sugar and the malt. Popping out once in a while are some traces of lemon and banana.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with some soft carbonation. The finish is medium in length and is soft and dry with the hop bitterness.

Drinkability: This is one very drinkable. The flavor and aroma are complex, well balanced, and invite further sipping and tasting. I could easily have a couple of these and still be ready for more.

drtth, May 15, 2009
Photo of happybrewer
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pale golden in color with a little haze. Pours with a lot of head that dissipates quickly. The aroma is sweet, spicy, and fruity with notes of pear. The taste brings on the same flavors as the smell. very smooth. Good balance. Nice smooth hop finish. It is light and very carbonated on the tongue. Overall Damnation has a great balance and I would definitely have another.

happybrewer, May 09, 2009
Photo of mjl21
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle brought into one of my favorite BYOB restaurants. This is from Batch 30 (bottled 10/19/07), so it has been aging for a year and a half. Poured into a cylinder glass. Comes in at 7.75%.

A-Greeted with a huge pop when I opened this one. It has been waiting a while to be opened. Pours a really nice clear golden color with tons of bubbles rising from the bottom. Has a large 2 finger head that slowly goes down into a nice fluffy layer.

S-Lots of Belgian notes, as expected, hit first. Picking up on the Trappist yeast used as well as some candy sugar. Definite fruit notes are abound, including orange and green apple. Also pick up on clove and other spices.

T-A lot like it smells. The yeast and candy sugar hit first. The fruit opens up mid-palate and the clove and other spices hit in the back of the mouth.

M-Medium bodied with lots of carbonation. Has a very smooth finish and is reminiscent of champagne.

D-Had no problem drinking this. Not heavy and goes down way too easily. The 7.75% is well hidden.

Been drinking this one for years and this may have been the best bottle I have ever had. The year and a half being aged probably doesn't hurt. Will pick up a few more of these and continue to see how they age.

mjl21, May 04, 2009
Photo of xhcadamx
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy very light straw with minimal head and a speck of lacing

S - pear and spices (white pepper)

T - Very tasty beer! The pear flavors are a little more muted than expected. Spicy aftertaste but doesn't linger and doesn't tingle your nose like other Belgians I have had.

M - Very dry beer

D - I couldn't detect the 7.0 abv so this is dangerously drinkable.

xhcadamx, May 04, 2009
Photo of AltBock
3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Corked and caged 750 ml bottle with a slick looking wrap around black label that has a pitch fork with 3 small smiley faces at the tip of the spikes. Over the pitch fork in bold blood red letters is the name of the beer. To the left side of the bottle is where you'll find R.R's address and to right side is where you'll find everything you need to know about this beer. This is where they list the ABV%, Government warning, a phone number, a picture of the proper glassware, the definition of "Damnation," a lengthy description about the beer, and a batch number. My bottle was from batch #020.

Appearance: The proper glassware picture looked like a cross between a Snifter and a Tulip, so I decided to pour this beer into my Lion Brewery Tulip. The label stated that it was a Golden Ale, but from the looks of it, it wasn't. It was close to a golden color. The color was more of a hazy and pale lemon yellow. I held it up to the light to see if I could find any gold coloring, but it was just a waste of time. I found a small tint of orange, but no gold. Sitting on top of this lemon colored brew was a great 1 1/2 inch creamy pure white head of foam. This creamy head of foam had pretty good retention that left behind a milky white film and a streak or two of lace.

Smell: I guess it was just me, but I thought the aroma was lacking. The aroma was fruity and a little spicy with pear, a touch of green apple, a pinch of lemon peel, a subtle drop of tart grapefruit, and a dash of black pepper and allspice. Quickly following the fruit and spices was a whiff of dry yeast and a hint of floral hops. If the fruits would have came out more, then this would have been one top notch fruity/spicy aroma.

Taste: The taste had something in common with the aroma. They were both fruity and spicy, but the taste had more of a kick in it. The taste kicked off with the fruits first, green apples, green pears, a little lemon peel, and a subtle touch of banana. The spice of choice in the taste had too be the allspice. I could taste another spice trying to break through, but the taste was too small for my tastebuds to decifer. The kick that separated the taste from the aroma came at the end. That kick was the taste's dry bitter finish. This bitter finish was mostly citrus hops with a pinch of peppery hops to back it up.

Mouthfeel: I thought "Damnation" was going to be hell on my tastebuds, but it was more of a medium bodied beer with an easy going light aftertaste of yeast, pear, green apple, and allspice. I did receive a little alcohol warmth at the end of the mouthfeel, but it wasn't all that much.

Drinkability: I had to go easy on the drinkability score because "Damnation" was an easy drinking medium bodied Belgian style Ale that had some good flavors to it. If I ever saw this beer again, would I buy it? You know what, I probably would because I would like to see what a later batch would taste like.

AltBock, May 02, 2009
Photo of Bobbydigi
3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks again to Fetus for this one!

A - 1 finger of head with minimal lacing. Slightly hazy golden color a few carbonation bubbles rising to the surface.

S - My nose must not be working well because I'm not getting much from this one other than a faint fruit smell, with hint of malt.

T - Very crisp taste consisting of bananas, malt, and a little spice at the end. Overall Tasty stuff.

M - Perfect amount of carbonation. Goes down smooth as silk like most of the Belgain pales I've tried

D - It does taste great and goes down like a champ but after drinking one bottle i had enough.

Bobbydigi, May 02, 2009
Photo of Haybeerman
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Slightly hazy gold color. Poured a 3 finger rocky white head with excellent retention. Left big patches of lacing behind. Decanted throughout.

S: Lemon zest and light sweet fruits; pears adn apple. Faint hay and pale malts.

T: Fruits are very prominent up front and through the middle. Bready malts become more noticeable on the following drinks. Nice bitter to balance for a clean finish.

M: Light side of medium body. Carbonation is perfectly balanced. Smooth and warming.

D: Very flavorful and well balanced. Complex enough to be interesting without losing drinkability. ABV is well hidden. Finish is remarkable.

Haybeerman, Apr 30, 2009
Photo of mikereaser
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - pours a golden yellow with lots of fluffy white foam and plenty of lacing

S - aroma of light fruit, breadiness and pepper

T - clean tasting, bananas, peaches and other light fruit, yeast, and a peppery finish

M/D - nice carbonation that helped make this one seem very light and refreshing, very drinkable with alot going on in flavor. I recommend it.

mikereaser, Apr 29, 2009
Photo of GJ40
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled in a goblet from a 750ml bottle purchased at Pike Street Beer & Win in Seattle. Batch 043.

A - Straw colored with a slight haze and a thick white head. Lots of very fine bubbles. Very inviting.

S - Clean, crisp and spicy with clove, banana and some black pepper. Not especially strong but good.

T - Spicy and crisp with some banana and clove. A mild sweetness as well.

M - A moderate consistency with a moderate level of very fine bubbles.

D - A very enjoyable beer with a nice level of flavor and a very clean presentation. A solid American effort at the Belgian style.

GJ40, Apr 21, 2009
Photo of ironlung
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap @ Toronado S.F. 4/18/09

I didn't think I would like this beer because I've been pretty closed-minded toward belgian ales. Bartender poured it as a mistake so I figured what the heck a russian river beer for free? How could I turn that down!

Clear golden color. Thin head that dissipates into nothing. Fruity yeast smell-can make out some lemon and some banana? Tastes great, very smooth. Not what I was expecting (funky). Mouth feel-again smooth, nothing lingers. Drinkability is too high. I think I'm changing my mind on these Belgians.

ironlung, Apr 19, 2009
Photo of RunDWP
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I can't imagine they're drinking this down in hell. When you pick up a bottle with a black label with the words "Damnation" on it, you're expecting something strong, or narcotic, or sinful in some sort of way. It's a damn good beer, but this light, white wine-like ale is more something at a fashionable party, not something ingested on the road to ruin. But then "Golden Ale One Might Drink at a Fashionable Party" probably doesn't sell as many bottles. Well, on to the review.

I carefully poured the bottle into two tulip glasses, one for myself, and one for my wine-loving better half. I took care not to disturb the yeast sediment on the bottom of the bottle. It fizzed up a slight white head, with a shiny, clear yellow liquid in the glass. I have a weak nose, but could pick up a little spicy yeastiness and fruity pear like aromas. The taste was an excellently balanced and blended mix of fruity pear with some toasty yeast toasty and slight spicey zip underneath. Had a white wine-like character to it, and full of subtlety and nuance. My wine-loving better half likes wine and pears more than I do, so she was loving it more than I. Mouth feel was pretty good, with the carbonation giving the right tingliness sensation on the tongue. Really refreshing and enjoyable to drink. Even warm, the flavors didn't go out of whack. Despite being a light, subtle brew, I didn't taste a drop of the nearly 8% alcohol listed on the bottle.

Schlitz Malt Liquor is more my idea of Damnation!

Review of Batch 044.

RunDWP, Apr 19, 2009
Photo of rtepiak
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pour looks somewhat light in color. lighter than a saison almost. wit like. but not murky really. pilsner flavor hop... could be more musky... but a nice mellow sweet. palate is minty rosemary. light dusty walnut bread with a light sun tea sweet at the bottle of the bottle... lemon grass, not as sweet as la fin de mod but not as complex a hop character as i would like. quite crisp. light. great interpretation.

rtepiak, Apr 15, 2009
Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 3,031 ratings.