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Damnation - Russian River Brewing Company

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3,344 Ratings
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Ratings: 3,344
Reviews: 1,088
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 10.22%
Wants: 368
Gots: 771 | FT: 52
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: 3,344 | Reviews: 1,088
Photo of ausonius
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%
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.


Photo of CHADMC3
3.8/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy straw/golden yellow with a thin white head that quickly dissolves to leave a faint lacing packed with dense bubbles of carbonation for the duration.

Funky yeast aromas waft from the glass with sour apples and similar fruits, white grapes, and a touch of hops.

More yeast in the flavor, a touch of spices and phenols, sour fruit, and a puckering finish.

Medium in body with generous carbonation and a pleasant drying finish.

Based on my prior readings about this beer, I expected more from the flavor. It's hard to give a beer such a good overall review with a summary that hints to dissapointment, but after all that I read the flavor just did not pack the depth I saught. With all of that said, still a great beer.

Photo of 05Harley
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 062. This is the freshest batch at this time. Bottled during this winter from what I can tell on their website.

Purchased through High-Time Wine Cellars, Costa Mesa, Cali

Price - $4.76/bottle

Corked and caged!!

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden color with a half inch soapy white head. Fairly effervescent with a steady stream of bubbles and some lacing left on the glass.

Smell: A strong aroma of Belgian yeast followed by lemon and citrus notes. As it warms the funk becomes more apparent.

Taste: Interesting with flavors of banana, lemon, apple and pepper. The mix works well with not one dominating the other.

Mouthfeel: Smooth with a medium body and a perfect amount of carbonation. Feel is clean and refreshing reminding me of a hot summer day. Finishes dry with a touch of bitterness.

Drinkability: Very drinkable even @ 7.75%. It didn't leave me feeling full as some other overly carbonated examples do. I would have liked to have seen this in a 750ml bottle instead of the 375ml bottle. A very good example of the style.

Photo of CharlesRiver
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.68oz brown bottle, capped and caged. Pours out just ever so slightly darker than the Redemption. Golden body with a fluffy white head. Again, tons of bubbles just like the Redemption.

Smell is light with some yeast notes coming through. Also getting something sweet as well. Taste is much like I expected. Sweet lemon and yeast notes, much less biscuit than Redemption as well as dryness. Great balance in this brew as nothing seems big or out of place. I do get some slight alcohol coming into play but nothing over the top.

Drinkability is good for this style but to me, this is more of a sipper. Overall, a solid beer that should be respected.

Photo of MoustacheHero
3.92/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A big beer from Russian River. A deceptively simple beer with a big kick!

a: Has a ghostly yellow color. I have found this appearance in a lot of Russian River beers. Personally it reminds me of cheap light beer, but tastes nothing like it, don't worry.

s: A very sweet, simple nose true to the belgian blonde style.

t: Clean, sweet flavor with a dry finish.

m: A simple, easy drinking mouthfeel. No mouth coating here!

d: Very drinkable, at a price... (7.25% according to their board)

Photo of jgasparine
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to the Cicerone at Brasserie Beck for this!

A- Poured from the bottle with a thick white head, which was well-retained and gave-way to some nice lacing down the sides of the glass. The body was a cloudy golden color, and exhibited some fair amounts of visible carbonation.

S- Smells like a classic Belgian Blonde ale, with a solid crackerlike malt backbone, some moderate Belgian yeast phenolics, and some nuances of light fruit ester. A reasonably rich nose overall.

T- A nice replicate of the nose here- crackerlike malt comingles with mild peppery Belgian yeast phenolics, and some very light fruit esters reminiscent of banana and lemon. The finish is dry and lingers nicely on the palate after each sip.

M- A medium to medium-plus body coupled with some wonderfully delicate carbonation from the bottle conditioning. No EtOH heat and extremely low astringency. There is a faint texture there too (unattenuated sugar?), which elevates the mouthfeel rating for me.

D- Incredibly smooth an quaffable. The alcohol is so well hidden, and the beer is just overall pleasant to consume. Wish we had more here on the East Coast!

Photo of jboib82
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful golden color with a subtle orange tint and a couple fingers of light fluffy head. Smells of citrus and belgian yeast, both of which are prominent in the first (and every subsequent) taste. A medium bodied brew; fruity with little hop character but the powerful yeast is balanced nicely by a little note of alcohol at the end. Great lacing all the way down which would have been a nice sight at the end if it weren't for the empty glass. Highly drinkable, this would be an ideal session beer if it weren't for the price.

Photo of wvsabbath
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Golden yellow, tan with creamy 1/2 head

Smell - Belgium yeast, sugar and spices, fruits, corriander, grapes lemon.

Taste - More flavor heavy, sweeter and stronger then its lil sister redemption. Yeast isnt as overpowering, a different belgium yeast is used, the spices kick in better also. Seems better balanced also.

Mouthfeel - Thin and mildly bitter. Some sweetness comes though to pick tounge up some. Mouth will recover fast though.

Drinabilty - Much better then redemption but honesty still to mild. Very very drinkable and tasty still. Doesnt seem like its even close to 8% alcohol. Wish it had a malt presence to it to give it some kick. Not bad at all but cant touch duvel.

Photo of nhindian
3.92/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

375ml bottle poured into a Russian River '-tion' glass. Bottle and glass generously provided by thecarster1, thanks Carla!

Batch 058

A - Pours a very light golden color, a bit lighter than Temptation and similar to a saison. On top of the beer sits a snow white head, 1.5-fingers in height, with good retention. Creamy head texture with patches of bubbles infiltrating the surface. Lacing is great as well with curtains of lacing streaming down the glass.

S- This beer is loaded with banana aromas and quite a bit of spice in the form of coriander as well. Not getting as much of the bubblegum smell that some BSPA's are bursting with. Slight lemon zest without being juicy; on the contrary it even smells bone dry. Some fresh grass clippings as well. Very strong esters coming from the nose.

T- Honestly after trying my first sip I am immediately drawing strong comparisons to an especially dry saison here with a bit more banana and apple influence. I am getting the slight lemon and grass common to that style and an overall very earthy tone. The Belgian yeast does wonders in completing this image as it has just the right amount of funk. Alcohol is hidden well, perhaps just a bit of heat at the end. Finish is incredibly dry with a long lasting lemon, banana, and slightly bitter finish.

M - Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with moderately carbonation. This is the aspect that most distinguishes itself from true Belgians in my opinion. The carbonation is quite low for the style compared to Duvel and Delirium Tremens.

D - Drinkability is moderately high. The flavors are addicting and mesh great, but I would've liked to see a bit more carbonation to help compensate for the bone dry finish.

Photo of avaccani
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 059
Poured into a New Belgium Tulip

A - Hazy golden straw. Compact 1 finger white head that laced all the way down the glass. Bubbles rise from the bottom throughout the whole glass.

S - Nice spice. Not overpowering at all.

T - This is really nice. A good bit of the yeast funk pair with a crisp malt backbone. Dry and somewhat spicy finish lingers. Very enjoyable.

M - Carbonation is medium. Nothing wrong with it.

D - Like it's sister beer Redemption, this is one that could be drank all night. Another great brew from RR!

Photo of surlytheduff
3.92/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 059, drank from large tulip. The beer poured a cloudy golden-straw color with a solid two fingers of whipped up and slightly off white head. The foam clung tightly from the glass, leaving a frothy lacing along the sides.

The beer smelled of clove, yeast, pepper, a little zest and a malty sweetness. The taste was clean and pleasantly spicy, citric and sweet, with a lightly hoppy bitter and resinous finish. It was edium mcarbonated, oily light and refreshingly easy to drink.

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle (batch 23) into snifter glass. Slightly hazy pale golden pour with a lasting, rocky white head. Aroma is a little funky, and musty, with lemon, banana, thyme, vinegar and spice. Flavor has the same funky, musty quality but the fruit notes aren't as prominent with the herbal, spicy notes standing out more and with hints of wood and sourness. Light, dry mouthfeel with plenty of soft carbonation and a lingering bitter, slightly sour finish. This is a particularly good Belgian style ale, very faithful to the style. Very easy to drink with restrained sweetness and no sign of the alcohol. Delicious.

Photo of russwbeck
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Hazy yellow pour with a big thick white head. Very nice retention and lacing down the side of my Duvel Tulip.

S: Spicy smell, with coriander and orange peel. A hint of alcohol and a slight hoppiness.

T: Yeasty with some Belgian spices along with the orange and coriander. The spice and fruitiness come at the end with a nice dry finish.

MF: Light and extremely refreshing. The bite of carbonation is very nice.

D: This beer is so drinkable it's almost unsafe. The alcohol is completely non-existant, and the dry finish makes sure you keep coming back for more.

Photo of kojevergas
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into Guinness pint glass in high altitude Denver, CO. No goblets were available, regrettably.

A: Pours a brilliant clear yellow-gold with a five finger head of excellent thickness and cream. Amazing retention.

Sm: Clean pleasant scent of barley, ester, spice, hops, citrus, malt, cedar, and pine, all of which are very subtle.

T: Just like the smell - delicious (<insert Chappelle's show joke here>). Excellent finish. The strength of this beer is its subtlety. It's complex but not overdone. Perfect for a golden ale.

Mf: Crisp and smooth, but golden ales require this smoothness. Beer Advocate's classification of this beer as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale is very wrong.

Dr: I'd definitely have it again, especially at its price and ABV. I find myself hitting the bottom of the bottle while it's upside down to make sure I get every drop. You'd never know it was 7.75%. It's pricey but worht it for celebration.

Photo of THECPJ
3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes: 1/24/2011

A: cloudy golden yellow, very minimal head, maybe 1/2 finger if that, no lacing

S: a slight spice scent and bready/yeasty

T: yeasty, slightly sour, drying

M: mild carbonation, smooth, dry finish

O: gives the appearance of champagne but the taste is much more sour


Photo of zeff80
4.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a clear, golden-yellow color with a small, white head of bubbly foam. It left thin rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of grains, dried fruits and yeasty/estery notes.

T - Good spicy presence upfront. It had nice grainy flavor with caramel and dried fruits. Some sour notes.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

D - This is a very tasty ale. No surprise that Russian River made another great beer.

Photo of Neffbeer
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes 1/16/2011

750ml bottle marked Batch 51. Into a tulip.

A: Pours a lovely straw/gold color with a nice size white head. The retention is moderate with a lot of lacing left behind.

S: Belgian yeast, coriander, pepper, clove, orange peel. There is also a vinous character to the brew with a hint of woodiness. I feel like I can detect the bittering hops even after a year and half in the bottle, maybe I am imagining things....

T: The fruitiness is up front (the yeast esters and some orange peel) with some spicy notes and that hint of wood. The coriander seems quite prominent with pepper not far behind. There is an herbal bitter kick at the finish that strongly suggests hops. It is also quite dry. Very good beer for my tastes.

M: It is full bodied and light on the tongue wich lends itslef ever so well to the dryness.

D: I have really enjoyed this stateside take on a classic Belgian style. Cheers to Russian River.

Photo of mondegreen
4.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

375ml into a Duvel Tulip. Batch 062.

Pours a bright hazy orange with a relatively thin one finger head that dissipates in a letter of minutes. The etching on the glass keeps a small circle of foam in the middle of the beer.

Smell is lightly yeasty and somewhat fruity. Very appealing.

Taste is very refreshing. A healthy dose of yeast character, but not so much that it overpowers the beer. A very light citrus bitterness is a welcomed component in the flavor.

Mouth is medium and somewhat slick. This beer is so drinkable it's crazy. A very clean, refreshing take on the BSPA style.

Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
4.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at the Russian River Brewing Co. brewhouse.

Appearance: Light yellow. White wine texture. It pours a slight head with low retention.

Smell: Malty. Bready. High Alcohol smell. Slight hop backing.

Taste: Like it's namesake says: "beware." It's easily sippable and packs a strong ABV. It has a crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium.

Drinkability: The best Belgian I have had at the brewhouse tonight. I'd buy it again.

Photo of notchucknorris
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The head swells up like crazy the second the beer hits the glass. The beer itself is a pale golden hue and the head sticks around nicely.

S: The yeast is the star of the show here. Very strong without being too bready. Definitely makes me want to find out how it tastes.

T: Nice and crisp with the yeast again making up the body of the flavor. The only thing off for me in this beer was the carbonation. It felt like this beer was a little too flat for me. Still, a good beer and another achievement for Russian River.

Photo of psuKinger
3.46/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500 mL bottle dated as Batch #058. Website indicates this batch was bottled on 6/14/2010, meaning this beer is a little more than 8 months old. Corked and caged, to be poured into a standard curved-rim pint glass.

A: Pours a light yellow with a hint of gold, with a thick frothy lively head on top. Russian River brews always have impeccable head.

S: Yeasty and spicy, with perhaps a hint of apple.

T: Taste follows the nose. It starts smooth and yeasty, a touch of spice moves in towards the middle, and the spice grows and a hint of apple sneaks in towards the finish.

M: The yeasty bready flavors linger in the mouth after the swallow.

D: Reasonably good. I'm not an avid fan of this style, but this is a pretty good example. Well done by Russian River.

Photo of letsgopens
4.55/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Last of my run of Russian River reviews. Pours fairly cloudy, pure golden maize with paler highlights. Soapy, effervescent cap of foam fades quickly and leaves walls of sturdy lacing.

Musty wet hay and tangy/sour grain character. Apricot, sour cherry, and papaya. Peppery booze and acidic yeast notes. Hints of honey and more dry, yeasty character round out the aroma.

Sweet and grainy then fading to yeasty wet hay and acidic fruit. Somewhat less fruit than the nose suggested but still hints of apricot and sour cherry and a lot of yeasty esters. Peppery greens and faint buttered popcorn. Lingering tartness is the final impression for me.

Crisp and bright up front but then quickly fading to matted, numbing tartness and chalky yeast on the palate. The fine bubbles then fizzle up a bit at the end and brighten up the lingering sourness. Characteristic of many RR brews, the mouthfeel really steals the show and makes all the difference in accentuating the best attributes of this brew. A balances, mellow yet complex beer makes for high drinkability in my book.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.6/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I saw this beer as a solid homage to the likes of Duvel, pours a pale slightly clouded golden hue into a chalice...the bright white head layered up nicely forming fine Belgian style lacing that formed even layers as it dwindled. Aromatics provided a nice malt driven honey drizzled biscuit pale malt with hints of spice and dry yeast notes, tropical fruit with a spicy alcoholic tone as well. Finishes with herbal spiciness from both the hops and the yeast a bit of citrus as well. Flavor was actually not as complex as the smell, which I was surprised by. Expected a tropical fruit flavor also accompanied by pale malt breadiness with citric/herbal hops shining through, nice dry yeast finish with a touch of warming alcohol. Mouthfeel was perfect this is where must brewers screw up a Belgian style ale, this one hits it with a nice effervescent level of carbonation perfect for the style. Drinkability was effort lesst this is definitely textbook solid Belgian style ale everybody else take notes, because this is the training wheel level Belgian ale from Russian River once they start with wild yeasts and barrel aging things get even better. Thanks god this is a really great place to start, I want more.

Photo of dvb
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A graphic on the cork warns that you should drink from a snifter rather than from a pint glass. So I poured it right into my Dead Guy Ale pint glass. That's just how I roll.

This beer is exactly what you would expect from a Belgian-inspired beer made by the company that brews Pliny the Elder. All of the citrusy IPA hop presence is there, with sweetness more typical of a tripel.

Straw yellow color, big white head, a fair amount of lacing.

Very enjoyable.

Photo of LiquidBread219
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A= Straw yellow a little hazy, nice small white head but disappears quickly, decent lacing.

S= Mainly I smell a little bit of lemons,yeast, and just fruit in general.

T= A nice sweet malt component with a predominant lemon taste. There is a hint of hops rounding out the profile. Overall it is less hoppy than another strong pale ale like duvel. The flavor is supported a malty lemon backbone.

M= Well Carbonated, pretty clean and crisp.

D= Very drinkable goes down very smooth wish I had a couple more.

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Damnation from Russian River Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 3,344 ratings.